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2004 Ferris IS1000Z 52" 23hp + Fast Vac review/update

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FrankenScagMachines, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    In another thread, Envy Lawn Service asked me to provide a review of my Ferris so here it is. FYI, I purchased it new on May 22nd of 2004 and 1 1/2 months later received the Fast Vac collection system (after waiting 5 weeks for it).

    well, I've been ironing out a couple bugs with the mower and dealing with a serious dealer issue and waiting to see how Ferris will take care of me. That is why i haven't said much yet. I do like the machine. One thing i will say is that it is built close quarters- everything is packed tight (this is good if you are not the one working on it and repair bills are not an issue). After checking the numbers on the websites, it appears to be the same length as a Scag Tiger Cub 52" which surprised me (i thought it was longer).
    It is a great little machine. The problems i have thus far are: (other than dealer stuff i won't count that but it is a MAJOR problem i don't even want to talk about)- 1) leaky hydro pump on right/discharge side (beleive to be a leaky seal), and 2) the deck lift mechanism is jamming really bad. I cannot visually detect the problem but have not taken time to seriously look at it. When i have time i will take it to a different dealer to have the pump fixed/replaced and have them fix the deck thing. Why should i bother when it's covered by warranty right?

    But the machine does a really good job. Ride quality is very good now that it's broken in and i've fine tuned it. Cut quality is usually pretty good (though i think it has a little bit of room left for improvement compared to eXmark). It does good on almost all lawns but one or two of mine you have to go slower on just for it to get a good suction and clean cut. This is because of the type of grass and i'm not totally sure how an eXmark would behave in these conditions anyway. After trying different blades and types of doubles, i found using single 3" wide high lifts works pretty much the best on it for all around use. It gives good vacuum, good cut, good clipping chopping and good discharging with minimal clumps (unless heavy and wet grass). They also work well teamed with the Fast-Vac. I needed blades that worked well on all of my lawns both discharging and with the bagger and these blades are the best for that so far. I did not try the eXmark eXcalibur blades because i thought they looked very identical to the stock blades, but i would like to try them sometime just becuase people say they are better and it can't hurt. The main drawbacks to the 3" wide high lifts are that they take a little more power (it handles them just great though no problems with that here), they create a dust storm in dry conditions, and this also makes them get dull faster since they suck up more dirt and sand. They seem to last a tiny bit longer than standard blades though.

    Once i got the deck adjusted just right and got the blades figured out, it does a good job cutting and does an excellent job striping. You guys know i would make a striping kit for any mower with little to no excuse but i honestly don't think it would help this mower hardly any if any at all. I may make one anyway but i see no need to. It will lay down stripes at least as good as the ol' eXmark w/b with doubles, deck roller and ProSlide....

    As for the Fast Vac, it's great. mine is the 3 bag model and it works just terrific. I really love it when i bag. It holds a lot, packs it in really tight and operates well even at high speeds (in some conditions i mow at full speed- if i could discharge it at full speed i probably can bag it at full speed). It has never clogged on me not even once unless i didn't empty it soon enough and let the chute plug then didn't unplug it. Nothing has broke or bent on it really. It's just a hair too wide for the 52" mower as it will catch on fences if you turn away too sharp or the ground is on an incline and the fence is not 90 degrees from the lawn surface, and it can catch on low trees if you're not careful. The main drawback to the Fast Vac is that it is really heavy so you don't want to take it on and off all day, usually i group my bagging lawns together and most of the time i mow the bagging properties all in one day so i only have to take the bagger once a week and only have to haul grass and dump the truck once a week. Works out well for me. The only other bad thing about the bagger is dealing with storing it when it's not mounted to the mower. The hood/bag mount frame for the back is so awkward sized and heavy that there is no good way that i have found to store it... as soon as i get my welder fixed (accidentally broke the cable to the gun), I will build a special bracket to hold the bagger when not in use (this will be mounted to the trailer floor). By this time i'll probably be leaving it on full time for leaf removal though. Other than that, it's a sweet bagger. At $1599 it was a lot of money for something i could have gotten by with spending less on a side catcher, but I beleive it has been worth it. It lets me do bagging profitably by saving lots of time dumping and driving back and forth to the truck to dump (On average i don't dump more than once per lawn, dumping takes maybe one minute from time you get off mower to time you get back on) sometimes if it's thick i dump two times. One one large place i do, a church, i bag for convenience to save lots of blowing, and usually i dump twice, but in thick times i've dumped as much as four times (just the mowing part of the job takes about 45 minutes to an hour). So it's not real bad... I have been able to do cleanup jobs and bag lawns i normally wouldn't think of bagging due to size of job, just because i have capability to do it. I can only think of one or two other companies in town with a vac bagger on their Z. Everyone else uses a side catcher. no wonder they hate bagging! anyway...

    So thats my Ferris IS1000Z 52" 23hp kawasaki front suspension ZTR mower review!

    Here's some pics. First one is mower and bagger on a cleanup job- thick bluegrass sod was the victim of the day, hadn't been touched since installed. It was extremely thick like i have never seen before....
    For more pictures of some sweet results from the Ferris, check out my website www.CuttingEdgeLawnCare.biz Most of the mowing pics on there are done by the Ferris but a couple are from the 52" eXmark TTHP w/ProSlide and one or two were done with the Scag 52" hydro w/ProSlide that i used to have. Maybe one or two pics were with the 36" eXmark TTHP but you probably can tell which those are.

    music cleanup.jpg

    krause lawn.jpg

    ferris clean with fast vac.jpg
  2. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    Very nice, very informative.. I really wish that the Lawn care industry would put together a deal kinda like the car mags do, and get several similar models from several different MFGRS, and have a "shoot out"... It would make a desicion a lot easier for such a big ticket Item as a mower.. Again, thanks for your review.
  3. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Thank you. Long time no-see for you buddy where ya been?

    I took it to a different dealer today for them to fix some things.. we'll see how that goes :rolleyes: hopefully it works out cuz they are 45 minutes away and after that the options are an hour and 15 minutes travel one way at least. :( Oh but while i was there i tried a Ferris IS3000 25hp 60" 4 wheel suspension, i hate the big steering levers (if i bought one i would have them put on small levers like on my IS1000Z) other than that it's a sweet machine. The rear suspension definately makes a difference and the front suspension was set stiffer than mine, so thats saying something. It had a different feel to the hydros, felt like the Scag Wildcat that i tried... I like the feel of my hydros as it is (if i had one of the others, mine would feel weird probably just personal preference) anyway when i need a 60" machine i will be looking at a Ferris if we get the dealer thing straightened out. Oh, the deck on it looked pretty shallow (looks can be deceiving) but it even looked shallower than mine....hmm... the actual front baffle looked the same height but the deck itself comes down below the baffle on mine, on that one the deck lip was same height as the baffle. I can imagine it gives a cleaner cut in some situations that way as the front of the deck is not touching the grass before the blades get to it.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Thanks Eric!

    Appreciate the updated review. You were awfully quiet about your new purchase. So I had a hunch there was some sort of issue. Anyways, sounds like you are happy with your purchase aside from the fact you wish the deck created a bit more vacuum.

    Anyways, PM me and I'll offer a suggestion or two that might help you out.

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