TonyR - That 'turbo force ' deck really has my intrest peaked my dealer (Exmark & Toro) has a base 500 52" 27 hp demo machine and I am waiting until the spring growth is at its peak before I take him up on his offer of a day on my lawns. At this time I am running a 2003 Exmark Z HP 52" 23 hp and it is a nice machine (quicker, quieter and shineyer) than the Toro 153 I use to have. Dealer told me that Toro will be coming out with a 'turbo force' style deck for the 100 series in 05 or 06, I might have to wait till then because I really like the compact machines.
I recently (1 month ago) bought the Z588E model, 60'' turbo force deck, suspension seat, plus mulch kit, 28hp kohler efi engine.
As here the season is in the final stages of full swing, this machine is unbeatable, side discharge is unmatchable with the adjustable flow baffle, the mulch kit is great.
The opperating area is open, lots of room. The thicker handles are great.
Pros...installing the mulch kit is no 5 minute job, but this kit is more detailed than others, and I think the steering is a bit savage, tends to tear thin bermuda even on very careful turns.
Practice should help over time....
All in all I'm very satisfied, a total joy to work with every day.
I didn't start this thread to deliberatly promote toro, I just wanted feedback in general from owners and those interested to hear different points of view as toro doesn't get talked about much compared to hustler and exmark etc, and this new model range is certainly a shiner, so thanks again.
I recently bought the 52" Z500 with the 20 hp Kohler engine. Since I'm new to the business and this is my first z-mower, I really don't have a frame of reference for comparison, but I will tell you a couple of likes and dislikes. Likes: I like the speed and manueverability most. I like that it creates very fine clippings and distributes them evenly without leaving any clumps. Also, the cut is acceptable. Dislikes: I dislike that engaging the PTO severely bogs down the engine. It's worst when the engine is cold. In fact, the first several attempts to engage PTO will completely kill the engine unless I disengage the PTO in time to save it. The longer the engine runs the less severe it is, but it is still more than I would expect. I wonder if the larger engine would eliminate this problem? It should certainly help.
Mine is 28hp EFI, I can engage blades at 1/4 throttle easy when cold. Warm I can engage at idle almost.
A 52'' deck is a good size for residential work, on uneven ground a 60'' can be hard to get around things and contours etc, but with the offset trim side is still a good deck.
I am looking at getting a master chute when they reply telling me a delivery cost, the mulch deck struggles in very lush thick blue bermuda in our current wet season, side discharge is more versatile though not as neat.