Tough (which mower to buy) decision

matthew horner

LawnSite Senior Member
Sanford, NC
I'm just looking for sound advice from people who have a reason for knowing.
I'm looking a purchasing a mower to get me upgraded a little. Tight budget, so I'm in the used category. I have narrowed it down.
1. A scag turf runner. 48 inch cut with bagger built on the back. 22 horse power kohler. Unit has 500 plus hours, engine has less than 20 hours. Saw it and drove it today. Sounds allright, but activating the deck took about 6 tries from sitting outside. I guess it had to loosed itself up. One owner.
2. A Dixie Chopper 5018. 18 horse power kohler. 50 inch cut. 704 hours. Haven't seen this one, only pics. Current owner swears he's maintained well, is the second owner. Saws it works great, needs nothing.
I can get either of them for $2000.00
I'm not ultra-experienced at this, and this would be my first hydro mower, not to mention my first z turn rider. But I'm a great learner, and am very mechanically inclined. I do all my work on my machines.
I've currently been using a 52 inch toro proline (which I absolutely love). I also have a john deere 48 inch walkbehind, and the standard pushers etc.
I also bought a hustler shortcut 1500, but have yet to get that one running.
But back to my question, which mower is best for the money, and which is best. They both look like great machines, and i've heard wonderful things about both of them. I'm particulary happy about the bagging of the scag, but that does'nt sway me all the way. And i've heard that dixie choppers are fast. I HATE when a tire breaks away leaving a grassless spot, and I would love to avoid that, so if one of these is notorious for that, please say so. I think the scag is hydro pump to hydro motor powered, and the dixie chopper is hydro pump to chain to wheel powered, but am not sure.
Thanks everyone,

Richard Martin

LawnSite Fanatic
Greenville, NC
Although I do love my Dixie I will have to agree with Paul. The horsepower difference is enough to sway me towards the Scag over the Dixie.

That being said are you sure about the chain drive on the Dixie? If it does have chain drive I'd pass up on that. Dixie went to an all hydro drive system many, many moons ago. That mower is very old.


LawnSite Member
as its said "simply the best"

matthew horner

LawnSite Senior Member
Sanford, NC
Thanks. The dixie is a 1992 model. Also, I can get an exmark 60" lazer rider in decent shape with 1800 hours for 3,500. Just not sure of the decision I should make.

J Hisch

LawnSite Bronze Member
Evansville IN
I am a Scag fan also, but the turf runners have had their share of problems. But Ill also let you know this i am looking for used turf runner desipte the problems. Scag part are also always avaliable.


LawnSite Senior Member
The Scag Turf Runner didn't have any more problems than the Walkers do - but they didn't have any less problems either !

What happened when you tried to start the mower up 6 times before it would go ? Did the engine die ? Did the PTO clutch kick out ? You really didn't say what was happening.

The Kohler engines are always cold blooded, and need to warm up good before you can engage a mower deck. If it was the PTO clutch, this can happen if the clutch needs the air gap adjusted, or if they shut the mower down with grass still inside the blower and tube.

Before you buy the Scag, check the mower gear box drive for its proper oil level. Also start the mower and listen to the drive. Are the bearings and gears and seals in good shape ?

If the Scag turns out to have no real problems - buy it ! $2000 is real cheap for a decent Scag, and the Turf Runner can make one of the best cuts I have ever seen. Another advantage it had was the ability to side discharge or vacuum at the flip of a lever. You have to buy an extra deck and take 10 minutes to switch the mowers to do this on a Walker.

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