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C&K
04-05-2007, 07:19 PM
I have a need for a lawn tractor. Lots of hills too steep for a ZTR and too large for a walk behind with sulky. Unproductive without sulky. I might add that there are four more properties I could be more efficient with a tractor style mower. Can anyone using a lawn tractor twelve hours or more a week make a recommendation? I am opting for a 50" or so cut width.

Scag48
04-05-2007, 07:39 PM
How much are you making on these properties? The reason I'm asking is would it even make financial sense to go buy a lawn tractor for $5000-$6000 just to handle a few accounts. Might be better off either toughing it out with a sulky or drop the accounts all together.

corey1977
04-05-2007, 07:53 PM
c&k have you seen one of them new cub zero turns tractors its a conviontal that zeros turns?

ccash
04-05-2007, 08:08 PM
c&k have you seen one of them new cub zero turns tractors its a conviontal that zeros turns?


those look pretty cool.

mouse
04-05-2007, 08:12 PM
If you can't stay on the hills with a ztr you will not like the tractor on them.
I would advise you to test drive what ever tractor you were interested in on
the hills you want to mow. I use my Kubota zd 331 on hill sides that I would
not consider a tractor on.

C&K
04-05-2007, 08:56 PM
I had no intention of spending 5 or 6k on the tractor. I do like the cub zero turn. I believe it is about $3500.00. I don't know that the zero turn is a necessity. A standard tractor with hydro-drive can be had for about $2200-$2600. I have looked at Cubs, J.D.'s, Husqvarnas, and even Troy-Bilts with hydro, 23 to 26hp, 50" to 54" decks. Can also use a lawn tractor for alot of other uses such as aeration, fertilization, etc.

lawnspecialties
04-05-2007, 11:00 PM
Look for a good used John Deere 425, 445, or 455. It may be a little tough finding one for that price but it can be done. I had a 445 and a 455 and from time to time, wish I still had at least one of them. If you can't find one, a 345 will work well, too.

When it comes to dependability, they're as good as any commercial ztr.:)

DuraCutter
04-06-2007, 02:36 AM
I had no intention of spending 5 or 6k on the tractor. I do like the cub zero turn. I believe it is about $3500.00. I don't know that the zero turn is a necessity. A standard tractor with hydro-drive can be had for about $2200-$2600. I have looked at Cubs, J.D.'s, Husqvarnas, and even Troy-Bilts with hydro, 23 to 26hp, 50" to 54" decks. Can also use a lawn tractor for alot of other uses such as aeration, fertilization, etc.

I just bought 5 used tractors to pull power rakes and pull sweepers for spring cleanup. They are john deeres, the 160 model with 38" mowers. They are all about 20 years old and run great with mowers also running well. I won't use the mowers that much but I can't see how they would not do the job for you.

I paid about $750 each from a JD dealer. :)

supercuts
04-06-2007, 10:17 AM
im having trouble thinking a tractor will be better on a hill. i go up and down very steep hills on my ZTR all the time. i even drive sideways on a few very steep slopes. how is a tractor going to work better?? if a hill is steeper than for use with a ZTR it sounds to me to be too unsafe period! to each his own.

C&K
04-06-2007, 08:44 PM
im having trouble thinking a tractor will be better on a hill. i go up and down very steep hills on my ZTR all the time. i even drive sideways on a few very steep slopes. how is a tractor going to work better?? if a hill is steeper than for use with a ZTR it sounds to me to be too unsafe period! to each his own.

The hills aren't to steep for a ztr to go on, but they are steep enough to make the ztr slide some going down and the deck weight makes the tires slide some. If it's wet the ztr will slide a lot and tear up the turf. Therefore a lawn tractor mower could be usefull in those situations whereas the front wheels (not casters) will keep the mower stable and not try to twist down hill.
I have mowed much steeper grades with a lawn tractor than I would ever attempt with a ztr.

Anyone else ran into this type of areas where a lawn tractor would be usefull?

Splicer
04-06-2007, 09:00 PM
A used Craftsman GARDEN TRACTOR would be your best bet IMHO...

lawnpro724
04-06-2007, 09:23 PM
I have a need for a lawn tractor. Lots of hills too steep for a ZTR and too large for a walk behind with sulky. Unproductive without sulky. I might add that there are four more properties I could be more efficient with a tractor style mower. Can anyone using a lawn tractor twelve hours or more a week make a recommendation? I am opting for a 50" or so cut width.

I have a 50" cut tractor I use on lake lots and steep hills and it works better than anythings else I have for steep grades. Whatever model you buy, buy commercial and make sure it has a heavy duty hydro drive and that it has enough weight to hold hills. Mine weighs 850lbs and the hydro holds its own going up or down steep grades.

corey1977
04-06-2007, 09:31 PM
I have a cub zero turn I just bought 22/50 I have put 2 hours on it on flat ground so I cant tell you how it is on hills yet it came to $3700.00 with bagger and mulch kit lots of power!

jason_2005lawnman
04-06-2007, 09:31 PM
i would have to disagree with you ; i started out my business with tractor style mowers and now have ztr; and in no way will the tractor manage a hill steeper than a ztr; in fact my ztr will put a tractor to shame on hills; i do it all the time; and my walk behind will take on hills way beyond what either one can handle; so i would say no to the tractor.

howardsells2000
04-06-2007, 10:18 PM
My opinion is that a walk behind would do better than any tractor on hills.

Fox Lawn & Garden
04-06-2007, 11:15 PM
My opinion is that a walk behind would do better than any tractor on hills.

for sure. Tractors USED to be fun.
I don't have time for fun. Z-turn Tank, if too steep- walk behind...If still too steep (45º +), 21" commercial Toro

supercuts
04-07-2007, 09:27 AM
The hills aren't to steep for a ztr to go on, but they are steep enough to make the ztr slide some going down and the deck weight makes the tires slide some. If it's wet the ztr will slide a lot and tear up the turf. Therefore a lawn tractor mower could be usefull in those situations whereas the front wheels (not casters) will keep the mower stable and not try to twist down hill.
I have mowed much steeper grades with a lawn tractor than I would ever attempt with a ztr.

Anyone else ran into this type of areas where a lawn tractor would be usefull?

sure they skid down hill if your going forward, i do some hills, you back them down the hill which has always worked, but obviously do what you think is best. i still cant think a tractor would work better than a WB or ZTR, let alone justify the cost of another machine. to each his own

mouse
04-07-2007, 07:50 PM
I'll repeat my advice with a mid mount ztr, with a lug tread you can go on hills that would be impossible with a lawn tractor I have used both in my mowing.
Their are a few things that a tractor would be ok for but side hills and speed aren't on the list. If you are using a front deck mower then a lawn tractor would be ok because they will not stick to a side hill near as well as a mid mount ztr.

C&K
04-08-2007, 10:11 PM
I certainly appreciate the advice. However, I didn't ask advice on which style mower to use; I asked for advice on which tractor mower do you guys recommend? Let me clarify. I live in the mountains. Large properties in the Appalachian Mountains. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate any and all advice. I have used ZTRs and walk-behinds on these properties and as I have stated before the ZTRs will not hold the hills in any direction and the WBs are not productive on these large properties. That being said; who uses a tractor mower in the mountains?

LindblomRJ
04-08-2007, 10:26 PM
A used Craftsman GARDEN TRACTOR would be your best bet IMHO...

My only craftsman lawn tractor was more or less commission for selling two Farmall tractors that a widow didn't know what to do with.

I traded to my father for a gun. I came out ahead on that deal.

For the money I think the John Deere is the route to take. Any where from the 318 to 400 series. The other one I would look at is the cub cadet with shaft drive transmission.

Dad has a Cub 129 with a blown engine. I am wanting to get it home and re engine it for pulling carts sweepers etc with.

Idealtim
04-08-2007, 10:27 PM
I could cut a figure 8 into a 30+ degree hill with my belt wb with no sulky at walking speed and not rip a square inch of turf, and if I can do it I am sure that you could, to. Do hills suck, absolutly, do I charge extra if a property has a lot of them, you bet! Do they make my wb unproductive, not at all. As a matter of fact, it makes me glad I have it. I have to get some pictures of some of the hills on my lawns, they would probly make some of you cringe.

Roger
04-08-2007, 10:35 PM
I don't have an experience with using a lawn tractor on slopes, but I see a homeowner cut a large, difficult piece of property next to one of the properties I mow with a ZTR. Frankly, I am a bit surprised where he goes with his tractor.

However, it is a Kubota 4 wheel drive. I would think a 4 wheel drive would be of help on the steep slopes, but I don't know how much. Maybe somebody else here has personal experiences on the advantages of the 4 wheel drive, over a traditional 2 wheel drive. It may be another consideration, albeit larger cost.

18lmslcsr
04-08-2007, 10:44 PM
Probably the more important part of the equation is that the engine will need to be pressurized and that the rear and front should most likely be weighted. Proper maintainznce is paramout and oil changes are key to the tractor engine longevity. Have used a Craftsman L1000 for 2 seasons now at full time and it has done a swell job at handeling hills and slopes. I use Mobil 1 Syntec in all the engines (after break'n of course) and the 42" deck size is actually comfortable. Proper air in tires is very important as well as learning the limits of the machine you choose.

C.

talldaddy
04-09-2007, 04:39 PM
I bought a JD 345 used with 500 hours for 3100.00. It has a heavy duty hydro drive, power steering and power deck lift. I bought it to use at an industrial site that has been mowed with ZTRs and tractor style mowers. It has a 20hp liquid cooled engine. We pull a pretty heavy small trailer with it and go us and down very steep hills. It does a good job and it is a very robust small garden tractor.

Jeff

talldaddy
04-09-2007, 04:40 PM
OH!!! The JD 345 I bought has a 52 or 54" deck.

howardsells2000
04-09-2007, 11:39 PM
I guess you know what you want but I can't see how a Lawn Tractor could be more productive than a walk behind on hills. I don't see how a Lawn Tractor could be more productive than a walk behind on flat ground. A good daul hydro walk behind can cut faster than a Lawn Tractor any day.

It seems from your post your looking at home owner tractors. If that is what you want you should just buy something that has a good warranty and that you can get serviced locally.

Envy Lawn Service
04-10-2007, 12:53 AM
I certainly appreciate the advice. However, I didn't ask advice on which style mower to use; I asked for advice on which tractor mower do you guys recommend? Let me clarify. I live in the mountains. Large properties in the Appalachian Mountains. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate any and all advice. I have used ZTRs and walk-behinds on these properties and as I have stated before the ZTRs will not hold the hills in any direction and the WBs are not productive on these large properties. That being said; who uses a tractor mower in the mountains?

You're on the east face of the mountains... I'm over the ridge on the west face.

TAKE IT FROM ME....
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET "EDUCATED" OPINIONS HERE ON THIS SUBJECT.

Not from these guys anyways... LOL.
99% of the people here don't know what hills are... NOT LIKE YOU AND I DO!

I use both ZTR's and Lawn Tractors... in the mountains...

So we can go tractor shoppin'... what's your budget?

LindblomRJ
04-10-2007, 01:17 AM
C&K or Envy

Have you ever thougth about something like a 3 wheeled Scag or Gravley? Ran a 3 wheeled Scag on somewhat a hill and it seemed to hold it pretty well. Near 0 turn ability without the caster of a ZTR.

C&K
04-10-2007, 11:37 PM
You're on the east face of the mountains... I'm over the ridge on the west face.

TAKE IT FROM ME....
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET "EDUCATED" OPINIONS HERE ON THIS SUBJECT.

Not from these guys anyways... LOL.
99% of the people here don't know what hills are... NOT LIKE YOU AND I DO!

I use both ZTR's and Lawn Tractors... in the mountains...

So we can go tractor shoppin'... what's your budget?

I was wondering when someone in a similar area would chime in.
The lawns that we want a tractor style mower for are very shaded. So, what grows on northeast sides of shady mountains? Moss. A lot of homes are on mountain sides built in the middle of the woods. I know that some people might think that we need to get good turf started but, a lot of people don't really care enough to pay to seed and work to keep grass growing well. They just want it mowed. So, I could get a ztr or w/b on 95% of these type lawns but it would rip the loose mountain soil and mossy areas. Thats the reason we have a need for a tractor style mower. 25-40 degree slopes and you have to stop and turn on the slopes.

We were looking for something below 3500.00 new or used. doesn't matter just something to get the job done.

I was in NC today, Charlotte, Winston Salem, and came home through Boone.
Envy, where are you located?

AlleganyLawnCare
04-11-2007, 01:05 AM
I live in the mountains, and have several large properties with extremely steep hills. I do use my sears tractor on the hills. I would use my cub cadet enforcer, but to be honest I get a little scared because of the size. Now mind you, I mow straight up each time, then work my way around to an easier slope to get to the bottom. I do pray to our good Lord every time I go up (no matter what I use). I use my wb on the even steeper parts. Once my tractor lost traction and slid down the hill (slid approx. a good 50 feet) backwards. scared the crap out of me really good.

I wish there was like an outrigger system you could use for those tip-over situations. Maybe I will make something up. easy to attach and take off. hmmmm...

Envy Lawn Service
04-11-2007, 01:32 AM
I was wondering when someone in a similar area would chime in.
The lawns that we want a tractor style mower for are very shaded. So, what grows on northeast sides of shady mountains? Moss. A lot of homes are on mountain sides built in the middle of the woods. I know that some people might think that we need to get good turf started but, a lot of people don't really care enough to pay to seed and work to keep grass growing well. They just want it mowed. So, I could get a ztr or w/b on 95% of these type lawns but it would rip the loose mountain soil and mossy areas. Thats the reason we have a need for a tractor style mower. 25-40 degree slopes and you have to stop and turn on the slopes.

We were looking for something below 3500.00 new or used. doesn't matter just something to get the job done.

I was in NC today, Charlotte, Winston Salem, and came home through Boone.
Envy, where are you located?

I lose some lawns like that from year to year.

For me, here is the issue...

Simply put, those types of lawns are owned by those too cheap, or without the financial resources to build a DURABLE lawn on their property. Likewise, they want to try to keep mowing costs down... and I don't have a big lawn tractor that can compete productively with a 60" ZTR.... so I usually end up bidding for use of the ZTR.

Then at some point they complain about the damage of the BIG mower, and I clue them in on what it would cost to do it with the lawn tractor IF I'm even interested... and that's when they bail.

Really these such lawns that are so tender and the organic soil is so loose on top that they really do not need to be steep for you to eventually leave your mark somewhere through the course of the season. You might even tear them with a lawn tractor sometime... but it's less likely and you do have to feel you are on egg shells the whole time you are mowing.

Anyways, with $3,500 I would be shooting high if I could. I'd be looking for a big cutter deck... 50" or preferably more... and without question a good hydro trans...

As some others have said, the old 400 series John Deere's are a good heavy duty machine. They are nice and wide and usually offer a wide cut. The old GX and GT series models are good too, just a lot less machine, and 54" cut max... and I found them to have too many annoying safety features targeted at homeowners.

The thing about the late model Deere's is finding one. Sometimes you can happen across a real nice one that Grandpa bought during retirement and got to use very little. The rest will be eat up with hours....

A used 3000 series Cub Cadet is an option also...

I also happen to think Simplicity makes a fine lawn tractor. Probably the best new machine you can buy today. The cut is REALLY GOOD and they seem to last well with good maintenance.

Simplicity uses a good hydro, good engines, ect...
But with Simplicity, there are two restraints over the box-store-brands...

#1 - Price
#2 - The deck on most of them rides on the stripe rollers.

Now the decks create a beautiful cut and contour the ground the best. That's a big plus. But (until recent changes) every one of them from the Broadmour up until you get to the models with the hydro deck lift have a deck that rides on those rollers... no other option.

It's not a bad thing because of the benefits, but if you cover a lot of rough ground, tree roots, ect... or mow a slew with it... well that's a lot of motion and a lot of abuse.... so a little extra maintenance can be expected.

Anyways, Simplicity has made some changes for this year, and honestly, I haven't kept up with them. But here is what I know... They improved their Regent model this year and it looks like this.

http://www.simplicitymfg.com/images/l_regent.jpg

It's available now with a 24hp 50" (MSRP = $2,999)

The trans is now a Tuff Torq K-46... very good (no diff-lock though)
5.5 mph - 3 mph reverse
3.5 gallon fuel tank
Larger 22x10-tires out back (hundreds of tire choices as that is a standard ATV size)

A 12" turning radius.

PRIOR to these changes, I do know that this machine had the rollers, but unlike the others, still had a suspended deck. In other words, the roller in the back was close to the ground for the most part at all cutting heights, but the deck was not "full-floating" riding on the rollers like on the other machines. BUT THAT MAY HAVE CHANGED. You'll have to visit a Simplicity/Massey Lawn/AGCO Lawn dealer and check that feature out.

I myself WANT one of those new GR2100/GR2000 Kubota.
Those are the cat's meow....
But so far, I have been too stubborn to pay that much for a L&G tractor.



(oh, and you passed right by me on your way up 321 to Boone)

grasscutter
04-11-2007, 07:40 AM
I have a JD LX-173 that I use to mow some steep hills that I will not attempt to mow with my zero turn mower. This type mower seems to work better for me because it seems to have a lower center of gravity than some of the larger units. This makes it easier to bail out on if things go bad.( hey I'm over fifty I don' heal that quick anymore) I don't use it on all the steep hills just the ones that have trouble at the bottom, I also use it on gated yards and one yard that has a bridge that is too wide for my zero turn.

Splicer
05-02-2007, 04:54 PM
Years ago I rebuilt the cable TV system in Boone...man, I bet that place has changed...Is it still 'dry' there?

Midwest Lawn Services
05-02-2007, 05:42 PM
Look for a good used John Deere 425, 445, or 455. It may be a little tough finding one for that price but it can be done. I had a 445 and a 455 and from time to time, wish I still had at least one of them. If you can't find one, a 345 will work well, too.

When it comes to dependability, they're as good as any commercial ztr.:)

That's right!!!!

Razorblades
05-02-2007, 09:47 PM
Hi C&K, Another L&G Tractor you might consider would be an Ingersoll.(Descendant of the old Case L&G Tractors.) They're a very small player in a very large market, but they are extremely heavy built for a Garden Tractor. A new one may be too pricey for you but you see a few on Ebay. They do have a dated, but proven design and drivetrain. They're Hydraulic drive with the option of hydraulic pto and class 0 3 pt hitch or sleeve hitch. They have Hydraulic lift on the mower decks. They also make a variety of attachments for the Tractor. As I said before, New ones aren't cheap but sometimes with a little searching you can pick up a tractor with serveral attachments. I personally own an Ingersoll 4020 (20 HP onan engine, which is no longer available) with a 60" mower deck. I also have the 41" tiller (Hydraulic), Hydra-Vac (Hydraulic) 54" front blade, rear wheel weights,and a recently bought Log splitter (hydraulic). The new Ingersoll's come with a Briggs Vanguard, from 18-23 HP. The only reason I listed my attachments was to show the versatility of the tractor, and the attachments ARE very heavy built. Their web site is: "www.ingersoll-inc.com" if you want to check them out. I also found an Ingersoll with only about 80 hrs on it and got it for my dad. It is a 4018 with the 18 hp Vanguard eng. and 48" mower deck. It also performs very well. I know the Ingersoll has an old dated looking design, but they are as heavy duty built(in their size) of a tractor style mower as you'll find.(In my humble,biased opinion) PC