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Toro Z325 Bagger Fix

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mako, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. Mako

    Mako LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I purchased a 1999 Toro Z325 from a local dealer. He owned it since new and had sent it out as a demonstrator. It kept coming back with no buyers. It had 150hrs. The dealer was not a hard sell and indicated that it was not easy to control and clogged quite often. I was set on an internal bagger and bought it. I replaced the control lever dampers with a retrofit kit. It controls very well now. The engine, Kohler 25hp, got a head bolt retrofit to prevent head gasket problems. I used it all summer and it did clog under many different conditions. The mower was always caked with wet grass and in some stage of being clogged. I was about to get rid of the machine. In the sequence of trying things, I noticed that the idler wheel spring on the blower was quite weak and the belt did not have much tension. To make sure the belt was not slipping, I sprayed it with belt dressing. The machine has never clogged since then. The mower never has any grass stuck under it. I am now through the leaf season and this thing picks up everything at any speed. Leaves are even pulled in from the sides of the mower. IT now works better than I hoped for. The belt never made any noise, and I don't know how you would know it was slipping, but it is the key to this unit's operation.
  2. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    Hey Mako,

    I have a Z355, the next model up from the one you have I think, I know there was issues apparently with the z325's, but don't know what....

    Though I use mine for mulching 90% of the time, the bagger is great, and as I own a 48" ghs walker as well, the walker is certainly not noticably better when catching.

    People keep saying the walker's are the best baggers out there, they just aren't in the league as true commercial machines and their cut and bagging quality is not in my opinion as good as the toro.

    These machines, z325, z355 are great, just keep an eye on the drive shaft, a batch of bent ones went out and they are costly, you will know if it is bent, the deck will vibrate, then chew out your deck gearbox...be sure to check.

    The blower belt, I found I need to always prep it with belt gripper.

    If you keep that blowerr spinning in top speed it will suck anything, bog it down and it clogs like a walker, as you know by now the chute etc is easy to clean, but grass etc above the blower can be blown out due to the massive air blow.

    I found the main place it will block is if I cut in high thick grass too fast, it blocks up under the deck where the chute attaches, blocking up in the chute and blower chutes hasn't been a problem.

    I found using low sail blades best overall, the standards are great for mulching and catching, but their dedicating mulching blades are best, makes shore the air to clippings ratio is best.

    Enjoy your new toro, they are bulletproof, excellent on hills, very stable, also a 100 litre spray tank, from protecta, fits perfectly, and make a boom up that just clips onto the rear bumper and wire it up with switch on the dash, these things can save you soo much time, a real utility vehicle, very versatile!

  3. Mako

    Mako LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    Thanks Tony
    Its' nice to hear someone else who thinks this was not a bad purchase. I think this mower is fairly complicated and needs to be understood to get the most out of it. How is it as a mulching mower? My deck and gear box are a newer model than the power unit. I talked to Toro and the mulching baffles they sent me do not have mounting holes for them. I can mount them with no problem. The ones they sent me have trangular kickers similiar to those which I see in other mower advertisements. I spent so much time this summer getting the bagger working that I never got to the mulcher. I have the high lift blades. Thanks for your thoughts!
  4. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    How is it as a mulching mower? My deck and gear box are a newer model than the power unit. I talked to Toro and the mulching baffles they sent me do not have mounting holes for them. I can mount them with no problem. The ones they sent me have trangular kickers similiar to those which I see in other mower advertisements.

    Hi MAKO,

    Now I'm thinking your model is a lot different to the Z355 of mine in more ways I never imagined....

    My deck has a web baffle along the inside front edge like a M shape kinda, this is permanent, as a combo deck to catch I bolt in 4 metal directional baffles to guide the clippings into the rear centre of the deck where the chute attaches, and the blower sucks them into the bagger, 9 busshels, to mulch I remove these baffles and install a shaped blocking plate over the discharge section of the deck, the underside of the deck is basically now open, no obstructions, and no clippings can get out and the clippings get processed between the 2 blades and become mulch, very simple basic system, very effective.

    The other toro way was to install triangular baffles, to my knowledge this way has been improved or changed, the mid mount toro's with sfs decks had the baffles you described.

    Toro has a long history of quality machines, like all companies with good comes not so good, your machine would of had to pass their tests when it was engineered before development globally so it should work to the standards that were in at the time of manufacture, so with the system it was designed to have for mulching it should be good same for bagging.

    There are a lot of your model and mine out there, on this forum guys prefer midmounts I guess as they side discharge and mulch, and don't want an expensive deck mounted gearbox powered by an expensive drive line running blades, so these aren't meant for rough work, these are finishing mowers only.

    I'm confident you will have a great mulcher there when you have it all set up, pity you didn't get a z355 though, then I could say for sure what you could expect from it, there would be a price difference though I guess.

    Let me know how it works for you.

  5. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 681

    I looked at a Z350 and the dealer told me they are junk ! He said buy a Z100 w a 52" deck and bagging system and I would bw much happier !
  6. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    Would I be right in thinking a Z100 is a mid mount with the sfs deck?

    If so, before we get into which mowers or models are junk, lets realise that the z 355 I own and the earlier model mako owns are outfront decks, not midmounts, they are finishing mowers, the z100 is not, the sfs deck is for fast discharge of clippings, cut minimal times before discharging, now I'm not interested in some crap fight who owns a junk mower, but if you searched around here even many folk who run sfs decks aren't happy with them and cut quality to many is poor.

    Not everyone will agree, but posts made here are the proof from owners, not dealers wanting to clear out certain models....I'm amused at your dealer saying that about a model of a brand he supports, next week these types would be saying to someone that a z100 is junk too.

    Z350's went into producing the now popular and proven z355 in 2001, anything earlier is not what the current model is, but surely the previous model would be a pretty good performer in it's field?

    Wander if you or your dealer have mowed with a z355 before labeling them as junk?

    A midmount mower and these bagger units are not built for the same tasks, one is a finishing mower, one is a ride on for large areas side discharging with the ability to put on an expensive bagger unit which effects the handling.

    With these bagger machines being junk apparently, I know early models improved upon to get to the z355 model, as I don't own a earlier model, like you, I can't say how good they are, but I'm confident mako will be happy with his mower once he gets it all going.

    A bit cruel I think saying to a bloke who has just bought a new machine, probably his first ztr that your dealer says they are junk, I can't remember reading what you said your reasons were for your judgement though....and your dealer must be a goose to trash the products he sells, I bet he didn't say why either?

    Mid mounts are the flavour right now, he is just trying to push this line, and z100's are far from being anything great, I bought the z355 over one!

    If you wanted to name a rig better I would of said the new 580 series, new deck design etc, not a little z100...:)

    Before jumping in trashing other people's gear, please back up your statements, and compare apples for apples, we can appreciate facts and learn that way, please.

    My z355 does what it was built to do greatly, mako's model I'm sure will be good, just hope he bought a good one, ex demo's can be knocked around...

  7. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    Good morning
    What size clutch are they running on the toro mowers you guys are talking about? Did you ever consider the meg-mo blades, they have worked well for me in the wet leaves on my lazer z with the ultravac.
  8. Mako

    Mako LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I contacted meg-mo and they said they were going to look into their blades for this mower. I think there is a problem. The blades run in opposite directions and overlap. They are timed by the gear box not to hit each other. There would not be much space for 4 blades to pass each other. My last mower was a Wheelhorse lawn tractor with a tow behind vacuum system. It worked great but no compairison to the Z325. Leaves had a long way to go from the far side of the deck to the discharge. It left stuff behind and clogged. The Z325 becomes a bagger by just flipping a lever and it leaves nothing behind. Each blade sends the grass and leaves directly into the chute. I looked at the midmounts with baggers but didn't want something I would have to take on and off. Didn't want small capacity or bags to dump. Also this summer was very wet and I see people complaining about the front weights making the front wheels rut. This unit has almost no weight on the front wheels and does not smash the grass down before it cuts it. Our lawn is clear of leaves and grass clippings each time we mow and we get a lot of mulch. It appears to be built of best components. It does everything I was looking for in a mower and then some.
  9. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    Hi Guys

    My 2cents from upstate NY. My first NEW mower was a Z325, I had read, researched, talked to my dealer and other LCO's in the area about the 325 (with factory upgraded gear box) and decided that this was what I was looking for. Used the machine for two months and was totally frustrated, it was SLOW, plugged up easily and just plain did not fit into my idea of productivity. So I took a beating and traded it in for a Z100 and was immediately 'much happier'. That is not to say the 325 was junk it just plain did not fit into MY business and my dealer sold the machine to a homeowner who is ecstatic with its quality of cut. I stayed with the Z100 for four years and have just recently traded for an Exmark Z HP. Midmount compact machines fit into 'my niche' (mostly well landscaped doctor's & lawyer's homes).
    Happy Cutting.
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    Thank you

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