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Zero Turn Mowers

#48Fan

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#1
I'm in the market for a zero turn. Will be my first. I'm tired of mowing my 2 acres with my worn out Craftsman. Looking to spend $5000 or less if possible. Wondering if anyone had any recommendations or things to watch out for.

Right now, I'm considering a Bobcat. Never realized they made mowers, but my local dealer is a really nice and helpful feller. I've dealt with him in the past for parts, blades, etc.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

<SLV>

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#2
I love my Hustler. I have a Raptor HD with the Kawasaki motor. Nothing better for this price in the market. There is so much demand for the Kawasaki motor that they can't get enough for their Raptor product line anymore, so you would have to upgrade. But I wouldn't get anything but a Kawasaki if I wanted it to last for life.

My Raptor HD doesn't have a fully boxed frame, and that is the only thing I wished it had. The Fastrak does, however. I upgraded with the spring loaded front forks, and the difference in ride is substantial. I also added a pair of LED headlights I got off Amazon so I can finish up at dusk.

When I bought it they were offering 0% interest on a 4 year loan. I paid $4,300+tax, so my payments are $95ish per month.
 

D-FENZ

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#3
I use a Country Clipper with a 54" deck and a 25 hp Kohler engine and I love it. But anything is better than the JD 318 that I used to use. It cut my mowing time from 8 hours plus trimming to 2 hours flat with almost no need for trimming. Zero turn is the only way to go.

A couple pieces of advice: There are lots of good quality mowers out there. Just make sure yours is hydrostatic drive with separate hydro units for each drive wheel. Avoid cheaper ones with a single hydro. And don't worry too much about the deck width. The newer units are so fast that a few inches wider in deck width doesn't mean it is that much faster. And depending on the lay of your land, wider decks will be more prone to scalping and are harder to get into small areas.
 

#48Fan

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#5
Thanks for the replies. I keep seeing something about the size of the transmission. Like, don't buy anything under a 3100? Haven't seen any hustler dealers in my town, that I know of.
Been wondering about deck size as well. My craftsman is 42" and is too damn small. I'm mowing approx 2 acres, mostly flat and smooth other than the roadside ditch. Many trees with large roots. Takes me about 4 hours on a nice dry day.
 

mayhem

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#6
10-4 on the wider decks. I had to quit doing mine 4 years ago. Bought a Dixie Chopper 54" used when RE went belly up and all the lawn service Co.'s with them. The guy who does my 1-1/2 acre now uses a Gravley(sp) 60" and it does leave some low edges. Then to he might have a bent spindle, or a bent deck at the spindle. Quite common if ya don't pay attention and it grab a low stump. He works on call and that works for me. Everyone else wants a yearly contract. All the beaners left long ago.

@<SLV> I did like that Hustler with the flip up deck for ease of blade changing. :-)
 

glockngold

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#8
I have a lot of old pasture with hills I mow.
On the advice of a landscaper, I bought a used (500hr) Scagg Turf Tiger 61" deck, Kawasaki.
It's a beast, & I knock the snot out of it.
So far, so good.
PS,
Always turn uphill.
If you get into trouble, just stop.
 

glockngold

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#9
Don't know anything about Bobcat mowers.
Found this interesting: http://www.schillergc.com/
whichever mower you get, don't scrimp on the seat.
You will be able to travel remarkably fast, and feel every bump.
Even with my suspension seat, lower back suffers after a day in the saddle.
 

Goldhedge

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#11

Uglytruth

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#13
737 JD, 23hp Kawasaki (same bore & stroke as the 25hp engine), 60" cut, heavy duty rectangular steel frame. Great mower. Only complaint is a general one and I don't know if any manufactures make a rear discharge. Discharge is always on the right so when you go around a tree your always turning to the left and inside tire ends up killing, tearing up the grass. In a high wind you can get covered in grass. I bought a used commercial used mower with 100 hrs on it. Not great for hills but I'm able to mow my ditch fine.
 

mayhem

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#15
737 JD, 23hp Kawasaki (same bore & stroke as the 25hp engine), 60" cut, heavy duty rectangular steel frame. Great mower. Only complaint is a general one and I don't know if any manufactures make a rear discharge. Discharge is always on the right so when you go around a tree your always turning to the left and inside tire ends up killing, tearing up the grass. In a high wind you can get covered in grass. I bought a used commercial used mower with 100 hrs on it. Not great for hills but I'm able to mow my ditch fine.
That's why they make string trimmers. Just think of it like NASCAR, always turning left.

Aside, I don't think it would be at all possible to make a flat blade rear discharge mower.
 

Uglytruth

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#16
I figured they didn't want to run over the rear discharged grass with the rear tires. It would clump on the tires.
 

Howdy

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#17
Whatever you buy, don't leave ethanol laced gas in the fuel system during the winter. It will gum everything up. If you can't buy non-ethanol gas, use AV gas or run the system completely dry in the fall. Fuel stabilizer is not enough to keep the ethanol gas good all winter, unless you have a very short winter.
 

#48Fan

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#18
Whatever you buy, don't leave ethanol laced gas in the fuel system during the winter. It will gum everything up. If you can't buy non-ethanol gas, use AV gas or run the system completely dry in the fall. Fuel stabilizer is not enough to keep the ethanol gas good all winter, unless you have a very short winter.
Roger that, I only run premium non ethanol.
 

Goldfinger

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#19
My very strong advice to you; buy once, cry once. I found that out the hard way. I bought a residential model zero turn for $3,800. Within about a year of having it, I clipped the deck on a stump and broke the mowing deck loose. The next thing i know, I'm having to try and spot weld the thing back every other time I was mowing because it kept breaking loose. Then the Briggs & Stratton on it started crapping out on me and became a real SOB to start. I said the hell with it and went and bought myself a Scag Tiger Cat. Its a beast. I doubt I'll ever have to buy another mower. You could probably find one with low hours used within your price range. Or, your local dealer may have an interest free same as cash deal going. I know a lot of folks around here seethe at the thought of taking a loan, but interest free is interest free. Whatever you do, I would strongly advise you spend the extra $ and get a commercial mower with either a Kawasaki or maybe a Kohler engine.
 

stonedywankanobe

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#20
So we've got 3 acres here and I've beat up and worn out 2 regular riding mowers in 7 years. They simply aren't built for it. Granted all were bought used but in decent shape for what I paid.

Last year I was using a MTD yard machine with a 42 inch deck to mow half my yard. I just let the back go as I couldn't take the extra 2 hours of abuse, riding that bastard. Went through 3 deck belts last summer at 30 bucks each and the drive belt went the last time I mowed with it.

I've been dreading the shit out of this cutting season and have yet to mow. Brings me to today, I'd put it off for too long already and had the day off because of rain. Went to fire up the mtd and the battery was dead and refused a charge. Rolled to Walmarts ass and bought a battery then to Home Depot lookin for a drive belt. No dice.

Decided I'd go to the local John Deere dealer and inquire about a belt. The more I thought about riding on that piece of shit all summer the less I wanted that part. Got to looking at the hero turns like most of the neighbors that I'm jealous of have and decided that this ole boy has had enough of these bullshit lawn tractors.

Rather than ask about a belt I went home, got me trailer and dragged one of these home instead.

IMG_0458.JPG
 
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glockngold

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#22
Stonedy,
Good for you!
Buying my (used) ZTR was the coolest thing on this place in a long time.
I'm actually looking for more stuff to cut, "just cause I can".
 

Uglytruth

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#24
Keep grass out of the cylinder cover. I switched to Brad Penn high zink oil because after a few years the rear cylinder overheated & it was getting sticky valves & bending push rods. Keep an eye on the rocker arm clearance.
 

DodgebyDave

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#25
Guise. Protip: If you are spending more than a half hour at a time mowing...........you don't own enough woods or ponds!
 

hernancortes

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#26
Rented a Dixie Chopper to mow 5 acres more than 20 years ago.. this was when ZTR's were fairly new to the market. Nothing I've used since has come close to it in handling, speed, precision. I don't know about the longevity. These days for my 1/2 acre it's me and my un-killable Forest Gump Snapper rear engine rider. Super easy to maintain and the 30" blade cuts through anything. Inexplicably Snapper stopped making the classic design a couple years ago.
 

TAEZZAR

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#29
737 JD, 23hp Kawasaki (same bore & stroke as the 25hp engine), 60" cut, heavy duty rectangular steel frame. Great mower. Only complaint is a general one and I don't know if any manufactures make a rear discharge. Discharge is always on the right so when you go around a tree your always turning to the left and inside tire ends up killing, tearing up the grass. In a high wind you can get covered in grass. I bought a used commercial used mower with 100 hrs on it. Not great for hills but I'm able to mow my ditch fine.
I have a Simplicity Baron mower, made in USA, with rear discharge. I just step on a pedal & the rear end flips up & dumps - I love it BUT, it's getting tired. I have 3 acres, that it has mowed (in 3 hours) for 18 years. I hit rocks, stumps, twigs, chicken shit, goose shit & it has taken "a licken & keeps on a ticken" ! I have bought & made parts for it, but now it's so old, It's starting to break belts & they are pricey.
I would get another one, but they are no longer made. So a zero turn is in my future.
I even race Canada Honkers with it.
Thanks to all that are contributing.

JOE & LAWNMOWER 004 - Copy (Large).jpg
 

TAEZZAR

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#30