Grasshopper 325D Review (2015 model)

WhiteStoneGuy

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
Grasshopper 325D Review

Hello Lawnsite community! Last Spring I made my first few posts and solicited some advice from you guys on my big ZTR purchase. Now that I’m well into the second season with my Grasshopper 325D midmount with 52” deck, I wanted to follow up with a review:

The Bad:

I am a part-time grass cutter and have just over a hundred hours on my machine so it’s just getting broken in. Many of us would expect to not have any issues only a hundred hours in, but I’ve had two, one significant, one minor, but both caused from simply not torquing a bolt at the factory. The first issue occurred around 30 hours, when I was cutting a clients yard and the PTO shut off and would not reengage. Long story short, the clutch was never fully tightened from the factory. I know this because the PTO clutch was rattling at low rpm’s from the day I bought the mower. I just mistook the rattle for the pins in the fold down ROPS bar because they rattle some too at lower RPM’s. I was only able to differentiate the two rattles after the fact when I had a new PTO clutch that didn’t rattle at all. Apparently the bolt that holds the clutch on was never fully tightened at the factory. As the clutch loosened and was allowed more and more play, it eventually got loose enough to break the magnetic locking device and cause the PTO to not engage. My dealer support was excellent. They gave me a loaner while they fixed the mower. They could have had me going in an hour, but my meticulous mechanic at the dealership noticed that the lose PTO clutch has sheared the edges of some of the PTO shaft grooves enough to make him unsatisfied. I saw the PTO shaft myself. I know a new clutch could have been slapped on there, would have worked (possibly without any future failure) and I could have gotten back to mowing that same day, but he wanted it done right. Luckily with the 25 Kubota diesel the PTO shaft is replaceable. So, he ordered the new PTO shaft and set me up with a loaner for a few days until they could get it fixed perfect. I was very pleased with the level of service to go above and beyond. Also very lucky in going with the diesel because with the gassers there is no replacing the pto shaft. You’d have to replace the entire motor.

The second issue was minor. My right drive stick started getting some extra play recently and became slightly misaligned with the left. After inspection I realized the holding bracket in back by the hydraulic pump was loose and it’s mount had slipped down the shaft coming out of the hydraulic pump. It was a simple fix I performed myself. I just slid the bracket up to the original place on the shaft and tightening the bolt on the bracket. Sticks are now aligned and perform perfectly.

The Good:

25hp Kubota Diesel: This has turned out to be a great decision for me. The diesel just plays with the 52” deck. I ran a mulching kit the entire first season and it still just played with the deck. Fuel consumption is excellent and I have 2 access points to off road red diesel on my route so I always get the fuel for less than a gallon of regular gas. The motor will last a long time and it seems like it has gotten more powerful as it has broken in some if that makes any sense at all. Considering the fuel savings, residual value, and longevity of diesel ztr’s , I’m surprised they aren’t more popular. Yes, with a purchase price of $12,550 out the door, I had to pay more up front, but the return it greater in the long run. Plus, my second choice in 2015 was the Turf Tiger and it wasn’t that much cheaper than the GH 325D. The only disadvantage to the diesel is weight. The mower weighs just over 1300lbs and will tear up some turf when zero turning if you aren’t careful. It was a learning curve, but being more cautious during zero turns, I’ve been able to keep marking to a minimum. On the flip side, the weight can help you gain traction on quick take-offs and climbing. Now that I’ve adjusted the only real disadvantage to the extra weight is having to make sure I’m not creating turf ruts on soft soil, but I don’t know if there is a huge discrepancy in that situation between my diesel ztr and most ztr’s. On a side note, when I was researching diesel ztr’s, grasshopper had the lightest midmount diesel in the market. The other brands were 1500lb range. Also, the 25 Kubota diesel is just a fun motor to operate. It sounds like an animal when you fire it up. With no emission components, the throttle is as smooth as silk with no response delays. That torque rumble and quick puff of black exhaust on start up is a smell and experience I've come to enjoy, but that's just guy talk, not practical business discussion.

The mower in general: I have been very pleased with the mower. I have a 2001 GH 223 with the original Kohler running the 61” deck that has 1200 hours and still going strong. When you look at my newer 2015 mower parked next to the older 2001, there really isn’t any major differences. I think that’s what I respect most about GH is that they have a design that works and they don’t add new gimmicks to market each year trying to make you feel like you need the latest and greatest. Coming from experience my 2001 model, the GH mower is very easy to maintain and repair and they have kept that design over many years. The factory seat and ride are very comfortable. I’m sure a coil over piston Ferris or a front mount GH has a better ride, but I have no complaints on ride quality for my 325D. I wish the stick height was a little taller only because I’m 6’4” and while there is valid clearance during normal operation, my right leg can get cramped under the right stick when I reach for the deck height pedal. I may invest in the taller sticks they sell for folks like me. I don’t think the clearance would be an issue for most operators.

Cut quality: I ran the full mulching kit: baffles, blocker plate, and high-low blades for the first season. On well maintained yards it shined and cut beautifully. The baffles could get clogged and packed up if the grass was too wet. The mulch kit also dumps a lot of grass on driveways and sidewalks when you leave the yard with the pto still engaged. Also, with the baffles being closed off, overgrown grass, especially tall stringy weeds like dandelions will get pushed down by the baffles, never reach the blades, and stand right back up. But with the mulching kit it sure is nice to not have to worry about where you are throwing your clippings. Also, the mulching kit will absolutely demolish leaves. And again, it works great and I would leave the mulch kit on all year if I was only cutting yards where you can keep up with growth as needed, but you live and you learn. I have decided to only use the mulch kit late season, in the fall and also in the early spring for the first couple cuts before the serious growth comes in. I’m currently running the standard blades that come from the factory without the mulching kit and side discharging. They cut really well in regularly maintained and overgrown yards. Cut quality is very smooth and discharge is nice and even. I haven’t had any build up issues under the deck when cutting moist grass now that I’m side discharging. I have noticed that if the grass is wet, it will only discharge the clippings about 4 feet. They aren’t clumps, it’s evenly dispersed over the 4 feet and doesn’t look bad, but it won’t throw them out 8+ feet like it will when the grass is dry.

Overall, I’m very satisfied and if I had it all to do over again, I’d make the same decision. Please post any follow up questions or comments.
 

GoPappy

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Dallas, Texas
Nice review! Glad your 325D is working out well for you.

I came very close to buying a gently used 325D (I love Kubota diesels), but wound up buying a gently used 729B front mount with the 29hp Vanguard and the PowerFold deck. I love the ride of the front mount, and the PowerFold deck makes blade changes and deck cleaning super easy. The Vanguard has been great, but I still wish I had the Kubota diesel.

Grasshoppers are excellent mowers, but they seem to be a regional thing. I see a lot of them here in Texas, but I think there are places where they don't have much of a presence at all.
 

DXN1EL

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
TEXAS
Good job on the review! Glad you are having fun with your Grasshopper.
Got any pics of it? How much trims side does it have? you think would be possible to put some 24x12-12 bar tires on it?
 

retrodog

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Paris, Tx
The bar lug tires are amazing on the diesel midmount. I would highly recommend the upgrade.. they are 395 for the set but you will thamk me later. Wouldve only been 185 on the machine.
 
OP
WhiteStoneGuy

WhiteStoneGuy

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
IMAG0805_1.jpg
 
OP
WhiteStoneGuy

WhiteStoneGuy

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
Those are a couple of pictures I snapped the day I brought it home. I believe the factory tires are 10.5" wide with the 52" deck option. As you can see from the first picture, there is just a little bit of deck overhang, maybe 1.5-2" for trimming with the 52" deck. I think it you went with 12" wide tires like come on the 61" deck, they would be sticking out wider than your deck and you'd lose your trimming edge.
 

GoPappy

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Dallas, Texas
The bar lug tires are amazing on the diesel midmount. I would highly recommend the upgrade.. they are 395 for the set but you will thamk me later. Wouldve only been 185 on the machine.

I've got them on my 729B and they are great. They stick like velcro on slopes.
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
Excellent review! Very well done, and thought out.

I don't know if you've ever tried this, or if you've worked anything else out when mulching and coming to the end of the lawn, but I see where you mentioned how it will just dump the clippings when you shut it off. I have had, and still own at least one mulch kit, though they've been JD's (which won't matter here). When coming to the end of a row/pass, or getting ready to leave the lawn, instead of stopping the blades on the grass or stopping and running the deck a few seconds before shutting down, come to a stop, then back up for a few feet to a couple yards. Every time I have done that it dumps and shreds what is still hung up in the deck and evenly distributes them out across the width of the deck so that they don't really show when you do leave the lawn. I hope that came out well enough to make sense.
 
OP
WhiteStoneGuy

WhiteStoneGuy

LawnSite Member
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
Excellent review! Very well done, and thought out.

Thank you. I appreciate the positive feedback and only hope the information is helpful to others in the market.

I hope that came out well enough to make sense.

Yes. You're description is more than sufficient and makes sense. When I put the mulch kit back on it the fall, I'll definitely give your strategy a try.

Thanks again for the feedback Ridin' Green.
 

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