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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Apr 2012
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    59
    Location
    Germany
    Tractor
    BCS 740

    Default Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Hi

    After my first season with the Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower, I would like to share some of my experiences with you.

    The following link to the Zanon homepage shows some pictures and some basic information on the mower in question:

    ZCR double-blade lawnmower

    The mower makes a very robust impression, and it is generally well designed, well-built and user-friendly to operate.

    To mow at the highest possible height, I left the front caster wheels in their highest position and to keep the deck parallel to the ground, I tilted the PTO-flange to its lowest limit. This gave a mowing height of 8 cm (3 5/32") with the standard 5x10x20" wheels on my BCS 740, but due to the tilted PTO-flange, unfortunately only 11 cm (4 5/16") of ground clearance under the engine. After changing to 6.5x12x23" wheels, I could return the PTO-flange to around level and still maintain 8 cm mowing height, and because the tractor stands more level now, ground clearance under the engine has almost doubled to around 20 cm (4").

    The larger wheels also adds some 15% to the speed, and gives a comfortable mowing speed around 2.3 mph in 3th gear with half throttle. If mowing regularly, I only use 3th gear, and it takes less than 1 1/2 hour to mow an 18,000 sq. ft. lawn. For mowing - and for sweeping by the way - I can only recommend that you use the largest diameter wheels available.

    After a long rainy period - and some vacation on top, I had the chance to test the mower on my then 1-foot tall lawn. The mower cut the grass with ease, but the limiting factor was the chute blowing the clippings into the bag on top of the mower. It was clogged by the vast amount of grass, but by mowing in 1st gear, the problem was solved.

    The Zanon ZCR leaves a nice cut comparable to any traditional rotary mower. Due to the long distance (53") between the swivel caster wheels at the front of the mower and the wheels of the tractor compared to a traditional lawn mower (23"), the clipping height will vary more when mowing on uneven terrain. This is perhaps not so bad in the lower parts where the mower will leave the grass longer, but at the top, the risk of scalping is high - especially with a low setting of course.

    The ZCR has a swiveling joint in the PTO-flange that allows the mower and the tractor to follow the terrain independently. Probably because the mower is supported only in 3 points (the PTO-flange and the 2 caster wheels) and because of the direction of rotation of the PTO-shaft, it has a tendency to "dip" to the left. To keep the cutting height the same on the left- and right-hand side, I have tightened the spring dampening the swivel movement on the left-hand side 1 cm (3/8") more than on the other side.

    As I mid-season turned the mower upside-down, I was a bit surprised. On a traditional lawn mower, the lower edge of the deck will be the lowest part of the mower, and thereby protect all moving parts such as the knives and their mountings. On my Zanon the knives flush with the lower edge of the deck (at best), and the 4 bolts fixing the mounting plates to their axis, protrude below the deck (see picture 1)! This is not ideal, and I suggest that Zanon correct this by raising the 2 axis a bit for instance.

    It might not be a fault, but the knives themselves surprised me a bit too. They are 3 mm (1/8") thick and produces a lot of lift and air to transport the clipping into the bag. As I removed the mounting plates from the axis, I noticed a difference in the knives on the 2 axis (see picture 2). I would like to hear from some of you having a Zanon, if your knives are also different or not? They cut fine, but why are they different? The knives on the left and right axis have different part numbers of course, but why are they sharpened differently?

    Perhaps not a definite design fault, but at least a nuisance, can be the swivel caster wheels in the front. They seems to be a little different to some of the other Zanon mowers, as mine only have a 1.6 mm (1/16") gap between the top of the wheel and the mounting. When emptying the bag, some of the clipping may fall on the wheels and may be caught between wheel and mounting (see picture 3).

    The mower comes with a 40-page user manual with very good diagrams shoving all the parts and their part numbers. My interest at first is the maintenance part. It is recommended to change the oil in the gearbox after the first 8 hours of use. I had a look at the oil at the end of the season (+30 hours), and it looked just as fine as new, so I see no reason to change it now. I was looking all over for an oil drain plug, but with no success. How are one supposed to drain the oil? By removing the lid on top of the gearbox and turn the mower upside-down? Does not sound right to me.

    Having cleaned the mover, greased the 4 nipples (PTO-flange, PTO-shaft and 1 at each swivel caster wheel) and finally sharpened the 4 knives, my Zanon ZCR sits warn in the garage and awaits spring. In the meantime, I hope for a lot of snow, so I can play with my sweeper and perhaps even with my snow blower


    Best regards

    Jens
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc02983-jpg   Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc02982-jpg   Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc03062-jpg  

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    359
    Location
    Australia
    Tractor
    Ferrari 340 10hp Yanmar diesel, Jacobsen YT16

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    You have the same machine as ours except ours is green, diesel and electric start. They are great machines aren't they!
    He might not have been the best farmer, but he was outstanding in his field.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    738
    Location
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    Tractor
    BCS 850 diesel and 735 diesel

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Thanks for the update, Jens. If you want some snow, I have some here you can have for free! I just spent over and hour in a 50 hp skid steer with a 100 inch bucket on front clearing my driveway. I imagine I'll be doing it again tomorrow.
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, BCS 735 w/ Acme diesel, Agrizeta tracks, 30" tiller, Berta double rotary plow, Berta 33" 2 stage snow blower, 18 inch combined ridger, Caravaggi BIO90 chipper, Bellon 32"rough cut mower, Caravaggi stump grinder, BCS 59" duplex mower, Pallidino 20" flail mower, Ravenna trailer, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger,

    John Deere B, 60, 4430 open station, 4430 SGB, 4840, 317 skid steer, and all the implements to work 'em

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    I am looking for a mower with a bag. I only see two BCS models, 22" and 38", on the earthtools site. I am not sure if I either of these are compatible with my Grillo 107. The zanon model Jens has above does not appear to be available from them.

    Anyone know how I would purchase this model, or purchase another model/brand with a bag, or if I can indeed get one of those BCS mowers on my machine?

  5. #5
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    738
    Location
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    Tractor
    BCS 850 diesel and 735 diesel

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Unfortunately, you cannot use the BCS models. The PTO rotation is wrong. I do not know of a mower/bagger that will work on a Grillo as of right now.
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, BCS 735 w/ Acme diesel, Agrizeta tracks, 30" tiller, Berta double rotary plow, Berta 33" 2 stage snow blower, 18 inch combined ridger, Caravaggi BIO90 chipper, Bellon 32"rough cut mower, Caravaggi stump grinder, BCS 59" duplex mower, Pallidino 20" flail mower, Ravenna trailer, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger,

    John Deere B, 60, 4430 open station, 4430 SGB, 4840, 317 skid steer, and all the implements to work 'em

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    59
    Location
    Germany
    Tractor
    BCS 740

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Hi westva

    Have you been able to find a lawnmower with a bag for your Grillo? I was looking all over a few years ago, when I needed one, and I only found the ones from BCS and Zanon. It would be interesting to hear, if you - or perhaps someone else - have been able to find more brands and models to choose from.

    As Earth Tools are selling other Zanon-products, I am convinced that Joel will be happy to order a ZCR for you.


    Best regards

    Jens

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Hi

    After the 2014-season - my second with the Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower - and a total of 80 hours on the mower, I would like to share my latest experiences with you.

    When mowing, the blades produces a lot of lift and the airflow fills the bag very effectively, and removes most clippings, leaves and small twigs etc. in its path with ease, and leaves behind a nice and clean lawn. All this air has to get out of the bag again, and for this purpose, the metal back plate has more than 2750 little holes, each 4.5 mm in diameter. The top of the bag is a woven fabric, that also allow air to escape, and at the same time, is used to indicate when the bag is full. This worked well for a while, but even though I try to keep the bag clean, the holes in the fabric tends to get clogged with clippings - especially if the grass is damp.

    The more the holes in the fabric got clogged, the less clippings got into the bag. I had the feeling that the mower was "choked" in air, and that the reduced airflow was the reason for the less-than-full bag. As I was not able to do much about the fabric, I turned to the metal back plate, and increased the holes to 6.0 mm. This modest increase in diameter might not sound as much, but it increases the area of the holes by almost 78 %, and since then the bag is full again every time

    Most lawn mowers make a lot of noise - and the Zanon ZCR is no exception. One of my neighbors finds it very noisy, whereas others do not. It is noisy; partly from the fast moving knives, but mostly from the transmission, that produces a very high-pitch noise. This is probably due to the rather complicated transmission, with 3 bevel gears to cater for the 3 changes of direction through the drivetrain of the mower.

    One item has puzzled my all last season, and that is the drive line through the PTO-flange:

    The mower was working fine, but as I removed the cover over the universal joint to have a look at it, I was surprised to see that the bearing facing the tractor, had slipped out of the housing, and was just turning on the axle (to the right on the first picture). I disassembled the PTO-flange and got the bearing back into its housing (see second picture). At first, I expected that a lock ring had fallen off and disappeared which had led to the bearing sliding out of its housing. I found no evidence of anything missing, and looking at the part diagram in the user's manual, confirmed that there was not supposed to be a locking ring at all! Sure enough, the next time I had a look, the bearing had slid out of the housing again. As said, the mower worked fine, but this can hardly be the way the Zanon engineers intended it to be. My local dealer had a look at it, and he mounted a metal ring - fixed with an Allen screw - preventing the bearing from sliding on the axle (see last picture).

    It would be interesting to hear from other Zanon users, if some of you have experienced something similar. I was surprised to hear from my local dealer, that this was the first time he had seen this problem. I can hardly imagine though, that this should be the first time this has ever happened.

    Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc03546-jpgZanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc03548-jpgZanon ZCR 800 lawn mower-dsc03737-jpg

    Best regards

    Jens

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    80
    Location
    New England
    Tractor
    BCS 739, Cub Cadet 2544

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Greetings Jens,
    I don't think EarthTools sells the exact same Zanon mower deck that you have. But I'm thinking about getting a 33 inch side discharge for my BCS 739. Do you find yourself using your steering brakes much when you're mowing? Or can you steer it easily without the brakes?
    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    59
    Location
    Germany
    Tractor
    BCS 740

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Hi NibbanaFarm

    You are right that Joel does not list the Zanon ZCR on his homepage, but I would be surprised, if he would not like to take one home for you.

    The mower model that you are considering is called ZRA on the Zanon homepage. When I compare the information I have on these 2 models, and also compare the pictures and videos on the internet, I get the impression that the 2 models are very similar in their basic construction, and merely differs in the way they get rid of the clippings. There might be jobs where the ZRA is the better choice, and if you are able to mow your lawn often, you might be able to leave the small amount of clippings that you get, on the lawn to dry and decompose. This will save you some time, compared to a mower with a bag. Looking at the way the ZRA leaves the clippings when the grass is rather tall, is not good for your lawn in the long run though.

    I hardly ever use the steering brakes when mowing or sweeping. Reading other posts, there seems to be jobs where they are useful, but I don't need them for my 2 implements. When mowing or sweeping, the relative high forward speed makes it very easy to turn just by using the handlebars.

    When mowing, I have found it much more important to have large diameter wheels, than having steering brakes! Had I known better when I got my BCS 740, I had bought it with the 6.5x12x23" wheels straight away, and left the standard wheels in the store. When mowing, you need all the ground clearance and speed you can get, and with the standard 5x10x20" wheels, the tractor runs very close to the ground. Having read your other posts, I understand that you are also using your tractor with a tiller, and there you might need the smaller wheels. For increased stability and traction, I have mounted my wheels in the widest possible position, and added 15 kg (33 lbs) wheel weights on each side.

    Have you considered the 38" lawn mower from BCS? This mower has the advantage of being able to mow with the bag or as side-discharger, and it has a wider working width.

    I hope that I could help a little, and I look forward to hear which mower you got.


    Best regards

    Jens

  10. #10
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    80
    Location
    New England
    Tractor
    BCS 739, Cub Cadet 2544

    Default Re: Zanon ZCR 800 lawn mower

    Thanks Jens. A lot of good information in your post. As usual.

    I have a lawn tractor that I mow most areas with and haven't been bagging the clippings. I don't have that accessory on my lawn tractor. I like the BCS 38" mower and would consider it if and when I have to replace my lawn tractor. But I have just put up some deer fencing around my garden and now need something a little smaller to get in narrow areas created by the fence. A small push mower would be fine for these areas but I am extremely reluctant to take on another gas powered engine that need to be maintained, winterized and stored. And the Zanon looks like it would be rugged enough to take on some of the rougher areas that beat up my lawn tractor. If I go by the video, it also looks like it can handle high grass that would clog the deck of my lawn tractor.

    I see from your picture that the mower PTO sits a little high and pivots the engine down when coupled to the tractor.

    It looks like the wheels on the ZCR are out farther than those on the ZRA. To accommodate the bagger. But other than that, they do look like they're built off the same basic mower. (BTW, I agree that it is very strange that those blades are sharpened differently. I can't imagine why.)

    Lot's to consider. Thanks.
    Last edited by NibbanaFarm; 05-28-2015 at 09:13 AM.

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