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Master Lawn Cutter
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ZTR Mowers - research

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I'm presently cutting about two acres with a JD 345 (48 in) that was purchased in May 97. Although it has been a great machine, I know it won't last forever. SO.....I'm researching the ZTR concept for a possible future purchase.

I know the ZTR System was in existence for "many years" before being adapted to the grass cutters. I remember Mustang ZTR Industrial machines being in around in the sixties.

Does anyone have any inside information about the ZTR Hydraulic systems used in today's ZTR Grass mowers that would convince someone of the "better brands"....???

Thanks for any info.....!!!
 

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Commercial machines will have separate pump and wheel motor drive systems plumbed together with hoses. These will have a large oil tank, typically with filtration and use parts from various hydrostatic pump & wheel motor manufactures. This is currently your best setup.

High end residential machines like my Z-Force 44 will use Hydrogear ZT-2800's (or higher), which are integrated units with spin-on filters. These units are next on the scale (better):


Low end ZTRs will have Hydrogear EZTs, which are sold as non-serviceable and have no external filtration. I'd call'em ok/good, but they are not made to take a beating by any means. These are meant for the guy who mows maybe 30hrs/year. I've read of a lot of failures of these around the 200-250hr mark:


Joel
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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[...]Low end ZTRs will have Hydrogear EZTs, which are sold as non-serviceable and have no external filtration...
Hey, I resemble that remark! ;)

Yep, that would be what's in my i1050.

... I'd call'em ok/good, but they are not made to take a beating by any means. These are meant for the guy who mows maybe 30hrs/year. I've read of a lot of failures of these around the 200-250hr mark

Joel
Wonder if I should order some spares while I can still find them in stock and prices are reasonable... I'm at about 120 hrs now and plan to have this machine for many years to come (unless it simply falls apart on me).
 

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I believe that reliability and speed are 2 primary reasons commercial mowers use commercial ZTR's. If commercial guys could make more money using a GT, they would.
There are reasons a ztr may not be ideal for everyone, but I think if your time is valuable enough (or you want to spend less time mowing so you can spend more time playing in the dirt with a GT) then a ZTR may be right for you.
 

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Hey, I resemble that remark! ;)

Yep, that would be what's in my i1050.
Oh Khrap!:fing20: Sorry Toolin!! If anyone has put their EZTs through the paces it's you and with excellent results I might add. So your mileage will DEFINITELY vary. I'm wondering if they don't have to work as hard on the i1050 given the front wheels do some of the turning?!? Regardless, if you did have issues somewhere down the road, I'm thinking there will be a mainstream 'fix' available on these forums. There are 1-2 threads out there where some fellas have disassembled and fixed them on the bench. Something about a shaft rubbing the inside of the case causing excessive heat, warping or things moving out of place IIRC? Either way, a dude like yourself would have it up on the bench and fixed.

Joel
 

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Collector of many tractors
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The low end Hydrogear EZTs cost $1000 plus labor to replace...
If one was to open one up is it possible to find why one quit and maybe fix it ???
 

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Kev, that's what I'm thinking. From what I've read on the forums, there's dealers out there with 2-3 Cub EZT equipped ZTRs sitting in their junk pile, ONLY because one of the hydros stopped pulling (usually the left for whatever reason). Owners don't want to spend $1000 on them which is understantable. These EZTs don't seem to be failing catastrophically and I'd think and enterprizing dealer or individual could make a killing rebuilding & reselling these EZTs used/rebuilt.

Joel
 

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The low end Hydrogear EZTs cost $1000 plus labor to replace...
Sheesh.. at that price (and I assume that's the price for one, not both), I might as well buy a 2nd tractor instead of just the replacement part.
 

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Small Engine Tech
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Take a good look into the Hustler brand and Toro ZTR's Those are our best ones we carry and the most trouble free. Toros are the same as an Exmark, Toro owns them and is actualy phasing out the Exmark name, in a couple more years they will all be Toros. The king of the hill for "built like a tank" and lack of issues are the Hustlers. The build quality of the Fastrak super duty, Z and Super Z are on the same level as the old garden tractors of years ago. Simple, easy to maintain, best engines on the market and pretty much bulletproof. The hydros are heavy duty, seperate pump and wheel drive motors, nice large spin on filter, seperate oil tank for Hydro oil. Most all run Kawasaki engines with Kohler being the second choice for gas models. Any tech questions, feel free to ask me off site as I work on them every day, as well dealing with most every other brand on the market as we work on anything!! Mike
 

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I half wonder if the EZTs might last longer in an iSeries than a ZTR/FMZ

1) The I series steering mechanism makes for a slower forward to neutral to reverse transition than a ZTR with levers than an owner can quickly throw back n forth

2) There may be better airflow and temps around the hydros on the tractor style I series than a lower riding ztr with motor on top of them (and doesn't the ezt have powered 'front' wheels but still little room for airflow)
 

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I half wonder if the EZTs might last longer in an iSeries than a ZTR/FMZ

1) The I series steering mechanism makes for a slower forward to neutral to reverse transition than a ZTR with levers than an owner can quickly throw back n forth
[...]
That's true for steering, but that's not the only way you can reverse the hydros on the i-Series. The other way is simply just to stomp the pedal from forward to reverse or vice versa. And boy is that herky-jerky. So much so that whenever I slow down or speed up on my i-Series I have to concentrate to apply or release my foot gradually in order to avoid getting whiplash.

But regardless of how abrupt the transition, you're probably right that the ZTR hydros see more stress over time since the frequency of those transitions is a lot more on ZTRs than on the i-Series. Probably like 10-to-1 based on my i-Series driving habits compared to how I see the neighborhood lawn services whipping around on the ZTRs.
 

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Take a good look into the Hustler brand and Toro ZTR's Those are our best ones we carry and the most trouble free. Toros are the same as an Exmark, Toro owns them and is actualy phasing out the Exmark name, in a couple more years they will all be Toros. The king of the hill for "built like a tank" and lack of issues are the Hustlers. The build quality of the Fastrak super duty, Z and Super Z are on the same level as the old garden tractors of years ago. Simple, easy to maintain, best engines on the market and pretty much bulletproof. The hydros are heavy duty, seperate pump and wheel drive motors, nice large spin on filter, seperate oil tank for Hydro oil. Most all run Kawasaki engines with Kohler being the second choice for gas models. Any tech questions, feel free to ask me off site as I work on them every day, as well dealing with most every other brand on the market as we work on anything!! Mike
Have you had to work on any Hustler Sport ZTR's? If so, what needed fixin'?

Kevin
 

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Master Lawn Cutter
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to all, especialy "CadetPWR" & "JMoe", for all the info posted thus far. This is the kind of stuff I was looking for. The kind of info that is needed, to make decisions about design reliabilty.

I look forward to additional info......thanks.....!!!


:thanku: :thanku: :thanku:
 

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A semi-retired senior cit
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Thanks to all, especialy "CadetPWR" & "JMoe", for all the info posted thus far. This is the kind of stuff I was looking for. The kind of info that is needed, to make decisions about design reliabilty.

I look forward to additional info......thanks.....!!!


:thanku: :thanku: :thanku:
Pump and wheel motors are the way to go, your best bet is to watch a dealer you trust that sell used commercial equipment. You can get a good used with low hours machine, look for a home owner that bought a commercial zero turn, to mow his property, you can tell by looking at the mower if it was taken care off.

Only look at machines that you know you can get parts for if you ever need them. Say the dealer sells Scag commercial mower, these mower are very good, never just ride it in the parking lot tell the dealer you want to test it on your property. Most will let you use the machine for the day, best way to test it is seat of the pants testing.

The dealer I do business with sells Scag mowers, he has on his used lot a Scag Tiger Cub series zero turn rider, 20hp Kohler Command engine, 48 inch Advantage mower deck, 240 hours, 5 years old, home use only machine.
Machine in great shape. $4,400.00. Now the Scag`s looks new it was most likely kept in a shed or garage, home owners that buy these unit new will have them maintained just because of the money they invested in the machine they trade them in like car and get a new one.

I bought my Z Master from this dealer been doing business with them for ten years. Now the Z Master was the owners personal mower only reason for selling his wife wanted the lawn bagged. I looked at it and it only had 242 hours on the meter. I traded in a Toro hydro walk behind w/ floating deck never really cared for the pistol grip controls on my mower. The owner gave me a fair price so both of us were happy. I now have 860 hours on the meter. I paid the loan off on the mower in 6 months just using the money I earn doing my lawns.

Also it just not the speed but more the ease of use, no wasted motion no steering wheel you have to turn. After a while you be amazed and spoiled how quickly you can get you lawn done. There is a learning curve getting use to the motion controls so don`t rush it take your time, you`ll enjoy it anyway, when your done you won`t want to get off believe me, you`ll be looking for something else to cut.

There is one thing get a zero turn that has a suspension seat or get a insert there easy to install cost about $250.00. you will like mowing even more. I never thought a lawn had so many bumps or dips, You don`t really feel them riding on a tractor, maybe the fact that the tractor is lighter, my mower weight in at 1,060 pounds not including me. Don`t try cutting close to any retaining wall edges you could drop off and you don`t need to take chances. You can`t jump off with those lap bars over your legs, so play it safe.

If I`m interested in a machine I`ll get the model number and serial number and go on line down load the manual a learn about the mower. Hope I helped you some...... Good Luck
 

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All of the JD ZTRs, even the least expensive residential unit uses separate pump & wheel motors. Something like Kanzaki pumps and Parker motors. As much as I'm an OPE 'enthusiast' and do believe a used commercial grade would be the most pleasant to operate, replacement wear parts are EXPENSIVE. You gotta take the goods with the bads.:drunkie:

Joel
 

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forkz
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i gotta z force 50 with zt trans been runing it 4 years have not had any problems with it its a great machine i cut about 4 acres a week with it
 

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Forkz, how many hours do you have on your Z-Force?

Joel
 

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forkz
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joel it has 2100 but i have used it to pull a sweeper n small yard wagon its been a great machine so far had to replace deck belt n the idler pulley but thats minor deck easy to get off i was lookin at cub website n saw a comercial z force it comes with standard hitch i like the z force but if i had to buy a new one i think i go the xtra green n get a m-48 tank
 

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A Scag dealer told me that hydros would have to be re-built in a clean room and that they did not do it as they had neither the facility or the skills. But that was a long time ago.
 

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A semi-retired senior cit
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joel it has 2100 but i have used it to pull a sweeper n small yard wagon its been a great machine so far had to replace deck belt n the idler pulley but thats minor deck easy to get off i was lookin at cub website n saw a comercial z force it comes with standard hitch i like the z force but if i had to buy a new one i think i go the xtra green n get a m-48 tank
A sweeper that say is a 42" has 18 bushel hopper that can get heavy in a hurry. I`m surprised you haven`t had any hydro problems that that a lot of stress and heat, do they have filter or are then non rebuild-able ones? Is it the RTZ50 with the 22hp Kawasaki motor?
 
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