72" mower and engine selection

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by jmoney7269, May 25, 2014.

  1. jmoney7269

    jmoney7269 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    I'm contemplating buying another mower to use strictly at my house. I sold my bad boy diesel 35 hp 72" and am looking to get another mower. I have a few different options at my disposal and want to share my view points. Those that have experience unwound gladly love to hear your opinion.
    My first zero turn was a bad boy with the kawasaki 730v lc engine. Very smooth running engine but not available in either of the 2 brands of mowers im looking at. The diesel bad boy was nice but I really like the hydros a lot better on my e series lazer z. A lot less operator fatique since the exmark can be operated with fingers where as a bad boy you really gotta move the lap bars to change directions. The bad boy is a far better riding machine, especially with the air ride seat. The bad boy spongy steering is something i can live with if that's the only choice which would be the 993 cc vanguard big block. I'm not gonna lie I'm still partial to the carbureted vtwins. I just serviced a kohler efi last week that had 2793 hrs on it and it still ran great. Im also contemplating on a 72" lazerZ x series with the 999cc kohler efi. It's the 980ecv with egov and red controls. Here are my concerns. With minimal experience with this engine, every new one I have dealt with smoked profusely on startup and on WOT The engine sounded like it was gonna fly apart! For those engines having hydraulic lifters , DAMN they are loud! I spoke to the exmark rep and he said that's normal for the big block engines to smoke and have valve noise. Well in my past life as a street/drag racer, no it's not! IMO you should not have a engine with hydraulic lifters sounding like they are gonna fly out of the bores and a new engine throwng out smoke. Apparently 20w -50 helps with this problem but I Beleive that 20w-50 does not disperse heat as well as a 10w-40.
    I would like to hear some opinions of owners and professionals since one brand to the other is $4k difference.
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  2. southerntide

    southerntide LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Alabama
    Messages: 5,957

    50HP Diesel Dixie Chopper 72'' LoL

    Why use a deck that large you have just flat areas there?
  3. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,820

    Do a search for posts by TLS. He bought a new Lazer last year with the RED tech engine, and he seems to really like it. I don't recall him having too many issues with it smoking. Funny you say the hydraulic lifters are loud. I thought so too, but most guys on here think Kawi's solid lifters are louder.
  4. jmoney7269

    jmoney7269 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    Oh no, the kohlers big block hydraulic lifters are loud. The first one we got when we became a exmark dealer where I work at, we clicked it to WOT and turned it off because we thought there was something wrong with it. Especially because of the smoke. Thought it was gonna run away and blow up lol. I read a few reviews of people having issues with the throttle shafts on the vanguard but it was rare. I will Pm him. I have definitely found a negative if a lazer z for extended mowing periods. The short operator station kinda makes my knees hurt after a while. Shorter operation than most
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  5. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,820

    All the smoking that the Kohlers do these days is what turned me off to them. That, and the backfiring.
  6. alancamby

    alancamby LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 34

    Is the backfiring on the Kohlers at shutdown only?

    My Generac always backfires when I shut it off hot. I try to let it idle for 2-3 min and it does not do it.
    Someone said to shut it off at WOT but have never tried this.
    Kohlers I used on Dixies back in late 90's always backfired at shut down too.

    The Kawasaki fx1000 I had on a gravely 460 demo last week had way more power then needed.
    I imagine it would have more then enough on any 72" deck mower also.
    I cut a 3 week old field with the 460 and could not get it to bog. Last time the field was cut with a bushhog.
  7. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,177

    Kohler recommends shutting down at 3/4 throttle. I've owned several Kohler engines and have never had one with the smoking problem, but have seen it on a friends same 28 EFI I run. His was so bad it looked as if his mower was on fire, this happened from the time it was first delivered new. Kohler sent another set of pistons and it remedied the problem.

    I've had a 27 hp Kohler that would backfire no matter where the throttle was set, unless you switched it off at WOT and it never backfired again. I talked with Kohler about the problem and their recommendation was that all their A/C engines needed to be at 3/4 throttle when shutting down. I told them I could not get that through my head for the fact it was exactly opposite of what I was taught.

    The gentleman then said, "you were taught to shut down water cooled engines at idle rpms, whereas if you let an air cooled engine idle you can increase heat for the fact all the cooling mechanism such as air and oil circulation is slowed down, your air cooled engine cools most efficiently at full operating rpms."

    I then attempted to shut down at 3/4 throttle, did not work, still backfired. I then decided to give it a try at full throttle, never backfired again, not even once. I never pay this any attention now, when I pull into the mowers storage location after I've finished mowing, I put the Hustlers steering levers into their locked position which also locks the parking brake (I much prefer this feature with the park brake integrated into the steering levers), I immediately turn the engine off from WOT, and both the Kohler and BB Kawasaki shut down perfectly.

    I honestly don't know how long an A/C engine would need to idle before cooling any, the first thing it will do when taking speed away from the cooling fans is rise in temperature. How long that rise may be before it actually begins cooling I don't know, but I do know how to test the theory if I can remember.
  8. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    On my Kohler mowers I have you do not hear lifter knock you need to run 10w30 oil anything heavier you will hear knock from them
    I have 3 EFI a 2- 26hp 4k hours on one and other 3500 on it and a 28hp it has 2k always ran 10w30 Castrol neither smokes
    And all my other Kohlers are 2-22hp,25hp none of them has lifter knocks

    I set all my Kohlers rpm higher at idle so you don't get much backfire at all
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,085

    IF you are going a big diesel 72", then you're not afraid of price tag.

    In which case the Ferris 72" diesel is THE mower to buy.

    A close 2nd would be a grasshopper 900 series…

    I wouldn't buy anything else in a diesel 72" (possibly a turf tiger… but I think they stopped making the saber tooth tiger did they not?)
  10. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,820

    Yea, it was on shut down. It did it so load a couple times, that even though I knew it would, its still startled me. I decided to try and let it idle for 30 seconds to a minute, and that worked 95% of the time. Not only did it not backfire, it started up easier and didn't smoke as badly.

    The Kawi I have now has only backfired once, and that was with about an hour on it, and I shut it down as soon as it hit idle speed. Never has since. I shut it down at idle always, even though both Kawi and JD say 1/2 to 3/4 throttle. I let it idle while I fire up a trimmer or BP, then go back and shut it down. Never an issue from it.

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