Craftsman Garden Tractor Model 917.275023
by Diane Starner
(Valley Springs, CA)
I live on a relatively flat acre in the Sierra Foothills in California. After trying to manage the weeds with a push mower, I promptly went to Sears and bought this garden tractor. I selected the garden tractor instead of the lawn tractor because it was supposed to handle rougher terrain.
This mower worked pretty well on lawn type areas, but on the slightest hill would start sliding sideways downhill even when I followed the instructions in the manual about mowing hills. It got stuck in depressions that were only about two to three inches deep. The deck clearance in its highest position is only two inches, but is not entirely fixed, it does have the flexibility to follow the terrain. Once I hit a soft spot in the ground, and all 4 tires sunk the tractor in and I had to tow it out. It has gotten high-centered more times than I can count. Every time I turn it off, it backfires - the loudest backfire I've ever heard!
I ran regular gas in it the first year, and when I got it out again the next year, it wouldn't start. The Sears repairman ($98.00 service call just to show up) told me I'm supposed to drain all the gas out of it before storing it or the carburetor will clog. He said adding a stabilizer to the gas would prevent this problem. So, I added the stabilizer. Two months later, it wouldn't start again. Same carburetor problem. $98 more dollars.
So I started using the highest octane gas I could find, and haven't had this problem again and it's been four years since I had Sears out. I also get more acre to the gallon, using about 5 gallons a season less than I did with regular gas. Even with the premium gas, it still backfires.
Two years ago, I was mowing along and the right rear wheel fell off. Last year, one of the front wheels fell off.
Last year the gears under the deck started making what sounds to me like metal-on-metal noises. I had two man friends check it out and they thought it was ok. A mechanic friend also checked it out and declared it safe. The deck really rattles, and I have finally (I hope!) identified all the areas in my yard where I can't drive the thing.
I really wish I could sell it - but I don't think anyone wants to buy a Craftsman anymore! I really regret my choice and wish I had a Toro. My favorite thing about the Craftsman is the headlights - if I get a late start, I can work till dark and see where I'm going.
I do not recommend Craftsman lawn and garden tractors.