John Deere 14SB

The John Deere 14SB lawnmower is another quality, classic piece of machinery from the crew at John Deere. This walk behind, 5 speed, self propelled mower has long since finished it’s production run but is still quite a sought after piece by JD enthusiasts.

It is powered by an FC150 Kawasaki engine, that pumps out 5hp, which is really quite a lot of power for such small lawn mower. Perhaps John Deere made a mistake when they were creating this model and gave it an engine that was far more powerful than needed. The upside to this however is that you can easily take on long wet grass without having to worry that the engine is going to cut out even when you are mulching the grass. It also has the advantage of being able to also take a bagger.

The John Deere 14SB has a 21 inch mower deck, which is pretty standard for a walk behind, self propelled lawnmower. While many people remark on the longevity and strength of this model, the only real downside to it is that it weighs quite a bit. But this is due in large part to it’s engine. The great thing about this model though, like all John Deere models is that even though it may have been over 10 years since one has been produced, there are still replacement parts available for it from John Deere.

Some feel that it’s the reliability of the Kawasaki engine that makes this model so great, while others feel that it’s the John Deere parts that make up the rest of the lawn mower that make it so good. The jury is still out. If you own a 14 SB or have ever used one, please leave your thoughts on it in the review section below.

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7 Reviews of the “John Deere 14SB”

  1. J Arnold says:

    Awesome! Both of my kids have never had to use a different lawnmower in their life while living at home and the oldest is now 28.

    Year of Manufacture: 1988
    Pros: Kawasaki Engine runs and runs. Now almost 25 years old as of 2013. I and very mechanically inclined and have replaced parts as I have gone along. Paid around 600.00 for and probably another 200.00 in parts but do the math about bang for your buck. When my neighbors have replace there 300.00 mores every 4-5 years they have spent a hella lot more. You will be hard pressed to find anything that will last as long. Just this week I replaced the Nylon Drive gears for 18.00. Newer Deere dealer had the parts. Replace all the cables last year so parts are still available. One thing I do recommend is to put an inline fuel filter on it. Had a lot of problems with the carb cleaning it every other year and put a filter on it an nothing since for probably over 5 years. If you find one used buy it.
    Just sharpen the blade, change the oil frequently, Grease the trans gears at the back and it will run like mine for almost 25years.
    Modifications: Inline Filter and change the fuel lines to automotive type.

  2. Gerald says:

    If you want a great mower, look at garage sales and buy a 14sb. Some people will almost give them away when they start to trouble. They are worth fixing!!!

    Year of Manufacture: 88
    Pros: I love my JD mower, but I many have to move on. My deck broke a huge piece out of it. I’ve been looking for a new mower for a few weeks, but NOTHING comes close to what my 14sb is. This mower was way ahead of it’s time. I will continue to use my inlaws mower till I find a parts mower to fix mine.
    -engine is really strong
    -next to no maintenance ever needed on the mower
    -strarts in 2 pulls
    -love the transmission. The newer ones go to fast.
    Cons: I have nothing bad to say, except my deck breaking apart. Who know how that happened. Maybe years of fatigue.
    Attachments: I always bag, so I have no other attachments for it.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    An excellent mower that gave me 15+ years of weekly service. Blade engagement control lever mechanism finally gave out, otherwise everything still functions. Hardly ever changed engine oil or performed other maintenance, which was dumb on my part, but the engine still runs strong and doesn’t smoke or miss. Always stored it indoors and I think everything except the blade and spark plug is original. It was a mower that was ahead of its time…too bad JD no longer makes an equivalent. Since this is an obsolete design with increasingly limited parts availability, decided to just replace it.

    Went shopping for a new mower and looked at the JD line first, but their current offerings look cheap and don’t have the features I want. Bought a loaded Honda HRX217 instead and will sell the 14SB.

    Year of Manufacture: 1995
    Pros: Powerful engine, aluminum deck, great lawn cut. Always started on first or second pull.
    Cons: Fairly loud exhaust note, drive engages too abruptly. Easy to knock bag loose.
    Modifications: None.

  4. Howard says:

    This is an old school model John Deere no longer produced. The new models are really much cheaper quality.

    I look for these used and buy them up as they are a gold mine for used parts. Many only need simple wheel and gear service.

    These can definitely be rebuilt and will outlast anything in the same class.

    The Kawasaki engine is a beast.

    Year of Manufacture: 0
    Pros: Kawasaki engine is powerful and ALWAYS outlasts the rest of the mower. Clean,even cut, great bagging system, great mulching system, very good on fuel use, 5 speeds, aluminum deck
    Cons: Dirt and mud can get into the drive wheels…prematurely wearing out the the drive gear mechanism. ( springtime )

    Brake clutch bearing seems to get noisy before anything else wears out. It cans scream for a long time before you’ll want to replace it.

    Transmission axle shaft wears out at the bushings if you don’t keep it greased and clean it out after wet spring mowing. …just the axle is around $ 80.00

    Attachments: bagger, mulch plug
    Modifications: none

  5. steve johnson says:

    Had a Little trouble at first because I monkeyed with carburetor for some reason 20 years ago…in the shop once to cure that. Engine and add-on oil filter worked perfectly for 20 more years. Mulched pretty much anything but rocks. All 5 gears work well still and Blade Break System works. Still has some meat left on the clutch even. Loved differential but finally Pinion gears failed and now don’t mesh right and differential doesn’t work. Lug LM around to turn one way. Never burned oil…no smoke…starts right off pretty much on 2nd pull…hardly ever changed oil…very abusive that way but I did drain out gas. Really sad to torque bolt and then bung up threads. Maybe I can throw in a helicoil. Lawn Mower shops wouldn’t consider helping me once I messed things up. Sad…hard to put lots of money into it. Replaced it with a 30 inch dual blade Toro Timemaster…debated a JX-75 but it was only 21 inches and my lawn is now bigger.

    Year of Manufacture: 1992
    Pros: Strong…non-clogging. Back discharge bag never slipped out. Aluminum deck still OK…
    Cons: strange adapter on spindle has a ball bearing that isn’t completely sealed. Didn’t understand how to maintain it or check it. Can’t find anything in maintenance books or even find the part. It confused the last LM mechanic. Never saw anything like it in all his life. Later, I guessed It acts as a “key” safety and gives a bit if the blade hits something because it is a direct drive machine. Didn’t understand how cool this was but after 20 years it got rusty and the ball bearing froze up, apparently. So, when I hit something the other day. The bearing did not move and the blade torqued off leaving the bolt in the spindle and it threw the blade and lower BBC onto the ground. Good reason to wear heavy boots while mowing. Drilling out bold out did not work. Cant figure out BBC to take it off.
    Attachments: Blade Brake System. Kawasake Oil filter on engine…strange standard John Deere blade adapter…bearing made to give way on severe blade impact.
    Modifications: none….oil filter

  6. Kyle Katzmann says:

    The most reliable mower I have ever had. What a great investment this was. When I bought it in 1988, friends said I was crazy for spending that much for a walk-behind mower, but I am still using mine and they are all on their third or fourth mowers.
    So who’s crazy now?

    Year of Manufacture: 88
    Pros: I think I have the best mower ever produced. I purchased the oil filter adapter when I bought this mower and that must have been the reason for its longevity.
    After 5 kids of using it and 23 years of mowing a 3/4 acre yard, this thing still starts on the first pull.
    Now that all the kids have grown up and left, I thought I would go down and get a new one, but after checking them all out, I decided to just save my money.
    I have all the attachments, rear bag, rear grass defector, and mulching plug. Just doing simple maintainance, and keeping it in the shed for the winter, and using premium fuel with stabilizer, has left this unit in top running shape. I am just getting a little to old to be walking behind a mower, but I hope that this will help keep me in shape.
    Cons: N/A
    Attachments: Rear bag, rear grass deflector, mulching plug, oil filter attachment.

  7. Floyd says:

    I have three walk behind mowers that I use on a regular basis. My John Deere 14SB with a four horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine outperforms them all including a new Honda. If I should decide to buy a new mower., John Deere will be my choice.

    Year of Manufacture: 1987
    Pros: Best mower I have ever owned. After almost 25 years I still prefer it to any other Walk behind mower I have used.
    Cons: Is somewhat noisy

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