Ferris IS 1500Z Pro's & Con's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TJS, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. TJS

    TJS LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 15

    Considering getting one. I am looking at the 52" deck with the 25 hp Kaw.
    I drove a couple. I perfer the ride over the the ZTR I have know. Don't want to start any crap, so I won't mention what I have now. I mow about 2 acres with alot of slopes and trees. The IS 1500Z seems a little wimpy, is it just me or is Ferris as good as they claim ? Thanks, TJS :help:
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well now, I had the same thoughts myself, but didn't quite voice it that bluntly. I've seen the 44" and 48" versions of the IS1500 and those gave me the same impression.

    I did not want to express it quite as you have because I though I could be wrong and it was only my opinion anyways.... but I thought the construction on the ones I saw looked whimpy/chincy/homeownerish.... The IS1000Z 52" looks better to me.

    But since I have seen some pictures of the 52" version of the IS1500 and thought it looked a bit better than the 44" & 48"....

    Anyways, the thing that made me just walk away was that I noticed those little black things on the frame by the front axle. Hummmm I says.... what's that for? Well it's gotta be some sort of rub plate for the front axle. Wonder if the axle has any play? Well heck yeah it has back and forth play! Now I know why those little black thingys are there.

    The same mower is sold as a homeower unit through Simplicity.
    It's just that orangy color.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Here are the pics of the 52" which looks a bit better to me.
    You can see those black rub plates by the front springs.





    Just trying to be fair here because my opinion could be wrong (?)
  4. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Well on this site you will get LOTS of opinions. I previously had a 618 Grasshopper Front mount. I was in the market for a Mid-Mount ZTR. Home owner models did not interest me a bit.

    I looked very closely at the Toro 450, Exmark HP, Scag Tiger Cub and the Ferris 1500z/Simplicity Citation.

    I was really torn between the Ferris, Scag and Exmark. I threw out the Citation because I figured if I was going to do suspension... I would have it on the front and back. Citation has only back. Although the Citation had a full width Anti-scalp rear deck roller that could easily be seen as a stripe roller.. and ferris does not currently offer any striping kit (which was important to me).

    I knocked out the Scag because ultimately I felt that I liked the bagger better on the Exmark / Ferris / Toro all giving me the option of only two cloth bags instead of three on the Scag. This was important to keep the total width of the rear of the machine down. Also I did not like the additional spring tension on the sticks on the Scag.. made it seem not quite as responsive.

    So I was between the Exmark / Toro and Ferris. I figured I would do the Exmark over the Toro for similar reasons. At the time Toro did not have a striping kit. I was ONLY considering 48" decks for all models. Did not want to go 52". Also Toro charged extra for the Foot Deck Lift assist pedal where the Ferris/Exmark came equipped.

    There were very few aspects (like the black wear pads) on the ferris, where I felt the ferris was a bit slighter build quality. But I could have been over critical and could not compare them side by side (1500z vs. Exmark HP) I felt they appeared to be built well enough. But ultimately as a homeowner I read LOTS here. And although there are a few LCOs running the 1500z there are TONS especially in my area running Exmark HPs and full lazers. This meant something to me.

    In the long run I liked the additional options on the Exmark (Striping roller, hitch kit, UltraVac) and local dealer support would be possibly better and much closer on the Exmark then where the ferris dealer would be.

    So I got a 48/19 Exmark HP. I think it is a great machine, cuts and stipes like a dream. Demo the Ferris. I really don't think you could go wrong. Especially given it was about 600-800 cheaper then the Exmark/Scag/Toro choices I was looking at.
  5. TJS

    TJS LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 15

    Thanks for the replys and pictures, guys. I couldn't remember if the Ferris had the reinforced deck edge. I was concerned about that and your picture confirmed that it does. I think the reason the 1500Z appears "wimpier" is because it is placed next to the 3000 and 5000 at the dealers. Those machines are huge. Also they only put 22 X 11" tires on them compared to the 24 X 12" on the 60" deck units. I really like the articulation and suspension on the Ferris and the 25 hp Kaw is appealing too. I have demoed it and liked the ride, now if I can get the local dealer to come to a happy medium for both of us. Thanks again for the replys. TJS :waving:
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    As a mechanic for many brands, I can tell you the the Ferris IS mowers are the worst designed mowers I have ever seen, when it comes time to do repairs and routine maintenance. On the IS1000, and 3000, nothing is located where it is easy to get too. An oil change is a chore compared to nearly any other brand. The deck is so "crammed" under the machine that it looks like a two hour chore to change a deck belt. On the IS 1500/52", I thought I was going to have to remove the deck to just replace a deck belt tension spring. On the IS 3000, when you change an oil filter, all the oil in the filter dumps all over the platform the engine sits on. A hydro hose change on these machines looks like it might require disassembly of half of the machine.
    My experience with Ferris, has been all bad when it comes to ease of repairs and service.
    AND, look at all those moving suspension parts with no grease fittings. Metal parts+dirt and dust+no grease= wear and repair.
  7. Smitty58

    Smitty58 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 531

    I bought a 1500 this year. We have about 50 hours on it now. I don't consider it wimpy ,but I have not been overly thrilled with it either. The ride is great ,handles as good as any other z's I tried ,but the quality of cut just isn't there. Some of it may be that I have not got the perfect blade setup yet. It doesn't stripe very well ,but I am told they are coming out with a stripe roller so I'll give that a try. I actually considered trading it in on something else ,but with only 50 hrs I'm gonna take a beating on a trade in ,so I figure we'll just keep it.
  8. rtruelove05

    rtruelove05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I Have The Is1500 52" And It Has 115 Hrs On It. One Account I Have Is A City Park With 8 Acres And Tons Of Trees On 3 Of Them. Some People Say That It Looks Wimpy, But I Have Nailed Alot Of The Trees With The Deck And Rocked The Mower, But It Has Held Up And Never Given Me Problems. All Of My Residential Customers Love The Way It Cuts. As Far As Maintenance, I Pay $12.50 For An Oil Change That Takes No Time, And The Belts Aren't Difficult To Get To Either, In My Opinion. So Take What You Will From An Owner.
  9. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Messages: 2,206

    I don't know why you call an oil change a chore. It can't possubly be any easier. As for the oil filter all you have to do is put a shop rag under it before you remove it. :rolleyes:
  10. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    The hose that the drain oil goes out on the 1500, dumps it righ on the muffler. The deck belt is buried under the steel footplate which is bolted down, not hinged. You can not easily do any work on the 1500's deck without removing one or two of the steel plates.THe fuel filter on the 1500 hangs right over the end of the muffler, not too safe in my opinion, and that makes it unsafe to change the fuel filter if engine has run any at all. Very poor design. The 3000, dumps the oil from the filter all over the engine platform. Again, very poor design. I would say 90% of the mowers we work on are easier to service than the two Ferris machines we had in. I should have made notes about all the other poor design features I saw on those mowers. It could easily fill a page. It is no wonder that Ferris continues to be such a minor player in the ZTR market, despite the "Springs". In fact, I tested the 1500 on a very rough field next to our shop, and thought the ride was much worse than other machines I have run on that property.

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