A time-tested riding mower by Craftsman
A front engine riding mower has long earned its fame of being a reliable workhorse. The Craftsman YT 4500 comes in as a big helper for homeowners whose yard demands vast attention. Being a classic lawn tractor, this model is quintessentially designed for operation with a wide range of cutting decks on flat and unobstructed terrain with slopes up to 15 degrees. The Craftsman’s versatility assures it a trusted and stable position among the best lawn tractors, including John Deer and Husqvarna. Together with Craftsman, those three brands constitute an impressive 61 percent of the riding lawnmowers purchased yearly according tothe 2020 survey by Consumer Reports.
Overview of the YT 4500
Out of box, this hard worker might have a Briggs & Stratton twin-cylinder, 724 cc, 22 horsepower engine or a twin-cylinder, 725 cc, 26 horsepower Kohler Courage Plus under the hood, in case you’ve had the deck and engine upgraded. The Kohler set-up will cost you about a hundred dollars more. Craftsman supplies their engines assembled on 11 gauge full length steel frame for extra strength. The drive options on the market come down to hydrostatic and automatic drives, with the former getting a strong preference among today’s buyers.
For those users familiar with automatic drives, trying out a hydrostatic one might come in with what immediately feels like an improvement. The YT 4500 model has just two pedals for your right foot plus a shifter on the left side. With that low-sitting pedal pressed you will start moving in reverse, while the pedal in front of your foot is meant to propel the tractor forward. Because of the hydrostatic construction specifics, the transmission can be accessed on the back drawbar, so don’t forget that when you need to freewheel the machine.
The 28 Amp/Hr battery sits snugly just behind the engine and requires no maintenance by default.
The gas tank (with a volume of 3 gal) is fitted beneath the seat, with a filler placed to the seat’s leftmost. The fuel gauge is located directly on the tank, right between the driver’s feet, so no fast check-ups—you will actually have to get off the thing to make sure you have enough gas. Right there, in front of the filler, you will find the cutting height adjustment lever, and that one can be locked in six positions.
There is basic paraphernalia designed to make you comfortable, including a cup/bottle holder on the right of your seat, a headlight switch in front, and a cruise control that comes in handy for lawnowners who have many acres to work. Finally, this riding mower features a front-end bumper for extra safety. The mulching kit is available for choice and allows the machine to process the clipped grass, so that you can return nutrients to the soil, ensuring yourself a healthier, disease-free lawn.
Starting up and mowing with YT 4500
For those familiar with the electronic PTO, the mower offers a standard no-fuss driving routine. The hydrostatic drive is operated using the throttle and choke controls, two pedals on the left, as well as the brake and parking pedals; the attachment clutch engages the mower. The ignition switch has four positions for you to start, operate or kill the engine; the second position activates the reverse operation system that unlocks the reverse mowing mode. Except for having the ROS on, mowing backwards is otherwise impossible, since using the reverse pedal in the normal operation mode will simply reverse your movement without engaging the deck.
As for the cutting deck, the YT 4500 is compatible with systems of various widths, starting from the standard 42 inch and up to 54 inch in precision. The number of blades on those systems varies from two to three. The deck can be set at six heights, enabling you to either trim grass at different levels or use the machine on a slightly uneven terrain. It is also extremely useful for very tall grass, as you can mow twice at different heights and avoid the fire hazard due to long stalks bearing heavier load on the trimming system.
Keep in mind that the presence sensing system here will shut off the engine should you decide to leave the seat.
Sturdily constructed, the YT 4500 will require the minimum attention of her user. With seasons of duty, you will face an approximately 14 percent chance of the mower belt wearing out. Other slightly less common issues include the need to replace parts of the engine and/or mower deck. Some regular check-ups and refills can be done easily and with inexpensive tools and materials.
Depending on the challenges you put your blades to, these might get bent or blunted with time. The YT 4500 provides easy access to the blades for replacement needs. The entire replacement procedure can be done with raising the machine to a high position and without disassembling the cutting deck.
Engine oil level
A properly maintained engine of your YT 4500 works clean and does not produce noxious smokes or gas leaks. You will need to change the oil/oil filter every 50 hours of duty and refill the volume every 8 hours of operation.
Build-up of grass
Although designed for trimming debris-free, dry lawns, this model shows good performance even on damp plots. This, however, as well as plowing leaves, often results in a build-up of clumped matter. If you hear the blades whiz, then it is time to use a wooden spatula to scrape off the wet lumps of leaves and grass clippings that have built up inside the deck.
Having been manufactured over years, the YT 4500 models offer builds varying in quality andnumber of features. Some users prefer ‘fancier’ builds, while some stick to the ‘practical’ ones, but either way, all Craftsman’s mowers are very open to modification. Getting to know your tractor is the best way to ensure its long-time service, which in many homesteads approaches a period of 10-15 years.
The following components are considered optional, and their use can be adjusted to improve your experience with the model’s operation.
- Electric deck lift/height adjustment. Certain users like to set it once when they get the machine and leave it in the same expedient position.
- Electric PTO clutch. You can forsake this one, going instead for the manual movement of the lever.
- Extra bits like the cruise control, power steering, or power brakes. Many people feel that these can make the routine more pleasant if not efficient.
Tweaks and add-ons
While there are lots of Briggs & Stratton admirers out there, it is not for nothing that the Kohler engine has earned itself it name ‘The Anvil’. The saying among tractor enthusiasts goes that with a carburetor replaced every eight years your Kohler will outlive the chassis it is mounted on. That is why YT 4500 models are often rebuilt to be Kohler engine-powered.
The popular tweaks include:
- installing a speed up pulley for even better performance;
- draining the hydro and filling the system with synth fluid.
This Craftsman can be equipped with baggers to pick up the trimmed grass as you mow. It holds a lot of grass enabling you to complete the job in your yard without having to make a stop. Also, it saves you time because you do not have to rack up leaves and grass clippings anymore. The bags can be easily removed and dumped.