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  1. #1
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    Cub Cadet SLT1554

    Default Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    Hello all, thanks for this great forum that I've been reading for years. A great knowledge base here, I only wish I'd seen it before I got my first machine.

    I'm going to buy a Z-Force S 60 with the steering wheel, but I can't decide between the residential version or the commercial version. I need a ZTR with front wheel steering as I have long ditch banks to mow laterally, and that puts the kibosh on a free castering front end given my lack of ninja driving skills. A traditional tractor is out because I have around 50 trees and other tricky spots.

    I mow 2.2 acres and will be putting about 50 hours per year on the machine. Frankly I'd rather buy a Simplicity/Ferris with suspension or a Hustler, Scag, Gravely, etc., but I must have that front wheel steering so Cub is it. Gizmow and Cub's Tank S are too heavy for the soft spots in my yard where I've been known to get stuck. I had no trouble lifting the front end of the Z-Force to my waist and moving the machine at the dealer as I've been doing with my SLT-1554 lawn tractor during my "anything to avoid going back with the string trimmer moments", but the Gizmow and Tank would be real gut busters. Cost is an issue as well since I'm a regular working guy.

    My major concern is this: I'm a big fat former competition power-lifter weighing in a tad North of three bills, and I murdered my SLT-1554 drive system due to that and due to the few inclines I have to take. Aside from the ditches, the yard is mostly flat but there are three very short uphill challenges in key spots.

    Here's the question: There's a Cub Cadet Commercial Z-Force S 60 available for about another $1000 over the residential model. Upgrades include ZT-3100 vs ZT-2800 hydros featuring charge pumps, shock valves, and stronger gears, a Kohler Command vs. Courage engine, a better seat for huge guys, slightly bigger tires, high lift blades, and a seven inch longer wheelbase. It weighs 45 pounds more than the residential model.

    I want to use this thing for 1000 hours or twenty years, whichever comes first. I don't mind working on these things so I'd accept dropping in a new engine or hydro in that time, but if going cheaper means two new hydros plus a new engine, I'd rather just cough up the extra cash now.

    I think the hydro upgrade to the ZT-3100 would be the biggest upgrade of them all, but I could be wrong. Is the ZT-2800 a good strong hydro? I can't find much bad about them on the net, but I also don't see many 60" machines using them. Then again, the front wheel steering should take a majority of the turning load off of them except for true zero turns. I'm drive-train paranoid at this point after my "sealed for a lifetime" SLT-1554 hydro, so whether it be the 2800s or 3100s, I will be changing oil and filters regularly. I may be over-thinking this hydro thing... just not sure.

    Kohler Courage vs Command. The Courage is rated for 750 hrs. and the Command for 2000. That should be a no-brainer for the Command, but it seems from user reports that the Kohler Command isn't quite the sturdy beast in real life that it should be. My SLT-1554 has a Command and it blows enough oil smoke on start-up to provide stage effects for a Foghat concert. Runs like a champ though.

    Resale Value: If I'm successful at training my dogs to eat grass down to the three inch level, it seems to me that the word "Commercial" on the side decal will open me up to far more potential buyers. Not a huge concern, but a concern nonetheless.

    Commercial or residential Z-Force S 60. Which way to go? Thanks for any advice you can offer. Apologies for writing a novel here.

    Links for both: Residential Z-Force S 60 and Commercial Z-Force S 60

  2. #2
    Veteran Member JTKub's Avatar
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    Cub Cadet Z-Force 44

    Default Re: Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    All good questions. I've got a 2010 model Z-Force 44 with the ZT2800's and Courage 20hp V-twin. I've got one season and 30hrs on it at this point. You may have read some of my threads on it. You see this engine/trans combo being used by nearly all the big boys in their beginner commercial lineup now, so I think that says a lot about their confidence.

    You are correct in that you'll want to stay away from a stick drive machine with caster front wheels if you want to mow along ditches. I know I have to stay away from mine and hit those areas later with a push mower.

    I know the 2800's show no signs of distress what so ever with my 225lb self at the controls, traversing the inclines on my property. My property is ALL inclined. They barely feel hot. The Courage 20 sounds, performs and behaves just like the Command 20 I had. Would I prefer the higher-end engine? You bet. Just to have it. Keep in mind any Courage negative feedback you will get will be in regards to the single cylinder versions. I don't know of a SINGLE problem reported with the V-twins and they've been around for some years. Same goes with the drives. I know of no 2800 series issues. I know for me, an additional $1000 would be a no-go, but I got my machine for just over $4K all in, out the door.

    I would suggest you operate an "S" series before you buy. Many have reported the steering is way too stiff and the non-pivoting front axle will give one heck of a rough ride.

    Joel
    Tractors of the past:
    2010 Cub Cadet Z-Force 44 fab
    2005 Cub Cadet 2544
    1979 Case 220
    2003 Yard Machines 17hp 42" transmatic (crap-matic)

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Cub Cadet SLT1554

    Default Re: Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    Thanks for your answer, Joel. I did see a post somewhere about the steering being stiff, but that puzzled me. I drove a Z-Force S 60 last week for quite awhile and to me the steering felt effortless, almost like power steering. Probably half the steering effort or less of my SLT-1554. Also, the dealer had a nice steep grass hillside on which I could simulate mowing my ditch banks laterally, and right there the thing blew my mind and sealed the deal. Piece of cake.

    Ironically it was one of your posts that helped fuel some of my doubt with regard to pairing ZT-2800s with a 60" deck. Somewhere you said you didn't think it was a good idea to go above 54", which got me to researching the concept and noticing that hardy anyone was putting ZT-2800s with 60" decks. Then there's my extra large operator weight on top of that. Chances are the Residential Z-Force S 60 would have been just fine in real use, but that aside there were enough other differences for me to go ahead and make the step up to the commercial machine. I just got back from the dealer half an hour ago and the commercial version will be delivered here within the next three weeks.

    A big part of the decision is what I suspect will be somewhat improved comfort on my bumpy lawn. The commercial version has bigger tires (30% wider in the front and two inches larger diameter in the rear), a seven inch longer wheelbase, and the larger and fluffier looking seat. The mechanical upgrades will be icing on the cake. As I mentioned, I really want this to be a 20 year/1000 hour mower for me, so hopefully that will be the case. At least I'll feel like I've improved my chances as well as I could, given my inability to buy the regular zero turn mower with suspension that I'd have purchased otherwise.

    Thanks again for your input here and elsewhere. Your experiences with your Z-Force did help me with this decision quite a bit.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member JTKub's Avatar
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    Cub Cadet Z-Force 44

    Default Re: Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    Good point. That 60" deck is a monster. If your intent is to have this sucker last 20yrs, an extra $1000 is a drop in the bucket. That's a nice looking machine BTW. Next step up would be the S commercials with Kawasaki engines, separate pump & wheel motor drive and a ~$11500 price tag. YIKES.
    Last edited by JTKub; 02-28-2011 at 04:37 PM.
    Tractors of the past:
    2010 Cub Cadet Z-Force 44 fab
    2005 Cub Cadet 2544
    1979 Case 220
    2003 Yard Machines 17hp 42" transmatic (crap-matic)

  5. #5
    New Member
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    Cub Cadet SLT1554

    Default Re: Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    That extra $1000 will feel like a drop in the bucket years from now, but right now I'm eating Tums like they're Cracker Jacks. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member JTKub's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Cub Cadet Z-Force 44

    Default Re: Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60. Commercial version or Residential version?

    LOL. I've been down that road a time or 3. In fact, I just paid-off my Z-Force. I took the 12mo interest free "financing".

    That machine will make grass cutting enjoyable.

    Joel
    Tractors of the past:
    2010 Cub Cadet Z-Force 44 fab
    2005 Cub Cadet 2544
    1979 Case 220
    2003 Yard Machines 17hp 42" transmatic (crap-matic)

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