Recently I tested a Husqvarna GTH26V48LS Garden Tractor. The first thing I noticed is Husqvarna used a seriously thick deck for its mower. The deck will obviously handle rough jobs without losing its shape. I have a 24 HP lawn tractor that I have used for cutting non-lawn areas and rocks and sticks deformed the deck of that mower, but with the Husqvarna tractor I can cut these areas with peace of mind. Looking at the construction of the GTH26 I was reminded of a trusted chainsaw I loved made by Husqy, the Rancher. Unfortunately several years ago that saw was stolen.
The first thing I did after unpacking the tractor was to check for oil level, and Husqvarna shipped the unit with the correct amount of motor oil for summer use already added. I then checked the blade height to make sure the blades were level. Using a Bosch Laser Measure Model 130, the blades were 1/8 out of level and with a few turns of the leveling screw, the blades were even. Plugs for Bosch here, its low-end laser made this task a no brainer. The leveling screws were within easy reach and I used my ratcheting box-end wrench to make the adjustment. Next I installed the brush guard to the frame. The front two carriage screws installed easily. The two screws toward the driver were much tougher to install. The space is tight between the exhaust and the frame and holding the carriage screw in place while tightening the nut took some effort. Once the carriage screw began to tighten in the frame the install was easy. I do appreciate Husqvarna using Keps nuts for this instead of nylon lock nuts. The Keps rely on metal to metal interference to lock the nut in place. Any area near a heat source should use this style or a castellated nut with a pin. Other than accessories and the brush guard, the Husqvarna ships fully assembled.
We topped off the fuel tank with 89 octane and were now set to test the unit by cutting a 1/2 acre of manicured lawn. The Husqvarna cut the 1/2 acre in minutes. I don’t really pay attention to
max speeds put out by marketing types. In the real world, a tractor has to deal with hills, turns and edging and the Husqvarna was fast. The 48″ deck doesn’t even begin to bog down the 26HP Briggs and Stratton Endurance engine even in wet grass. When I engaged the blade there was no marked deceleration of the mower. Later we will test the bagging capability of the Husqvarna Bagging Attachment and report on that accessory.
After these initial tests, we were off to use the tractor on a much tougher trial, using the mower to cut through non landscaped property on hills. The advantage of the Husqvarna garden tractor line’s larger diameter rear wheels is evident when cutting on a slope that is more dirt than grass and greenery. The larger tires contact more ground area and when the terrain is less than perfect, they grip. The weeds and even the grassy areas had not been cut in one month, so we had about 18-20 inches of growth to deal with. Normally at this height, we would have cut the grass at the mowers highest setting and then re-cut to its lower finished height. But for this the test, we wanted to see how well the Husqvarna would handle cutting to a lower cut than what a normal end user would choose. With only a few stray strands of Johnson grass that had to be cut again, the mower excelled at this test. After cutting acreage on three separate properties, it was time to clean up and this task was made easier by using the clean-out attachment that allows a garden hose to be attached to the mower deck to remove clippings and dirt from the business side of the mower deck.
We will be adding accessories to the back side of this tractor in the next few weeks. A true test of a garden tractor is not only cutting grass, but also how well it handles attachments, tilling, pulling, spreading and discing.