Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Viseras lawn service, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. Viseras lawn service

    Viseras lawn service LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 217

    I have narrowed my selection down to 2 mowers...Exmark TT 48'' hydro or Exmark Lazer Z 60''. This will be my first large mower and i would like to know which is easier to learn on. I have been reading these forums and i see that each machine has its own benefits(hills ets). I will be mowing decent sized lots///1-2 acres, but i really want a machine that is easy to operate and quick to learn on...any opinions :dizzy:
  2. liquidforcedude7

    liquidforcedude7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from america
    Messages: 285

    Im kinda in the same boat you are except my yards arent quit that big. Ive been demo-ing a smaller Z for almost a week and im not really leaning toward a w/b cause im creating more work for myself by not being able to do the slopes, so I have to come back with a 21" and do the slopes that my regular lawn tractor will do. So I would suggest that you demo one.
  3. Viseras lawn service

    Viseras lawn service LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 217

    i have used a TT for a few mins just in a lot testing it out...i diddnt like the conrtols that much....if it was to get away from you theres nothing stopping it lol....i also diddnt like the stopping mechanism in which you squeeze the handle "half" way and it will stop....but you must pull it a little more to get it to lock...which puts you in reverse for a split second....guess it takes alot of gettin used to or im just rambling...either one lol....ill have to try out a Z... they seem much easier to control. :alien:
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    At least HALF of all new businesses go out of business in the first 2-5 years, which tells me that over half the questions and advice here may come from somewhat inexperienced LCO's. There are no guarantees, even in my 4th year *all* of my investment is at risk, but then I have 55 active grass accounts and I think I will be ok, but I think you are about to make a mistake.

    I bought a new WB this year and it's my first NEW WB as I owned 3 wb's before this one, ALL used! Between the three I owned before, the new one actually cost me slightly more money to purchase than all 3 old ones combined.
    See, I bought old ones until I KNEW everything about WB's which is why I know everything, lol, so I would like to share my advice:
    - Do NOT buy a new WB if you've never used one. I was told this by friends who in the business for many years and here are the reasons (and I agree):
    1) You can find a decent, used WB for 1000 bucks. This will increase your productivity in a righteous manner without breaking the bank.
    1a) Increasing productivity beyond 10 or 20 percent is not worth it because likely you do not have the customers to fill the extra slots that will become available. Even if you do, a 10 to 20 percent increase is considerable.
    1b) A loan of any kind in the first 2-3 years is a very bad idea. Likely you can pay for a used WB upfront and be done with it, so now you OWN it.
    2) It's NOT as easy as it looks - you want an old WB so you can ditch it and get stuck and bang around in the roots and the rocks while you learn to operate it. Son, you ditch my new WB and I will have my way with you... And ditch it you will, until you learn how not to do it, and to learn it is best to use an old one. You can bang my old 30197 around all you want, it's built like a tank and with the 15hp Kohler, that 1998 model will still kick your tail and cut great amounts of grass (I averaged 8 yards/day with it, and record was 10-11). The new one I can average 10 yards/day, but that's only 20 percent more for a machine that cost over THREE times the money!
    2a) With a new WB, when you make a mistake you damage the machine AND it either needs to be fixed so it is like new again OR it can NOT be fixed and now it suffers from performance loss. It is better you learn from your mistakes first with the old WB's, as chances are it's already been broken and although the performance loss is there already, it's also no big deal.
    2b) My new WB moves along at 6.2 mph, where my old ones are capable of 4-5 mph. Let me advice you that when you hit something HARD that stops the machine in its tracks (yeah like a BIG ROCK), the impact will smack your body into and OVER the fixed bars in front of you and will hurt you real bad (on an old one, I broke 3 ribs in this manner)... You hit something at 6.2 mph, you may not live to tell about it, so to speak. Learn to operate a slower machine first so once you get really good at it, you can come run with the big dogs. Sort of like you want to go racing, well don't just go out and buy a brand-new NASCAR, just get an old thing with a v-8, so to speak.
    3) Learn to do maintenance with an old one - This is an invaluable skill as few of us can afford $50/hour labor rates at the dealer, nevermind downtime. Yes you will have MORE maintenance and this is a bonus as well: You will learn more tricks and tips to fix the mower than if you get one that rarely breaks - That way when a new one DOES break, you can fix it in 5-10 minutes or so because you've been through the procedure a few times.
    3a) If you think you will not experience downtime with a brand-new WB, think again. In my first 100 yards with the new one I had to replace Sleeve-bearings on the Idler Arm assembly, which is Toro model 30197 part number 1-323071 which had to be ordered and this takes 2 weeks - I had used White Lythium grease instead of synth (ooops) but it's 3 dollars in parts and as you can see, I know my stuff - I knew what was wrong, and I knew what to tell them at the dealership AND I also knew I could continue to operate the machine at a lower rpm because yes, my old one did this crap to me, also. Now what happens when you blow an engine? And believe you me, chances are you will blow one unless you actually listen and use synthetic oil, you will learn the hard way how NOT to blow an engine: Which would you rather blow the engine on, the new one or the old one?
    4) Continue to buy used WB's until you find a brand, make and model that turns you on in a very erotic way. No two WB's are the same, they are ALL different and this means their individual characteristics may or may not be to your liking. Some will fart you around a bit, others will outright piss you off, but sooner or later you will find one that YOU just love to death!
    This is how I found I really wanted the Fixed-deck 48" Toro with the 15hp Kohler - I already owned a '98 model 30197 and so I bought an '05 30197.
    By the way, the Toro 30197 is 3000 dollars brand-new plus 300 for the Velke (see, you don't even know if you want or need a velke but with the 30197 you NEED the velke because 6.2 mph is no walking speed but with an old 30165 sfs, you could walk it as well because it's so slow). Then that way you know the floatdecks are slower but more forgiving, and the fixdecks are so fast that you can't keep up.

    Yeah, see you gain this invaluable experience by first owning a USED WB. Do not be ashamed, most people never have had a WB in their entire life and most people never will, so a used WB is still a WB! My brand-new one doesn't look new anymore, 200 yards and the paint is still shiny but it's all covered in dust and dirt - It looks no better than an old one and oh yes:
    - An old WB is less likely to get stolen, but if it does, you're not out 3k.

    Good luck.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    Far as the ZTR, you might consider that for larger than 2/3 acre lots only because the ZTR *only* cuts down your actual cutting time and nothing else. The WB is fast and nimble, maybe not as fast as a ZTR but at half the price, it still cuts 4-6 times the grass of a pushmower, and most my yards take 10-20 minutes of cutting ... What's a ZTR gonna do, save 5-10 mins? Sheee, you still gotta weed-eat and all the other stuff, too.
    A WB loads/unloads faster, gets your truck better mpg AND the WB cuts a lot more tight spots, too - You will NOT be able to do every yard with a ZTR, I've never owned a ZTR because it only increases production by 20% over the WB while it costs twice as much. That and with a WB you don't need a pushmower, I've never owned a push and never will, those things SUCK!
    The ZTR is a luxury which, perhaps one day when I can no longer physically handle the WB, or I got more money than sense OR a *TON* of large 1-acre+ yards (at least 20 or 30), maybe I buy one.

    I see these newboys using ZTR's and that's all good, but then my WB is paid for and I don't have to sweat payments when a customer threatens to call someone else, I simply say ok (and sometimes just for kicks, I sound relieved too). Yeah, ZTR's are great until you're out of business before you're done paying for it.

    Buy WB's while you save the money to buy the ZTR (if you want one that bad), then just pay for the dumb thing, the dealer will love you (and if he has a secretary, chances are it may give her hot flashes, lol).

    Peace out
  6. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    I've done some steep hills on a 60" lazer. The one hill was steeper then 45 degrees and I did it weekly, its alittle scarey but if you take your time your good to go.

    Since I've used both of the mowers your looking at for at least 3 years in the past I'll say that both are good machines. The z is going to be easier on you, doesn't wear you out as bad since your using your arms to control it. The walkbehind is nice with the hydro but it still puts a strain on your hands and you can get pretty beat on a sulky. Go with what will fit your terrain best and also what will be most benefitial to you.
  7. AlbeLawn

    AlbeLawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    Why are you not looking into a 60" walk behind. The TT60" is something that i have demoed and i think on moderate sized yards you do not lose that much time. Also the weight of the mower is less and they will handle everything you want and you will have the size you want.

    Look into the TT6023KAC or TT6023kCC and i think it will meet everything that you are looking for.

    Good Luck
  8. Viseras lawn service

    Viseras lawn service LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 217

    how long did it take to get good control over the wbs....the one i was demoing was very difficult...squeeze too hard on one side and you are in trouble...lol

    Ztr seems much easier to control...i have never used one so i will have to test one out this week.. have to see how that goes..

    Thanks for the advice.
  9. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,487

    If it gets away from you, it cuts off completely. As far as the stopping is concerned, it's not suppose to go into reverse a little bit when you squeeze the handles back half way.....its suppose to stop. Sounds like it just needs a little fine tuning.
  10. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    Viseras lawn service
    I would start out with a walk behind( look at the turf tracer 52 inch or better yet the turf tracer 60 inch cut, the 60 inch is a mountain goat, very stable on hills...). The wb is way more a moreversitile machine for hills and with a sulky, flat areas. Look at the newer models with ECS handles, they are easy to get used to.

    After you get more jobs and are getting them done in less time with the 60 inch tt, then take the money you saved and get a ztr....

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