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#465680 - 03/03/17 06:51 PM Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
I have been following the tractor post with a huge amount of interest do to the fact that my farm tractor is older than I am.I would love to upgrade to a newer more dependable tractor but I am afraid my 18yr old zero turn mower is due to be replaced first.
My zero turn mower is an Encore Z48 mower that has about 800hrs on it.I have replaced the each spindle atleast once due to broken mounting flanges,and spindle bearings probably 3 times.I replaced the electric clutch and all the safety switches last year.Have had the starter rebuilt twice and replaced once.It seems like I might have a drive motor that is starting to get weak so I feel like it might be time to upgrade mowers.
My yard area and barn lot are about 2 acres and I mow them weekly.I also mow my pond area and trails about twice a month which is probably an additional 1.5 acres.It usually takes me 2.5-3 hours to mow everything.My yard is hard clay,uneven and full of moles and tree roots.Needless to say my mower has had a rough life.I have several areas that stay wet for about a third of the summer so it is not uncommon for me to get the mower stuck!
First I would like to go to a wider mower deck probably either a 54" or 60" cut.I would like a suspension seat or suspension on the mower.I would like a mower that is durable and dependable with greasable spindles and is fairly easy to work on and service.. AND here comes the hard part!! I would like to stay under 7K if possible.
When I purchased the mower I have now there were not alot of options for zero turns now it seems like there are so many choices it can be overwhelming to compare them all.
How many hours can I expect to get out of the newer mowers?I see alot of used ones with over 1000 hrs.I would be elated if my next mower would last that long.I know some of the newer commercial mowers are heavy and I wonder if the will get hung up more often then the mower I have now?I appreciate any suggestions or guidance!

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#465682 - 03/03/17 06:59 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2028
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Please look at the Bad Boy ZTR mowers. I have heard good things about them.
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#465684 - 03/03/17 07:04 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
Thanks John! I will take a look at them.

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#465685 - 03/03/17 07:27 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5164
Loc: SE Kansas
I second taking a look look at Bad Boy. Made in Arkansas, started out making a mower for themselves. Story of their company on their web site.

I'm a farmer and mowing lawn grass is a totally time wasting and unproductive job there ever was. I hated it and our lawn showed it. If it grows and needs mowed but doesn't feed cows, it has to be a waste of time, right?

But I will say after getting my Bad Boy Outlaw XP 72" mower, it is almost a pleasant job. And that is saying something from me.

Well made machine, built like a machine instead of a toy.

I also have a 3pt 84" finish mower for my tractor. Figured wife and I could run both and get the disgusting job done twice as fast. With the Bad Boy the second mower hardly ever gets hooked up. Then I only use it for rougher work at that. The XP mows grass so fast and efficiently, wish I had never bought the tractor mower. Didn't really need it.


Edited by snrub (03/03/17 07:37 PM)
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#465696 - 03/03/17 10:10 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
I'll weigh in on this.

Tubguy, what you're asking for is kinda' like those folks who want multiple 10 lb bass, 2 lb bluegills, 16" crappie, and world class YP, all in a one acre pond. Without the bother of feeding or aeration. Oh, and they want to be able to catch one after another, 7 days a week. I won't say it's impossible, but it hints strongly at being difficult to the twelfth power.

Ok, now that your hopes are crushed, lets see what our options are. Don't worry, with a little flexibility on your part I think you can get pretty close to having your fish sandwich and eating it too.

When I was in the business, I got asked nearly everyday what the "best" mower out there was. I had a standard response, and it still holds true today. For absolute mower meanness, bad-to-the-bone grass cutting, get it done day in and day out, my choice is a Diesel Kubota ZTR. Awesome machines, with an awesome price tag to match. My next pick would be Scag. These guys started life as a metal fabrication company, and it shows in their mowers. Can you say heavy? Heavy as in duty, and heavy as in "I just buried it in the front yard." This is my personal brand, and like they say, if you want to know which mower is best, look at what color the mower guy is using on his own yard.

From there on it all kind of runs together in my eyes, but I'll toss out a few more names I hold in pretty high regard. Ferris, Hustler, Gravely, and yes, Encore, all build some pretty good machines. Notice I didn't mention Dixie Chopper. The folks at chopper build fast, shiny mowers. And they are marketing geniuses, intent upon making their brand a household name. Do you know why their claim to fame is a fast machine? Because if a Scag could catch a Chopper, it would be all over. The Scag would run over top of it, shred it to pieces, and blow those pieces out the discharge chute. Seriously, get on a Chopper, then climb on a Scag...it will be readily apparent. The Scag feels battleship solid, while the Chopper feels like a kid's swingset.

If it were me, I would check out a Scag Tiger Cat, with a 52" deck. Look em' up online, or stop by a dealer and be impressed in person. Probably have a few engine choices, with a fuel injected Kohler being one. They've pretty well got the bugs worked out, and it is pretty sexy, but that carbureted Kawasaki would be hard for me to resist.

Now comes the flexibility on your part, part. My Tiger Cat was 7 grand, almost 7 years ago. I highly doubt that they have come down in price. There's room for negotiation, but maybe not THAT much room. Still, if you can swing it, they get the nod from me.

Whatever brand you decide, a few pointers if I may. Buy from a dealer, not a box store. Try to stick with a brand that has local representation...any and every machine will need parts and/or service sometime. It's nice to have that support close at hand. When it comes to mowers, bigger is better in some areas, not so much in others. Bigger tires equals better ride. Bigger engine equals better performance in high grass. Bigger mower deck width may equal unsatisfactory quality of cut...the wider the deck, the less it's able to follow uneven terrain. If your yard is relatively smooth and flat, no problem. But if it's typical southern Indiana clay, with dips, holes, banks, ridges, roots,...then maybe a little narrower is your best bet.

Good luck, if you have any questions I will do my best to help so ask away. And go fishing. It's good for you.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#465697 - 03/03/17 10:12 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
dg84s Offline


Registered: 10/20/13
Posts: 94
Loc: North Central Texas
I have owned a SCAG Turf Tiger (61" width) for about four years. It listed for $10K, I bought it in off-season for $8k. My only complaint is the blowing dust and grass on windy days. A dust mask helps, but not much.
http://www.scag.com/turftiger.html

I also looked at Kubota zero-turn mowers. I really liked that their mowing deck pivots up so you can remove blades for sharpening from the front. They were slightly more expensive and the dealer was less willing to discount factory pricing.


Edited by dg84s (03/03/17 10:20 PM)

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#465712 - 03/04/17 06:57 AM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
FireIsHot Offline
Moderator


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 3845
Loc: Emory TX
Another vote for a Scag Tiger Cat. I would tell you all the reasons why, but Tony pretty well nailed it. I got the Tiger Cat 2 with the carbed Kawasaki and a 52" deck. I hate time on a stick, and the narrower 52" deck let me get into tighter areas, and stay away from the trimmers. I think it's rated for 20 acres a day?

There are several reasons why I personally went with a Scag, but a local outdoor power shop who have always taken great care of my old equipment was as big a reason as any. When in Dallas, I also paid attention to what the commercial lawn services are buying. Most use Scags now.

We had an eXmark for years, maybe 12, and I babied it for the last 3 or 4 years, and only replaced it when it finally dropped a cylinder.

dg84s, our Scag came with the velocity deck, so I just had to remove the side discharge, and install the mulching plate. It seems to be less dusty now.


Edited by FireIsHot (03/04/17 06:58 AM)
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#465727 - 03/04/17 09:46 AM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1857
Loc: West Michigan
We have a few Dixon units up north here but I understand they are more common in the south? Where do they fit in?

It is funny that here in MI almost all the crews with very very few exceptions run Exmark (toro). You rarely will find a trailer that doesn't have exmark on it. The used ones that are beat on and worn out still command very high prices. There are very few Scag and I think there is one Bad Boy dealer within 100 miles of my house. We have showrooms close by with toro, husqvarna, kubota and Ariens/gravely but just don't see many on the trailers, or many sold used.

I think most people around here still buy big box store cub cadet or home owner grade JD and toro. That is probably why the fixit shops run a good business and there are tons of used/broken ones for sale.

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#465737 - 03/04/17 11:39 AM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: snrub]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
Thanks Snrub for the reply.I have found that I don't enjoy mowing as much as I used too.I have recently rediscovered an old passion that I used to have "fishing"! I used to feel guilty taking time away from yard work,repairing buildings and equipment to wet a line.Since we had our pond built it is much easier to get distracted.I find myself leisurely walking along the water feeding fish,checking the standpipe,watching ducks and of course,trying to catch and cull those darned old green sunfish
Every time I mow around the pond I find myself watching for fish feeding on top of the water.I wonder if any of the new ZTR mowers come with a fishing pole holder?
I will work on my short list of mower choices.I had looked at the Bad Boys before.It looks like the nearest dealer is about an hour away.I have a job scheduled near the dealer later in the month so I might drop by and take a look at their inventory.

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#465743 - 03/04/17 12:14 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
Rangersedge Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 837
Loc: Illinois
We have had an exmark diesel for about years and it has been good. For most part. At one time, the larger commercial lawn care services in this area used them. Think most now use kabota.
_________________________

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#465744 - 03/04/17 12:22 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: sprkplug]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
[quote

Tubguy, what you're asking for is kinda' like those folks who want multiple 10 lb bass, 2 lb bluegills, 16" crappie, and world class YP, all in a one acre pond. Without the bother of feeding or aeration. Oh, and they want to be able to catch one after another, 7 days a week. I won't say it's impossible, but it hints strongly at being difficult to the twelfth power.
[/quote]


Sparky, I really don't expect to catch 10lb bass and I didn't even stock crappie or YP ( Bill Cody talked me out of it!), but a 2lb bluegill would probably get me excited.
I appreciate your weighing in. I strongly agree with your opinion of the Dixie Choppers.I have used a couple of Dixie Choppers at work and they just seem cheap and will not hold steady even on the slightest sidehill.I looked at Scags before when I purchased my last mower and I was also afraid of them being to heavy for my yard.It does seem they are the standard which most other mowers are measured by.I would love to splurge and buy a Scag but I might have to settle for something a little cheaper or find a slightly used low hour Scag(I am still not expecting to catch 10lb bass).
We do have a Scag dealer here in town that also carries Hustler (not the magazine).I also have an Exmark dealer,a couple of Toro dealers, Husqvarna,John Deere and Kubota that are within 30 minutes drive.
I will try to do some research soon and try to find my next self propelled bush hog grin
It is still tempting to see if the Kubota dealer might give me a awesome package deal on a tractor and a ZTR mower.Thanks again for your time!

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#465746 - 03/04/17 12:28 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5164
Loc: SE Kansas
Cull those GFS??? You can't be serious! laugh laugh Pound for pound (ok, oz for oz), they are the touhest, fightenest fish in your pond. Ok, well not everybody appreciates the much maligned GSF.

I can't give you any long term or wide lattitude of experience that sprkplug has. I have owned the XP for three seasons only, and it is my first and only ZT mower. I have had lots of experience with machinery though and can tell the machine I have is well built, from the frame to the seperate pump/hydrostat for each side. Mine is Kawasaki efi carbureted engine.

What sold me on it though was the suspension. The XP model rides on rubber front and rear. I have had 3 back surgeries and ride is important to me. I also equipped it with the optional suspended seat. The XP with these features rides 5 times better than my compact Diesel tractor. With rigid frame and solid seat, I suspect mowing would not go as well for me.

The other models of the Bad Boy I have had no experience. My daughter and grandson liked mine so well they bought one too, but they did not spring for the cost of the extra seat.


Edited by snrub (03/04/17 01:24 PM)
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John

I subscribe to Pond Boss Magazine

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#465747 - 03/04/17 12:30 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4223
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Our 1990 Scag walk behind just went to the shop for the first time. My wife must be hard on it... I told her to stop mowing fence rows with it:)


Edited by RAH (03/04/17 12:32 PM)

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#465749 - 03/04/17 12:38 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: RAH]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5164
Loc: SE Kansas
I have heard the Scag is an excellent mower. The dealer I bought the Bad Boy from is also Scag and Exmark dealer as well as a New Holand dealer. They spoke highly of the Scag.

My buddy has a Kubota Diesel and he loves it. But I figured for what the Kubota cost I could wear out two of the Bad Boys almost so I figured I might rather have another new one some time instead of keeping one so long. My buddy had hydrostat go out on his Kubota prematurely and I had read on some lawn care discussion boards there have been some short life problems with the mower deck gear drive train. So for me I decided not to go the extra cost. Kubota stuff are fine machines though.


Edited by snrub (03/04/17 12:42 PM)
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#465755 - 03/04/17 01:18 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Tub, I would definitely approach the Kubota dealer on a package deal. Couldn't hurt, and it will give them more maneuvering room.

I have experienced a couple gearbox failures on the Kubota decks, but they have since corrected the issue. In both instances Kubota stepped up and made it right, so I give them props for that.

Scag now features an optional capsule to isolate the operator platform from the rest of the machine. I have no experience with them, so cannot comment as to their effectiveness. Looks good on paper.

Scag includes independent pumps and motors on their commercial machines, which includes the Tiger Cat. Many homeowner machines, and some crossover units, utilize integrated transaxles. In the early days they were considered a light duty feature, but they have come a long way since then. Still, I do prefer independent units.

I'm with you on the excitement of a 2lb bluegill. I THINK, think, I may be there. Should know in a few weeks.

Go fishing today. It's beautiful out there, AND it's good for you.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#465760 - 03/04/17 02:40 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
teehjaeh57 Offline
Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7882
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Just another reason this forum is so amazing-I appreciate everyone's feedback on the tractor and mower threads. What a great resource - thanks guys!
_________________________
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau





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#465763 - 03/04/17 02:59 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: snrub]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
Originally Posted By: snrub
Cull those GFS??? You can't be serious! laugh laugh Pound for pound (ok, oz for oz), they are the touhest, fightenest fish in your pond. Ok, well not everybody appreciates the much maligned GSF.


I just wish they would eat the cheap fish food and leave the Optimal alone!

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#465764 - 03/04/17 03:05 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: RAH]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 138
Loc: Southern Indiana
Originally Posted By: RAH
Our 1990 Scag walk behind just went to the shop for the first time. My wife must be hard on it... I told her to stop mowing fence rows with it:)


That reminds me,I would also like a mower that is very comfortable for my wife!! Because I always have better things to do grin

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#465801 - 03/05/17 07:49 AM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4223
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
My wife says she will not use a rider of any kind. She prefers walking.

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#465921 - 03/06/17 12:45 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 792
Loc: West Central Missouri
I can put in 2 cents for the Gravely HD 60 that I bought last spring. With add-on included, I spent about $5,700. Keep in mind that I upgraded from a 14 year old Huskee lawn tractor, but the Gravely HD is one heck of a mower for the price. It is one step away from the commercial mower which costs about $2,000 more with the same upgrades. I got the suspension ride seat upgrade and ended up putting on the mild ag style rear tires. The oem tires did not have enough control or traction for all the steep hills and wet areas that I mow. It has the fabricated 60" deck which is the biggest deck you can get on this model. This big deck does take away some of it's engine power compared to smaller decks, but it does add to its resistance to pulling wheelies while going up hill and I do not need the extra power for speed because my mowing area is more like a obstacle course compared to a Nascar track. I don't think I could pull a wheelie if I tried. I also added tow lugs to the back of it in case I end up face first in the many ditches and soon to be pond. The ag tires also help considerable with the zero turn's lack of control which they all are know for. They will tear up a finely manicured lawn if you get in a hurry, but are very easy on the turf if you can be patient enough through the tight corners. I'm not that patient, but my yard is not manicured either and I feel like my life is not at risk in some of the more risky areas of my property. I do know that there are no grease-able bearings on this HD, but the spindles housings are cast iron for more durability.

I would have looked at the Scag, but I don't have a local dealer and I did look at the Bad Boy mowers, but ended up hanging my hat on the Gravely for no real good reason other than the minor relationship I already had with the Gravely dealer who handles my Stihl work.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#465928 - 03/06/17 01:18 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: Quarter Acre]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5164
Loc: SE Kansas
I originally shyed away from ZT mowers because I imagined they would be hard to keep on grade on side hills like my new pond dam. JD dealer somewhat confirmed that they were not the best for sidehill work (his opinion, being an owner and user of one) but encouraged me to take one of their used machines and try it out for a few hours. I liked it better than I thought I would and had the wife drive it (under duress) because if we both ended up mowing I wanted her to be happy with it. She liked it and took right to it.

So then, with ZT mowers under considerarion, started looking around. The JD looked like a good machine and I had friends that were very happy with them.

But then I saw the Bad Boy Outlaw XP and immediately noticed features that would be better for my particular use. First it looked like I would get a lot more mower for the money.......always good. But the real selling points for me beyond good mechanical construction and price compared to value was 1. The suspension system (for my bad back) and 2. the fact that tbe rear drive had a wider stance than the Deere. It was several inches wider at the rear wheels (maybe a negative if you want a narrow deck) and I knew fron running various track farm tractors that tread width was directly proportional to not only steering (turning) power, but also stability on side hills. Those features were important to me.

I was pleasantly surprised the first time I mowed the pond dam. The XP is significantly more stable than my JD3038E with rear mower (fluid and cast wheel weights) and just as stable as my JD5083 cab tractor (also fluid and cast wheel weights) with wheels set to max width. I feel as safe on the XP as anything. With the wider stance it turns well and handles the sidehill mowing well. Althouh a person has to stay more concentrated when handling the two levers compared to the steering wheel of a tractor, I now feel more confident on the ZTurn than my 3038 by far on sidehills. If it gets too steep to go sideways, I can always mow up and down the slope and with zero turn capability, turn around quickly at the top or bottom of the run on flat ground, where a tractor takes much more care and effort to do such manuvreing.

That is just my experience about mowing slopes I wanted to share. I think a narrower tred ZT I would not feel as comfortable on slopes as the wider tread on the machine I have.

Edit: the ZT has a nice low center of gravity with the engine mounted low compared to my small tractor.


Edited by snrub (03/06/17 01:26 PM)
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I subscribe to Pond Boss Magazine

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#465936 - 03/06/17 02:56 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 792
Loc: West Central Missouri
When my ZT had oem tires, I had two complaints...

1.) When I had to mow straight down a grade, stop, and back up (like mowing up to a ditch or pond shore) too many times I did not have enough traction to back up and then I had to get the real tractor out to pull it back to flat ground.

2.) It will travel sideways along a slope very well until it was time to maneuver around a tree and on the downhill turn it would slide down the hill a foot or two past the tree leaving a minor skid in the grass and I would have to make a second pass to trim the missed area on the downhill side. Forget about mowing with dew on the grass no matter how much ease was used into the zero turn. It became a sled.

Now that I have ag style rear tires I have one complaint...

When you loose control, even though it's a lot less frequent, the skid in the grass becomes a rut. BUT it's a lot safer and gets out of wet and downward facing predicaments more on its own.

My bias for ag tires really only applies to the rough terrain that I own. I would say that 80% of what I mow (2-4 hours a week) has slope to it (lots of trees) and a creek that runs through the middle.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#465946 - 03/06/17 05:19 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: Quarter Acre]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5164
Loc: SE Kansas
Down hill turns are definitely the tricker, more dangerous turns when on a steep slope with a ZT.

I try not to need to turn down hill on a steep slope by the pattern I pick. But if I do I first stop forward motion on the slope, then reverse the down hill tire rather than stopping the down hill tire and speeding up the up hill tire. I seem to keep better control that way.

Fortunately, I don't have trees on the few steep slopes I have. I can see where that would be an additional challenge.


Edited by snrub (03/06/17 05:20 PM)
_________________________
John

I subscribe to Pond Boss Magazine

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#465948 - 03/06/17 05:34 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: tubguy]
Tbar Offline


Registered: 01/10/15
Posts: 666
Loc: Texas
I have a consumer grade Husqvarna that works OK but I would really like something with better suspension. I suspect though that these have a higher center of gravity than my HV which could be a problem. When I mow along the slope next to the driveway I am right on the edge of safety effectively drifting(dirt track style).

Any thoughts on higher center of gravity with improved suspension models?
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#465956 - 03/06/17 06:47 PM Re: Looking forZero Turn Mower Recommendation [Re: Tbar]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5606
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Originally Posted By: Tbar
...
Any thoughts on higher center of gravity with improved suspension models?



I can offer this as a fact...The higher the center of gravity, the less stable (more apt to tip) it will be on both slopes and when turning.
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You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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