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Hearing bad things about Ferris

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by dathorpe, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 459

    I believe I have the inside track on mowing a large property next year. Wide open areas with some bumpy spots. If I land this contract, I'm considering adding two Ferris 3100 72" ztr's to my company. I've read several threads on here about the Ferris 3100 zero turn. Everything sounds great - full suspension, velocity plus style deck, happy owners.

    Here's the point of this thread (you knew I'd get there eventually) - Are they a solid machine capable of commercial work?

    Example 1 - A guy I know owns a 72" 3100. He used to rave about it - called it the greatest mower ever, said he'll never own another brand, etc. He now has over 900 hours on it and curses it regularly. Says the suspension wears out quickly and always needs repair. Also, has had several smaller problems as the machine has aged. He's a heavy guy - maybe 270 - so I just chalked it up to him being too big for the mower and that putting too much stress on the suspension.

    Example 2 - This past friday, I was at a gas station filling my pick up when a mowing crew pulled in next to me. The trailer carried a 60" Dixie Chopper and a 60" Hustler super Z. I love hearing opinions on equipment so I started a conversation with the guy about his mowers. He said that both the Dixie Chopper and Hustler were fine mowers and liked them both very much. When I asked him which mower he felt was better, he said he liked the Hustler better. He felt it was better built, held hills better, and cut just as well as the Chopper. When I mentioned that I was considering buying two Ferris 72" 3100's, he and his helper looked at each other and grinned - almost giggling. I said, "You don't care for Ferris?" And he said, "I used to own that exact machine. Those things are junk. I'll never own another one. I was happy to get rid of the one I had." I asked what engine it had and he said it had the Vanguard but that the engine was never a problem. He then proceeded to tell me the suspension bushings needed to be replaced at 300 hours. Later, they had to be replaced again and this time it wasn't under warranty and the cost of replacement came out of his pocket. He also said that because of the suspension screwing up, the machine never seemed to cut right. He said the machine also had countless hydraulic problems. He sold it with less than a thousand hours on the meter.

    Needless to say, I'm now thinking I might want to stay clear of Ferris after hearing two horror stories.

    What do you guys make of this? Any similar experiences? Neither he nor his helper were big guys. Maybe the 72" deck is too heavy for the frame?
  2. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    This should be a interesting thread. I demoed a 3100 and 2000 with excessive deck sway and bounce. I have also found 5100's with the same problem. Several here on LS have since convinced me that this is not normal and is a factory assembly problem or poor dealer set up. Reguardless I liked the machine and plan to post a detailed review once I demo another one without the deck sway and bounce(if I can find one).

    Many here have commented on longevity concerns due to all the extra moving parts, bushings etc. I am very interesting in hearing from someone with high hours on a 3100.

    If I had some large bumpy acerage properties that required a 72" I would demo the 3100, a 472 and Super Z for sure.
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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  3. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,421

    We had a big company here that had the big 72" 33.5hp cat diesel. They paod like $20k for it after taxes. They asked me to sell it for them and they actually took $4500 for it. Said motor was awesome mower was just falling apart around it. Frame had alot of welds on it where it broke, suspension was replaced twice, he had a rant of alot of reasons he wanted it gone. They pretty much gave it away...
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  4. Schrock Lawns

    Schrock Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 944

    I have no experience with ferris but I'd look into a 72 hustler super z hyperdrive best mower I've Evere used , if quality of cut isn't an issue look at the 104
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  5. billc1004

    billc1004 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    a friend of mine has a ferris said the same thing plastic bushings have to be replaced often . now he does it himself takes about an hour . i have a 1500 series ferris no springs or shocks 9 years still going strong no welds have broken .
  6. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,711

    Invest your money in a top-tier suspension seat with an ultra durable mower below it.
  7. DXN1EL

    DXN1EL LawnSite Senior Member
    from TEXAS
    Posts: 495

    And this statement above translates to Grasshopper :usflag:
  8. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I have a 2011 Ferris 3100, 72", 32hp. Bought it at the end of 2011. I currently have approximately 740 hrs on it. Runs strong, rides great, & mows great. Changed hydro belt around 536 hrs & still have the original deck belt on.
    This being my 2nd season on the mower, the "little" things have been showing up. I noticed the deck having a lot of "sway". Ordered new bushings and the rods that go through the trailing arms. It still has quite a lot of sway. ????? The plastic bushings were ok, but the rods had wear spots. The 72" deck seems to be almost too much for the mower. It has the power, but the hydros don't want to keep pushing on steep side hills, and turns seem to want to drag a tire like there is too much weight to swing around. The rear tires have worn down faster than any mower I've been around and I'm not sure if its from the suspension movement or what.
    Then I was having to move the parking brake lever forward a little for it to start. Finally, the PTO wouldn't engage. After using a test light and tracking switches, it all came back to the PTO switch had gone bad. Now the ignition switch is giving me fits.
    As mentioned above, I noticed a "knock" sound once in a while on rougher terrain. After further inspection, I discovered the bushings are shot on the right front shock mounts and the rear ones are cracked and looking weathered. I thought I had found the perfect mower, but now I am starting to wonder. I went from part time to full time mowing so I am racking up hours faster and I need something to hold up, although the suspension has really helped my back.
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  9. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 459

    Thanks, JT. I appreciate your honesty. This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. You know, if a couple of people tell you something, you think they may have some other reasons for their opinions - just got a lemon, bias, whatever. But when you get three or four people with first hand experience saying essentially the same thing? You tend to give it credence. Again, thank you for your honesty. You've just saved me from making a big mistake.
  10. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I have tried most zero turn mowers available. When you first get on a Ferris the ride is awesome. But after running one for a couple of years, you still notice a lot of bumps. I still like the feel of the Hustler controls, but the VX4 just didn't cut well here. The flex forks make a big difference, but we also had several "little" issues pop up with Hustlers.
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