Ecstatic about my latest score - a zero turn mower!

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Aug 4, 2020
Well, I was off this past Friday and I received a random Craigslist ad link from a close relative (which is not normal). I looked it over and it said something along the lines of 'cleaning out storage shed.' Uninterested, I click on it and discover what I think is a scam ad. There were many things listed that aren't what most people call 'storage shed' material. Long story short, there were lots of high dollar items that were listed, but only one item had a price - a zero turn mower. Skeptically, I call the guy 20 minutes after it was originally posted, and his wife answers the phone. I state my business, and she goes to get her husband. As she's walking, I hear what sounds like a lawn mower engine in the background. Possibly a great sign... It shuts off and then he takes the phone. I ask about the mower. He says yes, I just moved it outside, it's still available for sale, and yes the price listed is correct. I told him that I live 2 miles away and I'll be there in 5 minutes. I dropped everything I was doing and quickly made it to his house. The guy lives in what I call a 'rich city boy country house' - which is interpreted as an upscale ($500K+ which is a lot around here) rural house that seems to be part of a subdivision with 2-acre plots and probably has an HOA. Clearly the guy has money (or debt). When I arrive and talk to the guy, I learn he's moving out and I quickly piece together that he's desperate and in an extreme time crunch. His wife says they are moving to the city and there will be "no more lawn." Essentially anything not able to go indoors was on the chopping block. Examples included his less than 1 year old smoker and tons of various wood, a portable 8kW Honda generator that fired up on the first attempt, the zero turn, lots of farm equipment & hand tools, a Stihl chainsaw, several nearly new ladders, the list goes on...

So I ask to test the mower. I'm familiar with the brand and features, so I knew what I was looking for. It hesitated to start, but once I applied some choke it fired immediately. Past experience pointed to slightly stale fuel. It purred like new. I engaged the blades and everything looked & sounded appropriate for it's age and run time. Did a quick visual check for any major abnormalities and found nothing. I shut it off and walked back to him. I said "I'm not even going to haggle you, I'll take it for what you're asking." I then started asking about a few things that caught my eye. He got a call and I continued to look. Once I looked at the generator, I knew what I thought it was worth. I asked his wife since he was on the phone and she said $400 for the generator. I said "SOLD!" Well... I was late on the trigger. The phone call was a guy who lives an hour away saying he'd buy it if it could be held. Since I got the most precious gem of the entire sale, I didn't argue and decided to share the wealth. I ended up with what looked like brand new 4' and 8' fiberglass ladders for $20 and $40 respectively, a metal wheelbarrow in great shape for $5, a brand new T-post puller for $20, a barely used pitchfork for $2.50, and a nice patio chair & bench for $25. I didn't ask about the chainsaw I didn't have a need for, and I regretfully passed on his $500 smoker, full propane tank, and easily $40 worth of wood he was asking only $250 for. "Share the wealth." Remember?

Alright, alright, I'll get to the point.

I came home with a 2015 Hustler Raptor SD 60" with a Kawasaki FR730V, Hydro-Gear ZT-2800s, and a measly 230.4 hours on it...complete with a clean deck, a nearly new set of blades attached, all 4 tires in great shape, and even a spare set of brand new blades.

...All for a bank account busting $400.

So far, all I can identify that it needs (or I say it "needs") is a set of belts (definitely), an air filter (definitely, although not dire), both fuel filters (definitely), new battery (old one works perfectly, but it is the original which is dated March of 2015), new plugs (not necessary, they looked great but I want everything in peak condition. They're so good that I'm saving the old ones), a Hydro-Gear fluid change & filters (seems a little dark, probably original, but who knows?), the ignition switch needs tightened (excessive play/spinning), and the safety sensor for the left steering bar needs moved 1/8" inward to depress correctly when in the 'park' position (it's causing it to be a little quirky when trying to start it up because it thinks it's not in 'park'), and a new discharge chute (it's completely missing). All minor stuff that should be less than $100, but definitely under $200.

Ten minutes after I bought it and while I was still there, another guy drives up & asks about it and learns I bought it. He immediately asks if I "want to make some money." I laughed and said no. He asked me twice more before he left during his 20 minute browse. On the third time I told him if I ever let it go, he'd have first dibs. He immediately handed me his business card. :ROFLMAO:🧂🧂🧂

I owe someone one heck of a bird dog fee!

I only have the 1 picture the seller posted. I'll take some when I have everything fixed and clean.

Big score! The belts will probably be the most expensive item. Definitely change the oil in the hydros.
I figured. I've tried changing them on a similar model and gave up. Hustler did not make access a priority on these...

As for the hydros, serviceable ones are new to me. I'm assuming instead of the ridiculously overpriced kits they sell, I could use any 15W-50 or 20W-50? I'd use a synthetic either way, and so far my top picks are Mobil 1 15W-50 or NAPA Synthetic 15W-50 for availability and price.

I'm a bit lost on the filters though. They don't seem to cross reference to literally anything.
You got a good deal indeed. Those Hustlers are highly regarded.

Too bad about that generator. If it was an inverter, those run just under $5k.

Good deals on everything else especially ladders.
Those Hustlers are highly regarded.
Except for the brand new 2021s. Thank goodness I got this deal, because if I had to buy a new 2021 model, I think I would have ended up with an expensive Spartan...or gone to the dark evil land of Cub Cadet ZT2.
Wonder where it was stolen from... Oh, nevermind. Somebody that probably doesn't realize mowers aren't maintenance-free.
Wonder where it was stolen from... Oh, nevermind. Somebody that probably doesn't realize mowers aren't maintenance-free.
At first, that was my thought also, but I was able to verify it's purchase and maintenance history. I never found out the specifics on the maintenance, but I know where it was serviced it's whole life. It's just a small shop that still uses paper for everything, so they can't just look at a computer to see what was done when.
That is awesome! I might have missed it how my do you have to mow?
I have 1 acre, but with the 52" zero turn I was renting/borrowing previously it was a 2.5-3 hour job thanks to a lot of fencing I have to navigate around and a few obstacles. I'm hoping this one cuts it down to 2 hours. Still haven't mowed yet thanks to the pre-emergent I used earlier this year, which is good considering the mower is still needing new belts put on it and the hydros serviced. I'm waiting until the 11th for the hydro filters so I can get them half price at NAPA. I already have the belts. I'm willing to mow one more time without the hydros being serviced yet, but not the belts. The drive/hydro belt is in REALLY bad shape, which is common for the original Hustler belts due to a poor design (has "teeth" that chunk off). The revised belt is smooth and problem-free.
You must have a lot of obstacles!! But still one heck of deal on that mower!!!

What do you do for hydro service? Fluid swap?
Don't know yet. Never had to service one! The one I've been borrowing has EZTs, so not able to be serviced...

Any tips?
Wonder where it was stolen from... Oh, nevermind. Somebody that probably doesn't realize mowers aren't maintenance-free.
Don't know yet. Never had to service one! The one I've been borrowing has EZTs, so not able to be serviced...

Any tips?
On my eXmark, it's just a drain and fill, and you let it set overnight or so and then idle it a lot before actually moving it, and then gently for a bit. Need the air to separate out. Take it easy. Damaged hydraulics is $$$.
Well, I decided to start tearing into this mower. I'd tinker a little here, unbolt a bolt there, scrape off dirt over there. Then I went to start the hydro oil change...when things came to a screeching halt upon this discovery after removing the wheels:


I used a soft brush, then firm, then wire brush...there was just no end to the dirt! Next thing I knew I had clinebarger syndrome and had the ENTIRE rear end of the mower taken apart! I'll post an update once I complete the job (within 48 hours). Spoiler: I'll also link a new thread I'll be making for a how-to/write-up on servicing & cleaning the hydros.

Here's how it currently sits:

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