Homeowner seeking a sanity check -- need a new mower for three acres

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Corn-Picker, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Corn-Picker

    Corn-Picker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I checked into the Ventrac with duals, unfortunately they are 20k, which is more than I'm willing to part with. They are one heck of a slope mower though, and they have some tractor functionality as well.

    What's an approximate OTD price on the Wright stander? That may be an option, I saw one at a local dealer but didn't look at it too closely.
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  2. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    $7500 give or take.
  3. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,071

    If slope mowing is your concern a stand on unit is not your best bet. Would go with a walk behind. Much more stable on slopes and lower cost. If you do want to look at a stand on would give the scags a go. About 1500 less then Exmark Toro Wright and IMO just as good or better mower. Dang did I say that? I bought the exmarks
  4. jasonhc73

    jasonhc73 LawnSite Member
    Male, from WICHITA KS
    Messages: 43

    Waiting for someone to mention this one. Ditto on it... It doesn't even need a ROPS, it is designed for 30° slopes.
  5. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,358

    3 arces with those slopes. A scag turf tiger (35 briggs) or dare I say hustler super z with either 61 or 72 wide decks would get you mowing in under 2hrs no problem. If purchased at the right price under $10k new is possible. Both handle hills well, they will go around anything with ease. Heck the 45 degree slope you might get a pass or two on.
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  6. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    I've spent some time in Albright so I know what you are dealing with. I'd suggest a new holland cm 224 or cm 274 or a similar kubota front mount mower. Very stable on slopes, large tires for the rough ground with 4wd and weights if needed. Pretty fast too. 12 mph on good turf with 6 foot deck and rear wheel steering. Used they are in your price range. Diesel engine. Very easy to work on.
  7. Corn-Picker

    Corn-Picker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I wanted to update everyone. I decided to go with a Grasshopper 623t with 52" deck, dual rear wheels, and WWF filled bar tires (45 lbs each). Price with 0% financing (48 months) and tax was 10.2 k. Paying cash would have only saved me $300, so my 10k will make a lot more in a mutual fund over the next four years than it would have if I paid cash for the Grasshopper.

    I wanted to write down some thoughts as far as hillside stability and slope holding stability since nobody online seems to quantify slope angles when discussing hill performance, they simply say "steep," "really steep," or pull a number out of their butt (30 degrees is a lot steeper than most people think it is). All of the angles I will mention have been verified with an inclinometer resting on an eight foot long 2x4.

    Firstly, I could see the Grasshopper front mount mowers being horrible or excellent slope mowers depending on whether or not they are configured correctly. There are multiple mounting points to connect the deck to the drive unit, which control how much weight is transferred to the drive wheels. There are turf tires or bar tires. There are single tail wheels or dual tail wheels. If you had the deck set up for minimum weight transfer and had turf tires with a single tail wheel then you would be slope limited. My grasshopper is setup with bar tires (filled with WWF), max weight transfer, and dual tail wheels.

    The Grasshopper's most traction limited direction is going straight uphill. The weight on the drive wheels is reduced when going uphill and increased when going downhill, which is the exact opposite of a mid mount ZTR or lawn tractor. That being said, uphill traction ain't bad. It's pretty much equivalent to my Crafstman LT with open rear diff and wheel weights. That is to say, slippage will occur around 20-25 degrees depending on turf conditions (assuming the ground is dry).

    Backing uphill is a different story -- it'll back up hills 25 degrees no problem (I haven't tried steeper but it may do it). Personally I prefer to have more traction going downhill, as that's when you need it for braking or backing out of a corner.

    Side hill stability is excellent, I've had no issue mowing cross slope on slopes of 15-20 degrees. More may be possible, but this machine is new to me so I haven't explored it's limits yet. You will tear up the yard if you expect major traction from the uphill wheel, but the uphill wheel will have enough traction to keep you pointed perpendicular to the slope.

    The ride on the Grasshopper is un-freaking-believably fantastic. I mowed the roughest most rutted section of my yard at top speed (8.5 mph) and never felt a strong shock through the seat. This contrasts with my Craftsman LT, which will knock your fillings loose if you tried to mow the same piece of land at its top speed (about 4.5 mph). The ride is really that's good, it's the difference between a tightly sprung car with a short wheelbase and a huge 1970s Cadillac with soft suspension.

    I demoed a Ventrac 3200 series in addition to the Grasshopper. It was a nice machine with unmatched traction and good hillside stability, but its mowing ability and ride comfort are a fair bit behind the Grasshopper. That's not necessarily unexpected -- the Ventrac offers some tractor capability that the Grasshopper does not (e.g. a slip scoop), so it's a different type of machine. The grasshopper does offer some other attachments (e.g. a snow blower and a dozer blade), but you can tell that its primary purpose is mowing.

    That's all I can think of for now, please let me know if you have any questions and I'll try my best to answer them. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish I would have spent 10k on this mower five years ago when I bought this property.
  8. Corn-Picker

    Corn-Picker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    One more thing I wanted to mention: I like the design of the Grasshopper drive line. The horizontal crankshaft engine is connected directly to the hydraulic pump which has hydraulic lines running the two wheel motors -- there are no belts anywhere in the drive line. There are only three belts on the grasshopper, one for the deck, and two (in a redundant arrangement) that connect the deck drive shaft pulley to the rear engine pulley.
  9. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I never reccomended hopper to you but they are amazing machines for the reasons you said and the t drive is awesome.
  10. dnrsslr

    dnrsslr LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 77

    I'm curious what about the "mowing ability" of the Ventrac 3200 you didn't like. I have a Ventrac 3000 (same style but older model) and really like it. I have the snow blower and LOVE IT! I also have a 60" deck that appears to have been used hard so the cut and striping are not quite what I would like to see. But, I believe a new deck would solve this completely! Just waiting to convince my wife to spend the money on a new deck. I'm thinking I'd like to go to the rear discharge deck. It's only 52" but I like the idea of throwing the grass under me instead of around me.

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