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Old 03-31-2007, 11:25 PM   #1
bigsnowdog OP
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Larger mowers, 4-wheel steer or zero turn

I am going to buy a new piece of mowing equipment. I mow a grand total of 15 acres, some of it with a 7 rear mounted mower. More and more I am developing park-like areas involving trees, as I have planted thousands of trees over a period of many years. This involves the need to quickly mow around trees.

My 24 hp Kubota is a great tractor, but is not a hydrostat and does not have a live PTO, and the turning radius is too big.

I want something that will be a capable finish mower, and have narrowed it down to either a John Deere garden tractor powered, mostly likely by a water cooled Kawasaki..... Or a diesel version of that same tractor, in the 700 series. One question, do any of you have the four wheel steer model, and has it been a good thing? Any particular problems with them?

The other way I may go is to use a zero turn machine, either the Scag, Kubota, or John Deere. Do any of you have these larger machines and what opinions do you have about them? A concern I have had about the zero turns is the ride on uneven terrain and the back irritation that would result. The big Scags have 24 inch diameter rears and 13 inch diameter fronts, so they should do as well as a garden tractor. Having ridden a small Dixon, with small wheels, it is a punishing ride, and I could not stand to use it long term.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-31-2007, 11:52 PM   #2
Ironheadziggy76
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I have the Skag Wildcat and I love it. It has the 61" deck and a 26 horsepower water cooled Kawasaki. The ride is better than the tractor type Gravely that I was riding. I mow about 5 acres and 4 of them are wooded. What use to take me all day, I can now mow in about 3.5 hours with the zero turn. I highly recommend the Skag, it is built very heavy and I cut small saplings up to an inch in diameter with no problems. It is truly a pleasure to work with this unit.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:00 AM   #3
garandman
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The place for you: http://www.opeonthenet.com

Lots of pros and obsessed amateurs.

I got, and posted, a lot of snow thrower info there.
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:20 AM   #4
Maineiac
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Try this one:

www.lawncafe.com

- professional lawncare site. Click "forums" at top of page.
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:50 AM   #5
djchan
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I had the same talk with myself 3 years ago. Went with the JD lawn tractor because I thought it could do other things as well as mow grass. If I could do it over again.... GET THE ZERO TURN.

Dean
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djchan
I had the same talk with myself 3 years ago. Went with the JD lawn tractor because I thought it could do other things as well as mow grass. If I could do it over again.... GET THE ZERO TURN.

Dean
Please elaborate on your thinking....
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:24 AM   #7
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Also check out www.tractorbynet.com
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:44 AM   #8
Renazco
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I asked this same question a couple of years ago on this forum and after all my research I ended up with a Jacobsen zero turn, awesome machine! http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70387

This site http://www.lawnsite.com/ is great for anything you want to know about lawn care and what the pro's are using.

The John Deere stuff was way overpriced for what you get, I didn't see any difference in this line compared with the other entry level z mowers.

Hustler and eXmark were my other considerations and if it wasn't for the great deal I got on my Jacobsen I would of ended up with one of the others.
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:56 AM   #9
paddythesmith
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great deal recently...

A week or so ago there was a John Deere 425 on craigslist pictured in its pristine fenced lawn environment in Bellevue, WA (high dollar area of Seattle). Annual'd at dealer, 'very good' condition, 4 wheel steering, rear wheel drive with diff lock, power steering, PTO's going every which way, 20hp liquid cooled twin... Anyhow, asking price was $3k. I caught it during some downtime at work roughly 45 min after it was posted. If I wasn't such a stupid-ass, having paid $3k (after bag catcher, tax) for a new (relative POS) Sears GT 5000 with 25 hp air cooled Kohler twin 2 years ago, I would've bought it.

Well, actually, if I didn't have to ask my wife (pregnant with our 3rd child) for permission (she said absolutely not) I would have bought it and sold the Sears. Then again, she did just let me buy a 640 adventure after buying an 1150 adv a year ago, so I shouldn't complain too much. That said, I've decided that 425 is the bomb for the JD line. Old school, not made anymore, go for 4500-5500 on ebay. That $3k was a screamin' deal...
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:34 PM   #10
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As cool as ZTR is, whoever came up with the dual clutch steering method as is currently used obviously lives in an area without biting insects.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddythesmith
A week or so ago there was a John Deere 425 on craigslist pictured in its pristine fenced lawn environment in Bellevue, WA (high dollar area of Seattle). Annual'd at dealer, 'very good' condition, 4 wheel steering, rear wheel drive with diff lock, power steering, PTO's going every which way, 20hp liquid cooled twin... Anyhow, asking price was $3k. I caught it during some downtime at work roughly 45 min after it was posted. If I wasn't such a stupid-ass, having paid $3k (after bag catcher, tax) for a new (relative POS) Sears GT 5000 with 25 hp air cooled Kohler twin 2 years ago, I would've bought it.

Well, actually, if I didn't have to ask my wife (pregnant with our 3rd child) for permission (she said absolutely not) I would have bought it and sold the Sears. Then again, she did just let me buy a 640 adventure after buying an 1150 adv a year ago, so I shouldn't complain too much. That said, I've decided that 425 is the bomb for the JD line. Old school, not made anymore, go for 4500-5500 on ebay. That $3k was a screamin' deal...
Old school in what way? There are a lot of them out there, and they do look substantial.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayLR
As cool as ZTR is, whoever came up with the dual clutch steering method as is currently used obviously lives in an area without biting insects.
You mean because you don't have a free hand to slap at the bugs?
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:13 PM   #13
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We purchased the JD 324 which is a 4 wheel steer model. Went with the 42 inch deck because of some tight places that a 48 or larger deck would require hand mowing.

The 4 wheel steer is quite useful. IIRC the inner radius is something like 10 inches which helps when cutting around the smaller trees. Bought the bagger (running all cuttings through a compost pile) which is a big PIA but it works.

We were looking at the 700 series just to get the diesel. The sales person at the JD place talked us out of the 700 model because their pricing on the 700 would have put the 2305 with belly mower within $200 of the 700.

I didn't really didn't want to spend $10K on a tractor at the time so sprung for the 324.

OBTW, we cut about an acre but it is 10% turf and 90% pasture with hills.

Pat
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:51 PM   #14
Arkzooky
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Pissed

Had a Kubota 4 whl steer--what I didn't find out till i used it was that when the rear wheels turn going uphill, your traction absolutely goes away. Fine for flatland. Also the rear link broke several times and was always out of alignment. Don't think Kubota makes them anymore, and other brands are probably better anyway. Another long Kubota story about a factory defect in the piston ring grooves.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:20 PM   #15
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Go zero turn,, The cheaper zero turns stay away from, and I'd stay clear of Jacobsen for now as they are going thru some $ issues and might be going under again. The JD zero turns are nice and the Toro and xmark are nice too. I'd go with the jd or toro,, They have better hydro's and are made for the long haul. The JD is actually a greatdane/jd. They bought out Greatdane to own some of the patents. The 4wheel steer is ok for a small yard homeowner, mows too slow if you have a big area. If you have the cash go with a lastec Zero turn, they have a 36 HP kubota deisel, a 4 section articulating deck and it mows fast, covers 8ft a pass. I work for a JD dealer that also carries the lastec brand.
Good luck,,
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