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Husqvarna Garden Tractor Review: More Than Just for Mowing Grass

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.

Husqvarna Garden Tractor Mower Deck

Husqvarna uses thick steel for its mower plates on the GTH26 and GTH27

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

Fuel reserve valve ensures no long walks back to the barn for gas

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.

5 comments

  1. Hilo Hattie says:

    The Husqvarna YTH22V48LS Lawn Tractor, a “Mothers Day” gift! :
    It arrived today so took it for a spin on my 2 1/2 acres of orchard and garden in this extreme environment of the Big Island (tough cane grass, rarely flat, low topsoil over lava rock, daily rain). This is what I’ve observed after a few hours out there with it:
    1. The Husqi has more power around trees and a slightly tighter turn than my 3 year old Craftsman Pro, 24HP; 42″ mower, even though the Husqi has less HP ;
    2. But, the 3 blades cause scalping in the turn, up and down 20% slopes and over any slightly uneven terrain;
    3. The deck height adjuster is so difficult to move from one level to another that I had to get off the mower to use both hands and throw my weight against it in order to put it into the highest position;
    4. The unbanced weight distribution of the engine in front prevented me from backing out of a nose-in with a fence on a less than 5% grade and, the grass was dry! I couldn’t push it out with the freewheel control wire pulled and had to eventually get someone to manually push me away from the fence while I was on the seat with engine engaged and in reverse. Was this a horsepower or a traction problem?
    5. I immediately drilled a hole in the grass deflector shield and attached a bungie cord and hooked the top end into the cup holder. This helped navigate tighter spaces and obstacles;
    6. The gas level indicator is as useless as the old Craftsman… simply a translucent plastic window on the tank and located between one’s legs and impossible to view when seated. Other new mower makes and models are putting it on the dash, where it should be!
    7. Using the Reverse Operation System is a drag! Presumably due to safety concerns, one can no longer really mow in reverse… Although “discouraged”, the ROS in ‘on’ position will allow reverse mowing with the attachment clutch engaged but at a slower than snail’s pace. This adds time to one’s mowing job;
    8. The washout port is an added improvement;
    9. Traction, even with the rear differential mechanism, is a problem;
    10. As a blog elsewhere complained, I too ripped my pant leg in getting off and snagging on the sharp eyelets of the blade height adjuster plate;
    11. Overall, the Husqi is pretty much like other makes and models except for the Kawasaki engine and the all-steel deck and chasis. For this I paid over twice as much more than the Craftsman Pro (at sale price) including the $500 additional shipping surcharge to Hawaii. If the mower gives me 10 years of service without rotting out, I’d be delighted; 8 years happy; 6 years I’ll break even.

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