PDA

View Full Version : Commercial grade zero-turns at home


CSpackler
04-25-2010, 12:29 PM
I have a two acre lawn with a small sloping hill (about 30 degrees) and many mature trees. My current lawnmower is a less than one year old Craftsman Lawn Tractor and it is horrible. I sent it in to have a basic service and found out the blades had been installed improperly and could have come off at any time. So I'm craigslisting the Craftsman and getting some a little more commercial.

I have been to the five closest dealers near me, they all carry several brands, and in almost all cases the lawnmower best suited to my needs in the one they have right there on the floor. Hard to know who is right. I am looking at four basic units. The Scag Freedom Z, a Toro Timecutter Z, a Hustler Sport, and a Bobcat Fastcat RZ. The fifth dealer also showed me the Scag, but beat the first dealer's price by a hundred. Also, mulching is critical as there is no way to dispose of grass clippings or leaves where I live.

The TimeCutter Z (Z5035) is the most affordable and every dealer carries Toro, but most felt it wasn't durable enough, not clear to me why. Next up in price is the Hustler Sport (48" deck). Then the Bobcat Fastcat RZ with the 52" Deck and 26hp Briggs and Stratton followed by the Scag 52" with the 26hp Briggs ELS. (also why is the 26hp Briggs less than the 19hp Kawasaki.

Is there a vast, noticeable difference in these mowers? Are these even the mowers I should be looking at? Do dealers negotiate price? I got the impression they did not until the fifth dealer (who had no riding lawnmowers on the floor) told me he would beat the price I got on the Scag by $100. I must say, I am leaning towards that one right now.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks

74Rallye
04-25-2010, 01:11 PM
I replaced a 41" Snapper with a 54" Hustler Fastrak. I went for more mower than I needed so hopefully it will be the last one I have to buy. Cutting time for my 2 1/4 acre yard with lots of obstacles went from 3 1/2 hrs. to 1 1/3 hrs. Oh, and it's fun to drive too!

CSpackler
04-25-2010, 01:15 PM
Didn't see the Fastrak, and I'd never heard of Hustler before I saw the sport. If you don't mind my asking, what does a Fastrak go for and how did you decide on Hustler?

74Rallye
04-25-2010, 01:32 PM
I found the Hustler dealer by accident. I had never heard of them before and my research (mostly on this site) was very positive. My mower was $5400.
I had a Craftsman. I would have felt guilty selling it so I took it to the rifle range and gave it what it needed, lots of lead.

jdutcher003
04-25-2010, 02:52 PM
briggs is less compared to kawasaki because they suck compared to kawasaki. just a personal opinion. and I feel a 19hp kaw is just as powerful as a 26hp briggs

CSpackler
04-25-2010, 04:25 PM
I like the suggestion on the Craftsman. The Kawasaki is about $200 more than the Briggs, so you may be right, but an awful lot of mowers come with a Briggs.

sphat_mc
04-26-2010, 04:15 PM
I was in the same boat as you choosing from the Scag Freedom Z, a Toro Titan,and a Bobcat Fastcat RZ. I went with the Scag and have no complaints.

I just moved in to my home and was a little overwhelmed with the size of my new property. I went from about .15 of an acre in Northern NJ to about 3 acres here in Hunterdon. I was expecting to to be mowing pretty much all weekend and with the Scag, my maintenance time is comparable to what I was doing before... just a lot more fun.

The dealer I went to had all three on their showroom floor and seeing the Scag next to the other 2, was a no brainer in my opinion. The one thing that the Bobcat had that the Scag didn't that I really liked was the Boss Vac option. I went with the bagger option for the Scag and it had no problem picking up the previous seasons worth of leaves left behind by the old owner.

If you're in Hunterdon, let me know and I can recommend a great shop.

Dave

PEVO
04-26-2010, 04:55 PM
You may want to check out some used commercial Z trade-ins. Bigger the better...theres no such thing a overkill when mowing lawns. I bought a used Hustler 05 60" Super-Z w/ the kohler 28efi. two years ago for $2750.00 It had 1170 hrs. on it then. Now it has almost 1400 & is still running strong. I mow between 8-9 acres & 1-2 of them are creek bottom/rough thick weeds. This mower shreds like a brush hog & still cuts beautful on augusteen grass closer around the house. Only thing thou...i need a ROPS installed on it since i mow on some small but steep slopes all close to creek/stock tank water. At 1200 lbs. it could be a killer it it rolled over on me. Also since it's soo heavy, you can get STUCK in muddy areas real quick.

CSpackler
04-26-2010, 10:12 PM
Hunterdon might be a bit far, but thanks. I too am leaning toward the bagger, although I originally wanted the mulch kit. I emailed a few companies with some questions and a local Scag sales rep called me and talk about my lawn. He suggested the bagger would better suit my needs and he made a lot of sense. (btw, Scag is the only company that responded to my questions).

As for used gear, I did try looking for used initially. I found most used equipment I was interested in was a bit too close to the cost of new.

jkingrph
04-26-2010, 10:52 PM
As one homeowner to another, I went a bit more toward the commercial side 3 years ago and got a Scag Wildcat 52" for my 1 3/4 acres. Not as heavily sloped as yours but lots of trees and beds to get around. No matter what brand, it seems to me as though the heavier units have wider and much taller drive wheels, I first starter noticing that at Lowes with the John Deere units.

My Scag has a Kawaski engine but for our use I would think any would last a long time, I got ten years out of a Sears lawn tractor with a 11 hp splash lubed Briggs engine with no engine problems at all, the transmissiion went out on that one, just changed the oil very frequently. The thing I liked about the Scag was the way the blades are changed. they use a through bolt through a hollow spindle, so you can use a wrench on top of the mower. A impact wrench quickly breaks the nut free, then jack front of mower up until blades and bolt falls free, put bolt into fresh blade, insert through spindle and reach around and install nut. I can do all 3 in just over 5 minutes easily.

I was honestly looking at a mower that would probably keep going until I cannot mow any longer and think this one will probably do the job.

Punton3rdDown
04-26-2010, 11:02 PM
briggs is less compared to kawasaki because they suck compared to kawasaki. just a personal opinion. and I feel a 19hp kaw is just as powerful as a 26hp briggs

That pretty much sums it up. I am using my mowers commercially and a briggs would probably be fine for you but I wouldnt even consider buying anything with a briggs unless they practically gave it to me. (then I would probably try to resell it) IMO Honda is the best and kawi is second then comes Kohler, then comes everyone else and at the very bottom is the briggs.

CSpackler
04-27-2010, 07:42 AM
Two dealers have told me that properly maintained, the Scag would last the longest. Good to hear that is your experience so far.

Punton3rdDown
04-27-2010, 08:31 AM
Two dealers have told me that properly maintained, the Scag would last the longest. Good to hear that is your experience so far.

Scag is a great mower. I would say the best out of the ones you mentioned and my favorite mower for sure. I own four of them. However none have a briggs on them.

CSpackler
04-27-2010, 09:22 AM
Yeah, I guess the Briggs is a question mark. But the rep from Scag told me they've been impressed with this engine and one of the dealers told me the Briggs is the engine to get if I am going to get the bagging system.

DaveVB
04-27-2010, 09:56 AM
Since the Scag dealer actually came back and talked to you, I would look at/ask about their service dept. from other people. If they give good service and parts availability that is who you want to go with. Do you like the saleman? How was your experience going into the store? If it was all positive then your choice is made. Have fun.

STCL01
04-27-2010, 10:55 AM
That pretty much sums it up. I am using my mowers commercially and a briggs would probably be fine for you but I wouldnt even consider buying anything with a briggs unless they practically gave it to me. (then I would probably try to resell it) IMO Honda is the best and kawi is second then comes Kohler, then comes everyone else and at the very bottom is the briggs.

Sorry, but I have to weigh in and disagree on Briggs. With that I will say that it's a personal opinon, and I'll bow to those that use these on a daily basis. I have a Craftsman 48" lawn tractor with the 26hp ELS. Bought new. Mowing 1 acre once per week. Has the old design air intake. Engine dusted in 18 months. Engine was replaced under warranty, and again dusted in 18 months. No warranty. I can't get any satisfaction from Briggs. I would never own another ELS. Since then I've moved and have a lot larger place that I've mowed with a Yazoo ZTR with a kawi, and recently added a 60" Hustler Super Z with a kawi. I couldn't be happier. I still have the Craftsman needing a new engine. I just can't bring myself to repower it. I need to sell it on Craigslist.

Punton3rdDown
04-27-2010, 07:52 PM
Sorry, but I have to weigh in and disagree on Briggs. With that I will say that it's a personal opinon, and I'll bow to those that use these on a daily basis. I have a Craftsman 48" lawn tractor with the 26hp ELS. Bought new. Mowing 1 acre once per week. Has the old design air intake. Engine dusted in 18 months. Engine was replaced under warranty, and again dusted in 18 months. No warranty. I can't get any satisfaction from Briggs. I would never own another ELS. Since then I've moved and have a lot larger place that I've mowed with a Yazoo ZTR with a kawi, and recently added a 60" Hustler Super Z with a kawi. I couldn't be happier. I still have the Craftsman needing a new engine. I just can't bring myself to repower it. I need to sell it on Craigslist.

I wouldn't buy a briggs at all. I think they are junk. I would think that it would probably stand up to homeowner use, but as I said even if I was cutting my own yard with it I wouldnt buy a briggs.

CSpackler
04-28-2010, 11:16 AM
Okay, so I am going with the Scag. I've spoken with the dealer, he doesn't have either in stock (the Briggs or Kawasaki). The Kawasaki will come in quicker and costs more, but he seems pretty confident that if I'm bagging, the Briggs is the way to go. He thinks the extra horse power will be noticeable when the bags are filling up.

nepatsfan
05-03-2010, 07:28 PM
Okay, so I am going with the Scag. I've spoken with the dealer, he doesn't have either in stock (the Briggs or Kawasaki). The Kawasaki will come in quicker and costs more, but he seems pretty confident that if I'm bagging, the Briggs is the way to go. He thinks the extra horse power will be noticeable when the bags are filling up.

Good luck with the scag. You will like it.....I am not sure about the briggs, bagging or not. If you are only using it for your own lawn it should be fine. I too stay away from briggs at all costs.

Bluffman
05-03-2010, 07:54 PM
This is possibly the most debated issue on these forums. The Briggs is a residential grade engine designed to lower the cost of the mower. That said, it May be adequate for your situation. It will probably be tough to sell or trade with the Briggs if that is of any concern to you. The HP ratings of engines are not the issue with mowers. Torque does the work not HP. A dealer who tells you that the 26 Briggs is better situated to a bagging system in my opinion is a little full of it. A Scag TC offers a 19 Kawi, 23 Kohler and the 26 Briggs. Any of these mowers work equally well assuming the engine is running properly. A commercial air cleaner system is a big advantage if you're in dusty conditions and that is possibly a considerable issue with the Briggs. Also, if a bagging system is in your plans, the Scag clamshell unit does run off the spindle and therefore does rob power. Consider a Cyclone Rake or Trac Vac system which have the advantage of being easily removed from the mower, stand alone power and are more versatile for remote pickup etc. I've always said after the initial "buyers remorse" wears off, you'll never regret buying quality. Good luck.

CSpackler
05-03-2010, 09:18 PM
Thank you to everyone who replied. I did get the Scag Freedom Z 52" deck with the Briggs engine. I've only used it once so far, but I did a great job (on an overgrown lawn) and is sooooo much faster than my Craftsman tractor, it's crazy. Just as an fyi, my 2 cents (opinion) from my experience would be NOT to buy a Craftsman tractor.

nepatsfan
05-03-2010, 09:34 PM
Thank you to everyone who replied. I did get the Scag Freedom Z 52" deck with the Briggs engine. I've only used it once so far, but I did a great job (on an overgrown lawn) and is sooooo much faster than my Craftsman tractor, it's crazy. Just as an fyi, my 2 cents (opinion) from my experience would be NOT to buy a Craftsman tractor.

LOL....I am pretty sure most guys on here wouldnt buy a craftsman. Scag is a top notch mower, you cant go wrong there. Probably mow that lawn in less than a quarter of the time and a way better cut.

dwost
05-03-2010, 11:04 PM
Congrats, once you go commercial (or semi-commercial) you will never go back. There is no comparison.