View Full Version : three wheel riders

09-14-2002, 08:46 PM
Hello, all. I'm looking at replacing my aged and now dead ransomes 3-wheeler I use personally for approx 3 acres.

I demoed a ztr (Scag) and although impressed with speed, quality of cut, and handling, I did not like the ride, having to keep both hands on the controls at all times (although, I probably, with more practice, could master one-handed operation), nor ducking under limbs I wouldn't normally have to. I also didn't like not being able to reach under tress to cut down on extra trimming. Consequently, I have decided to purchase another 3-wheeler.

That said, my questions are: (1) Who else make these besides Exmark, Ferris, Gravely, Scag, and Simplicity (Ferris)?; and (2) Anybody have any feedback or preferences specific to this stlye machine? My "specs" are 60" - 61" deck and a 20hp minimum. Parts and service are not an issue as all named brands have adequate representation on my area. Thanks...

09-14-2002, 08:54 PM
You think so huh? I had out front decks years ago, just the time difference makes up for the little bit of extra trimming.

You also learn to make it do almost all the things you have dicribed.

Better get a long demo to find out for your self.

Midmount ZTR's rule.

09-15-2002, 01:32 AM
(1) Who else make these besides Exmark, Ferris, Gravely, Scag, and Simplicity (Ferris)?; and (2) Anybody have any feedback or preferences specific to this stlye machine? (1) Walker, Toro (2) My dad uses a Walker and really likes it and seems like alot of members on here would probably agree.
Do a search on here, sure you will find alot on this subject.
BTW, I agree with LGF Midmount ZTR's rule.

The Mowerdude
09-15-2002, 03:17 AM

correct me if I'm wrong. I take it that you're not in the business of cutting grass for other people.

If you're only doing this for your own property, the 3 wheel design really brings a lot to the party.

I ran a Scag from 1993 to 1997. That's when I bought my first ZTR. Now I gotta tell you, those ZTRs will really rock!!

But hey, if you're only mowing your own place, I don't see where you're under any pressure to finish and move on to another job. I gave my 3 wheel Scag to my parents. They have a couple of acres they have to mow and they are in their 70s. They don't get in any hurry and they don't do any other folk's yards. The Scag 3 wheel rider was easy for my mom to drive. It only took her about 30 seconds and she was a natural. Of course, you need to know my mom. She learned to drive during WWII and there were no cars in the family. Only a Studebaker dump truck. So I guess this 2 wheeler has been no challenge whatsoever. And that's really one of the nicest things about the 3 wheel design. It's a no brainer. The ZTRs have a bit of a learning curve.

Really, LGF is right......for a pro. If you're just thinking about your own place, I wouldn't pass up another 3 wheeler if I came across one. And I think they're still making them.

Since I went to ZTRs, I have to admit, I miss the ability to cut up under low hanging branches and hedges without getting a face full of scratchy leaves and such. You can do that with the 3 wheeler.

09-15-2002, 06:56 AM
Have you thought of an Exmark hydro w/b with an Exmark sitdown steerable sulky ?, (don't laugh). I have one and it is a very nice setup. Just a thought. Good luck.

09-15-2002, 11:16 AM
Wow, thanks for the replies to date. I realize that ztrs rule, but I don't do any commercial mowing, nor do I have plans to. I did play with the Scag Turf Tiger for approx 2 hours, maybe that wasn't enough, and maybe I should try a different brand(?).

I suppose I could get out and do a heck of a lot of trimming so I didn't get nailed by all the branches, but that still wouldn't resolve the rough ride, nor the two-handed operation (learning curve). Anybody running a Ferris ztr with suspension and if so, is the ride noticeably improved?

TJ, I did look into a wb with steerable sulky, but in my area, this setup turned out to be more money than the 3-wheeler.

Mowerdude, I had forgotten about Walker and Toro. I looked at them too, but I wondered about the ride with your feet basically on top of the deck. Any info there?

The Mowerdude
09-15-2002, 12:00 PM
IMO, Walker is one of the best on the market, and for your application, it would be fabulous although probably overkill. But then that's your decision. The GHS would certainly handle any and all leaf cleanup in the fall and if you have lots of mulch beds, you'll be able to prevent the clippings from spreading grass into the beds. You may or may not know this, but grass can grow from cuttings and if you blow the clippings up into the mulch, that's what you're doing. Planting grass cuttings.

So, yeah, if you're willing to spend the money, the Walker would serve you extremely well for many many years to come. And if they give you a subscription to their newsletter, you may decide to get into the business.

I'm not familiar with the Toro.

09-15-2002, 01:10 PM
We use ferris Is300z and we also have one ferris 3 wheler, at the begining my employees didn't like the new ferris Is3000z they say it was to hard to mow with (we alway used 3 whelers before)
after dome get use to every body loves the z's they're faster smooth ride (better than a 3 wheeler) pretty solid frame (same the 3 wheler) I'd would highly recommend any ferris mower you get (rider).

with a Z you can't reach under trees as good as with a 3wh.
Hey but if it were my property I would cut all those hanging branches if posible.

The ride as definiltly smoother with my z than my 3wh. I finish about 30% faster.

There's a new is1000z from ferris which haven't try but it seems that could have a better clearance under trees

09-15-2002, 01:33 PM
Ferris makes a great 3-wheeler...61" cut with a 22 hp Kohler engine. We used to have 3 of them, but traded them up for the 72" deck couple of years ago.

You might want to check them out.

John Gamba
09-15-2002, 04:00 PM
Gravely PM310 25hp 9.5mph all hydro lifts.


09-15-2002, 04:13 PM
LGF Walker rules. :D

JD along with Walker and Toro have out front decks. I wouldn't be able to justify the cost of any for my own place unless I was buying a used one. Ebay is good place to find used Walkers. Probably the others mentioned as well.

09-15-2002, 07:54 PM
What about a used Toro Groundsmaster? Hey guys, no jokes please. LOL. I just sold my 44" 118 for $2500 with a new engine. They turn tight, fairly compact, and with a 52" option, I'd say they're a pretty good machine. I had an older model, but they're about the same now, only they're called the Groundsmaster 120 and have 2 more HP than mine did. Check 'em out. You could pick up a nice used one for about $4,000. Or buy a 52" or 60" Turf Tracer walkbehind with a sulky. Very maneuverable.

09-15-2002, 08:01 PM
Don't overlook the Grasshopper front-deck mowers. They have been around for years and are very well built. I had a 721D (diesel engine model) that had over 3000 hrs on it.:)

09-15-2002, 08:07 PM
what kind of branches are you hitting, I make sure all the properties I mow don't have branches that'll hit me in the face while mowing, orelse I usually ask to cut them and send the customer a bill. This way it could save you some money and you wouldn't have to buy such a large machine for a pretty penny. You could just buy a W/b witth a Velke or something. But, I don't know what kind of branches they are but if they are trimmable, do it and save yourself some money. That way you can cut down on trimming time too. Most 3-wheelers and and riders are bumpy, so that's why they also offer a suspension seat. You should try a mower with one, there's a big diffreence.

09-16-2002, 03:52 PM
Did you Ransome Bobcat look like this?

Moderator please move to the Home owner forums this is not a commercial thread.

09-16-2002, 09:08 PM
Yep, that's what she looks like! Around here, something like that probably bring twice or three times the price you paid.

Mine kinda has a blown engine. Had the old Kohler looked at and determined to be not worth fixing. Tore up the gears on the crank and cam shafts, which are an integral part of said shafts, as well as the little gear that goes between the two. Best price I got on a short block was approx $1200; not sure I want to put that much into the old girl.

In light of all the replies I have gotten, I'm thinking maybe I should give another ztr a whirl (preferbly one with some suspension either in frame or in seat, or both). I could, to my better half's dismay (she likes the way the willow's hang down - also maple, pine, and birch), trim up my many trees so I didn't get whacked in the head as much, but I think I'd still have to do some trimming under things like the bushes along the hedgerows that my old Ransome's was able to reach with ease.

Oh well, thanks again to all who replied...

09-16-2002, 09:38 PM
$1200 for a short block Kohler? Thats a joke... I'm assuming we're talking about 18-22 hp range here. Go to Small Engine Warehouse (www.smallenginewarehouse.com) you can get a whole new engine (yes Kohler all ready to mow) for less than $1200. Should be able to install it yourself if you're only even alittle mechanical minded. Or if you have someone install it it probably won't cost too much as it should not take too long to do. Wouldn't plan on more than $200 for labor (thats being generous, 4 hours @ $50/hour). Shouldn't take more than a couple hours to do but removing the old pulleys may take some time and they may have to switch some parts that didn't come on the new engine because Ransomes added it on when they built the mower. Just a thought. Good luck.
PS wanna sell your old Ransomes? email me a price and location. bush_hog_v36@yahoo.com

09-17-2002, 07:27 PM
BushHog, been there, done that, both Small Engine and Tulsa Engine Warehouses. The particular Kohler that Ransomes used has a stepped shaft (spec 57520) - 1.125" where drive sheave is and 1" at electric clutch - and nobody makes a new engine like it.

I looked into repowering because, as you said, it's a heck-of-lot cheaper than rebuild or shortblock of MV20, but the problem I run into here is there's a hydro tranny cooling fan housing on the right side of the engine mounting deck assembly that sticks up about 4". It easily fit under the Kohler's one jug, but the new style engines - Kohler CV, Briggs Vanguard, Kawasaki, Onan, Robin, Honda... - only have about 3.5" under that cylinder.