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Strange comparison...ZTRs...opinions please

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by andygold, May 20, 2005.

  1. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    With very limited funds, I'm looking at two totally different machines at the same price point. I'm looking for opinions....

    Both machines are priced at $2500.00. They are a JD F620 frontmount 20hp, 54" deck, single rear wheel, with 500 hours(unknown what model year) (30 day guarantee), and a new Gravely/Ariens, MZ1540ZT/Mini-Zoom 1540 (Gravely/Ariens are identical machines, other than paint colors).

    The JD is a full commercial unit with the flip-up deck (seeing it tomorrow, don't know if its a fab deck or the newer 7-iron...don't know which is better), has a much bigger engine and cut, more deck overhang(deck is mounted off-center to the left), shaft drive to the deck, commercial blade speed, and I'm hoping will last me forever on my 3/4 acre lawn (totally level, lots of trees, curved flower beds, multiple wood decks, fences, deep evergreens with grass below, not needles). Machine has been sitting at dealership for about a year. I'm unsure if the JD is actually a "real" ZTR, with that huge wheel hanging off the back. Also unsure if when trying to make zero turns if the back end will swing out and strike stuff like fences, etc... or if it will actually turn within it's own circle.

    The Gravely/Ariens (G/A) is brand new residential machine with full factory warranty. Probably goes a mile per hour slower, has a smaller mid-mount deck(don't think that the 54" on the JD will have any clearance issues though), almost no deck overhang, slower blade speed, and probably won't last as long(although, I do not truly know if the JD might have been abused. JD unit is at a non-JD dealership. The Original-selling JD dealer is familiar with this particular machine, and says it was traded in to other dealer because previous owner wanted to go with diesel machines which JD did not sell at the time). I'm assuming that the much shorter G/A will be much more maneuverable, and possibly quicker timewise than the JD because of it's smaller size.

    I kind of like the JD for it's commercial robustness and bigger hp/size, but am weighing it against probably much, much higher JD prices for parts and accessories, with little to no warranty (although dealership is a huge, reputable, farming type dealer...Gehl, Kubota, Cub and others). I like the G/A basically because it would be new and I'd actually know that nobody abused it, along with the multi-year warranty. JD dealer where I'd service it is reputable too(although I've heard a few complaints on their pricing of service and parts). They are a few miles from my house, while the G/A dealer is about 60 miles away in a neighboring state. I have ample, heated indoor storage for either machine. Don't have truck capable of towing trailering either though.

  2. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    I would go for the JD if it looks good. Don't be worried about the length. I have a front mount Grasshopper and have NEVER hit anything with the back. See if you can demo both on your property and then make your decision.
  3. djscott

    djscott LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    I'd go with the JD. dont worry about hitting things with the rear tire. I dont know of two many ztr owners that actually turn on a dime anyway, Even though the machines will. Unless your extremly carfull you'll tear the grass when you spin around in the same track. Your place sounds alot like mine, you'll like the front mount deck when it comes to those pine's. I just bought a new dixie chopper silver eagle and love it, but there are those times I wish I had frt mount ( under fences and pine trees). just my opinion, but I'd go with a jd over a gravely anyday.
  4. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Thanks for the replies!!!!

    Next question....I've never driven a front-mount. With a mid-mount the machine will pivot pretty much near the middle of the deck(near your feet). With the front-mount, I'm thinking that the pivot point would still be near your feet. How does that pivot point effect the cutting ability when trying to spin a circle around a tree (with no low branches, where you could get the shorter machine's deck right up to the bark)? I'm assuming that you would get a pretty big uncut ring of grass around the tree, with the deck sitting way out front away from the pivot point. Am I correct?
  5. Lumberjack

    Lumberjack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I just picked up a Gravely@home machine and love it.

    The distance to the dealer isnt that big a factor to me, I just dont go there that often to worry over 30 minutes extra driving time.
  6. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Well, I think it's a moot point. I checked out the JD this morning. It was not exactly as represented. It had 800 hours not 500 (I know, not much difference to a commercial machine). The fiberglass cowling that the seat sits on top of which also covers the engine was cracked most everywhere, and pieces of metal had been pop riveted underneath to strenghthen up all the cracks. Dealer says the glass was made too thin, "a known problem". Single rear wheel which did not appear to be over-inflated was rubbing against the fork (at the top) that holds it. Belts were severely cracked/hard, although they said they'd replace them. When the cowl was lifted up, they could not close it without totally removing the hold-open arm from the machine. Machine definitely looks like it's been sitting outside (through our snowy winters) for the last year...deck was missing lots of paint on top, with lots of rust. Grease was everywhere, squirting out about a 1/2 inch from every joint/fitting/zerk/pivot (don't know if that's good or bad). Deck was a stamped 54", but did not mention "7-iron" anywhere. There was what looked like a removable cover along the front edge, underneath the deck, at the front baffle...this was severely rusted along it's entire length, and very thin from rust along it's edges. Even at a lowly $2500.00 I don't feel confident in purchasing this machine.

    I then looked at the Arien units; The MZ1540ZT(Mini-Zoom), Zoom 1540, and Zoom 1740. They seemed better built than the Resi Toros and Cubs. None of those 3 machine though had any deck overhang to speak of...maybe an inch at best. I don't see how I can trim up close to stuff without running the rear wheels inside my curved flower beds and/or scrape fences. Even though I figured I'd have to string trim at the fence posts, with these I'd have to use the trimmer along the whole length of the fences, and along the perimeter of the beds. They didn't have a 44" deck model to look at (to check for overhang), and either way it would be above my price ceiling.

    Don't know what to look at next. Don't want a Cub ZTR42 (lack of perceived quality), but if it's got some deck overhang, it might be more usable.
  7. Advance The Man

    Advance The Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    andygold, when are you going to buy something?? You've been looking forever! What is mowing your yard now? :p :p :p
  8. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    A part time lawn guy who is getting married in 2 weeks and is quitting his business.

    I've got it narrowed down to a Ariens/Gravely homeowner machines. I've gotten slightly better pricing on Ariens ( both dealers are equidistant from my home...no clue as to their quality though) Now I"m deciding between a leftover Ariens 1640 with a B&S Intec engine, or a new 1540 or 1740 with Kohler Courage engines. The 16hp and 17hp models have a blade speed of 18,000 fpm, while the 15hp has a speed of 16,200 fpm. The leftover 1640 also has the older style handle bars instead of the newer flip-over style. Wierd thing is the 1640 weighs 20 lbs. less than the 1540...wonder if that's in the engine, the different handle bars, or maybe some other change.

    The prices are;
    1540- $2600 (EZT tranny)
    1640 - $2700 (IZT tranny)
    1740 - $2900 (IZT tranny)
  9. Advance The Man

    Advance The Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    Wish I coulda quit work when I got married!

    All things are equal as far as the three your looking at are the same brand. Gotta go with the most hp of the 17/40. It's only $200 more than the 16hp. Now buy it and post a pix! :cool2:

  10. dpullen4

    dpullen4 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 68


    I bought the Ariens 1740 almost 3 weeks ago and I love it. Be sure to get the mulch kit put on it($89 + installation).

    The bump to the 1740 adds many features like the halogen lamps, hour meter, striping kit, and if you want to add accessories later on, the 1740 is made for more of them. The 40" deck has just enough over hang on the left side that it eliminates a lot of trimming.

    Did you really get quoted $2900 for the 1740? Retail is $3499 and I paid $3199 for mine. I got mine with the yard card for no interest/no payments for 6 months and then 1.9% thereafter.

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