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View Full Version : tired of heavy commercial ztr rutting my lawns.


mobileboy
10-06-2008, 09:58 PM
I'm thinking about selling my heavy ztr and using the $ to purchase a lighter garden tractor. Maybe a used john deere x series? Before i got 'serious' and purchased my commercial ztr, I cut with a POS Murray 17 hp 42 inch lawn tractor. Funny thing is, after several months of cutting the same accounts, the ruts and soil compaction that are a biproduct oif my ztr's 1300 lbs (with me on it) have ruined the look of a few lawns. This was never a problem with the light weight murray.

I'm thinking about selling the ztr because I only cut a handfull of accounts and quality is more important to me than all out speed. I love the performance and cut of my ztr, but wish it weighed about 400 lbs less! Any one have any experience with higher quality garden tractors such as the john deere x series? Any recommendations on durable tractors would be helpful. Thanks.:usflag:

billslawn89
10-06-2008, 10:01 PM
you don't mow in the same pattern each time, do ya? you have to switch mowing directions and you shouldn't have that problem.

Icepuck72
10-06-2008, 10:03 PM
Walk Behinds are half that weight.

nobagger
10-06-2008, 10:09 PM
I'm thinking about selling my heavy ztr and using the $ to purchase a lighter garden tractor. Maybe a used john deere x series? Before i got 'serious' and purchased my commercial ztr, I cut with a POS Murray 17 hp 42 inch lawn tractor. Funny thing is, after several months of cutting the same accounts, the ruts and soil compaction that are a biproduct oif my ztr's 1300 lbs (with me on it) have ruined the look of a few lawns. This was never a problem with the light weight murray.

I'm thinking about selling the ztr because I only cut a handfull of accounts and quality is more important to me than all out speed. I love the performance and cut of my ztr, but wish it weighed about 400 lbs less! Any one have any experience with higher quality garden tractors such as the john deere x series? Any recommendations on durable tractors would be helpful. Thanks.:usflag:



I have the same problem on a few lawns myself. If it weren't for the bagging capacity of the Z's I would have 2 walk behinds. My problems are the edges where we make one or two passes around the property before we start doing any pattern.

mobileboy
10-06-2008, 10:12 PM
I try to mix it up, but around landscape edging and street curbs is where I notice it most. I think the clay soils around here are are big factor; when they get compacted, it becomes very hard on the grass.

I noticed that some of the nicer garden tractors are only 600-800 pounds even with 48+ inch decks. I am VERY easy on equipment and am religious about routine maint, so I get alot of mileage out of my machines. Not really worried about durabilty of the lighter frame tractors versus my 7 gauge commercial z. Never put a ding in the 900 dollar chinese murray.

MileHigh
10-06-2008, 10:13 PM
I think you need yourself a good walk-behind with a sulky.

My 48" Exmark TTHP weights about 650# and I strongly believe would out cut your tractor.

nobagger
10-06-2008, 10:17 PM
I think you need yourself a good walk-behind with a sulky.

My 48" Exmark TTHP weights about 650# and I strongly believe would out cut your tractor.

Dido...I would rather spend 6k on a mower that could last 6,7,8,9 or more years then spend 3-4k on something that might last 5 years if that.

slamjamrockinman
10-06-2008, 10:21 PM
ditto what they said. Get a good hydro walk behind and your issue will be solved. Plus it will probably be more efficient on some of your smaller accounts.

gravedigger5
10-06-2008, 10:22 PM
I was having the same problem this season because of having record rainfall in the St Louis area this year. I have a 36" wb with a flex deck but it just can't keep up with my 5' Z's on medium size or bigger yards unless there was a lot of trim work. so I just bought a 61" Ferris wb and put a pro slide on it. I have had it a few weeks. Its lighter than my z's and tracks a little different so it does not even fall into some of the z's old ruts while the perimiter of the properties. I have even shaved a few minutes off some of these yards over the z's cause I could not run the z's wide open and the wb will trim out the yard a little better and can turn faster than the z while doing less damage with the tires. As far as a tractor, tooo sloow. Time is money or more free time. Marc

LawnMowerKing10
10-06-2008, 10:56 PM
What brand of ztr?

PTP
10-06-2008, 11:07 PM
One of the big reasons that I bought my Stander is because it weighs only 750 pounds - 950 with me on it. The tires are also quite large for the weight and I can float over stuff where I would sink if I walked on it.

I have the 48" fixed deck. The other RH and Sentar products that Wright puts out don't seem to have the same tire to weight ratio that the full size fixed decks do.

mobileboy
10-06-2008, 11:30 PM
Hustler mini z 44". 985 lbs dry. We too have had alot of rain. In fact, Mobile is the rainiest city in the lower 48 year after year. Might not be having these problems in other places.

I never found the tractor to be that slow. Yes, slower than my ztr, but with some practice you can minimize turn times and really cut pretty effeciently. My neighbor has a 48 john deere and he cuts at 6 mph (as opposed to my mini's 9), but he gets it done pretty fast with NO tire tracks.

deere-man
10-07-2008, 01:22 PM
The j.d. garden tractors x-series are good machines, they'll last, and they beat standing up or walking while using a walk-behind. But their not light-weight by no means either.

kaferhaus
10-07-2008, 01:35 PM
I agree with Mobileboy.... it's very wet here most of the year... I also have a Mini Z but even it is too heavy much of the time... I recently bought a Bobcat that weighs a few hundred pounds less and it does much better on soft ground.

When it's "wet"... I switch to the old John Deere lawn tractor... My customers will not tolerate even light ruts.. I'll not be buying any full size ZTRs in the future..

Someone needs to make a fast lawn tractor! ...

And while I prefer "commercial" grade equipment, I'm sure Mobileboy will agree with me that in this area there are many "pros" using $1,500 or so mowers from the big box stores, running them for 2-3 years and selling them for 4-$500 and buying another.

I know of one guy that buys 2 new ones every 3 years... finances them and his payments are under $150 a month on both of them.... then sells them and gets a third of his money back.

According to him his mainteance is only belts and blades... but after 3 years they're pretty much done.

jkingrph
10-07-2008, 02:16 PM
I have a Scag Wildcat, 1100 lbs I think, empty. When it is wet I wait until dries out a bit and do not have a problem with ruts. Soil here is similar to a lot of Ala., red clay.

greaseyknight
10-07-2008, 02:55 PM
If you want to bag when the weather is wet, don't even think about a Deere. I mow a friends lawn with a top of the line Deere riding mower, 4 wheel steering, hydro. It is the worst designed bagging system ever. It cuts Ok but if the grass is even damp, the chute will clog up before the bags are even half full. As a mower it cuts great with only a little bit of scalping. But its a homeowner system all around. The 4 wheel steering is a cool feature, but not worth the extra money and risk of breakage in my opinion.

mobileboy
10-07-2008, 03:31 PM
I don't know of too many mowers that cna bag when it's really wet outside.

gravedigger5
10-07-2008, 03:46 PM
I don't know of too many mowers that cna bag when it's really wet outside.


My Accellorator baggers I have for my toro z and toro wb work great and work pretty good in wet conditions. this past spring I was even bagging in the rain:confused: Not a pretty sight but got the job done with minimal mess. They do choke up a little bit in wet conditions but all you have to do is grab the bagger off the mower shake and put it back on, couple seconds tops, and your off mowing again. And if you don't want to bag don't put the bagger on, no colletion system pipe tubes brackets or hangers to mess with. Just buy it and put it on the mower, no tools required (at least on all the ones I have seen.

http://www.acceleratorindustries.com/

h400exinfl
10-07-2008, 03:52 PM
Change your pattern. Cut in sqaures one month (week) then in diagonals the next. Notice the lines when you show up and use the opposite pattern. Also, stager your first lap, i.e. instead of hanging your deck over the bed edge, move it out 12 inches.

GPDesign1
10-07-2008, 03:59 PM
MobileBoy:

We hear the same problems you're describing from a LOT of the people we talk with; Z's are too heavy for many residential lawns, especially if they're wet.

You may wanna take a look at:

http://www.betteroutdoorproducts.com/index.asp?page=ProductDetails&Item=16KE-44DD-08

Hope this helps.

Gary

rfg1944
10-07-2008, 04:59 PM
Not sure I agree with posts about tractor being too slow. In addition to my 777 I have a Deere X595 with 54" deck that really will get after it. Where it slows down is when I have the mulcher on the deck.

ed2hess
10-07-2008, 06:49 PM
I think you need yourself a good walk-behind with a sulky.

My 48" Exmark TTHP weights about 650# and I strongly believe would out cut your tractor.

Sulky rolls it down worse than a ztr unit on souther bermuda grass...had to stop using our exmark riding device.

david shumaker
10-07-2008, 08:18 PM
I have a 40" Toro Z and don't have much of a problem with rutting. I try to overlap or cut in different directions to prevent alot of rutting. I only have a few large yards so I don't need a big mower. The 40" mower may take longer to do a yard, but fewer complaints. I've picked up new accounts because the customer didn't like the large mowers tearing up their yard.

Genlandscape
10-07-2008, 08:40 PM
If you are carefull and change up your mowing directions, and even split some of your passes, you shouldn't have any trouble with a z. A w/b for perimeters and cut in work will help with the rutting. We cut mostly St. Augustine in soft sandy sooils, and
don't have much of a problem with rutting, even when it's wet. It gets pretty wet here too. If you are cutting more than a few lawns a week; commercial equipment willl pay for itself.

traman
10-07-2008, 09:41 PM
ever think of using bigger tires, my 52 inch came with 24*9.50*12 i changed over to 24*12*12 its hard to believe how much of a difference it makes

sunray237
10-07-2008, 09:42 PM
I have a cub z force and I believe it's only 675 pounds.
It cuts good and I'm pleased with it, but then again it is my first zero turn.

BarrFarms
10-07-2008, 10:17 PM
Mobileboy, I like my walker's, they are really light. I vacationed for a week during July in Orange Beach, Al you have a really good dealer in the area, but I cannot remember his name for some reason. Haha I couldn't sit on a beach all day so I talked with most mower dealer's in the area and hungout at the jd dealer quite abit. Boy I like ribs an reds!

mobileboy
10-07-2008, 10:37 PM
Glad you had some good times down here in LA (lower alabama. lol) I'm doing some research right now on light weight mowers, and walker is definetly on the list. Loads of walker owners around town; there must be something to them. Thanks for the info.

I have thought about larger tires; I might look into that again, but at this point I'm pretty sure I will sell the mini z tank.

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-07-2008, 10:42 PM
My 44" BOP Dually weighs something like 460#. Has big tires for its size, as well.

mobileboy
10-07-2008, 10:45 PM
Gary,

Thanks for taking the time to point me towards your mowers. I have heard alot of discussion on this site about your products, and have always been fascinated with them. Seems like your mowers might be just what I'm looking for; less than 400 lbs, high quality components, and a great price. I also noticed that they have beefy 16 inch tires, whereas many walk behinds have considerably smaller rubber. Do you know of a dealer down here on the Alabama Gulf Coast? I'd love to check one out in person.

razor1
10-07-2008, 10:58 PM
"My Accellorator baggers I have for my toro z"

Do they work for leaves?

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-07-2008, 11:37 PM
...Do you know of a dealer down here on the Alabama Gulf Coast? I'd love to check one out in person.

There are no dealers. It's factory direct. I've owned multiple Toro walk behinds and a Lesco. My new Dually blows them out of the water.

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-07-2008, 11:39 PM
"My Accellorator baggers I have for my toro z"

Do they work for leaves?

What do you mean by "work for leaves"???? It catches 'em, if that's what you're after. I was collecting with mine today. Packs it solid.

razor1
10-07-2008, 11:48 PM
It catches 'em, if that's what you're after. I was collecting with mine today. Packs it solid.


I never used one so yes that's what I meant. Are they expensive and how long will they hold up?

Ever use this type? http://cgi.ebay.com/GRASS-CATCHER-UNIVERSAL-BAGGER-TORO-XMARK-BOBCAT-ENCORE_W0QQitemZ260296802211QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item260296802211&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Hawg City Lawns
10-07-2008, 11:56 PM
i have the same problem doing the checkerboard pattern one week ill mow length wise then another week ill mow width wise and lately ive been noticing how bad it is rutting the yards i have a husqvarna tractor at about half the weight and leaves a great cut and no ruts but my god its so slow i wish there was a way to cut some weight off of the ztrs

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-08-2008, 12:01 AM
Are they expensive and how long will they hold up?

Yes, they're pricey. I can't vouch for durability, b/c mine is brand new. But I have my concerns. Due to being metal, it has ZERO give. You scrape along any terrain change - be it grass, curbing, water meters, etc. LawnTamer owns one and rubbed a hole through the bottom of his inside of 2 weeks!!!! Not pretty for nearly $400!!

That being said, you take care of it and it'll probably do well. We're both spoiled with cloth bags that just lift up as you go over things...

But with the top, bottom, and sides all vented, it can ram them full quite easily...

Lazer_Z
10-08-2008, 12:02 AM
It catches 'em, if that's what you're after. I was collecting with mine today. Packs it solid.


I never used one so yes that's what I meant. Are they expensive and how long will they hold up?

Ever use this type? http://cgi.ebay.com/GRASS-CATCHER-UNIVERSAL-BAGGER-TORO-XMARK-BOBCAT-ENCORE_W0QQitemZ260296802211QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item260296802211&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
They are pricey, but worth it. I paid $395.90 OTD/W tax for my 4.15cuft Accelerator in '06. I'm sure it's a bit more expensive now, but I'd still buy it over again. Longevity would be years past traditional steel catchers, aluminum construction means NO RUST! Accelerators are top notch catchers and Peter at Accelerator is a top notch guy, he was kind enough to give me the tracking # for my catcher so I could track it to my dealer. I had just picked up 3 new accounts and 2 needed to be bagged so I needed a catcher ASAP.

I'm going to have my camera with me tomorrow, I'll have to snap a few pictures on my Accelerator for those interested.

gravedigger5
10-08-2008, 12:26 AM
"My Accellorator baggers I have for my toro z"

Do they work for leaves?

I have two of them and also have an extender for them to use for leaves which with it will hold as much as my walker ghs. As far as durability, one is 6years old and the other is 1 year old. they look so much alike wear wise, I can't tell the difference except the newer one has a different style logo sticker on it. Short of running it over with your truck they will probably outlast your mower and then some.

Whitey4
10-08-2008, 02:58 AM
Even with my 32" Quick, I see some amount of rutting along fences and bed borders and the 32 only weighs 300 lbs. I do change up my mowing patterns, but with a side bagger (Accelerator) I still get some soil compaction and ruts.

What I do is every other week I just mow farther away from the beds and fences, and do a bit more work with the line trimmer. That helps alot. My properties are small... and there is a lot of mowing near fences and beds... this approch minimizes rutting, at least for me.

This is one reason I'll never buy a stander or ride on, given my property sizes. Too much weight, too much soil compaction. You folks with the larger propeties... I think changing the mowing pattern would help.

topsites
10-08-2008, 03:22 AM
Well at least someone else feels like I do.

My 48" gear-driven fixed deck Wb's weigh 300 pounds,
run all day on 4.5 gallons of fuel, increase my trucks' fuel mileage
and driveability, and are overall the most efficient mower I use.

And it might be more work in some ways, but what I've been to saying
for over a year now is that Ztr's are a luxury, a status symbol.

I use my Z on a handful of lots as well, it sure is nice to ride but the cost
factor has it to where I've put 120 hours on it in two years.

Chill
10-08-2008, 04:28 AM
This is the reason I purchased my z425 48" residential (625#+ powerflow) after a season with the Hustler super z60. (1180# +bac-vac). I like what you said about not dinging your chinese murray deck. All it takes is caution. Other than that the deere has ample power(check pics) with the 23 BS Intek(cartridge air filters are great!) or the 25 Kaw. in the 445. I have read plenty of residential bashing on this site and I still don't get it. So far no problems, time will tell. Taking from what I read, the biggest complaint on res. is the ez2800 hydros. Check the deere's spec sheet. All this for $3,899 (5K with powerflow & tax) and JD backing me up.
Drive train

Dual hydros N/A

Hydraulic pumps Kanzaki Dup-10

Wheel motors Parker

These pics are an overgrown Wal-Mart...yes it cost them

David Haggerty
10-08-2008, 09:24 AM
Short of running it over with your truck they will probably outlast your mower and then some.

I did run over my accelerator bagger. I'd accidentally left it on the neck of the trailer and drove off. It fell off and got wedged under the trailer. Warped it pretty bad. I used a hydraulic jack and blocks of wood to bend it back where I could put the door on it.
I used it for leaves yesterday. It fills pretty quick for leaves even with my running double blades with gator blades on the top. It chops the leaves to pieces the size of a quarter. Sometimes I mulch 'em first, then bag.
My Accelerator is on it's second WB. It's been to the welder twice. It's never been stored indoors. With reasonable care one of these would last a lifetime.

To the original post, why don't you get a Dixie Chopper? With the floater tires?
My Toro 580-D weighed over 3 tons! 6,600pounds! And it didn't cut ruts! All of the golf courses that operate the big Toro's don't have ruts in their fairways. It's all in the tires. Not the total weight.

rfg1944
10-08-2008, 10:07 AM
Very steep back yards where I can drive down and back up while mowing. I would doubt you could do that with your sulky while out performing the x595

mobileboy
10-08-2008, 10:09 AM
Lol! You cut that mess with your mower???!!! Jeeze. That alone would be testimony to the resi deere. Yeah; the thinis, I run my equipment. No one else touches it. I am hyper-careful about what I get into with the mowers. I walk lawns first to make sure there are no unexpected obstacles, and it has worked out really well for me. I think thta I could make a decent residential mower for many years. Heck, we've had that POS Murray for 5 years and never had one single problem. Well, one dead battery but I don't blame that on the mower. I think if you treat your equipment well, it will reward you. Thnaks for all of the input guys!

mobileboy
10-08-2008, 10:11 AM
Wow...that last post was really sloppy. Sorry. Need to learn to write again.:dizzy:

GPDesign1
10-08-2008, 10:36 AM
MobileBoy:

All of our mowers have a light footprint. Dually's use a 16-7.50 X 8 tire which distributes the weight over a pretty good area. It's about as light as you're gonna get with a 44" machine.

We do not sell through dealers; only direct. It's one way that we keep our prices so competitive. Please call in and talk with either Tommy or John and we'll do our best to hook you up with one of our Owners nearby.

gp

merrimacmill
10-08-2008, 11:26 AM
Geez, and I was just thinking about a new Exmark Lazer HP. Its either going to be that or walker. Probibly a walker so I can put the bed edger on it, and use it for clean-ups. How are the walker MC series on rutting? 20hp 48'' deck.

Flex-Deck
10-08-2008, 10:01 PM
I use the X series JD's exclusively. 595 and two 495's - We mow over 200 acres a week. I plan on running them for 10,000 hrs. The tractors will definitly stant up, and the Yanmars would probably go 15,000 hrs. They are quick and smooth - with a bullet proof hydrostatic transmission - everything is wet clutch. They are easy to maintain, and will do you a very good job.

gravedigger5
10-08-2008, 11:07 PM
121975
I used it for leaves yesterday. It fills pretty quick for leaves even with my running double blades with gator blades on the top. It chops the leaves to pieces the size of a quarter. Sometimes I mulch 'em first, then bag.


I use the extender on my Acelorator bagger for leaves. Holds a lot, but leaves pack loosely so if I am to far from the truck I will take the bagger off and pack it down by hand inside. I can almost double the amount of leaves I can get in there. Can't use the extender for grass. Just to heavy to pick up and hard on bagger mounting bracket.

Whitey4
10-09-2008, 12:28 AM
121975

I use the extender on my Acelorator bagger for leaves. Holds a lot, but leaves pack loosely so if I am to far from the truck I will take the bagger off and pack it down by hand inside. I can almost double the amount of leaves I can get in there. Can't use the extender for grass. Just to heavy to pick up and hard on bagger mounting bracket.

LOL, I was gonna say... that thing filled with grass....:weightlifter: my Acclerator filled with wet grass must weigh in at 60 or more lbs. Where did you get the extender? Might be very useful for fall cleanups. TIA.

George Mason
10-09-2008, 01:03 AM
The j.d. garden tractors x-series are good machines, they'll last, and they beat standing up or walking while using a walk-behind. But their not light-weight by no means either.

I have to agree about the WB. I get beat to hell on my Ferris. It cuts great, trims awesome on the yards I have lots of trees and mulch beds, but man my back feels it by 7:30 or so when I pack up and head home. I can't wait to get a Z so I can sit down.

gravedigger5
10-09-2008, 08:54 AM
LOL, I was gonna say... that thing filled with grass....:weightlifter: my Acclerator filled with wet grass must weigh in at 60 or more lbs. Where did you get the extender? Might be very useful for fall cleanups. TIA.

Got it from Accelerator. Just take the door of the back of your bagger and this hooks right on.

T.L.C.MICH.
10-09-2008, 10:35 AM
Cub Cadet makes an Enforcer series mower that is commercial. I got one this spring, 54" 23 hp. and is over 400 lbs lighter than the tank. Cuts great, and leaves no "footprint"

Sammy
10-09-2008, 10:41 AM
...............my Acclerator filled with wet grass must weigh in at 60 or more lbs. ............

I have cleaned my deck out and got 60 lbs. of grass out of it.