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I need your professional opinion (Walker Mowers)

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by pro arbor joe, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. pro arbor joe

    pro arbor joe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    :help: I am a landscape and tree care professional in the north Atlanta area and this year I am in the market for a new mower. I predict 35-40 highend residental accounts this year. I do only high quality work, which has eliminated most of the other Z riders from the choices I have. I would appreicate your knowledge/experiences/hearsay about the (Walker w/48" GHS deck & 26 HP fuel injection) or Walkers in general. Your opinion is much appreciated. Joseph Carnes Custom 1 Landscaping & Tree Care
     
  2. DEEJ

    DEEJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 230

    Pro Arbor Joe,

    "I do only high quality work, which has eliminated most of the other Z riders from the choices".

    Don't take this wrong, but that is a very narrow minded statement. Most of the professionals on here doing the very best of work are using Z riders from Exmark, Hustler, Dixie, Toro, Scag, Gravely, Ferris, and many other very good companies. If you think they cannot be the right machine to do quality work, you are very, very far off base.

    Here is a link to some pictures from one of the best. Eric is no longer with us, but he is watching and laughing at your statement.

    http://elmlawnsite.com/lawn_pictures_page.htm

    Tell me this isn't amazing work, done with a Z rider. This is only one example. There are hundreds and thousands of members on here doing similar work with a Z rider.

    A search will find many questions and comments about the Walker. Some good some bad. Slower is one of the common comments. Restricted to 48" is another comment. They are well regarded for their vacuum abilities. Well regarded for fall cleanups. If you always want to pick up clippings (and why would you - mulch instead - better for the lawn), then maybe this is the machine for you. If you have somewhere to continuously dump the clipping, then go for it. For many of us it is too slow and too troublesome to deal with clippings for everyday cutting. Remember, you are here to do quality work, but you are also here to make money to feed your family. Can you charge for the extra time to cut and dump clippings? Why would you when it isn't necessary?

    As for the 26EFI, I assume you are talking about the older Kohler engine. It is an amazing engine in my opinion. I have it on a 2001 Exmark Lazer. The newer version of this engine is the 28EFI. I have this engine on a 2003 Exmark Lazer. Both are tough,tough engines. They sip fuel. Turn the key, no choke to fiddle with, and they fire right up. Very responsive engines compared to a carbureted engine with a mechanical governor. I would not hesitate to recommend this engine on anything.

    One thing to watch for: In early use of the 26EFI on a few models (including the Walker), the manufacturers were not providing good solid electrical grounds on the mowers. The computer driving the EFI was not happy with this. Once the machines were retrofitted with better grounds, the engine was happy. This was a mower manufacturere problem, not an engine problem.

    deej
     
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    I would take the "I only do high quality work" to mean he wants to BAG clippings all the time, whereas most in his area do not. As far as bagging mowers go, just about all manufacturers sell bagging systems. Some are really nice, some are not... Plus a bag type catcher allows you to dump into your truck bed without any fancy engeneering. There are many many mowers that leave just a good a cut, or better than a walker.

    Walkers have strong points and weak points. Not being able to mow wet (dewey or drizziling) is a big negative for me. A big plus though is the fact that the 48" deck WITH the catcher and blower is no more than 48 1/2" wide. Any other 48" Z with the blower mounted on the side is going to be 8 to 12" wider.
     
  4. tpiper

    tpiper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    i run walkers and love them. i agree with jason though you can not do much work until the grass is pretty much dry. the bagging system is in my opinion one of the best out there.
     
  5. pro arbor joe

    pro arbor joe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the information. I did click on the link that you posted and I must say Eric does some of the most beautiful work that I have ever seen. Perhaps I should have mentioned that my market is somewhat different than most of you might have. I would say that my market is 90% Bermuda and the rest shared by Fescue and Zoysia. I did notice, I believe, that all the pics on this link were Fescue or at least not Bermuda. I am not very knowledgeable of what types of grasses are common in many areas other than Atlanta(my market). But it does seem to me that a higher cut height Fescue vs Bermuda is much more forgiving therefore requiring a less precise cut. It seems to me that everyone mowing in my area(Atlanta=Bermuda) using Z riders seems to be willing to sacrifice speed for quality of cut, I, however, am not. Please give me your opinion on this,but don't you think a deck larger than 48" is going to scalp much easier when your mowing at 2"? Is a bigger deck really always better? I guess I was looking for someone who runs Walkers and can give me an inside scoop on pros and cons. Thanks DEEJ for the great info(one thing to watch for),I did some research and found there was a problem with the electrical grounds a couple years ago. However,I am looking to buy a new machine and the dealer promises this is no longer an issue. HA! HA! Thanks everyone for the great info and DEEJ is there some way to do a search on Lawnsite for Walkers? I am not sure what you meant, sorry I'm new to the site. Thanks! Joseph Carnes Custom 1 Landscaping & Tree Care
     
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    Yes, walkers cut a bit better than some because the decks are outfront and artuculate up and down to follow contours. This does not prevent them from scalping at all. If a deck wheel or a drive wheel drops into a shallow spot or a hole a walker is going to scalp. I guess the manufacturers don't think this happens ever and they have never made any kind of height adjustable anti scalp wheels for the 48" decks. Personally I think it would be sweet if they had rollers on the 4 corners that could be adjusted to just above ground level. Every bump they hit would raise the deck on that corner or side eliminating scalping.

    I know that in Europe they routinely mow at under 2", that's just the norm there. Walker has a "european" deck that's made for just that. Iv'e often wondred just whats the difference between it and the regular one, and if a person in the states can even buy one?
     
  7. WalkerMike98

    WalkerMike98 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    On Heavily Landscaped Properties The Walkers Will Save A Lot Of Time. As Far As Quality Of Cut Nothing Even Compares. Many May Disagree, But I Have Tried The Others And Hands Down The Walker Is The Best. The Upkeep Is Extensive But Well Worth It. If You Want A Caddillac Buy A Caddillac. If You Want A Kia Buy A Kia. You Get What You Pay For.
     
  8. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,022

    The Exmark Navigator might be worth a demo if you are set on this type of configuration. There have been some Walker users who have said they like what Exmark has done with the Navigator.

    Textron also makes a similar unit under their Bunton and Bobcat brand names.
     
  9. DEEJ

    DEEJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 230

    PAJ,

    You bring up a very good point about grass types. The internet makes the world so small it is easy to forget that we cut different types of grass, the weather is different, general conditions are different!! What works for me, might never work for you.

    Right now we are knee deep in snow here. It was -21C (-6F) degrees at the house this morning. The diesel wasn't too happy starting. Dog sled racing on the property next Saturday. The 5K course is almost groomed to perfection. I'd have to bet not everyone here can claim the same "nice" weather and conditions!!! It is so easy to forget where we all are.

    As for the search. Use the search feature on the green menu bar above. If you go into advanced search and specify "Commercial Lawn Mowing" as the specific Forum to search, you might have the best luck with Walker information. I find you still have to sift through the babble to find the gems of information you are looking for.

    I can't say enough good about the Kohler EFI engine. I would find it hard to go back to anything carbureted after having two of these. The fuel economy alone would hurt going back.

    After all my raving about the Zs, I will say that a bad operator can destroy more than his share of turf with one while turning. They are true zero turn units, if you don't care about tearing turf. In our conditions a full zero turn will leave a mark almost every time. We do more of a 3 point turn -almost as fast when you get used to it. Driving them without tearing is an acquired skill.

    I would have to agree that the Walker would be secound to none in tightly landscaped areas.

    In another post (in the Commercial Mowing Forum I think), there is a post about the Exmark Navigator - Exmark's Walker equivalent. The writer was very impressed. I believe he was a Walker fan who now may convert. Might be worth a read.

    deej
     
  10. lawnrangeralaska

    lawnrangeralaska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    I own two Walker 26hp EFI 48" machines. You couldn't go wrong, if you need to mow if lawns are wet Walker makes a large hole screen for the hopper. If you need to side discharge or mulch you can purchase a larger deck then the 48" if you ever need to do that type of mowing.
     

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