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  #11  
Old 06-13-2012, 01:40 PM
sprinter sprinter is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: East of Chehalis, WA
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Just a quick clarification on the tranny's . The 2800 and 3100 are similar, except, I'm told, the gears are stamped on the 2800 and cut on the 3100. The 3400 and 5400 series are considered by HydroGear to be commercial grade and the higher end commercial units usually have the 5400, if not Parker separate pump/motors.
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2012, 02:26 PM
TacoDaTugBoat TacoDaTugBoat is offline
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Location: Goshen, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprinter View Post
Yeah, go shopping with Dad. See them all in the 5-6k range. Ride them all. When you get serious on a model, ask to demo with it on the property.. They should let you do that once they know you are serious. Sounds like you have a good selection of dealers so that helps a lot. You will discover that within about $500, they all will be pretty similar in terms of ability.

Before you go out, though, educate yourself about how these things are made. Read as many forum threads on mowers as you can and learn about how they are made and what parts are used. Too many dealers just want to sell you something and their advice should be suspect until verified. I found that out myself.

Almost all models in your range will have integrated pump/motor transmissions from HydroGear. The cheaper ones will have the ZT2800, then go up to 3100, 3400, and 5400 for commercial units. Each one is heavier duty and have longer warranties. Transmissions have separate warranties.

Most 5k mowers will have 20" drive tires. Look at a mower with 23 or 24" tires next to one with 20". You may never look at the cheaper one again.

You'll see all kinds of advice on deck construction. The commercial decks will usually have 7 gauge steel. In our category, it will be more like 10 or 11 gauge with reinforcements. Those are fine for less than heavy commercial use. If you see one with stamped deck (rounded edges not welded) keep looking. Those are very cheap, flimsy decks. AFAIK, Deere is the only one stamping heavier gauge decks.

Some units will use sealed bearings and others will have zerk fittings so you can use grease guns. Some guys like to be able to grease all the points. I doubt if it makes much real difference for our kind of use.

Some units handle better than others. Demo everything and it will help to decide which unit you like best.

Some folks like to obsess about engines. Obviously, the engine is an important part. The choices usually are Kawasaki, Briggs and Kohler. Personally, in this price range I'd select based more on the other factors. According to most unbiased techs, they are all good these days and should last a couple thousand hours with proper maintenance. For some reason, most gripes seem to come from Kohler engines, but I don't know why. Just an observation.

The importance of color is depends mostly on whether you are married. My wife likes green and yellow, but now she likes orange.

Do all your homework, then compare, demo and tune out the sales pitches. The guys here will have their favorites, but the very fact that everyone seems to like what they have says a lot about them all. I selected the Husqvarna MZ6128 based mostly on the upper end transmission (3400), 23" tires, 61" deck and Briggs commercial-ish engine and one year commercial/3 year residential warranty, for $5000 even. Best bang/buck for me.

Whatever, don't cheap out. Five acres is a lot of ground. Some guys will encourage you to go to fully commercial grade mowers. Good advice, but then you are in to 7500 on up. The 6k to 7k range is a gray area with a lot of variations. Used commercial is an option if you are careful. 800 or even 1000 hours is nothing for those things.

Have fun.
Thanks Sprinter, that was a wealth of info. I was aware of most points as I have been reading quite a bit the last couple weeks. Thanks for the additional clarification on the trany's.
In discovering the points you made about the MZ6128, I have become fond of that model on paper and may go see one after work today. I will ask about testing it out at the house when I talk to them. My only hesitation on it is that from this site I was hoping for a Kawasaki engine. But like you stated, they seem to all work fine.
Keep comments coming. I will have the house next weekend and will be setting up demo's for as quickly after that as I can manage.
Thanks
Jesse
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  #13  
Old 06-13-2012, 03:06 PM
sprinter sprinter is offline
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I know. I was skeptical at first about the husq because I figured there must be a gotcha somewhere, but it seems really well built in all respects. I, too, wanted a Kawi engine, but I did some research on the "Endurance" Briggs. The "Endurance" seems to be a model that Husqvarna spec'd out from Briggs. You won't find a lot of info when you research for that model because of the proprietary name, but from what I did find out, it is similar if not the same as the other newer Briggs models with chrome this and that innerds for durability. One tech I corresponded with told me that the newer Briggs are very good and FWIW, Kawasaki's are showing up with some problems now and then. Just one source, of course. I'm very happy with the Briggs. Every single time I turn the key, it starts immediately. When I was demoing stuff, it seemed like the Kawi's always had a hard time starting. I always figured it was because they were new or not started often enough or something, but I don't know. The Briggs does have something called EFM(?) which is electronic fuel management, basically sensing engine temp for choke control. It has no manual choke. Whatever it does, it seems to work really well. It runs smoothly, never a backfire and is not too noisy. I do wish the Husq had an engine cover, but apparently that's a non issue and may help cooling.

If you have a BadBoy dealer, you may want to look at them too. They have a CZT model which looks good on paper, but my dealer couldn't get one. I think retrodog here is a BB dealer and he is a very good source for questions about BB's including what is a fair price. Asking prices can vary from dealer to dealer.

Another thing I found out was that special financing, cheap or zero %, affects the price. Very often, cash talks loud. Ask for the cash price if you can do cash, and tell them it will be a check or green because they will discount if they don't have to pay a fee to the credit card company, around 3%. I did all my price comparing based on cash price.

Last edited by sprinter; 06-13-2012 at 03:12 PM.
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  #14  
Old 06-13-2012, 09:20 PM
TacoDaTugBoat TacoDaTugBoat is offline
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So I stopped by a couple dealers after work:
First was Husqvarna. There was no salesman there. They only had two low end stamped frame models in. Tech told me that they don't do demos of any kind. Won't even put gas in it till you buy it. Turned me off. Looked up and drove to another dealer to find out that they closed up shop for good.
Next was Hustler. Had a 54" Sport with a 21.5hp Kawasaki for about $3,900. Looked kind small, rather not have a roll bar, and seat was lacking arm rests. They didn't have a Fastrak in stock but it would be $6,100 for a 60" with a 24hp Kawasaki. They want me to get the 60" Fastrak SD that they have in stock for $6,700. They have one as a demo also.
Lastly back to Gravely:
Looked at the ZT HD 60 with a 24hp kawy for $5,200. They were very cool with demoing. Said they would drop it off or I could pick it up and either way keep it for a day.
Still more to do. Creating a list. Also found another reputable Husqvarna dealer in my area. Will check back later.
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  #15  
Old 06-13-2012, 10:03 PM
Lawn Yawn Lawn Yawn is offline
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Location: Boring, OR
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Sounds like we are in the same boat, TugBoat. I really liked the Fastback and was able to cruise around the dealer property on it. They offer a 54" for $5600. But I think I am starting to lean toward that Gravely, either 52" or 60". Although if I went with the 60" I would have to convince the wife to let me take up more room I the garage instead of the shop, which does not have enough clearance to get the 60 deck through the door. As far as value goes, the Gravely seems pretty unbeatable, but the extra $500 for the Hustler would buy another year on the warranty.

The BadBoy ZT offers an attractive value on the 50" for $5200, but the dealers are are further away and it has only a two year warrantee.

But of all the ZTR's that I've driven, the Deere z655 had the nicest ride. Super fast and smooth. The wheels are 23", which may have something to do with it.

My goal is to make my decision sometime this weekend, a week from move-in. I really want to see the Bob-Cat, but I can't find a dealer anywhere in the region.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacoDaTugBoat View Post
So I stopped by a couple dealers after work:
First was Husqvarna. There was no salesman there. They only had two low end stamped frame models in. Tech told me that they don't do demos of any kind. Won't even put gas in it till you buy it. Turned me off. Looked up and drove to another dealer to find out that they closed up shop for good.
Next was Hustler. Had a 54" Sport with a 21.5hp Kawasaki for about $3,900. Looked kind small, rather not have a roll bar, and seat was lacking arm rests. They didn't have a Fastrak in stock but it would be $6,100 for a 60" with a 24hp Kawasaki. They want me to get the 60" Fastrak SD that they have in stock for $6,700. They have one as a demo also.
Lastly back to Gravely:
Looked at the ZT HD 60 with a 24hp kawy for $5,200. They were very cool with demoing. Said they would drop it off or I could pick it up and either way keep it for a day.
Still more to do. Creating a list. Also found another reputable Husqvarna dealer in my area. Will check back later.
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  #16  
Old 06-14-2012, 07:00 AM
TacoDaTugBoat TacoDaTugBoat is offline
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Location: Goshen, CT
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So I have been thinking about this whole deck size thing for a while now. I can't believe that a 25% bigger deck would actually mow a law 25% faster unless you lawn is the size and shape of a soccer field. Mine is pretty open, but there are some things to cut in. Can current owners give me an idea of how many acres they mow in how much time with what deck width. I hate to think I am going to be spending much more the 2 or 2 1/2 hours a week mowing 5 acres. The Husqvarna info says a Sport can mow about 2.7 acres an hour and a Fastrak SD can mow about 5 acres an hour. I know those numbers are idealized, but how far off are they?
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  #17  
Old 06-14-2012, 01:28 PM
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retrodog retrodog is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Paris, Tx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacoDaTugBoat View Post
So I have been thinking about this whole deck size thing for a while now. I can't believe that a 25% bigger deck would actually mow a law 25% faster unless you lawn is the size and shape of a soccer field. Mine is pretty open, but there are some things to cut in. Can current owners give me an idea of how many acres they mow in how much time with what deck width. I hate to think I am going to be spending much more the 2 or 2 1/2 hours a week mowing 5 acres. The Husqvarna info says a Sport can mow about 2.7 acres an hour and a Fastrak SD can mow about 5 acres an hour. I know those numbers are idealized, but how far off are they?
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My best time for 5 acres is 1.5 hours, mow blow and trim with a 52" 13mph machine wide open by myself. Those were my favorite yards...$150 a pop sounded cheap till I found out I could wipe them out and be well over my $1 a minute ratio...
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13 GH 725D Rear Discharge 61" 13' 430D 72"
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  #18  
Old 06-15-2012, 08:45 AM
TacoDaTugBoat TacoDaTugBoat is offline
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Location: Goshen, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retrodog View Post
My best time for 5 acres is 1.5 hours, mow blow and trim with a 52" 13mph machine wide open by myself. Those were my favorite yards...$150 a pop sounded cheap till I found out I could wipe them out and be well over my $1 a minute ratio...
I am going to assume that an hour of that time was mowing an the other half was whack and blow . So 5 acres in an hour with a 52" going 13.5mph. (Consulting Exmark Production Chart) Assume 80% efficiency. Chart gives 10mph as max for a 52" with an additional .21 acres/hr per mph increase. .21*3.5=.735+4.19=4.925 acres/hr. So your best day hit the 80% efficiency. That is better than I would have expected!
So going to the chart again, a 48" going say 7 mph (pretty fast) and assume 90% of the 80% efficiency because I don't do it all day every day.
2.72 acres/hr *.9=2.5 acres/hr. making it a 2 hour job with a 48".
A 60" going 7 mph and 90% of 80%
3.4 acres/hr*.9=3.15 acres/hr. making it 1hr 40min.
That would be ok with me!


I hope this image works. Linked to another forum that lets us post pics!
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  #19  
Old 06-15-2012, 09:09 AM
TacoDaTugBoat TacoDaTugBoat is offline
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So, like I have already stated, I have a Gravely 60" commercial ok'ed for a demo. And a Hustler 60" Fastrak SD ok'ed for a demo. Neither is a model that I would actually buy, but they should give me an idea.
I REALLY like the look of the Husqvarna MZ6128ZT on paper, but have only found 1 dealer so far with it in and they refuse to do demo's with the entire Husqvarna line. They only demo Bobcat. So the whole buy the dealer idea is turning me off to them. But I did find another dealer who wants to contact Husqavarna and see if there is a demo in state and get it for me. They would be 20 min from the house. It's a very dynamic situation. The dealer was knocking the Briggs engine, stating his experience puts the Kawasaki as more reliable.
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  #20  
Old 06-15-2012, 11:25 AM
dbear dbear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacoDaTugBoat View Post
...They only demo Bobcat...
Well, the BobCat FastCat Pro 61" looks like nice machine.
http://www.bobcatturf.com/fastcat-pr...ing-mower.aspx
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