ZTR Recommendation ~5ac.

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by TacoDaTugBoat, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. TacoDaTugBoat

    TacoDaTugBoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    So I was only going to lurk but I was encouraged to start a thread.
    I am buying a house in 2 weeks. 10 acres. Some woods in the back, a hay field, 2 horse paddocks, and some yard. I will have to mow the paddocks and the yard. I figure they are a combined 5 acres as the title says. It is mostly flat. 4k really is about our limit.
    I have looked at home depot and a Gravely Dealer. The Gravely Dealer is also a Stihl Dealer where I have been getting my toys from for a while now, good people and close to home. So I have been planning to get a Gravely ZT XL 48. I know a tractor would be nice for the fields, but it is not doable right now. The current owner does it with a Deere rider. The neighbor does the hay.
    What do you guys think?
  2. gjsnow

    gjsnow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I think 48 inch deck for 5 acres will be slow. You need at least a 60 inch deck.
    With 4k maybe you can get something used in good shape.
    It is still a hunk of cash.
  3. dieseltech

    dieseltech LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    Look into a husqvarna mz6128 for around 4500 or so. 61" deck, 28hp briggs pro, fab deck, large commercial zt3400 trans, 23" rear drive tires and large caster tires. You get alot of mower for the money and i think it would suit you well with that much property.
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  4. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    Taco, as I mentioned in the other thread, I liked the Gravely, but the Husqvarna that dieseltech pointed out is what I ended up with. They're more like 5k, but built for an area like yours. Frankly, the lower end Gravely isn't. Sounds like your ground may be pretty rough like mine is and unless the mower is built for it, it will be beaten down too quickly. I know that an extra 1k is hard to swallow once you've established a budget cap, but with these mowers on a few acres, around 5k and up to 6k is the sweet spot and there are several good choices around 5000 to 5500 including Gravely's ZT HD 60". Also, as diseltech said, unless you have narrow gates or something to go through, get a 60". It will make a huge difference in mowing efficiency. A 60" deck is 25% larger than a 48" and in open areas, going the same speed, you will spend 25% less time mowing and 25% less engine and machine hours, and 25% less gas, since all mowing with these things is done at full throttle anyway.
  5. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    x2. http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/zero-turn-mowers/mz6128zt/

    Also, I like the looks of Hustler FasTrak SD (http://www.hustlerturf.com/products/fastrak-super-duty.html), Gravely ZT HD (http://www.gravely.com/zero-turn-mowers/zt-hd-riding-mower/Pages/default.aspx), Ariens Max Zoom (http://www.ariens.com/products/riding-mowers/max-zoom-zero-turn/Pages/default.aspx), and Dixie Chopper Magnum (http://www.dixiechopper.com/mowers/magnum). I did price the DC a while back ($6500+ if memory serves) so that one might be out of the running when compared to the others.
  6. TacoDaTugBoat

    TacoDaTugBoat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Well now I am all over the place. I think I am going to have to see if the local shops (Gravely, Husqvarna, and Hustler) will let me demo at my own house. I have never actually mowed the new lawn but it seemed pretty smooth walking around on it. The pasture wont be as smooth but will be cut higher.
    I wanted to stay smaller to be more flexible, in case I needed to take it to my grandmothers house. I called my dad thinking he was going to confirm this because he is the thrifty sort, but he seems to think that in the long run, I would be better going bigger. Now I am going to have have to start opening my wife's mind to $5k+. Taking my dad mower shopping for fathers day.
  7. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    In my best Elmer Fudd, "Be vewy, vewy qwiet. I'm hunting wawn mowers."

    Sounds like a fun plan. Enjoy and good luck.
  8. retrodog

    retrodog LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,429

    Don't get a 48" you will just be ticked off everytime you mow...lol. Definately get a 60"....lol. I like the husky/Dixon think they are a heck of a buy just hate husky with a passion as a company... Ariens zoom 60 is $4999, gravely has one close to that (since you are familiar with the gravely dealer you might just stick with them...), Bad Boy has a ZT 60" that is $4999 with a kohler or $5299 with a kawasaki they are sweet... have fun!!
  9. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,115

    I was in the same situation three years ago. I dont disagree with what the others say about the size of the mower and I dont think a box store mower will hold up. I bought two mowers, a zt and a regular tractor. The zt cuts about twice as fast as the tractor with a steering wheel. If you have any JD dealers in the area, see if they have a used Z830A. My dealer around here says they cant get much more than 3500-4000 for a used one. When they came out they had some hydro issues that made the steering a little jerky, but JD came up with a fix. They are workhorses, and you should be able to pick one up with low hours at a reasonable cost.
  10. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    Yeah, go shopping with Dad. See them all in the 5-6k range. Ride them all. When you get serious on a model, ask to demo with it on the property.. They should let you do that once they know you are serious. Sounds like you have a good selection of dealers so that helps a lot. You will discover that within about $500, they all will be pretty similar in terms of ability.

    Before you go out, though, educate yourself about how these things are made. Read as many forum threads on mowers as you can and learn about how they are made and what parts are used. Too many dealers just want to sell you something and their advice should be suspect until verified. I found that out myself.

    Almost all models in your range will have integrated pump/motor transmissions from HydroGear. The cheaper ones will have the ZT2800, then go up to 3100, 3400, and 5400 for commercial units. Each one is heavier duty and have longer warranties. Transmissions have separate warranties.

    Most 5k mowers will have 20" drive tires. Look at a mower with 23 or 24" tires next to one with 20". You may never look at the cheaper one again.

    You'll see all kinds of advice on deck construction. The commercial decks will usually have 7 gauge steel. In our category, it will be more like 10 or 11 gauge with reinforcements. Those are fine for less than heavy commercial use. If you see one with stamped deck (rounded edges not welded) keep looking. Those are very cheap, flimsy decks. AFAIK, Deere is the only one stamping heavier gauge decks.

    Some units will use sealed bearings and others will have zerk fittings so you can use grease guns. Some guys like to be able to grease all the points. I doubt if it makes much real difference for our kind of use.

    Some units handle better than others. Demo everything and it will help to decide which unit you like best.

    Some folks like to obsess about engines. Obviously, the engine is an important part. The choices usually are Kawasaki, Briggs and Kohler. Personally, in this price range I'd select based more on the other factors. According to most unbiased techs, they are all good these days and should last a couple thousand hours with proper maintenance. For some reason, most gripes seem to come from Kohler engines, but I don't know why. Just an observation.

    The importance of color is depends mostly on whether you are married. My wife likes green and yellow, but now she likes orange:).

    Do all your homework, then compare, demo and tune out the sales pitches. The guys here will have their favorites, but the very fact that everyone seems to like what they have says a lot about them all. I selected the Husqvarna MZ6128 based mostly on the upper end transmission (3400), 23" tires, 61" deck and Briggs commercial-ish engine and one year commercial/3 year residential warranty, for $5000 even. Best bang/buck for me.

    Whatever, don't cheap out. Five acres is a lot of ground. Some guys will encourage you to go to fully commercial grade mowers. Good advice, but then you are in to 7500 on up. The 6k to 7k range is a gray area with a lot of variations. Used commercial is an option if you are careful. 800 or even 1000 hours is nothing for those things.

    Have fun.

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