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Posted: 3/14/2006 11:14:38 AM EDT
First, the one I'm replacing: 23HP, 3 cylinder Kubota, gas powered, water cooled, 48" cut, PTO, with hydraulic streering. Nasty-ass destruction machine that kept 5 acres of grass and rocky ground maintained. It's a commercial type machine, but at this point the deck and hydraulics are used up and not worth fixing anymore. It was freakin' awesome in its hayday...



I see new ZTRs for like 3 grand, I wonder if those will maintain 5 acres which include some pretty rocky areas that need a periodic weed knock down. Blades are expendable, we eat them like candy around here. Keep in mind that I will beat the machine somewhat, belts and blades need to be the main maintenance items. If it rattles apart in 1 or 2 seasons then I've made a mistake.

I've got a feeling that I'm going to spend 5 grand or more, but before I start I thought I would ask for some suggestions. I appreciate your input before I go out and request some test drives.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 11:21:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 11:24:02 AM EDT by GUNGUY1911]
Yeah, his name is Hector and he's down at Labor Ready waiting on your call!

Ok, poor taste, here ya go!www.dixon-ztr.com/
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:06:07 PM EDT
We run our eXmark Lazer Z XPs (27hp Diesel, 72" deck) into the ground every summer, and they always come back begging for more.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:14:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:22:52 PM EDT
kubota is the best.................but you already knew that
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:26:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zakk_Wylde_470:
We run our eXmark Lazer Z XPs (27hp Diesel, 72" deck) into the ground every summer, and they always come back begging for more.


Good machine.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:26:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 12:31:27 PM EDT by Will220]

+1




Originally Posted By Lakeguy:
ferris



Ferris has my vote but it's gonna cost ya
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:35:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:
Yeah, his name is Hector and he's down at Labor Ready waiting on your call!

Ok, poor taste, here ya go!www.dixon-ztr.com/



There are DIESEL lawnmowers on that link. Now that's a man's mower.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:40:07 PM EDT
My uncle used a Dixon ZTR for years and years. I never saw ANYTHING he couldn't tear up. That dixon kept working.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:50:52 PM EDT
I've been in the commercial lawn-mowing business for 8 years now and I've used Exmark, Scag, and Toro. Exmark and Scag have been the best for years now, but in the last couple years Toro's mowers have caught up to the quality and durability of the others. All three companies use engines of the same quality, and they will last about 6 years or longer at the rate you would be using them. For regular maintenance, belts and blades are to be expected, and you might have to replace your hydraulic pumps after a few years. Spindles are usually fine as long as you remember to grease them so the bearings don't wear out.

The Dixon and Kubota mowers will get the job done, but you can expect to replace more parts in the long run. I've never heard of Ferris, so I don't know what to expect with them.

If you can, I'd recommend that you go to the dealerships and have a look at the mowers. Look at the size/gauge of the frames, the diameter of the spindles, the gauge of the deck, and then tire size. The bigger the better. You get what you pay for when it comes to equipment.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:04:47 PM EDT
This is what we have at work and it is pretty nice.
www.toro.com/golf/mower/rough/gm4500_4700/4500.html
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:16:42 PM EDT
GRAVELY

BTW Dixon invented ZTR.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:28:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 1:30:50 PM EDT by Hedonist]
Okay, I've got a half dozen suggestions here, but what are these going to cost me? Have any idea on what I'm going to end up spending?


ETA: Okay, now that I check out these sites, I see the various matrix of HP/Width/etc. Good starting points for me.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:31:10 PM EDT
Exmark
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:33:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 1:37:21 PM EDT by Hedonist]
It looks like I'm in at least the $6500 range...

Your suggestions are excellent, and I appreciate the feedback.


The shame of it is that the Kubota 23HP 3 cylinder engine out of the old machine is still good. I hate to scrap the engine, but I can't think of a good use - yet. You know as soon as I heap it I'll need an engine like that for something...
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:41:50 PM EDT
My brother runs gas powered John Deere's, he's got a 777 that's a brute, just keep the radiator clean of debris.

I've got an Uncle that runs a Kubota on his plant farm/nursery, he says they are tuff as nails and rarely break down.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:46:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 1:47:13 PM EDT by Hedonist]
I'm looking at these Exmarks, and I like what I see. I like liquid cooled, hydraulic stuff. It's just going to cost me, but I'd rather spend money than time.

+1 on the Exmark suggestions...


My needs are on the high end of residential, or low end of commercial.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:51:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 1:51:59 PM EDT by Lakeguy]

Originally Posted By bulgarianak:
This is what we have at work and it is pretty nice.
www.toro.com/golf/mower/rough/gm4500_4700/4500.html



How do you guys like that 4500D?. We are demo'ing 2 @ my course right now. Pretty sweet machines. Im just not too wild on rotary mowers though. We have a Jake AR2500 that is a big POS.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:55:41 PM EDT
I have a Dixie Chopper. It has always done the job, never a problem.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:56:10 PM EDT
"walker" out of Fort Collins Colorado..Everyone uses them here. http://www.walkermowers.com/
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 2:09:27 PM EDT
www.kubota.com/F/products/ZD18F.cfm

We have a Kubota ZD21, the Kubota ZD mowers are built like a tractor with Diesel engines and they will take a beating as you know.

We also have an Exmark that’s has taken a beating for the last 5 years and it going to be retired this year.

I like the Kubota real solid machine
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 3:19:15 PM EDT
I'd go Exmark. They are the industry standard. I have a 60in Lazer Z liquid cooled 27hp kawi engine. Awesome machine. In 300 hrs i have done nothing but routine maintence!! Except putting in a new spindle after i smoked a rock the size of a softball.

Speaking of lawn mowing. I just sent out a propsal for a $937 a month account. I really don't care if i get it or not since only 10% of my business is maintence, but if i do, it will make my skid steer payment!

Matt
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 3:25:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 3:31:39 PM EDT by bulgarianak]
The 4500D is what we have. It cuts great on the flats, but on slopes it scalps on the egde of the deck. Toro has tried to fix it and could not so we just raised the height. Others in the area have had the same problem. I think we were mowing at 1 1/2 we raised it to 2 and it is a little better.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 3:53:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 3:54:07 PM EDT by Lakeguy]
It seemed to be doing ok on our slopes/around traps yesterday . We mow roughs@ 1.5 inches also.
Are you a super or a mech.? . I havent run into too many others that work in our field on ARFCOM
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 4:03:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 4:09:57 PM EDT
Grasshopper. Commercial 721, it runs and runs and runs. Besides a few deck belts and basic maint like oil changes, hydraulic oil change, and air filters, NOTHING has ever broken.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 4:15:54 PM EDT
Went to the Exmark dealer today. $7,950 - 50" Cut, 23HP Kawasaki Engine. The HP line.

Wow, that's alot of money. However, the machine is built like an damn aircraft carrier. Whatever it hits will move, rather than having its metal bending. The machine is about 1100 lbs. Very similar to the overall weight and metal thickness of my old ZTR.

I think it will be a month or so, but I'll post pics when/if I get it.

I'm still open to suggestion, but right now this is what I'm looking at. It will do the job. I'm just not sure if I should spend the 8 grand, or buy alot of mowing services from a landscaper for that money and not even lift a finger.

I wonder if I'm making a mistake by buying my own machine, rather than pay a service.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 4:37:25 PM EDT
Go get an estimate from a service, then you'll realize that cutting that much grass is much cheaper to do yourself in the long term. $7900 seems high for an HP. I can get them around here (VA) for about $6500.

Just to add to what has been said already......60" decks are amazing, but stay away from the 72" decks. The deck extends too far out past the tires and tends to scalp if the surface you're mowing isn't nice and flat.

Finally, a question. Were you looking at the HP's for any reason in particular? It looks like you can get a regular Lazer with a 23 or 27 hp Kohler and 60" deck.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 4:45:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/15/2006 4:49:15 PM EDT by Zakk_Wylde_470]

Originally Posted By Havi:
Go get an estimate from a service, then you'll realize that cutting that much grass is much cheaper to do yourself in the long term. $7900 seems high for an HP. I can get them around here (VA) for about $6500.

Just to add to what has been said already......60" decks are amazing, but stay away from the 72" decks. The deck extends too far out past the tires and tends to scalp if the surface you're mowing isn't nice and flat.

Finally, a question. Were you looking at the HP's for any reason in particular? It looks like you can get a regular Lazer with a 23 or 27 hp Kohler and 60" deck.



We've never had that problem with ours. The only place I've seen scalping with our eXmarks is at one of the football practice fields where a really steep hill crests and goes flat.

ETA: It's so bad that it will still scalp even if the deck is all the way up in the transport position.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 4:52:40 PM EDT
Cub Cadet with a 22 horse Kawasaki motor at the Home D for under 3 grand.

Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:03:39 PM EDT
Why not just get a small tractor with mid mount mower or PTO driven 3 point finish mower? 6-7 grand for a gas engine rig just doesn't sound very smart. (I mow 5 acres with 3point finish mower and it works fine, but I'm not worried about scalping or anything).
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:11:39 PM EDT
I bought a Dixon ZTR 42". I am pretty happy with it. I did run into a well cap that was hidden. It cut the cap up pretty good and then the blade bound. This caused one of the Aluminum hub to break to prevent damage to the rest of the unit. A week or so later I was back to mowing. The price was right for me and the quality is good.

I did a lot of research on the low to mid end (sized) units and found a great deal on a dixon used about 15 hours. I thought about a 60" tractor. I have several Maple trees to mow around and it would require a max 38"-42" deck to fit between 99% of them. My 42" ZTR mows faster than my 48" tractor did. Did I say a lot faster. Well worth the extra price.

Mike
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:12:47 PM EDT
Why not go used? Lot's of used commercial stuff, some of it not in too bad a shape.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:29:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/15/2006 5:30:10 PM EDT by Hedonist]
The challenges I have are that my lot has many faces. I have 2 acres of pine woods, an acre of lawn, and a rocky weedy couple of acres out back. Past the rocky area out back is a nice canal where we launch our boat, fish, or just take a walk to - so it's worth mowing because its on the way to somewhere nice.

I need something that won't bend when I hit something, which is often. I must have the heavy gauge steel to last. Many of the trees here are only about 4 feet apart, so a huge deck is a problem, 50" is about as large as I can get and remain highly manueverable. I need a small commercial type machine that is built like a tank.

The 3-4K mowers just don't have the steel. I've been spoiled by my old mower that was super heavy duty. Before I had that mower I used to just bend up the decks on the cheap ones and spent as much time fixing as I did mowing. Understand I have boys with 4 wheelers and motorcycles that continuously uproot grapefruit size rocks. My old ZTR mower had 3 blades spinning at 18,000 rpm, and those rocks just exploded when hit. That mower didn't take shit from anything, but it was, in fact, a commercial machine.

I'm all for either saving money, or saving effort. It sounds like a service is too much money for 5 acres. So I need the best deal I can get on a heavy guage steel machine that will last several years. I have a large garage, so it will garage kept and well maintained. That's another thing, the cheaper mowers are not built for maintenance - they are built to be replaced.

So I was quoted about 8 grand for what they said was a 9 grand machine. I'll be happy to do better and that's why I am here. Once I find a good machine for the job, then I'll wheel and deal, but if my needs dictate a 7 or 8K machine than I'd be an idiot to bend up a cheap machine and toss it every couple of years.

So far, you all are helping with suggestions. The more you understand my needs, and the more I understand your experiences - the better decision I can make and spend the right amount for the right machine.

Thanks...
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:34:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Why not go used? Lot's of used commercial stuff, some of it not in too bad a shape.



I thought about that, but I have a few bucks and can make the investment in new and enjoy those benefits. I bought the old ZTR used for a grand (originally over 10K new) and put about 3 grand into it. It was pretty old when I bought it, but now I'm the old one and I rather spend than work on it.

With these type machines, a borderline hydrostat can cost plenty. Unless I'm buying from a landscaper going out o business its more likely I'd be buying someone elses slowly dieing machine. I need this machine in the prime of its life, and not in the middle of its life cycle.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:37:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VT_K9:
I bought a Dixon ZTR 42". I am pretty happy with it. I did run into a well cap that was hidden. It cut the cap up pretty good and then the blade bound. This caused one of the Aluminum hub to break to prevent damage to the rest of the unit. A week or so later I was back to mowing. The price was right for me and the quality is good.

I did a lot of research on the low to mid end (sized) units and found a great deal on a dixon used about 15 hours. I thought about a 60" tractor. I have several Maple trees to mow around and it would require a max 38"-42" deck to fit between 99% of them. My 42" ZTR mows faster than my 48" tractor did. Did I say a lot faster. Well worth the extra price.

Mike



Does Dixon make a more reasonably priced heavy duty machine? I don't need too many bells and whistles, just shear power, heavy metal, and blades that spin fast enough to explode rocks.
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 7:19:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KA3B:
Cub Cadet with a 22 horse Kawasaki motor at the Home D for under 3 grand.




Wow, that deck looks like it's about as strong as a UN resolution.
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