by Brett Handy
John Deere X304 lawn tractor bagger unit
I’ve mowed with my 2011 X304 just five times now but I can tell u my likes and dislikes at this point.
First the Pros:
The cut is nice and even and the motor’s power is sufficient for the job (providing the grass is dry). The power in reverse is excellent. Backing up in reverse on my previous JD was poor.
The PTO clutch for the blades is great and easy to use. The 4 wheel steer is nice for short turn arounds but doesn’t seem to save much time mowing around trees.
Starts and runs great.
I added the front bumper for hauling it in a trailer. I can run the bumper up to the front and not worry about damage to the front of the mower.
The mower looks great! A sharp looking ride!
The gas cap stays attached to the fill port with a plastic string. The ability to turn the lights on and off is a nice feature. The air filter is easy to get to and clean.
Cut height adjustment is a breeze. The T handle adjuster for deck height is a nice feature.
I haven’t used the garden hose attachment to clean the bottom side of the deck, but I like the Idea of it.
Now for the cons:
The ride is not near as comfortable as my LT180 was. I feel worn out after mowing on this thing. My hands were numb after the first time I mowed. I think I was gripping the wheel to tight. I’ve relaxed some since but still feel sore when I get off.
The seat isn’t that comfortable.
The bagger for this mower is a bear to get on. Specifically the chute. The rubber strap attachment is a nightmare! Very disappointed in the chute attachment.
The PTO button for mowing in reverse fails to work 25% of the time. It’s very positional. If you don’t pull up just right. It fails!
The mower doesn’t idle down as low as I’d like it to.
I tried bagging the lawn while the grass was wet. Forget about this. The chute plugs up right away with wet grass. I have the high lift blades on too.
There’s a noise while mowing that is bothering me. Sounds like something rubbing that shouldn’t be. I’ll let you know if I find it.
Hope this helps. Happy mowing!
Martin of Lawn Tractor Buyers Guide, adds:
Many thanks for that John Deere X304 review. Since you’ve used the lawn tractor 5 times now, I think you’ve got a pretty fair idea of the pros and cons – and I think you spelled them out for us excellently.
This is another great reader’s review that will be of real value to all our readers.
I’m not surprised about your problems with the bagger chute. Those things are awkward and ungainly. I’ve added a picture of of an X304 with a bagger, which I imagine is what yours is like.
It’s also pretty normal for a side discharge chute to easily get clogged when you’re mowing wet grass – and that applies to lots of makes, not just John Deere.
If you look at lots of British lawn tractors, they have rear discharge bagging mechanisms which are designed specifically to cope with the wetter conditions there without clogging up.
Keep us posted on the X304’s performance. I hope it doesn’t keep wearing you out.
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