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Old 08-25-2013, 01:19 PM
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Another "asking for advice" thread

I have about 10 acres of grass to mow on my property, and looking for a more efficient way to cut it. It is all generally pretty hilly, with about 10% of it containing slopes over 15 degrees. Steepest slope is slightly over 20 degrees.

I currently have a Ventrac 4200 with the Diahatsu turbo diesel 31 HP. I have two decks, the 84" contour deck and the 72" side discharge. I love the way the 84" deck cuts, but it is a maintenance nightmare. Clogs up with grass every time I cut, and parts are constantly breaking on it. The 72" cuts good, and has reasonable low maintenance. The tractor itself is the next issue. It runs great, but overheats whenever it is pushed. Even on a 60 degF day, it overheats, because radiator gets clogged with grass. On hot days, it will overheat when the radiator is clean, because the cooling system is undersized for the motor. The tractor handles the slopes great, but it is very slow on them. I have to switch to low gear whenever the slopes are more than about 12 degrees, and I can't even go full speed uphill in low gear. Anyways, I just takes too long, and there is too much maintenance involved with this machine to be as productive as I would like.

So, I am looking for something better to mow faster. Perhaps a 72" ZTR, that is beefed up to handle the hills. I was thinking maybe a Ferris, and replace the drive tires with either knobbies or bar tires. Perhaps fill them with calcium for more hill stability, and lower the pressure. I was also thinking of a 72" Bad Boy Outlaw, and you can get these with bar tires from the factory. I do have a JD 757 60" ZTR, but it is not good on the hills, and because of the smaller deck cuts no faster than the Ventrac on the flat areas.

Just looking for advice anyways. I am going to keep the Ventrac for all of the other things that it does, but I want something else to at least take some of the mowing burden away from the Ventrac. Thanks.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:21 PM
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BTW it currently takes about 4 hours to cut the whole lawn. The two decks are no different, if you count the maintenance and overheating involved with the 84" deck.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:39 PM
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Have you thought about running a gang of reel mowers behind the ventrac? Like say 10ft wide? Diesel ztrs will hold those hills no issue. I put my kubota on 30+ degree hills.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCLawn and more View Post
Have you thought about running a gang of reel mowers behind the ventrac? Like say 10ft wide? Diesel ztrs will hold those hills no issue. I put my kubota on 30+ degree hills.
Interesting idea, but I don't think the gang mowers would work, as I would lose maneuverability in the closer areas, and the Ventrac would still probably overheat. However, if the Kubota diesel ZTR can handle 20 degree slopes, that would definitely work. I would think that the weight of the diesel would cause problems on hills, especially losing control when going down. Can you tell me what yours is? HP, and deck size? My 757 Deere sleds down anything over 20 degrees, and can't handle side slopes over 15 degrees.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambull View Post
Interesting idea, but I don't think the gang mowers would work, as I would lose maneuverability in the closer areas, and the Ventrac would still probably overheat. However, if the Kubota diesel ZTR can handle 20 degree slopes, that would definitely work. I would think that the weight of the diesel would cause problems on hills, especially losing control when going down. Can you tell me what yours is? HP, and deck size? My 757 Deere sleds down anything over 20 degrees, and can't handle side slopes over 15 degrees.
I don't get why people think about diesel. The more weight the better on a hill situation. I have a kubota zd326. 26hp diesel 60inch. It will stick on a hill until the turf gives away. It won't slid on the grass unless its wet. If you not worried about modifying your ventrac you could mount a car radiator with electric fans. What I was thinking was you could use your 757 as a trim mower and us the reels for the bulk mowing. Also my kubota will only overheat if the radiator is caked with grass. Is can work it full out on a 100 degree day with gras coving the shroud and it won't overheat.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:25 PM
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Here are some shots of the area I mow:

This first one is the big hill , and some areas are over 20 degrees.









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Old 08-25-2013, 02:31 PM
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That's nothing. I'd be able to stop on the hill, back up, turn, and do whatever no issues. The big hill if it was light growth I would skip a beat doing 10.5 mph up the hill. On average I'd to 8-9mph with normal growth. Reel mowers would not look that good though. Also for me I would not buy ferris because I know all that suspension is a wear item, but that may not be an issue for you.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:44 PM
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Also the zd331 kubota has a weight bracket for the rear if you need more tracton. If it was me I'd test drive the 35hp diesel badboy, the 930d and 430d grasshopper, 5100z ferris, and zd331 kubota. Your going to want diesel torque for the hills
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCLawn and more View Post
I don't get why people think about diesel. The more weight the better on a hill situation. I have a kubota zd326. 26hp diesel 60inch. It will stick on a hill until the turf gives away. It won't slid on the grass unless its wet. If you not worried about modifying your ventrac you could mount a car radiator with electric fans. What I was thinking was you could use your 757 as a trim mower and us the reels for the bulk mowing. Also my kubota will only overheat if the radiator is caked with grass. Is can work it full out on a 100 degree day with gras coving the shroud and it won't overheat.
Thanks for the advice. One reason that I am nervous about the weight is that before the Ventrac I had a John Deere 4WD wide area mower. It had about a 10 foot cut I think, and a 50 something horsepower Yanmar diesel. It slid down that hill so bad that I nearly crapped my pants. I was probably doing 15mph sliding down that hill. Also, it would get stuck and dig ruts in the slightest bit of mud. Biggest POS mower I ever owned, and it was really expensive.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambull View Post
Thanks for the advice. One reason that I am nervous about the weight is that before the Ventrac I had a John Deere 4WD wide area mower. It had about a 10 foot cut I think, and a 50 something horsepower Yanmar diesel. It slid down that hill so bad that I nearly crapped my pants. I was probably doing 15mph sliding down that hill. Also, it would get stuck and dig ruts in the slightest bit of mud. Biggest POS mower I ever owned, and it was really expensive.
Ya and high center of gravity. All 1600 lbs on my mower is below the waist. Also you might want to look at "ted brakes". Its brakes for the front caster wheels.
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