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  #11  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:30 AM
06LTNox 06LTNox is offline
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I have about the same area to mow as you and I picked up a Z820a at the beginning of the year and it hasn't done me wrong yet. As for the problems with them, either since I only mow a few hours a week versus eight hours a day the pros do I haven't noticed any issues.

I looked at the Ariens/Gravely Home Depot models and JD z4xx mowers and compared to the JD Z8 series mowers there is such a build difference, but that is going to be true looking at any commerical level mower. I would recommend trying to get a commercial unit if at all possible.
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  #12  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:58 AM
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Bagit Bagit is offline
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Now, your seeing what's available close to you. See what the Bob-Cat dealer has in stock. Try to demo what you want. I wouldn't buy until I cut with the Pro-Cat and the Fast-Cat. Compare the feel and components of both. See what you'll be gaining with the Pro-Cat compared to the cheaper Fast-Cat.
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  #13  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:37 PM
StanWilhite StanWilhite is offline
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BB 6000 (60" deck) and Ferris 60"

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastweig View Post
For years I have been cutting about 3.5 acres with a lawn tractor and a 60" Swisher trail mower. Seemed like a pretty good idea at the time and it does work albeit not very efficiently. I get a nice wide 100" cut but I have to go slow and it is a royal pain around trees. I could be wrong but I'm also afraid that my little lawn tractor isn't made for that kind of constant pulling and Iíll' eventually start having transmission problems.

I want to start maintaining another 3 acres that I have just been letting someone bale hay on so that puts me at about 6.5 acres to mow. I could do it with my current rigged setup but I'm thinking I should upgrade to a ZTR.

I know you guys deal whatís the best --- threads every day but my specific questions are on deck size and speed. I keep thinking I would want a 60" deck but 52" seems pretty popular even in the commercial mowers. Also, I see speed specifications at around 6,8, and 10 mph. Whatís the realistic cutting speed of these mowers?

I don't want to spend a fortune on a top of the line commercial because I am a seasonal, residential owner and not generating any revenue off the machine.

I was looking at the Ariens Max Zoom 60. I liked that it has a Kawasaki engine and the price at around 5 grand seems pretty good. I can't afford to get into the 7 to 8 thousand or higher price range. The Deere dealers in my area have a couple of used Z820A and Z830A mowers for a good price but I read about the 800 series problems on this forum so thanks for that.

Any opinions on the Ariens or should I be looking at something else?

Attached is a photo of my rigged up mowing solution.


Attached is a photo of my rigged up mowing solution.
I use a Bad Boy 6000 (60") along with a Swisher exactly like yours and they work great together. I have over 150 trees in my yard, and like you, it wore me out turning the steering wheel on my former tractor going around all the trees with it and the Swisher. With the ZTR you don't have that problem, just a flick of the wrist and you're around the tree. If I was you I'd consider keeping your Swisher to use with your new ZTR.
Stan
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:58 PM
fastweig fastweig is offline
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Stan - Thanks for the reply. It's great you know exactly what I'm dealing with and why I want another solution. I hadn't considered pulling the Swisher behind the ZTR but I guess there shouldn't be a problem with that. Having never owned one I wasn't sure if the transmissions were built for that kind of use.

I do plan on keeping the Swisher. It's so many years old now it doesn't have much value and it would serve as a good backup. I can always pull it behind my 4-wheeler.

Thanks for the interesting reply.
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  #15  
Old 09-29-2010, 01:11 PM
StanWilhite StanWilhite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastweig View Post
Stan - Thanks for the reply. It's great you know exactly what I'm dealing with and why I want another solution. I hadn't considered pulling the Swisher behind the ZTR but I guess there shouldn't be a problem with that. Having never owned one I wasn't sure if the transmissions were built for that kind of use.

I do plan on keeping the Swisher. It's so many years old now it doesn't have much value and it would serve as a good backup. I can always pull it behind my 4-wheeler.

Thanks for the interesting reply.
The dealer assured me that there would be no problem in towing a pull behind mower with my Bad Boy and I would think any of the heavier built ZTR's would be the same. I would however ask about the particular ZTR you plan to buy just to make sure. I also recommend lowering the air pressure in your swisher's tires to about 5 psi to reduce the bouncing that will happen when mowing at a faster speed. The Swisher (as I'm sure you've seen) has a sticker on it that say's it shouldn't be towed at over 5 mph but the lower tire pressure takes care of the shaking. I've used this setup for a full year now with no problem at all. I mowed with just my BB the other day and after being used to mowing with both, it seemed like it took forever! The combo will spoil you for sure! :-) Stan
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  #16  
Old 10-02-2010, 05:36 AM
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shooterm shooterm is offline
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Wouldnt it be easier for the swisher to be offset on the right so you didnt have to try and trim with it? We pull double rakes for baling and its as slick as it gets.
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2010, 11:51 AM
fastweig fastweig is offline
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Quote:
Wouldnt it be easier for the swisher to be offset on the right so you didnt have to try and trim with it?
Yes, for trimming and going around obstacles you are correct. But for straight ahead mowing it is easier offset to the left because you want to blow the grass to the already cut side and you want that to be on the side where you are sitting. Otherwise you are constantly looking back to see if your overlap is correct.
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2010, 12:47 PM
Jay Ray Jay Ray is offline
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Your ground speed is going to depend more on the smoothness of the turf, your age, and the condition of your intervertebral discs than it depends on the max ground speed of a Z. I can turn my neck into petrified wood by riding too fast. I can mow in double digit ground speed but never come close.

I used to pull a Swisher and it was great for trimming under magnolia trees (most people want branches that are too low to ride under). Eventually I trimmed around all trees with the Swisher rather than the rider. Didn't add much to the line trimmer time.

I think a garden tractor transmission would hold up better for fairly heavy, continuous towing.

If your 6.5 acres is fairly flat (appears to be) go for the 72"
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2010, 07:22 PM
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Grass Shark Grass Shark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanWilhite View Post
I use a Bad Boy 6000 (60") along with a Swisher exactly like yours and they work great together. I have over 150 trees in my yard, and like you, it wore me out turning the steering wheel on my former tractor going around all the trees with it and the Swisher. With the ZTR you don't have that problem, just a flick of the wrist and you're around the tree. If I was you I'd consider keeping your Swisher to use with your new ZTR.
Stan
Keep in mind Z riders are not tractors and are not made to constantly pull.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:33 PM
StanWilhite StanWilhite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grass Shark View Post
Keep in mind Z riders are not tractors and are not made to constantly pull.
I understand your point, but I don't think there would be much difference in a ZTR mowing tall grass and having to push against it, and a ZTR pulling a tow mower on thin grass. I also asked the manufacturer of my mower if it would cause any problems and they said "no".
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