Review Ferris IS 5100Z

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by UMP, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. UMP

    UMP LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 36

    I would like to review the Ferris IS 5100Z with 72" ICD deck. First off, I want to thank this board for all their useful information. I lurked on here for months before I made a decision and I think it's only fair I give something back in return. This is for my own 24 acre property in which I mow 8 to 10 acres of actual grass, religiously. I am replacing an Exmark Lazer Z with 60" deck that I have owned for 5 years. I am 50 years old and simply can't handle the bouncing, pounding and noise like I used to. If you're 20 or 30 something, single with more than one girlfriend, you might want to stop reading now, just buy a big block Scag with no suspension seat and tear it to pieces :)

    I would like to cover these specific areas that were of importance to me and perhaps to you.

    1. Price vs. what you get
    2. Weight, bulkiness
    3. Height, width
    4. Cut quality
    5. Ride, noise and speed and build quality
    6. Overall impression

    At first I have to admit I was a bit shocked at the price tag. Klei mower in Cincinnati did reduce the price somewhat, at least as much or more than anyone else was willing to, but still, $16,500.00 for a mower?!!? However, I think this might fall into the category of "you get what you pay for." The ride is simply amazing, the parts are beefy and well put together. The Caterpillar diesel motor's reputation precedes its own self. It is fairly quiet and smooth once you throttle up. Longevity also has to be figured into this price and I have the feeling that I will pass-on before this mower does. Diesel fuel is also a positive for me, not only will this consume half the amount of fuel per hour compared to a big block, but because I live on a farm, I can get diesel fuel delivered for less than I pay for gasoline. No more hauling five gallon jugs to the gas station. So as far as price goes, it's a hard pill to swallow, but if you can get it down, in the long run I think it will be worth it.

    Weight and bulkiness is an issue. After all, this thing weighs as much as a small car. I am afraid that it will get stuck in some wet areas in the spring, so I'll have to follow up on this point. Overall, if you change the path of your mowing, in normal conditions I think ruts should not be a problem. One thing that makes changing mowing paths more possible in the 5100Z is the mowers suspension. On my Exmark lazer Z with Michigan seat I tried to make x paths, but previous rutting, albeit slight from the exmark, made the ride almost unbearable, therefore, I simply kept going over the same paths over and over and over again, good for the ride but not best for appearance or the yard itself. With the 5100z you can ride anywhere, it makes no difference because of the suspension, just go where you want to go. In other words, instead of the mower dictating how and where I mow, I now dictate to the mower what I want. Big difference! You must be careful when maneuvering this thing. It is so monstrous that it will literally mow anything and run over anything without any feedback. This is the closest thing I'll get to driving a military tank. Don't fall asleep at the wheel.

    Regarding height and width, I am pleasantly surprised. I was really apprehensive about the size of this thing. Don't get me wrong, this thing is huge and takes some getting used to, however, after a few hours it really gets easy. It's nimble and trimming on the left side is quite easy. I would have to say that in time, this thing is as nimble, if not more so than my Lazer Z. The controls are a bit stiff, but it ends up being more smooth. One other thing that really surprised me was the lack of turf damage. I was sure that I would be ripping up everything. NOT SO. Even going downhill sideways while turning, nothing but grass! I guess it's so big, wide and heavy that it will stick no matter how cockeyed you get it. Still, going downhill while turning and not ripping up the turf was a surprise to me!

    Cut quality is excellent. Compared to the old deck, this new ICD deck is MUCH improved. It's a night and day difference. Compared to my exmark, the cut is the same if not better. However, I'm not so sure I like these marbain steel blades. I've had the misfortune of hitting the driveway and some rocks (it's taken some time getting used to the 72" deck) and ended up bending and chipping a blade. In my opinion it's next to impossible to bend back one of these marbain blades and the large chips produced from the rocks made it hard to sharpen out. To make matters worse, having to pay $75.00 for a set of replacement blades just plain sucks. I guess I'll just have to be more careful.

    The ride and speed is excellent. After about 10 hours on the Ferris I switched back to the Exmark and WOW, was I shocked. It's one of those times when you say to yourself, "how did I ride this Exmark for this long". The ride is night and day. Don't get me wrong, when you run over a rut, you will feel it, but the jolt is not in the same league. It's like going from a go-kart to an automobile, they both have four wheels and a steering wheel but that's it. I'll pick the automobile every time. I was a bit disappointed in the build quality. Some of the bolts were not tight and my hood lock pin was seriously damaged because some factory bozo forced the hood down without releasing the pin. The welds look OK, but all the splattering was disappointing. The battery tie down strap was missing and some of the fluids were not fully topped off. My dealer said to bring it back and he will make it all good. If you ever buy one of these things, given the 3 cylinder diesels propensity to shake at idle, I would periodically check all the bolts for tightness.

    Overall, this thing is really over the top. Logically, it's too much money and I could cut just as well with a big block Scag or Exmark costing MUCH less. However, I'll pick the 5100z every time. Mowing is now a pleasure not a chore, the headphone tunes don't have to be as loud and I don't get headaches or stomach upset mowing after dinner. I can mow faster because it's more comfortable and I can get diesel fuel delivered to my home once a year to a storage tank. If I add all these things up along with the mowers perceived longevity, in the long run I think I'll come out ahead. In short, the dollar cost of the Ferris 5100Z is $16,500.00, the real value to me...........priceless!! Well, not priceless, but I like it! :waving:
     
  2. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Instead of a 3 cyl (28 hp) diesel, that 5100 has the 4 cyl (35 hp) diesel doesn't it?
     
  3. UMP

    UMP LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 36

    33.5 hp. 3 cyl.
     
  4. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Congrats on the new mower! That is one heck of a machine!
    Stan
     
  5. douglee25

    douglee25 LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 298

    Any pics?

    Doug
     
  6. UMP

    UMP LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 36

    I will try and post them on monday.
     
  7. douglee25

    douglee25 LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Posts: 298

    Thanks!

    Doug
     
  8. Apples

    Apples LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Congrats UMP! Very nice review.I need some pics, we are about to get a foot of snow dumped on us. I better go out and finnish picking.
     
  9. Apples

    Apples LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Hey UMP, I forgot to ask about the deck lift. Do you like it? Is it foot, or hand activated?
     
  10. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,752

    Congratulations on your new mower. I'm guessing it will last you a long, long time. Regarding the diesel engine, if you haven't been running diesel equipment, or, even if you have, for that matter, I would highly recommend buying some Howe's Lubricant diesel additive. You can pick it up at an auto supply or truck stop. I drove a diesel truck for 27 years on my job, and the Howe's totally eliminates problems with moisture in the diesel. If you are going to buy fuel once a year, I'd double-dose it (the below freezing recommended concentration).

    Have fun with the new mower.
     

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