ZTR Life Span - Gas vs Diesel

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by keepoffthegrass, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. keepoffthegrass

    keepoffthegrass LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 212

    I just bought a Toro Z597 as some of you know. Its the 27hp diehatsu (sp?) diesel. Its got the biggest hydro pumps out of all the toros and is very well built.

    What do people get out of their diesel ZTR's 4000 hrs? 5000 hrs? 6000hrs ?

    Also, what do people run their gas mowers (25+hp / Liquid cooled) too?

    I can see running a HIGH HR mower as a backup or to speed up production but as far as your primary steak & potatoes? This mower cuts 90% of my municiple contracts im trying to figure out at what point i would replace it and move it down the line to "backup" status. It will get 1100hrs/yr and i have a 3 yr contract. Do i replace it if i sign again in 3 years or do i run it to 6600 hours and hope for no break downs? (an extra 15g in pocket or 5g a year)

    Looking for opinions, facts, or experiences with ZTR's gas or diesel.
  2. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,444

    I run my Gasburners until they blew up or needed engine replacement's for some that was 700 hours. Diesel is the only way to go when mowing commercially.

    I know when I was researching the diesel ZTR's before our purchase the Kubota/Emark/Toro dealer said that the Daihatsu diesels were "higher maintenance" vs the Kubota diesels. Most of the Daihatsu reliability issues were self inflicted, so I would think if you keep an eye on the Toro with that diesel engine, you will get thousands of hours of use. Assume your guys are not going to keep up with fluid checks etc

    Now that Dealer sold some Daihatsu diesels because of the cult following of the Toro guys, and he could not get them to run the Kubota's. So each LCO to their own powerplant poison.
  3. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Air cooled gas : 2,000-2,500hrs
    Liquid cooled gas : up to 3,500hrs
    Diesel : 6,000hrs

    Those are the expected figures, weather you reach that is a different story, depending on manufacturer, maintenance and operation. I know a guy with a scag STHM 2700+ hrs air cooled kohler, but he does baby it.
  4. Lehighlawnpros

    Lehighlawnpros LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Hi KOTG,

    I'm in a similar situation, as follows;

    We run about 900 hours per year total.

    I have a small fleet of Grasshoppers;
    "M1" 2004 722D (liquid-cooled Kubota diesel @ 1500 hours)

    "M2" 1998 725 (liquid-cooled Kubota gas @ 7,050 hours)

    "M3" 1993 721 (liquid-cooled Kubota gas @ 5,000+ hours)

    So I can only speak for the Grasshoppers with L/C Kubotas, but hopefully your machine will have similar durability.

    Here's my plan;

    We work five 5-hour days for each mowing "evolution",
    and approximately 36 evolutions per year.

    We use "M1" four out of five days per evolution.

    We use "M2" one day per evolution.

    "M3" is just a backup-backup, I run it at home occasionally
    and change fluids/filters yearly just to keep it in good running condition.

    Using this operating schedule I plan to;

    run the newest machine for 10 years/7,000 hours
    in the "M1" primary role;

    then, run the same machine an additional 10 years/2,000 hours in the "M2" secondary role;

    for a total of 20 years 9,000 hours in service before it gets
    "retired" to the "M3" backup-backup role.

    I've already proven that the Kubota L/C gas can go
    10 1/2 years/7,050 hours and it still runs great.

    The diesels are reported to be even more durable and have the added benefit of about $750 in fuel savings per 1,000 hours,
    so $750 x 9(thousand hours) = $6,750 in fuel savings during the 9,000 hour expected primary and secondary service life of the diesel.
    That's comparing the Kubota diesel @.6 GPH to the L/C Kubota gas that consumes 1 GPH using current local fuel prices,
    many gas engines consume even more so the difference would be even greater.

    Following this plan I'd only need to buy one new (or low-hour used) machine every 10 years.

    Granted, my plan is optimistic, but I think it's do-able and I maintain my machines very well.

    I just don't see a problem getting two more thousand hours from the 725 and the diesel should do even better.

    To help maximize your engine longevity (especially a diesel) consider installing a bypass oil filter, it's easy to do.
    I'm using Amsoil products and have had excellent results confirmed by oil analysis.

  5. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,227

    I have a Lazer Z full size 60 inch, 25 horse Kohler at 2959 hrs. Engine runs strong, 165-170 compression. Burns a little bit of oil though.
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    My first lazer got 3130 hours on the 27hp kholer before I replaced it. She was burning a lot of oil at the end but i would say it got to 3000 hours safely again depends on the guy using it and the repairs and maintenance they do not go over that magic line for free. Off hand I had replaced a hydro pump 3 or 4 clutches a starter a few switches and wiring oil changes ever 75-125 hours airl filters 2-3 sets of tires tons of blades and 3000 plus gallons of gas. But she has made me about 100 dollars for ever hour of use.
  7. hitechlm

    hitechlm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    why do you guys keep these machines for so long with all these hrs. I only keep a mower for 2-3 yrs depending on how many hrs are on the machine, then i sell them. Its alot cheaper to buy news ones every couple of years versus reparing the old ones, i.e spindles, motors, or hydro's. Also when you buy a new one you get a warrenty
  8. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    The Kubota diesels should be good for 6000 - 7000hrs. Same for the little Cat diesels.I don't think the B&S diesels will do much over what a similar size gas engine will do. You will probably be lucky if you get 3000 troublefree hours from that B&S diesel. I have not heard much good about them. They seem to self destruct quite often at fairly low hours.
  9. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,444

    Some of use don't have issues with Spindles, or Hydro's only motors. I Have a JD f-680 that is ten years old over 3,000hours Never a hydro issue or spindle failure. Frame & deck look like it's only 3 years old. I only sell equipment if it is "nickle & diming" me or It becomes unproductive, never becuase of age or hours. The best warrenty is the one you NEVER use. I have lucky and never had major issue's with any of our ZTR's.

    So my theory is go diesel since my equipment will be in great shape with years of hard use. I just don't agree that a commercial ZTR frame, deck, spindle & hydro's will be junk before you get your money back with a diesel.

    You could say your theory/rational is part of this economic crisis, why NOT KEEP your equipment longer is it really necessary to purchase New every three years:). Look at what purchasing new vehicles & house's etc year after year got us in debit. Our economy is going back to the good old days, gone are the days of only keeping cars or equipment for 3 years when it's still has plently of life yet.

    If it an't broke keep it, if it's broke fix it. When it die's time for a new machine.:walking:

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    Well for starters the hours I rack up a year now would be around 2200 hours in only 3 seasons so its not like my mower fleet is all that old. I just think it makes more sense to get the life out of it you paid for rather then dumping it for a fraction of what shes still worth to you.

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