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mower engine options: Gas or Diesel???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by swing blade, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. swing blade

    swing blade LawnSite Member
    Posts: 123

    Ok, were looking to purchase a new mower; something like a 60" rider. I have literature from about every company that sells within my area, and I have gone and looked at about everything there is to look at. Regardless of what the salespeople say, i want your opinions. Which is better, a gas or diesel powerplant? The mowing covers all types of terrain; flat open ground, hills, rocky/rutted out yards, etc... assuming that the hp is relatively the same which would you recommend and why???
  2. Eric 1

    Eric 1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,220

    I never had a diesel mower, but i know with trucks the parts are twice as expensive.

    However they will run cooler, last longer, be more fuel efficient.

    But most of the diesels i have seen were on a 72'' mower.

    What brands are you looking at?
  3. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    If you are going to have some larger (i.e. commercial properties) I think the advantages of diesel will really come to light. If you are just going to have the normal sized residential yards why pay the additional cost for the diesel? True the diesel will last longer but you really need to run it for a longer period of time (not your ΒΌ acre yard but much larger) to really see any of the fuel savings.

  4. Moe Fish

    Moe Fish LawnSite Member
    from Fla
    Posts: 72

    I can tell you I have a kubota bx with a 18 hp diesal and there is no comparison to it and a 18 hp gas jon IMO
  5. swing blade

    swing blade LawnSite Member
    Posts: 123

    well I am not dead set on any brand, but Lately I have been looking at Kubota. If you look at there ZD series, the zd18 and zd21 are diesel mowers with 54" and 60" decks. And yes, i do agree that the extra expense is not worth it for just residential properties. Most of what we are bidding on and have accounts with ( roughly 52% of our accounts) are large condominimum complexes or churches, all of which are in the 4-15 acre range. the rest of our accounts are residential.
  6. Eric 1

    Eric 1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,220

    With that size props, i think i would want a 72.

    But only you know what you need.
  7. jaguar4000

    jaguar4000 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    I would stay with a 60' deck. I have a Ransomes Jaguar front runner w/ 60 deck and 23 mitsubishi diesel. Bought it new in 1990 before the ztr revolution and it now has about 2,000 hrs on it. The engine is as strong as ever and I have not touched it except for oil change (castrol 10w30). Only problem w/ this mower is that they do not make it any more. I got out of the lawn business in 95 but I still run this mower on a 19 acre tree farm. If they still made it I would buy one today.

    When I was in the biz we used this 60 deck on large properties as well as on smaller residentials. With a 70 deck you are very limited and the quality of cut will be nothing compared to the 60. With the 60 you can mow heavier grass when needed and mow better on slopes than the 70.

    If you go with diesel I will be interested to see what you decided on. We are probably going to purchase a 2nd mower here in the next year and will be looking into the Kubota ZTR and the Hustler if they come out w/ the Cat diesel. Also Bad Boy has come out w/ a Cat and I understand Ferris has a Cat. Have only spoke w/ several Kubota ztr diesel owners and they loved it. Have not talked w/ owners of any of the other brands. Have not really checked out the Kubota but I think it (deck and frame) is built solid like my Ransomes. Good Luck!!!
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    It also depends on the hours you're going to be putting on the machine.

    I just bought a Kubota ZD-28 / 60" prodeck this spring, and it's nice. I also run 27 hp Kawi's in my Ferris, and the Kubota doesn't bog down in thicker grass.

    I bought it earlier this year, when gas started bouncing around $2 / gallon, thinking diesel would stay 20-30 cents / gallon cheaper than gas, and I'll save money that way. Who woulda known diesel is now $2.25 / gallon.

    Personally, I don't believe they're really worth the extra money, unless you're planning on rebuilding the mower, or at least putting money into it down the road. The engine will last you 10,000 hours+, but the parts on the mower won't.
  9. CathyLynn

    CathyLynn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    My opinion is if you are only going to run a 60" deck doing primarily residential work, then the diesle may be overkill. If you have several larger accounts and anticipate more, then a diesle on a 72" deck might be a good long term investment. A diesle engine is designed to run run run--not 8 and 10 minute short bursts.

    We do over 95 properties a week. We use 61 and 72" SCAG walk behinds the majority of the time as they manuever very well with no worry about tire marks. Thes are all powered by 25 HP Kawasaki replacement engines. We have been using this same basic set up since 1990. We also use a Walker Kohler 26EFI GHS unit on our best residential properties, where we do not have room for the larger machines. We spread fertilizer on almost 3 million square feet of turf with a spreader on the front of the Walker, and use a Pro-Lawn sprayed on the Walker for weed control. An awesome set-up--very cost effective.

    We use a 72" SCAG Saber Tooth 31hp Turbo charged diesle on all of our wide open areas. There is no finer machine that we have tried, and believe me we have treied them all for extended lenghts of time. It has tons of power, mows super nice, climbs and holds hills like a billy goat, and in the hands of a skilled machine operator, is a very serious piece of equipment. It has virtually no wheel spin compared to most of the other machines available! The SCAG definetly deserves a serious demo from those of you in this business for the long haul with enough property to justify the cost!

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