Kabota diesel ZTR mowers: Opinions?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bassngrass, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. bassngrass

    bassngrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I just drove a Kabota 21HP 60 inch deck ZTR mower: it was 10K $ (very pricey) but seemed AWESOME. Hydraulic deck lift, front end jack-lift, and very easy to drive: smooth!!

    The salesman said the the deck is almost an exact copy of the Exmark Decks-Kabota was actually sued by Exmark.

    I was wondering if anyone has used these mowers, and how well they cut? Do you think it is worth the extra money to go with Kabota over Grasshopper/Hustler Super Z/Scag Wildcat in the 7-8K $ range?

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Go for the Green

    Go for the Green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 60

    You are comparing a diesel mower to gas mowers! You have to compare apples to apples.

    Yes, the Kubota is worth the money. They are very well built and make the best diesel engine on the market.

    You have to compare apple to apples!
     
  3. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    Why not get a Grasshopper with a Kubota engine? I personally don't care for the Kubota mowers. IMO, they don't cut nice and the controls are funky!
     
  4. specialtylc

    specialtylc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,656

    The Grasshoppers with the Kubota engines are not mounted in the same way as the Kubota ZDs. The grasshoppers have an awful design. Too many belts and pulleys. No ocsilating front axle, built in jack, pivoting anti scalp wheels on the deck.
     
  5. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,759

    Everyone is going to have their own opinion....go demo one wouldnt hurt would it? Ive run the midmount grasshopper diesel unit. Very smooth.
     
  6. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,036

    I think that the kubota is worth it. they are extremly good mowers. the county and the state uses them, and they take some serious abuse, of course, they also use grasshopper front mounts, so go figure.
     
  7. marvinlee

    marvinlee LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Posts: 108

    I bought a ZD-21 new in 2001, their first year. It has been generally an excellent mower. Some specific issues include: One of the two hydrostatic drive steel hydraulic lines broke just after warranty expiration. Total cost, pickup and delivery included, ran over $300. I had the pivoting front mower deck roller kit installed. Total cost ran nearly $500, pickup and delivery included. The kit is not too expensive, but the labor time is high.
    The ride seems very comfortable compared to the Kubota G garden mower that the ZD21 replaced.

    Steering is superb, as I have heard is typical of ZTR mowers. The pivoting front axle is great. Our property includes slopes and the ZD21 feels much safer on slopes than the Kubota lawn tractor did. The suspension seat is very comfortable.

    Kubota reportedly made changes to the hydrostatic drive to stop breakage of the steel hydraulic lines. Recent model years have a fabricated steel deck instead of the stamped steel on my unit. I like both but would probably prefer the fabricated deck. However, the stamped deck has been problem free despite rough mowing conditions.

    If you buy the Kubota, be prepared for lots of grease fittings and quite frequent greasing. The frequency of greasing is set by the owner's manual and seems excessive to me, but I follow instructions to the letter. The aft universal joint is a real pain to access for greasing and Kubota should improve the ergonomics involved.

    In general, I would buy the same ZTR again, the unit has been superbly reliable with the exceptions noted, and the little engine just runs along with a happy sound. It has plenty of power for our needs even here in the wet Willamette Valley in Oregon. This area is the grass seed capital of the world and grass grows fast, tall, and thick.
     
  8. marvinlee

    marvinlee LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Posts: 108

    I bought a ZD-21 new in 2001, Kubota's first year for this model. It has been generally an excellent mower. Some specific issues include: One of the two hydrostatic drive steel hydraulic lines broke just after warranty expiration. Total cost, pickup and delivery included, ran over $300. I had the pivoting front mower deck roller kit installed. Total cost ran nearly $500, pickup and delivery included. The kit is not too expensive, but the labor time is high.
    The ride seems very comfortable compared to the Kubota G garden mower that the ZD21 replaced.

    Steering is superb, as I have heard is typical of ZTR mowers. The pivoting front axle is great. Our property includes slopes and the ZD21 feels much safer on slopes than the Kubota lawn tractor did. The suspension seat is very comfortable.

    Kubota reportedly made changes to the hydrostatic drive to stop breakage of the steel hydraulic lines. Recent model years have a fabricated steel deck instead of the stamped steel on my unit. I like both but would probably prefer the fabricated deck. However, the stamped deck has been problem free despite rough mowing conditions. Mowing quality is good for our needs but not great. I had the high speed gear kit installed prior to delivery and current models comes standard with the higher blade speed.

    The crank-up front end lift is a major plus for me as I like to clean the deck after use and other lifting means are not available here.

    If you buy the Kubota, be prepared for lots of grease fittings and quite frequent greasing. The frequency of greasing is set by the owner's manual and seems excessive to me, but I follow instructions to the letter. The aft universal joint is a real pain to access for greasing and Kubota should improve the ergonomics involved.

    In general, I would buy the same ZTR again, the unit has been superbly reliable with the exceptions noted, and the little engine just runs along with a happy sound. It has plenty of power for our needs even here in the wet Willamette Valley in Oregon. This area is the grass seed capital of the world and grass grows fast, tall, and thick.
     
  9. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    I bought a new one in 2001 and sold it 4 months later. Thought it was under powered, poor deck design issue. I bought a grasshopper as soon as I sold the bota with the same engine and a deck size and love it. The differnce that I can tell is that the hopper is a front mount with a differnt deck design. Also as was stated bota changed there decks since I had mine.
     
  10. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    Thank god they're not mounted the same way! I'm not too sure what you mean about too many belts and pulley, mine has 3 belts, the deck belt and two on the back in the same place. Don't need a jack cause it's a powerfold, oscillating front axles have too much deck wiggle which equals a bad cut and what do you need pivoting anti-scalp wheels for?...i guess for all that deck wiggle! Sorry, i just hate their design...i tried one for a couple of days, i can't believe that they sell one of them!
     

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