260z and uneven cutting?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Shady Brook, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    I tested a 260z, and noticed when on undulateing or slopeing terrain the mower would cut deeper on one side? Is this normal for this machine with the pivoting front axle? I have driven other 60" mowers, and have never noticed this before. I can only imagine that the reason why this occurs is because of the pivoting. Has anyone else had similar issues with independent suspension type units?

    Thanks
    Jay
     
  2. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    sounds like a tire pressure problem to me. we always call it "stair stepping" because it looks like stairs from a distance. a low tire will flex at the side wall and cause that.
     
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Yes it's because of the pivoting axle. this is the primary reason they added the option to lock it this year.

    To me, if the axle is going to pivot, the deck needs to be attached to it like Country Clipper does with their's. This way the deck follows the axle and ground contours. With Ferris their deck is attached to the suspension so it follows as well instead of gouging.
     
  4. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    Yup, What he said.
    The rep also mentioned it when I ordered mine.
     
  5. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Thanks Fellas

    The dealer layed the blame on it being a 60" machine, and said because of the way the deck mounted to the rear of the machine it would have nothing to do with the described problem. He has been a dealer for like 15 years, you would think he would be aware of the cause. ;)

    As much as I think it is a neat idea, and probably improves the ride, I don't think I can tolerate the uneven cutting. It kind of stinks too, because there is really no trim edge with the mower, and I assume it was designed that way because of the pivoting issue, and a greater threat to dig in on one side. As it was, I felt like it really cut low on one side with uneven terrain. I would really like to have a trim edge. :(

    Kind of a shame, because all and all, I think it is a terrific mower.

    Jay
     
  6. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    Well I disagree with you guys on the pivoting axle causing the scalping. The wider the deck on any machine exagerates the problem. Especially with some of the brands that are not putting anti scalp wheels on the rear of the decks. Like Hustlers. Its when the rear tire drops in a low spot that causes the uneven cutting. And I know I can do a better job of mowing uneven turf with my Zd21 than you can with any of the ridgid mowers. The trouble with the ridgid mowers is they dont follow the contour of the ground. If one of the front wheels goes up a slope or bump it raises the whole front of the mower off the ground and the deck is a foot off the grass.
     
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Specialty,

    You need to demo a Gravely to understand. Yes it's the same principle as the Kubota, but it scalps because the deck does not follow the movement of the front tires. In other words if a hump runs a 45 across your path / when the left front tire hits it rides up over while the deck does not so it will scalp there. Once the front crosses, when the back tires cross, that's when it really digs in and scalps on the other side.

    I don't care for the rigid frame on my Z either and it might not cut evenly over the same area as mentioned. But It will cut high rather than lower or scalp. Sometimes that just hides the undulations of the terrain. I hit those areas with a trimmer if they are visible.

    Anyways, here is a visual for you of a 72" Country Clipper crossing a curb at an angle. On the Gravely, the deck would hit the curb. See what I am saying? Gravely realizes this and made the axle lockable this year.

    zeton_boss.jpg
     
  8. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Specialty

    I know what you are saying, and find much agreement. What I observed was that a 60" Toro did not leave this uneven line where the pivoting Gravely did. This happened in multiple lawns, and one would think the Toro would be more prone to it then the Gravely. The Toro also has a significant trim edge, which would seem to be more likely to dig in, or cut deeper on one side, but the result was the Gravely cut deeper on one side then the other, and this with no trim edge due to a wide wheel base.

    On an area with no bumps, just a slight grade to one side, the Gravely would leave a noticeably uneven cut. Tires did not fall into any holes to produce this, just a slight grade. This occured on multiple yards, and I don't know what to attribute it too but the pivoting axle.

    Thanks for the input though.

    Jay
     
  9. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Envy

    Hey buddy, could you share your overall impressions of the Gravely, and why you opted for a different machine?

    Thanks
    Jay
     
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Jay,

    I really liked the Gravely mowers. For me, the 260Z was probably the most bang for the buck of any 60" ZTR, feature for feature. I think most owners will agree also. Stock suspension seat (make sure you get one), hydro deck lift, hydro jack, engine cover, heavy duty cansiter filter, fans on hydro pumps, work lights, safer break-away steering levers, and last but not least.... 15" front castor tires, and the list goes on.

    The 260Z is a nice overall package, priced right ant $7,500 and I would consider it again when I'm in the market for a 60" Z. There were 2 reasons I decided against it. The first was that the cut quality was not up to my standards for a couple of resons. The first was the gouging/scalping and at that time the lockable axle was not an option. The second was that the finish cut quality paled in comparison with some other units. Stock as delivered it left a lot of stringers and did not stripe even with their kit installed.

    I guess the cutting and striping issues could have been worked out of it with adjustments, different blades ect. Plus southern grass is a little stubborn to stripe. All in all though, between the time I started shopping and the next season rolled around I really needed a 48" cut a lot worse than that 60" cut.

    So at that point I started considering the 148Z. To be honest I liked it better than the 260Z. But I would have liked the suspension seat on it. The 152Z I liked even better and I probably would have bought it if I would have had more use for the 52" deck.

    Anyways, back to the 148Z, it was a very high ranking contender among all the 48" ZTR's. But all in all I settled on the Yazoo/Kees mini Z above all. It was more expensive, but cut was so much better than all the other brands. The hill holding ability was too. Plus, like you I value trim ability or trim side. While the 148Z had little and the rest had none or next to none, the Kees 48" had the most in class.
     

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