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  #1  
Old 05-08-2012, 07:58 PM
Freedom1955 Freedom1955 is offline
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Location: Saginaw,MI
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Gravely ZT 42 vs Toro TimeCutter SS4260

Gravely ZT 42 vs Toro TimeCutter SS4260

Need some experienced expert advise on the quality and durability of these two zero turn mowers.
I have decided to purchase one of them. I have never had a lawn tractor or zero turn mower. I currently cut the yard with a Toro 21 inch Personal Pace mower and it takes me about 50 minutes to finish.
There are two dealers in my area one that sells the Toro and the other sells the Gravely. The Toro is a little more money but not so much as to keep me from buying it if it is a better machine.
The Toro has the 21.5 hp (16 kw) 726cc Kawasaki V-Twin Engine,bigger gas tank,is 7"longer in length and I believe weighs more.
The Gravely has a Kaw 23hp twin cylinder engine,bigger front tires and wider rear tires.
That's about all I know about them I plan on demoing them soon. I have looked at them but being a newbie with this type of machine I couldn't tell which one was better. The Toro seemed to have a better seat.
Which one would you buy?
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2012, 08:58 PM
dcfas dcfas is offline
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I'm in a similar situation and have been combing over the boards and threads here for a few weeks. First time, btw-- and happy to find such a knowledgeable community.

From what I've gleaned the general consensus is to go commercial or commercial grade, or very likely regret it. It comes down to durability and service, as many of these decks cut well.

I've been considering the Bad Boy MZ46. It only has a single cylinder in its most economical model but for under an acre on a well maintained lawn that's just fine for me. I know it will last longer than I may even want to keep it.

Some points I've considered:

Hills. Ztrs are notoriously tricky on them. The Cub Cadet has a four wheel steer model that allegedly solves this problem. Problem? It has a steering wheel.

Attachments. Ztrs great for cutting grass, not so great for anything else. I want to aerate, dethatch, leaf sweep. I've seen attachments for the ztrs but am leery of their performance.

Overall Size. My shed is about to become a garage for a mower. For this reason I've closely looked at numerous walk behinds, or wide area walkers. For that kind of money I'd rather sit.

Deck size. If the wheel width is wider than the deck you will either be trimming your beds each mow or driving in them. Check the wheel width.

Weight. That Toro weighs 620 lbs, if I remember accurately. Why is it so heavy? The frame and deck are not commercial grade. I can imagine tire depressions on a plush lawn, especially if not alternating patterns from week to week.

Mow in reverse. Some do, others do not. There are safety concerns and people who are attempting to regulate through design. I understand safety, but I have trouble envisioning a ztr that cannot mow in reverse.

Price. In order to to justify the cost of a ztr I may have to look for other lawns to mow for dough. That defeats the purpose-- saving time.

Ultimately I have started to consider riding mowers. Some have "turn tight technology and still cost under 2k. Problem? We're back to cheap grade.

What do I need to know?

I need to know...
that a dealer has my back.
that a ztr is nimble enough to do a fine cut on my lawn week to week without damage.
that the mower is safe for the slope behind my house (15*).
if I can use attachments mentioned above that work well and safely.
that the company will be there to service the machine as long as I have it.
if my wife can use it, thus enabling me to go golfing on a Saturday afternoon

Fina note. I've noticed some of the better brands like Gravely sell economy models under other names at the big box stores. I'm not sure if the quality is any different than on the economy model they keep their name on.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 06-14-2012, 10:42 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Skip the homeowner crap and buy a real mower! I'd step up to the Gravely HD at least.
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2012, 11:06 AM
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hammmerhead hammmerhead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl gesner View Post
Skip the homeowner crap and buy a real mower! I'd step up to the Gravely HD at least.
Yep. There are actually a couple of smaller crews here that soley run the Gravely ZT HD.
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2012, 11:13 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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The thing I don't like about the HDs is the 1/2 inch cutting height increments. I have that on my Turf Tracer and sometimes it's less than ideal.
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  #6  
Old 06-15-2012, 03:25 PM
Freedom1955 Freedom1955 is offline
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Well I bought the Toro SS4360.
I've cut my grass probably 6 times with it and my lawn looks like crap compared to my 21" Personal Pace cut. It took me a while to get used to the steering and I have but it is nearly impossible to not damage the turf with this thing. It's also horrible on slopes and even on the 4 1/2" height slightly scalps any uneven areas. The front tires push the lawn down before their cut and after a few days the lawn looks uneven.
My only hope is to get better at steering,double or triple cut in different directions and maybe change the deck slope. Currently the front of the deck is 1/8" lower.
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2012, 03:26 PM
Freedom1955 Freedom1955 is offline
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And sorry guys if this is in the wrong forum. If it is maybe a Moderator could move it.

Last edited by Freedom1955; 06-15-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2012, 09:28 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Lets see...as far a damaging the turf...you really shouldn't be with a relatively light mower that size unless the turf is thin or the soil is really soft = operator error or machine not set up properly. First of all, check the tire pressure in all tires and set them to recommended specs. Often they are set up with them way too firm and that will cause a rough ride and it to tear turf...ususally they should be somewhere around 12 to 14 psi. Is it tearing the turf when you turn around to go back at the end of a row? If so, you can either do a 3 point turn or do a proper zero turn, although technically it's not a zero turn because that would put you going back exactly where you came from, lol. Be sure to not just pivot on the inside wheel. What you want to do is reverse the inside wheel just as it's about to "stall out". You should be seperating the sticks basically, one stick pushed forward and one pulled back.

As far as the deck pitch, that's about right...usually you want the front 1/8 to 1/4 inch lower in the front...I set mine to 3/16.

You may need to adjust your anti-scalp wheels lower (if they adjust). Personally I keep mine up all the way on my mower and make sure not to put it in a position where it will scalp. It's hard to get a good cut on any mower cutting that tall...there's just not enough suction to stand the grass up very well, especially on a homeowner quality machine.

Not much you can do about the front wheels pushing the grass down.

Oh, as far as slopes go, you will find that you have very poor traction going straight down a slope since most of the weight is on your front wheels and of course you steer with the rears. I do most slopes side-to-side on my mowers, starting from the bottom and working my way up. That way you're always turning uphill. You can do it top to bottom but you will still want to do your turns uphill.

A lot of it is using the proper techniques and just getting to know the machine. An experienced Z operator can do things that at this point you would think are impossible.
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2012, 06:57 AM
dcfas dcfas is offline
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Good information here. I'm now looking seriously at the Hustler Sport. I just wish the dealer was closer-- he's 45 min. away. Big, local Toro dealer said he wouldn't touch the Hustler for maintenance. I don't blame him, but money is money.

I'd get a commercial walk behind but, once again, for that kind of dough why not ride. Also, I'm thinking leaves. I figure I can at least tow a leaf sweeper and push a tine dethatcher with a ztr-- no?

Still also thinking about the Cub with the stupid steering wheel. I like the idea of turning the front wheels and the dealer is 5 minutes away (not the box store). It might get an hour per week unless I take on a few lawns, which I'm also still considering.

Anyway, I'll probably pull the trigger late fall.
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2012, 11:03 AM
Freedom1955 Freedom1955 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl gesner View Post
Lets see...as far a damaging the turf...you really shouldn't be with a relatively light mower that size unless the turf is thin or the soil is really soft = operator error or machine not set up properly. First of all, check the tire pressure in all tires and set them to recommended specs. Often they are set up with them way too firm and that will cause a rough ride and it to tear turf...ususally they should be somewhere around 12 to 14 psi. Is it tearing the turf when you turn around to go back at the end of a row? If so, you can either do a 3 point turn or do a proper zero turn, although technically it's not a zero turn because that would put you going back exactly where you came from, lol. Be sure to not just pivot on the inside wheel. What you want to do is reverse the inside wheel just as it's about to "stall out". You should be seperating the sticks basically, one stick pushed forward and one pulled back.

As far as the deck pitch, that's about right...usually you want the front 1/8 to 1/4 inch lower in the front...I set mine to 3/16.

You may need to adjust your anti-scalp wheels lower (if they adjust). Personally I keep mine up all the way on my mower and make sure not to put it in a position where it will scalp. It's hard to get a good cut on any mower cutting that tall...there's just not enough suction to stand the grass up very well, especially on a homeowner quality machine.

Not much you can do about the front wheels pushing the grass down.

Oh, as far as slopes go, you will find that you have very poor traction going straight down a slope since most of the weight is on your front wheels and of course you steer with the rears. I do most slopes side-to-side on my mowers, starting from the bottom and working my way up. That way you're always turning uphill. You can do it top to bottom but you will still want to do your turns uphill.

A lot of it is using the proper techniques and just getting to know the machine. An experienced Z operator can do things that at this point you would think are impossible.
Darryl thanks for the response and useful information.
I'm new at the zero turn mower thing and I'm sure the tearing of the turf is operator error.Common sense told me that I needed to keep the tires rotating while turning or the tires would tear up the turf but I still occasionally pivot on the inside tire. I'll heed your advise and reverse the inside tire while turning.

I set the rear tires at 13lbs and the fronts at 30lbs,they were 18/34 from the dealer. Is the front set to high at 30lbs?

We have mostly blue grass around here and my front yard gets full sun which causes it by mid summer to really start drying out which is why I cut it at 4 1/2" to help it hold moisture.If I cut it at say 3 1/2" I'd have to water it allot to keep it from practically dying or looking the color of bailed hay. I cut my back yard at 3 1/2" because it gets shade although it is a little thin (weak).

I've been side discharging with the ZT and I don't like the clippings laying on top of the grass so I've been double cutting to get rid of them. I've decided to install the mulch kit. I've always mulched with my Toro 21".
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