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  #1  
Old 07-09-2014, 02:02 PM
Tannaciousz Tannaciousz is offline
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Which Zero Turn Under $5500.

Hello to all, I'm a first time poster on lawnsite but have read many helpful threads in my extensive search for a new Zero Turn mower. I'm in the market for a new mower for my 2.5 acre east texas yard, of which 1.5 acres is St Augustine and Bermuda with patches of native weeds the other acre is wooded with thick underbrush. It's all fairly level with no steep inclines. I've narrowed my field to a few mowers, Gravely ZTHD 52", Bad Boy ZT Elite 54", Hustler Fastrak 54" and Dixie Chopper Magnum 2250. All have the Kawasaki engines, Gravely and Bad Boy FR series and Hustler and Dixie have FS series. I found a Dixie dealer who's willing to sell me a leftover new 2013 model Magnum 2250 for $4500 because he's no longer gonna carry the Dixie Chopper brand. He said he's had alot of trouble getting warranty work done and is tired of dealing with them. Plus everyone in his area tends to buy Hustler's. So this one would be the cheapest, the hustler would be the highest. I've used a tractor supply edition bad boy elite a couple years ago and it seemed to be good. I've also mowed some with my grandfather's Hustler Super Z, really nice mower but a bit overkill for my yard and way out of my price range. I'd love to buy a heavier duty mower than these but I'm capped on my spending amount at $5,500 and financing 0% for 48 months. So, of those four mowers which one would be best suited for what I'm mowing, and why that brand over the others? My main concern is how well the deck and deck parts that will hold up on each of these. I'm tired of replacing spindle bearings and pulleys on my cub cadet lt1045 mower. Of the four models listed, the gravely dealer is closest to me and has very good customer service, then hustler, then bad boy, and the furthest away, 1 hour, would be a different dealer that sells Dixie Choppers. I've read just about all there is to read on-line, so I'm looking for some real world advice from folks who actually use these brands. Thanks to all for your help.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:39 AM
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Gravely Commercial Gravely Commercial is offline
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We're glad you are considering Gravely. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask us! Thank You
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2014, 02:55 AM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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I carry 3 of these brands. If your main concern is actually deck and deck quality. Out of the 4 the bad boy will have stouter deck and frame by far. Also it is held up by tractor grade turbuckle system. Really look detail at those points. They also offer a few other things that arent on the others like power deck lift, etc lift the deck lid and also look under deck at the spindle setup. Down side is shortest warranty at 2 years, but the lifetime on deck and frame is nice with the stouter set up. Also since you used one 2 years ago, the new design will blow you away with the smoother drive system and less back tire spin not to mention its one of the sharpest looking best priced setups in the industry with the redesign on the new style. Spindle is most expensive at 139 each, but I still see bearings just as much as the hustler or gravely.... It feels like its alot for the money, and the company still has that family feel with the best communication for me. I can pick up phone and get someone on the phone within a fee minutes.. seems like its a jump through hoops for some of the other factories for me as a dealer...
Now to gravely, lift the floor board up and check out the belt and idler system. They definately have the smartest belt system and idlers out of the choices. The toothed belt paired with the double sided octagon belt wrapped around factory built idlers helps them stand out. The old school cast iron spindles are a good touch at 99 for the whole spindle replacement is pretty cool to check them out under deck. 5 year on deck and frame on gravely, and 3 year parts and labor on it and the hustler along with the smaller finance fee on both gravely and hustler will make descision harder. I am really liking what I am hearing about gravely as a company, they have really stepped out of the box last couple of years even though they are still a pretty big company with ariens...
On hustler it is the lowest sitting mower out of your choices. It will take hills better, the park brake built into the handle is a great option to eliminate the issue of figuring out how to start mower. Also even though the bad boy has smoothed their drives out really well, hustler has the edge on the smoothness with the dampners they use. Only complaint I have is the corporate feel I have gotten this past year from them... they have the lightest spindle out of the other 2 I think, but at under $50 for the entire spindle we have alot of guys just buy extras and keep on truck with them.. I sell them for 40 I think...
Honestly on chopper you might wait to see if they get things smoothed out, I know alot of dealers that quit carrying them due to them not even saying anything just quit answering phone one day and alot more on the fence.... It will be hard to jump back from all this I hope it doesnt turn into another yazoo kees, great dane, etc debacle...
To me it would come down to 40% mower choice and 60% dealer. Learn to shop dealers instead of mowers, honestly if you had amazing dealer you would be good with poulan cause they will be happy to keep you rolling. If dealers suck around you, bb is a little easier to get along with as they actually still ship parts to your house I was in that category as I had no dealer back up so I ended up becoming my own dealer... look a little heavier at the gravely option with the good dealer factored in, I dont care what mower you get if you have an uncaring dealer to back you up with the machine it will turn into a paperweight real fast...
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Last edited by retrodog; 07-12-2014 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:09 AM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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Also keep in mind the crowd might know something you dont know. You might stop and ask a few of the commercial guys running mowers how they feel about their dealer to make your decision. My first lawn mower was a 722d grasshopper because that was the preferred mower in my area at the time by far. If a crew didnt have one they were trying to save up for one. I foumd out hard way dealer still sucked, it was an issue of that being the best option here....
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:13 PM
Tannaciousz Tannaciousz is offline
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Retro, you're just the feller I was hoping would chime in with a response, so I thank you very much for your insight and detailed comparisons. I've been paying attention to what the commercial folks are running on their trailers alot lately. Scag seems to be the most common, then Exmark & Gravely are about an even tie for a close second. I like the Scag Freedom Z 48" but it seems like it may be a little under powered with that 19hp Kawasaki? Have you had any dealings with them? I also see a good amount of Hustlers and them high dollar Kubota diesels too. The one thing I've yet to see all season long is a lawn maintenance crew running Bad Boy's. I'm not sure why because the closest BB dealer to me in Conroe seems to sell their fair share of them. Maybe more home owners are buying them than commercial lawn maintenance crews are? Our local tractor supply seems to have sold a few ZT Elite's this year since opening. They seem to have plenty of stock on belts, blades, filters and maintenance things such as that. Now the local Gravely dealer has been around for many years and stays busy all the time. I've been happy with their customer service on all my Stihl chainsaw parts. They're just a bunch of good ol' fashion down to earth good people. They weren't pushy at all when I checked out the ZTHD mower a while back either. They only sell the ones with the Kawasaki engines because they've had the least amount of problems with them over the years and like many have said, parts are readily available when a problem does arise. I get what you're saying on having a good reputable dealer which has been what keeps drawing me back to the gravely line. I'm gonna have to drive each one, new, and make my decision from there I guess. They each seem to have their own good points that separates them from the other. I'm just wanting to get the most for my money with the least amount of headaches in the long run. I'm done rambling now. Thanks again for the info.
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:28 AM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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Scag is a good machine too. My only issue with them is the price. I think in your case it would be one of the most expensive options and not necessarily better in any case... again lean on the dealer choice to help you make a decision. Its ok and fun to shop mowers, but I think dealer ultimately should be the primary concern..
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:27 PM
Tannaciousz Tannaciousz is offline
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Retro, do you or anyone else have any input on the Toro Z-Master 2000 48" mower? I haven't gotten a price on one yet but Toro has a "Heroes" discount of 18% for active & inactive Military, Fire, EMS & Police. I'm curious how well they'd hold up over time? There's a reputable dealer for them about 30 minutes away from me so I may add it to my list of mowers to demo this week.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:35 PM
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retrodog retrodog is online now
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Dont know much about toro no dealers around... just know about the timecutter from home depot and its not positive...lol
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:31 AM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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grasshopper my friend… kung fu zen masters can't be wrong!
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  #10  
Old 07-14-2014, 06:51 AM
captaincworley captaincworley is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hammond,La
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Hey buddy,

I was in the market just a few weeks ago for a new mower to replace my john deere rider.I stopped in at a Dixie,Hustler, and Ferris dealer and I greeted them as I walked in the front door and the 2 guys behind the counter just looked at me as if I asked them a riddle.I continued in and looked at the mowers they had available and sat in each and whatnot.About 15min later I walk back out the front door and check out the mowers they have outside and sit in each again and checkout everything.By this time 25min has passed and Neither of the guys there came to ask if I needed help so I thought to myself if It's that hard just to get help to buy a mower from them,Then I can only imagine when it's time to service the mower,I then drove to the other Big mower shop in the town I love in and they carry Gravely,Scag,Snapper,and Hustler.After I looked for a bit and sat in each I was greeted by a guy holding a binder that had info on everything they have.I mainly asked about the Gravely ZTHD and the Scag Freedom Z.The dealer said hands down go with the Gravely ZTHD which surprised me because the Scag freedom Z I was looking at had a heftier price tag and it seems to be the norm that when you ask which is better a salesman instantly goes to that more expensive model.We talked for about 30min and he showed me everything on the mowers and I ended up leaving with a new 48" ZTHD.Now that I look back on it I wish I would have gotten a 52 or even a 60 for the small price difference but at the time I was thinking about my backyard and how I may have trouble fitting between some obstacles.After a day of having the mower and looking online at others I decided to stop by the Big kubota dealership to look at the Z100series which looked real nice but again after 20min of checking out everything I didn't have a single person ask if I needed help so I felt like I made a good choice at the Local shop I used.I can't comment on any other mowers than the gravely ZTHD that I bought but the Scag Freedom Z was a very comfortable mower to sit on.The only thing I dislike about by ZTHD is the lack of a ROPS.
Good luck with whatever you decide to get!I just purchased some G6 blades and the mulching kit from gravely to try out on my ZTHD.Hopefully the turnout is good

Charles
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