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conflicting opinions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Some things are subjective, but I'm amazed at how many times I see opinions on things here that are 180 degrees different. I was doing some searches to see how Walker riding mowers handle hills vs. Exmark Lazer Z HP's. Some posts brag about their hillside mowing ability. My research on their design seems to agree, they "should" hold hills better (not just downhill). yet I have read other opinions that say they "won't hold hills" and that a Lazer would be better.

    I need a 2nd mower soon as a dedicated mulcher on mostly small residentals, leaving the other ztr to handle discharging on wide areas. I know I like the cut, mulching ability, reliability, and dealer network of Exmark, but I am tempted by the lighter weight(of the new b model) flip up deck, and out-front deck of the Walker.

    How can experiences be so different?
  2. captaingreen

    captaingreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 471

    I quess it's kinda like Ford vs. Chevy, some people just have pre-conceived ideas of what is better. I think some people just like to pretend they know something about something, only to discover later they were wrong. Good luck with your purchase. :waving:
  3. Luscious Lawns

    Luscious Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    A front mount will never climb a hill as well as a mid mount. With the driving wheels in the front climbing a hill transfers weight to the back and away from the pulling wheels. Whereas a mid Z has driving wheels in the rear and torque weight transfer tends to add more grip to the rear drive tires.

    We ran a front mount Kubota (Forget the model #) for a couple seasons, great cut, front mount allowed us to reach under some shrubs reducing trim time. However it would not climb a 25% hill. I'm unsue if the Walker would be better. IMO Mid Z for hills, WB hydro for steep hills
  4. Lawnchoice

    Lawnchoice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 781

    Have you checked the pricing on the Model B ?
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It has a lot to do with different expectations. Here is a true example.

    I run Dixie Choppers. My buddy runs Exmarks. All mowers are in the 23 to 28 horsepower range with 60 inch decks.

    We do the same general type of yards.

    I normally cut my lawns at 3 inches with a few at 3-5/8 inches. He normally cuts at the same 3 inch base height.

    When crabgrass season kicks in is where our main difference is. I am of the opinion that the customer is paying us to cut thier grass, plain and simple. Whether the grass is growing 1/2 inch a week or 3 inches a week they're still paying us to cut it every week. We agreed to cut it regardless of the growth for X amount of dollars.

    When crabgrass season kicks in I keep on cutting at 3 inches. Sometimes I have to slow way down to get through it but I do. When I talk to my buddy (almost daily) I comment about how tough the crabgrass is getting to cut and still leave a decent result. He says he doesn't understand why I'm having so much trouble with crabgrass and that his mowers go right through it.

    The difference is he starts lifting his deck higher and higher as the crabgrass gets worse. By the end of crabgrass season he's cutting at 4 inches. That's all fine and good except I have seen some of his customers (we work the same neighborhoods) actually go back and recut the grass after he has left and then they can his ass when he refuses to cut lower.

    So his opinion is that Dixie Choppers can't cut crabgrass but Exmarks can. It's all about expectations.
  6. Mower Man

    Mower Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    Since many things are made different, and no color is the same, I guess we'll always have differences of opinions. Helps keep the world from getting boring, and mono colored.

    Regarding "Hillability" there are alot of factors than enter into the mechanical side of the equation, besides grass types, tire tread design, and ground speed.

    Center Of Gravity (COG) = A major, major factor.
    Over All Width.
    Over All Length.
    (Both width & length are often combined to mean 'stance', or foot print.)
    Tire profile, and side wall capacity = Side wall flex/roll affects weight shift.
    Tire PSI = Affects tire capacity, and side wall flex/roll
    Position of front casters = Angular contact affects weight shift.
    Floating Axle or Rigid = Rigid is more stable.
    Caster Wobble = The more rigid, and straight a caster tracks in relationship to the center of the drive tires, the less chance of "castering down" will occur.
    Weight...or Weight Position =

    One recent change in base design is the move by some companies away from Horizontal to Vertical engines. A major cost factor, which some are still resisting to maintain profits, but the mowers are becoming prehistoric in performance.
    If all things were basically the same, a Vertical engine greatly lowers the COG, and provides some major benefits:
    Greater "Hillability"....safety, manuverability
    Less Bounce....smoother ride.
    Better Cooling.....thru Intake positioning.
    Quieter....low mount muffler, and intake isn't facing operator back.
    Generally easier to service due to accesss points.

    One type of mower that is often superior in two areas (under trimming, and hillsides), over many mid mounts, and certainly over most Horizontal engine designs is the cataogory called Three Wheel 'Front Mount, Rear Steer'.
    The old Yazoo, Yazoo/Kees, Ferris Pro Cut, Scag STHM are examples.
    "Hillabilty was achieved because the overall low 'COG', the deck could be slighty rasied to shift weight onto the drive wheels, drive wheels were some what centerally located relative to the over all length, ther were three main ground contact points putting down more weight than a four point,....and the operator was located over the rear steer wheel, which also increased steering ability.

    This kind of mower is very much becoming a niche product, and sales are dropping as the Vertical engine mid mounts continue improve both in productivity, and 'hillability", but it still can go places many four point zero turns can't.
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I would go back to my old saying of "demo, demo, demo". I know it sounds like a cop out but truthfully that is the only true test.

    I have a Walker and I am very comfortable with it on the hills that I do. It does great but I have a 52SD deck that is heavy and a 26EFI that turns anything Walker makes. When I tack the 42 collection deck on the tractor it will still do hills but the technique is completely different. I really dont like it on hills but it will work. It has to do with weight distribution.
    I have also had an Exmark Lazer, Hustler Super Z, Scag Cougar, Scag Z (dont remember name) Yazoo Z, Ferris IS3000 and tried them on the hills. They perform differently under different conditions and I did scare the tar out of my rosebud when I skated the Yazoo down toward the river in an out of control slide. I stopped short but that was all I needed to let me know that certain Z's handle different than others.

    My Walker works well for the properties that I mow. It may or may not work for you but I go back to the demo statement. Each mower has its place you got to find the one that does the most for you. Good Luck.

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  8. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,640

    I would have to disagree here. Grasshoppers, which I use, transfer all the weight of the deck back to the drive wheels. Tire has a lot to do with it as well. Most GH's use the cheveron pattern tires which are awesome. I will go and take a picture of a hill that a GH does and your jaw will drop! It goes sideways on these hills as well as up and down.
  9. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912


    My Walker does this hill no issues .... as does my Lazer .... I'd have to agree thou that with a front mount can be iffy for the new user ....if that's the cause just turn the mower around n "back up" the hill
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Well, there's no question that a front mount certainly has more control going DOWN a hill! LOL

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