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Am I asking too much?

IH Cub Cadet Tractor Forum

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Carl Tope

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Hitechluddite
I am looking at a 154 lowboy with a 60” deck. Cosmetically I would say it’s very good to excellent but it has an electrical problem so I haven’t heard it run yet. He’s asking $1700 for it. I am thinking of taking once I hear it run and check it out if all seems well I would take it to the local shop and have them go through it with a fine tooth comb. I might spend another thousand dollars on it but in the end what do the experts here think my chances are of mowing 4 acres with that tractor for 10 years and having very few problems with it? it’s a 1975 model is that asking too much? I have a Massey Ferguson full-size tractor for heavy work and a John Deere riding mower that will do all the trim work, All the cub will do is mow the fields that I consider yard
 

digger

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I am looking at a 154 lowboy with a 60” deck. Cosmetically I would say it’s very good to excellent but it has an electrical problem so I haven’t heard it run yet. He’s asking $1700 for it. I am thinking of taking once I hear it run and check it out if all seems well I would take it to the local shop and have them go through it with a fine tooth comb. I might spend another thousand dollars on it but in the end what do the experts here think my chances are of mowing 4 acres with that tractor for 10 years and having very few problems with it? it’s a 1975 model is that asking too much? I have a Massey Ferguson full-size tractor for heavy work and a John Deere riding mower that will do all the trim work, All the cub will do is mow the fields that I consider yard
Little high for your neck of the woods. I'd ask if the clutch has ever been changed and when. It's a very under powered machine, but as long as you don't work it like a 40 horse tractor, you'll do ok with it. About 500 to to high on a good day.
 

Carl Tope

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Thanks! I’ve been watching them on FB marketplace and eBay and I have seen rougher looking ones that aren’t perfect mechanically go for $2000. At around 12-1500 they don’t last long. I have been reading here and have picked up some good points of things to ask/check. My comparison is a new Cub badged MTD with a 54” deck is $3000 and my experience with that quality mower is at 600 hrs you start to see troubles. That would be about the 10yr point for me so I am considering rolling the dice on a reworked 154 or 185.
 

Carl Tope

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P.S digger since you’re an admin I downloaded a complete HTML webpage of the operators manual for the 154 that I was able to view offline. If you’d like I’ll upload…
 

dware

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Unless you mow very slow with it you may not be satisfied with it . Only about 10 hp.!
A lot of deck for 10 hp , had one and replaced it with a 42 " rider . Much quicker !
 

Jay Fetters

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That price is high, like digger said, especially if it doesn't have a 3 point hitch or creeper gear. Those two options typically double the value, and usage, of the machine in my area, and can only assume they would do the same in yours. Since you never mentioned it having them, I can only assume it doesn't. They are fairly bullet proof machines, with the weak link being the clutch, and not many owners even know there is a grease point for the bearing on the clutch shaft. They aren't the most powerful, with the 154 having 15hp and the 185/184 loboys having 18 hp. But they do a very fine job for field cutting. My 185 has the brush deck, and will cut hood high weeds and brush without issue, in low range 2nd gear. It has become an integral part of my homestead. I only wish it had a small loader bucket to add to its versatility. In my opinion, for the price they sell for, they are punching above their weight class. There are better, more powerful tractors, but are very hard to find in the price class of a cub loboy.
 

Jay Fetters

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That price is high, like digger said, especially if it doesn't have a 3 point hitch or creeper gear. Those two options typically double the value, and usage, of the machine in my area, and can only assume they would do the same in yours. Since you never mentioned it having them, I can only assume it doesn't. They are fairly bullet proof machines, with the weak link being the clutch, and not many owners even know there is a grease point for the bearing on the clutch shaft. They aren't the most powerful, with the 154 having 15hp and the 185/184 loboys having 18 hp. But they do a very fine job for field cutting. My 185 has the brush deck, and will cut hood high weeds and brush without issue, in low range 2nd gear. It has become an integral part of my homestead. I only wish it had a small loader bucket to add to its versatility. In my opinion, for the price they sell for, they are punching above their weight class. There are better, more powerful tractors, but are very hard to find in the price class of a cub loboy.
I forgot to add, that they are very fuel efficient. My 185 uses less fuel per hour than my 2021 xt2 cub cadet lx46.
 

digger

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P.S digger since you’re an admin I downloaded a complete HTML webpage of the operators manual for the 154 that I was able to view offline. If you’d like I’ll upload…
We've got the Service manual, but the Operators manual wouldn't hurt too. Thanks
 

Carl Tope

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If you have a choice I think the 184 is the best of the three that was made.
Thanks I'm thinking I'll hold out for a 184. Some of the grass is pretty thick the whole reason to get a 60" deck is to speed things up. I have a $2500 budget send em my way!
 
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Todd

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4 acres....

If it's not too consistently thick and there won't be a great deal of wet mowing - I think I'd make a pass at it but would take the not-running into consideration.

Without *running*, I'd want to:
Hear it smoothly turn over with a good battery or jump.
See good oil in the sump.
Confirm compression and no bleed-off.

Basically, if it doesn't run, I'd want to confirm an electrical problem and if it is electrical - I'd rip my pockets getting $1,500 out and would likely pop for the full asking price as you describe it.

If you get it up & running behind electrics and find it does not fit the bill - sell it on.

As far as possibly needing to mow a bit more slowly (which is NOT a certainty), fix that by fitting a cup holder and enjoy the ride.
 

JPrattico

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I'm gonna agree on the price being a little steep. I paid $1000 for my H with a front end loader not running, all I knew was that it spun with a hand crank and had compression, and had some clean but dark oil. 4 hours later I had it running.

If the wiring is an issue its easy enough to run a jumper wire directly to the coil and try to start it that way. If the wiring issue causes it to not spin over with the starter, its easily possible to temporarily remake the system with some new wire and a starter button.

On a side note, I will mention my neighbor mows his back hill where his little christmas tree farm is with a Farmall A and a Woods 54" belly mount mower. In his experience and my father's experience using it, the engine is pretty underpowered and you have to mow rather slowly, in grass just under 6" tall. I will agree, though, that adding a cupholder will help significantly!
 

dfrisk

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Dennis Frisk
My Dad bought a 154 LoBoy about the same day I bought my 982 and 50C deck. I forget what mower deck Dad's 154 had, seems like might have been a 60 inch. Engine was getting a little tired, they run hot and overflow the coolant bypass, only cure is an engine rebuild, and that isn't cheap. The tractor mowed great, better cut quality than most old IH decks. It sold for $1300 in 2006 at Dad's last equipment auction, it looked pretty rough. I don't think the guy that bought it EVER ran a manual transmission, especially one without synchronizers. Last I heard the guy drove it into a clothes line pole, lots of grill, hood, & radiator damage. Last thing Dad did to it was spend over $400 at his local IH shop to rebuild the pto clutch, He did the removal & replacement. Common repair too.
10 acres is a LOT of ground to cover. Especially with an older machine. I used to mow 20 acres of alfalfa with our 6 ft rotary mower running 5 mph or Bush-Hog, and chop up to 30 acres of corn stalks a day with same tractor & mower. I still have that tractor, might get a little wider mower to cover that much ground now, run a little slower but do better job.
Six years ago I bought a Cub Cadet LZ54 TANK commercial zero turn mower I've mowed my 2.3 acres every week or ten days, roughly 15-16 times each year. Put right at 25 hours a year on it, never had a break-down, do one engine oil & filter change a year and grease it 2 maybe 3 times a year. If I had 10 acres to mow, I'd be real tempted to use the TANK. i have it, it could do the job, but it rides REALLY rough. A big rotary mower behind either of my two FARMALL tractors would be much less painful to mow 10 acres.
I see disappointment trying to keep 10 acres mowed with a 154. Something newer would be more reliable, I'd also consider how rough whatever you chose rides a consideration too. BIG tall tires tend to ride better.
 

rjruchti

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Roger J. Ruchti
Back in the mid to late 60's I worked for the IA Cons. Commission as a park officer. Parks section at that time had a lot of the 154 Cubs with the 60" decks. We each had a lot of acres of picnic areas, etc. to keep mowed and was done every week. Those 154's we had did a great job with sharp blades and weekly mowing. If you only want to mow once a month get as bush hog and that is what your mowing will look like. If you want it to look nice, mow at 2.5 -3" every week with sharp blades and you will get along find. And don't drive it like you just stole it. Be reasonable. That goes for any brand or model.
 

Carl Tope

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Thanks everybody! I'll update you when I see it again. the Owner said he'd call me when he gets it running. What I take away from this is.
1. Give the PTO clutch a good look, it's expensive and hard to rebuild. I know he had something welded onto the lever that you lift up to engage the PTO so that it wouldn't disengage.
2. I won't be letting the grass get 6" tall. This is a large yard not a field and will be mowed as needed to keep it short. I have a 50HP MF231S with a 5' tiller and blade. Over the years things have been smoothed and seeded and I won't be wowing around trees. I'm looking to maintain 4-5 acres with it, all it will be used for is mowing.
Looking for 10 reasonably trouble free years with a maximum investment of $2500
3. Not sure what the cupholder is about...
4. Are there any update kits to replace the mechanical regulator and generator with an alternator and solidstate charging system?
 
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