Gravely 472 Demo

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by puppypaws, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. CurbAppealKS

    CurbAppealKS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 448

    I'm going to get torn apart by a couple of people on here for saying this, but you have obviously not operated a ferris 3100. They have A-arm suspension setup like a car. It's really not that complicated if you think about it. I mean how many years did auto manufacturers use straight axles with spring stacks and shock absorbers. Most vehicles have gone to a torsion bar setup or A-arm setup, so ferris is far ahead of very one when it comes to physical suspension. Mower manufacturers have been putting suspension seats on for years which help slightly, but I'm being completely serious in saying that you will not believe how smooth the ferris is.

    A user on here which I will refrain from mentioning despises the ferris and believes its an over complicated "piece of chit". I can say that until you own/operate one for hundreds of hours you cannot make such claims.

    I'm in no way trying to start up another stupid ass debate. I'm simply posting my view point on suspension and the fact that it is useful in our line of work.
  2. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,177

    I've put the 3100 through its paces, and it undoubtedly has the best ride in the industry, this is not rocket science, 4 wheel independent suspension naturally will give a better ride.

    Things will change somewhat when you add 2 mph more to the mowing speed, believe me when I say; I know this without doubt. Most commercial cutters do not utilize the faster speeds unless on large open properties. The Ferris 3100 day in and day out will leave you body much less fatigued.

    You can go back into my post several years back, and find where I've said you must match the suspension to the mower weight, but this is not cost effective, and the reason it's not being done.

    I've operated a BB Lightning over 50 hrs., and had no problem cutting at full speed in many areas, but yes there was jarring involved. I've also operated the larger, more heavy BB AOS, of which rides by far better than the Lightning, and this is due to the additional weight of the larger AOS causing the rubber shock absorbers to react in a more user friendly manner.

    The rubber shocks on the Lightning have a rubber composition which is to heavy for the weight of the machine, while the heavier weight of the AOS causes the suspension to react in a more positive manner.

    The rubber composition is the same for both mowers, which will immediately tell you one of the two mowers cannot possibly ride as well as the other. When the rubber composition is too heavy, the lighter Lightning model will ride rougher, the rubber is too stiff to absorb shock. If the rubber was weakened to a point of allowing the suspension to function properly with the Lightning, it will then be to weak to carry and perform properly with the heavier AOS.

    The AOS rides extremely well, but then again it was a much heavier mower with a diesel engine. The strength of the rubber composition under the AOS was probably as close to perfect as could be found, but when you take the same shock system and install it on a much lighter mower, you lose the effectiveness, and this is exactly what you have seen with your Lightning.

    I talked with BB about this, and told them exactly what I said here, and that was if you want the better ride from your Lightning, you will need to soften the rubber composition of the suspension. They immediately told me this could not be afforded, and I understood. The way to get the best ride is to match the suspension to the weight of the machine, and this is not feasible for mower manufacturers.

    You've hit on a subject I explained years ago, and I thought it to be very interesting you came back with the same findings once again.

    To put this into an even better perspective, if you take the best riding mower on the market today, which is the Ferris 3100 or higher, and you do not match the 4 wheel independent suspension to the weight of the machine, the smoothness of ride will be diminished considerably.

    Think about it from this concept, put a heavy duty suspension under a truck which is designed to carry heavy loads, drive the truck daily without the load it was designed to carry, and it will beat your brains out. Load the truck heavy and it will ride much better, this is for the fact the suspension is reacting to the weight it was designed to carry.
  3. CurbAppealKS

    CurbAppealKS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 448

    I agree completely with the last part of your statement. I I have a 1990 chevy c30 with a box dump bed. It has a really stiff spring stack in the rear and will beat your brains out driving it unloaded. Put a trailer on it and load it with grass and it's much much smoother.
  4. Realslowww

    Realslowww LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,527

    Ohh so you want to come out and play do you! there is no doubt about it, a suspension mower can be great and if you are cutting real torn up terrain it will work alot better than a non shocked unit but in my area the Ferris is not popular because the terrain here I guess is pretty smooth.

    I have the older Style Super z's and I can mow full stick on about 90% of cutting apps without having to slow down because it's to rough, on a few jobs I have had the 3100 would probably of worked great but I use my mowers in some real tough apps and the 3100 from my eyes is not a rugged mower and even a dealer who sold them said they were easy to tear up compared to the toughest z's.

    The Ferris needs to be made stronger like one of my MOTO X bikes and look how light they are, you do not need to add a lot of weight to make something stronger. I look at a Ferris and the Suspension package looks like something from a 1969 ATC 70. :)

    So it's like pick your poison but I have no use for a piece of fragile CHIT were I mow! :laugh:
  5. Realslowww

    Realslowww LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,527

    It's over sprung when it's not loaded, if you take the truck out on a Ba Ha ride it will actually work pretty good stiff but not just to ride around empty for normal driving, my moto X bikes are stiff as a board because I run over rough terrain going 60 to 75 MPH.

    The faster you go over rough terrain the lighter you want it and more suspension you need to make the vehicle handle acceptable.

    15 or 16 MPH on a Z over rough ground is a good clip, a good suspension package on a mower ( I said a good package, the 3100 :laugh:) along with lighter weight will make it ride and handle better for sure.

    Mr. Puppy Paws should go read Newton's Law some, if you drop two objects from the Empire state building they will both fall at the same speed but if one is heavier what will happen when it hits the ground? it will make a much bigger hole that is what. That is why light is better because less energy needs to be dispersed when you run into something or over something.

    That is why race cars are designed to come apart at speed in a crash so they shed the weight and the energy from that weight away from and make sure it is not transferred to the race car driver in a crash. It is the same thing as what we are talking about but on a bigger scale. There are some variables here but the laws of physics are the laws of physics weather people like it or not.
  6. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,177

    Do you believe your lighter 72" Super Z will ride better than the heavier 72" Super Z HD?
  7. Realslowww

    Realslowww LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,527

    You see Puppy I did not make the laws of physics up God did, so when your are in church talk to him about your created theories. :)

    There are different Variables here but as the speed goes up and the terrain becomes rougher you are dam right it will and that is one of the reason I did not sign on board for the New Super Pig Z :) oink oink

    All kidding aside physics are physics and I did not make them up and they govern our lives everyday.

    No matter what you are still the mower God and I appreciate everything you post.
  8. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Here are some pics from this morning. The grass was soaking wet from 3 days of rain this week. The baffles were in the 1" down position and I took about 4 inches of grass off. Not double cut.







  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,809

    you're the one not understanding physics here, not Curb or puppy. We've all been through this debate in the past. You are right when it comes to making trucks, bah-ha vehicles and dirt bikes lighter. Lighter means less weight, which means the suspension can be lighter (again, saving weight) and the vehicle go faster, while still being able to basically skim over the bumps at high speed, yet still absorb some of the impacts. Those same high tech suspensions are worthless at lower speeds though, simply because they are not designed to perform at low speeds.

    A mower at slow speeds (even puppy's SZ is slow relatively speaking) works the suspension completely different from a high speed machine. It is simple physics. A heavier machine will absorb and disperse/distribute more impact force than a lighter machine will simply because the weight is there to resist the suspension enough to make it work as it should. It also helps the machine stay planted on the ground which smooths the ride out vs bouncing wildly across the surface like a lighter machine will do.

    Mowing and moto X or bah-ha have almost zero in common, so using them as examples together is simply irrelevant.
  10. Realslowww

    Realslowww LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,527

    You can set the best suspension components up soft for a great ride slow as well but as the speed goes up it will go to mush over rough terrain, if I am in rough terrain trying to mow a big job fast all things being equal a suspension system is best by far but the 3100 should be made better.

    All things being equal I will take the lighter machine every time. That is all being equal but things are not always equal and if you mow like Puppy does you are going to be looking for a machine to get done quicker so once again as your speed goes up you want to be lighter when you make contact with immovable objects like lots of bumps.

    Probably 10 years from now Puppy will be mowing the Berry Patch with a 68 MPH Carbon Fiber Super Z.

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