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Diesel vs. Gas engines on ZTRs

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gbparn, May 4, 2011.

  1. TWerner

    TWerner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Hard to make it pay if you only burn one gallon an hour.
    My tractor's diesel wasn't cheaper to maintain, it was the same as a gas engine. Filters and oil. I can't think of many other costs. It did get an oz of marvel mystery oil in every tank of fuel, but that's like scooby snacks for the dogs and cost a few bucks a year.

    I'm curious, before that 2000hr mark where you buy a new gas engine, how much do you spend on engine maintanence? I've had to rebuild a carburetor because I left old gas in all winter, but other than that, I don't know what engine costs there are for you guys running gas mowers hundreds of hours a year.

  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,631

    Not too much really, oil and oil filter once per month, air filters twice a year, spark plugs here and there. I replaced a coil once.
  3. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    We have a large variance in fuel consumption. We can increase consumption 10 and 40% if it is a heavy growth week, such as this spring or if the trimming is falling back. In the middle of a dry summer consumption can fall. The deck loading can drink through more fuel than the mower speed. When trimming time is high in spring, the diesels get less time. In August trim time is minimal and productivity and diesel consumption surges ahead.
    The numbers I used are season long, 3779.28 litres of marked diesel and 800 hours. We can mow 25 acres per day per unit, is that a lot?

    The Kubota dealership voiced an opinion that gas to diesel of same horsepower might be 30% difference in consumption. Add to that $1.205 gas to $0.9765 diesel, cost per hour could be significant.

    marked diesel 0.7 litre @.9765= $0.683
    gas 1.0 litre @1.205= $1.205

    There's your double factor
  4. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,631

    Diesel is cheaper in Canada?
  5. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    or close to it
  6. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    seriously cheaper

    $1.205 /litre gas
    $0.9765/litre marked/dyed/coloured diesel
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,610

    They are refering to off road deisel, which has a different color dye added to it to signify that it wasn't taxed, but it's otherwise the same fuel.

    OR deisel is cheaper than gasoline almost everywhere.

    You don't want to ever get caught running OR deisel on the road in your truck though. That's one steep fine!
  8. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    you're on the right track
  9. TWerner

    TWerner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    off road or farm or agricultural diesel isn't taxed like the stuff at the gas station. they add red dye to it so if you get stopped at a weigh station and they dipstick your tank, you get fined. not an issue for a mower.

    I have trouble making the numbers work for you if you only burn a gallon or so an hour. I'd check that number, but there's more to it than just that.

    You'll also want to look into whether or not there's a place near you where could buy the offroad fuel and what they price it at for a small quantity.

    Figure your time to get there and back, the price of gas you burn getting the diesel fuel ....

    I love diesel, but hard to make a case for it saving you money if your mower is that efficient where you're mowing.
  10. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    Interesting observation made:
    if gas engine is $2,000 plus to replace @ 2000 hours then that would make the cost of the mowers, in this example The Kubota ZD &ZG the same at 2500 hours $7,700 plus $2000 engine and install versus $10,370 for the ZD.Yes newer engine in the gas mower at 2500 hours but diesel saving @ $1.78/hour or $4,400 for diesel ZD221 @ 2500 hours.

    So gas mower better residual value by three quarter of an engine life ($1500)
    but diesel cheaper operation by $4,400 fuel savings. In line with the $400 a year suggested earlier.

    (one of the engine swaps was found at a surplus centre for $975, a John Deere engine in a crate. As suggested the other engine was $2,160 with taxes)
    Last edited: May 18, 2011

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