NLZ or scag or hustler on hills?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jjurich, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. jjurich

    jjurich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Have a 96 kubota 24hp diesel 72" fz2400 out front mower now mowing 2.5 acres residential which is all one big hill. Several steep hills around large retaining walls. Current rig mows the hills nicely, but can only get up the hills in L that's how steep they are. The quality of cut isn't ideal and mower needs a clutch. Also starting to rattle me to death and ride comfort and mow time aren't ideal (1.-1.5 hours side to side, 1.5-2 hrs up and down hills).

    Looking to replace ztr and get better cut (why I'm moving to the 60"), smoother ride, faster mow time. Have quotes for the following:

    new exmark NLZ- $106K for 29/60
    new 08 scag TT- $11k for 29/61 (not sure if this has vel deck or not)
    new hustler super z - $10k 31/60

    I've read from this site the new NLZ is lower to the ground, wider stance, better center of gravity for hills, so should be more like the scag holding the hills. I like the hustler rear discharge as there are a dozen or so areas where clippings have to be managed. The scag shaft drive is awesome as are it's build. Just a casual look I saw the hydro pump filters are like 3x the size of the hustlers. I couldn't find them yet on the NLZ. I think the scag is fuel injection, so should sip less gas then the others, but the liq. cool is obviously overkill for my simple needs. It seems people tend to think cut is better on the NLZ. The new seat on the NLZ feels nice, and w/ the Michigan, would likely be even better. How's the scag seat? I have a ton of moles (free grub control and aeration right?).

    I'm kind of leaning towards the scag or NLZ from an over all build quality from just kicking tires at the store. I demo the NLZ tomorrow. Then the scag next week.

    What points am I missing or should consider making this purchase? My dealers are all pretty good in this area. The exmark say they have 5 year war now, though the hustler guy swore his warranty was the best???

    I'm buying commercial so that this thing won't be in the shop and I can be camping w/ the fam instead of mowing. Never had the kubota in once in 8 years till now. Just routine maint.

    Am a bit concerned w/ ztr on my property. I tried one a few years back and had a terrible time w/ it tearing the lawn on the turns on the hill. Think the speed I could mow at was too intoxicating...

    Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

    Regards,

    JJ
     
  2. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    What part of the country are you in? Do you cut Northern, Southern, stiff, limp, grass? Do you often cut overgrown or wet grass or are your conditions considered normal?
     
  3. jjurich

    jjurich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Iowa, northern grass. Cut height is 4" and I probably mow at 6-8" as I get behind waiting for grass to dry and chasing kids around. Cut wet grass more then I care to since my property is at the bottom of this long hill and the whole sub-division empties down to my property. Lots of clover in my lawn, mix of crab grass and nice grass. That's part of the cut issue I have w/ the bota is that if the grass is even a little wet it sticks under the deck and then it clumps like a SOB and I have to double cut. I hate cleaning that huge deck and double cutting!

    Guess I'm also wondering about a mulching blade kit and if it is something to consider in my env or if I'll regret it. I'll do some searches on that next...

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  4. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    The Exmark will probably cut smoother at the 4" height due to the high lift deck but the Scag will handle taller wetter stuff with out clumping. If you want a smooth cut I wouldn't even consider a rear discharge deck, they are good for keeping school kids safe from a rock but they are not known for the great cut. I don't think Hustler makes a deck I would recommend for cutting at 4" (maybe 2.75" or 3"). All 3 should be decent on hills. You should really demo the Lazer and the Tiger, there is no substitute for a good demo. The Lazer should cut well at 4" unless it's really thick, then the Scag "may" do better. It is hard to say since you threw in the 4" cutting height.
     
  5. jjurich

    jjurich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    I cut high as the clippings tended to blend in better and it seems to leave me with a greener lawn then the neighbors when the summer heat rolls around. I'm not real liberal w/ the fertilizer since that just means more mowing. Oh, I now remember why I'm so high as well... I could never get the 72" deck to cut straight when it was lower. One side was always lower.

    I will have the scag next week. Hope rain holds off!

    Thanks.

    JJ
     
  6. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Make sure to do a demo if possible.
     
  7. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    Sounds like the deck was not set up correct.
     
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    Also, have you considered a 4wd riding tractor? It will make like easy on hills.
     
  9. jjurich

    jjurich LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Agree about the deck not being right. I've considered the 4whd tractor option, but didn't think would mow as fast or nice as a ztr. Plus, a replacement kubota like I have is $22k. Dealer has a 2000 F3060 4whd for 10k with 1000 hours, but it has a heated cab, which I could care less about. It's my fall back though if the ztr won't hold the hills.

    I'd like to spend ~10k or so max. What tractors were you thinking and what's the ball park price? Can always demo one to verify my concerns.

    Thanks,

    JJ
     
  10. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    A customer I have for other stuff besides mowing owns a Kubota 4wd tractor. He has a steep hill in the front and it cuts great and goes right up or down the hill. It's a hill my Tiger Cub would not make going down. The deck is only a 52in deck though. You can also get a front mount deck 4wd mower as well. Not sure on pricing.
     

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