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View Full Version : Opinions on Ferris Mowers


Brian F
02-25-2006, 02:21 PM
I am interested in opinions regarding the 26 hp water cooled engine being used on the 2005 Ferris 3000. Also general truth about Ferris mowers. I live in an area dominated by Grasshopper and I have owned several of them but bought my first Ferris IS 3000 last season. I only put about 300 hours on the Ferris last year so I have not had the chance to see how they do in the long run. Has anyone on this site had a lot of experience with Ferris? I am considering going with all Ferris mowers this year but would like to hear from someone who has run them for a long time. I don't know anyone else in my city using them. Also if anyone has a collection system for the IS 3000 for sale, let me know.

Brian F.

rodfather
02-25-2006, 03:04 PM
I've had like 20 or so of them Brian during the past 12 years in my company. Extremely reliable machines IMO. I've had 3 wheelers, big and small wb's, and z's. Feel free to email me or a pm with any specific questions you might have.

Trinity Lawn Care, LLC
02-25-2006, 03:06 PM
I used one a few times last year for some of my bigger accountants. Very nice machine. Good cut, nice ride, strong engine. I would say they are good machines. However, I have never owned one.

rodfather
02-25-2006, 03:10 PM
BTW, I have 7 of them right now, 2 61" Z's, a 72" Z, 3, 61" WB's and a 52" WB.

Tim Wright
02-25-2006, 03:38 PM
I have the IS1500z or whatever it is. It is 52inch, 25 Kawa and I love it.

Tim

Brian F
02-25-2006, 03:41 PM
Sounds like you are happy with them. My concern has been with how the suspension is going to do longterm. How many hours do you expect to get out of a typical Ferris. Are you using any of the 26 hp water cooled and how do to think they do in comparison to the air cooled engines. I have had the Grasshopper with water cooled engines but that was Kubota built.

Ramairfreak98ss
02-25-2006, 03:52 PM
Ive only used my 1000z from last year for a week or so and i like it. Its my first ztr though so not sure how much my opinion is worth as i dont have any other ztrs to compare it to. I liked their reputation, ive owned and own Simplicity machines now and like the quality. The dealers locally sell a lot of them and they look well built. Theyre also cheaper than a John deere 757 i was considering with a 54" mower deck.

rodfather
02-25-2006, 04:14 PM
Sounds like you are happy with them. My concern has been with how the suspension is going to do longterm. How many hours do you expect to get out of a typical Ferris. Are you using any of the 26 hp water cooled and how do to think they do in comparison to the air cooled engines. I have had the Grasshopper with water cooled engines but that was Kubota built.

To tell ya the truth Brian, I am not sure anyone really knows how long the IS is gonna last...it hasn't been out all that long (couple years maybe). I don't run my mowers into the ground, I trade them out with relatively low hours with my dealer on a continual type of basis over the years. Then again, I am a PM freak when it comes to service so what I trade in is in great condition for the number of hours the mower might have.

My 2 61" Z's are air cooled and my 72" Z is lc. All 3 were purchased in early 05.

old dog 80
02-25-2006, 07:46 PM
BTW, I have 7 of them right now, 2 61" Z's, a 72" Z, 3, 61" WB's and a 52" WB.
I don't have a good dealer nearby but have always wondered if the suspension
messes with a good cut.Like to hear what you have to say!

LwnmwrMan22
02-25-2006, 08:01 PM
To tell ya the truth Brian, I am not sure anyone really knows how long the IS is gonna last...it hasn't been out all that long (couple years maybe). I don't run my mowers into the ground, I trade them out with relatively low hours with my dealer on a continual type of basis over the years. Then again, I am a PM freak when it comes to service so what I trade in is in great condition for the number of hours the mower might have.

My 2 61" Z's are air cooled and my 72" Z is lc. All 3 were purchased in early 05.

I too trade my mowers with relatively low hours (around 1000, +/-). I on the other hand am a VERY poor PM freak.

I figure if the mower is under warranty, what do I care??? :D

Anyways, I've got / had 2 IS4000's. Low serial numbers. My first one was serial number 201, and the second is 436. The were both 2002's.

The suspension is wonderful. I do larger areas, a school district, parks, etc., stuff where you can mow wide open, as long as the grass dictates so.

My biggest complaint is this......

When I got my first Ferris, the cut was crap. Straight up, junk.

It wouldn't cut dandelions. Now I know mowers aren't designed to cut dandelions, but I had to go backwards to even get 1/2 of them. When you've got large areas, usually what suffers is the chemical budget, so they get weeds.

The other problem I had was it absolutely would not throw grass. 99% of what I mow is KY Bluegrass. If it was AT ALL wet, even from dew, you might as well stay at home. Plus, since the deck is / was so shallow, there wasn't much suction so you couldn't drive back over the clumps to disperse them in another direction.

I haven't looked at the new ones. IMO, the problem with the grass dispersal, is they put in baffles, and there's no room for the grass to go, so you're basically forced to try to mulch it all. IMO, and believe me, I'm just a guy that cuts grass, but you need all the room you can get for that grass to get from the left side of the deck, out the discharge on the right, all the while being able to maintain a "decent" speed and quality of cut.

Now, I'll admit, I'm a complete sucker. My dealer ended up having one sit on the show room floor for a year. He then finally made me a deal that I couldn't refuse, so I bought the second one.

Both have had starter issues. After about 200 hours, we've always had to use a screwdriver to "hotwire" the mower, since the key won't do it.

My first mower was in the shop 3 times to get it fixed, after that it got traded. It could just be my shop didn't know what it was doing either.

I will say though, that the IS is drawing me back again. I might take a look again this year, I see they're offering 1 year 0% interest. I know I'll have to get ahold of the rep though, because I'm not buying one until I can try it for a week.

Brian F
02-26-2006, 03:20 PM
Did you switch brands or use chemicals? I know what you are saying about the deck depth. But for years I cut nice lawns and and did a good job with decks which were only 4" deep on Grasshoppers. Now days many brands have deeper deck which is great but I would really like to know if it is really true that they do a better job or is it just hype. I have mowed in high end neighborhoods for years alongside the best contractors (you know, the ones who mow a lawn and don't leave even a sprig sticking up that you can see) and we always did it with the shallower decks. The problem for me right now is that my manufacturer of choice (Ferris) has not jumped on the wagon with the others yet. And I am not sure I am willing to give up my suspension now that I have had it for a season. If you traded to a deep deck mower would it cut the dandilions any better at speed is my question.

TURF DOCTOR
02-26-2006, 03:56 PM
Ferris looks like a top mower,we don't have dealers here to sell them that is what you get with a lot of ope no 1 pushing the machine to commercial cutters.

LwnmwrMan22
02-26-2006, 07:13 PM
Did you switch brands or use chemicals? I know what you are saying about the deck depth. But for years I cut nice lawns and and did a good job with decks which were only 4" deep on Grasshoppers. Now days many brands have deeper deck which is great but I would really like to know if it is really true that they do a better job or is it just hype. I have mowed in high end neighborhoods for years alongside the best contractors (you know, the ones who mow a lawn and don't leave even a sprig sticking up that you can see) and we always did it with the shallower decks. The problem for me right now is that my manufacturer of choice (Ferris) has not jumped on the wagon with the others yet. And I am not sure I am willing to give up my suspension now that I have had it for a season. If you traded to a deep deck mower would it cut the dandilions any better at speed is my question.

Right now I'm running a Kubota ZD28 with a 60" deck as my main mower. It's got a deep deck, cuts great, stripes nice, and can blow apart wet clumps.

The yards that don't allow me to spray, or someone else, it's understood that my mowers are not made to cut dandelions. The problem with dandelions and other weeds, is that they're so much softer of a "stem" than grass. When you run over them with the tire, they mash down to the ground, and if you don't have a decent suction with the deck, they don't get picked back up again with the deck in order to get cut off. Then in an hour or two, they get energy from the sun, and poof, there they are again.

With the deep decks, at least with ones with decent "suction", I believe it's better, since you can stand that plant up again as you pass over.

Mr.Mow-It-All
02-26-2006, 07:32 PM
Brian,

I bought mine last year from the guy in galena ks. I lived in Miami, Ok at the time. Miami is the same way as far as being saturated with the grasshoppers. I owned one and it was ok but never have realy cared for them. I realy like the IS 4500 that I have. I obviosly can't comment on the long term, but I look to get a lot of hours and years out of mine.

old dog 80
02-27-2006, 12:16 PM
I too trade my mowers with relatively low hours (around 1000, +/-). I on the other hand am a VERY poor PM freak.

I figure if the mower is under warranty, what do I care??? :D

Anyways, I've got / had 2 IS4000's. Low serial numbers. My first one was serial number 201, and the second is 436. The were both 2002's.

The suspension is wonderful. I do larger areas, a school district, parks, etc., stuff where you can mow wide open, as long as the grass dictates so.

My biggest complaint is this......

When I got my first Ferris, the cut was crap. Straight up, junk.

It wouldn't cut dandelions. Now I know mowers aren't designed to cut dandelions, but I had to go backwards to even get 1/2 of them. When you've got large areas, usually what suffers is the chemical budget, so they get weeds.

The other problem I had was it absolutely would not throw grass. 99% of what I mow is KY Bluegrass. If it was AT ALL wet, even from dew, you might as well stay at home. Plus, since the deck is / was so shallow, there wasn't much suction so you couldn't drive back over the clumps to disperse them in another direction.

I haven't looked at the new ones. IMO, the problem with the grass dispersal, is they put in baffles, and there's no room for the grass to go, so you're basically forced to try to mulch it all. IMO, and believe me, I'm just a guy that cuts grass, but you need all the room you can get for that grass to get from the left side of the deck, out the discharge on the right, all the while being able to maintain a "decent" speed and quality of cut.

Now, I'll admit, I'm a complete sucker. My dealer ended up having one sit on the show room floor for a year. He then finally made me a deal that I couldn't refuse, so I bought the second one.

Both have had starter issues. After about 200 hours, we've always had to use a screwdriver to "hotwire" the mower, since the key won't do it.

My first mower was in the shop 3 times to get it fixed, after that it got traded. It could just be my shop didn't know what it was doing either.

I will say though, that the IS is drawing me back again. I might take a look again this year, I see they're offering 1 year 0% interest. I know I'll have to get ahold of the rep though, because I'm not buying one until I can try it for a week.
THe starter problem would be with the engine manufacturer.It was probably because you don't do PM.Get a blower out and clean the dirt away from the starter daily.That is what 90% of mower starter problems are-dirt.It is very
easy to prevent...

old dog 80
02-27-2006, 12:17 PM
Rodfather-your comments on cut quality with suspension...?

rodfather
02-27-2006, 12:31 PM
Rodfather-your comments on cut quality with suspension...?

I love the 3 we have :cool2:

SLC, LLC
02-27-2006, 12:33 PM
that is all that we use, both walk behinds and ztr's

LwnmwrMan22
02-27-2006, 12:59 PM
THe starter problem would be with the engine manufacturer.It was probably because you don't do PM.Get a blower out and clean the dirt away from the starter daily.That is what 90% of mower starter problems are-dirt.It is very
easy to prevent...

C'mon, I do that much. Sheesh.

I don't tear down and rebuild spindle assemblies each year.

I don't rebuild gaskets.

I replace a belt when it breaks, not before. when it looks like it's going to break.

But when the starter has been taken off, tested, retested, ordered new ones two different times, works, doesn't work, retested, new one.... it's not just dirt buildup.

It something in the electronics, with the safety switches, that doesn't allow the mower to start. Again, like I said, it could just be the dealer not knowing / wanting to know how to figure it out, but it's odd that it's happened on both of my mowers.

old dog 80
02-28-2006, 02:54 PM
C'mon, I do that much. Sheesh.

I don't tear down and rebuild spindle assemblies each year.

I don't rebuild gaskets.

I replace a belt when it breaks, not before. when it looks like it's going to break.

But when the starter has been taken off, tested, retested, ordered new ones two different times, works, doesn't work, retested, new one.... it's not just dirt buildup.

It something in the electronics, with the safety switches, that doesn't allow the mower to start. Again, like I said, it could just be the dealer not knowing / wanting to know how to figure it out, but it's odd that it's happened on both of my mowers.
Ok,Ok-does the dealer have techs that have gone to school on them? Safety
systems can be a real pain to deal with but a good mechanic can track it down pretty quick.I had a Z-rider safety system we had to replace the wiring
harness on.Kawasaki engine on a Encore mower.

LwnmwrMan22
02-28-2006, 03:29 PM
Ok,Ok-does the dealer have techs that have gone to school on them? Safety
systems can be a real pain to deal with but a good mechanic can track it down pretty quick.I had a Z-rider safety system we had to replace the wiring
harness on.Kawasaki engine on a Encore mower.

I'm pretty sure it's in the harness somewhere.... but, like I said, it's just as easy to reach around and "hotwire" it, rather than spend the $400 bucks to fix it.

Since I run solo, I'm not real concerned about injury to someone else doing this.

johnnybravo8802
04-21-2008, 07:53 PM
I bought an IS 4000 in 01' with a 72" deck and the Daihatsu engine($12,500). The IS rode like a cloud and in my opinion, nothing has ever compared to the ride. However, it was a pile of junk. I had the mower in the shop 10 times in 2 months(No joke) and finally had to sell the mower back to the factory with only 83 hrs. The company didn't seem that concerned that I had a $12,500 machine breaking down on me once a wk. The last straw was when the flywheel actually came completely off the back of the engine and locked the engine down-had to hoist it onto the trailer(really embarassing). That machine caused me some serious heartache and I got into a scrap with the salesman when I threatened to sue. I bought an Exmark and never had another problem. I was heart broken because I felt I had found the ultimate machine and miss the he@@ out of the suspension(Exmark rides like a tin can but doesn't break).

lars46
04-22-2008, 01:16 PM
I don't have a good dealer nearby but have always wondered if the suspension
messes with a good cut.Like to hear what you have to say!

I have a Ferris IS 1500 (22 hp Kaw, 48" deck). The suspension does not mess up the cut because the deck is connected to bars that move up and down with the wheels. The wheels, as well as the deck, are considered "unsprung weight".

FerrisFan
05-04-2008, 11:53 AM
the is suspension has been out for almost 20 years

rodfather
05-04-2008, 11:56 AM
the is suspension has been out for almost 20 years

that's not even close.

I've had over 20 ferris machines in the past 14 years and can tell you IS has been out well under 10.

johnnybravo8802
05-04-2008, 07:55 PM
I have to agree with Rodfather. I bought mine in 00', so I know they've been out for at least 8 yrs. My IS4000 was the first large mower they produced.

Frue
05-04-2008, 09:24 PM
all right I will give the honest review. I am so tired of these bunk reviews I read in magazines and from people who own only one brand.

I own the ferris is 2000 with a 27 kohler and a 61 inch deck

Pros the ride is the best hands down no one is even close. The machine lets you cut quicker then others because of the suspention, It is very adgile and feels like a more compact machine, Hillside stability is awesome, plenty of power from the engine to the blades, and I feel it is built to last.

cons The cut quality is not that of a toro or exmark, maintenance of these machines are horrible (like greasing the center pulley), the acceseries like the bagging does not work well in spring conditions, if it is wet out it will throw clumps and will not double cut them due to lack of depth of the deck, striping is ok not like a exmark,and there is a lot of blow out from the front due to the fact they cut the front side of the deck out.

This machine is a good machine excells in dry bumpy open lawns. I would recomend the machine but it has issues that I wish ferris would adress. This machine is not for everyone especially for high end lawn owners.

Well thats the honest review from a person who owns one and uses it daily. I am willing to demo any machine through my company for one month and write a honest report about what good and whats bad.

C&K
05-04-2008, 09:55 PM
all right I will give the honest review. I am so tired of these bunk reviews I read in magazines and from people who own only one brand.

I own the ferris is 2000 with a 27 kohler and a 61 inch deck

Pros the ride is the best hands down no one is even close. The machine lets you cut quicker then others because of the suspention, It is very adgile and feels like a more compact machine, Hillside stability is awesome, plenty of power from the engine to the blades, and I feel it is built to last.

cons The cut quality is not that of a toro or exmark, maintenance of these machines are horrible (like greasing the center pulley), the acceseries like the bagging does not work well in spring conditions, if it is wet out it will throw clumps and will not double cut them due to lack of depth of the deck, striping is ok not like a exmark,and there is a lot of blow out from the front due to the fact they cut the front side of the deck out.

This machine is a good machine excells in dry bumpy open lawns. I would recomend the machine but it has issues that I wish ferris would adress. This machine is not for everyone especially for high end lawn owners.

Well thats the honest review from a person who owns one and uses it daily. I am willing to demo any machine through my company for one month and write a honest report about what good and whats bad.

I appreciate your honest observation. I wish I could be sold on Ferris due to the Ferris dealer is the closest to me. That dealer sells Ferris and Dixie Chopper and with the hills in my area and what I have heard about Dixie being good on flat ground but they don't hold hills that well. It is hard to switch over from our Exmarks and go with Ferris or Dixie. We use a 72" ford front mower, a 60" ultra cut Exmark, a 48" TTHP, and a 48" Husqvarna. I would like to get enough good reviews to give me a reason to switch or just simply get a Ferris. We are looking to get one or two larger walk behinds. We could use a 60" and/or a 52". How do you Ferris experienced guys compare their walk behinds to Exmark and others?

mybowtie
05-04-2008, 10:01 PM
Have a 06 IS2000 27hp koh, 61" deck...Has 350 hrs on it.. had 2 spindals replaced under warty around 100 hrs. Had idler pully replaced under warty last month. I love the ride, my back thanks me every day. On dry lawns it cuts as well as my 03 lazer z. Wet or thick heavy grass, the lazer wins hands down. Lazer will throw the clippings about 3' father then the ferris.

I had the spindals replaced replaced on the lazer with around 150 hrs on it.
it now has about 700 on it. with the only other problen is it keeps breaking throtle cables. on it's 4th one...

Will I buy another ferris? Probally, but ya never know...

razor1
05-04-2008, 10:14 PM
I bought an IS 4000 in 01' with a 72" deck and the Daihatsu engine($12,500). The IS rode like a cloud and in my opinion, nothing has ever compared to the ride. However, it was a pile of junk. I had the mower in the shop 10 times in 2 months(No joke) and finally had to sell the mower back to the factory with only 83 hrs. The company didn't seem that concerned that I had a $12,500 machine breaking down on me once a wk. The last straw was when the flywheel actually came completely off the back of the engine and locked the engine down-had to hoist it onto the trailer(really embarassing). That machine caused me some serious heartache and I got into a scrap with the salesman when I threatened to sue. I bought an Exmark and never had another problem. I was heart broken because I felt I had found the ultimate machine and miss the he@@ out of the suspension(Exmark rides like a tin can but doesn't break).

I heard a lot of tractor manufacturers have stopped using the Daihatsu eng. due to these kind of problems. So it may not be all Ferris's fault.

razor1
05-04-2008, 10:31 PM
To tell ya the truth Brian, I am not sure anyone really knows how long the IS is gonna last...it hasn't been out all that long (couple years maybe). I don't run my mowers into the ground, I trade them out with relatively low hours with my dealer on a continual type of basis over the years. Then again, I am a PM freak when it comes to service so what I trade in is in great condition for the number of hours the mower might have.

My 2 61" Z's are air cooled and my 72" Z is lc. All 3 were purchased in early 05.

Sounds like a great idea trading in your tractors. If you don't mind my asking, can you give an example of the new cost to trade in price?

Ramairfreak98ss
05-07-2008, 12:39 AM
I heard a lot of tractor manufacturers have stopped using the Daihatsu eng. due to these kind of problems. So it may not be all Ferris's fault.

what kind of problems, flywheels flying off? My simplicity 06 tractor has their 27hp diesel 3cyl model engine... use synthetic oil in it, use it mainly for loader work, post hole digger, aerating, some lawn cutting rarely, snow removal etc... 280hrs on it so far and besides the damn power wire from the battery going to the alternator or something wearing into the frame and causing a lot of smoke suddenly, nothing else has had any hiccups.

johnnybravo8802
05-07-2008, 07:41 AM
I traded my Exmark 23 Kawi for the Ferris with the 31 B@S Daihatsu and, believe it or not, the 23 Kawi had more power-it didn't bog as much. That was a poor engine, but what so you expect from B@S. The only good engine they have is the Vanguard and I don't know if it's anything to brag about anymore. I won't buy anything other than Kawi.

Ramairfreak98ss
05-09-2008, 12:37 PM
I traded my Exmark 23 Kawi for the Ferris with the 31 B@S Daihatsu and, believe it or not, the 23 Kawi had more power-it didn't bog as much. That was a poor engine, but what so you expect from B@S. The only good engine they have is the Vanguard and I don't know if it's anything to brag about anymore. I won't buy anything other than Kawi.

lol, well i dont know what to say there, my 27hp briggs vangard dihatsu diesel in the tractor has some balls for sure and its 4hp less than what your speaking of. Itll run my 60" shaft driven deck on the simplicity tractor better than the 27hp kohler command pro thats on my ferris 1000z ztr mower, and i think that has a decent amount of power, the cut is also flawless compared to any zero turn ive seen.

fishmagnet
05-09-2008, 01:24 PM
We've had our IS1500 48" 21Kaw for just over a year and have been very pleased thus far.

Indeed the ride is VERY nice and the cut is great, provided you keep the rpms up, as is usually the case with most all other ZTRs.

Can't comment on the wet cut or clipping dispersal, but it chews and blows thru the dry stuff just fine.

We considered and tested the Scag Tiger Cub and Toro's at similar price points. They were all well built, heavy-duty mowing options, but we felt the Ferris was as solid a platform as the others, with a better ride.

To date, we've not experienced any belt, clutch, spindle, throttle cable, or starter issues.

Just wish we would've opted for the no-flat front tires! :laugh:

johnnybravo8802
05-09-2008, 11:06 PM
Ramair-The engine I had was a gas engine. I wasn't the only one, at the time, who thought that engine was underpowered. In fact, Daihatsu increased the HP to 34 to get more power(you'd think 31 would be enough in any brand, but not Daihatsu) The engine sounded powerful-sounded like a d@@ airplane but that's all it was, just sound. I won't touch anything anymore with B@S . They used to be "The engine" yrs ago, but not anymore.:nono:

CGLC
05-11-2008, 10:29 PM
Over all, most days of my working week I like the Ferris is 1500z 52 25hp kaw. Pro’s nice ride. Low maintenance, nice cut in dry low grass condition, Leaf bagger system works for me for clean ups. Con’s crappy always double/ triple cutting wet long grass. In my experience weak hydro power under loads – de-thatching and bagging-. Had to switch the back shock to the longest holes, and I tore a lot less grass almost eliminated it totally. “I go slow and do k turns “

In my opinion I own exmarks but none of them are z’s, but where I live double cutting sucks and I would spend more money to eliminate that problem. The exmark walk behind throws father then my ferris, but doesn’t strip as well as the ferris