Questions on deck size and cutting time for a ZTR

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by hayword, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. hayword

    hayword LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I have ~2.5 acres to mow. A few trees, but mostly flat and open. I currently have an old 20hp 46in MTD lawn tractor, and on a good day I can get it all cut in ~3hrs (not counting weed-eating, etc). I would like to get that time down to ~1.5 hours. I've been reading the forums and looking at local dealers and believe a ZTR mower would be my best bet for cutting down on time. I've read all the wonderful things about Hustler MFTs, and having seen one in person I can believe it.

    The problem I'm concerned with is that I really can't afford to go bigger than the 42" in a Hustler (~$4,000). For about the same money, I could get a 48" JD, a 44" Snapper, or 44-50" Gravely. I know, from both seeing them and reading here, that the quality is not quite as good as the Hustler, but they appear adequate for what I need, and I think with care I could get 10 years of use out of any of them. My biggest concern is cutting the time it takes to mow for $4k-ish.

    So right now I guess my main question is boiling down to will the 42" MFT be able to get my cutting time down to 1.5-2 hrs, or should I take a little hit in build quality to get a larger deck? I know in reality there is no way to answer that without trying it (haven't asked if I could try it at home, but the dealer is around 40 minutes away, so I doubt it), but if anyone has any experience cutting a similar size/type yard with a 42" vs something a bit bigger I love to hear about it.
     
  2. Ruben Rocha

    Ruben Rocha LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 577

  3. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

    You are in the 7mph-8mph price range. I would say with any of these machines you mentioned should put you around a hour and fifteen minutes?? I think I do my yard in about 30minuts and its just shy of a acre.
     
  4. hayword

    hayword LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the link, Ruben. That's very interesting. It would appear that speed is a bigger differentiator than deck size. Using the 80% efficiency equation, I calculate it would take 1.5 hours to cut 2 acres with a 42" deck at 4mph, and 1.2 hours to cut 2 acres at 5mph. For a 48" deck the times are 1.3 and 1.0 respectively. So a difference in 1 mph average speed can make up for 6" of cutting deck. In other words, 42" at 5mph ~ 48" at 4 mph. The times of 1.0 and 1.2 at 5 mph are practically the same for my money.

    It appears then that it comes down to which will give me a faster average speed without beating the stuffing out of me (and I have a lot of stuffing! lol). Between the JD Z425 (from a local JD dealer) and the MFT 1742, the JD has larger tires (22x9.5-10 vs 18x9.5-8) and is heavier (645 vs 572 lbs). It also has a higher top speed (8.5 vs 7 mph) but I think that is a moot point. I doubt I could stand to mow faster than 6 mph on either for any length of time on my yard.

    So any words of wisdom on comfort vs speed vs tire size in general? Or better yet, specifically between these 2? I have test driven the JD, and it wasn't bad. I drove it on the edge of a field beside the dealer, so it was pretty bumpy, but still didn't seem to knock me around too badly for the few minutes I was on it. I didn't get a chance to try the MFT. I may do that next week.

    The JD is tempting due to closeness of dealer and price. The MFT has great quality but the dealer is further away (though really not out of the way) and I'm a little concerned about comfort. I'm 5'11" and 240lbs if that helps for anyone to give comparison, or have a good laugh :)

    EDIT - Capemay, is 7-8 mph reasonable for either of these? Just curious if I can count on being able to run them flat out.
     
  5. kwagner

    kwagner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    I just bought a MFT 42 today after looking at all sorts of different brands and sizes. I went with the hustler due to its heavy duty frame, deck and warranty on those and the rest of the machine. If you are worried about the rough ride they make flex forks for them as well as a flex seat that will eleviate much of the rough ride if not all. If it were me I would start with the upgraded seat first and see if that helps. I am happy with my decision, and my wife actually agreed on the decision. She looked and several of htem with me and could even see the difference in the build of the hustler compared to say a gravely of the same price range. I wouldnt worry about the deck size all that much. You could get a 30" deck on any ZTR and it will mow your area faster than that lawn tractor...you just have to decide which kind of ztr you want in regards to how long you want it to last before you replace it. just my 2 cents. either way...ZTR is definitely the way to go. Once you go ZTR you will never go back.
     
  6. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Posts: 668

    Hay, i will GUARANTEE you that you will be able to halve the cut of your current mower with a ztr. i have a 17/42 MFT and i cut all but about 1/4 ac of my 2ac yard in about an hour. it is flat and i am able to run at top speed most of the time, so it is entirely reasonable that you can cut 2.5ac in about 1.5 hrs.
    BTW, the MFT is head and shoulders above the others. i will say that for your size yard, and mine too, i really think the Fasttrak is a better fit. i bought my MFT when i had a house with .4ac, i will be upgrading to a 54 or 60 in soon..
     
  7. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Posts: 668

    Hay, i will GUARANTEE you that you will be able to halve the cut of your current mower with a ztr. i have a 17/42 MFT and i cut all but about 1/4 ac of my 2ac yard in about an hour. it is flat and i am able to run at top speed most of the time, so it is entirely reasonable that you can cut 2.5ac in about 1.5 hrs.
    BTW, the MFT is head and shoulders above the others. i will say that for your size yard, and mine too, i really think the Fasttrak is a better fit. i bought my MFT when i had a house with .4ac, i will be upgrading to a 54 or 60in soon..
     
  8. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 912

    You dont have to buy a new ZTR. I own a new 07' Exmark Lazer CT 48" and a Used 04' Snapper Pro 52" and out of both mowers i like the snapper pro as much or more then my Exmark and the snapper has over 2000 Hrs on it and i picked it up for $1,700 cash out the door with all the maintenance receipts..And both mowers are rated to do 3.5 to 4.5 acres per hour. If you want to save yourself a little cash look into a used mower just look over it real good and take it for a test run and if it feals like a good machine then buy it or post a message on here asking people what they think about whatever mower your looking at.
     
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,783

    To give you an estimate on time, I cut a 2 acre property Friday with my 40" Toro T2 WB and it took me 2 hours just mowing. I had about 45 minutes extra cutting over the thick areas over the septic drain field which had to be double cut. Double cut or not I wont cut that property again with anything other then something wider than 40" and sitting in a seat with a suspension mower. The problem with this property was that it was originally a cow pasture and was not graded at the time when the house was built so it was really rough. I couldn't go full speed without bouncing out of control.
     
  10. DJL50

    DJL50 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    I have 2.5 acres, I purchased a Toro Z400 estate ZTR. 52" cut, 19 hp Kawasaki. for $5,699. the 48" cut model in 2006 was $4,899. If I flat out hull ass I can do everything in one hour. Mower out , put away and sitting back in my chair.
    The Estate model is a true commercial built mower for the person with a lot of grass to mow but does not make a living with it. This compares to the Exmark CT ztr. The Toro was built better and in my area cost less. (toro also owns Exmark)
     

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