Tired of pulling a trailmower - Need advice

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by fastweig, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. fastweig

    fastweig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    For years I have been cutting about 3.5 acres with a lawn tractor and a 60" Swisher trail mower. Seemed like a pretty good idea at the time and it does work albeit not very efficiently. I get a nice wide 100" cut but I have to go slow and it is a royal pain around trees. I could be wrong but I'm also afraid that my little lawn tractor isn't made for that kind of constant pulling and I’ll' eventually start having transmission problems.

    I want to start maintaining another 3 acres that I have just been letting someone bale hay on so that puts me at about 6.5 acres to mow. I could do it with my current rigged setup but I'm thinking I should upgrade to a ZTR.

    I know you guys deal what’s the best --- threads every day but my specific questions are on deck size and speed. I keep thinking I would want a 60" deck but 52" seems pretty popular even in the commercial mowers. Also, I see speed specifications at around 6,8, and 10 mph. What’s the realistic cutting speed of these mowers?

    I don't want to spend a fortune on a top of the line commercial because I am a seasonal, residential owner and not generating any revenue off the machine.

    I was looking at the Ariens Max Zoom 60. I liked that it has a Kawasaki engine and the price at around 5 grand seems pretty good. I can't afford to get into the 7 to 8 thousand or higher price range. The Deere dealers in my area have a couple of used Z820A and Z830A mowers for a good price but I read about the 800 series problems on this forum so thanks for that.

    Any opinions on the Ariens or should I be looking at something else?

    Attached is a photo of my rigged up mowing solution.

    Attached is a photo of my rigged up mowing solution.
  2. Bagit

    Bagit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    For that kind of wide open mowing you may want to look into a 72" deck. Your thinking right though, atleast a 60". :) Check out all the dealers close by. Demo a few brands before you buy. Take your time and get the one you like the best.

    What brands are there near you? If you demo some, tell us what you think of the different mowers.
  3. mbrew

    mbrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 491

    That Ariens is among the better home owner series Z's. I have a 10 year old Airens that isn't built nearly as well that has helped me keep up with my acre. I would consider the Bad Boy models and both Hustler and Scag have a nice entry level mower. The BB has a 60", but I don't know about the Scag and Hustler. Maybe only 52's from them.

    I would do that amount of acreage with a homeowner machine, but its also about where I'd start considering a full commercial. I'd definitely look at the used market and see what you find. If you're patient, something with 250 - 400 hours will come along under your 5K specification.

    Most people here probably cut in the 6-8 mph range. Faster needs a more bigger mower and unless the ground is fairly smooth, you need to start looking at suspension as you move through 10 MPH or so.
  4. fastweig

    fastweig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for the replies.

    The most continent dealers that actually works on the mowers are well is John Deere and Husqvarna. I live outside a small town and the Husqvarna dealer is just a few miles away and are super nice folks.

    Based on that I'd probably be looking at the following:
    Husqvarna MZ6128ZT http://www.husqvarna.com/us/landowner/products/zero-turn-mowers/mz6128zt/#specifications
    Deere EZtrack Z465 http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCatalog/HO/servlet/com.deere.u90785.cce.productcatalog.view.servlets.ProdCatProduct?pNbr=SKU22426&tM=HO&link=enav

    The BadBoy CZT looks good but the dealer is 50 miles away which is fine for the purchase but bad if it needs service.
    The Ariens dealer is also about 45 miles away.

    I just ran over to the Husqvarna shop and sat on a MZ6128ZT. It only comes with a 28hp Briggs engine. The owner said he hasn't had any problems with them. I don't know what to think about that.

    Again, thanks for the help guys. You all know this soo well and it's downright intemediating to us regular Joes who are just trying to pick out a good quality mower.
  5. Bagit

    Bagit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 200

    If you wait a little while, you could probably get a commercial grade mower for around $8,000. I'd rather be rolling across the plains at 13hp, than 7hp, and paying low interest. Look for some leftover commercial grade mowers.

    Your set-up now is fine. It gets the job done, right? Remember, it's a 100" deck/s set-up. That's alot wider than 60".

    Take your time. Tell the husky dealer to bring a commercial model, and the model you sat on, over for a test drive, if you have no trailer.

    Only sign when your convinced.
  6. Grass Shark

    Grass Shark LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone 7
    Messages: 660

    I think you should look at one of these they come with a 5 year/ 500hr warranty front to back and you cant beat the pricing:

    You can buy tons of different commercial zero turns for $8000 any time of year :hammerhead:, I passed on a brand new 52" Toro Z400 up for $7500 this past april.
  7. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    I would agree with Grass Shark, that mower is a great fit for you.
  8. fastweig

    fastweig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I've been reading about the BobCat ever since Grass Shark posted his reply. I'd never heard if them but the mower looks great. I like the 5/yr 500/hr warranty.

    Do you guys feel pretty good about the 23hp Vanguard or would you spent $750 (approx) more for the 24hp Kawasaki?

    There is actually a dealer about 20 miles away. I'll see if they have any.
  9. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    Would you rather mow 100" at 5 mph, or 60" at 9-10 mph? The amount of time you will save won't be that much, for the cost of a commercial rider.

    Here is a productivity chart: http://www.exmark.com/productivity.htm
  10. fastweig

    fastweig LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Yes, what I'm doing now is working and has for years. My thinking on the ZTR is this:
    My Swisher is about 8 years old now and I'm not sure how many more years it has left in it. My JD X320 is fairly new and only has a little over a hundred hours on it. I can still sell it for a couple of thousand dollars helping offset the cost of a ZTR.

    I'd also like to plant a few more trees around the property and that is the biggest PITA with the trailmower.

    When it comes right down to it this isn't something I absolutely have to do. I just thought it would make mowing a little more tolerable.

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