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View Full Version : eXmark vs. GrassHopper FINISH QUALITY??


RayoVac
04-29-2002, 04:17 PM
O.K. guys... don't beat me up... but, I really needs some guidance.

I know that eXmark has a major following and for good reason!

But!!!

I am on the fence between a Grasshopper 618 (18Hp Kohler, 52" Front Mount) and an eXmark Lazer HP (20-23HP Kohler, 52" Mid Mount).

Blade Tip Speed is stated as 18.8K on the GH and 18.5k on the eXmark.

Major Differences seem to be:

eXmark
- Ground Speed Faster (using as a homeowner machine I don't think it will be a deciding factor)
- HorsePower... eXmark offers some more HP. Will 18hp be enough for home duty 52"?
- Mid Mount Deck... ???

GrassHopper
- Front Mount Deck - I have lots of trees and obstacles.
- Flip-up deck for cleaning, storage etc.
- Attachments... snow where I am at... blade or blower would be nice.

Price
An eXmark with 23hp Kohler and 52" deck will cost me about $500 more then a the GrassHopper with 18hp Kohler, 52" deck and Mulch kit.

Biggest Concern QUALITY

Has anyone used both lines? That can give me an un-biased report of finish cut? The eXmark dealer claims it will blow the GH away in quality of cut!!! What do you guys think?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. If the cut is actually that much better on the eXmark... I would be willing to give up the front mount deck and features assosciated with it, to go with the more expensive eXmark.

Thanks,

RayoVac

Esby
04-29-2002, 04:28 PM
I bought an Exmark Lazer Z HP 52" with a 23hp KAW. I LOVE THIS MACHINE:D You will too! The cut is outstanding, my one reccomendation is to get the MOST horsepower that you can. I have no regrets for going with the biggest engine they offered. Its worth the extra couple $100. Good luck.

swn
04-29-2002, 04:30 PM
I have never had an exmark so I can't comment on them.
I have had 5 grasshoppers, including a 618.
I think that it is perfect for the homeowner. You will appreciate the outfront deck, since you have a lot of obstactles. Also, I have never used a blade or a snow thrower, but have a friend that has used both and liked both.

lawnkid
04-29-2002, 05:21 PM
Both mowers are good but you might want to try out the Great Dane Chariot Jr. It is a very nice mower because the controls are between your legs like a walker, you can either install a snow blade or snow thrower, it offers a selection of engines, gives a great stripe and is not that bad of a price. Just my thought. Otherwise I would probably go for the Exmark.

mowerman90
04-29-2002, 07:07 PM
I've owned 2 GH and several Toros. I now use a 52" Husky with a 23hp Kawi on it. The Toros and the Husky, which are both very similar to the Exmark, all cut better IMHO than my 2 GH. I had a 720K (20hp Kohler) and a 725G2 (Kubota gas 25hp) both with the 52" mulching deck. One thing I do know is that when the Grasshopper gets to be over 1000 hours old it's going to start costing you BIG BUCKS for maintenance. My 725 broke a needle bearing in a wheel motor and it would have cost me over $2400 to fix the right side hydro and wheel motor. Repairing the same items in an Exmark would only be around $7-800. I'll NEVER buy GH again.

LJ lawn
04-29-2002, 09:54 PM
i think you should look into getting a grasshopper with more power 20 to 25 hp diesel if you can afford it.these machines are heavy and they can use all the power it can get. i think the quality of the cut is better-my opinion.i have a toro z also, but i have the g-hopper set up with the quick detatch vac system.it has the large hopper on the back.if i need to bag i just put the attachment on and go.it does a great job on the leaves.the grasshoppers are probably the most comfortable compared to the others.you do know they now offer a mid-mount machine.you'll have to weigh all your options.for every positive reply you'll get a negitive ,it's like that with everything.MOWERMAN- still slamming the grasshoppers i see.

65hoss
04-29-2002, 10:09 PM
I looked at the hoppers, and after talking with several people found that maintenance costs were huge and reliability was just ok.

With that said, you just can't be an eXmark. Quality and reliability are awesome and the customer service at eXmark is second to none.

TLS
04-29-2002, 10:16 PM
RayoVac,

While the positives you mention about a Front mount GH being able to go under pine trees, etc., there are also some negatives to that design. The overall package is considerably longer, and heavier. Also, when you turn, the back end swings around and into other obstacles. Sometimes its a nearby mulched tree ring (no problem) and sometimes its going to swing into the side of your house!!! ($$$) Its just a common thing that happens, and it is something that will not happen on a ZTR.

As for the attachments, well, GH does offer them. They aren't all that cheap, and often times you can buy a stand alone snow blower of better quality and more hp/" . No real outfront commercial lawnmower is going to be all that good with a front blade, there simply isn't enough traction/weight to get any real work done. The snow cant be too deep if your going to plow with it.

Cut wise, I am not that familiar with the GH. Never owned one, and never actually seen one in person (not all that common with Pro LCO's in my area) But I would think that the Lazer would get the slight edge in cut quality.

So....with the Lazer having more HP, smaller overall package, faster, 2 less tires, more fuel capacity, and many more dealers, I think that your best bet would be a Lazer HP 52"/23Kawi.

Go test drive both, and watch out for that rear end swing on the GH.

Good Luck

Runner
04-29-2002, 10:17 PM
Also. on top of that, 18 hp for a 52" deck is just not enough. It may work on a walkbehind, but by the time you power two hydro motors, and push the weight of the machine, your power is spent. Go with a higher horse.

Mowingman
04-29-2002, 10:45 PM
I bought a new Grasshopper midmount 428D and it is a great machine. Before buying it, I toured the factory with the president of the company to see how they were made. I was super impressed with their quality control and attention to detail. Everything is computer controled and much of the work is done with robotics. Now have 300 hrs on machine and it has performed great. I also have an old 721D front deck machine that has 3000 hrs on it. Has only had hydro trans. units replaced one time(at 2998hrs). It still is a good runner. As others have said, go with more horsepower if you can. Also, take a look at the Grasshopper midmounts. They are cheaper than the front mount machines and are really nice.:)

mowerman90
04-29-2002, 11:08 PM
LJLAWN,

I'm not slammin anything, just telling the truth as I've experienced it. If someone had written what I've written here before I bought my GH, then maybe I wouldn't of bought it and not of had to sell a $10,000 machine for parts with only 1100 hours on it. I bought the GH 725G2 on the merits that it was as heavy duty a machine as one could buy, but it proved different.

HOMER
04-30-2002, 12:24 AM
Just buy a dang Dixie Chopper and be done with it.

It'll run circles around the other 2 mentioned, cut quality is better, blade tip speed is better, stripes better........heck I guess you could blow the snow with the blades engaged!

Bring it on!:D

Mid Rivers
04-30-2002, 03:43 PM
Homer, you forgot to mention that the Chopper is as ugly as any mower ever made!:D And that it looks like something out of my favorite Martian!

P. Nelson
04-30-2002, 04:18 PM
I demo'd the 618 w/52" deck and found that it was extremely under powered. I also demo'd the 52" exmark and found that it was a nice machine but not as maneuverable as anything that's front mount. I had to have something that I could plow snow with so I demo'd and bought the 725 G2 with the 48" dozer blade. I too was leary of the performance of plowing snow with this machine and blade but let me tell you that thing can push some snow!! We got 7" of snow and I plowed the driveways of my entire subdivsion. The snow came over the blade before I would spin. I cannot comment on longevity since I only have 35 hours on my machine. So far I am satisfied with the performance and maneuverabilty of the machine. I think they could've come up with another color than drabby brown.

Another machine that I demo'd was a Kubota ZD18 with a 52" deck. That would've been my choice for a midmount if I were in that market. The diesel used very little fuel and power was more than adequate. Good luck.

John Gamba
04-30-2002, 05:32 PM
Rayovac
Stripping Roller :D Exmark:D Great Cut:D Fast Mowing Speed :D
Johnny G. :cool: :cool:

1 cutter
04-30-2002, 09:57 PM
i have an Exmark Lazer Z HP 52" and i thought it was the best thing since sliced bread!

then....

i demoed a mower called Blade Runner today and was stunned at the speed and quality of cut.

we've had alot of rain lately and the lazer was leaving some clumps from time to time, this guys mower was throwing grass clippings out 15-20 feet with no problem.

it had a 25hp robin engine with 60" deck that was tough as i've ever seen.

i got back on my Lazer and thought i was on a grasshopper!

looks like i'll be trading as soon as i generate some more cash after the slow winter i had.

i tell you no lie, i've had alot of mowers in my 25 years and have never come across a machine as tough as this.

RayoVac
04-30-2002, 10:10 PM
Well Gang.... I did it. The purchase has been made.

Thanks so much for all the input. Let me say... if was extremely difficult to make the choice and I went back and forth between the eXmark and Grasshopper many times.

Brought it home tonight mowed grass as tall as 6 to 7 inches in certain patches, most of the grass was about 4 to 5. Still kind of wet....

Even with trying to get used to the controls and being careful not to tear the turf... I managed to mow that main property in just over 90 minutes (used to be 3+ hours with a push if mulching).

After all the fine trim work around the pines... I am now certain I made the right decision.... The OutFront GrassHopper was the way to go. I could not have come close to the level of trimming with a mid mount... with out being Sapped to death!!!

Power??? Even plowing though the really tall wet stuff it did not skip a beat... a couple of times when re-cutting some of the piled up stuff... it bogged slightly but recovered almost instantaneously.

Extremely comfortable, and I thought the finish quality of the 5.5" deep deck with 18.8k blade tip speed was 1st rate... way better then what I have done with the 21" push.

Time will tell how well it holds up... but as a homeowner machine... I think TLC and careful use should keep it around for many, many years.

Thanks again,

RayoVac

swn
04-30-2002, 11:38 PM
Hope you get to have lots of fun with that new mower. You got the 618, right. I have midmount and a frontmount and find that the frontmount is very useful around objects. I probably use the frontmount 75% of the time. I think that a lot of people believe that they are hader to manuever around, but I find the opposite to be true. I don't think you could find a much more comfortable ride either, do you?

RayoVac
05-01-2002, 12:13 AM
SWN,

Yes I got the 618... I also had them put on the "full flotation" kit and I got the 12 bushel grass collection... but the grass collection unit is not in yet.

Given that I have never run any type of ZTR.... I was able to (albeit very carefully) trim around and right up to an entire row of Pines. The wife did some trimming and commented that she did not even need to trim around the pines as I had gotten everything!!! Also keep in mind... I did this without one drop of sap on my person when finished!!!!!

As far as ride... I don't have much to compare to. I borrow a neighbors Deere Hydro Tractor with 48" deck occasionally, I have a area in the back property was rutted up from a concrete truck last year. I noticed those ruts something fierce with the Deere... With the 618.... I sailed right over them... deck did not bounce at all.

Just my first outing with the new Mower... but so far... I am very pleased.

Thanks again,

RayoVac

ps. Do you run any kind of hitch on your front mounts? If so did you make it or find a source to purchase. I would like to tow a small wagon or broadcast spreader I have. I see that there are many threaded holes in the back so I suppose it would be easy to make a hitch assembly.

brucec32
01-31-2003, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by mowerman90
LJLAWN,

I'm not slammin anything, just telling the truth as I've experienced it. If someone had written what I've written here before I bought my GH, then maybe I wouldn't of bought it and not of had to sell a $10,000 machine for parts with only 1100 hours on it. I bought the GH 725G2 on the merits that it was as heavy duty a machine as one could buy, but it proved different.

No offense, but if you're selling a $10,000 machine for parts because it needs a $2400 repair, you need to take some time off to attend business school. And I doubt fixing one hydro on a grasshopper should cost that much if it's only $700 on an Exmark. Did you get more than one quote? If it's a whole part you're replacing why not just buy the part and do it yourself? A lot of these pumps/motors are made by the same people, so the price differential, even with some added labor, shouldn't be that much. Assuming the parts cost roughly the same, you're talking an extra 30 hours or so of labor to fix the grasshopper? HAHAHAHAAA! Not a chance.

And by the way, I use an Exmark Lazer Z, so I'm not here defending Grasshoppers.

Folks...I've read hundreds of posts here trying to get info on what works best. What I've learned is....are you ready?.....
PEOPLE WILL LOVE/HATE MOWERS FOR THE STRANGEST REASONS AND COME TO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE SAME MOWER! So take everything you hear here with a grain of salt. Different mowers perform differently on different types of grass and different size/shape lawns. One man's "fast mower" will tear up your customers' lawns with one kind of grass, and be fine on another. Another man's "great mulcher" will leave clumps on your type lawn. So test em yourself and shop around.

brucec32
01-31-2003, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by 1 cutter
i have an Exmark Lazer Z HP 52" and i thought it was the best thing since sliced bread!

then....

i demoed a mower called Blade Runner today and was stunned at the speed and quality of cut.

we've had alot of rain lately and the lazer was leaving some clumps from time to time, this guys mower was throwing grass clippings out 15-20 feet with no problem.

it had a 25hp robin engine with 60" deck that was tough as i've ever seen.

i got back on my Lazer and thought i was on a grasshopper!

looks like i'll be trading as soon as i generate some more cash after the slow winter i had.

i tell you no lie, i've had alot of mowers in my 25 years and have never come across a machine as tough as this.

"this commercial message brought to you by the totally unknown and unproven BLADE RUNNER corporation."

bob
01-31-2003, 12:12 PM
Congratulations on your new toy!

grassdaddy
01-31-2003, 03:44 PM
there is a dealer in flinstone,ga who sells both grasshopper and exmark.HE WILL BE HONEST,ask him.;)

GraZZmaZter
01-31-2003, 04:37 PM
I have owned both eXmark and grasshopper machines. Grasshoppers are not very reliable. Breakdowns are inevitable in my opinion. I with 65hoss on this one. You just cannot compete with an eXmark.

Mowingman
01-31-2003, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by GraZZmaZter
I have owned both eXmark and grasshopper machines. Grasshoppers are not very reliable. Breakdowns are inevitable in my opinion. I with 65hoss on this one. You just cannot compete with an eXmark.
What do you mean about Grasshopper machines not being reliable. How many do you own? How many hours do you put on them? How well do you maintain them? What bad things have happened to them, and how many hours did you have on the machine when it broke down? I assume you are speaking only from your personal experience.
I had a Grasshopper 721D that had over 3000hrs. on it before it ever experienced a major mechanical failure. It was very reliable. I have two Grasshopper midmounts now that have never had a mechanical breakdown.
All mowers will break down at some point in their life. That does not mean they are unreliable. Tell us what your personal experience with Grasshoppers has been that causes you to make this statement.:D

LAWNGODFATHER
01-31-2003, 07:36 PM
He does own a pukehopper....................

I had one, was happy to see it go.

BTW those transmission on the bruce are about $2k each.

brucec32
01-31-2003, 07:52 PM
$2000 transmission? Really? That's outrageous. The whole mower costs about 4-5 times that price. Perhaps someone has done some price fixing in the Grasshopper supply chain.

johnhenry
01-31-2003, 07:59 PM
If those two are your choices .There is a ton of difference between the two. Exmark is a great machine and smoothest controls on the market.quality of cut is top of the class.Grasshoppers have tons of add ons which makes them very handy.But if your looking for a front mount I would go with walker.As for midmount there are way to many midmounts that you should consider before you purchase a grasshopper.But I have a chopper so I highly agree with Homer to:blob3:

LAWNGODFATHER
01-31-2003, 08:05 PM
This thread is from early last spring of 2002.

04-29-2002

Yes those are Eaton hydrosatic trasmissions. High dollar.

Mowingman
01-31-2003, 08:12 PM
According to my Grasshopper dealer, that is not even close to the price, it is much cheaper than 2,000. In fact, the old Gemini trans was more expensive as it was a sealed one-piece unit. The Gemini I replaced only cost 725.00 parts and labor. The G2 has separate wheel motors and hydraulic pumps. Each component can be replaced as needed. It is HIGHLY unlikely that you would trash all four components at the same time, unless you are abusing the machine, or bypassing the Hydro. filter. Something is fishy about this whole mowerman90 story. I would bet that the pumps and wheel motors are very similar in cost, (if comparing similar size machines), for most brands of ZTR's.
If you replace both wheel motors and both pumps on an Exmark, you will be looking at big bucks too.
I am not bashing any brand, but people tend to blow things all out of proportion when they are not happy with their machine for whatever reason.
I had a JD ZTR that was a lemon and gave me all kinds of trouble That caused me to really discourage folks from buying a JD ZTR. However, I have to admit that many people have good luck with the JD's and are very happy with them. My experience just causes me to be prejudice against the JD's.

Mowingman
01-31-2003, 08:19 PM
Lawngodfather,
Sorry, but you are wrong again. The G2 mentioned by mowerman 90 is not the ,"high dollar" transmission. The Eaton trans. is the one they call the Gemini Trans. It is not the same as the G2 trans. Again, I replaced the Gemini in my 721D for under 800.00 parts and labor.:D

LAWNGODFATHER
01-31-2003, 09:05 PM
Well you're in Texas, not Missouri or Florida.

Secondly I was referring to the Eaton that my repair invoices has a price of $1834.26 just for the tranny.

Then you forgot to add the "new" filter, the "new" hydro oil. all of which the dealer I had charged full retail, and that is not what you are paying.

Mowingman
01-31-2003, 09:08 PM
And proud to be here!:D :D :D

LAWNGODFATHER
01-31-2003, 09:11 PM
Lets not forget the prices on those either $46 filter, idiot dealer replaced both, hydro oil $19 a quart.

Dealer is long timne out of biz if that tells you anything.