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Thread: New Zero Turn Mower

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,158
    Funny how everyone’s experiences can be so different. Some seem to despise John Deere I guess but between my Dad and I, we have two 300 series lawn tractors (dealer models, not big box store models), a 700 series zero turn, a 5045 tractor with implements and a two seat gator and other than blades and oil changes never a problem. We’ve also worn out two more 300 series tractors with only the oil and blades mentioned. We live in different cities and both of our dealers have been outstanding. My dealer is an Ag Pro location and I think his is actually a John Deere franchise store maybe. Anyway, it’s the one brand I wouldn’t worry about the local dealer closing, especially if you live in an agricultural part of the country. Our prior tractor was a Massey Furgeson 231S though and the lift leaked and we struggled to get parts for that sucker. Lack of dealer and/or manufacturer support.

    As far as equipment itself though, I’m sure any of the commercial grade machines would be great as long as you have dependable dealer support available. My yard is small and Gravely makes a 36” deck zero turn that I may look at when my current Deere wears out, but I’ve only got 55 hours on it so it will be a while.
    Last edited by Greg Parrish; 09-17-2019 at 9:30 AM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Highland MI
    Posts
    3,641
    Blog Entries
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    Short answer, anything but a Deere, you need to call out a lab tech/Deere rep (competent or not) to deal with repair of those things. They have a "nobody but us can legally repair them" attitude that is utterly repugnant, and they need to be driven into insolvency, the only answer to that. Sorry and good luck (so far.)
    Sounds like you have had a bad experience. You would think that with service like they would go out of business. But they haven't. Actually I am not sure what servicing a competent DIY'er couldn't do. I sold my Saber hydrostatic lawn tractor (Made by Deere) to my neighbor and it is still running. Only had to help him change a mower belt in all these years. It has to be going on 20 years old. Not saying they are in the same league as a commercial ZT that costs twice as much. Each of them has been in the shop exactly once in their lifetime.
    NOW you tell me...

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    West Tennessee
    Posts
    23
    I have a 52" Exmark Radius E, Exmark motor ... well pleased a tough machine.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    13,246
    Dixie Choper 72" deck, 25 hp Koehler engine, over 20 years old.
    Replaced one belt last year.
    Most parts are available from original vendors if the dealer doesn't have them.
    My only complaint is that it has no suspension, like riding on a cinder block.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    8,324

    What I use

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lehnert View Post
    Starting to think about a new Zero Turn Mower.
    I now own a Toro 52" with a 19 Hp Kawasaki that I have been happy with. Mow 2 1/2 acr all flat.

    What brand have you been happy with?
    More important. Is there a brand you have had trouble with? Parts hard to get etc.....
    Dave,

    The first zero turn I bought for the farm was a Toro, gas engine, 42" cut. I really liked it and could mow far faster than the riding mower, 4 times faster and with a less effort.

    But after a season or so I got a Kubota (ZD25), 25hp diesel, 60" cut. Hydrostatic drive motors, PTO drive to the deck, water-cooled engine.

    mower.jpg

    The Kubota is FAR better and faster, more comfortable. The Toro feels like a rattly toy mower and the Kubota feels solid and professional. I can mow twice as fast as the Toro which puts me about 8 times faster than the riding lawnmower. It also uses less fuel than the gas engine which offsets the higher cost of diesel. The power is incredible and I do have hills. As well keeping the grass trimmed I use it to "bushhog", cutting grass and weeds 3' high, brush and such in the woods, mowing over limbs, hitting an occasional rock. The think is built like a tank.

    When mowing I always thought that if it broke down today I'd go buy another one tomorrow.

    Well, after about 13 seasons of hard use it still refuses to die! The engine always starts immediately even after sitting all winter and runs like new. It does take a little maintenance like changing hydraulic fluids and filters on schedule, greasing. I've had to replace the deck belt once when I got a stick wedged and it shredded.

    This year I decided to get a second Kubota (ZD1200), also a 25 hp diesel with a 60" deck. The current models have better controls and features, flexible side chute instead of steel, better seat and control panel, dual fuel tanks. For example, the hydraulic deck controls are foot operated so you can raise the deck temporarily if needed without taking your hands off the control levers.

    mower_ZD1211_20190807_153226.jpg

    I'm using the new mower just for grass and keeping the old one for the rough stuff. I know that may sound a little decadent but hey, I'm getting to be elderly and feeble! These mowers are a joy to use.

    As for how much I mow, in grass season I mow about 3 acres every week: around the house, around the outside of the fields, along the road frontage, and a couple of places with fruit trees and such. When needed, I mow another 3 to 8 acres in the pastures. If the grass gets too high in the 5-acre horse pasture the seeds can bother the horse's eyes. I mow pastures to about 5".

    One thing to consider is the dealer and service. I really like and trust the Kubota dealers here (and I've had some experience with others). Unlike buying from Home Depot, an equipment dealer will give you expert service and advice - this is worth a lot. I'm sure other brands are just as good but this works for me. At the moment I have the two Kubota mowers, a Kubota RTV, Kubota tractor, and Kubota excavator. (and one old John Deere skid steer!)

    The Kubota is in fact expensive. I paid about $12k for the first one years ago. The new one was about $14K for a cash deal. For my use I consider it money well spent.

    JKJ

    Edt: Hey, if you get down this way come try it yourself. I'm a bit north of Knoxville.
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 09-17-2019 at 8:40 AM.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    49,568
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lehnert View Post
    How much land do you mow each week?
    We own 3.8 acres and I mow about 2.5 acres of that, give or take....similar to your situation. My SCAG Freedom-Z has a 54" deck which was also a good fit for getting in and around things as well as getting the large open area done efficiently. My Kubota tractor originally had a 60" deck for mowing, but it was unwieldy to remove and attach and I didn't like having to remove the backhoe and FEL for mowing. (not technically required, but "spatially" unworkable for mowing)

    Kubota ZTRs are excellent but are premium machines. I paid under $5K for my SCAG. The Kubota would have been double that at the time, although it's a more substantial piece of machinery. In this area, you see ExMark, SCAG and Hustler the most with commercial cutters, but that's always affected by "who's selling and servicing locally". Ferris is really nice because of the suspension, and if I had a far larger property to mow, that would be on my radar for sure.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
    Posts
    1,017
    Test drive the Ferris or equivalent Simplicity. The suspension is a deal breaker. I tried Kubota but the suspension sold me on the Simplicity. I'm with Keith that the Dixie Chopper is well made and bullet proof. But your teeth vibrate on anything without suspension. The patented 4 wheel suspension is smooth. You still feel big bumps because you can't eliminate everything. I looked this morning and I have 73 hours on it currently.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati Ohio
    Posts
    4,461
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Parrish View Post
    Funny how everyone’s experiences can be so different. Some seem to despise John Deere I guess but between my Dad and I, we have two 300 series lawn tractors (dealer models, not big box store models), a 700 series zero turn, a 5045 tractor with implements and a two seat gator and other than blades and oil changes never a problem. We’ve also worn out two more 300 series tractors with only the oil and blades mentioned. We live in different cities and both of our dealers have been outstanding. My dealer is an Ag Pro location and I think his is actually a John Deere franchise store maybe. Anyway, it’s the one brand I wouldn’t worry about the local dealer closing, especially if you live in an agricultural part of the country. Our prior tractor was a Massey Furgeson 231S though and the lift leaked and we struggled to get parts for that sucker. Lack of dealer and/or manufacturer support.

    As far as equipment itself though, I’m sure any of the commercial grade machines would be great as long as you have dependable dealer support available. My yard is small and Gravely makes a 36” deck zero turn that I may look at when my current Deere wears out, but I’ve only got 55 hours on it so it will be a while.


    My Toro ZTR I have now came from a local John Deere dealer. Been in the bizz for years. They were well known ,to tell customers with John Deere mowers from the big box stores, to go back there and have them service it. Deere walked in one morning and pulled their dealership. They only lasted a handful of years then closed.
    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
    - Rick Dale

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,158
    Thats just a sign of a bad dealer, regardless of the brand. Where I live, and I assume the same applies nationwide, the local dealer does all of the uncrating and setup of JD tractors at the box store. In fact the box store said they were not even allowed to touch the new arrivals until the dealer rep was on site. Warranty is handled by the local JD dealer here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lehnert View Post
    My Toro ZTR I have now came from a local John Deere dealer. Been in the bizz for years. They were well known ,to tell customers with John Deere mowers from the big box stores, to go back there and have them service it. Deere walked in one morning and pulled their dealership. They only lasted a handful of years then closed.

  10. #25
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-42...R100/308040433

    Just think about it It's the Tesla of lawn mowers

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    25
    about 5 acres

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,005
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-42...R100/308040433

    Just think about it It's the Tesla of lawn mowers
    I was going to mention this one but you beat me to it. I can not figure out if it uses propriatary batteries. The old GE lawn tractors use regular 12 volt car batteries.
    Bill D

  13. #28
    I think long term a commercial mower is going to be better. They say the difference is going to be the hydraulic motors and the spindle/deck.

    I have a Scag. Its been a very good machine for me. For homeowner use it has a 3 year warranty parts AND labor. I don't think you can beat that! And I like the idea of MUSA.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    49,568
    I've also found that self-maintenance on my SCAG (something I'm not particularly fond of doing from a task perspective...maintaining vehicles) has been pretty easy. The one thing I did do was replace the front wheel/tire assemblies with non-pneumatic Marathon setups because on a few places I mow, the angle while turning was causing me to break the bead on the blow-up tires a little too frequently...'nature of the beast with low pressure pneumatics. But that was after they were worn and needed replaced anyway.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    55
    Dealer, dealer and dealer is what counts when buying a zero turn mower.
    You can buy upgraded suspension seats for about any mower
    Hustler has a Flex Fork option for their mowers as well as a lot of other brands
    Dealer makes/breaks how good a mower is when you have problems
    Worked over 20 years now in 2 different school districts buying and maintaining everything from push mowers up to 16' 80+ hp diesel riders
    Worse zero turn came from a large JD dealer took all summer to get to 8 hrs on clock, 5 trips back to shop. Identical mower bought 6 months before with higher serial number went over 2000 hrs with no problems at all.
    Dealer, Dealer, Dealer is what counts, as any brand will make a bad one sometime

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