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1/2 acre want a mower that will last

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by SkeetShooter, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Hello I'm brand new here but over the past couple weeks have been reading up on these sites. I'm going through a dilemma here.

    Part of me wants a ZTR, but the more I read the more I think this is a bad idea for me. Even though my lot is only 1/2 an acre, and mostly flat, I want my mower to last more than 10 years (preferably 15). I don't have much faith in the residential ZTR's out there especially given the reliability of lawn tractors over the past 15 years. (My father probably went through $5-6K worth of tractors during that time with blown motors, cracked decks, and blow transmissions.

    The best mower that he had believe it or not was a Sutech Stealth 33" Currently my brother has it and its still going strong after almost 12 years with no problems.

    I'm in good health and am considering two options:

    1. Bobcat 36" Belt Drive Fixed Deck (A bit expensive for me at $3200)
    2. Toro 30" Turf Master Commercial

    The reason I'm looking more into those other than anything else is because there is no hydraulic transmission to fail and as I understand it the FS engine on the Bobcat is commercial grade and should last for 800 hours (give or take)

    Any advice would be helpful here.
  2. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Oh also I have looked into the Hustler Raptor, Gravely ZT 42, and the BadBoy, but they are basically the same thing, with a FR motor (Which honestly would be the same thing as the Toro timecutter) Same components engine and EZT Hydro...
  3. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    I've gone through the decision making. I really wanted a commercial walk behind but I got the zturn mainly for two reasons. One, they cost less, oddly enough. And two, I can collect leaves and pull the occasional attachment.

    As far as longevity is concerned it's all about the transmissions. Unfortunately, by the time you get into the zt-2800's or better (take fluid and are rebuildable), you are looking at 5k and up.

    The thing is I haven't seen a lot of complaints from folks with six or seven year old Timecutters. So maybe the throw away trannies are lasting ten years or 500+ hrs.

    The Toro 30" has a variable "transmission," if you want to call it that, and I doubt it will last like that Sutech. If I found the right walk behind it would most likely have been a Scag belt drive. I would have ordered an Accelerator catcher and maybe even a sulky and held on for the ride.

    Good luck,

  4. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Thanks for the input. The other problem that i forgot to state is that with the Zero Turn, I might have to get a little creative with my shed... It doesn't have a huge door on it so I'd have to either modify the door on the shed, or park it outside (which for that kind of investment, sounds pretty dumb)

    I think I'll stick away from the Toro/Exmark walk behind commercial mower... at that price point, it just doesn't make sense for me now that I think about it.
  5. ernie_h

    ernie_h LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    The shed issue notwithstanding.......I guess it really depends on what you need to do with it besides mow.....do you bag the clippings? do you have a lot of leaves to consider in the Fall? does "mostly flat" mean there are small areas that you won't be able to get with a ztr? would attachments make a ztr or lawn tractor a better option? I went through the same thing last summer for a ~3 acre property. Ended up with both a ztr and a 30" Exmark commercial. I use both quite a bit. There are too many areas where I simply can't get to (at least safely) with the ztr, so the Exmark has really been a workhorse for me as a homeowner in the short time I've owned it. Too much open area, though, for me not to have a ztr.
  6. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,230

    All depends on how fast you want it done. The 30" toro is all you would need if you don't have a lot of leaves. A 36" w/b would be nice but double the cost. It would have better bagging options though for leaves.
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  7. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    I'd like to speedily cut my grass. I have a lot of sidewalk that needs edging and maintenance. (Just did that for the first time and holy crap in some areas there was 5" of overgrowth!)

    Also My yard is surrounded by trees with leaves, so if the bobcat is a good machine at picking those up that would also be good for me as well.

    On a similar note, a guy in my neighborhood is a LCO and I had an opportunity to ask him for his thoughts as well. He said bigger is better, as long as I can handle it. He even let me try out his 48" walk behind Scag that he has (Non-Hydro). I can easily handle it, but at the same time, I still think its a bit of over-kill for me. But his best suggestion was to go commercial and stay away from the 30" toro/exmarks. He said he had one and replaced it with a 24" (i could be wrong on the size here) commercial finish mower for tight pool areas. He said it just wasn't useful enough for him, and the amount of times he used it wasn't justifying the cost. The 24" was used and hasn't given him problems.

    Any way, I think after chatting with him, I'll be going with the Bob cat 36" walk-behind, unless a 48" comes up for a good deal. Also same thing with SCAG or Exmark.
  8. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Posts: 3,233

    if there are no tight spaces why not go with 48" or larger deck? it wont be very much more expensive, and save you time.
  9. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 141

    I think this is a good move. You can still power through leaves or collect them with these machines come fall. Bigger deck/faster mow time, but not as nimble and takes up more space.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 16,977

    I used to shoot skeet!.

    Anyway I just go with the typical sears or homedepoit riding tractor. Gear boxes are cheap on those things.

    As far as any commercial equiptment most are hydro, and hydro is superior in every way <except parts costs>.

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