Zero Turn Mower For Fairly Small Yard With Steep Hills

mojo300November 17, 2010

Ok, first I hope that too many of you won't laugh but here goes. I have a fairly small yard, half an acre would be a stretch, but its on a slope and the back yard has an even larger slope to it. My question is which Zero Turn should I get. I have looked at everything from the:

Toro TimeCutter Z 5060

eXmark Quest SP

Scag Freedom Z

Ariens 54 Zoom XL

Bad Boy MZ (No Bagging systems which I need)

I am not saying that I want to spend $5K either, the yard is small yes, but its got the hills, so when talking to my mechanic he made me nervous saying the the yard wont hurt the mower but the hills will wear on the engine. He also mentioned that the deck on the Toro's,& Ariens are stamped which I don't know if this will even play a part since my yard is so small. The other reason I want to get a Zero Turn is to be able to collect all the leaves in the fall, so I will definetly want a bagger to go on the Zero Turn. So after doing all the research I don't know if my hills will not pose a problem on the engine or if they will. Any advice I can get will be very appreciated.

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rustyj14(W/PA)

The steep hills won't necessarily harm your engine, but you must do a check of the engine oil every time, before you use it.An engine that has pressurized oil pressure would be preferable, but an engine without it will probably work. Also, just pulling out the oil dip-stick and looking at it does not suffice, in any case. you must set the machine level, pull out the stick, wipe it clean, then insert it and pull it out again, to get the true reading. This is because the oil will tend to stay high on the stick, even after setting for a while, and that gives you a false reading, without the double sticking procedure.
Most mower decks i have seen, are stamped/formed steel(Tin) Some are heavier than others. Ya get what ya pay for.
One of my friends has a lawn with some steep hills in itt, not long hills, but the way it was laid out wwhen the house was built. His older model John Deere is used to mow it, and it hasn't seemed to hurt the engine. The transmission/hydro is another matter. The original lasted 9 years, but had to be replaced last summer.
JMHO: Rusty Jones

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 11:52AM
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larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

If it's a scary steep hill, I would just go to a manual transmission "garden tractor" like a Craftsman, with good chevron or paddle type tread rear tires. No sense in risking a roll-over. I've read about a lot of those commercial guys going on the slide of their life with ZTRs on a hill. You can now get retrofit front brakes for the ZTR casters but that wouldn't be enough in many cases....plus your cost goes up. A lot of the commercial lawn care guys just use a walk behind commercial mower for the questionable hills, and then the rest with the ZTR.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 6:14PM
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gdj204

If your yard is small enough, maybe you can get by with one of those robotic mowers (like the roomba vacuum cleaners). Use a mulching blade to take care of the leaves, and a push sweeper to clean them up if that isn't good enough.

If you're deadset on a rider, those hills may require you to step up to a $2500+ tractor or $3500+ ZTR to get a tranny tough enough to hold up in the long run. I think you'd want a K57 minimum, and more likely a K64/66. Don't know enough about the manual trannies to say how they'd hold up (aren't enough out there to make any inferences).

Also remember that for $3500, you could pay the neighbor kid to push-mow your yard for a LONG time and have no maintenance/storage issues while helping the kid with his college fund. Just sayin'...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:05AM
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mojo300

You guys are all right, the hills are not that steep. the front may be a 7 degree slope and the back in the 22-25 degree range.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:25PM
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wheelhorse_of_course(7)

The main reason for a Zero turn is to save time. This will be a negligible factor with a small yard.

A ZT IMHO would be considerably more dangerous on a slope because it would be easy to lose control from a minor mistake.

A regular tractor can pick up leaves.

You want an engine with forced lubrication not splash.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 8:27PM
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