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Customer reviews for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

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42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

The Ariens 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower features a strong and quiet twin cylinder engine. The premium engine delivers superior cutting performance at your choice of 6 levels from 1-1/2 in. to 5-1/2 in. The variable speed, hydrostatic transmission requires less maintenance than an automatic or a gear drive tractor. With 18 in. rear wheels and 15 in. front wheels plus a 16 in. turning radius, this mower has optimum maneuverability to mow around trees, bushes or flowerbeds.
Overall rating:
4.531 / 5
4.5
 / 
5
(81 reviews) 81
Open Ratings Snapshot
93%of customersrecommend this product75 of 81reviews
Rating Breakdown 81 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0
5
(60)
4
(12)
3
(4)
2
(2)
1
(3)
93%of customersrecommend this product75 of 81reviews
Customer reviews for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
Review 61 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Detroit , Mi.

Ariens 42 " hydrostatic drive

PostedMay 22, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
I have had the pleasure of owning this rider for about a month.After 9 years of a MTD rider - which still ran, I decided to update.My yard is mostly flat took roughly 35 minutes before,20 minutes on this one.Ariens is a far superior unit.It has very powerful v twin & is sized properly.Cut is very clean & straight.the drive system is just amazing how well it controls the mower ! Slow it down in the corner,accelerate on the straights very easily,no more shifting to find the right gear.Ergomically ,forward & reverse are right where they need to be .Huge plus is the ROS,many times you need to back up ,no need to turn the blades off with this option.Blade height is a snap to adjust.Only negative was the headlight bulb went out after first use.Went to local auto store & replaced with long life bulbs.Just watching the grass grows & waiting for next opportunity to use this machine !! BUY it you will not regret the purchase !!
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 62 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from davenport fl.

ariens 42 inch hydrostatic riding mower

PostedJune 24, 2010
Overall rating 
1.0 out of 5.0
1 out of 5
No, I do not recommend this product.
i bought one of the above mowers , after much research on the web. this is the worst mower ever. the cut is not uniform and you can not get the blade height even close to 3 and half inches. if you are lucky maybe 3 and one eighth inches. the hydrostatic tranmission jerks you to death no matter how easy you let off the brake. when ever you make a sharp turn either to the right or left the lower black trim pieces get ripped off by the front tires. the pto makes a terrible howling noise up on disengaging the blades. the home depot mgr and i checked out 2 others they had in stock and they are even worse. i would not buy another one of these mowers ever as they seem to have a large problem starting with the march 2010 production. i talked with a tech rep from ariens and they are just now being made aware of all the problems. never the less i sent 2 back and don't want any more. these mowers by the way are made for ariens by husquavara. you could have fooled me!
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 63 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from mt. pleasant , NC

A few problems

PostedJuly 28, 2010
Overall rating 
4.0 out of 5.0
4 out of 5
I hate to be reminded that i am going to mow in reverse , by the mower shutting off and have to move the key to the ROS position!!!!! Can i just mow with the key in this position all the time w/out hurting the mower!!!!
Every time you lean over to pick something up the mower shuts down until you sit upright real quick before it shuts down!!!!!!
There is no gas guage or what is there is useless unless you can buy dark gas or color your gas! the super white gas tank is not clear enough to see the level of gas no matter how hard you lean , shake the mower or change your viewing angle to view! if anyone can help me with this please do , or you better keep it full all the time!!!!!!!!
The seat is so slick that when i mow around my dam i almost slide off the seat and then the mower starts to shut off,,, can you disconnect that seat from the running of the mower or i guess i need some sandpaper!!!!!!!!
The mower is great but these features are very irritating!!!
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 64 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Spring Park MN

Happy Days

PostedJune 5, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
Looking at my old Montgomery Ward lawn tractor, with its carburetor in my hand I realized I had that mower for 20 years, how time flies. Heck with this, I went online to get a good educated guess at what the best lawn tractor was and I came up with this. I was not home when they dropped it off so I was excited when I got home to see this awesome tractor in my garage, all I can say is wow, no double wow. I put gas in it and mowed my lawn, even took back part of my law that was over two feet. Steering is easy and smooth, easily steer with one hand. The hydrostatic transmission is the best, I never had that before, such great control of your speed, but the turning radius really shines too. I actually was a little sad to see my old mower go, kind of like I had a little loyalty to it, but time to make some new memories with this great machine. I hope it lasts as long as my other one, it sure cuts way better, and for those who want to save 400.00 bucks and get a belt drive, don't. At least drive a hydrostatic one first.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 65 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Duluth, GA

Fresh off the floor

PostedMay 10, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
My 8+ yr old Scotts 1642 transmission broke and the repair cost would have been over half the price of a new mower. Checking reviews, this Ariens looked to have the features I wanted. My home sits on a 15 to 20 degress slope so good 'hill side' operation was necessary. Word of caution, they do no prep work a HD. There were three of these on the floor and one had the deck severely out of level, one had a misfitted engine intake shroud under the hood, the third one looked good to go!
Pros; Twin cylinder reduced vibration and extra power. Convenient brake lock set and release. Adjustable seat. Hydrostatic transmission. Convenient reverse mowing override function. Good turning radius. Good traction. Higher back, more comfortable seat than many.
Cons; The deck lift lever is larger than necessary (operates with very little effort) and could be a clothing catcher when getting on and off. Not necessarily a 'Con', but a bit of a surprise that I have to mow with the deck setting at it's highest to get a 4" cut on my tall fescue.
Conclusion; So far I like it. Will definitely update this review if any problems develop, but it seems well built and sturdy so I do not expect any. 2 yr mfg warranty too.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 66 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Pennsylvania

Problems With Two

PostedJune 4, 2010
Overall rating 
3.0 out of 5.0
3 out of 5
I had the first unit delivered to me, uncrated, assembled and fueled. I went to start, and the engine did not start, and the fuel line filter had no fuel in it. It seemed like the fuel pump may have been bad. I returned it to my local HD, and they refunded the full price. I went home and ordered a second unit online. It was delivered about two weeks later. Uncrated, set up and this one fired right up. The deck drive belt was off the center pulley, and fortunately I caught it before I engaged the deck. Used it today for the first time, and it did a great job cutting. I went to turn the tractor to the right, and the front right wheel caught the plastic hood skirt trim and broke it off. I found that the left side rubber hood bumper was missing, which caused the hood alignment to be off enough to cause the tire to grab the trim. I think the product is good, but I think the quality control at the plant that manufactures them may have some issues. I contacted the Ariens Company to see if they will send me the trim & hood pads so I don't have to leave it at a warranty provider for weeks. If I have to transport it, and wait weeks for the repair, I will transport the unit back to Home Depot for a refund, and purchase another brand.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 67 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Cedar Creek Lake,Texas

Ariens Hydro 42

PostedMay 17, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
i recently bought the new 2010 Ariens Hydro 42" mower. I am very pleased with it. The only assembly was to easily attach the seat, and the steering wheel, the motor already had motor oil in it. The Hydro already had oil in it AND it is maintenance free, sealed up , no oil to buy either for the motor or hydro trans. Just add Gas.With a big 3 gallon tank i did my yard [45 mins. ] seems like on 1/2 gallon or so. my previous mower was a Honda 18 hp. 46" cut, and although it lasted 16yrs, this mower seems to out-perform my honda, stable, runs quiet very well built. the mower deck belt pulleys are highes than most and grass /leaves doesnt collect near as much as others. Easily blown off with my blower and its clean again . It turns like it has power steering, very easy 1 hand driving . Nice around trees where there is Alot of forward and backing up mowing. Another feature is you can mow in reverse. It has a very tight turning radius. I recommend this mower. The 42" cut seems to cut better than the 46" -48" -52,s because the larger mower decks seems to not " ride the surface as well" and makes un-even cuts. i,ve already had several neighbors ask about it and im sure with the Ariens brand history, they,ll be sold on Ariens products.
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 68 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from near Kerrville, Texas

So far, very satisfied

PostedAugust 5, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
Although I've only used it once, I see things I like and a few things the Engineers need to address. I like the fuel tank being away from the hot engine and the large filler, just make sure debris is removed from the concave filler cap. Lots of leg room for me, 6-1 and 250. Needed changes--do away with the "lawyer" reverse switch, or provide an override (send it to me when it is ready); change the forward/reverse stick to a foot control for the right foot, because one needs both hands on the steering wheel to turn (see the next change); use a material on the seat that is not so slick; use a rod instead of wire for the transmission disengage handle (it bends when you push it, so reach under to move the lever); An hour meter would be nice. Otherwise, it started right up with a fully charged and connected battery. Was bought as a THD floor model that had just arrived. Deck was easy to level side to side, no adjustment needed front to back. Steel hood is nice. No problem with tight turns knocking the hood's trim skirts off. Appears it will be easy to maintain. Mild noise level, but I still wear my shooting range ear muffs. I used my THD comsumer card and extended the no interest to a year. This is an investment, my money well spent.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 69 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Hillsborough N.C.

Don't like the color, But love the tractor

PostedOctober 7, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
My 1987 rear motor maurry lawm tractor finally came apart. The 12hp. Briggs&Stratton is still going strong, so I gave the motor to some kids who made a go-cart out of it. The Ariens 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton® Hydrostatic Riding Mower is one of best lawn tractor out there hands down. I like the way the 42" Cub Cadet looks, but that all it got going for it. With the Arien 42" you get a HYDROSTATIC tranmission not a automic that a + also a 20hp V-Twin Cylinder engine that run smoother with last noise or vibration that make the tractor last longer. It is made by HUSQVARNA that what the pros use. The Cub Cadet is made by MTD the same people that make yardman and so on low value mower. For the money you get a top of the line lawn tractor with out paying top dollar for it. I look at a lot of review on this tractor and other and found nothing bad about them. So I want to HD to get one and they had a retrun one for $1000.00 dollars, that $499 off . So I ask if they take a $100.00 off I would buy it . I got it for $900.00 befor sell taxes. I love this lawn tractor, I have cut my yard 1 1/2 acre and my mom & dad place 4 1/2 acre twice. It rides and cut like a dream, I look forward too cuting gress now. Over look the color and look for what you need in a lawn tractor. A real tractor that going too last year after year.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 70 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Corpus Christi, TX

Best Mower you can buy!

PostedMarch 17, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
I first bought the manual but took it back and got this hydrostatic. The upgrade was worth the money. A hand control is much faster than a foot pedal for backing and turning in tight spots. Although, it does make it difficult to steer, hold a beer, and shift all at the same time.
Arien's is great brand they just don't market as well so their not as popular.
My neighbor was comparing it to his Cub Cadet and pointing out how similar they were and chuckled. Said I should have just gotten a Cadet since they were almost identical. Then I told him what it cost. His grin went away.
So you know, here's why I feel the hydrostatic is better.
Manual, means it is not designed to shift on the go. You set the speed and leave it.
Automatic has a rotating contact plate that a rubber wheel contacts and rolls against. If the rubber wheel is at the center of the plate it turns slow, if it is at the outer edge of the plate it turns fast. It works well but the rubber wheels need replacing every few years and if the any part gets wet it will slip.
Hydrostatic uses hdraulic pressure to spin a turbine inside the transmission to make it go. High pressure - fast, low pressure - slow, reverse the pressure and you guessed it - reverse. Works great, nothing to go out except a pump. But it does take extra power to run the pump so will see these mowers with 1 or 2 more horses to make up for the power loss.
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 71 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Howell, MI

Best Mower For The Money

PostedJune 21, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
I purchased this mower a couple of months ago because I recently moved to a new home with a much larger yard. When I started looking I knew I wanted something that had at least 18HP, with a 42" deck and preferrably a hydrostatic transmission because that's what everyone on the review boards raves about.
This mower was without a doubt the least expensive for all of the options listed above. The fact that it comes with a 20 horse v-twin B&S motor sealed the deal. This same mower with a Deere or CubCadet paint job will cost hundreds more.
I've used this mower several times and it works effortlessly. I purchased the bagger as well. I weigh about 250 lbs. and when the bagger is full it probably weighs another 60-70 lbs. Even though the mower is carrying that extra weight up a steep hill it doesn't bog down and continues to mow without breaking a sweat.
I have had the front wheel strike the fender piece a couple of times as some of the other reviews have mentioned, but it's only happened twice and I have since been a little more careful which has apparently fixed the problem.
My yard is 3/4 acre and it takes me about 35-40 minutes to mow now vs. 1.5-2 hours the two times I used my push mower.
I absolutely recommend this mower if you're in the market for a high quality machine that won't break the bank. I was on a fairly tight budget and was pleasantly surprised to see what I was able to get for the $.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 72 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

very good product

PostedJuly 3, 2010
Overall rating 
4.0 out of 5.0
4 out of 5
I benefitted from these reviews and will share my thoughts. Mowed 2.5 acres 3X with the mulch kit cutting from 2 to 3". The MK42 mulches very well- it doesn't seal perfectly- but it rapidly plugs with grass anyway. Every issue I read that owners had to do to get their tractor running is detailed in the owners manual online- read it before you get the tractor. My set up time was about 40 minutes- moving the gauge wheels, inspecting/moving wire harnesses,checking all critical fasteners, deflating the tires and verifying the deck was hung correctly. Only 2 issues with this tractor are a negative- and I am particular. The clutch engagement is harsh- I start out at a slow speed to minimize and then accellerate. I will see if I can adjust this soon. The front wheels do hit both the lower hood panels when turning and articulating the front suspension- I am going to trim off 1/2" of the panels today, and that should fix the problem before they break. This tracor is excellent in the following areas- low noise, comfort, steering effort, cut quality, power, ease of use with the transmission and all controls are easy to use. Big folkls will like the fit- I am just under 6' and the seat is not all the way back. I mow slopes and the seat safety switch is a pain because it is designed very well- you can't sit "side saddle"- not sure if I want to disable, I do want it to shut off if it tips over! Hope this helps- I appreciated others taking the time to do this.....
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 73 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from MD

Why I bought this

PostedJune 13, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
I owned a C********n 46'" 20hp 12 yrs old, the deck cracked. Time to replace! So like everyone else I did my own reserch and this is how I ended up with this great ridding mower. I bought a snow thrower from Ariens and it worked great. I was leaning towards another C********n but the blades for life idea I thought was a good idea. If you replace blades like I do every year it adds up! $48 for the set that I used so you can do the math! well that sold me plus the fact the snow thrower worked like no other I have used. I got it home and could not wait for the grass to grow as i cut it with my back up push mower never again! Anyway it cuts very even I like the 4 wheels on the deck the John Deere and some of the others cost much more to have that feature alone. The 20hp is more then enough power to get up a very steep hill with my weight. I was inpressed with how quite the moter is,very important when you are on it a long time. The turning radius is very good and easy on your hands as some of the others i have been on can be a little hard to turn, this might not seem like a big deal but again after a long time on it you will not complain. The engine starts right up and runs very smooth. Only thing I can complain is the head lights could be a little brighter but that might be the norm for riding mowers that are made today my other mower had brighter lights I will figure how how to modify that minor inconvenance. You will not regret buying this ridding mower I for one glad i bought it! hope this helps
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 74 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Michigan

I love this mower

PostedJune 15, 2010
Overall rating 
4.0 out of 5.0
4 out of 5
This mower very well could be a 5 star mower. However, to receive a 5 star rating, I believe a product would need to stand the test of time. And since I have only had this mower for a couple months, I cannot, yet, give it 5 stars.
I spent a LOT of time contemplating whether to get the less expensive models vs. this model. I owned an MTD 6-speed mower for the last 10 years and I could not understand why I would "need" a hydrostatic model.
Based on other reviews about hydrostatic, but still being skeptical, I purchased this model. I can now see why I "need" the hydrostatic - FAR BETTER than the 6-speed type that I was familiar with. It's like night and day.
Besides the hydrostatic being far superior, this particular mower has a MUCH BETTER turning radius than my MTD had. I can actually mow around my trees without having to back up 10 times, if you know what I mean.
This mower has exceeded my expectations. I enjoy riding it. There are, however, at least 3 things I would change, if I wanted to perfect this mower:
1) Tires with just a bit better traction - the rear tires spin going up my hill, long before the engine shows any signs of insufficient power. In other words, the engine's power is not matched with the traction of the tires. With better traction, I believe this thing would go up most any common hill. It's got plenty of power.
2) a fender (body parts) that is not so close to the front tire during sharp turns. On a couple occassions the front tires have jammed with the fender during sharp turns on uneven terrain.
3) A better gas gauge system. Unless the lighting conditions are just so, you cannot see how much gas remains in the "gauge" (window).
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 75 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Southeastern Indiana

Runs, cuts good - several irritaitng problems

PostedJuly 5, 2010
Overall rating 
3.0 out of 5.0
3 out of 5
No, I do not recommend this product.
I have had the mower for three months. I have a 3/4 acre lawn with some slopes.
Benefits:
1. Peolpe at the store were very helpful.
2. Twin engine is smooth, has plenty of power and runs quieter than a single cylinder engine.
3. The mower cuts well and cuts even. You can mow at faster speeds.
4. Bagger attachment works very well compared to Deere's system.
5. Nice to be able to cut in reverse.
6. Large capacity gas tank is also a plus.
7. Lot of mower for the money.
Concerns:
1. On tight turns the plastic moulding at the bottom of the hood catches on the front wheels and gets pulled off. Happens many times during a mowing. Have to get off the mower multipe times to put them back on.
2. The seat is very high. When traveling on slopes even a slight change in angle will cause you to slide in the seat.
3.Since I use the bagger attachment I can only dismount on the left side of the mower. When I turn to get off the blade height adjuster spears my thigh and I get bruises from that.
4. The arm to enage disenage the blade is spring loaded. When I pull it to disengage the blades the spring takes over at the end of the travel and propels the arm to smack me in the kneecap.
5. Transmission was jerky at first, but I am finally getting used to the transmission power combination.
6. The rear wheels break loose and skid on the lawn very easily, and not just from acceleration. They will also break loose at constant speed on a slight slope, or a making tight turn, or backing up.
Most of these concerns should be readily fixable in future models. In the meantime it would be nice if Ariens/Husqvarna offered a replacement hood moulding that would not catch on the wheels. I was hoping to keep this mower for 10 years, but I might get tired of the irritations long before then.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 76 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Painesville, Ohio

A VERY GOOD PRODUCT

PostedAugust 17, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
An excellent mower at an excellent price. Hundreds less than John Deere and the construction is superior. I ordered it online and it took about a week to arrive. Here's some points to be aware of:
1. If you order online, it will bedelivered in a crate. Be prepared to deal with the crate afterwards.
2. The instructions for the best way to remove the mower from the crate are hidden in the box that contains the steering wheel. Unlike me, save yourself some frustration. Once you remove the lid from the crate, open the two boxes attached to the mower and follow the uncrating instructions.
3. Assembling the steering wheel and seat are easy and instructions are provided.
4. I purchased a mulching kit which consisted of a hard rubber chute blocker and two mulching blades. Again assembly is easy and instructions are provided. The original equipment blades were a little difficult to remove - very tight - but a good long handled wrench will do the job.
5. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. The tires are very over-inflated for shipping, be sure to lower them to the proper levels. Check the level of the blades - front to back and side to side, adjust if necessary. Purge the air from the engine - the manual tells you how. After this and FULLY READING THE INSTRUCTIONS, you are ready to mow.
6. I have mowed twice. Plenty of power, great turning radius, and it does a good job mulching (not excellent, but close). Be aware the mower height on the side goes from 1 to 6, but this IS NOT inches. It is just a reference setting. I have mine set at 5 which gives me about a 3 inch cut. If you set it at 2 or 3 you may be scraping the ground. Oh yeah, before you mow make sure you set the 4 guide wheels for the setting you think you will use. The only negative I can find was menioned in an earlier post. The fuel gage is a piece of milky plastic below the seat area. It is very difficult to read to see how much fuel is left. I have the same problem just looking at the tank - same white milky material. A minor problem considering everything else.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 77 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Moscow, PA

Ariens 42" Hydro Tractor

PostedJune 1, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
My fiance and I were at HD the other day and I was looking at landscaping timbers when she told me that they had a nice tractor for $1000. I thought that it couldn't be much for that price but as I walked over to the line of Reconditioned equipment, there sat this tractor. I asked the salesman why it was reconditioned as it looked brand new save for a few grass clippings in the tires and he told me that they don't usually know as the repairs are done elsewhere. I have been having a lot of bad luck with lawn equipment recently as my self propelled mower blew a head gasket and after repairing this, the balde shaft adaptor and rear wheel broke. My grass was getting high while waiting for the parts to come in and after speaking with the gentleman at HD, I found out that this mower comes with he same warranty as a brand new one. HD also was offering 0% interest for 12 months so needless to say, the mower was in the back of my truck on the way home with me within 1 hour. After stopping at the gas station and filling it up (by the way it has a huge tank) we arrived at my home. I started it up and was amazed at the nice exhaust note the engine produces. It is not too loud but sounds like it has power. The cupholder is great!!!! But most importantly it cuts better than machines costing much more. Set the wheels on the deck when you get home though or you will have bald knobs atop any hills in your yard. Hydro drive is the only way to go. Smooth and easily controlled. No need to use the pedal at all. Also the deckwash feature is great for prolonging the life of the underside of the deck. My dad has a cub cadet garden tractor and was impressed after looking at this machine. Mostly the two machines are identical as far as ruggedness goes. This one is definately worth a second look and well worth the price. $1399 new anywhere but CA. Although, if you find a reconditioned one as I did that is even better. I mean it, this tractor should cost alot more that it does based on the quality and features. Made in USA too. Always a plus. I hope this review helps everyone who reads it.
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 78 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Rural North Carolina

Completely disappointed!

PostedJune 18, 2010
Overall rating 
1.0 out of 5.0
1 out of 5
No, I do not recommend this product.
After reading all of the positive reviews, I thought I couldn't lose by buying this mower. My ten year old manual 12.5 hp Mxxxxy 42" is finally dying a slow and painful death and got tired of fixing it so time for a nice one this time. I bought this Ariens and brought it home, uncrated it and started to put it together.
Seat went on easy, no problem. Steering wheel was missing a part. The crate had been rained on and the parts box had loosened up and allowed the steering wheel extension rod to fall out somewhere before it got to my enclosed trailer so the next morning, an hour drive each way to get back to Home Depot and pick up a replacement. Home Depot did compensate me for the drive and inconvenience. I give them five stars for that, but then when I got home and assembled the mower......
I thought that because my grass had grown too long was the reason it was cutting so poorly. Now less than a week later I cut it again to even it up and its still missing grass strips right down the center of the cut. The deck is much harder to level than the old Mxxxxy and definitely dosen't make it mow level. The vaunted hydrostatic transmission makes rubbing noises at times and jerks me back and forth on start up much worse than the 6 speed on the old Murray did. Definitely not impressed with it.
And my favorite issue, the black rubber trim peices, mentioned breifly in one other review, that are so close to the front wheels that with every sharp turn, catch on the wheels and get ripped off the metal engine shroud and flap against the tires like playing cards in a kids bike's spokes. And this isn't just every once in a while, this is every speed, almost every turn, and not particularly sharp turns either. The turning radius is definitely an improvement but it can't save time when you have to stop each time and re-seat the trim peices then hop back on and restart and go again. Almost each time I turn a corner, so three times each circuit of the yard and again when I go around a tree or bush, I have to fix the trim peice again. It gets so frustrating that I keep imagining how much fun it would be to write a review about how well this mower can sail off a cliff. If I keep this mower, which is doubtful at this point, I'll just have to remove the trim peice before it can bend the engine cowl out of shape, it rips them out that harshly.
On the plus side, the B&S engine has plenty of power and starts right up every time easily. Too bad its coupled to such a poorly performing chasis. Also a plus is the deck washing system which is great comic relief. I plugged my hose up to it, turned it on, let the blades do their thing, then shut it down and checked, then put the hose up under the deck and really washed the grass clippings out for real. I had such high hopes for that feature, too. But after all the other issues I'd already run into with this peice of rubbish, it just made me have to laugh. It's either laugh or cry at this point and after spending about $1500 after taxes, if I start crying over it, I might not stop.
I don't know if I just bought one that was built on a Friday right before quitting time or if the design is just that bad. I can't understand how everyone else can have such great reviews when mine is performing so poorly. I never thought a new higher bracket mower could make me miss my cheap old Mxxxxy but this one does. I absolutely would not recommend this mower unless your life is just too perfect and you feel the need for adding some stress to your life.
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 79 for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
from Maryland

Awsome little tractor!

PostedMay 12, 2010
Overall rating 
5.0 out of 5.0
5 out of 5
I have 8 yrs of prior professional park maintenance experience to my credit. I have used all manor of industrial equipment on an extensive basis. My first Ariens equipment purchase was made after extensive research, and glowing recomendations from numerous Ariens equipment owners, both online and by personal contact. That purchase was a smart act on my part The great service I have gotten so far (5yrs) at home from my 11.5hp Ariens Sno-Blow prompted me to select Ariens for this tractor purchase. Again . . . A great decision so far!
This tractor was to be used for maintenance of the "Common Areas" within my townhouse community. Our coommunity association was in a transition of leadership, and the maintenance had gotten severely neglected. The first task was to be about five acres of grass, at a height of over 2' high. Not a small task, even for an "Industrial" machine, let alone a "Home" service tool.
I was certain that I would have trouble overcoming the atrocious conditions of this severely neglected turf, as I have had experience with similar situations using industrial tractors under similar condidions. I WAS WRONG!
THIS LITTLE BRUTE WENT RIGHT THROUGH SOME OF THE HEAVIEST CUTTING I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED! This is no small statement coming from a man that has worked in the public park service. I am absolutely awed, amazed, impressed and humbled by this little machine. I can't possibly imagine ANY homeowner encountering conditions even close to what I put this machine through. The very first cut left very little "skipping" to be recut. By the secoond cutting, the area I am cutting is looking like a golf course fairway!
The power to cut path width and drive train speed range are a model of what other equipment designers should aim for. It is as close to a perfect design as anyone could ask for. If this machine is opterated properly, it will cut whatever you pass over with it! And it does so with a clean cut every time.
The steering was accurate, easy and capable with nice tight turns and quick responsiveness when needed, and dead straight courses of cut.
The Hydro transmision made infinite speed adjustments childs play. Going from a stopped position to active movement was smooth and effortless. Simply move the transmision control from neutral to the speed you want to move. No jerking or bucking like geared machines are known for. The transition to reverse gear was so simple, it could be done while maintaingin eye contact with the area of movement. This is very important, as the machine also allows reverse cutting. This is made to be available only by a simple setting of the ignition key, to override the automatic safety stall of normal operation. Nice feature to keep you from accidently running over anything with the blades running. When used properly, it does allow very close trim cuts in the tightest of areas, almost negating the need for any extensive trim work. A real time saver.
While the tractor does hold enough fuel for several hours of cutting, it could use a slightly larger tank. This is a comfortable machine, and you won't want to stop once you get started. The seat has adequate padding, even for us more mature drivers, and the spring loading under the seat absorbs most normal turf bumps. Plenty of seat adjustments for anyone from a short stature to (I would imagine) a relatively tall driver. Stearing angle and height of wheel allowed very responsive handling, with a just right turn per rotation of the wheel. READ "tractor" not "sports car".
Maintenance of this unit could not be simpler. Gone are the grease fittings for the belt pulleys and blade shafts. I don't know how they managed that one, but I'm sure glad they did! This is a definite weak spot for most riding mowers. Read reviews of most other brands, and you are likely to see complaints of how unreliable the blade shafts are. It's NOT the product that is normally defective. Owners simply forget to lube the shafts as the owners manuals call for. Ariens has eliminated that problem with permanently sealed shaft assemblies. Great idea Ariens! Kudos for protecting us from our own lack of diligence. A few squirts of grease to the easily accessable fittings on the noted lube points is all that is required. Couldn't be simpler.
Access to the engine service points is also simple and straight forward. They even supply a plastic snap on tube to make dumping old oit clean and efficient. The simple spin on filter is located in plain view. And the fill tube is right in the open. Good job again Briggs and Ariens.
Clean up is simple with the open pulley areas to pull out any accumulated clippings, and the quick disconect hose fitting makes under deck cleaning simple and fast. A quick squirt with the hose and wipe down with a shop towel is all thats needed to keep the quality paint in good shape. The easily removed plastic snap in trim panels forgive most small impacts, and they would be easy enough to replace if a driver really messes up bad, and manages to break one of them. Those trees seem to get faster at jumping in front of us as we get older. Just in case anyone actually cuts grass at night . . . the headlights actually do provide enough light to cut grass. I just had to try it to find out.
In all . . . this has got to be as close to a perfect homeowner's tractor as I could imagine. I'm just glad I got mine before the secret gets out, and these become a scarce item!
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Ratings-only reviews for 42 in. 20 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower
Based on the average of (2) ratings-only reviews
Overall rating 
2.5 out of 5.0
2.5 out of 5
1 out of 2 recommend this product
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