Diesel Mower Upgrade (Exmark, or Grasshopper, or Gravely), need help/opinions...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jtkplc, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    I’m looking to possibly upgrade from my Gravely 260Z with a 25 HP Kawasaki to a more powerful, efficient machine, preferably diesel. I really like all the features of my 260Z. The 15” front caster tires, locking/pivoting front axle, hydraulic deck lift, etc. That’s what brought me to Gravely from the beginning, most bang for the buck, IMO. The only problem with my 260Z is the lack of power and not the greatest cut quality in the world in certain grasses; however, I didn’t notice the poor cut quality when I first bought my 260Z which leads me to think it might be a deck pitch problem. I would like to stay with Gravely. I have heard about some problems with the Daihatsu diesel that’s on the Gravely, a timing problem and then just not being the best, won’t last the longest. On the other hand, I’ve read about others who have the Daihatsu diesels and love them and have had no problems. Would I be making a mistake by getting the Daihatsu over the Kubota?

    The other mowers I’m considering are the Grasshopper 428D and Exmark. I’ve heard from many people on here that Grasshopper has, by far, the best diesel mower of any company. I’ve used an Exmark XS 31HP B&S with the 60” deck and love the power and the cut. The 2006 Exmarks really caught my eye with the Kubota diesel and the new Triton 60” or 66” deck. Do you think the 25HP Kubota will be enough power for the 66” deck? I am a little reluctant to go out and buy a new machine like that. I worry that the bugs wouldn’t be worked out, and that’s the last thing a solo operator needs is faulty equipment that is in the shop not making me money.

    I intend on getting a demo on as many of these as I can, but I am trying to get some feedback before I do in hopes of narrowing my search down.

    I will be trying out mulching on most of my properties this year, which deck would do the best job mulching, Exmark, Grasshopper, or Gravely? Which one has the easiest system to install the mulching baffles?

    Weight is also an issue. This put Exmark into 3rd place because they weigh over 1500lbs. and the Gravely is, according to their product booklet, 1200lbs. and Grasshopper is 1430lbs.

    Cost is another issue, where the Exmarks are, in my opinion, over priced. Another ‘con’ to the Exmarks are the closet dealer is 25 minutes away and the Grasshopper and Gravely dealer is about 5 minutes away.

    Any help and info is greatly appreciated. Thanks. :confused:
  2. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    I am in much the same boat. I also own the Gravely Pm 260. The waranty is running out and I don't believe in owning non-warranty ZTR's.

    I want diesel. Toro, Scag are my local choices. Scag is way over priced. The Toro seems like a really good mower, but I really want a 728 D Grasshopper. But the dealer is 30minutes away.

    Front mount looks like it would be so much more productive on many of my properties. But I am waiting until march to demo, so I can see some decent grass getting cut.

    I think the Gravely is heavier. They just list the weight of the 260 with a gas mower, either the LC gas or the diesel is gonna weigh a bit more.
  3. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    You aren't looking into the Gravely diesel? Is it because your dealer is too far away?

    I also PM-ed 'mowingman' who is a dealer in texas and he thought the diesel weight of the gravely is right because the daihatsu is a much lighter engine he said. I think 1200lbs. seemed light, however.
  4. lawnsbyrj

    lawnsbyrj LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    my thing with diesel is that in 5 years you have a rusted deck broken casters hubs etc and a REALLY good engine. the engine will far out last the mower.
    most people i know would take the chance and save the $2500 up fron and if the motor goes tehn replace it for $2500 and be in the same boat.
    but hey they will last I guess
  5. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    I'm very well aware of that. You will lose that $2500 up front in fuel costs over those 5 years. ($1 savings per hour diesel over gas x 500 hours a season x 5 years) It's all in how you look at it.
  6. P & L Turf

    P & L Turf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 272

    I've never ran the Gravely or the grasshopper, but I have demoed the Exmark diesel and I was very impressed with it. I took that 72" beast and ran it full tilt into waist high grass and it hardly even bogged. Since your here in Michigan I'd contact Wiengartz. They've got good sales people and are real helpfull to me. I'd give'em a call and see about demoing one.:cool:
  7. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Posts: 2,207

    I would go with the Grasshopper. Cheaper than the Exmark and probibly a little better and I just don't care for Gravely.
  8. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    This is where I get confused, because I've read posts in the past that say the 27 HP Daihatsu is under powered for a 60" deck. Did you demo the Daihatsu or the new Kubota diesel?
  9. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,807

    exactly.. another thing i'd worry about is my guys putting straight gas into it or diesel into the other mowers. i know it would happen the odds would be against me.... what is with the big diesel mower kick on these forums lately.. seems like everyone is talking about diesel mowers like its gonna reinvent the business...
  10. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    I work solo, shouldn't be a problem sense I have a Cummins diesel.

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