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Feedback on Kubota Zero Turn

Discussion in 'Industry Surveys & Polls' started by FoghornLeghorn, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 752

    I'm thinking of buying a Kubota Diesel Zero-Turn mower and am curious to see if anyone can share an opinion/experience with me; i.e. are they better than Scag or Gravely etc...

  2. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    we have run them for years. the older models were great machines when the trannys were not failing, the decks were a modest quality cut.but i loved the overall machine

    the new 300 series we have 3 326 models and they have been flawless. very good power, great cut and very comfortable. they are very heavy(as all diesels) so make sure you use them only on open areas and not medium sized yards or they may tear it up.

    all in all, everyone (except superintendant on here) i know of loves them. they are super tough machines, really over built compared to other brands. i however do like the scag and others as well, but they are even higher priced for no reason. last time i checked, a comparable scag was at least 2 grand more. that is just too much for me
  3. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    I have had all three versions of the diesel. All have been trouble free. First was the ZD21 , which I still have as a backup. A ZD2860 that I used for 2 years, I was never really happy with its clipping dispirsal. Traded it for the 331 that I have had for 2 years now. Its the best one yet. Only other diesel zero turn I have tried was the Grasshopper. Didnt perform as well as the ZD21. I have never tried the gas version of the kubotas. I wanted a liquid cooled diesel engine 10 years ago and there werent many options then.The other brands just dont have the features I want in a mower. I cant really say that they are (better ) than the other brands. But I have been happy with them.
  4. js_landscape&design

    js_landscape&design LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I used Kubota's ZD series on a large housing authority job a couple years back. The 72" 331 and the 60" 326. They were incredibly fuel efficient given the mowing conditions (heavy load with cuts every other week in southern warm grass) and well built. I have mixed reviews when breaking down the machine in a few areas.
    #1 Price---$24,200 for the pair with the Kubota bid assist b/c this contract was for a non-profit. Pretty steep, but the resale value is great.

    #2 Power---plenty of torque, especially on that 331. PTO engagement was always smooth and the machine run very quiet compared to a gasser.

    #3 Cut---if you are doing weekly mowing then they work great. Thick, wet, early morning cutting was absolutely terrible. Left clumps all over, swirl marks, and would bog down easily due to the weight of the machine--1700lbs. Could not use them at all in moderately wet conditions.

    Worst thing about them was how often you have to clean the radiator screens. We could run them for two hours and then it would take 20 min. to drive back to the trailer and blow the screens off. In 100 degree August days with dry conditions these machines would overheat quick due to the diesel engine sucking in massive amounts of air and debris clogging the radiator cover. This was a contract for a 132 acre property with plenty of wide open spaces to turn them loose. And the 72" scalped like crazy compared to the 60" but was so much faster.

    All in all they look good on a trailer and only ever broke down due to an incident with a hidden 3/4" playground chain sucked up. I would own one if I had a large personal property to take care of but they were not as productive as a simplified air-cooled gasser with large hydros and good ground speed. And the Kubota dealer is the only support for that transmission if something happens to it.

    They are great machines and probably one of the best built available, but
  5. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    nice first post, where are you from? the older decks did not cut as clean, but did do a better job in wet conditions than the newer ones the newer decks cut way better on average though. we cut a serious amount of grass and have never had an issue with radiator screens clogging any more than daily, with super thick wet cutting all day, and not to mention lots of wind. they are known to have some of the best radiator screens and pre screens out there for LC engines.
  6. js_landscape&design

    js_landscape&design LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I'm located in eastern South Carolina. These are initial posts under my own company name, but I have followed lawnsite for about 4 years now with previous postings. Have been an operator/installer on and off for about 12 years starting early in high school. This will be the first year full time as a solo owner/operator so I'm looking forward to the challenge. The models we used were 2007, first year of the new design. I understand their cut quality has improved in addition to the issue with clogging and overheating. Just talked to a local dealer about that last week as I am about to purchase a new ztr. The issue I am referring to is more the pre-screen or mesh on the engine cover. On a hot, dry day those machines would build up a static charge and the grass would cling to the pre-screen cover. Then you could hear the mower trying to suck in more air to compensate for the flow being cut off. Sounded like the cold air intake on my acura rice burner on a cool morning. That's when the heat indicator would come on and it was time to take the machine to be cleaned. Became a real pita for July and August. I think the Kubota machines are probably the nicest and well built of anything on the market, but those diesels weren't ideal for the conditions. It was like having a cadillac escalade when really what you need is a chevy truck to get the job done. I did love that hydraulic deck lift though. Saved my butt more than a few times.
  7. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    yup, i was unaware they done anything new since 2007 with the decks! have they? or are you refering to what i was and the actual pre 300 series decks like the zd28 and 21 which we had.

    curious if they have changed anything on the 300 series, i do know there are a few very small cosmetic differences looking at them at a dealer a few months ago, but other than that i was under the impression they are the same as far as raditor screens and decks.
  8. superintendent

    superintendent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    Even those I don't like the cut of my Kubota, I've never had any problem with the screen. My mower has never over-heated due to grass build up my screen. Now if you want to talk about grass build up under the deck that is another topic. Yes, I love the hydrolic lift. That is the reason I first bought one.
  9. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    we agree on something about kubotas. i have never had issues with screen clogging in a period shorter than 8 hrs
  10. Scagmower48

    Scagmower48 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 430

    If weight is going to be a factor, consider a gas one.

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