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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    8
    Location
    Lansing
    Tractor
    JD214, Ariens EZR-1742

    Default Zero Turn Advice

    When I bought this house in 2005, the previous owner made me a deal on his old Ariens EZR1742. After many repairs, I'm ready for a real Zero Turn Mower.

    I've been looking at and reading about Bad Boy mowers (and I looked at a couple at the local Tractor Supply store). There is a new Bad Boy dealer about 1.5 hours from here (very new, he's getting his first mowers today) and I may take a trip down there this weekend. I'm having a hard time deciding what's important and appropriate for my lawn.

    I mow about 4 acres (it's a very irregular shape, it might be closer to 3 or 5), with lots of trees, mostly sloping (although not steep by any means) and not particularly even (think rolling). I work hard to make sure that there are no rocks, but the property seems to grow some every spring.

    I've been thinking about decks from 48" to 60", is 60" too wide for a "bumpy lawn"?

    The electric deck lift on some of the models seems to me to be another thing that could break -- I like the idea of the manual deck lift better - am I being unreasonable?

    I'm not sure about the top speed of the residential (about 5MPH) vs commercial (10-14MPH) models -- after my Ariens (top speed about 2MPH) anything would be an improvement and more than 7 or 8 seems reckless (although I might feel different once I get used to a new mower). How fast do people really mow their lawns?

    What else should I be worrying about? At this point, I am concerned about price, but more concerned with getting the right mower that will last for many years.

    Any/All advice appreciated!!

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  2. #2
    Silver Member EagleTDL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    233
    Location
    N Alabama
    Tractor
    Kubota BX-25

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    First, welcome! Lot's of advice here...

    Deck size - Depends upon how many swales you have in the yard? How tall are the swales? The reason I ask is that the more swales, and the bigger the deck, the more the mower deck will "float" over the swales and leave you with an uneven cut. This is also affected by how low you set your anti-scalp wheels, and also by the angle of how you hit them. If you are riding the swale, the top grass will be deck-cut high, but the sides of the swale will be long... If you go perpendicular to the swale, then you generally end up scalping the top of it when you straddle it. Another factor is, obviously, the small the deck the longer it takes to mow...

    Vote with you on the electric deck lift... I'd be leery of that.

    Speed - Depends on terrain, but you say you have a "bumpy lawn". If that's the case, then residential vs commercial is a non-factor because neither will be able mow at full speed, too rough...

    Best advice: Can you borrow some different size mower decks and do some experimenting?? That will give you your best answer. If the dealer really wants to make a sale, he might have a demo model that you could test drive?

    Luck with your choice!
    New to the tractor world, but I'm learning...

    BX-25; EMP Backhoe Thumb, BB1248 Box & GS1548 Grading Scraper

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    58
    Tractor
    IH 684

    Default

    I have a Land Pride ZTR mower that goes 12mph. I mow full speed whenever it is smooth enough to stay in the seat. Someday I plan in putting a suspension seat on to help smooth it out a bit.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,252
    Location
    Balls Creek, NC
    Tractor
    New Holland 1720

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    I don't use a zero turn due to the rough ground that I mow but some observations...
    Get the biggest deck you can utilize...
    I would go for the 60 in a heartbeat unless I had a lot of obstacles like trees and shrubs that would make a 60" undesirable...
    That extra width will speed up your completion time...
    Go for the heavier gauge deck...
    Look at the spindles and bearings...
    I assume all are grease able...
    Gravely makes it a point to show that they use sealed bearings that do not need greasing...
    Another consideration is the hydro pumps used...
    The guy that does my dad's lawn is a professional lawn care specialist...
    He swears by Toro's...
    Bad Boys seem to be good mowers...
    Good luck and keep us informed as to your decision...

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    8
    Location
    Lansing
    Tractor
    JD214, Ariens EZR-1742

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

    About the spindles and bearings -- I'm assuming that you aren't impressed with Gravely's claim... FYI - my Ariens 1742 is basically a Gravely and I haven't been impressed with it. The biggest negative is that it uses a "timed deck" and if I hit a rock (or just about anything else), one of the blades and change position and then the two blades collide with lots of noise, sparks and often damage to the blades or deck :sad:

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    154
    Location
    Quincy IL
    Tractor
    New Holland TC 30

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    I love my eXmark 60" diesel. It has plenty of power and will last a long time. I would at least get a 60" or a 72" if it will fit your needs. You will need to buy a suspension seat as these mowers have no suspension, except for the Ferris. I know they are expensive, I cut 3 acres mowing time went from 4hr to 2hr with zero turn v/s cub low boy.

  7. #7
    Gold Member LMan1967's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    275
    Location
    Kudzu, Alabama
    Tractor
    MF 1643

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    As Ive posted in the other ZTM thread(s?), I went through this research process for my 5 acres of rolling/slopy terrain and came up with some criteria (Couldnt afford a diesel, sadly):

    1. no stamped deck
    2. Kawa engine
    3. at least ZT-2800 model hydros

    I ended up with a Hustler 54", had more than the above and the dealer tossed in suspension front forks for free. So far so good, no issues yet. There are a lot of ZTMs that meet this very basic criteria so your choices should be far and wide. Good luck!
    Proverbs 31:6-7
    Lord, help me to be the kind of person my kudzu thinks I am.

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    8
    Location
    Lansing
    Tractor
    JD214, Ariens EZR-1742

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    Hi - I just got back from a local dealer who sells Grasshopper (nice machines, too many $$$$$$) and Cub Cadet (I wasn't too impressed) but he was pushing the steering wheel vs the "sticks". He says that "everyone is going that way and they hold slopes much better". I test drove it and
    it felt strange, but then so did my current ZTR when I first tried it. Is there a general consensus about steering wheel ZTR's?

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    147
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    1532 hydro

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    Got a Bad Boy 60" 3 years ago, zero problems..If you go that route try not to buy from TSC and use a dealer .....If there is any warranty work the dealer is alot better to work with..went with Bad Boy for a couple of reasons..First of all I mow about 6 acres spilt between three properties out in the country..needless to say that they aren't golf course quality yards, so I wanted something that had a very solid deck to it, not stamped, Price was the next consideration as I didn;t want to spend a arm and a leg....also the ability to do service and maintance on the machine if needed...everything is very easy to get to and pretty solid, yeah there are times i would like a softer ride, but overall Im really pleased with the machine...One reason not to go to TSC was they only offered the Briggs engine and I wanted the Koyler engine...Its beeen bullet proof, and believe me I run it pretty hard at times...Best thing is to go look and drive them all, as we all have different flavors....Good Luck

  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
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    Lansing
    Tractor
    JD214, Ariens EZR-1742

    Default Re: Zero Turn Advice

    Thanks - I'm pretty down on Tractor Supply - I stopped by there and looked at the Bad Boys - they've been sitting outside for months. If I'm going to spend that kind of money, I'd like something that the birds and rain haven't been attacking since April. The only plus is that they are an hour closer than the closest dealer (who might have seen his first Bad Boy shipment today). That dealer has already suggested local repair places that could do most of the work rather than make the 1.5 hour trek down to where he is (and he wants $78/hour to deliver so I'll probably end up renting a truck to pick it up if I do buy from him -- seriously considering ordering direct from the factory).

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