Commercial grade zero-turns at home

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by CSpackler, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. CSpackler

    CSpackler LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 14

    I have a two acre lawn with a small sloping hill (about 30 degrees) and many mature trees. My current lawnmower is a less than one year old Craftsman Lawn Tractor and it is horrible. I sent it in to have a basic service and found out the blades had been installed improperly and could have come off at any time. So I'm craigslisting the Craftsman and getting some a little more commercial.

    I have been to the five closest dealers near me, they all carry several brands, and in almost all cases the lawnmower best suited to my needs in the one they have right there on the floor. Hard to know who is right. I am looking at four basic units. The Scag Freedom Z, a Toro Timecutter Z, a Hustler Sport, and a Bobcat Fastcat RZ. The fifth dealer also showed me the Scag, but beat the first dealer's price by a hundred. Also, mulching is critical as there is no way to dispose of grass clippings or leaves where I live.

    The TimeCutter Z (Z5035) is the most affordable and every dealer carries Toro, but most felt it wasn't durable enough, not clear to me why. Next up in price is the Hustler Sport (48" deck). Then the Bobcat Fastcat RZ with the 52" Deck and 26hp Briggs and Stratton followed by the Scag 52" with the 26hp Briggs ELS. (also why is the 26hp Briggs less than the 19hp Kawasaki.

    Is there a vast, noticeable difference in these mowers? Are these even the mowers I should be looking at? Do dealers negotiate price? I got the impression they did not until the fifth dealer (who had no riding lawnmowers on the floor) told me he would beat the price I got on the Scag by $100. I must say, I am leaning towards that one right now.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks
  2. 74Rallye

    74Rallye LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    I replaced a 41" Snapper with a 54" Hustler Fastrak. I went for more mower than I needed so hopefully it will be the last one I have to buy. Cutting time for my 2 1/4 acre yard with lots of obstacles went from 3 1/2 hrs. to 1 1/3 hrs. Oh, and it's fun to drive too!
  3. CSpackler

    CSpackler LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 14

    Didn't see the Fastrak, and I'd never heard of Hustler before I saw the sport. If you don't mind my asking, what does a Fastrak go for and how did you decide on Hustler?
  4. 74Rallye

    74Rallye LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    I found the Hustler dealer by accident. I had never heard of them before and my research (mostly on this site) was very positive. My mower was $5400.
    I had a Craftsman. I would have felt guilty selling it so I took it to the rifle range and gave it what it needed, lots of lead.
  5. jdutcher003

    jdutcher003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    briggs is less compared to kawasaki because they suck compared to kawasaki. just a personal opinion. and I feel a 19hp kaw is just as powerful as a 26hp briggs
  6. CSpackler

    CSpackler LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 14

    I like the suggestion on the Craftsman. The Kawasaki is about $200 more than the Briggs, so you may be right, but an awful lot of mowers come with a Briggs.
  7. sphat_mc

    sphat_mc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I was in the same boat as you choosing from the Scag Freedom Z, a Toro Titan,and a Bobcat Fastcat RZ. I went with the Scag and have no complaints.

    I just moved in to my home and was a little overwhelmed with the size of my new property. I went from about .15 of an acre in Northern NJ to about 3 acres here in Hunterdon. I was expecting to to be mowing pretty much all weekend and with the Scag, my maintenance time is comparable to what I was doing before... just a lot more fun.

    The dealer I went to had all three on their showroom floor and seeing the Scag next to the other 2, was a no brainer in my opinion. The one thing that the Bobcat had that the Scag didn't that I really liked was the Boss Vac option. I went with the bagger option for the Scag and it had no problem picking up the previous seasons worth of leaves left behind by the old owner.

    If you're in Hunterdon, let me know and I can recommend a great shop.

  8. PEVO

    PEVO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    You may want to check out some used commercial Z trade-ins. Bigger the better...theres no such thing a overkill when mowing lawns. I bought a used Hustler 05 60" Super-Z w/ the kohler 28efi. two years ago for $2750.00 It had 1170 hrs. on it then. Now it has almost 1400 & is still running strong. I mow between 8-9 acres & 1-2 of them are creek bottom/rough thick weeds. This mower shreds like a brush hog & still cuts beautful on augusteen grass closer around the house. Only thing thou...i need a ROPS installed on it since i mow on some small but steep slopes all close to creek/stock tank water. At 1200 lbs. it could be a killer it it rolled over on me. Also since it's soo heavy, you can get STUCK in muddy areas real quick.
  9. CSpackler

    CSpackler LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 14

    Hunterdon might be a bit far, but thanks. I too am leaning toward the bagger, although I originally wanted the mulch kit. I emailed a few companies with some questions and a local Scag sales rep called me and talk about my lawn. He suggested the bagger would better suit my needs and he made a lot of sense. (btw, Scag is the only company that responded to my questions).

    As for used gear, I did try looking for used initially. I found most used equipment I was interested in was a bit too close to the cost of new.
  10. jkingrph

    jkingrph LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    As one homeowner to another, I went a bit more toward the commercial side 3 years ago and got a Scag Wildcat 52" for my 1 3/4 acres. Not as heavily sloped as yours but lots of trees and beds to get around. No matter what brand, it seems to me as though the heavier units have wider and much taller drive wheels, I first starter noticing that at Lowes with the John Deere units.

    My Scag has a Kawaski engine but for our use I would think any would last a long time, I got ten years out of a Sears lawn tractor with a 11 hp splash lubed Briggs engine with no engine problems at all, the transmissiion went out on that one, just changed the oil very frequently. The thing I liked about the Scag was the way the blades are changed. they use a through bolt through a hollow spindle, so you can use a wrench on top of the mower. A impact wrench quickly breaks the nut free, then jack front of mower up until blades and bolt falls free, put bolt into fresh blade, insert through spindle and reach around and install nut. I can do all 3 in just over 5 minutes easily.

    I was honestly looking at a mower that would probably keep going until I cannot mow any longer and think this one will probably do the job.

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