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Old 03-07-2011, 01:03 PM   post #1 of 13
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Default New guy in need of advice

Well, in about 6 weeks I will be moving from a 50X150 city lot to 6 acres, 4 acres of which the current owner mows. I am pretty sure my 20" lawn boy isn't going to be big enough so I am in the market for the proper machine to do the job. Having never had anything but a push mower before I have a couple questions.

1- What are the pros and cons of diesel and gas
2- What are the pros and cons of getting higher hours but a higher grade mower.

I want a rear steer front mower for the speed and the ability to mount a snow blower. Currently I am looking at the John Deere F900 series or an F1145. The current owner has an F932 with a 72" deck, so I assume I wouldn't have an issue with the same size deck. I have found a couple F935s in my price range with 1500-3000 hrs on them and recently found an F1145 with 3400 hours on it. I would prefer diesel, but if I go the gas route, that opens up a ton more options. I consider myself a decent mechanic, so I could fix most normal stuff short of an engine/hydro rebuild on my own. Is it worth getting an F935 with lower hours over the F1145, or is there some other mower out there that I haven't even considered. Right now the F1145 is looking pretty good, especially considering it is much newer than the 935s I have been seeing. BTW, I would like to keep it at $5K or less. Thanks.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:19 PM   post #2 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

A front mount mower is very good for large yards. The rear steer models are also better on hills than true zero turns. I've used two kinds, the first a yazoo master mower (rear steer) and the second a Walker (zero turn).

The yazoo had a wide stance and could handle any slope I dared put it on. The walker is faster turning and not quite as good on slopes, but better than a mid mount zero turn. Both are very good for mowing under things and reducing your trimming time. Also they usually give a good cut as the grass is cut before you drive over it. You will have more exposure to dust and such if that is a problem for you.

Kubota has some good units in that class as well. Diesels are longer lived (generally) and use less fuel, in some cases a lot less. A machine of that class should last into the thousands of hours but it all depends on how it was cared for. I would still be wary of buying something with that many hours, but they are built for it.

Not long ago I saw a John Deere Wide Area Mower with an 8 foot articulating deck go for around $8000 with only 700 hours. That would be a good deal.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:43 AM   post #3 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Thanks for the help. I will take a look at the Yazoo and Walker. I had never heard of those before.

Do you think it would be reasonable to spend 2-3K on a high hour diesel and plan to put another 1-2k into it to get it into top shape?
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:36 AM   post #4 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Yazoo is a different company now and really not in production like they once were. Similar machines are produced by Gravely, Ferris, and Scag (called 3 wheel riders). They are quite expensive (10-12k) but probably a good investment if you are staying there a long time.

Walker makes a large zero turn called a "super b". Up to a 74" deck I think. Last year when I was looking they had several demos all under 500 hours and all under $5000. If you are in the Southeast contact GHS Corp (a regional Walker distributor).

Grasshopper makes a good mower so search for these as well, front mount zero turn. Ditto for Woods and Bush Hog.

You will also see lots of mid mount zero turns for sale at better prices. Many of them young in years (2-3) but with high hours from heavy commercial use. There are a lot of them in circulation so the prices will be lower and in the fall I saw some deals on 60" models. They usually mow very fast and if your ground is smooth they can get it done quickly. Not as good for hills, but will handle reasonable slopes ok.

The machines you are looking at are usually golf course and large commercial property mowers and as I said are built very good. But you wont get much for 2-3 k. Then again, golf courses are going under like everything else so a deal may be out there. If you don't mind working on stuff you should be able to keep it going. The Yazoo was 30 years old when I got it and I kept it going another 5 years. Really not as much trouble as I expected.

If I were going that route I'd find as good a machine as I could where everything was currently working and put your 2000 into a savings account for when you need something expensive and try to cover the nickle and dime stuff as it comes up (more like 20's and 50's probably).

One other suggestion is the Kubota gf1800. I've seen these at reasonable prices for the hours and they seem like decent machines. A snowblower and blade is available but may be tough to find.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:39 AM   post #5 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

I forgot until the end that you wanted a snowblower. That eliminates the mid mount zero turns and the three wheel riders. One option though if you find a good deal on one of those is to buy an older garden tractor with a blower. You could get a nice International Cub Cadet (pre 1980 but a lot of the newer ones are good too) with a snow blower for $500 or so. But do consider it will need a little attention occasionally.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:41 AM   post #6 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Here is a link to the Ferris 3 wheel rider. And I was wrong, it does have a snowblower available. These are probably the cheapest option for you on the used market. A little hard to find but they don't seem to command a high resale:

http://www.ferrisindustries.com/page...?product_id=24
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:14 AM   post #7 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Thanks for all the info. I will have to take a look at some of the models you mentioned. I guess I am struggling with what I NEED, what would be nice to have, and what I want. I think my main criteria is a 72" min deck. That seems to constrain me the most, and wanting a diesel narrows things down a lot more. I will keep doing some research and hopefully figure out something soon.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:08 PM   post #8 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

I bought a F935 yesterday and really like it. I would have preferred the 72 deck but am
happy with the 60. I really so far have been impressed with it. The previous owner had
told me that it cost around $16000 new. The hours on the diesel engine are 1378. I took
it to my dealer to get service work done on it. When I get it back I will take some pics.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:15 PM   post #9 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Another one to consider: Toro GroundsMaster
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:43 PM   post #10 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mc25a View Post
One other suggestion is the Kubota gf1800. I've seen these at reasonable prices for the hours and they seem like decent machines. A snowblower and blade is available but may be tough to find.
Kubota made several models. Here is one for sale south of Minneapolis:

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...274005596.html
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:50 PM   post #11 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Yep Cat when I was looking for this type of commerical mower, Toro and Kubota were on
my short list. Even looked for a Jacobsen with a Kubota diesel motor.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:50 AM   post #12 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Thanks for all the help guys. I was really eyeing the Kubotas and I also liked the Toros, but I ended up finding a deal on an F935 with 1400 hours on it last weekend.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:41 AM   post #13 of 13
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Default Re: New guy in need of advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cincigp View Post
Thanks for all the help guys. I was really eyeing the Kubotas and I also liked the Toros, but I ended up finding a deal on an F935 with 1400 hours on it last weekend.
That is great! Sounds like short of the difference in deck sizes, we found
about the same mower. I am fine with John Deere as they have been great
at stocking parts for their older units. Hope you get many more hours of work
with your mower.
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