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What zero turn radius to buy

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2007-05-14          142076


Hi All
My old riding mower is on its last legs and what with all the landscaping I have done over the last few years I am looking at buying a zero turn radius mower. At the JD dealership on Saturday (for some parts for the 4300) I spoke to the clerk about their ZTR mowers, ended looking at the EZtrak Z425 residential ZTR mower - link included. Given that this unit is $4000, what do y'all think, please include comments about what ZTR's you have and what are generally good units to buy ($4000 is the upper limit on what I can justify for this item). Especially helpful will be comments on models you have experience with and points on this particular series.
Many thanks
Ann


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What zero turn radius to buy

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2007-05-14          142077


Ann, not sure how much wanted to budget for a ZTR but the all time bullet proof tank in my opinion is the John Deere 757 and 777. The 727 and 737 are probably more in the price range. The 7 Iron mower deck is a tough unit and holds up well. Another good option is the Deere F687. If you don't mind buying used and want to keep it under $2,000. Try looking for a well cared for Deere F525. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-05-14          142079


Ann, from my point of view Randy is right on the money.

Those machines are good value and perform very well, time has proven they're about as dependable as gravity too. I have many municipalities as clients, and a lot of them run those machines in their turf care departments and they have stood up well. Bear in mind, these machines are mostly operated by students over the summer break, if they last with them at the wheel, they will certainly last a long time in your hands.

Bear in mind also, you mentioned doing a bit of landscape, if you have a lot of trees or other obstacles to deal with, you may be a lot happier with a regular FMM (Front Mount Mower) instead of a ZTR. A FMM will also be more stable on hills for the most part. The advantage being that you can put the deck under the trees while keeping yourself back away from the branches.

The other difference is that most FMM's can be equipped with a snow-blower, leaf or debris blower and a host of other implements, while a ZTR is almost always a dedicated 'grass only' machine.

A FMM is also kinder on your turf than a ZTR is and can be operated quite easily with one hand, leaving the other free to move branches out of the way or hoist a cold (non-alcoholic) beverage while mowing.

Best of luck. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2007-05-14          142081


I've never been a fan of ZTR mowers, but have been interested in the JD 4 wheel steer lawn tractors.

From their ads, they claim more stability on hilly terrain while having the ability to navigate around trees and shrubs and other tight turns. I read that they also tear up the lawn less from their description. I haven't seen any in action yet. I think they have 3 basic models with entry level of about $2,990.00 with 50 or 54" deck and go up from their. I think the mid-grade model was about $3995.00.

This may be an area to consider as an alternate to Zero turns. Most local dealers allow you to try before you buy if they know you are going to purchase one or the other for sure! ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-05-14          142082


Ann, I purchased a 2052 (20 hp Kohler and 52 inch deck) Bushhog ZTR two years ago. Really like it. Had a weld to break on deck mount mostly due to our fault and a belt to replace. Both were covered by dealership or Bushhog. They use the same spindles on this they do most of their tractor mounted finishing mowers so those parts are easy to find and have held up well for me on boht RFM and ZTR. Now, I keep them greased. Not sure about cost of Bushhog in your area or how available they are due to being built in Southern USA. It was in your $4,000 range.

Have never used a front mounted mower but am sure their can be advantages to them as Murf has pointed out. I think you had one (Grasshoper) and did not like the way it discharged if memory is correct. The ZTR is shorter, thus giving you a shorter turn radius for the rear end and IF, you pay attention you should have little damage to the lawn but it is hard to have none. I have no idea how the turn radius on the front mounted compares. The ZTR can be zero. One point, ZTR's can be a pain to change the blades on. kt

Forgot these: on ZTR the front wheels do no steering. They pivot freely. Not good on side of hill unless you are cutting up and down the hill. Boy can you cut fast with them and see so much better than any tractor style. As with any mower you want the deck to extend past the frame for better cutting such as over a ditch. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-05-14          142083


Ann; I have no idea which zero turn mower he was talking about, but a good friend of mine who is head of the lawn and garden service dept. at a good sized Deere dealership stoped by Sunday. He said that between the new XVU Gators and a certian model zero turn mower they are selling as fast as they can get them. That's all I know for now. Frank. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2007-05-14          142087


Here in Michigan all of the Z425 and Z445's are sold out until mid June. The 4 wheel steer unit X324 with 48" deck has a 9" turning radius and sells for about $4399.00 plus tax. So, that comes close to a zero turn! ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2007-05-14          142088


I almost missed it too...the JD X324 has an uncut RADIUS of 9 inches...that is an 18 inch circle...a far cry from a ZTR. The uncut radius per JD's specs is much larger on the other models in this series. A ZTR will get under low linbs(at least those I have seen) better than any tractor model will. The ZTR's I have much of the deck in front of the seat. However the front mounted would be better for that no doubt. kt

One last thought, stick steering is different than a wheel. With a ZTR it must be stick as you can have both wheels going full speed forward, different speeds to turn to one full forward and one full reverse (close to full maybe). That can be touchy until you get use to it. Another very basic thought, be sure the deck is narrow enough with the mower to get around all the landscapping you have done. The longer the mower, the bigger the turning area will be.



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What zero turn radius to buy

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-05-14          142091


My neighbor's JD "Zero" is a FMM---and it's big--with cast iron weights hanging off the back and sides! Measuring from the center drive wheels, it extends as far out the front as it does the rear. He says since he downsized from an acre to a 1/4 acre---and his wifey has wrapped it around a few trees---it's time to down size. He says it gets stuck plenty of times too, and since it's so heavy he has to go get the big machine to yank it out. He said, like KT pointed out that since there are casters front and back the oly thing giving any side hill traction are two turf tires (hence being pulled out of the ditch all the time).

The pro's in my area use Skag ZTM's for the most part. Very durable and you pay for it. They have wide, high-floatation tires that offer a bit of "suspension". But the local mower guy now offers ZT's with spring rear suspension (it's about time!)

Pricewise, Tractor Supply has Cub Cadet ZT's for $2999. I'm not a fan of CC so I have no clue how durable they are. They also sell a ride-on style ZT that looks like a lawn tractor but has non-steerable casters, and has a regular steering wheel. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2007-05-16          142143


Was it you Ann that had the same negative experience with the Grasshopper as I did? Seems I recall that.

There is a machine called a Clipper, zero turn, a friend of mine has one. It utilizes the HD components of a commercial machine, operates with a single stick control and overcomes that PITA of blade changes by allowing the deck to flip forward providing full, easy access. They are less than 5k I believe for a 48" deck.

http://www.countryclipper.com/advantages.shtml

As for me, I use a Gravely 260Z with a nice suspension seat.

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What zero turn radius to buy

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2007-05-17          142166


Hi Cutter
You recall correctly, I am another grashopper clippings victim. Thanks for remembering.

On the ZTR deal I have heard generally good praise for this residential series - so will probably take the plunge and buy the EZ Trac 425 at $4000 from my dealer, I could buy from HD (at the same price) but won't. I dont have much area to mow (2 ac. around the house) with it and can't justify buying a commercial model (expense, they start at around 7500) for that small an area. I also dont want to mess with maintaining a used one as some of the stuff is just too heavy / tight / big for me to lift / turn / manage. Thanks for y'all comments. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-05-17          142169


Grass clippings blowing back up at the operator on any mower are usually the result of two things;

First, the discharge chute extension is set wrong, damaged, or missing completely. They are often removed to allow the operator to mow closer on the discharge side of the deck.

Second, in an effort to make the deck perform better a higher lift blade has been installed than is required, causing an excess of air flowing out of the deck, this causes the clippings to blow upwards and swirl around like confetti.

Any properly setup mower deck should blow the clippings cleanly away from the deck in a reasonably neat & compact stream. Anything more or less is indictive of a problem.

Best of luck. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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newholltc55
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 6 Maine
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2007-05-18          142196


I havent read everyones reply but I have a mowing business in Maine and I mow around 150 lawns a week, and I have tried every zero turn around. The only one I can swear by is the walker. I dont know if they have them around where you are from but they are the best and easiest to use, the least maintenence and do the best job. The walker is the only zero radious I will ever own again. There more pricey then the other models, but well worth the money. you will get a lot longer life out of them. and a lot more agile. any way thats my two cents, hope it helped
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What zero turn radius to buy

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-05-18          142209


That Walker machine looks really nice with the deck way out front and unobstructed like that. Fairly large wheels also. My wife didn't want me to get a zero turn so that she could use it also (although she hasn't used it so far). Instead I bought a JD LT190 with a 16" turning radius. I'm sure the zero turn is nicer, but a 16" turning radius is very tight and for 2 acres or less is quite adequate. ....

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What zero turn radius to buy

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cutter
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1303 The South Shore of Lake Ontario, New York
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2007-05-20          142260


Take a look at the Wright Stander Ann. Was a little more than 4k the last time I checked. ....

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