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Hearing bad things about Ferris

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by dathorpe, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    I currently run Scag Turf Tigers, Exmark Lazers, and Toro Z Masters. All have rigid frames and even with suspension seats, it'll be a rough ride on this particular property I'm bidding. I love Scag so I might have to consider the Cheetah. Though, I don't believe it's as well built as the Turf Tigers. I'll consider Hustler and Gravely also but dealer support is an issue for those two in my area. Closest Gravely guy is 50 miles away and the nearest Hustler guy is a small time operation.
  2. dathorpe

    dathorpe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    Might have to do that and get some 72" Turf Tigers.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,670

    Ferris is a decent commercial machine.
    It's not backed well by the factory, they don't want to listen to anyone about "the little things" and don't want to consider that there might be a few things that are wrong.
    All in all your talking about a great machine that trips over twigs, to the point of making it a non-production machine.
    I had a 3100z that was basically not worth putting on the trailer.
    The hydraulic problems are quite evident after 400 hours, and the engineers don't want to hear a about it.
    I have countless pictures of emailing them back and forth about a hydro leak, and they didn't want to hear my diagnosis that BOTH the motor and the pump were leaking... "well which one is it?" duuh both!
    'well we have looked at the pictures and decided that it is X'
    when they sent me X and it still leaked from Y, they got mad at ME.
    all this over the course of several weeks while the mower was down.

    They promised me up and down that this was an anomaly due to the fact that the machine I had, had a serial number that put it in a 'prototype' phase, and this was the reason for all the problems.
    I'm big on keeping a fleet a fleet and didn't want to hop mower brands just because I had a few problems.
    I bought two more machines, and after receiving delivery, realized that they don't both go the same speed...what? How odd... factory has NO answer for this.
    After telling them I had a problem in the fleet, they decide 'I' was the problem, and won't talk to me anymore, I have to go through my dealer who is thousands of miles away from me (good guys, the dealer)

    IF you want tanks that last for ever, SCAG.
    BUT I wouldnt get 72" mowers... get a cheetah in 60 inch.
    Here is why, simply put, what if you don't keep that contract? Your mowers will easily out live that contract, property could get sold, they could turn it into a parking lot, etc etc.
    a 60 inch mower is more versatile and can be used on nearly everything 1/2 acre and up.
    The cheetah is hands down the best combination of fast and well built out there.
    You will also get the highest resale value if you ever sell them out of anything else around, and the higher rate of speed (and the better maneuverability of the 60" deck) will more than make up for the lack of the 72" deck.

    Get the striping roller kit on the decks from day one, not only will the cut look way better, but it also helps heavily with bumpy lumpy properties and the deck gouging or scalping anywhere (another reason not to get a 72)

    Another brand you might really want to look into, tackling the issue from another angle, is the Walker... Walker Super B has the largest deck available you can buy, but it also is an outfront deck meaning it will roll and countour much better than mid mounts , the out front will also let it go under low hanging trees and prickers, etc without having to half drive into them yourself with your face.
    Additionally the way the deck and tractor undulate differently than a midmount will also help enormously with a very bumpy, uneven property.
    Bonus to the walker is all the different attachments/decks you can out on there as well.
    74" side discharge not working over here? Put on a smaller mulching deck, aerator, snow blower...whatever you need.

    Super Bs are built much more sturdy than their typical GHS counterparts, and have the best suspension seat in the industry (IMO):clapping:

    Same can be said of the slightly larger grasshopper brand. also an outfront mower.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,670

    Oh one more that you might consider (especially if the walker/grasshopper entry is appealing to you) is the ventrac, they have a huge deck they call the counter deck, reminds me of the old wing decks from howard price, but goes together like one big rotary deck, the different aspects of the deck roll and undulate with the turd, even cutting the plateau and down the side of the enbankment at the same time... perfect for the rolly polliest of properties, plus the 8 million other things you can do with the attachments.

    Their vaccum system is the best of both worlds between what grasshopper and walker offer.
  5. JTLarson

    JTLarson LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Shenandoah, IA
    Messages: 274

    I started with Exmark, then tried Deere, then Hustlers for several years, then tried a Scag Cheetah (which still felt rigid to me after flex forks, because they take the initial brunt out of a bump), then went to Ferris. Sometimes a rigid mower feels better, but on a lot of properties I mow, the Ferris suspension really saves a guy. I mow farms, commercial properties, etc., that everyone thinks they can drive all of the biggest equipment they have across them, even after a rain. grrrrr!!!! The Hustler dealer I dealt with treated me well, and my Ferris dealer does a decent job. The Exmark/Gravely dealer is the best at customer service, etc., but their prices are a little steeper. Every dealer I have access to, besides Deere, is a half hour to an hour away. I demoed the Gravely with the air ride seat. It was pretty nice. Scag and Country Clipper seem to have some of the plushest suspension seats. I put a Michigan suspension seat on my Ferris, but went back to the factory non-suspension, plush seat for better all day comfort. The Michigan seats seem to get a little hard on the backside on large properties where you mow for several hours straight.
    Didn't mean to ramble, just sharing my experiences to try helping out.
    I have also considered a front mount unit. Some say they ride better than a mid-mount, but there is an extra set of wheels going to hit every bump. I wonder if that would make it rougher or spreading it out would make it smoother? Ferris/Snapper make the same front mount, just Ferris puts a suspension seat on theirs.
  6. Dakota Dog

    Dakota Dog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    I see there are 4 - 6 folks that have had issues with the Ferris suspension so let’s look at numbers. The Ferris IS3100 rear shock Ferris part number 5100270 is strictly used on the IS3100 unit. With that said I do not know how many Ferris IS3100 units are sold in one year but every machine has 2 rear shocks so I would have to assume that there are quite a few of these shocks out in the field and only a hand full of folks complaining about them. Now let’s turn to the front shocks on the Ferris IS3100 units. The IS3100 with a 61" cut has a Ferris part number 5023436. Are you ready for this? This part number shock is not only used on all of the IS3100 units front ends but it also goes on the rear end of the Ferris IS700, IS1500, IS2000 and the front end of the IS2500 unit. That means that there a huge amount of this particular shock out there with only a hand full of folks complaining about them. Now the IS3100 unit with a 72" cut has a heaver front shock Ferris part number 5023383. This shock is used on the IS3100 unit, IS4500 unit and the rear steering tire of the Pro Cut S three wheel units. So again with the number of shocks out there vs. the number of folks that have had issues, there is a substantial difference in the numbers between complaints and shock being used in the field. I wish I knew the Ferris sales numbers because that would complete the facts about these numbers of complaints vs. the number of actual shocks being used in the field. As for bushings wearing out. The folks with those issues please provide me with the serial number of your machine, the hours on your unit and the exact bushing that you are talking about (there are many bushings on these units) and I will see if I can address your complaints one on one.
  7. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    Early 3100 and 5100's had issues with the bushings in the A-arms of the rear suspension wearing quickly. There is an update kit to convert old machines to the new style of A-arm and depending on hours and such.

    As far as I know the new style has been pretty trouble free. I dont have many of the big machines out though. I do see alot of older machines though with worn bushings and the owners never want it fixed and never complain about the cut... But I also have Wright standers come in with the front wheel bearings completely gone and no complaints about the cut(actually in for the clutch not working or something else, nothing to do with the bearings).
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,670

    So you are trying to isolate these 4-6 folks posting here, as 'just a few people' complaining about a problem, BUT THEN want to use figures of global sales, to show how 'small' the problem is?

    That's pretty faulty.

    How the people who are posting on this forum, who have owned or operated ferris, or had some experience with them, what percentage of THEM are complaining? Oh my, that ratio just jumped to "most" all the way from "hardly".

    You can't say thousands of units sold, only 4-6 complainers. this little thread is hardly a cross section of ferris owners.
    But it's an excellent snaphot of experience with ferris. How many ferris owners that are posting here are 'happy' with their ferris?
    Might want to start with that ratio?
  9. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    From my experience with ferris, they're great but tend to have tons of problems. First year my old boss had a newer model it was in the shop almost 10 times, with tons if parts that got replaced for upgraded parts at ferris' suggestion. I'd consider something more durable, the suspension is great, but I think you trade comfort for durability.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Dakota Dog

    Dakota Dog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Folks from around the world use this website so YES these are my examples. I am simply posting facts. A happy customer is less likely to post then an unhappy customer. After all if they have no issues what do they do they have to post and complain about? Unhappy folks are more likly to post becuase they want to air there fustrations so.................. 4 out of 6 folks are complaining about the shocks the other must be happy. :walking:
    xjjeepman1 likes this.

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