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Kubota models ZG327 & ZD331 comparison with pics of mulching

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LwnmwrMan22, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I currently own a Kubota ZD331 / 72" deck.

    About a week ago, I tried out a Kubota ZG327 / 60" deck with a mulching kit, as I'm curious as to how the new Kubota gas engines are doing in fuel efficiency and power against my diesel models. I also own a Kubota ZD28 / 60" deck, a 2006.

    I ran it for a total of 4 engine hours, wide open throttle at a school that I mow. 95% of the grass had been mowed the week before, just a small area which hadn't been mowed yet this year, about 1500 sq ft.

    I used 1.3 gallons per hour, the machine did a very very good job of mulching, I was quite pleased with it. Especially in areas where the WAM left some clumps, I just drove over it with the mulch kit and the grass was gone.

    The ZG327 felt and handled the same as the ZD331, other than for the fact it has a fixed front axle, rather than the pivot front on the ZD331. This wasn't a HUGE factor, as 95% of the school property is quite smooth.

    The area that hadn't been mowed yet this year, I had to double cut, but as soon as I went over it the second time, it was just like it had been mowed all season, with no clippings left behind.

    I'll have to make another post with the pictures from the demo of the ZD331 / 60" mulching deck. Read on........
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    The ZD331 with the 60" mulching deck, I used 1.2 gallons of diesel per hour. I mowed an entire school, smaller elementary, but it did have 2 acres of grass which hadn't been cut for 15 days.

    Here are the pics.....


  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Once again, I had to double cut, even with blades that had just been sharpened, but I believe it is just too much grass to mulch / cut in one pass, even with the high torque of the diesel.

    Here is what it would look like after the first pass.....

  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Then after I went back over it, it was mulched down to this....

  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Here is what it looked like from a distance. Notice under the bench how high the grass was originally.

  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    It took about 4 hours to cut 1 acre, trim everything, then double cut the 2 acres around this ball field.

    All in all, I was happy with the outcome.

    Where I was a little upset though, was the next morning I had to finish a school where I'd been working the day before. This grass had been mowed the week before, and it was still too long to mulch if you wanted to go more than 1/2 of full speed. It left clumps, not big ones, but noticable ones.

    Again, 1.2 gallons of fuel per hour.

    Well today I got to use the mower again, and the dealer had taken the mulch kit out. I put 6.5 hours on it this time, and used 6.5 gallons, so 1 gallon per hour. I mowed at a school again, wide open throttle, wide open speed, same as I'd done with that Kubota ZG327.

    It did an exceptional job cutting, throughly enjoyed running the mower today.

    I'd have no problems in purchasing one of these mowers without the mulch kit.

    To wrap this up though, if you're only looking at fuel efficiency and price, I broke it down like this.....

    ZG327 / 60" mulching deck, 1.3 gallons per hour, price of approx. $9500.

    ZD331 / 60" mulching deck, 1.2 gallons per hour, price of approx. $12,000

    ZD331 / 60" non mulching deck, 1 gallon per hour, price of approx. $11,700.

    If you look at fuel prices here, gas right now is $3.75 per gallon, off road diesel right now is at $4.24 per gallon.

    In Minnesota, you can fill out forms to get your road tax back, which is .22 per gallon, and you can also fill out a form to get the federal road tax back which I believe is another .10 per gallon, so figure .30 per gallon.

    That drops the price for gas, if you want to fill out the forms and wait on the government to send you a check back, down to roughly $3.50 per gallon.

    If you figure a 600 hour mowing season, without the mulch kit, the ZD331 would burn 600 gallons, or $2,544 in fuel.

    The ZG327 would burn 780 gallons, with the mulch kit, or $2,925 worth of fuel, if you didn't use the forms to get the road tax back, and paid the $3.75 per gallon.

    The ZG327 would cost you roughly $400 more each year in fuel. However, you'd save about $2,000 in the purchase price of the machine.

    This means you'd have to run the machine 5 years or 3000 hours to get your money out of buying a diesel, ZD331.

    At 3000 hours, the diesel would still be good to go, and you'd probably have put some other money into the ZG327 engine, but if you're the type of guy that wants to just switch out mowers at 1800 hours, or are looking for a backup mower, such as myself, these numbers show that you should probably lean towards the ZG327.
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    You obviously spent some time crunching those numbers. I guess a true indicator would be to run the two side by side for a longer period of time.

    Our 2 new 331 D's are cutting schools which havent been cut at all yet this year. In some cases the grass is at 3 ft tall!!! To add to it, its been raining steady out here, and nothing has been dry since Monday. What a mess. Seem to be taking longer and longer to get through this first cut. Some fields require triple cutting, clumps are bad, and in some cases they're actually plowing grass.

    The school board just awarded us the contract two weeks ago and we started them this week. We're just over 1/2 way throught the first cut, next week should be fun.

    I have been putting as many pieces as I can spare to this first cut, and a couple of my Ferris gas ZTR's are dying, in comparison to the Kubotas. More rain in the forecast-these units are truly being put to the test.
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    You're right..... if you were going to be doing alot of heavy, thick, wet cutting, or running a deck bigger than a 60", then I would lean towards the diesel.

    Personally most of my properties will be cut weekly, and I'm looking at replacing my ZD28 with a faster machine, and at most will hopefully have 100 hours put on it per year, since my ZD331 72" is my main machine, so I think I'll save the $2000-2500 and go with the gasser.
  9. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    This contract gets gut every 2 weeks. I cleaned up the two units today, and the hour meters are at 48 hours already (after a week of cutting). I cut our shop grass (1/2 acre) this afternoon which hadnt been cut in two weeks (go figure) and it handled very well-in my opinion, but I personally haven't cut a lawn in over 10 years.
  10. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    My dealer called me yesterday, he wants me to buy his ZD331 / 60" demo with 36 hours on it.

    He's got it down to $11,500 now, and will give me $7,500 for my trade.

    Now I'm back in the position of not knowing which way to go again.

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