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Father just got 2 acres and a crafstman 42" riding. Wrong choice?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Shoefly, May 19, 2007.

  1. Shoefly

    Shoefly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    My folks just got 2 acres of land and immediately purchased a 42" Craftsman riding mower w/23hp. The land is spotted with lots of mesquite trees and obstacles.

    After getting on this forum and reading some of the residential vs. commercial threads, I'm wondering if he's made the wrong choice? I'm worried it might take forever with a 42" deck riding. What could possibly be a better choice for him that could speed up the process, as well as be more reliable and comfortable for an old guy in the Texas heat? (around the same price point (<3k). I'm thinking he might be able to cancel the order, as it isn't arriving for a few weeks.. and he could use to have something immediately.

    He's also looking for a good trimmer that can take down small saplings and brush. Any recommendations before he buys?
  2. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    It'll take forever in more ways than one... The tractor will not be able to cut as close as a ZTR so it'll leave a lot to trim. A new commercial ZTR will not be <3K. You can go used or go with a residential ZTR (should be able to get a ~50" cut at that price). Skip the big box stores and go with a reputable local dealer.

    That said... A tractor is more versatile than a ZTR (accessories/attachments).
  3. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,701

    you will be lucky to get a year out of it before you start having deck problems. Is it too late to return it?
  4. josh1981

    josh1981 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    for the trimmer- km 55R powerhead from stihl. You can get all the attatchments for trimming to brush cutting. Stihl is the best for that kind of stuff (personal experience), also professional equipment.
  5. Shoefly

    Shoefly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I'm thinking he still might be able to return it, especially since it hasn't even arrived yet.

    What sort of difference will the be? Lets say it would take 3-4 hours with the tractor, would the ZTR be more like 45 minutes or 2.5 hours?

    Also I noticed that while everyone does say to stay away from the big box retailers, Lowes is now carrying a few Deere ZTR's, one of which is $2800 or so. Better to look elsewhere?
  6. Faded87T

    Faded87T LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I love my mini-fastrak 42" w/ kohler 17hp engine. I have about 1.5 acres with a fair amount of obstacles. It's a little bit more expensive than the big box ZTRS, but there really is no comparision in how they are built. And you can probably haggle with your local dealer to get a good deal. I suspect a Hustler or something similar will be the last one you ever purchase. I think 2 full acres would be the upper limit of a 42 inch ZTR, but it would work IMHO.

    I learned years ago with my parent's big/rough yard that it was always better to pay up and get quality turf equipment. My parent's still use the echo line trimmer I used when I was a teenager living there 25 years ago!
  7. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    Craftsman is sold at SEARS and I know they are good about returns...just return it or cancel it before it arrives...you should be able to cut the yard with a 48" Z in about 50 minutes (not including trimming)...the mowers at lowes etc suck even if it is $3000 stay away...go to a dealer and get a mower there...even if it is a homeowner model you will still get better advice and way better service when things go wrong (which they will on homeowner models) good luck
  8. cranesrule

    cranesrule LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    A few things to chew on:

    IF, and it's a big IF, the yard is smooth and free of rocks, roots, and ruts then the tractor could do it for a reaonable number of years if it is babied. But even without tough use there will still be things that will break on the tractor simply because they have a light build quality.

    42" is too small of a tractor to be time effective on that large of a property. If you do decide to go tractor, go 50"+.

    I understand that sometimes budget is budget and that's it. If that's the case, buy the tractor and forget about it, no regrets. But the money spent on a good Z will pay dividends in time, comfort, longevity, and dare I say, ENJOYMENT. If he's a guy that likes tools and toys, a Z will put a smile on his face.

    Have your dad do some thinking about how much hs time is worth to him. A Z will cut his mowing time in half and will look better, too. Less time out in the heat, more time enjoying a good looking yard.

    If you want a reccommendation, look at the entry level commercial/estate mowers from any of the reputable commercial mower manufacturers. Look for a commercial duty V-Twin and a fabricated deck. Most of the drive systems, including integrated ones will be fine for your use unless you have a large amount of slope on your property. Personally I have an 06 Hustler Fastrak 52"
    Z with a 20hp Honda. I mow about 2.5 acres.

    As far as the trimmer goes, I have a Stihl FS55, same as mentioned in the other post without the split boom. Great choice, but if your dad will be doing a lot of heavy brush cutting with a blade I would go up in the Stihl line and get a unit with a solid shaft. FS80 or higher.

  9. Colin

    Colin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have 2+ acres to mow also. I have a Craftsman 42" rider as well. Takes 3 hours...........its a slow mower. It isnt very good mowing around trees and other stuff. I would return it and buy a zero turn mower if it were me. The only reason I use that mower is because I got it dirt cheap ($100) and I push mowed the first season I lived here (7.5 hours worth) and didnt want to continue to push mow again last year. I will be getting a zero turn mower sometime soon.
    I think your father should either get a zero turn OR at least get a bigger tractor........maybe a 50"+.
  10. dwbarg

    dwbarg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    A Hustler Fastrak would be my mower of choice for this application. If mantained it would last him a very long time. It is no frills and built like a tank. I mow about 3A with one and we love it. There are others out there, but I am partial. Stay away from box store mowers...no service! They are not made like these estate mowers. An estate mower is in between a residential and a commercial mower. Good luck! By the way, make sure you get a mower with a welded deck and not a stamped deck, it will last longer.

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