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View Full Version : Scag ZTR's on an embankment?


johnnybravo8802
04-20-2008, 09:33 PM
How do the Scag ZTR's do traversing steep embankments? Any experience?

MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE
04-20-2008, 09:35 PM
They stick like glue.simple nothing holds scag back,the bigger the z the better they stick i have 4 scag new model z's.

nosparkplugs
04-20-2008, 09:42 PM
There capable of going as steep, as your balls are big?:laugh: the one thing I miss about my Scag

johnnybravo8802
04-20-2008, 09:42 PM
I thought that may be the case. I was looking at a turf tiger the other day and couldn't believe how wide it was. A Sabre Tooth may be even wider. The best machine I've had to date on a hill was a Ferris IS 4000 with the suspension pressing it down on an embankment but, it wasn't dependable. That was a shame.

MOW PRO LAWN SERVICE
04-20-2008, 09:55 PM
oh the tiger good pick,the sabres are gone you might find one left over with the 20 cc pumps..........

FIRESCOOBY
04-20-2008, 10:04 PM
My TT will stick to hills like nothing I've ever seen. I've got one embankment that I mow that is every bit of 45-50 degrees with no slip as long as it's not too dry or wet.

A lot of it for me depends on what is at the bottom. At a school, there is a hill at about 40 degrees that is about 50' tall. Only downfall is there is a parking lot at the very bottom. I only mow about half because it gets a little steeper after that and I don't wanna lose it and slide down into a car.

tacoma200
04-20-2008, 10:14 PM
They are very good on hills, I've had them on places that looked like WB only banks. Are they the very best on hills? I don't know, there was some debate on a post a while back and I think Envy knew of some that he said held better (I want to say Landpride but not sure). There are guys here that swear by an out front Grasshopper on certain types of difficult terrain such as going down a hill deck first. Out of the top sellers a Turf Tiger is hard to beat though. Hustler makes the ATZ and there are mowers made especially for slopes so there are probably some that will hold better.

WREBELMACHINE
04-20-2008, 10:25 PM
That would be Country Clipper!

tacoma200
04-20-2008, 11:43 PM
That would be Country Clipper!

Ok, my bad. I got them mixed up.

ALC-GregH
04-21-2008, 10:35 AM
I saw a guy mowing a bank/hill that I probably couldn't even walk up! The mower (don't know the brand) had a hydro tilt that would tilt the cab so it was level even though the hill was steep and the deck would be at a huge angle in relation to the mower. As he came off the hill, it would straighten back up. I could only think that it would slide off the hill at any time but it didn't.

johnnybravo8802
04-21-2008, 12:17 PM
I'm thinking in relation to a standard ZTR that excels over the rest. You're referring to a slope mower. You may have seen a Hillsider by Hustler(yellow) or a Dew-Eze(black and red). The cabs tilt on both to keep the operator upright. Thanks for info.

tacoma200
04-21-2008, 12:24 PM
Then Scag Turf Tiger and Hustler Z, Super Z are about the best top sellers for hills. I like the Scag better but the grass in different there so the Hustler may do well.

capnsac
04-22-2008, 12:52 AM
what about the cub cadet tank m-60. It has a rear stance of 61" and is super low to the ground. Anybody heard of any horror stories with these tipping?

Envy Lawn Service
04-22-2008, 01:55 AM
what about the cub cadet tank m-60. It has a rear stance of 61" and is super low to the ground. Anybody heard of any horror stories with these tipping?

No... but the real issue is seldom tipping... the issue is a loss of control which creates a freak situation, ending in tip-over.

I have the same unit... before it went "wide-track".
It's 50-some inches wide... I want to say 54".

For a ZTR it's excellent on hills, and the wide-track ones are probably slightly better.
I'd say the top three 'standard' ZTR's on slopes are...

Country Clipper
Cub/Lesco
Scag

In no particular order.....

I would have had to take Country Clipper and Scag out last year for a solid week or more in order to judge them 1-2-3.... (Country Clipper is #1 at backing up slopes though... I KNOW that)

But honestly, unless they were lesser than mine, I probably still couldn't tell. The reason is that I lost too much trust in ZTR's before finding the best I could get around here.... and in the end, that's probably for the best... because at-best, ZTR's are never really real trustworthy on slopes.... and you have absolutely no control over them once they break loose.

I would say walkbehinds for steep stuff, but honestly I ride stuff steeper than I'd want to walk, so....

I still say something with a steering wheel is the better tool for the job.
That and a little common sense always kept me safe all the years before ZTR's.

I think a Kubota GR2000 or GR2100 tractor with AWD is probably a much better choice... both for safety and of course the part we have not discussed yet... it's also more turf friendly.

Zero turn equipment, rather ride-on, stand-on or walk-behind... all of it tears turf to some degree on inclines... rather you can notice it right away or not. Can't be totally avoided because it's designed into the way the stuff drives and steers. Gravity is not your friend.

johnnybravo8802
04-22-2008, 07:49 AM
I mow an auto dealership with a huge embankment in the back. They park cars on top so people can see them from the freeway. I used to mow with a 72" exmark and now I mow with a 46". I could mow it all with the 72" but I had to be careful-it also has ruts and washouts that make it worse. I can mow about 98% with the 46" but I have to approach from different angles at times unlike the 72" that I rode straight across. The people before me went up and down but that takes forever. Sometimes the 46" breaks loose and it's like being on ice. In fact, I've never been thrilled with the traction-I'm used to bigger machines. I'm looking at a plant with 25-30 degree slopes and will probably have to buy a WB. The 46" will never make it, especially around the retention ponds.:walking:

packey
04-22-2008, 10:58 AM
I would look at the big turf tiger or big frame exmark. I ahve done over 40 degree banks on an exmark diesel without even a nervous twitch. the heavier wider stance is what you want.

KGR landscapeing
04-22-2008, 11:20 AM
ya if its steep we would just back down it. then drive back up. takes time but around here its either dry or wet. never in between.

Tharrell
04-22-2008, 12:45 PM
Walkbehinds will never be replaced by zero turns for enbankments or hills.
I think it's foolish to have this discussion altogether.
Anyone who's been for an out of control ride down a hill on a Z will probably concur.
What's your life worth? Seriously, do you HAVE to do it with a Z?
Remembering something from when I was younger, "walk away and fight another day". Tony

PS Why do you think they're putting rops and seat belts on zero turns?
Answer: Because the operators are too stupid to be left to their own devices.
Sorry if I stepped on anyones toes but, this is important.

johnnybravo8802
04-22-2008, 02:33 PM
Like Clint said,"A man's got to know his limitations." I know what I can handle and what the machine will do. I mowed this same embankment for several yrs with my 72" and there was no problem, except some slippage from time to time. I do know, though, that there are machines that are better on hills. I looked at a Kubota with a 72" deck today-Does anyone have experience with these on embankments. I told the salesman that I'd have to try it before I buy it on this embankment before I dropped $12,000. As a solo operator, I demand a ZTR to do 99% of what I need it to do because I don't have the time or energy to use three different machines on one job.

tacoma200
04-22-2008, 03:02 PM
Like Clint said,"A man's got to know his limitations." I know what I can handle and what the machine will do. I mowed this same embankment for several yrs with my 72" and there was no problem, except some slippage from time to time. I do know, though, that there are machines that are better on hills. I looked at a Kubota with a 72" deck today-Does anyone have experience with these on embankments. I told the salesman that I'd have to try it before I buy it on this embankment before I dropped $12,000. As a solo operator, I demand a ZTR to do 99% of what I need it to do because I don't have the time or energy to use three different machines on one job.

You took the words right out of my mouth. A ZTR can handle a certain degree slope, you have to know what the limitations of the machine are. Any thing steeper than is safe for a ZTR, sure grab the WB.

"A man's got to know his limitations." "Do you feel lucky punk":)

johnnybravo8802
04-22-2008, 03:06 PM
Exactly. That's where experience comes into play I used to drive concrete trucks offroad and knew exactly what the truck would and wouldn't do-I was always very careful and precise and still am.

Tharrell
04-22-2008, 05:26 PM
No one is questioning anyones wisdom here or their judgement. Wisdom and judgement are however at the core of this topic. Everyone is different, I myself err on the side of caution. I've had my bell rung a few times and prefer to not do it anymore. No one thinks accidents are going to happen to them do they? I see and hear the same questions every year and this one by far bothers me the most. Unnecessary risk is all it is. Really, because so many people are prone to test the limits, there are always going to be stories on here of injuries and death.
No one knows the limits until they're passed, and then it's called an accident. Tony

RTR Landscaping
04-22-2008, 05:38 PM
I don't know much about all the other makes,but I've used pretty much all the Scag Z's. The TT will absolutley hang on any hill you feel comfortable cutting. Everyones comfort level is a little different,so if you're in doubt get a walk behind or even a stand on . The main thing here is being safe and don't put yourself at risk.

tacoma200
04-22-2008, 07:00 PM
No one is questioning anyones wisdom here or their judgement. Wisdom and judgement are however at the core of this topic. Everyone is different, I myself err on the side of caution. I've had my bell rung a few times and prefer to not do it anymore. No one thinks accidents are going to happen to them do they? I see and hear the same questions every year and this one by far bothers me the most. Unnecessary risk is all it is. Really, because so many people are prone to test the limits, there are always going to be stories on here of injuries and death.
No one knows the limits until they're passed, and then it's called an accident. Tony

Nothing wrong with playing it safe.

lifetree
04-22-2008, 07:24 PM
Walkbehinds will never be replaced by zero turns for enbankments or hills. I think it's foolish to have this discussion ... Why do you think they're putting rops and seat belts on zero turns ? Answer: Because the operators are too stupid to be left to their own devices. ...

I think I have to agree ... if it looks to steep to use a rider, don't try it with a rider !!

lifetree
04-22-2008, 07:27 PM
No one is questioning anyones wisdom here or their judgement. Wisdom and judgement are however at the core of this topic. Everyone is different, I myself err on the side of caution. ...

I agree with you 100 % on this topic !!

johnnybravo8802
04-22-2008, 08:26 PM
Thanks for the input. I think I got the Info. I need.:walking:

capnsac
04-22-2008, 08:34 PM
No... but the real issue is seldom tipping... the issue is a loss of control which creates a freak situation, ending in tip-over.

I have the same unit... before it went "wide-track".
It's 50-some inches wide... I want to say 54".

For a ZTR it's excellent on hills, and the wide-track ones are probably slightly better.
I'd say the top three 'standard' ZTR's on slopes are...

Country Clipper
Cub/Lesco
Scag

In no particular order.....

I would have had to take Country Clipper and Scag out last year for a solid week or more in order to judge them 1-2-3.... (Country Clipper is #1 at backing up slopes though... I KNOW that)

But honestly, unless they were lesser than mine, I probably still couldn't tell. The reason is that I lost too much trust in ZTR's before finding the best I could get around here.... and in the end, that's probably for the best... because at-best, ZTR's are never really real trustworthy on slopes.... and you have absolutely no control over them once they break loose.

I would say walkbehinds for steep stuff, but honestly I ride stuff steeper than I'd want to walk, so....

I still say something with a steering wheel is the better tool for the job.
That and a little common sense always kept me safe all the years before ZTR's.

I think a Kubota GR2000 or GR2100 tractor with AWD is probably a much better choice... both for safety and of course the part we have not discussed yet... it's also more turf friendly.

Zero turn equipment, rather ride-on, stand-on or walk-behind... all of it tears turf to some degree on inclines... rather you can notice it right away or not. Can't be totally avoided because it's designed into the way the stuff drives and steers. Gravity is not your friend.

Thanks for the input envy. I heed all warnings, but there is also the thing of learning what you can and can't do. When I first started with ztr's I didn't realize just what they could do. I used to be so scared of taking any type of hill or embankment on that I would always chicken out and roll down back to flat land. I then realized that I couldn't always run to my walk behind whenever something steep presented itself.

So I decided that it was time to man up and use my fear as a tool to get something done. I sometimes feel as though I still bite off more than I can chew, but it's a learning curve. I guess with experience comes failure, and with failure comes limits.

Envy Lawn Service
04-23-2008, 02:56 AM
OK, you guys are making me get up on my soap box....

I will be the first to tell you I do things with ZTR's I shouldn't and have for several years now.

Having done so, went through the learning curve, etc... and having taken SEVERAL past their limits SEVERAL times... and now owning one of the best on slopes.... I can honestly tell many of you that you are fooling yourselves.

ZTR's are not safe or trustworthy on slopes or around drop-offs. What ZTR MFG's consider the limit... I consider flat land. But it is true that nothing zero turn is really all that trustworthy past 15 degrees... which is flat to me... and that one thing has accounted for several unexpected surprises.

I took me YEARS to get a zero turn, doing demos each spring with different brands and finding they could not hang. Then once I did find something and start to trust it, I got some scary surprises.

I found that some of the very best on slopes break loose all at once with no warning when you were actually feeling very safe. All it takes for any of them is just the right combination.

Like some are like goats so long as the surface is smooth. Insert a small dip in something way less steep and it's gone! Even things you have cut hundreds of times. All it takes is to be an inch off from the other times, or for the ground to be harder, grass to be sappier, have dog crap in your tires, a clump to form in fescue, cutting a 1/4" closer and a roller hits somewhere... tiny stuff.

Now I find that it is crazy what a Tank/Ztwo can cut no problem. It has more raw ability than I have nerve left from previous experience. But I have still gotten myself in trouble a couple of times, torn some turf, and all of them were unexpected. They happened in the same areas I cut regularly and often on much less steep/technical inclines than I cut regularly.

Almost lost one twice off a drop-off embankment... both times I was still inside the safety zone and inside of where I'd cut hundreds of times. The closest one was somehow I was maybe an inch farther over than ever before, or my tires were sappier, and a tire slipped off the edge of a water meter. Saving that was a miracle. Everything happened right in my favor, which kept the front of the mower up. I yanked up the park brake and went for the upper corner of the mower. It stopped with one front tire up in the air and one rear tire off the embankment. Lucky I had help that day to stabilize the situation too. Scary. The other was I just decided to run a new stripe pattern that day which put me turning on an incline where I never had before. One tire didn't grab just right immediately which almost put me off a drop-off. At the last second it turned was all that saved me.

Twice I had just one tire spin going up very steep hills I only cut in single up passes. Not much scarrier than trying to get out of that because a backwards rollover is probably the easiest way to really turn a Z over.

Then once I had a front tire hit a hole I didn't know was there. It was a first cut and I was going very slow. So I felt the inital slip and stopped. I was all alone, and there was nothing at the bottom but the customer's house. I got off and tugged a little by hand until I felt a little better about the positioning, then drove out of it and finished. But I got rid of that one before the next cut.

Then there were a couple I slid clean from a couple feet from the top all the way to the bottom of hills I had cut up/down many times. One was a wet weather spring that surfaced. The other was one of those deals were I was an inch off normal course maybe. It was a downhiller that also tilted to the left. Got too much weight off one tire and ripped the turf to the bottom. I added a weight to the rear end and never did that again, but it could be I never hit it exactly that way again either.

Anyways, my point is that you can get surprised... ZTR or WB. In the past I have taken measured risks like the rest of you. Saves time, work, effort, or even lets you minus one piece of equipment in tow for the whole day... etc...

I've been surprised by them more times in one day alone than in the entire history of what I owned before. On the other hand, I can count on one hand how many times I've been surprised on something with a steering wheel... and in all those counts, I had more control over the situation than I had in any of the zero turn incidents.

So yes, some do very well, but know that you're always at more risk, and be prepaired for surprises.