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ZT or Lawn Tractor

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paulss
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 60 Lavaca County, TX
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2006-03-30          126928


I've got about 3 acres, mostly flat w/20% trees,& have been using a 42" 16hp lawn tractor w/hydro. I'd like to get a ZT mower but can't spend the $5-7000 that most of the commercial brands run. I've seen some Cub Cadets at TSC for about $3000 and wonder if one of these would work or would I be better off spending the same amount on a larger, more powerful lawn tractor? Does anyone have any ideas or recommendations about these or any other models?

Thanks for all your help.

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-31          126935


Paul,
I was cutting about same as you with 27 hp CUT with 6' RFM with hyd. Problem of course was turning around trees and such.

I purchased the homeover version of Bush Hog ZT (52" deck) and cut 2 acres in 3/4 the time. Problem with the ZT is slopes especially wet. The way they steer using their drive wheels can give you problems.

No doubt you will cut faster, probably much faster with the Z Turn. (The acres per hour some use is a joke. They take the full deck width and also full foward speed for their math. By the way 12 mph and higher cutting grass as some say you can, requires a very smooth yard.)

As to brand, I looked at about every brand sold in my county (a lot of them). It seems the drive motors and pumps did not vary a lot. (The true commercial runs seperate pumps and motors where the home owner version does not.) But the decks and belt design did. Some run belts in all kinds of twist which would seem to wear pulley and belts quicker and want to come off. Others have a very light deck and or spindles for the blades.

The deck is what sold me on the one I bought. The spindels are the same design used in hundreds if not thousands of commerical cutters from Z Turn to RFM to batwings.

I had rather have a smaller ZT of good quality than a bigger deck on the tractor style mower with the trees I understand you have as you will be able (with practice) run around those trees with ZT and get. The field of view is also much better.

You probably will need a little larger engine on a ZT over a tractor style (which raises cost) of same size deck as you will probably cut at faster ground speed.

FYI, if my wife is helping we still use the CUT with the 72" RFM along with the ZT. Use the CUT in the bigger open areas. But if I had to take just one to cut grass, without a doubt it is the ZTurn, hands down.

Hope this helps. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2006-03-31          126938


John Deere is advertising a lawn tractor with 4 wheel steering. It is intended to compete with residental zero turn mowers while still being a lawn tractor. The model I saw (X324)had a 48" deck and was priced at $3,995.00. They say the 4 wheel steering is almost as fast as a zero turn but rips up the lawn less. I've been told Zero turns can mow almost twice as much as a conventional lawn tractors in a specific time when mowing around obstacles. With 4 wheel steer you are close to that in time. The X324 is supposed to mow around an 18" diameter in the tightest turn.

I have a 72" MMM on my CUT and barely ever use it. I have lots of trees and objects to more around making it difficult to get around. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-03-31          126939


Paul, there is a third option, one which I often recomend to homeowners in your situtation.

For the $3000 you would be looking at for a decent 'homeowner' class machine, you could get a very nice (albeit used) full-on commercial 3 wheel FMM (Front Mount Mower) like the pros run. ZTR mowers are absolutely not necessary for a homeowner, they are designed for cutting as fast as possible, period, and in the hands of the average user they often do more damage than anything else.

The industry standards, Ferris (Pro Cut 60) and the ExMark equivalent will turn a circle as tight as any tree you need to cut around.

They will probably also out live you in a residential application, bear in mind, these things are designed to run 40++++ hours a week for many, many years trouble-free. One month of commercial service is more hours than a couple of years of cutting your lawn.

Best of luck. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2006-03-31          126942


I was considering the same ZT choices but opted instead for a JD LT190 since my wife said she wanted to be able to drive it - and the LT190 had the same pedal setup as the JD 4310(which she uses). Another consideration was that we have some steep slopes in our yard.

But for the price I paid for the LT190 (almost $4,000) I keep thinking about the ZTs. I mentioned to my wife that I would like to also have the ZT now that I have the LT190 but I had to make a run for it out of the kitchen! :) ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-03-31          126948


See if you can find a used John Deere F525. They typically run around $1500 used give or take. They are very manueverable (although not quite as good as a ZTR but 95% as much) They make up for this with the offset front mower. They are good on slopes PROVIDED you master the properly buttocks side overhang to ensure traction. ;O) ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-31          126956


NCrunch.
One point to consider in favor of the ZTurn, they are easy to operate. It takes almost no effort to steer them. My wife finds it fun. That is why "I" still use the CUT with RFM.

Good used mowers here are rare.

Murph's comment on mph speed with the ZT is a point I think over sold. That is why I pointed out you would have to a very level yard to cut at the speed many advertise at. As to ground speed I cut with ZT and CUT about same. Big savings is in turning. Other bid savings is in seldom needing trimmer.

Point I don't think mentioned here so far as negative to ZT, you will damage grass turning if you are not carefull. The machine will turn on that dime and give you change. Grass does not like that.

At the risk of offending some, I would be carefull of the Husky brand. They had a front mounted mower sold at Lowes I was told was very slow when being operated and per two Husky mechanics their machines are not to the standard they were. I have forgotten who makes them.

Snapper about 3 years ago went to 3 levels of ZT. The only company I am aware of that has done so. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
ZT or Lawn Tractor

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-03-31          126961


When it comes to shortening grass, nothing cuts faster than a dedicated commercial machine, period.

Kenneth is on the right track with chewing up grass on a ZTR, that's what I was referring to when I mentioned about making a mess.

In most cases you can usually buy a good used commercial FMM for about the same money as a decent finish mower for a CUT would cost you.

The difference in speed and quality though is remarkable.

Best of luck.

....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-31          126963


Paul,
Any mower that moves the deck infront of the weight will give you a better cut. The front mounted mowers are probably better at this than the Z turn but they are much better at this than the tractor style is.

Murf, sorry for spelling your name wrong. Sometimes I think I have alhimizers and then at others I just wonder. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-03-31          126964


Actually Kenneth, no apology necessary, you really did get it right.

The 'wrong' spelling of my nickname started years back, when I was very young we had a neighbour, a really good friend of the family, who had an Irish accent as thick as can be, most people could hardly understand him. Mostly he just spoke Gaelic. Anyway, his accent being so thick, he called me "young Moif". I was helping him one morning on a run into town for something or another, and when he told the new man at the mill that part of the load was for "Moif" the man wrote it down on the bill just like that. Old Archie corrected him "No ya dunder-head, it's spelled with a 'R' not a 'I'!!!" so he 'corrected' it to "Murf" and I've been called that to this day.

I sure miss ole Archie, he was the neatest old feller to listen to. With any luck I'll meet up with him again one day. Go dtaga do ríocht (May thy kingdom come).

Best of luck.



....

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ZT or Lawn Tractor

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-03-31          126965


Murf,

One of the greatest men I ever met was also a Mr. Archie. Happened to be my second step father. A great Christian Man. May you see your Mr. Archie also. ....

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duke8444
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 71 Bowling Green, KY 42103
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2006-05-03          128806


I have a JD LX277AWS and I have cosidered a ZT, however the benifits over the AWS for the additional money is not worth it to me. The AWS works great and then I still have the tractor for any other little items around the house like seeding, fertilizing, etc. and then a bigger Kubota for other stuff.

The AWS goes around the trees and flower beds like nothing and I have had "0" problems with it since I bought it in 1999. ....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6885 Waterville New York
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2006-05-04          128891


Just a different thought on this. There are a lot of used commercial mowers out there that are available at good prices. They are often the least desireable on a dealers lot and often can be bought for fifty cents on the dollar for there worth. Where you can mow at the higher speeds it's your option and where you need to be cautious you can. ....

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