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my scag turf tiger choice

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by G-father, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. G-father

    G-father LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    First off I want to thank everyone on this site for all the useful information I have learned. I’m an information freak that likes to know everything about everything and this is a great site for doing that.

    Recently I purchased a Turf Tiger with a liquid cooled Kawasaki (27hp) and a 61 in deck and I wanted to give my initial review (~40 hours) about the machine for people looking to make a purchase before years end (for tax reasons or good prices?).

    When I was looking I was in a bit of a hurry because I wanted to use it to help with leaves in the fall. For that reason I only really concentrated on Exmark and Scag mowers that both had dealers in town. I have had very good luck with my Scag walkbehind which was bought in the early 90’s. It probably has over 1700 hours on it and it is still running strong, well the motor is getting weak. During this time I have run the piss out of it and only grease the fittings every 15-30 hours. The parts on it still run like new. I have also hit some very hard objects with my blades stopping the mower in a fraction of a second and bending the ?5/8 in? bolt that runs through the spindle. After replacing the bolt ~$3 the spindle still worked like new. Needless to say I have been very happy with Scag. At the same time I do not like the Scag dealer we have in town and I always shop at the exmark dealer for all my parts- blower, trimmer, belts, blades, etc. so I was torn between the two companies when deciding on a new mower.

    First off I do not use my mowers nearly as much as most of you do. This is my part time job and I will probably only put around 3-400 hours on the TT a year. This means I will probably be using this mower for the next 10 years so I wanted to make the right decision. I used both machines and found the cut quality and ride to be about the same on both machines. I believe that all new mowers from the large companies are about the same now as far as cut quality and ride. These people that drive past someone cutting with a certain brand and they write it off when they see the results are crazy in my opinion. They could have been using bad technique or had blades that are 100 hours old that have never been sharpened.

    Because I believe that the cut quality is similar I started looking at the individual parts that make up the mower. I tried mulching the leaves this year so I wanted to make sure the deck could have a good mulching kit put on. I like the baffles made by scag better because they have diamond shaped devices that actually push the cut grass back down to the blades to be mulched again. This is a much better system then exmark in my opinion because with the exmark the clippings tend to build up in the top of the deck and then come down in clumps.

    I was dead set on buying a motor with a liquid cooled Kawasaki engine. It runs smoother and quieter and will probably last longer as well. For that reason I was comparing the LC exmark vs the LC turf tiger. They actually both weigh about the same with the scag being slightly heaver. These are the things I found:

    The scag has 16cc motors the exmark had 10cc.

    The scag has one large gas tank the exmark has two smaller ones. This means only one to fill and I never have to worry about switching gas tanks while I’m mowing.

    The center of gravity is lower on the scag which makes it better on the hills.

    The engine is out in the open on the scag which makes maintenance a lot faster as less frustrating for me.

    I like my parts to remain cool so I really like the hydro cooler on the turf tiger. Exmark gets away without one because they use synthetic oil. I’m going to switch over to the synthetic when I change the hydro oil which will give me a bullet proof drive system.

    This statement is going to strike some cords but I REALLY do like that the turf tiger has a lot of grease fittings. Think to yourself how far trucks have come in past 20 years. They are trying to make trucks as maintenance free as possible. However they still have a lot of grease zerts on the drive system. Cars can get away without them for quite a while but I want a mower that will last like a ford 250 not a Chevy Caviler.

    The only problem I had with my mower was a defective spring on the drive system. It looked different than all the other springs so I’m sure the wrong/defective part was put on at the factory. I had a new spring from my dealer that same day, the spring looked completely different. I have had no other problems whatsoever. Time will tell but I do not foresee any other problems for a long, long time.

    Everyone used to complain that the scag was priced much higher than the exmark, and with the heavy duty parts it has on it I think it should. However this is not the case. I found the scag was $600 dollars cheaper than the LC exmark with the 60 inch deck.

    I hope this review has not been too long and has helped a few people that are having the same problem deciding as I did a couple months ago.
  2. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    Great review, you have sold me on a scag!
  3. Aproct

    Aproct LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    Get ready for the flak! As for your review, it was great food for thought. I am also looking to purchase a SCAG Turf Tiger in the spring and have been debating between the two. I was leaning more to the scag only because I have a 48" W/B belt that is a work horse and does a great job, even though it has a bunch of hours on it.

    SCAG here I come!!!!:cool2:
  4. C & S

    C & S LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    My only question is why the Turf Tiger? I have a Cub with a 61" deck and a 25 horse Kawi and I LOVE it. Just wondering what your getting extra, besides bigger hydro motors.
  5. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    I wouldn't purchase another Skag if they were on sale for a buck! I was one of the unlucky few who purchased a Skag Turf Runner and it almost sank the company back then. The first machine out of 28 weeks of ownership the dealer had it for 22 weeks. The replacement machine faired better out of 60 weeks of running it it actually ran for about 44. After that when it broke I put it out back where it has been until this summer.

    They should not have sold it as a lawn mower..boat anchor would have been better.

    As for the dealer, They should have refunded the cost of the mower and said sorry. Instead, they did the warranty work and billed the manufacturer, happy to be making the repair money.

    Look toward Hustler, Bobcat, or Exmark for a mower. Good dealers, better products.

    The entire episode is disappointing. I have always believed that when I became successful I would be able to get a Skag. I always looked at them as being the best...boy was I wrong!
  6. O P M

    O P M LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    I LOVE my Scag Tiger Cub w/52" deck.

    It runs good with the 24 hp. Honda motor. I was hesitant about the Honda but love my honda car and SUV so..... try a mower too!

    I was surprised to hear of the drive spring, I had the same thing happen to me at 17 hours. I went to my Scag dealer and he took one off a machine on the floor to get me going again (which was nice since the machine was at the bottom of a hill with no working drive).

    I did not want the big Tiger because this is for my personal lawn so I have the small 10 cc drive motors. This was a concern, but I like the rest of the machine and hope Scag's quality holds true for the motors also.

    My son has the Cub with the 61" deck and 25 hp Kaw. Even though the mowers are very similar, it FEELS totally different. Both feel great in their own way.

    Now the thing I hate about winter is I cannot mow my lawn...... so I use it to get the mail!

    I'm a Scag Lover!
  7. Oliver1850

    Oliver1850 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Finally, an honest, wholesome open minded review. Thanks G-Father for taking the time to share. I personally get so tired of these "in your face" postings.

    I too love my Scag Tiger Cub and will be purchasing the Scag Wildcat this Spring. I wish I could get the Liquid cooled engine though, it is much quieter.

    G-Father, I am sorry to hear that your dealer has not been so great. I see you are from Michigan and am wondering where? I use Atherton Road Sales (JW) in Davison and have used All Seasons (Jeff Nichols) in Eastpointe. Both have been a pleasure to work with. As far as timing of parts other than maintenance, I don't know, I've never broken anything. Both assure 24hr shipping though.

    OPM - Thanks for the idea to use my mower to get the mail. I get bored in the barn sitting on my mower during the winter anticipating Spring.
  8. I had a tiger cub it was excellent mower and the bagger was good for getting leaves up.thing is built like a tank .it didnt stripe as well as the lazer's but we put a roller and played with the deck pitch and it did pretty good after that.

    We had a one of those infamous 1999 full sized tigers that had all the problems .I think the problems of 98 99 2000 models have been adressed with the newer turf tiger .

    it should last you a good 10 years

    Yeah sodking we had a turf runner in 1997 that was sorriest mower lol.

    They had a comtrcption on the side of the frame you pulled a lever and the side discharge came out the frame just under the hopper .
    Thaat thing would plug in the least little dew much less after rain.

    sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry was that turfrunner.
  9. rob1325

    rob1325 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 685

    SCAGS are great machines.

    G-father it is true what you say about working on LC exmarks. When I demo one I was looking on how accessable the motor was on the exmark and I had same thoughts as you. Also you said "They actually both weigh about the same with the scag being slightly heaver", they do but Scag is built into machine were exmark adds steal plates to front (to keep machine from hopping up), which was another thing I didn't like about exmark LC's. I also love LC's, I will be buying another next year with 29 DFI Kawi.
  10. G-father

    G-father LawnSite Member
    Posts: 174

    Hey guys thanks for the responses.

    C&S - Why the TT? That's a good question. To be honest I liked the seat better on the TT. Also because I will be mulching sometimes I wanted the extra hp. I also really wanted the LC engine, I just love the engine.

    OMP - "I went to my Scag dealer and he took one off a machine on the floor to get me going again (which was nice since the machine was at the bottom of a hill with no working drive)." I would hang on to that dealer, sounds like he cares about his customers.

    Oliver1850 - "G-Father, I am sorry to hear that your dealer has not been so great." Maybe I should have continued my story. I did not buy my Scag from the dealer in my area. I drove about an hour and change to another dealer (a very good dealer). He gave me a much better deal and took the time to explain the machine to me. I'm guessing most of you would not pick a dealer that far away but for me only using the machine part time I can make the drive when I need too.

    oodin00 - I agree it sounds like they had some serious problems back in the late 90's with their ztr's. If I had those kinds of problems I would have a hard time continueing with a brand as well. However, I have always found when a good company has a bad run like that, they will overbuild the crap out of their current products so it does not happen again.

    rob1325 - I really wanted the 29 DFI, but because I only use the mower part time I could not justify the extra expense. That will be one sweet mower for you.:D :D

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