Assembling a Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series Riding Mower

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May 11, 2021
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I have an interesting story for you. When I think about it, I feel a little strange. I’m not sure if it’s because of my impulsiveness or my odd online purchasing habits. I’ll let you read it to get your thoughts.

It’s getting pretty late in the lawn mowing season. Even though we’re growing cool season grass, I’d say it stopped growing about a week ago. It’s probably the cold snap we’re going through right now that put the brakes on things. It’s actually supposed to warm back up in a few days, so perhaps they’ll be some new growth soon.

I haven’t mowed the lawn in months. Since we had such a dry summer, if I had to guess, I’d say I mowed no more than five times in all. I started some time in May and ended some time in July. I think I may have done half of it in September sometime but I can’t be sure about that. The fact of the matter is that I avoided it like the plague because all I have is a push mower and a fairly large yard. In mid summer, even after the sun begins to go down, my face gets all red and I become very annoyed. I end up overheating and I can’t seem to get “unhot,” if that’s a word. Using a push mower to mow a big lawn pretty much sucks. Actually, using a push mower for anything is terrible.

For three years, I’ve gone back and forth in my mind with whether or not I should buy a riding mower. I knew I should. It wasn’t that. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to drop bank on a yard tool. At times, I even convinced myself that I enjoyed mowing with a push mower. I told myself it was good exercise and that if I ever did purchase a new mower, it would just be a better push one. Most likely one of those expensive Honda’s everyone raves about. I was planning on that next year some time. I was going to find a Honda out there somewhere and bring it home.

A few weeks ago, I was walking around the grass, looking at it. I was outside for around 10 minutes before I walked inside, visited Home Depot’s website, looked at riding mowers for another 10 minutes and bought one. I figured they had some in stock at the closest Home Depot and that someone from the store would drive up in a day or two to drop it off. They offered free shipping, so once it was done, I didn’t think too much about it. The only thing I did do was visit my partner in the living room to tell him I just spent $1800 on a mower. He was a little surprised, given all the ranting and raving I did about these things. He was probably expecting me to get a push mower if I got anything at all. Surprise!

Here’s where things get weird. Apparently, Home Depot didn’t have any of the mowers I purchased in stock. Anywhere. When the order was processed, I received a tracking number in my email. The mower was being shipped out of Tennessee somewhere and it would be here about a week and a half later. If I had known it was coming from so far, I would have simply called around and drove somewhere to get it. A simple idea turned into a long process.

I wondered how in the heck Home Depot could be making any money off this sale. I mean, how much is it to ship a riding mower from Tennessee to Maine? Probably a whole lot. I guess they had to bite the bullet and do it. After all, they were the ones who offered. I just took them up on it. They used a private shipping company though, which made me feel even worse.

Anyway, what’s done is done. I mowed the lawn a few hours ago and I have to tell you, as I was riding around on this little piece of heaven, I decided that this was the best $1800 I ever spent. The thing rides like a dream and has tons of power. I plowed through the highest grass without hesitation. With my push mower, I would have had to stop and clean all the clumped up grass from the chute time and time again. That is, if I didn’t bog down and stall a thousand times like I usually did. That was miserable.

The purpose of this post is to introduce you to my new riding mower and to show you what one looks like when it’s in the crate. I know folks don’t get to see this type of thing very often so I thought it would be fun. I’ll also offer some details on how I assembled it. After all, it didn’t come completely put together. Later in the week, I’ll go back out and take some more photos of it and talk about some of the features and so forth. Today, it’s all about getting it out of the box.

Let’s start off with a photo of the mower in the crate right after the fellow in the delivery truck left. It sat on the driveway and I wondered where I was going to begin.


After about a half-hour, I managed to unscrew the sides with my new Dewalt screw gun. The great thing about this step was that the company used about 20 really nice screws. I kept them and added them to my collection to reuse at a later date. I also unwrapped the mower from being confined in that huge bag.


As you can see, there is no hood attached as well as no steering wheel, among other things.

Luckily, there was a quick set up guide that only consisted of a few steps. I’ll show you both pieces of paper below. These are the steps for assembly.


If you’d like to actually read what’s on these pieces of paper, you can log in and click on the image. That will give you the larger version.

The first thing to do was to attach the hood. No tools are required for this step because it snaps right on. All you need to do is line up the clips. Here’s a before shot:


And here’s the hood after it’s been installed:


In case you’re interested, this is a close-up of what one of the clips that holds the hood in place looks like:


The next step is to attach the dash. Again, that snaps right into place.


After that, since the dash was popped on, I could screw on the steering wheel. I actually did this once before, before I realized the dash board was missing. I had to undo and redo. To install the steering wheel, the center piece needs to be removed and the steering wheel needs to be slid down the shaft. Then, I believe a 1/2 inch socket will tighten the bolt.


At this point, all that was left was to bolt on the seat and attach the wires to the battery. I did that. Simple enough.


The instructions say to be sure the little plastic clip for the battery wires is attached to the metal fender under the seat. It also states that the shipping bracket for the grass guard should be removed before operation as well. I did both of these things. All these steps are in the instructions I shared earlier.

After about an hour, everything was finished. I pulled the tractor off the pallet, which was a real pain in the ass. The wheels were wedged between the boards. Being out there in the cold was no party either. The sun was going down and I was getting chilly. Lucky for me, I’m strong and the mower wasn’t too heavy. I got things the way I wanted them and snapped my final photo. This is the beast.


I’m not sure you know this, but I used to have a pretty sweet John Deere X300 ride on mower. That was a 17HP with a 42 inch deck. At first glance, I’m thinking I like this one better. For sure, the engine has more power. That’s a definite. The mower deck is also wider on this one at 46 inches. I didn’t really notice that when I was mowing this evening, but I’m happy those few extra inches are there.

Again, I’ll take more pictures later in the week. I also want to show off the aluminum ramps I bought to load this thing into storage. They’re just as awesome. Until next time!

COMMENT: Only 1 cutting was left this year but after years of doing 4-hour push-mowing sessions only to be almost finished and destroying 2 push mowers in thick, weedy, rough lawn, I went to buy a Cub Cadet Enduro Series. Wife thought it was excessive. Dealer had to pick up at local warehouse so it would be about a week. I was undeterred and signed a deal. That was Oct.15.2016 and in a few days dealer said local warehouse had let the last one go to someone else so would have to get one from Montreal. We are in Ontario between Buffalo and Detroit. I wondered if they were sorry to have sold it to such a far away location. We picked it up on the 28th. Mowed with it yesterday and it was just beautiful. OK so we didn’t have to assemble it, so completely different story. I was thinking your story was like a cross-border mirror image of what went on here.

COMMENT: That’s awesome! I love reading stories where action is needed and action is taken. I don’t care how close it is to winter, a lawnmower is a lawnmower. I’m having a ball with mine and I’m extremely glad I purchased it. I’ve got big plans for next year’s lawn. It is wonderful sitting on a ride on mower after pushing one for so many years. That gets old fast. Now, the lawn gets mowed in minutes, not hours. Thanks for the comment!

COMMENT: It cost home depot very little to ship extra cargo . they are moving products by truck all over the country . its just the extra cost to your home from other big box destinations. Is big box’s often share space to destination. Like they do with ocean freighters.

COMMENT: Just got the new version of the 42″ XT1 with EFI. Replacing my first Cadet which worked great for 10 years. My report: Firstly, delivery of the crated mower from out of state was a fun issue. I had to help the aged local delivery driver wrestle the crate off his truck. It had been loaded in such a way that his pallet mover couldn’t get to it. He looked so defeated that I pitched in with my huge muscles and some 2×4’s to slide it to the platform, lower it, and get it safely on to the driveway. That thing is upwards of 500 lbs. I can’t recommend doing any of this, but I was so looking forward to getting started and didn’t want to wait more days. Next was getting the machine out of its wooden crating. The sides were easy but the base was not. While I thought about driving it off the crate base, I was concerned that the blade deck or some other part might be damaged — so I took my reciprocating saw and just took the wood apart in sections, avoiding the big staples. Then came the assembly part. Nice simple instruction sheet. Attaching the seat was easy, the dash and the steering wheel were simple. Curiously though, my hood topper didn’t fit well on to its 4 T clips — the way it did for yours –and it took an inordinate amount of time and effort to push and squeeze the rear fittings in such a way that the topper could slide back and clip into position. Just a couple of millimeters of misaligned plastic at the factory can cause frustration. Next, the battery — easily installed — but annoyingly the battery did not have enough juice to start the engine–just a weak click. I carefully jumped it with a marine battery I had lying around and the engine fired right up. I charged the weak Cub Cadet battery overnight and it came back to life and I hope will be usable long-term. Didn’t see a date stamp on there. Never mind. Now I am ready to mow my 1 and 1/2 acres and just waiting for the grass to grow another couple inches!

COMMENT: Thanks so much for the comment. That was fun to read! It reminds me of when my Cub Cadet was delivered. I was so exited to get it going too. I totally know how you feel. Let me know how things go in the future.

COMMENT: Just picked one of these X1s up at Tractor Supply in Shelburne, VT. Brought it home, started it up and VOILA bolts, nuts and washers began appearing in my lawn. I’m not sure who put this thing together but they must’ve been drunk that day. Hence, how I ended up here, searching for assembly videos so I can make sure I’ve tighten everything that needs tightened. On a side note, this was the first new tractor I’ve ever purchased. I, too, subscribed to the idea of “this is exercise” for far too long haha. Happy mowing all.


May 11, 2021
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Mowing Down High Grass with Cub Cadet XT1​

I know, I know, I have railed against mowing the lawn for years now. It’s just that now I have a new lawnmower. One that I can sit on and not cause my back to absolutely kill me after a few minutes of walking.

Over the past three years, I’ve gone from not mowing much of anything and merely cutting paths through the grass to mowing small sections of what were once a lawn. Today, I began the process of bringing things back to their original glory. Let me show you what I mean. Take a look at this satellite view of our property.


If you look closely, you can see where I’ve been mowing. This capture is from this year. The lighter areas surrounding the grass used to be lawn. I chopped the front yards in half and really reduced the size of the back. It’s probably about 60% of what it used to be when we moved in.

I’ve come to the conclusion that grass isn’t a bad thing to have. When we had a lot of unattended high grass, the bugs were terrible. When I began mowing that down, the bugs weren’t half as bad as the year before. I’m hopeful that next summer is going to be even better.

The reason I decided to start getting things back into shape is because we’ve got about 80 small Norway Spruce trees growing out there. We’re hopeful that one day they’ll grow large enough to become some sort of a privacy screen. I’m actually going to order 50 more today. Ones that are already four years old, so they’ll take off much faster than the trees I previously purchased.

Small pines don’t grow well in matted, overgrown grass. They like their nutrients and when the surrounding grass is too high, there aren’t many nutrients to go around. The grass uses them all because grass is a dirty hog. When it’s trimmed, pines usually do much better. Also, I’ll be able to see the small trees and will be able to fertilize them here and there, when need be. I think I’ll do that this coming May.

Walking. I enjoy walking around the yard while drinking wine. A larger lawn will give me more space to cover. Enough said.

Dirtbags. We currently look like dirtbags and that makes me feel uneasy. Although I’m probably a dirtbag, let’s not let the world know that.

Let’s take a look at some before and after shots of today’s lawn. Here’s a before photo of one side of the driveway in front of the house. Look how ugly it is.


Both photos show the same area. If you look back to the satellite image above, the area these photos display is at the left side, dead center. The bottom shot is from me standing near the front door of the house and the top shot is from me standing out near the road.

Before cutting anything, I walked around the area to be mowed and removed any sticks and rocks. Then, I pounded some stakes into the ground beside the tiny little pine trees that I managed to find. I’m sure I butchered one or two, but as I explained to my partner, some loss was to be expected. This is the cost of letting things go for so long.

Now, let’s take a look at the area after I mowed it. The two shots below are from the same perspectives as the ones above.


I think it looks so much better and will look even better when some real grass grows back in the spring.

Here are some additional picture of the same areas. During today’s work, I also restored some of the lawn that is located along the left side of the house. I basically doubled the size of that area.


Since we have about one more month of workable days outside, I’m going to do my best at completing the entire lawn. I’ll first need to pick up a pair of loppers because some trees have begun to grow where I need to mow. I’ll also need to get my hands on some additional tree stakes. We’ve got a lot of little seedlings out there and I don’t want to mow any more of them down.


May 11, 2021
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  • #3

Checking the Oil in the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Ride on Mower​

This is pretty funny. Think about this for a second – back in the day, purchasing a ride on mower was huge. In the morning, you’d pull your trousers up as high as they’d go, hop in your Buick and take a ride out to the closest hardware store (or wherever they sold these things) to kick a few tires. Back in the day, lawn mowers where made out of iron. Iron that weighed about two tons and that still sits in fields across America today. You used to mortgage a mower. It was meaningful.

Today, you go on the internet, look at a few pictures, read some semi-real reviews and order a lawnmower. A week later, someone brings it to you. Oh how far we’ve come. Oh yeah, it’s also made of plastic.

All kidding aside, today’s lawnmowers kick the butts of yesterday’s. I swear, if I had the mower I used to use as a kid today, I’d probably let it roll down a very high embankment. Talk about the damn belt that ran the blades popping off. That probably happened about 10 times during one lawn mowing session. And the reality is, I never figured out why. I used brand new belts, nothing was bent or mis-aligned – it would just pop off.

I never had that happen with my John Deere. Not even once and I used that for almost 5 years. Granted, the John Deere was brand new and the one I used as a kid was no where near brand new.

After I assembled the Cub Cadet I just bought a few days ago, I started it up and mowed some grass. I made sure to read that the engine was shipped with oil already in it, but I never actually checked it. As a matter of fact, I had no idea how to check the oil. If you look at the photos in my previous post, you’ll see that the unit was shipped with half of the hood missing. I had to pop that on. After thinking about things overnight, I began to wonder where the oil dipstick was located. It wasn’t until I saw a video of someone with the hood open that I knew I needed to explore some more.

The hood does actually open. All you have to do is lift it from the steering wheel side.

open-hood.jpg under-hood.jpg

There are no catches or clips. It’s merely friction fit.

Now, once the hood is open, it’s obvious where the oil dipstick is located. It’s the big yellow thing that looks like a handle. I took a picture of it fully installed.

dipstick-out.jpg dispstick.jpg

Just as an FYI – it’s always good to mess with these things when you have a shop rag in your hand. There’s almost always dust and debris floating around on the filler tube and the dipstick handle itself. It’s best to not let that stuff fall into the engine.

To check the oil, you’ll need to let the engine rest for a while. The oil needs to be settled. I pulled the dipstick out, wiped both sides on the rag I have and then pushed it back into the tube. When I pulled it out again, I checked the level.


The oil line should be in between the F and the L. That’s Full and Low. It should also look clean.

Here are a few rules to follow when using a ride on mower such as this. Always check the oil before you use the mower. You never know when something could go wrong and it’s nice to know you’re starting an engine that actually has oil in it. Also, Cub Cadet recommends that you change the oil and filter every 50 hours. The hours are recorded in a gauge on the instrument panel. Also, I swear I read someplace that the first oil change should occur after 5 hours of operation. I’m still looking for where I read that.

Since the first oil change is right around the corner, I’ll be sure to document that. It’s then when I’ll have a chance to use the nifty oil drain hose. Check out this valve at the bottom of the engine.


Anyway, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this topic. Until next time!


May 11, 2021
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Yard Work in Autumn​

This is an example of how nice the lawn looked after I mowed it with this new ride on lawnmower.

I really let this place go for the past few years. I’ll be honest – I was on strike. After living in Connecticut and Florida, where competition among neighbors for the greener lawn is a bit higher than it is here, I had enough. I really didn’t even want to look at a lawn. And I suffered because of it.

If I never told you this, I’ll tell you know now. I love to walk around the property on which I reside, with coffee in hand, in the morning. The earlier the better. I’ve been doing this for years.

I don’t know what it is about just staring at the grass as I stroll around aimlessly. Perhaps it’s the relaxation. Or the connection. I haven’t a clue, but it sure is peaceful. It’s just that I haven’t been able to do it in a while because of the condition of the perimeter of our property. It was overgrown and wasn’t inviting at all.

This autumn, I decided to do something about the mess I created. The one that snuck up on me. I decided to get a mower, some clippers and a saw and get to work cleaning things up. As a matter of fact, I just finished all I’m going to do this year a few minutes ago. It’s all done. That is, until I begin peeking around for something to cut in the spring. For now though, I’m all tired out.

A few mornings ago, we had a nice frost. When I realized this was the case, I ran outside with my coffee and my camera. I’ll tell you, it’s quite the challenge trying to zoom in and out with a mug in one hand and a camera in the other. I had to use my chin to twist the lens. It sort of worked out okay. I did manage to get a few photos.

This is the garage and wood shed. Believe it or not, it’s around eight in the morning. The sun seems like it’s already going down. It doesn’t last long these days.


This is the side yard, looking all the way to the back near the shed. I ordered 100 more tiny pine trees to plant up and down this area. I’m getting 75 Norway Spruce and 25 Blue Spruce. They should arrive in early May, right on time for the thawed ground.


I kept walking further down the lawn where I was pointing the camera in the previous photo. This is the shed. I have dreams of tying a rope around this thing and having it lifted by a helicopter and dumped in the woods somewhere. Then, I can get a sweet garage in its place. Also, the grass that you see didn’t look like this the day before. It was all high and disgusting. I fixed that so we now have twice the lawn. What a pleasure.


I also grabbed a photo of the frost clinging to the blades of grass. Believe it or not, there were some places where it looked like it snowed. Very crisp out there.


I wasn’t planning on it, but I mowed all the high grass down behind the shed. When I say “high grass,” I mean about 4 feet high. It was more like small trees. And in fact, there were small trees mixed in. Something needed to be done.


Here I am, looking back towards the house. The bush you see on the left side of the photo is the “grass” I’m referring to. There are blackberry bushes and prickers nicely mixed in. This is the area I cut down today.


This is another view, about 50 feet from the previous. You can see all the baby pine trees I planted. There are probably about 40 in total in this area. They’re still small because they were getting smothered by weeds. Now that I set them free, I can give them a quick spritz with some fertilizer in the spring and watch then shoot up in height.


This is a young Norway Spruce. This is what I’m getting more of. Lots more. I can’t wait for them to get larger. They look spectacular in the snow.


In the woods all around the property are tons of small Balsam Fir trees with White Pines mixed in. When spring rolls around, I’m going to get in those woods with some clippers to cut all the deciduous trees. This should give more light to the pines so they can grow a lot better.


Finally, I made it all the way around to the back of the garage. Man, it’s nice this time of year. I always said that November is my favorite time of year with December a close second. It’s just perfect weather to get outside for some yard work.