John Deere STX38

Review

The John Deere STX38 was a riding mower model produced by famed agricultural manufacturer, John Deere, during the 80s and 90s. Although it is no longer made, many homeowners still use STX38 mowers in good condition. Steering wheels navigate STX38s, and this model comes with yellow or black mowing decks. Founded in the mid-19th century, John Deere is one of the oldest agricultural manufacturers in the United States.

The power from the engine on the John Deere STX38 gets transferred to the wheels via 1 of 2 different choices; the first is a transmission that gives the tractor lawn mower 5 gears when traveling forward and 1 gear for reversing. The second is a hydrostatic transmission that gives the JD STX38 infinite gears going forward and when reversing making it an automatic. The mower deck that comes with the this lawn mower as standard has a cutting width of 38 inches, but it’s total width is about 10 inches greater than this due to the fact that the discharge chute is located on the side of the mower deck.

The engine of the John Deere STX38 has one cylinder and is a natural-aspirated model; natural aspiration means the engine operates by relying on atmospheric pressure to draw in combustion air. The frequency of the engine's rotation is 3,350 rpm. Gasoline fuels this riding mower's 12.5-horsepower engine. The engine utilizes paper and foam air cleaners. The Kohler Corporation was the primary manufacturer of the STX38's engine. This engine runs efficiently on approximately 2 quarts of oil.

I purchased this mower used and since it has had many hours of use. It is used by my kids to mow my lawn (1.5 acres) and a neighbor’s (1 acre) as well as tow a trailer for collection of leaves, etc. It generates good power from the Kohler 12.5 hp single cylinder engine. Even though it has a 5 speed manual transmission, you have to use caution as it can fail under a heavy load (i.e. if the load raises the front tires off the ground, it probably shouldn’t be pulled). This tractor was pushed to its limits multiple times, which finally was it’s downfall.

This riding mower's transmission offers five gears of speed when the STX38 moves forward and only one speed when the mower reverses. At gear five, the STX38 moves at approximately 5 mph. This mower operates on one battery, which has 12 volts and 200 cold-cranking amps. The measurement of a battery's cold-cranking amps shows how much current a battery has at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a number of attachments that can be used with the John Deere STX38 lawn mower. The most used attachment is a bagger attachment that collects grass clippings at the rear of the machine. However you also have the option of mulching the grass clippings or just discharging them out the side of the mower deck. The next most popular attachment is a snow blower that can be used to clear your driveway of snow during the winter. On top of this there are also implements like front blades and utility carts that are available. John Deere also supplies a lot of spare parts for the JD STX38 even though it’s a fairly old machine.

Attachments hook on to the John Deere STX38 via the hitch located at the rear of the riding mower. Some attachments for the STX38 are a two-bag grass bagger for storing grass, snow thrower for making paths in yards covered in snow and a dethatcher, which picks ups grass clippings leftover from mowing the lawn. John Deere also manufactures mounted sprayers that hook up to STX38 mowers; mounted sprayers spray water onto the grass behind the mower.

Specifications

  • Brand: John Deere
  • Model: STX38
  • Year since: 1988
  • Price for sale: $500 - $1.500
Manual .PDF


Video

Comments

  • Jeremy8886

    Just wondering if I could get some advice. I am in the process of buying a riding lawn mower and have located a used STX38 in my area for $1000, first is this a good deal? it is a yellow deck with geared transmission. The second STX38 is the same price with a black deck and hydrostatic drive. Which one is a better value? However for $1700 I can get a new LA105. I realize the size difference for the deck, but it is not an issue for me. I am curious about the quality difference between the two. One has a 13.5hp Kohler motor and the other has 19hp briggs motor. Any help would be appreciated, I am totally lost. Thanks.

  • Twelvegauge

    As the satisfied owner of two STX38's, I have to say that one would have to be new and in the crate for me to consider giving $1000 for it. Don't get me wrong, they're great machines, but they've been discontinued for about 10 years, and those used ones could be as old as 20. Between the two STX's, the hydro is simpler to operate; on the other hand, the 5-speed is very reliable, and my wife has refused to replace her 5-speed with a hydro. The yellow deck is better in that the spindles can be repaired, while the black deck requires replacement of the spindle as a unit. Other than that, there is virtually no difference (I have one of each deck).The STX-38 was Deere's entry-level lawn tractor, as is the LA105. Personally, I would go for the new LA105 for the $700 difference in price, and get a brand new machine with warranty. With proper maintenance, it can last 15-20 years - one of my STXs is 18, the other 14. And, by the way, the LA105 sells for $1500 in my part of the country. Whatever you buy, keep in mind that proper routine maintenance is the key to reliability and longevity. There is no way to know what kind of maintenance has been done on the used lawn tractors.

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