HELP! Tractor or ztr tall rough terrain

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Walker Lawn & Landscaping, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Walker Lawn & Landscaping

    Walker Lawn & Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Relitively new to lawnsite, but any help would be greatly appreciated. I am bidding on a large mowing job at a steel mill 7 acres maybe. for right now a am mostly a residential service provider and i only run one lesco walk behind (one man operation). they want the front mowed every week (maybe one third of total lawn) and the back mowed every other week (at least two thirds). it is a steel mill so the lawnis rough little to no turfgrass, rough terrain, groundhog holes, ruts here and there some debris ect. i know if i get a ztr it will do fine on the front lawn and i can use it on other propreties that i maintain so overall it would be much more usefull to me. im not sure if it could take the beating out back with the terrain and only being cut every other week im worried that it will bog down/ not have power to get the job done quickly or make a decent cut especially this spring. should i look for a small tractor with a belly mower. i could get a good deal on a 154 international cub lo boy, but i wouldnt have any other use for the machine at this time. and would be a pain to mow some parts of the front with. money is rather tight ideally i would have both but the question is used tractor /w belly mower or used ztr? i am truly stumped at this point any suggestions?
  2. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,197

    I'd say that if you can use the ZTR on other properties, then go that route. Just slow down on the rough stuff. If you could afford new, a Ferris IS3100 w/full suspension and a 30 or 32 HP BB engine would be a pretty good ride on that kind of terrain, but it will take a beating from it just like anything else will.
  3. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,103

    Hello, I mowed 8 acres for 30 years with a 154 Cub LoBoy and have been using a zero turn for going on 3 yrs.

    The 154 has a weak drive clutch, and a (sometimes) troublesome, and very expensive, deck clutch. I've seen some go 40+ years w/no problems and then there's the "rest" that cost out the yin yang.

    A new deck clutch set up for a 154 is about 1600.00 so BE CAREFUL. Replacing the deck clutch setup can sometimes cost more than the tractor's worth. (That's why you see a lot of the 154 deck clutches welded "engaged").

    Later models (184's ,185's) have a totally (and much better) setup on both the drive clutch and the deck clutch. I would choose (by a long shot) either of those over the 154.

    As for comparing the Cub LoBoy's to a Z. In rough hilly places, the LoBoy wins hands down. In flatter, smoother conditions, just the opposite.

    As for the engine in a LoBoy, it can't be beaten for such a simple gas engine. I sold mine with about 7500 hrs on it and it still ran perfectly and didn't use, or leak, a DROP! I'm sure it's still going strong today. The Loboy engines are designed to run at, or below (depending on the year and carb) 2400. That contributes to their longevity.

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  4. Walker Lawn & Landscaping

    Walker Lawn & Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    wow thanks for the tip i knew the clutches had some problems but i didn't realize they were so expensive. the terrain is totally flat but rough, for comparison would the ztr mow considerably faster given conditions? and will a ztr handle as tall of grass(every other week) as the cub given the ztr would most likely be 60" 27hp. as you have ran both what would you use? great info, very helpfull thanks again
  5. banjo

    banjo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    Hi i would go for the zero turn, my Toro g3 60 34hp is my only mower and i do horse paddocks on one job then do around the house at 2inch just so much more versatile. you must have a suspension seat and adjust your speed to the conditions, good luck, Ross
  6. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Posts: 2,773

    Get a Scag Turf Tiger with the briggs 35. It will handle everything you throw at it.
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  7. aaron79mowing

    aaron79mowing LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 50

    I would say ferris w/ suspension for ride quality. I run two 33/72'' dixie choppers and you can literally bush hog with them, they cut the tall stuff very well with one pass.
  8. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,103

    Because of the large diameter of the rear wheels on the 154, a z will never ride as smoothly. The diameter of front wheels on the 154 is almost as large as the rear wheels of the Z. The larger wheels/tires on the tractor allow it to "roll over" a lot of dips instead of going down in them.

    If both are using a 60" deck, a 27 hp Z will outperform the tractor in "cutting ability". The tractor's hp varies from 18 to the very low 20's depending on model and carb. The tractor also weighs a lot more than a Z.

    I also wanted to make sure that you understood the 1600.00 deck clutch is for running the deck....not the main transmission clutch. A lot of those tractors were sold with the buyer thinking all he had to do was put a deck belt on and go, just to find out it was going to cost 1600.00.
  9. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,103

    Had a "senior moment" when quoting the horsepower ratings on the Cub "Loboy" series. :confused: They actually range from 15 to 18 depending on a few variables such as carb, governor setting's etc. The little 4 cylinders felt like more to most people included.
  10. AlohaMowing

    AlohaMowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    For work comparable to what you are describing I use a 52" Scag Turf Tiger with the 27HP Kohler engine. Over rough terrain I cover about 2 acres/hour. The machine could handle faster, but my back starts complaining even though it has an excellent seat. Much of what I mow is locally called guinea grass--a thick, coarse, aggressive weed. With 600 hours on the machine the only real problem it has given me was the electric clutch failed at about 550 hours. The frame is as rugged as you are likely to find and handles rough terrain well. Before getting the Scag I used a 30 HP Kubota B-7800 tractor. Certainly it ultimately is sturdier, but takes at least 50% longer to mow the area.

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