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Old 06-03-2013, 11:02 PM   #1
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Zero turm mowers


Looking at a couple of zero turn mowers, John Deere Z235 and Toro SS4235
John Deere has briggs and stratton and the toro has a kohler, for another
140.00 dollars could step up to a toro ss4260 and get the kawasaki engine, does anybody have any experience with any of these mowers? Are any of these engines good or bad. How are the transmissions in these? Looking for some feed back of any kind on both mowers.


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Old 06-03-2013, 11:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mcrannell View Post
Looking at a couple of zero turn mowers
Looking for some feed back...
First issue with ZT's is whether the property really suits them.
Big, flat and wide open like a football field? Perfect.
Smaller, rumbly and with obstacles? Not so much.

Second issue is cost.
How much $$ is needed to really get the benefit of a ZT.

Third is if you're gonna pony up something in excess of $3500 for a machine... what else can be done with it besides cutting grass cause you must have a big enough property to have gardens and a long driveway too. Can you hook up a tiller or snow plow, etc?

As to brand... you're in Iowa. Anything but a Deere is sacrilege.
What are you using now?

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Old 06-04-2013, 06:08 AM   #3
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Excellent feedback Tarheel.

ZT are great for cut up terrain and are a must if you have some really steep stuff that can't be done with standard belly type mowers.

I know that JD is the most recognizable but I have been unimpressed by their ZT and their more homeowner grade stuff.

In my area, most guys run Exmarks, Scag, or Toro.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:32 AM   #4
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The Z turn I own is the Z425.
It's been mowing at least 8 big lawns a week for over 5 years. It's got the B&S engine.
Only thing I've done is change oil, belts, air filter, blades, and one spindle. All normal wear items to be expected.
I like the fact I can pull the whole deck off in about 2 min. with no tools.
When I get done there's almost no need to weed wack if I take my time.

The mower you chose would be fine for a smaller yard that's fairly flat, any more then about 3/4 acres, or if you have a steep yard I'd be looking at stepping up to a larger one with more HP and wider stance.
I know for a fact it cuts my mowing time down over 50% over a reguler lawn tractor because I own one I use as a back up. I start it up and use it once a month just to make sure it works and instantly hate it and can not wait to go back to my Z.
Anyone that thinks Z turns are not worth the extra money, does not own one, or has never used one. They make mowing fun.
There are rougher on the back though. Someone needs to come up with a cost effective
suspention system.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:43 AM   #5
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I've had lawn tractors and walk behinds with both kohler and kawasaki engines. Depends what the machine was designed for, homeowner or commercial use. The engines in the commercial mowers are designed for a much longer life. The kohlers in the h/o's machines are nothing special anymore. Both kawasakis I have had and have now are superior engines. Pressure lubricated, oil filter, much longer life. I currently have a couple year old 48" Skags walk behind with a kaw 14hp v-twin. Sounds like a little harley. Starts on one pull easily and has plenty of torque.
Mike Hawkins
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mcrannell View Post
Looking at a couple of zero turn mowers, John Deere Z235 and Toro SS4235
John Deere has briggs and stratton and the toro has a kohler, for another
140.00 dollars could step up to a toro ss4260 and get the kawasaki engine, does anybody have any experience with any of these mowers? Are any of these engines good or bad. How are the transmissions in these? Looking for some feed back of any kind on both mowers.

I have the SS4235 with a 20 horse Kohler,and have no complaints,and it has a pressure lube system with an oil filter,been running it for 3 years now.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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I have the SS4235 with a 20 horse Kohler,and have no complaints,and it has a pressure lube system with an oil filter,been running it for 3 years now.
Cool. How big a yard? Do you do anything else with it aside from grass cutting?
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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I've had lawn tractors and walk behinds with both kohler and kawasaki engines. Depends what the machine was designed for, homeowner or commercial use. The engines in the commercial mowers are designed for a much longer life. The kohlers in the h/o's machines are nothing special anymore. Both kawasakis I have had and have now are superior engines. Pressure lubricated, oil filter, much longer life. I currently have a couple year old 48" Skags walk behind with a kaw 14hp v-twin. Sounds like a little harley. Starts on one pull easily and has plenty of torque.
Mike Hawkins
Have the same motor and mower.

It is a tank.

1/2 pull and she fires right up after a full season off.
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Old 06-07-2013, 12:42 PM   #9
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Cool. How big a yard? Do you do anything else with it aside from grass cutting?


3/4 0f an acre,don't use it for anything else.

http://www.wisesales.com/lawn-mowers...rn-mowers.html
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
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Some really good points here.

I bought a Simplicity Broadmoor lawn tractor in 1996 with a 44 inch deck. It was expensive compared to all other tractors, but I had heard a lot about the cut of a simplicity, which was better than all others at the time. The engine is a 16 HP Briggs V-Twin, and the guy who sold me the machine said that the motor was built by Kawasaki.

This mower cost a lot. $4200 back in 1996. Fast forward to present time.

This year, I replaced muffler, the starter, the spark plugs, and all the fuel lines. Over the years I have replaced the battery several times, and of course the consumables, like oil, oil filter, and Gas filter.

When I bought the current house I am in, the owner had a fairly new 42 inch cut Cub Cadet 1000 series that he threw in with the house purchase. It has a Kohler 18 HP one lunger.

Most of us only know about what we own. We really cant compare machines till we actually use them for a while.

Since I have owned the Simplicity for all these years I have often wondered if I spent too much for it. After getting on and using the Cub Cadet I finally have an answer.

The Cub Cadet is an absolute POS compared to the Simplicity. It handles like crap, it is loud, it has ridiculous so called safety features, like it does not cut in reverse, it steers hard, and the cut is horrible. It was, of course, a couple of thousand dollars less than the Simplicity.

I guess the bottom line is that My Simplicity is still going strong after 17 years, with minimal maintenance. I am mostly retired now, so I have the time to cut my 1.14 acres, and I can listen to an audiobook with ear protection. I can not on the Cub Cadet.

I like the idea of the ZTR's but it will be interesting to see how the transmissions hold up, and you cant use them for anything other than cutting the grass. I also hear that they ride like crap, so watch out if you have a bad back.

I should mention that any work that is done on my equipment is done by me, and I bought a used muffler on ebay, as the parts for any of these machines is absolutely horrific in cost. This in itself may be justification for paying more for a machine made with better parts.

A new muffler from Jacks, before tax, was $127.00. A new header pipe was $112.00 I got both albeit used, on ebay for $35.00 god knows how long they will last. The point I am trying to make here is that if I had to pay for a new muffler, and the labor to install it, I might have given up on my old mower.

Simplicity now makes a ZTR with full suspension, and I am looking at these, but it is hard to justify buying a new machine when the old one is still going very strong, and the one I want is over 5k.

Two of my neighbors have ZTR's and they really whip around on them. One is an older Toro, and the other is a Husky. They both seem to run well.

Regardless of which brand you buy, I would buy from a dealer, not a big box store, because you will need parts eventually, and the dealer will remember you. The big box dosen't even have parts, and they will care less about you.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jagans View Post
Some really good points here.

I bought a Simplicity Broadmoor lawn tractor in 1996 with a 44 inch deck. It was expensive compared to all other tractors, but I had heard a lot about the cut of a simplicity, which was better than all others at the time. The engine is a 16 HP Briggs V-Twin, and the guy who sold me the machine said that the motor was built by Kawasaki.

This mower cost a lot. $4200 back in 1996. Fast forward to present time.

This year, I replaced muffler, the starter, the spark plugs, and all the fuel lines. Over the years I have replaced the battery several times, and of course the consumables, like oil, oil filter, and Gas filter.

When I bought the current house I am in, the owner had a fairly new 42 inch cut Cub Cadet 1000 series that he threw in with the house purchase. It has a Kohler 18 HP one lunger.

Most of us only know about what we own. We really cant compare machines till we actually use them for a while.

Since I have owned the Simplicity for all these years I have often wondered if I spent too much for it. After getting on and using the Cub Cadet I finally have an answer.

The Cub Cadet is an absolute POS compared to the Simplicity. It handles like crap, it is loud, it has ridiculous so called safety features, like it does not cut in reverse, it steers hard, and the cut is horrible. It was, of course, a couple of thousand dollars less than the Simplicity.

I guess the bottom line is that My Simplicity is still going strong after 17 years, with minimal maintenance. I am mostly retired now, so I have the time to cut my 1.14 acres, and I can listen to an audiobook with ear protection. I can not on the Cub Cadet.

I like the idea of the ZTR's but it will be interesting to see how the transmissions hold up, and you cant use them for anything other than cutting the grass. I also hear that they ride like crap, so watch out if you have a bad back.

I should mention that any work that is done on my equipment is done by me, and I bought a used muffler on ebay, as the parts for any of these machines is absolutely horrific in cost. This in itself may be justification for paying more for a machine made with better parts.

A new muffler from Jacks, before tax, was $127.00. A new header pipe was $112.00 I got both albeit used, on ebay for $35.00 god knows how long they will last. The point I am trying to make here is that if I had to pay for a new muffler, and the labor to install it, I might have given up on my old mower.

Simplicity now makes a ZTR with full suspension, and I am looking at these, but it is hard to justify buying a new machine when the old one is still going very strong, and the one I want is over 5k.

Two of my neighbors have ZTR's and they really whip around on them. One is an older Toro, and the other is a Husky. They both seem to run well.

Regardless of which brand you buy, I would buy from a dealer, not a big box store, because you will need parts eventually, and the dealer will remember you. The big box dosen't even have parts, and they will care less about you.
Been a lot of bad reviews on the cub cadet line,probably best to stay away from them,what machine in the simplicity line are you looking at that cost $5000.00??,must be one of the commercial series.
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #12
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Been a lot of bad reviews on the cub cadet line,probably best to stay away from them,what machine in the simplicity line are you looking at that cost $5000.00??,must be one of the commercial series.
I think it was the Champion. I could be wrong on the price. It is my understanding that Simplicities ZTR's are made by Ferris, but I could be wrong. What bothers me about ZTR's is the enormous difference in price between the commercial mowers and the home and garden variety. I ran into my grandson's friend's father (Say that three times fast, Rubber Baby Buggie Bumpers) at a den meeting and we discused them a bit. He recommended that I check with a landscaping contractor, as he said they turn over their commercial grade mowers pretty often, and you are better off with a used commercial grade unit than a homeowner grade. After talking with him for a while Im not so sure. He paid $6000 for a used Exmark, and had it gone over by the dealer for $1500, so hes got $7500 bucks in a used machine.

Im not so sure that was a prudent move. He did say that he cuts his lawn in a half hour, and it used to take him 2 hours though.

I think I would try to get some sort of extended warranty on the pumps if I bought one though. Everything else is incidential
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:57 PM   #13
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Ask a power equipment dealer to check with the distributor for left over new equipment. I scored an Ariens ZTR a few years back. I wound up with a heavy duty pro-sumer model for the same price as a higher end consumer model. Welded deck vs stamped. Better hydros.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #14
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I think it was the Champion. I could be wrong on the price. It is my understanding that Simplicities ZTR's are made by Ferris, but I could be wrong. What bothers me about ZTR's is the enormous difference in price between the commercial mowers and the home and garden variety. I ran into my grandson's friend's father (Say that three times fast, Rubber Baby Buggie Bumpers) at a den meeting and we discused them a bit. He recommended that I check with a landscaping contractor, as he said they turn over their commercial grade mowers pretty often, and you are better off with a used commercial grade unit than a homeowner grade. After talking with him for a while Im not so sure. He paid $6000 for a used Exmark, and had it gone over by the dealer for $1500, so hes got $7500 bucks in a used machine.

Im not so sure that was a prudent move. He did say that he cuts his lawn in a half hour, and it used to take him 2 hours though.

I think I would try to get some sort of extended warranty on the pumps if I bought one though. Everything else is incidential

I know i cut my mowing time in half,but if he cuts in a half hour now from 2 hours i'd like to see that,i know those exmarks are good but not that good,Toro has owned them since 1979 and they are a quality machine,but are also big bucks,and i'd hate to see what repair parts are.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #15
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I bought a Simplicity Broadmoor lawn tractor in 1996 with a 44 inch deck.
It was expensive compared to all other tractors ... $4200 back in 1996.
Simplicity makes a great mower. The 2013 version sells for $4100.

Anyone willing to spend that sort of money on a grass cutter should expect nothing less than a very reliable product, a really great result on the cut and that it will last.

Luckily for the rest of the lawn cutting world those goals can be achieved for far less upfront cash by way of several brands. Maybe not as perfect a cut but still a better cut than low(er) end ZT's

Similar maintenance and upkeep regimen over the years? You bet. That sort of care is what it comes down to with all machinery if you want it to last.

1992 low cost grass cutter ... the 2013 version is advertised at $1700:
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