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Mulching 34Z's Exmark or Gravely?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 2k1yzfr1, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. 2k1yzfr1

    2k1yzfr1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    I am purchasing a small Z in the next month and I'm trying to figure out what is the best deal. For my dealers open house they are selling the new Exmark for 4599 and the Gravely for 4099. By the time that I put a 17-19 Kawi on the Gravely and sell the 15 they will be pretty much identical $ wise. I'm wondering which mower will mulch better? Do you think the new hydro set up on the Exmark will be as good as the Gravely?
  2. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    Why would you replace the 15hp kaw. on the Gravely? There isnt a need to replace the 15 on the Gravely since it has plenty of power and is certainly not underpowered. I mulch st.aug and I weigh almost 260lbs and the engine never bogs down even when I hit a patch of tall grass. You will be wasting your money if you switch out engines.

    I know nothing about the exmark, I am sure that it will be a solid machine, but I have had zero problems with the Gravely and it is a perfect machine for my particular market.
  3. 2k1yzfr1

    2k1yzfr1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    In Mid-April does it bog down on the 100% healthy St Augustine yard that just had quick release fertilizer put on it April 1st after followed by 2 inches of ran the week after your fertilized? How well does the 15 do then? I'm sure on 80% of the yards the 15 is more than enough. It's the other 20% that I am would be thinking how an extra 4 hp right now would be nice.
  4. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    I've never used a 34Z, but I do have a 36" Gravely hydro walk-behind and there are many times when I wish I had more than 15 HP, and I'm only side discharging. The 34Z is going to be heavier which would put more strain on the engine. I would go with the Exmark which already has the more power instead of messing around trying to swap engines. I don't think you can go wrong with either machine, however this is the first year of the 34" Exmark so there might be some bugs that need to be worked out, that would be my only hesitation from buying the Exmark.
  5. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    Gravely 44z is my mower right now, with the mulching kit and blades, I have NO problem going through 2 weeks of st.augustine growth in the spring after it has been fert. Only thing this mower doesnt like is brush hogging 4' tall grasses. But, it has been a wonderful mower so far.
  6. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    I have the 19HP scag version of the 36" Z. I don't think I would want anything less than 17HP.

    With 19 I can cut at full throttle on anything (except that bahia that doesn't have seed heads) at up to 6 inches being removed. If the grass is wet, then only 4 inches at full speed. On that bahia, it packs the deck like cement if the grass is wet, otherwise a great mower. I discharge not mulch.

    with mulching I would demand 19HP.

    the other thing, switching out engines will end your warranty. Right?
  7. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    All of my accounts have fert and all have irrigation. I talked to a lot of lcos here on lawnsite and dealers around Htown regarding how this mower would work in St.aug and everyone gave positive reviews. I have had zero clumping issues with a mulching set up and no problems with the engine bogging down even at full speed.

    Mowingman is a dealer and will tell you more about this mower and its specifics.
  8. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547


    Ah, the classic comment about the 34z.

    I never had a problem with the mower bogging down, even in summer in st augustine that is fert, watered, and rained on constantly. I would also say that the exmark I am sure will be a great mower, but after hearing about the 26in they came out with I may want to wait a year on that one. I also made the mistake of buying a first year great dane, a big mistake.

    If you want I guess you could go with a bigger engine, but I think it would be overkill, and I always like to have more than less power. Just do yourself a favor, and take into consideration the opinions of those who not only have seen a picture of the mower we are talking about, but also own one.
  9. 2k1yzfr1

    2k1yzfr1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    I just don't see how a 15hp on a ZTR mulching at "full speed" as ya'll quote doesn't bog. I have a 15 kohler on a 36 Exmark belt drive walk behind in 4th gear (probably 3-4 mph) on alot of my yards is begging for 2nd gear. My main Z is a 52 Toro with a 27 kohler which is WAY overkill and it won't drop 100 RPM's in thick spring growth. I am just am worried about being the guinea pig on the new phazer where the gravely 34 has been around a couple seasons.
  10. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,646

    I don't have to have used a 34Z to offer my opinion that 15 HP isn't enough for mulching...thanks...

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