What would you do? 2 part question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Palmer'sLS, May 13, 2007.

  1. Palmer'sLS

    Palmer'sLS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 535

    Ok, I'm kind of in a bind. I bought a Hustler mini-z last year. 19 hp kawasaki, with the 52" non-XR7 deck. I have had nothing but problems with it, mainly the cut. That's not my problem, my problem is that I have decided just to buy a new mower, the mini-z is just not "cutting it" no pun intended. My dealer has been great about the mower breaking constantly, and the poor cut. He has very many of the same mowers that I have out in the field, doing great jobs for their owners. I feel that I've just gotten a lemon. Since I'm looking for a new mower (plus the fact that my mower is always in the shop) he lets me "demo" a is1500 Ferris with the 25 kawi, and the 52" cut. I love the way it rides, and it does indeed cut a little better, its just not on par with what I see many exmarks and/or any other brand. I have gone to the dealer for three years now exclusivly. As much as I'd like to spend my money with him again, I feel that I could be doing alot better than the ferris or the hustler's marginal cut quality. I see my options as this

    1-Try out the super z Hustler with the 54" XR-7 deck, and continue supporting my dealer.

    or 2- Go to another dealer about 100 miles round trip (a great guy too) for a scag or an Exmark mower, and leave my dealer close by.


    I truly cannot be upset with my dealer, and I am definitly not bashing the hustlers, but damn, I am in the shop once if not TWICE a week...It gets old explaining to people that my "commercial" machine breaks every week. People even ask me "what happend to the orange (husqvarna w/b)mower? we liked the way it cut more than your new mower". I am not sure what to do. I need a deck that will mow weedy yards, and then turn around and cut some of the nicest yards in the county. I know that regaurdless of what I do, I am gonna take a loss, so I'm not worried about that, I just need a reliable, nice cutting mower!

    Any and all advice is greatly appreciated
     
  2. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    Look into Grasshopper yet?
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Well, much to my surprise I learned a few things over the years...

    - NO mower is ever 'ready to go!'
    Much as we'd like to Pay-'N-Ride, it doesn't work like that.
    > Any and all machines need to be completely gone over, nut by nut and spring and bolt and every minute detail inspected, checked, and adjusted if needed.
    >> I found a good half dozen things wrong with mine, among one I recall a loose transmission belt: Not loose enough to slip, but had I not checked and tightened it, I know from experience 30 days and back to the dealer.
    I recall at least one loose connection as well, just something that wasn't perfectly torqued, and I recall the rear wheels each took a good tube of grease, each.
    And I went over the whole thing, I also adjusted the deck and blade height to my older mower's specs, that was a way off... I couldn't tell you what would've happened cut-wise, but I can tell you that I spent MONTHS re-configuring my oldest one until I got it just perfect a year or two before, so I adjusted my new one the same way, copied the specs.
    Had I failed to deal with this, the machine would've broken probably weekly, and likely cut like crap.

    Beyond that, no machine ever cuts right straight from the dealer.
    Most are just slapped together, the dealers job is to move equipment and inventory, fast, and efficiently. Unfortunate as this is, they simply don't have the time to tweak mowers...
    I do find it strange that dealers don't communicate enough with Lco's to find some settings that work better than the standard crap they send out the door, but here again it's just not their job to make sure it cuts good.
    The blades could be the wrong kind for you, maybe they're recessed too far up into the deck itself, who knows, maybe the pitch is wrong, could be any number of things.

    Either way, I don't foresee a switch of machine improving things.

    What I can recommend is this:
    How often do you sharpen the blades, what kind are they, and what's your cut height?
    Try daily sharpening, high lifts, and 3" always.

    Maybe see about finding someone with a similar (preferrably same) mower, and see if you can visually inspect their setup, compare it to yours and see what you can gain, quality of cut wise.
    Cut slower, 6-7 mph max, and double cutting helps also, I know it sux but I finally last year got tired of it too, and now I just double cut every single yard, twice over the whole thing, blam, done.

    Anyway, spend some quality time with that machine, and keep on it, try various things, settings, tweaks and adjustments. Because it's a bit of a steep curve but once you go through this school once, you never have to repeat the learning curve, hopefully you might've learned something :)
     
  4. Palmer'sLS

    Palmer'sLS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 535

    yes I did actually. The closest dealer is about 75 miles round trip but he is across the mountain, and I dont really like going over there. The next closest Grasshopper dealer is about 90 miles round-trip. I called him, and set up a time for a demo, but he backed out of it, so I never got ot try one. I was interested in the diesel 52" mower a 321D i believe, but he tried to talk me out of that believe it or not, and into a 223 kohler powered 52" mower. He seemed very shady, and after he failed to let me try the mower, I kind of lost interest.
     
  5. Palmer'sLS

    Palmer'sLS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 535

    Hey toppy!...I have tried all the thigns you have mentioned, as well as the dealer. I've tried high-lifts, wavy mulchers, gators. I've checked pitch, adjusted the left and right sides, I've mowed at 1.5" all the way to 4.5" and not on ANY setting have I found the cut to be satisfactory. It does decent on nice plush lawns. I cut at or around 5 mph, and the 19 hp kind of limits your ability to mow at a quick rate. I am by far not a mechanic, but I do have common sense.
     
  6. Palmer'sLS

    Palmer'sLS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 535

    I guess the main question would be, do you buy something that isnt up to quality to support a dealer that has been there for you in the past, or do you put a new foot forward, and buy from another dealer, possibly ending your business relationship with your old dealer?
     
  7. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,335

    I would try and buy from the same dealer if at all possible. Good dealer support is a good thing to have, and something I wish I had...
     

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