Craftsman 28985 Professional Premium 54″ 30 HP

The Craftsman 28985 Professional Premium 54″ 30 HP lawnmower is pretty much the largest garden tractor lawnmower that you can currently buy from from the team at Craftsman. It has a hugely powerful Professional Series engine from Briggs and Stratton that pumps out a massive 30 hp. This 2 cylinder engine uses a cartridge type air filter to remove dust and other particulate matter from the air intake. The total displacement of the lawnmower comes in at 0.81 liters. The engine is kept running smoothly thanks to a full pressure lubrication system. Power from the engine is transmitted to the wheels of the 54 inch 30 horsepower Craftsman lawn tractor through a hydrostatic transmission which makes it an automatic with no gears to change. Rather than gears there is just a foot pedal that the operator uses to speed up or slow down.

The mower deck that comes with the Craftsman 28985 Professional Premium lawnmower as standard has a cutting width of 54 inches. This mower deck is made from strong 10 gauge steel and is raised and lowered electronically which gives an infinite number of cutting heights. Inside the mower deck there are 3 blades. A mulching kit is sold with the Craftsman 28985 tractor lawnmower, but you can also optionally purchase a rear bagger to collect the grass clippings which will leave your lawn looking a whole lot neater.

As the #28985 Professional Premium Craftsman tractor lawnmower weighs so much at 415.5 kg (916 lbs), it has very large tires so as not to leave large or deep thread marks when traveling over soft and damp ground. The front wheels each measure 16×6.5 (16 inch diameter, 6.5 inch width) and the rear wheels each measure 24×10.5 (24 inch diameter, 10.5 inch width). Besides cutting your lawn with this 54 inch lawnmower from Craftsman, you can also attach a snow blade as well as a snowblower to it to clear your driveway in the winter.

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2 Reviews of the “Craftsman 28985 Professional Premium 54″ 30 HP”

  1. Franz Gruber says:

    I have listed my experiences under “Pros” and “Cons”.

    Except for the engine, this tractor appears to be identical to the Simplicity Prestige (model 2690953). Also, the part numbers that Sears uses are the same as the Simplicity part numbers. Whether Simplicity actually manufactures the tractor or only markets it, I can’t yet find out. Some think that MTD is the manufacturer. I can’t confirm that. Anyway, you can often get parts faster from a Simplicity dealer than you can from Sears.

    The V-belts from Sears aren’t up to the quality of those from Simplicity. This tractor needs heavy duty belts, so I’m trying to find some that are Kevlar reinforced. Until then, I get the engine PTO belt from Simplicity (part #1722039).

    Still can’t get my hands on a genuine repair manual. Neither Sears nor Simplicity makes it easy to find one, because they want you to truck the mower to their service center whenever possible.

    Anyone buying a garden tractor should make the providing of a repair manual as part of the purchase deal. The Owner’s Manual is woefully inadequate, although the Craftsman manual has a great parts list which the Simplicity does not.

    As of 2012, Sears is offering this garden tractor under a new catalog number. Both are the same, but I hope the 2012 model avoids the “Cons” I have had to deal with.

    Either way, this is a lot of tractor for the money Sears is asking.

    Year of Manufacture: 2011
    Pros: I have used the PGT 9500 (289850) for 15 months and have 56 hours on it. It has all the power, drive, and traction you could ask for. I also have the good old 1992 Craftsman garden tractor with 44″ deck which is still going strong. The PGT 9500 seems to cut an acre of grass in half the time as my 1992 Craftsman. In total I mow about 3.5 acres of grass (not lawn), and this 30 hp tractor saves me nearly twice the time as before.

    This tractor will tow about anything you want. I mounted a ball on the rear end and can tow my 4’x8′ utility highway trailer loaded with firewood up hill and down, but not of course on the public roads. It drags huge piles of branches to wherever I want to burn them. The large wheels, combined with the differential lock plus 30 hp under the hood, make this a hard working machine.

    Cons: These are important cons, but not fatal in my opinion. In other words, I would buy the tractor again.

    From the time I bought it, the tractor would creep relentlessly forward as soon as you took your foot off the brake. This is why the low safety rating. I eventually traced the problem to the forward pedal linkage that was hanging up on the head of a capscrew.

    Also from the time I bought it, the front wheel bearings didn’t turn properly. Warranty service didn’t improve them, so I went to my favorite machinist who discovered that neither wheel was bored properly to receive the bearings; so they were binding. He ran an adjustable reamer through each wheel’s hub, and now the bearings turn like silk.

    I’m still working to get the engine to run evenly at low speeds and have ordered the repair manual from Briggs & Stratton. Don’t bother to look for it on their web site. Just contact B&S and ask for part number 273521. With shipping it costs around $25.

    The PTO V-belt (1722039SM) is only good for 50 hours.

    I’m still working to trace an irritating rattle.

    Attachments: So far I haven’t bought any attachments.
    Modifications: The towing ball I mounted on the backplate of the tractor is a useful improvement. I used to drag piles of branches with it. This winter I bolted on a boat cleat to the backplate as high as it would go. I tie my drag rope onto the cleat and find this lifts the forward end of the branches so they don’t plow furrows into the yard.

    Other than the ball and cleat, I haven’t found a need for other modifications, except as described under “Cons”.

  2. Darryl Smith says:

    I’ve had a devil of a time getting attachments for this tractor. Now that I have found the electric assist sleeve hitch ( with no help from Sears ) I am able to use the AgriFab attachments sold by Sears. I’ve not been happy with the mower deck. It does not cut level and as mentioned above has a design flaw that I am still waiting for Sears to correct. The service response time is simply not tolerable and definitely gives Sears a black eye. For that reason alone I would not recommend anyone buy this tractor. They claim we live in a “rural” area and that is why they can’t get to us any sooner. Well, did they expect to sell these tractors in downtown Metropolis? We are only 20 minutes from a Sears store in a big mall, so I don’t give them a pass on this. If you do live in a “rural” area then I suggest you buy a tractor from a local dealer and not Sears. I understand that maybe things are going to break, but if you can’t get it fixed then that makes it worthless.

    Year of Manufacture: 2010
    Pros: Strong frame and engine. Ergonomics are pretty good for this class tractor. Turns very short radius for this size and type tractor. Steering is very good and comfortable.
    Cons: Guzzles gas. You’ll need to get a bigger gas can to keep it fueled.
    Parts availability is very bad. Sears techs know little of this tractor. Deck does not level well and cuts unevenly. The wheel on the left rear of the deck contacts the left rear drive wheel when the deck is raised. This is a design flaw and need to be corrected by Sears. The tractor is made by Simplicity (Briggs and Stratton) and does not use the Simplicity deck design. Still waiting for Sears to come up with something. Service is terrible. It took 31 days to get a service tech here for the first repair (under warranty) and 22 days for the second. meanwhile the grass grows. Finally got Sears agree to rent a substitute mower. We’ll see if they follow through.
    Attachments: It is claimed that this tractor accepts all sleeve hitch attachment as other Craftsman tractors. Nope, it don’t. The manual sleeve hitch cataloged MAY fit , I didn’t try it. But the electric assist definitely does not. I eventually found a model made by a company in Wisconsin for the Simplicity tractor that fits this Craftsman model. Sears was no help at all. I will say that the sales department guys at the local store tried for days to get me some information, but they couldn’t. This tractor is carried in very few Sears store across the country so their people just don’t know anything about it.
    Modifications: Only the electric assist sleeve hitch, and it works fine. It is not the Craftsman unit though. (I’m convinced the company that made my unit is also the company that makes the Craftsman units.)

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