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View Full Version : Time for a ZTR (residential use)


homerlex
06-29-2007, 09:11 AM
Hello,

I'm seriously tired of my Craftsman Garden tractor. I have a 1.5 acre yard and it takes too long to cut and my tractor is starting to have all sorts of problems.

I'm hoping to find a quality ZTR that would be my last mower purchase (say last 20 years)

I'm considering the Scag Freedom Z but would like some recommedations on comparable models from other brandnames.

Anyone have any comments on the Freedom Z? One big downside is that I just found out that the bagger system is $1200 (oof). I'd like a bagger but I'd probably only use it 5 times a year (mostly in the fall).


Regards,
Mike

wolfsburg57
06-29-2007, 10:47 AM
Mike -

Based on the digging I've done on this site and others, I'd say the selection of a coml grade ztr often comes down to dealer support and ergonomics/ride. You will most likely go into "analysis paralysis" if you just try and compare the features on paper - especially at that price point.

That said, I'd say competitors to the freedom z are any high end residential or entry commercial grade ztr. Toro Titans or small Z masters, Hustler Fastrak, Ferris 500, Gravely 148 or compact series, Exmark quest, Bad Boy ZT, Bob-Cat FastCat, etc... all come to mind without putting much thought into it (I haven't priced all of these but I would guess they would be in your range give or take). I will also go out on a limb and say baggers won't be cheap for any of these - probably not $1200 but still not cheap for 5 uses a year.

Check out your dealers.

Steve

homerlex
06-29-2007, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the reply. I'm already hitting the "paralysis" point :dizzy:

Its probably time to go sit on a few machines.

Still looking for feedback from Freedom Z owers as well.

homerlex
06-29-2007, 11:05 AM
BTW - when talking to a dealer - what things should I ask him so that I get some confidence that he is going to provide adequate "dealer support"?

jkingrph
06-29-2007, 11:10 AM
Been in your situation with just slightly larger property. I chose a Scag Wildcat last year, planning on it being my last mower( it should last 20 years). You might look at the tiger cub, they look like good machines. I got a good deal last year on my wildcat, 52" deck and 26hp lc Kawasaki and recommend it highly, although it is overkill on this size property.

wolfsburg57
06-29-2007, 11:13 AM
That was actually one of the initial models I looked at as my closest dealer is a scag/toro/snapper dealer. It was too much mower for my 1 acre needs and looking at it helped me refine my priorities a bit. I didn't find too many owners on here and I don't think you will find very many people that doubt that its a solid machine. Scag has a good reputation on the board.

You might start with a comparison between the scag and a Hustler if you have a dealer near by.

Capemay Eagle
06-29-2007, 01:32 PM
I also looked at the Scaq freedom Z, but I came to realize it was overkill for an acre of grass, the salesman belive it or not said the same. For an acre and a half of grass I can suggest the Hustler Mini fastrak. Priced right, fast and fun to drive. I love mine.
I talked to Doug over at Catcher King and he set me up with a 4.4 XL steel catcher for about $225.00. But with the Gator blades I put on, I don't need a bagger at all. I Just need the catcher every few cuts, to clean up all the debris from all the trees and gardens and left over clippings etc.

PJ, over at the Hustler site can answer any questions you have..

homerlex
06-29-2007, 02:03 PM
I'd actually prefer a little overkill here. The mini looks OK but I'd like at least a 48" deck.

Hmm, CatcherKing look interesting :-)

rainman14624
06-29-2007, 03:11 PM
I got the Freedom Z with the 26 Briggs ELS, an engine that gets bashed regularly on this forum, but I also see plenty of people with problems with their Kawasakis and Kohlers, as well. The Scag has made cutting my 2.5-acre yard almost fun, certainly not the burden it was with my Craftsman lawn tractor. It cut my mower time from almost four hours to an hour and 45 minutes. You can look at the components on the Scag and see they're built to last.

Jeepster
06-29-2007, 04:02 PM
After getting tired of my Cub Cadet 2130 taking about 1 1/2hr or so to mow about 1 acre of lawn. I bucked up, and now have a Hustler 48/19 kaw Fastrack. Mow time now is about 30min. I beat myself up over what mower was the best deal for me for the amount of grass I have to mow.
They are all good.
It all came down to local Dealer and price. $4750 + Tax. And I dont have to travel far for parts if I need them.
$5000 seems to be the price point for a good quality High end residential/low end commercial mower.

gregory
06-29-2007, 07:10 PM
i was in the same boat.i have a acre of grass to mow i went to a few dealers and most had the same attitude that since i was a homeowner i wasn't going to drop 5k on a mower .i wanted to demo the mower before i bought it.none of them wanted to help me so i went to the toro dealer and talked to him and he told me about a z-master i think its a z100 44" cut with a 17hp kaw motor he told me he would bring it to my house on friday night and let me mow by own yard with it so i could see how it handle my yard he did it was great and thats what i bought best mower i have owned.had it since 1999 and only thing i have done is put 2 batteries and changed the blades and oil...the only reason i got the toro was b/c he was the only one to help me and told me to use it on my yard everybody else blew me off ...i would see if any dealer would let you use the a mower you are planning on buying at your place 5k or so is a alot to pay for a mower that you might not like ...

Landude
06-29-2007, 09:20 PM
It took me two years of looking and saying they cost too damn much till I finally bought one. I ended up getting the Country Clipper JAZee Pro with the joystick control. It's the model between residential and commercial units. It takes less then half the time now which sucks casue it's so much fun. 52 inch with the Kohler 23. Any decent rear bagger for it is close to two grand so I'm looking at the Accelerator side bagger set up.
One of my favorite things is the way to deck flips up to clean the underside or change the blades. Since it was delivered I have installed a homemade stripe kit as seen on this site and wired it up for my tank sprayer.
Whatever brand you decide on you will absolutely love a ZT.
One more thing to consider with a ZT would be hills. If you have lots of them then a ZT is probably not the way to go. This just comes from reading some of the issues the big guys on this site have had with them.
Good Luck!

steve45
06-30-2007, 12:40 AM
Mike, I was in a similar situation 2 years ago. I was finally able to buy a used 48" Scag Tiger Cub for a fair price, but it took months to find one for sale within driving distance (drove 500 miles each way to get mine).

I was close to buying a Hustler, but they didn't offer grass catchers for the smaller ones at the time (I think they do now).

I really like the Scag for several reasons. There are several dealers in my area to choose from, they're built like tanks, and you can buy most common replacement parts online or on Ebay. (Just go to Ebay and do a search for Scag!). You can often find used grass catchers there if you're patient.

rainman14624
06-30-2007, 02:24 PM
Shoot, Steve. That's just around the corner in Texas.:laugh:

MOW1TODAY
06-30-2007, 07:48 PM
i would go with the bobcat fast cat it has a two year commercial warranty and it has the kaw engine

HOOLIE
07-01-2007, 11:29 AM
Dealer support is a bit overhyped, especially in the case of a machine being used for just one lawn a week. Unlikely you would need to visit the dealer for any problems for a long time. I would just check to see (if you can't transport it yourself) whether the dealer can do a pickup/dropoff service, and possibly if they have a demo you can borrow if need be.

But otherwise, you should not have any serious problems for a very long time.

homerlex
07-01-2007, 01:54 PM
Do dealers generlly have some wiggle room with pricing?

I emailed a bunch of dealers and 1 was very responsive (noone else even replied). He's been pretty helpful so far and I'm thinking about driving up to take a test drive tomorrow. He's not the closest scag dealer to me but since he had been so reponsive I want to go see him.

He quoted me the following prices and pretty much said that was it (sounded like he wasn't going to budge. What is the story? Do dealers ever cut a little off the price of the scags?

Model SFZ48-26BS is a 48” deck with a 26hp Briggs engine and the price is $4,999
Model SFZ52-26BS is a 52” deck with a 26hp Briggs engine and the price is $5,199


Model SFZ48-19KA is a 48” deck with a 19hp Kawasaki engine and the price is $5,249
Model SFZ52-19KA is a 52” deck with a 19hp Kawasaki engine and the price is $5,449

gregory
07-01-2007, 05:20 PM
i would get the 48" with the kawasaki 19hp if it was me...but your lot is bigger then mine i would go with the 52" and kaw motor...

homerlex
07-02-2007, 11:39 AM
I just visited 2 different Scag dealers and one eMark/Ferris dealer. 3 of the guys said the Briggs ELS has been holding up well and the choice of engine really comes down to prefference. The other guy said the Kawi is a much better engine and recommends that. The Kawi guy also said to go with the 48" because the 52" inch doesn't cut any significant time off the job. I did drive the 48" Kawi at the dealer and really liked it. The one he had there had 3 hours on it and was returned by another customer. When he priced it up for me he didn't even take anything off the price - you'd think he'd knock something off considering it was used and returned.

The other scag dealer (which I went to first) had a 52" inch with the Briggs but I couldn't drive it because there was some issue with apart on it. When this guy gave me the price he knocked $100 off right away. He's closer to home too. I'll have to see if he can give me a discount off the 48" Kawi as well.

At this point I'm still up in the air deciding which engine I want. I'm leaning tword the Kawi, I think...

homerlex
07-02-2007, 12:12 PM
Well, the first guy just called me back and I asked him about a price on the 48" with the Kawi and he'll take $100 off that as well. So, 5,149 for the 48/Kawi. Hmmm....

Ray Zorback
07-02-2007, 12:12 PM
Well, I've got 20 hours on my Freedom Z. I'm mowing 5 acres with lots of trees. It takes me less than 3 hours including trimming. Here are my thoughts:

The ROPS is small enough that I have had no problem with tree limbs. I have a 52" deck so I have a little more trim capability than the 48". I can even go under my clothes line. It would be easy to take off if one wanted to, only 4 bolts.

The fabricated floating deck has a 7 ga. skirt with an 11 ga. reinforcement plate. More than enough for residential use.

The 19 Kawasaki has plenty of power. I have tried to bog it down and can't. I have cut some thick 4" bermuda down to 1" at full speed (8mph).

My opinion is that the ZT-2800 tranny is also more than enough for residential use. Several brands use them on their entry level commercial mowers. Scag also upgrades the tranny by adding cooling fans, charge pumps, and spin on filters to the Freedom Z.

I brought 3 different mowers home for demo: the Freedom Z., Cub Cadet Enforcer, and the Badboy ZT. I also drove the Z445 in a field at the Deere place. The Scag ride was far better than the others. It has 20 x 10 -8 tires, a very thick cushioned seat and the foot plate is designed to absorb bumps as well.

The only somewhat negitive thing I can say about it is that it scalps when mowing at less than 2". (the 48" may be better) I like to keep my bermuda at 1".

As far as price, I gave $5300 for mine. The dealer also added headlights and threw in an extra set blades and a mulch plate for that price.

Hope this helps.

homerlex
07-02-2007, 12:15 PM
Thanks for the reply Ray. Sounds like you got a great deal. I doubt I'd be able to get the same deal - not much of a haggler.

homerlex
07-05-2007, 09:00 AM
OK - I decided to go "all out" and get the Kawi with the 52" - I figured I'm spending this big chunk of change, I may as well spend the few hundred more and get the best.

I just talked to the dealer and he can do $5,349 for the 19/58 with the trailer hitch included. I'm pretty happy with the deal. Now I just have to wait because it needs to be ordered.

gregory
07-05-2007, 10:07 AM
you will be happy with it ..i am glad i spent the $ on my ztr..haven't had to do anything to it...make mowing a alittle easier

Pro-Scapes
07-05-2007, 10:31 AM
as a commercial guy I dont think you should expect a demo unit while yours is down like we should. We depend on our mowers for a living.

If you wanna save some change and get a tough machine look or a used commercial unit prefferably one with under 1000 hours.

The scag fredom z is fine for a homeowner and much better than the flimsy troy builts or other crappy ones offered by the big box stores. An acre and a half shouldnt take that long even with a quality garden tractor. I think you want this for a new toy.

Also... for about the same price I gotta reccomend you go try out the hustler fast trak... a 52 inch with 20hp honday can be had for just under 5k... maybe even less on a promo.

Dealers dont have that much mark up on these mowers... typically 9% or so... so respect the fact he owns a business and needs to keep his doors open and as long as his price is reasonable and he provides good service go with him. People dont go into lowes expecting to negotiate... why put yout dealer in that position. It is ok to ask him to swap out the new blades for mulchers or perhaps add an accsessory but you cannot expect him to provide excellent service and have the cheapest price.

homerlex
07-05-2007, 11:17 AM
Nope, not looking for a "new toy". Looking for a quality mower that will last a long time and do a great job on the lawn - to replace my garden tractor.

BTW - what would you consider a "quality" lawn tractor - just curious?

I think finding a low hour used commercial machine is probably good advice but I wasn't able to find anything in my price range that I was satisfied with.

Regards.

Capemay Eagle
07-05-2007, 04:30 PM
Toy or no toy, can't take the money with you, so get what you want and have fun.

I just hope you are not financing this machine. It would be a real shame to be making payments on a machine that is way to much for what you need. No offence..Just don't want you to kick yourself six months down the line..I still recomend the 48" Fastrak. It is about the size you need and a great company to back it up. Plus a little less out of the pocket. Good luck what ever you decide..

homerlex
07-05-2007, 05:07 PM
Thanks - no, not doing any financing :)

Ray Zorback
07-06-2007, 09:35 AM
OK - I decided to go "all out" and get the Kawi with the 52"

Congrats! You'll love it.

Another note on mine. I just put the 'hurricane' blades on mine and love them.
I'm not mulching, just using the 'hurricane' blades and discharging. They reduces the clippings to green dust. :drinkup:

homerlex
07-06-2007, 09:41 AM
Where did you get the blades? Are they the "ELIMINATOR MULCHING BLADES" that I see here: http://www.scag.com/hurricanemulcher.html

Ray Zorback
07-06-2007, 01:28 PM
Where did you get the blades? Are they the "ELIMINATOR MULCHING BLADES" that I see here: http://www.scag.com/hurricanemulcher.html


That's them, I got the name wrong. I see now that the entire mulching system is called 'hurricane'. My dealer ordered them for me. As I mentioned before, he thew in an extra set of regular blades when I bought the mower. After a few weeks, I asked him to order the eliminator blades for me and I would bring back the regulars and pay the difference. When the eliminators came in, he swapted them straight up. So far, I have been impressed with Scag's customer service.

homerlex
07-06-2007, 01:42 PM
Any idea how much those blades cost? I'll go with the stock blades at first then consider trying the eliminators later.

Ray Zorback
07-08-2007, 09:14 AM
I haven't found a price on the eliminator blades but I found some Gator blades that would fit for $25.47 + $9.99 shipping...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Gator-Mulcher-Lawn-Mower-Blade-for-Scag-Wright-36-52_W0QQitemZ330144969811QQihZ014QQcategoryZ82248QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I would think your dealer could get you the eliminators for close to the same price.

All_Toro_4ME
07-18-2007, 02:32 PM
Hello,

I'm seriously tired of my Craftsman Garden tractor. I have a 1.5 acre yard and it takes too long to cut and my tractor is starting to have all sorts of problems.

I'm hoping to find a quality ZTR that would be my last mower purchase (say last 20 years)

I'm considering the Scag Freedom Z but would like some recommedations on comparable models from other brandnames.

Anyone have any comments on the Freedom Z? One big downside is that I just found out that the bagger system is $1200 (oof). I'd like a bagger but I'd probably only use it 5 times a year (mostly in the fall).


Regards,
Mike

I'm assuming you are bagging leaves. Something you may try instead of spending the $1200 for the bagger is get a powerful commercial blower and blow the leaves towards the center of the yard. Then use your bagger on your walk-behind to pick them up. Takes slightly a little longer, but still can be done pretty quick.

homerlex
07-18-2007, 06:35 PM
Well it was what seemed like a long wait but the "beast" was delivered a few hours ago. Its pretty rainy so not cutting but I did cruise around a but - very cool!

Capemay Eagle
07-19-2007, 01:03 PM
Well it was what seemed like a long wait but the "beast" was delivered a few hours ago. Its pretty rainy so not cutting but I did cruise around a but - very cool!

Congrats, It is nice machine. The Freedom was the first one I tested on my search for a restidential ZTR, if only it came a little smaller, I would probably own one myself. Good luck..