34" Z engine choice

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mowin'_homer, May 17, 2006.

  1. mowin'_homer

    mowin'_homer LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 1

    I've finally been able to narrow my search for a small machine to 2 choices: the Gravely 34Z and the Dixon Black Bear. With the Dixon being new, it is hard to find opinions/reviews on it. My question is about engine choice. Dixon offers either a V-twin Kawasaki 16hp (FH480V kai) or a single cylinder 18hp Kohler Command Pro (CV493). Kawasaki's website may have the wrong specs published as it says the max hp for the unit is 13.6. It seems to me that the twin cylinder would have more torque and power when it counts even though it's a little smaller in displacement and max HP.

    I've dealt with both dealers before and they are both good so I can't use that as a deciding factor and I'm having a hard time deciding.

    If anyone could offer some advice or experience, it is greatly appreciated.
    thanks - M.H.
     
  2. Tech man

    Tech man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    Out of all the engines we fix in a year.....

    45% kohler
    30% Briggs
    15% Tecumseh
    5% kawasaki

    Our service director has all the numbers. Hope it helps.
     
  3. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    I run a gravely 34"z, I dont know anything about the Dixon that you are looking at, but the gravely is a perfect z for small gates or small yards where a bigger z cant fit. My gravely is my main mower.


    As for the engine, I have the 15 hp kaw. which has really been solid in thick st.augstine grass. I used to live in Massachusetts, and st.aug is much thicker than bluegrass/Fescue mixes that I used to cut. any more info just pm me or post back.
     
  4. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,097

    I would go with the twin cylinder kawasaki engine. Twins run a lot bnetter and longer than a single cylinder.
     
  5. DJL50

    DJL50 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Looking at ZTR's. My Dixon dealer said today that the Kohler has problems with the seals going bad. over $100 to have replaced. Said the Kohler is not what it use to be. I have a 17hp Kaw on a lawn tractor that is 15+ years old. never been worked on in that time. Plug and oil is all (and air filter)
    The others may be good but you can not go wrong with the Kaw.
     
  6. turnerlawn

    turnerlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    The kaw is the better of the two.The kolar blows the head gaskets.I have had them both.
     
  7. airplanenut2

    airplanenut2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    i have had several mowers with the kohler and kaw engines on them. i have had about the same amount of problems with both of them. the exmark mower is the best i have ever owned and the exmark suport group is the best i have ever encountered. i am in tulsa and the bese exmark dealer is in catoosa, only a 15 minute drive out on hw 412 past catoosa. the kohler head gasket problems went away several years ago and the kaw top crank journal that was cast wrong in some engins was taken care of by the dealer by installing a new engine on the unit, which was done quite quickly. can't sell me anything but a exmark. jay
     
  8. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    i own a gravely 34 Z. had it about two years. i've had it in the shop a few times also. it is excellent for getting thru smaller gates, which is the main reason i bought it. it goes 9 mph, 4 in reverse. i wish it had a floating deck, rather than fixed. i paid 4,200.00 for it.
     
  9. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,103


    You telling me that Briggs and tecumseh are better than kohler? Your numbers are WAY off base. WTF would you try and lead this guy toward a kawi and make him never want a kohler? I will take a kohler over ANY of those engines any day of the week. You see kawi only makes commercial grade engines where as the others all make home owner grade engines and thus the reason for your highly skewed numbers I would suspect. I have had kawi after kawi fail to early in their expected life span yet i have NEVER had a kohler fail or even break down for that matter except for 1 coil after 2000+ hours on the engine. Our 18 magnum had over 3000 hours when we sold the mower and it still ran strong. Our 15 command ran strong till we sold the mower with 2,500+ hours and our 18 command now has 2,400 hours and is going strong. We have never gotten more than 1,500 hours out of a kawi before it kicked a rod out the side of the block and yes we maintain them and check the oil daily.
     
  10. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,103


    How many hours on the unit? Ours has about 500 now and its been flawless except for the ******* KAWASAKI JUNK! Excuse my language but I hate kawasaki. Had to take it into the shop to fix a starting problem and the engine had ohhhhh about 200 hours on it. WAY TO GO KAWASUCKY!
     

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