Gravely ZT 1232

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rcwebb, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. rcwebb

    rcwebb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I am looking to replace my old Lawn tractor and am considering to models: a new Craftsman 3500 lawn Tractor with a 42' deck and a 20 HP B&S for $1289, or a used Gravely ZT 1232 (32' with a B&S 12 hp) for $1250. The Gravely looks brand new and also includes the mulching attachment and the bagger attachment. The previous owner supposedly traded the Gravely in to purchase a larger model.

    From searching and reading posts here, the residential Gravely's are not well liked, but this is what is in my budget. I have 2 acres to mow with several giant oaks that I have to mow around the roots. I also have a ditch bank that I mow, so my lawn isn't nice and level.

    Any opinions are welcome. The Craftsman is very similar to my old mower that served me well for 9 years. I have no experience with Gravely's or ZTR mowers.

  2. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,667

    Get the Z, even at the residential level the Gravely will walk all over the Craftsman.
  3. rcwebb

    rcwebb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Well after 16 months I am ready to ditch the Gravely. The pros: great quality cut, great mulching, fun to drive. Cons: Constantly won't start, bad clutch design, control arms stick out past the deck so you can't mow close to fences or bushes without getting hung, underpowered so it won't cut thick grass that is tall. I have had this in the shop four times now and spent $200 in repairs with an additional $350 repair paid due to a clutch recall. What good are the pros when you can't cut with it? I have been talking with the son of the dealer who sold this mower to me and the son says they have four in the back they can't sell because of problems. He said they have five people who bought them with four buy-backs and only one who hasn't had major problems. They don't even carry the smaller mowers or the Gravely rear engine mowers any more because of the problems. If only his father had been that honest. I am waiting to hear what they say on this repair and what they will offer to buy it back. Instead I am looking at the craftsman again, or a Husqvarna, or a John Deere LA115. Any recommendations?
  4. dakota2112

    dakota2112 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I own a Scotts L2048 which, as I understand it, is a re-badged John Deere L120. I don't have any experience with the LA115 but I believe it is similar to the L120 so I will give you my thoughts on it.

    My L2048/L120 is a 20HP Briggs Intek with 48" deck. I have 2 acres with about 40 trees and several other obstructions, and a banked road shoulder, and this mower has gotten the job done for 7 years now. It has 285 hours on the clock, and it runs like a champ. I do follow the maintenance schedule outlined in the manual religiously. I did have to replace a blade spindle (the OEM factory component is sealed and nongreasable) and two idler pulleys but those are easy to replace. The replacement spindle has a grease fitting.

    One thing I will warn you about though is the steering. This mower does not like to turn a very tight circle, and 7 years of trying to get in close around all my trees while moving at a good clip has taken its toll on the steering components. The teeth on the steering pinion and rack gears are badly worn and there's a lot of play in the steering wheel as a result - and this kind of problem will accelerate until it needs new steering components. So don't expect this machine to be incredibly maneuverable. (all riding mowers may share this characteristic for all I know)

    I will say though that I've gotten fed up with it taking 2.5 hours to get the job done so I bought a Scag Tiger Cub. I do still have the JD as a backup. Hope this helps.

    Oh yeah, and use the parking brake on the JD even if you park the thing in the garage or barn. Reason being, it relieves the tension off the transmission drive belt which hopefully will prolong the belt's life. That belt looks to be a bear to replace. Mine still has the OEM transmission belt on it.
  5. rcwebb

    rcwebb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the comments dakota2112. My last one was a Poulan with a B&S 14.5 hp engine. It ran for nine years with the only repairs coming from a bent spindle when my wife embedded a blade in a tree root. I only paid $1k for it and would love to find another one as reliable as that. It never failed to start.

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