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Mower decision

Posted by flashpipe z6 W NY (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 9, 13 at 10:30

Well, I'm in the market for my first ZTM and I'm on the fence so thought I would throw this out to people with more knowledge than myself.

My yard is a little over an acre, mostly flat (two steeper sections but they're short), with several garden beds, trees, etc.

My riding mower is getting old and I've decided to get a ZTM to try it out.

I've got about $1700 cash to work with or can finance something around $2500 if I go that route. I'm currently looking at the following:

$2299 finance through Lowes - Troy Built Mustang 22hp 42" deck, new with warranty - new, but the reviews say they're not built very heavy duty

$1500 OBO - 1995 Encore Proline Commercial, 20hp, 60" deck, 1374 hours - super heavy duty, but lots of hours

$1500 OBO - 2007 Cub Cadet 17hp, 42" deck, 255 hours

Anyway, I'm going to look at the two used ones on Sunday, so, if there are any key things to look for, questions to ask, I'd love any input.

I'm able to do basic maintenance and repairs but I'm no mechanic so I'm a bit nervous about the Encore only since it's old and has so many hours, but it's the most solid one of the three and has good reviews out there.

Open to any advice, suggestions, etc.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mower decision

I think I would be looking at the Cadet, 255 hours is nothing. I'd offer like $1200-1300 if they have the paper work for the last service. Review it first. You want to see
grease job!

Make sure you start it and try it first. If it does NOT start on its own, walk away. No exceptions. The same with oil smoke more than say 5 seconds or so.


RE: Mower decision

IMO the 17 hp. ZTR cub is over priced. while 255 hrs. don't should like a lot on that machine it maybe a lot.

I have that mower. In my conditions dry sandy soil I have changed the front wheel bushings twice, Change the oil about every 20 hrs. and clean the air filter about every 10 hours of operation. Course Blades get ate up in sandy soil so I have changed the blades once or twice year. If I didn't do this they mower would have died around 150 hours it that long. Good things I have observed it cuts nice, easy to operate, and quicker than lawn tractor Mine has 350 hours on it, Don't really like the Briggs ELS engine.

The Troy built mustang is probably close to the same as the cub ZTR with bigger engine and probably some upgrades. So the 17 HP cub IMO is less heavy duty than the Troy built. IMO comparing these two I would buy the troy built ZTR cause it new, bigger engine and probably rear tires, and has warranty.

As for the 1995 Encore Proline Commercial, 20hp, 60" deck. Usually anything commercial it built to last long time. I really can't comment on it cause don't know much about it. You will have to go look at it see what condition it's in and I'll let others comment on it.

RE: Mower decision

A bigger engine does not make it more heavy duty. So many new engine are made in China anymore.

Naturally cutting conditions effect maintence, that is a given with anything. The rougher the terrain the more heavy duty it should be.

Yes the new mower will have a warranty, extended warranty for $$$$ is available too.

I would be looking still at the used Cadet still.

Remember it has a 42 inch deck cutting width, but the deck will be closer to 52/54+ inches wide, keep that in mind.


RE: Mower decision

Hi....I think I'd go with the Troy because it is new and has the waranty.Troys have been around along time and are generally soild performers.
I'd stay away from a used machine unless you know the person very well or if you can see all of the maintenance info.
These mowers can be costly to have repaired if you cannot fix them yourself.
Go with the new Troy.

RE: Mower decision

Troy is a well known name, but they are built by MTD. MTD is not one of your better know builders. They make all kind of different mowers.


RE: Mower decision

Thanks for all the input!! I went and looked at the Encore today and drove it around and mowed with it. Seemed like a really solid machine for being as old as it is. They guy said he bought it in 2001 and had all the maintenance records since then, has extra blades, recently changed the hydrolic oil, changed the motor oil annually and replaced all the radiator hoses this year. It ran well, squeaked a bit when I engaged the PTO and started mowing and it pulled just a little to the right at full speed. I could adjust with the controls.

My neighbor is moving and offered me his awesome Ferris ZTM that I know has been immaculately maintained (and I know it works great since he's been mowing my lawn the last 2 weeks my mower has been broken), but he wants $3k and that's just too much for me to spend for something I might use 30 hours/year.

I'm supposed to go check out the Cub Cadet '07 this week sometime...

Let me know if anything sounds problematic on the Encore with the squeaking or pulling or if that's normal on an older ZTM.


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