Battle with mower company--Opinions??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by YardFarmersLLC, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. YardFarmersLLC

    YardFarmersLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    First off, hello! I am new to this forum, and need some input on some problems with a machine I have.

    First off, in 2007 I purchased a new zero turn mower, brand name (will not release name yet). It is a very well built mower, with a 60" cut, and 26 horse liquid cooled kawasaki gas engine. It has been a beast. I do not mow a huge lot of ground, as it is not my main industry. I now have almost 500 hours on the machine. I was so impressed with it that when I needed a new mower in 2008, I wanted another one. The local dealer had gone out of business, so I contacted the factory, and drove 8+ hours to get a demo unit...

    Here is where the trouble starts. The demo is the same brand, but a better series, still 60" cut, but with better hydro output, a few more bells and whistles, and best of all (or so I thought), it had a 28 hp 3 cyl CAT diesel. I bought it, and got what seemed like a good deal, especially with full warranty. It had 125 hours at purchase. Around 175 hours, the engine blew up. They fought with me like cats and dogs, but finally replaced the engine because I could prove it was not neglect that caused the failure. I was happy, for a while.

    Here is a list of the parts that have broke in the past year, all under normal wear, all in under 450 total hours, and with the mower being extremely well cared for. Keep in mind that my gas version has been practically flawless.

    Late summer and fall 2009:

    Engine blew up- tried to charge $5000, but they warrantied it.

    No flat tire and rim seperated. $90

    Both pieces that connect steering handles to pump broke different weeks. They are like a mini ball-joint deal the ball fell out of the socket, crashed me on two seperate occasions. I bought aftermarkets at the hardware store.

    Regularly greased wheel bearing where the bolt goes through front caster wheel went out mid-season. I had to do the labor, but they sent me parts. Several days of downtime.

    This Year:

    Front wheel fork broke loose from spindle on left hand side second week of mowing. Machine Shop repair.

    Right hand fork broke loose from spindle. Machine shop repair.

    Spindle housing broke off of frame. Machine shop repair.

    The rear of deck is held by chains, front by turn buckle adjusters. One of the chain adjuster broke, deck smacks the ground.

    Two weeks later, opposite chain hanger breaks, scalps customers yard.

    Latch to shut hood broke.

    Last week the throttle cable broke. still broke.

    This morning I performed my regular service. Oil, good. Water, good. Blades, sharp. Grease, check. Hydro oil, full. Tires, good. Fuel, filled up. Air filter clean. We also cleaned the radiator and screen. Today while mowing, the engine overheated. Radiator still clean, water still good.

    I honestly cannot rely on this mower for any amount of time, and it is a $12,500 mower!! The warranty department had been giving me a run around, but I finally got through to someone on up the chain of command. They want me to bring it to the factory, and trade it on a basic model gas unit, and GIVE BOOT! If I wanted to get raped, I would not loose money to get it done.

    I know it sounds like the this mower had been abused by me and my crew. However, the gas continues to run with no problem, and they mow the same ground every week, at the same time, with the same operators, and the same conditions. Actually the gas is getting more use because the diesel stays broke. Both are treated well.

    What are some opinions? I promised not to talk bad about them until they have a chance to make everything right, so the brand has not been released yet. PLEASE give me some insight here. I plan to go to the factory (8 hour drive) this coming monday. :hammerhead:
  2. big_belly4ever

    big_belly4ever LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Sounds like my bad boy 60 26 kaw almost all that as happen to me. i have no dealer near me and called got parts fixed and go it going.(bought it used so no warranty). Sucks when its down but i would still buy another from all the ones I've tried. they have helped me when I called. The amount of lawns I cut with it somethings going to wear out keep things well greased front wheels if you don't you see what happen and for god sakes keep screen on radiator Clean. Park it and use the old fashion wheel mower if your going to keep complain its not a show piece. They must love you. feel your pain on the engine. the rest to me is wear and tear. I stock parts i cant afford down time either.My back up is a L130 JD rider talk about long days.
  3. YardFarmersLLC

    YardFarmersLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Hey guys I don't want this thread to die, I need some input. What do you all think would be a fair resolution?
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    A fair resolution...

    I bought my 60" Ztr 4 years ago and I've put 250 hours on the meter,
    and maybe it's close to 300 but I ain't walking outside in a 100 degree heat just to look, it's in there.

    I'll give you that I only use the Z for lots upwards of an acre (and bigger) but mowing is my main line of work,
    I don't have a ton of large lots, maybe 6, 7 or 8 acre+ lots, have had these for some time, some years better than others.
    And I mostly use the Wb's on everything else, so the Z gets the least use, sure.

    In comparison...

    This guy puts 500 hours on it in 2 years, says it's not his main line of work and he doesn't use it much...
    Roughly speaking that's cutting somewhere between 600 to 1,000 acres of grass and like it or not but
    in my book that's either very regular or maybe even heavy use, and thus this type of maintenance is to be expected.

    Maybe not, maybe I'm wrong, just comparing what I do...
    Think about cutting 300+ acres in one year, by yourself with one machine, is it a lot of mowing or not?
    Just like on a car, they shouldn't break down in the first 50,000 miles, but don't they?

    I'll stay neutral on the engine issue, and granted some are made better than others but such is life.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  5. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    i would of already sold it.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653


    The chain, yes those do break.

    But I do find those particular parts right there should not have broken, not
    on anything costing more than several thousand dollars.

    Now if they want to give you a nice gasser, even if it's worth less, your
    mower is no longer worth 12g's regardless of breakdowns, just counting
    standard depreciation...

    Usually I get a whole lot less satisfaction out of these warranty departments, it's not that I don't know the feeling.
    Anyhow, for what it's worth, just another opinion.
  7. YardFarmersLLC

    YardFarmersLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    I put around 250 hours on it in less than a season and a half. I should have put many more than that on it, had it not been broke down. I have just seen too many competitors with Ex, Hopper, Skag, Gravely, and others run them 3500+ hours on air cooled engines and not have as much down time as I have. Plus their guys run them like idiots. I run mine very sensibly. I am putting up some of my pics of the jobs I do in the pic section.
  8. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Two hundred fifty hours a year, is not all that many hours. The 2009 I bought last May has already rolled over 400, and we have two Z's. The 07 I sold my son-in-law last fall had 932 hours, so I don't call 250 or so hours a year "heavy" use either.

    Since 2003, I've purchased 4 Gravely 200 series mowers. If my memory is accurate, I've put around 2100 hours, collectively, on them, and although I've had several PITA issues with them through the years, the only major repair has been a wheel motor on my 2002 which blew shortly after the warranty expired, but they replaced it under warranty anyway. Never broke anything more expensive than a belt or two.
  9. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Sounds like your a member of the Hustler family. It takes deep pockets to keep them running.
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    I agree !!

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