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  1. #1
    Silver Member djdicetn's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
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    181
    Location
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Tractor
    2012 Gravely Pro Turn 152

    Default Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    I am getting ready to pull the string on my first Zero Turn Radius mower purchase. I have been "Googling" for reviews of some that I have been looking at and have read several posts on this forum as well as lawnservice.com and other forums. The forum member knowledge of ZTR's on this forum stood out so I decided to join to get some first-hand advice. I have tried to do as much homework as possible to learn the technical aspects of ZTR mowers, but the hydrostatic trannies(leaning towards Hydro-Gear ZT3100 or ZT3400), decks(stamped vs. fabricated), engines(leaning towards Kawasakis) and other important things are still all very new to me. I'm shying away from big box retailers and prefer to purchase from a tractor/lawn & garden dealer. My intent is to purchase my "last lawnmower" just before retiring in a year or so and giving my current lawn tractor to my son. The Crafstman/Huskie 54" with a mulch kit cuts very good and has been reliable(except for the choke cable breaking a couple of years ago on the 24hp B & S Vanguard). I simply want something I can cut my 1.5 acre lawn(mostly level with few obstacles) with that will give my lawn the "professional look", be reliable and mostly problem free and will last me 20 years(if I live that long:0)
    So far, I have "looked at" Husqvarnas(currently I have a 2007 Craftsman YS5400 lawn tractor made by them that has been a good mower and the mulch kit I bought from Sears will fit the 54" Huskie ZTR), a Hustler and a Toro. I am getting ready to look at a dealer who sells Bad Boys and Dixons. I started out looking for a top-of-the-line residential model that had commercial-grade features and wanted to spend around $4,000(Husqvarna MZ5424S) but I am finding that $4k is a little "light" to get what I want and may consider $5K-$6K and try to find an "entry level" commercial mower. $6K would be the max my budget/financial advisor(aka the wife) would allow. She's been used to me spending < $2,000 on a lawn mower but I have convinced her this is a good investment for our retirement. So I am thinking of the Bad Boy Outlaw 5400(was looking at the ZT5000), the Hustler Fastrak Super Duty 54, the Dixon DX152(was looking at the Ultra52) and the Toro Titan MX5480 or Z Master 2000 Series 52". Can someone(possibly that owns one of the ZTR's I am considering) give me some personal advice on these choices?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    2,087
    Location
    Trivoli, IL
    Tractor
    SSTT (Sideways Snake Tain Tractor) and STB (sideways train box) tractor, dirt harvester

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    info that will help other folks help you better.....

    how many acres do you plan to mow? EDIT didn't see it initially 1.5 acres.

    do you have any hills? and if so how steep are they? EDIT didn't see it initially mostly level with few obstacles

    is there any preference over how you steer the zero turn? 2 levers? a single joy stick? steering wheel and foot pedal?

    are you wanting golf course like lawn? or do you let grass every now and then get away from you and grow little tall?

    is there anything else that you want to do / might need to do? or do you have secondary tractor or like you can use to do other things?

    ================================
    1.5 acres. is not that much, and getting up into commercial size mower. seems like you are just wanting more and more vs just getting what is needed.
    Ryan

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    157
    Location
    Quincy IL
    Tractor
    New Holland TC 30

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    Well I have an eXmark 60" diesel, I have had for 4 years now (not much mowing this year) exmark is now owned by Toro. It will surprize you how fast you can do the yard. several things get a sprung seat as there is no suspension, and slow down making turns, unless you like the divot the tires make. It will take a while but you will get onto it, I would pay twice what I did for it now that I have had it.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member yelbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Location
    Near Winnipeg, Mb, Canada
    Tractor
    John Deere 2305, 2320,Z465

    Default

    I have a john Deere z465, 62" deck with a 27 hp gas engine. Its deere's largest residential mower. You should be able to get one right $5000, within your budget. I mower about 7 acres or so which is the max i think for this machine. I think its an awesome machine, nice cut. My wife loves to mow with it so that's a bonus too. The only complaint is the bumpy ride on some parts of my grass, but that's not the machines fault. I know its not on your shopping list but guess food for thought. Good luck.
    Carefull what you aim for, Aim for nothing and you will achieve it with amazing accuracy.

  5. #5
    Silver Member djdicetn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    181
    Location
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    Tractor
    2012 Gravely Pro Turn 152

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    boggen,
    Yes, I am wanting to invest in a mower that gives that "golf course" professional cut look and am looking at the ZTR's with two handles. I understrand after owning nothing but lawn tractors with ":steering wheels" the ZTR will take some "getting used to". My father-in-law just bought a kubota 72" diesel ZTR(a $16K monster...way out of my league) and has told me you have to start out slowly, not pull back on the handles to quickly or try to turn too quickly until you get a feel for it(pointed out by user rrrkkk also....thanks). I don't own a "tractor" or need something for other things, just a real good lawn mower. I understand that since I am only cutting a 1.5 acre lawn every week I don't really "need" a commercial ZTR, but I'm just thinking that a commercial with that much usage and some "pampering" would definitely last me a lifetime and be less prone to problems.

    yelbike,
    Did you get your John Deere at a dealer or at a retailer like Lowes??? I am hesitant to invest several thousand dollars for a ZTR at a retailer who really can't provide service after the sale if warranty work is needed. I know that historically John Deere are well respected machines(my father-in-law had a JD lawn tractor before he built his current home on 4-5 acres and needed the big 72" Kubota). I haven't "ruled them out", but I've heard that like the Kubotas the John Deere's you get through dealers are more expensive than most brands and that the ones you get at Lowe's are "built for Lowes by JD" and don't have the same quality materials.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member yelbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    1,407
    Location
    Near Winnipeg, Mb, Canada
    Tractor
    John Deere 2305, 2320,Z465

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by djdicetn
    boggen,
    Yes, I am wanting to invest in a mower that gives that "golf course" professional cut look and am looking at the ZTR's with two handles. I understrand after owning nothing but lawn tractors with ":steering wheels" the ZTR will take some "getting used to". My father-in-law just bought a kubota 72" diesel ZTR(a $16K monster...way out of my league) and has told me you have to start out slowly, not pull back on the handles to quickly or try to turn too quickly until you get a feel for it(pointed out by user rrrkkk also....thanks). I don't own a "tractor" or need something for other things, just a real good lawn mower. I understand that since I am only cutting a 1.5 acre lawn every week I don't really "need" a commercial ZTR, but I'm just thinking that a commercial with that much usage and some "pampering" would definitely last me a lifetime and be less prone to problems.

    yelbike,
    Did you get your John Deere at a dealer or at a retailer like Lowes??? I am hesitant to invest several thousand dollars for a ZTR at a retailer who really can't provide service after the sale if warranty work is needed. I know that historically John Deere are well respected machines(my father-in-law had a JD lawn tractor before he built his current home on 4-5 acres and needed the big 72" Kubota). I haven't "ruled them out", but I've heard that like the Kubotas the John Deere's you get through dealers are more expensive than most brands and that the ones you get at Lowe's are "built for Lowes by JD" and don't have the same quality materials.
    Yes i bought mine from a dealer. i would categorized it like this; 200 series are the box stores unit, the 400 series are the dealer units and the 600 series are the same as the 400 series but with added bell and whistles. I believe they all have the same frame. The 400 series has larger wheels which makes it less likely to loose traction. I tested the cub cadet zforce pro and the jd z445 on my property before i bought, did look a more though. The commercial diesels were out of my price range at the time. Also i don't think i put enough hours on per year to justify the diesel.

    I don't know if its because the jd is so light(800#), i don't find it digs in on a actual full speed zero radius turn, the inside wheel just skids a little with no damage to the grass. Of course i only mower when its dry though.

    As for getting use to a two lever control ztr, at first i did not like it and i thought i may have made a little bit of a mistake buying it. It probably took me 10~15 engine hours to fully appreciate my new mower. now i wouldn't go back. at first i really hated mowing my ditch, now with some experience, i find it more stable then my jd 2320 or 2305. Just respect any slope. Because a ztr mower has only two power/steering tires, when/if you loose traction there is no recovery, the skid will stop a the bottom. Hopefully there's no lake.
    Carefull what you aim for, Aim for nothing and you will achieve it with amazing accuracy.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    129
    Location
    West Tx.
    Tractor
    Kubota B2620

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    If you get the Hustler, get the flex fork option. It's a noticeable improvement in the ride.

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    295
    Location
    Western NY

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    I've never operated, let alone owned, any of the models you mention. However, I have gone thru the same process you're going thru now, and it sounds to me like you're at the best fit dealer phase. I don't think you could go wrong with any of the makes/models of machines on your list, so how do you feel about the dealers? In my case, I was able to whittle my list down to two dealers: one who didn't have the exact model I wanted and who tried to sell me a different model off the floor; and one who had multiple units of their entire line in stock.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    486
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Tractor
    MF 35, Mahindra 4035

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    I have a 52" XMark...I've had it for ten years...probably mowed 10,000 + yards...had to replace one spindle and one hydraulic arm assist "thingy"....oh yeah and a couple of batteries, tires, and new blades every year...I mow about two acres in lawn in about 1.5 - 2.0 hours...the machine cuts like the day I bought it and I highly recommend the brand and machine...they will get stuck quite easily and will divot the yard (until you get the hang of turning) I WILL NOT own anything but a ZTR now....with proper maintanance it will last you a lifetime ....show your wife the math, 'round here average lawn is $50 plus per cut, $200 a month or about $1800 a year (to allow for non cutting months) adds up quick and is more for anything bigger than "standard"residential...sorry, cannot speak to the other brands but be sure to get the commercial line of whatever brand you decide on...

    Rich

    Edit: forgot to say I bought it used, in it's prior lif it mowed 15 + yards 6 days a week for years, was VERY well maintained and I got it for $ 2500.00. The guy I bought it from is a good friend and is very anal about maintance, he does about $500,000 a year in lawn care and will not own any mower but XMark...

    Rich
    Last edited by Biggreenavalanche; 09-04-2012 at 09:25 AM.

  10. #10
    Gold Member BleedGreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    471
    Location
    Iowa
    Tractor
    John Deere LX178

    Default Re: Another Newbie Needing Solid Advice On ZTR Mowers

    Z600 Series JD ezTrak. 27hp commercial grade v-twin. commercial grade Kanzaki Dual-Unitized Pump system with Parker wheel motors - same exact drive system from the older (very well respected) 700 Series Commercial Z-Trak mowers. 9ga stamped 48, 54 & 60" mower decks - same stamping as the 7-Iron commercial mower decks just a little lighter. Under 6K for all of the models with a 4 year warranty. Are you seeing the pattern? All older technology commercial grade components which is great for a homeowner that wants longevity. You cannot go wrong with this mower - not saying there are not other good mowers out there - just saying if you go with the Z600 Series you should be happy for quite some time.
    I can run a D100 and a 9560RT (and most of the models in between) all in the same day!!!

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