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View Full Version : Too much information! Help needed on ZRT


cobbonthecorn
10-04-2006, 11:55 PM
I've been shopping for a ZRT for a small residential lot, let's say less than 1 acre. Started thinking cheap and am now thinking quality. Hopefully I can find a compromise here. I have four manufactures in mind, Cub, Exmark, Hustler, and Gravely. Would like something 40-48". Most of what I have read tells me a 2 cylinder engine is much more enjoyable to ride than a single cylinder. Will mostly mulch, but would like a bagging option available.

I have narrowed it down to the Cub Z-Force 44 or 48, Exmark Phazer 19/44, Hustler Mini Fastrak Honda 16/42, and the Gravely ZT 2044. But after reading it looks like the Mini Fastrack is receiving a lot of complaints about the grass clogging the deck and leaving grass trails. I don't think the Phazer has a bagging option. Cub seems a little pricey and there is little being written about it so maybe it is not so remarkable. And finally, the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list.

So here are the questions: 1) Are my facts in order?; 2) Have I missed a competitive ZRT near the $4000 price point I should have examined?; 3)Do you have experience or an opinion as to which of these choices ranks highest?

Thanks in advance! (First post, please be kind.)

nmurph
10-05-2006, 09:26 AM
maybe i have missed something on the MFT, but i don't recall anything on clogging. i have a 17/42. all i can say is that it is a workhorse. search my user name and read some of the post. it is a great machine, with a great cut, and backed up by a great company that is the model for customer service.

stumpjumper
10-05-2006, 09:34 AM
I purchase a MFT 17/42 in march of this year and have nothing but good things to say about it. The other machines may be great, I have no experience with them. The only clogging problems I,ve had were in tall wet grass, which I believe will happen with nearly all mowers.

Lumberjack
10-05-2006, 09:51 AM
the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list


Gravely may be one of the most underated brands out there. Take a closer look and compare it to the cub. You will find that the gravely units may not be as flashy as some but they do have it where it counts....

TAZ
10-05-2006, 09:58 AM
I've been shopping for a ZRT for a small residential lot, let's say less than 1 acre. Started thinking cheap and am now thinking quality. Hopefully I can find a compromise here. I have four manufactures in mind, Cub, Exmark, Hustler, and Gravely. Would like something 40-48". Most of what I have read tells me a 2 cylinder engine is much more enjoyable to ride than a single cylinder. Will mostly mulch, but would like a bagging option available.

I have narrowed it down to the Cub Z-Force 44 or 48, Exmark Phazer 19/44, Hustler Mini Fastrak Honda 16/42, and the Gravely ZT 2044. But after reading it looks like the Mini Fastrack is receiving a lot of complaints about the grass clogging the deck and leaving grass trails. I don't think the Phazer has a bagging option. Cub seems a little pricey and there is little being written about it so maybe it is not so remarkable. And finally, the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list.

So here are the questions: 1) Are my facts in order?; 2) Have I missed a competitive ZRT near the $4000 price point I should have examined?; 3)Do you have experience or an opinion as to which of these choices ranks highest?

Thanks in advance! (First post, please be kind.)

I don't have knowledge of what the CT series from Exmark runs cost wise but they list that platform as a 5" deep deck which I believe may be the ultracut deck. That mower has a bagging option as well. If that is the UltraCut you would be getting the best quality of cut with an option to bag or mulch.

As far as the Hustler MFT goes the problems that you have been reading about are relating to the new XR7 platform that I don't think is on the MFT. You can ask PT in the hustler forum to clairify that for you but I thought that the XR7 is on the full size Z and Super Z. As for the Hustler you would be getting the Honda Engine which IMO is a bigg plus over the lower end briggs stuff.

-TAZ

runningdeer
10-05-2006, 10:41 AM
I'm picking my Hustler Mini Fastrak 42" Kohler up tonight with the bagger and hourmeter. In my opinion it's the best mower for the price. I paid $4035 brand new not a demo. That includes the bagger, hourmeter, and 7% sales tax. You will be hard pressed to find another machine of this quaility for that price. You'll pay about $500 more for the Honda engine. I've done 8 months of research and have tested most ZTs in the $4000-$5000 range. The Phazer which was my third choice behind the Simplicity Champion should have a bagger in the near future i learned. Bagging shouldn't be an issue with the Hustler unless the conditions are wet and heavy. Hustler does offer a high lift blade for the Mini Fastrak and a spidle drive blower if you step up the Fastrak (not the mini). Drive them all and go with what you're comfortable on. Also, make sure you have a friendly dealer handy for service. Good Luck!

fishinpa
10-05-2006, 12:31 PM
I too have the MFT 16/42 and have never had a clogging problem. Actually I drilled a hole in the discharge chute and only put it down when I'm pointing towards a bed or driveway. I think the unit discharges best for me this way.

NEVER have I had a clogging problem and I'd buy this mower again in a heart-beat. I do have to clean the underside of the deck a few times a year in the heavy growth season though.

As they say though... demo the ones you are serious about & make a decision from there. I can't tell you what to buy, but I can tell you I love my mower... :usflag:

cobbonthecorn
10-05-2006, 07:04 PM
I appreciate the feedback on the MFT. I'll make it a point to look more closely at it now. Newest dilemma is as follows, Phaser 19/44 $4000, Fastrak with Kohler single cylinder 44" deck $4000. Going to agonize over this one through the weekend and hope my local dealers are open so I can wander and look.

As always, love first hand experience gained by others, it is the cheapest way to by quality equipment the first time!

Steelratt
10-05-2006, 07:26 PM
Did your dealer quote you $4000 on the phazer? I know some people were getting those prices, but I had the dealers here check, and they couldn't find any special deals on them.

I ended up with a Gravely 44z for about $4800. I know it's a bit above your limit (It was for me too) but it is truly a commercial grade mower. VERY heavy construction and excellent build quality. This thing is light-years beyond the residential Gravelys.

Hustler is good in that their support, at least on this forum, is second-to-none.

EDIT: This is just my experience, but the single cyclinder motors seemed to have a lot more vibration than the 2 cylinder motors. For $4k, a single cylinder just seems lacking.

cobbonthecorn
10-05-2006, 11:17 PM
Yes the dealer did quote the Phazor 19/44 at $3999. Almost impossible to pass on this deal since it has the twin cylinder Kawasaki, a bagging kit (Very expensive at $1100, but available. They also have a free hanging bag or grass catcher for $299 that is a maybe for occasional use.), great hydros and the tractor will fit nicely into my garage. I'm going to shop around a bit to see what else I can turn up. Seems like the age old problem of "just another $500 and...."

Steelratt
10-05-2006, 11:32 PM
Yes the dealer did quote the Phazor 19/44 at $3999. Almost impossible to pass on this deal since it has the twin cylinder Kawasaki, a bagging kit (Very expensive at $1100, but available. They also have a free hanging bag or grass catcher for $299 that is a maybe for occasional use.), great hydros and the tractor will fit nicely into my garage. I'm going to shop around a bit to see what else I can turn up. Seems like the age old problem of "just another $500 and...."

Well, keep in mind the hydros on the Phazer are IZTs, like the commercial grade ZTRs. They do not use separate pumps and hydros. BUT, they are nice looking, and Exmark has a good track record. I originally went out to get a phazer also.

cobbonthecorn
10-05-2006, 11:40 PM
I am a bit confused about pumps. If I understand things correctly there is EZT as residential or entry level, IZT that moves into commercial, and others. The Phazor has ZT-2800 trans axles. SO, what is the difference between a charged IZT and an uncharged IZT? Is a trans axle a combined pump and wheel motor? The Gravely 44Z and the Exmark Lazer CT seem to both use pump and wheel motor. Advantage or not?

Steelratt
10-06-2006, 01:02 AM
Crud, I meant to type "Like other entry-level commercial ZTRs."

I don't know why, but apparently the charged IZTs are the best of the integrated units. They are combined pumps and wheel motors. From everything I have read, having individual pumps and motors is considered to be more desireable than an integrated unit. I'm a sucker for over-built stuff, so I went for it, but I'm sure an IZT is fine for residential use, as Hustler and Exmark claim they are durable enough for commercial use. They are relatively new, so the jury is still out on their long-term durability, I guess.

cobbonthecorn
10-06-2006, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the feedback. After taking to the local dealers I would agree with your observation. Surprisingly, I can across a Scag dealer while going to the local shopping center. Saw a Z-Cat 17 hp with a 36" deck. Had all the right stuff, wheel motors separate from the pump, really solid frame, great controls. But I'm worried about the lack of deck overlap to tire not letting me cut close enough to the flower beds and stuff. Also, for the money I'm laying down a 40-42" deck seems like a reasonable minimum. So I was leaning toward the 42 " deck with a 19 hp motor but couldn't't find one in stock at a reasonable price. I guess the decision will take a little longer.

Steelratt
10-06-2006, 08:53 PM
How much did they want for the Z-cat? They have a Tiger cub with the 24 hp B&S ELS that I found in the mid 5s. I also wouldnt do 36, as having SOME trim is necessary, at least for me.

As an option, if you are interested, you can check out walk-behind mowers with standing sulkies. If you get a dual-hydro walk behind, and the right type of sulky, you can pull off the same moves a ZTR can, and for less money, though you do have to stand.

TAZ
10-07-2006, 09:11 AM
But I'm worried about the lack of deck overlap to tire not letting me cut close enough to the flower beds and stuff...

This is wht we refer to as the trim edge and yes it's a BIG deal. I would pay close attention to that aspect with any choice you make. You want a mower with a good stance (width) for stability but part of the benifit of a Z is that you can ring trees and beds quickly and if the tires are too close to the trimming edge of the deck it defeats the purpose.

Scag builds a solid mower. You can't really go wrong there either. When talking to these dealers try to get a feel for which one will take care of you better service wise down the road. That should factor in right there with price because you are going to have it in perodically for maintence and your going to have questions once the mower is home.

-TAZ

cobbonthecorn
10-07-2006, 10:10 AM
Dealer had a Z-Cat 17/36" for about $4500. Big drawback was the deck extension beyond the drive wheels. On the 36" it looks like it is almost in line with the deck making it poor from a trimming perspective. I pulled the documentation on the Z-Cat 19/42", list price in 2006 was about $5299. Scag puts 4" of wheel spacers on this model so with the larger deck I think you only get 1" of overlap. (42" deck - 36" for mower track width - 4" for wheel spacers gives 2", 1" on each side.) Even though I like the construction of the Z-Cat I'm leaning toward the Phazor with the 44" deck. One other consideration I'm taking into account after looking around is my winter storage options. With the Phazor and Z-Cat I can pull the deck and the tractor's narrow wheel base will allow me to move it to one side in my garage and still get two cars in for the winter. Seems to be more difficult, maybe not impossible, with other units, especially if I try to go with separate pumps and drive motors. Anyone have or used a Z-Cat 19/42" that can confirm or refute the trimming dilemma?

Steelratt
10-07-2006, 10:54 AM
I got my gravely 44z for just a couple hundered more than that Z-cat, and with the 44 deck it definately has more trim. It's the equal of the scag in build quality, too. I'd definately rate the scag's built quality as being above the phazer, though.

I agree with TAZ, though. You NEED some trim capability. I think the 36" mowers are really intended for getting through gates on some properties, and would be a disadvantage to you. If the choice is between the scag 36 and the phazer 44, and only those two, I'd get the phazer for the trim.

cobbonthecorn
10-07-2006, 09:52 PM
The Gravely 44Z is on my list to look at this week. May take some doing to find one locally, but I'll give it a shot. Thanks!

Re-Ignition
10-09-2006, 12:38 AM
I myself have a Fastrak 18/44 Honda and I very satisfied.

You'll be fine with any of the major companies talked about on this site Cat, Hustler, eXmark, Gravely,etc...

STAY AWAY FROM HOME DEPOT AND LOEWS... THEY CAN'T SERVICE YOUR MACHINE.

Find the best dealer in your area and you should be all set.

cobbonthecorn
10-09-2006, 09:46 PM
Well couldn't find a Gravely 44z at the local dealership so I'm off to the other side of town tomorrow. However, I did ride a Phazer 19/44" back-to-back to a Z-Cat 17/36". The Phazer still has all of the features I've been looking for like deck size and trim edge. But, and I mean BUT, the Z-Cat was heads and tails above the Phazor for responsiveness, smoothness, and handling. But more importantly I learned how loud IZT's are compared with separate pumps and wheel motors. So much of a difference I am now seriously considering abandoning anything with an IZT, including the Phazer, my favorite up until today. It just seamed like the IZT's screamed anytime there was a little steering input. (By the way I rode two Phazors and both were loud so it wasn't like I picked the only loud unit available to test drive.) Anyone else have the same issue with sound quality? Do you think I'm making too much of an issue on trim edge? I'm thinking that the deck change from 44" down to 36" may not be such an issue because the Z-Cat seemed to travel faster in short distances.

Steelratt
10-09-2006, 10:56 PM
I couldn't imagine having less than the 44 inch deck I have now, but I have a lot of landscaping beds, and they have lots of contours. If it was just pure grass, a 36 would work fine, but would take longer.

Sounds like you are getting caught in the same trap I did. Once I saw the differences between the prosumer models and the true commercial Zs, there was no going back. The Phazer and the Z-cat are really in different classes. The closest competition to the Phazer would be the low-end hustlers, and possibly the higher-end gravely and ariens home models.

fishinpa
10-10-2006, 07:57 AM
cornonthecobb: Hopefully your remembering to take you ear muffs out to these demo's right?

Dont' damage your hearing due to a demo.

brucec32
10-11-2006, 12:58 PM
The phazer 44" uses the standard Exmark cloth side bagger and has the same trivantage deck as the old Lazer HP's. I used one of those baggers for a couple of years day in, day out, and it does a pretty good job. For home or light commercial use it would be more than fine unless you are trying to bag acreage, in which case you'd save time by just mowing more frequently (2x/week should give you a close to bagged look) and only edging/trimming once a week. If you're bagging acreage commercially you'd of course want more mower and a bigger bagging system.

As for the noise....for about $30 you can buy a set of Peltor noise reducing headphones (w/o radio) that reduce noise far more than typical muff types. You can't hear someone screaming at you 10' away with those on. Trimmers and blowers are going to be much louder anyway, so it's not like you can escape all loud noise.

cobbonthecorn
10-11-2006, 09:36 PM
Thanks for the advice on the headphones! I'm still in limbo here on the mower of choice. The only thing working to my advantage is that it's going to snow Friday, and maybe tomorrow, so the dealers may begin to soften on price soon.

forgop
10-20-2006, 06:10 AM
I've been shopping for a ZRT for a small residential lot, let's say less than 1 acre. Started thinking cheap and am now thinking quality. Hopefully I can find a compromise here. I have four manufactures in mind, Cub, Exmark, Hustler, and Gravely. Would like something 40-48". Most of what I have read tells me a 2 cylinder engine is much more enjoyable to ride than a single cylinder. Will mostly mulch, but would like a bagging option available.

I have narrowed it down to the Cub Z-Force 44 or 48, Exmark Phazer 19/44, Hustler Mini Fastrak Honda 16/42, and the Gravely ZT 2044. But after reading it looks like the Mini Fastrack is receiving a lot of complaints about the grass clogging the deck and leaving grass trails. I don't think the Phazer has a bagging option. Cub seems a little pricey and there is little being written about it so maybe it is not so remarkable. And finally, the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list.

So here are the questions: 1) Are my facts in order?; 2) Have I missed a competitive ZRT near the $4000 price point I should have examined?; 3)Do you have experience or an opinion as to which of these choices ranks highest?

Thanks in advance! (First post, please be kind.)

I found Ariens/Gravely to be a better value when compared to the Hustler for a residential ZTR. I paid $3300 for my Ariens 1740 in the spring of '05 and have been very please with the results.

Steelratt
10-20-2006, 09:57 AM
I found Ariens/Gravely to be a better value when compared to the Hustler for a residential ZTR. I paid $3300 for my Ariens 1740 in the spring of '05 and have been very please with the results.

One of my neighbors has a residential Gravely, and he loves it. Seems to leave a decent cut, too.

cobbonthecorn
10-21-2006, 11:19 AM
I'm still waffling. What I really need is a good snow fall and rotten weather to get my dealers to clear stock at more modest levels of pricing. I'm going to the local Ariens dealer within a week.

cobbonthecorn
01-15-2007, 09:35 PM
Pulled the trigger and bought a Scag Z-Cat 42" with the 19 hp Kawasaki. Got it out of Chicago since there were no 42" to be had in Michigan. Out the door with tax for $4800. All I can say is wow! Cut the lawn the week before Christmas (No snow here in Michigan, it was about 50 F) and must say the Kawasaki will give you quite a ride. Added a mulch plate for an additional $60. Bought a Sears Craftsman three bag catcher and will make an adapter for the deck. Got it off e-Bay for $175. Probably will have $30-40 in adapter parts but should work nicely for the occasional bagging I'll do. All things equal this puppy is quiet, fast, smooth running, and fits in the garage like a glove. Thanks to all that provided input along the way. Oh ya, got a set of Peltor Work Tunes 22's too.

forgop
01-15-2007, 10:12 PM
Pulled the trigger and bought a Scag Z-Cat 42" with the 19 hp Kawasaki. Got it out of Chicago since there were no 42" to be had in Michigan. Out the door with tax for $4800. All I can say is wow! Cut the lawn the week before Christmas (No snow here in Michigan, it was about 50 F) and must say the Kawasaki will give you quite a ride. Added a mulch plate for an additional $60. Bought a Sears Craftsman three bag catcher and will make an adapter for the deck. Got it off e-Bay for $175. Probably will have $30-40 in adapter parts but should work nicely for the occasional bagging I'll do. All things equal this puppy is quiet, fast, smooth running, and fits in the garage like a glove. Thanks to all that provided input along the way. Oh ya, got a set of Peltor Work Tunes 22's too.


It may very well be a nice homeowner ZTR, but do you really think it's 50% better than an equivalent Ariens?

cobbonthecorn
01-16-2007, 10:24 PM
Not sure where you are going with this. If you are comparing dollar-for-dollar the best deals found, the Scag won hands down when comparing features like wheel motors, engine, adjustment access, dealer friendliness, servicing, etc. The icing on the cake came when I met an Ariens dealer at a Christmas party and he couldn't make a case against Scag.

Potchkins
01-17-2007, 08:16 AM
I've been shopping for a ZRT for a small residential lot, let's say less than 1 acre. Started thinking cheap and am now thinking quality. Hopefully I can find a compromise here. I have four manufactures in mind, Cub, Exmark, Hustler, and Gravely. Would like something 40-48". Most of what I have read tells me a 2 cylinder engine is much more enjoyable to ride than a single cylinder. Will mostly mulch, but would like a bagging option available.

I have narrowed it down to the Cub Z-Force 44 or 48, Exmark Phazer 19/44, Hustler Mini Fastrak Honda 16/42, and the Gravely ZT 2044. But after reading it looks like the Mini Fastrack is receiving a lot of complaints about the grass clogging the deck and leaving grass trails. I don't think the Phazer has a bagging option. Cub seems a little pricey and there is little being written about it so maybe it is not so remarkable. And finally, the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list.

So here are the questions: 1) Are my facts in order?; 2) Have I missed a competitive ZRT near the $4000 price point I should have examined?; 3)Do you have experience or an opinion as to which of these choices ranks highest?

Thanks in advance! (First post, please be kind.)

the Gravely seems unremarkable and may just fall off the list


Gravely may be one of the most underated brands out there. Take a closer look and compare it to the cub. You will find that the gravely units may not be as flashy as some but they do have it where it counts....

i spent quite some time on a gravely 2048 near identical to the one
refured to above, all i can say is... J U N K ! ...
And i mean that in the niceist way.

i'd look real hard at the eXmark... hope this helps

Steelratt
01-17-2007, 09:18 AM
Pulled the trigger and bought a Scag Z-Cat 42" with the 19 hp Kawasaki. Got it out of Chicago since there were no 42" to be had in Michigan. Out the door with tax for $4800. All I can say is wow! Cut the lawn the week before Christmas (No snow here in Michigan, it was about 50 F) and must say the Kawasaki will give you quite a ride. Added a mulch plate for an additional $60. Bought a Sears Craftsman three bag catcher and will make an adapter for the deck. Got it off e-Bay for $175. Probably will have $30-40 in adapter parts but should work nicely for the occasional bagging I'll do. All things equal this puppy is quiet, fast, smooth running, and fits in the garage like a glove. Thanks to all that provided input along the way. Oh ya, got a set of Peltor Work Tunes 22's too.


That sounds like a great machine. I loved the scags I looked at, but no one came close to the price you mentioned. I ended up with a Gravely 44Z, which was built pretty much as well as the Scag (NOT a residential gravely). But damn, wish I had been able to get that scag ;)

cobbonthecorn
01-17-2007, 11:43 PM
I was interested in the Gravely 44Z too, but just could not get the dealer to move on the price. (I always try to buy local when I can.) Same was true of the Exmark dealers, but in their case it really came down to a mismatch in products compared to the Z-Cat. I would have had to buy a 48" Exmark to get comparable equipment features. In the end I guess it's true what they say, "It's a good deal if both parties feel like it was a fair deal". And I'd say the Scag was a fair deal.