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Looking at the Cub Cadet Z Force

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by therock, Apr 13, 2003.

  1. therock

    therock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I am a home owner, not a pro, and I'm looking to replace my JDeer 38STX Lawn Tractor type Hydrostatic, with the now Promotionally priced (3599.00) Cub Cadet Z Force ZTR. It's a 44" cut with either a Briggs 18Hp or the Kaw 15Hp. Both are V-twins. From what I hear, I want the Kaw. Unless you folks know something I don't. And what about the 3Hp difference?
    They are selling so fast they ran out of Kaws' and started putting them out with the Briggs and ran out of them. Dealers are getting back-ordered.
    I never owned a ZTR. Got allot of trees on 3/4 acre of fast growing Tall Feskew and I'm tired of the hassle. I mow every 5 days in prime season.
    I looked at the Husqevarna 48" before and after and it was not as good to me.
    I don't trust the TORO models for some reason.
    I have dibbs on the next Kaw powered unit to come in. I would like to hear some debates between the Kaw-15Hp & Briggs-18Hp motors. Some say the Kaws are quieter and more reliable as well.

    Looking for input.

    Thanks, therock

    P.S. Nice Board! If you have a Chevy Truck or SUV and like to tweak it or want to ask anything about them go here. http://www.pacific-audio.com/performance/discussion.html . No frills and fast.
    My Site http://users.adelphia.net/~allen22/ .
  2. Grass Master

    Grass Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 328


    You would be better off to spend a little more money and get a real z-turn. I have seen the z-force and am not impressed with it at all. Like the old adage says, "You get what you pay for"

    Look at the Bob-Cat LEO model 52" with an 18HP engine for $4995 or Scag has a very nice 48" 19HP Tiger Cub for $5999. Mowers like these will last you a lot longer and give you much fewer problems year to year if you take care of them.

    I would stay away from the Cub Z-force....you probably know that Cub is actually MTD. Buy a better mower, Scag, ExMark, Great Dane, Bob-Cat and get a much better machine that will last you a lot longer making it a better deal in the long run!!

    Good luck!!
  3. therock

    therock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I hear You. But my wallett don't.
    I have to think the Z-Force is hands down 5 times the machine than my JDeer is. MUCH Better! I put 5 years on it with no problems at all. Unless there is somthing better out there for the money (3599.00) it looks like the Z-Force is my answer.
    Can I get some input on the motor choices between the Kawasaki 15-Hp & the Briggs ELS Twin 18-Hp.

    Thanks, therock
  4. Grass Master

    Grass Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 328


    Either engine will outlast that mower. The 18HP Briggs will have more torque and power in heavier grass but the Kaw would do just fine as well.

    Good luck!!
  5. Jimmy Bell

    Jimmy Bell LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Rock - I was in your shoes and I bought what the ol wallet would allow, ended up not satisfied and trading up every few years. If I was you, I'd look real hard at Husqvarna, I almost bought one a few days ago. They offered 4.9% for 48! I ended up buying a Toro Z-255, 25HP 52". On sale for 7K and they gave me more on a trade for my Deere tractor mower than I could sell it for. Also, check out Hustler's Fastrack mower.
  6. therock

    therock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Great Info! You Guys are Great,
    Thanks, Jimmy, but a 44" cut is about perfect for me. Any bigger would defeat a purpose. Lots of trees close together. Could not get it through one of my gates. As for the trading every few years, the JDeer is 5 years old and has lots more to go. The Z-Force promotional price was the real prompt. And I always wanted one. (Tool Time Grunt!!)
    Hey Echo, as for the motor outlasting the mower. I am a maintenance tech \ machinist of 25 years working for an Anheuser-Bush Brewery. I would do my own labor and take real good care of the unit. It would be interesting to see about that. I really pamper my stuff. I just keep hearing about the Kaw being Soooo much better than the Briggs. Most of my barnyard experts feel the Briggs are third, Kohlers' second, and the Kaw is first. This is why I am here among you folks. To get educated advice.
    To All, If you had to choose between the Kawasaki 15-Hp or the Briggs 18-Hp, what would you choose. And importantly to me "Why".
    The dealer was strongly implicating the Briggs to be just as good of a motor as the Kaw. The 3 more HP has one of my eyes looking that way.
    Finally. I have never operated a ZTR. I'm going to test it out soon. They have a small lot to run one on. Any suggestions on testing techniques or what to look out for?

    Thanks, therock
  7. mike9497

    mike9497 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    well my first mower was a bobcat 48 w/b i was 6 lol.but for a home owner that wants a Ztr get a bobcat.the 48 is going for 5999 and 6988.good mower very long lasting.exmark has the zhp which is around the same price that cub ztr is not that hot at all.mtd also makes a red mtd ztr for like 4000.its junk
  8. Awilkinson

    Awilkinson LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 96


    I had that mower, I only had it for 50 hours, then I could not get rid of it fast enough!!!!

    While it has good power, The deck pulleys are wrong for the machine. The tip speed is way to slow and it often clogs. It will also be easily bogged down and give you a very uneven cut. I mean really uneven, like tall untouched trails down the center. If I were you, I would keep shopping!!!!!:angel:
  9. therock

    therock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Awilkinson! MERCY! That don't sound good! Hmmm? Anyone else on the Z-Force?
    You see I cannot go over what the Z-Force is priced at. Toros' ZX line are priced there. Anyone have experiance with them?

  10. KyleKoehler

    KyleKoehler LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 9

    You need to mow with the Z-force on heavy grass to answer your question. I just went through a 4-week process of driving and looking at Zero turns for my 3 acres (many trees and hills). I looked at everything from Ariens to Exmarks.

    I test drove Exmark 48", Bobcat 52", Ariens 52", Z-Force, Hustler 52", Cub Tank 54", Husqvarna 48" over a two week period.

    By far...for any money the Cub steering was the smoothest (both Tank and Z-force). I also liked the Hustler steering. Every other unit jerked and was hard to steer. I almost went with a Z-force because of it's size and fitting between things. The ability to bag with the Z-force (without buying a $$$ bagging system is a real plus).

    I think for a 3/4 acre lot you can't beat the price (I got a quote of $3,400 from my cub dealer). I thought the well tested 44" deck was nice for quick mulching to bagging switching. The deck is off a regular lawn tractor that has a good track record. Only draw back is the less than heavy duty nature of the deck.

    My only concern would be heavy mowing up hills. Try to get someone to bring one out and test mow. That will answer your questions.

    I ended up buying a 54" cub tank with 23 hp Kaw engine. I love it. I mow quick. My only mistake so far is hitting the deck chute on a tree almost right away.

    Prices that I got were $6k for Tank, Exmark, Bobcat. $5k for Hustler, $4k for Husqvarna, and $3400 for Z-force.

    Good Luck,

    Remember test-cut, test-cut, test-cut


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