Ferris IS2500Z 61" : First Thoughts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Sonnie Parker, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    I was able to demo a Ferris IS2500Z with the 24HP Yanmar a few days ago and liked it so well I ended up buying it. It is truly a cutting machine that will plow through Bahia grass like nothing I have seen before. My Grasshopper cuts Bahia with the best of them, but I can't run it full speed ahead like I can this Ferris and not leave any stringers. Overall I am super impressed with the speed of cutting and the cut quality. I like the way the deck floats and is able to maintain the excellent cut quality that it does.

    The suspension does make this a super nice ride, but not without some modifications to the seat. I felt like I was leaning back on a bar going across the top of my back... VERY uncomfortable. The seat is tilted too forward. I am not sure what Ferris was thinking on this standard seat, but it has to be the absolute WORST seat I have ever sat in. I noticed it on the demo, but knew that I could fix it after looking over the seat. It was simple enough to add padding to it to give it more lumbar support and keep the top ridge from feeling like a bar. I also took the two dome washers on the back mount and moved them to the front to give it more tilt backwards, but not too far to interfere with the cooling. It seems Ferris went to great lengths to make the best suspension available, but dropped the ball on the seat. Supposedly the upgraded seat is better, but the cost is outrageous. Once the seat is fixed, it is a real winner for ride comfort. HOWEVER... the location of the deck lift pedal could cause another comfort issue over time. It is right in the way of my right leg when mowing. It sticks out like Pinocchio's nose . I haven't figured out a solution for this yet, other than to keep my right leg a little out of normal position to avoid it. I think if the pedal was centered on the arm it would be perfect. It may be possible to move it to the outside, but that might be too far over. Maybe I can get someone to weld it to the center. One other minor thing is the handle/lever bar size is small. I like the larger/thicker handles on my GH.

    I am hoping for respectable fuel mileage after a break-in period. After 3.1 hours I am using 1.3 gallons per hour, which is slightly worse than the 29HP Kubota gas engine on my GH. I am certainly hoping it is only a matter of getting some hours on it.

    What's the deal with the OEM blades? $65 for a set of 3? Seriously?

    I suppose there is no such thing as a perfect mower and this one is certainly not without a few issues, despite my expressions of it being a fabulous mower. It's the perfect mower with the exception of.... it's a great mower, BUT... let's just say on a scale of 1 to 10, it's gotta be at least an 8 possibly a 9, but could be a perfect 10 with a few fixes.
  2. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,397

    I started researching zero turns sometime around 2005 and was amazed to see that Ferris had gone to such great lengths to set up a mower with 4 wheel suspension, and then fail to complete the deal with a suspension seat. Just seemed unthinkable to me for a company to do all of the "hard stuff" when it came to ride quality, and then omit the "easy stuff ".

    After riding a 3000 around the lot and yard of a local dealer, I asked a salesman why the mower didn't have a suspension seat. He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "you don't need it....the shocks and springs absorb all of the bumps".

    Guess they had their reasons but seemed odd to me.

  3. dutchacres

    dutchacres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    I looked at this exact mower before deciding on the Kubota. I was worried that it would not have the power I was looking for. I demoed a 3100 with the iCD deck and was not that impressed by its cut quality. Maybe it was not set up right or something because I have heard a ton of good stuff about that deck. I bet you will see increased fuel economy. My Kubota has been getting better. I was using about 1.3 gph when I first got it and now it is down to about 1 gph with 40 hours on the meter. I am guessing by the 50 hours break in service I will be down to around .8 gph which is what I have heard of these diesels getting. Good luck with the new machine. How about some pics?
  4. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,728

    Crap!! I was about to leave and look at one after reading about the way it handles bahia grass, but you lost me at the uncomfortable seat. What did you have to do to improve the seat exactly? Does it cut the tall 2 ft, really overgrown bahia grass okay?
  5. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    For the seat I picked up some outdoor cushion/padding from Wal-Mart. It was polyfil type material, not foam, but I suppose you could get either. This piece was 2" thick and about 18" x 18" (or close to it). I trimmed it to be just under the size of the back of the seat. The seat back cover velcro fastens, so it is easy to get the padding up under the cover. I ended up taking it back out and peeling it in half to about 1" because 2" was too thick. Wal-Mart sells a 1" thick piece of the same material. Once I got that piece inserted it feels fine now. I don't know that it may have been the seam where it is sewn together that was causing the bar like feeling, but either way I don't feel it anymore and all is fine.

    I will get some pics of what I did and the machine as well.

    The seat bottom is pretty soft and comfortable and a suspension seat probably isn't necessary. If it gets anymore comfortable I may fall asleep on it. HOWEVER, I am curious as to just what the difference is in it and the standard seat. If it is nothing more than the adjustment with springs on the bottom, then it is a rip off at its price.

    When I demo'd the unit it had been over 3 weeks since I had cut the Bahia on the hillside going down to our pond. I ran "full" speed through it and not a leftover stringer in sight. That is what sold me on it. My Grasshopper will cut that same grass without any stringers, but I can't cut it as fast. I am not saying you will NEVER get a stringer, because as I have been cutting I have had an occasional stringer for whatever reasons, but it is very very rare. For the most part they are non-existent.

    I also tested an area that hasn't been cut in a year or so. I had to slow down a bit, but it cut it perfectly. I will try to get some pics of that area today as well.
  6. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    I finally fell asleep cutting grass today... I knew it would happen if I got that suspension seat insert.

    Second thoughts, alterations and pics.

    After having spent a little over 40 hours on the IS2500Z and making a few alterations, I will still rank it up around an 8 out of 10. I like it well enough that I sold my 08 729G2 Grasshopper and purchased a twin IS2500Z that now has 4 hours on it.


    As mentioned previously, the seat had to be modified for me to be more comfortable. I added the padding in the seat back. Here are a few pics of the padding and pics of each mower... with the newer mower as it is from the dealer and the other with the padding installed.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here is how I modified the conical washers to give it slightly more tilt backwards.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I moved the pedal for the deck lift to the outside and press with my foot where the arrow points. This gets the pedal out of my way when resting my legs/feet where I want them.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I like the thicker levers and the factory covering is not very thick or soft. I tried pipe insulation, but that stuff gets very warm and stays warm. It is a bit too thick as well... so I order handlebar wrap from Amazon and the thickness is just right with a soft feel to it. It also resist water/sweat and stays dry.


    You will also notice that I added a Suspension Seat Insert. It cost me $150 at my dealer. I had heard the suspension seat upgrade was very expensive, but I think that may have been for the gas-burner models and not the diesels, although I am not 100% sure. Perhaps they just started offering this suspension insert as a cheaper alternative... and it is the only way to get a suspension seat on this model. I thought the front suspension was a bit to soft for me and my weight when stopping quickly... it seem to plunge too much forward, so I tightened up the suspension on the front. I decided to get the insert to see if it would have any benefit since I stiffened up the front... and indeed it did... mainly on the more serious/roughest bumps and dips. While not quite comfortable enough to actually fall asleep, the suspension and the seat insert combines for a very very comfortable ride.

    Adding the insert will raise the seat slightly. I had lowered the levers previously and had to raise them back up after insert was installed. Otherwise the levers were too close to hitting the top of my knees when pressed fully forward. I already have my levers angled as far forward as possible. You can see the difference in the height in the following pics. For me the slightly extra height of the seat makes it a little more natural for my legs and feet to rest. I thought it was maybe just a little too short previously.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The insert allows for better air flow beneath and behind the seat, but also allows the radiator screen shield to get clogged up sooner. Here you can also see that the tilt of the seat has not caused the rear of the seat to get any closer to the radiator. This is set as far back as it will go.


    A second thought on cutting is that overall it has been pretty good, however, I have noticed when cutting sideways on hills or if I make a sweeping turn going fast, the deck will sometimes lean too much and cut uneven. This did not happen with my Grasshopper.
  7. TinMan1

    TinMan1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from SC
    Messages: 518

    So how does it compare to the Gravely you had?
  8. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    Superior in every aspect... there is really no comparison.

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