Help me choose a zero turn.

Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Messages
19
Location
Jacksonville, Texas
I would definitely look at a SCAG it will check every box and be at the top of any list.
Second that. I have a 2006 Scag Wildcat. I opted for the liquid cooled Kawasaki, 26or 27 hp can't remember at the moment. 52" fabricated deck, built like a tank. I think it has 15-18 grease fittings. I mow about 1 1/2 acres during season and mow leaves on a smaller part of it this time of year. I paid $7500 for it new and it's been worth it, The only problem I had was a belt jumped the pully, probably a gumball got up there. Blade change is a little awkward, put blade and spacer on big 5/8 bolt and it goes up from bottom of spindle and nut on top of pully, spindle are 1 1/8 diameter cast iron. with zerks to grease bearings. I put extended length zerks so it is easier to grease. No fuel gauge but two tanks with fuel selector, so if you start on one and run out you can switch to the other and keep going. I think each tank holds just under 5 gal on mine. I am currently running two blades on each shaft a full size gator blade and a smaller 12" blade on top to help mulch, works great.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
I just got an Ariens Apex 52, w the Kawi fr691 engine. Similar to the Gravely HD. there are a lot of things on it I like, but I have to note that the deck vibrates quite a bit when it runs. I have the power bagger on it, so I am not sure what is the reason.
It looks like, the PTO belt whips around quite a bit as it comes off the PTO, so maybe that belt is not tensioned enough.
Or, the power bagger's impeller is unbalanced.. or the brand new blades are not balanced. Talked to Ari support, and they said "we know, but does not effect cut quality". They recommend I should put on a shorter, aftermarket belt to increase the tension. (At my own risk and expense) .
I spent a bunch of money so that I dont have to futz with my mower, and here I am, futzing with the mower...

My advice: Make sure you actually test each candidate on your list, and pay attention to any excessive vibration, esp. on an Ari/Gravely.
If you see something you dont like, easy enough to walk away. Once they got your money, it is an uphill battle.
 

OilMagnate

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
521
Location
Oklahoma
Sorry to necro the thread, but a recent DM made me realize I never came back with a conclusion. I ended up with a used Hustler. Not because of anything I mentioned regarding criteria or price...it literally just fell into my hands. I had absolutely ZERO intention to buy used, but when you read this thread, you'll understand why I couldn't say no.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
558
Location
Owego, New York
I've been running a Gravely ZT HD52 for three years. I love it! My son runs a ZT HD-60, and that is his second Gravely. Very solid machines!
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
I've been running a Gravely ZT HD52 for three years. I love it! My son runs a ZT HD-60, and that is his second Gravely. Very solid machines!
Do you have any deck vibration when the blades are running?
I am struggling with this issue. The PTO belt was whipping a lot and looked to me there was not enough tension on it. Repositioned the tensioning wheel closer to the tip of the arm, which decreased the vibration / whipping on the left side of the belt as it comes off the pto. Now I see the tensioning wheel bouncing a lot instead. Just want to have a sense of "are they all like that" or should I keep trying? Next thing I would do is try a shorter belt. Just getting tired of messing with this..
Other than this , I like the mower. Built like a tank.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Messages
2,433
Location
North Carolina
Just saw this thread. What was the reason for not looking at ExMark? I love my 48" ExMark Lazer Z HP. It's been bullet proof with the 21hp Kawasaki.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
13
Do you have any deck vibration when the blades are running?
I am struggling with this issue. The PTO belt was whipping a lot and looked to me there was not enough tension on it. Repositioned the tensioning wheel closer to the tip of the arm, which decreased the vibration / whipping on the left side of the belt as it comes off the pto. Now I see the tensioning wheel bouncing a lot instead. Just want to have a sense of "are they all like that" or should I keep trying? Next thing I would do is try a shorter belt. Just getting tired of messing with this..
Other than this , I like the mower. Built like a tank.
It sounds like something's out of balance there , all bearings ok ?? Blades not bent etc ??
 

BeerCan

$50 Site Donor
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
2,333
Location
TN
Good thread, congrats on the purchase.

I have been looking at mowers lately and think I settled on Grasshopper. I really like the quality, can get with a diesel and some attachment options. I will need to mortgage my house to buy one however. :)
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
3,705
Location
Americus, GA
Do you have any deck vibration when the blades are running?
I am struggling with this issue. The PTO belt was whipping a lot and looked to me there was not enough tension on it. Repositioned the tensioning wheel closer to the tip of the arm, which decreased the vibration / whipping on the left side of the belt as it comes off the pto. Now I see the tensioning wheel bouncing a lot instead. Just want to have a sense of "are they all like that" or should I keep trying? Next thing I would do is try a shorter belt. Just getting tired of messing with this..
Other than this , I like the mower. Built like a tank.
Pull the belt off of the pullies and see if there is any play in the pullies.
Get under the mower and wiggle the blades good. This is to see if your spindles are not worn.
Are the blades out of balance?
Do you have the correct belt and is it in good condition?
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
Thanks for replying folks. The mower is brand new, I had 6 hours on it.
I will take off the blades and balance them, that is one possibility. So spindles and pullies should be good. Blades look good. I have the factory pto belt, it is a 5/8" belt 128" long. I called their tech support line and they suggested I should try an aftermarket belt that is 1-2" shorter.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
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Location
Americus, GA
Thanks for replying folks. The mower is brand new, I had 6 hours on it.
I will take off the blades and balance them, that is one possibility. So spindles and pullies should be good. Blades look good. I have the factory pto belt, it is a 5/8" belt 128" long. I called their tech support line and they suggested I should try an aftermarket belt that is 1-2" shorter.
Parts can be bad from the factory. Check everything that I listed above. The tensioner spring could also be weak.
Take it back to your dealer and have them look at it. It is still under warranty.
Take a look at this thread from Lawnsite.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
The unpleasant aspect of taking it back to the dealer, is that I have to pay to pick it up, and then if the dealer and Ari decide that: "it works good enough", then I will just be down for a week or two for nuthing, and
I am on the hook for whatever labor charge the dealer decides to hit me with ($90 per hour) it adds up pretty fast.

I asked Ariens to just ship me a belt and give me an OK to do the belt replacement myself. They decided I should take it to the dealer and have them look at it. I guess the point of the exercise would be to make it inconvenient enough for me so I just learn to live with it.
Interestingly, they were fine with (as they told me to ) repositioning the tensioning pulley, which was probably more complicated then a simple belt replacement. But hey, that did not cost them any money.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
Ariens/Gravely support refuses to send me a new belt. They acknowledged the problem and recommended the solution of using a shorter belt.
The latest communication I had from their tech support was this:

"Engineering did not give the go ahead to use a different belt so I am unable to supply you with a different belt at the moment."

OK. So If I pay for it out of pocket it is a good solution but otherwise it is not ? I am utterly disgusted with the (non) support I am getting.

This was what they recommended earlier:

"Thank you for contacting Ariens. We have experienced excessive belt movement on the Apex 52''. At the moment we recommend putting on a shorter belt. Unfortunately Ariens does not have a shorter in stock for that situation. The excessive belt movement does not affect cut quality, but if you are experiencing vibration you may want to find a shorter belt to try ".

At this point I would not call myself a brands ambassador, mostly on account of the not very useful product support.

My dealer wants an upfront assurance that the manufacturer will pick up the warranty costs. Otherwise I am on the hook for pick up and drop off charges, and any diagnostic time they have to spend on this. So they are not really advocating for me.

We have a couple of local tv channels that do warranty troubleshooting.
I have half a mind to get in touch with them.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
3,705
Location
Americus, GA
Ariens/Gravely support refuses to send me a new belt. They acknowledged the problem and recommended the solution of using a shorter belt.
The latest communication I had from their tech support was this:

"Engineering did not give the go ahead to use a different belt so I am unable to supply you with a different belt at the moment."

OK. So If I pay for it out of pocket it is a good solution but otherwise it is not ? I am utterly disgusted with the (non) support I am getting.

This was what they recommended earlier:

"Thank you for contacting Ariens. We have experienced excessive belt movement on the Apex 52''. At the moment we recommend putting on a shorter belt. Unfortunately Ariens does not have a shorter in stock for that situation. The excessive belt movement does not affect cut quality, but if you are experiencing vibration you may want to find a shorter belt to try ".

At this point I would not call myself a brands ambassador, mostly on account of the not very useful product support.

My dealer wants an upfront assurance that the manufacturer will pick up the warranty costs. Otherwise I am on the hook for pick up and drop off charges, and any diagnostic time they have to spend on this. So they are not really advocating for me.

We have a couple of local tv channels that do warranty troubleshooting.
I have half a mind to get in touch with them.
You have invested that much money in a mower and low hours, you should get it back to the dealership. Is that a Protero bagger? It’s likely that is the cause of the vibration. I don’t run a bagger and don’t have any vibration issues. I have two belts powering the blades. There is one long one coming off of the PTO pulley and another short one on top of the deck. The long one does whip a little but, it doesn’t cause any vibration. The dealership needs to see the whole package operating.
Do a YouTube search on the Protera bagger.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
558
Location
Owego, New York
Yeah, the hydro filters are expensive. I run M1 15w-50 in my ZT3400s and my wright stander's pump/motor combo. The good news for you is that following the break-in hyrdo service, you'll likely not live long enough to see it require changing again given you'll only be cutting an acre, it will take multiple years to put 100 hours on whatever machine you buy.
The first time I needed hydro filters, I bought them from the dealer at $25 each. The next time I bought them, I think it was less than $20 for a pair on Amazon. It's just an oil filter.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
3,705
Location
Americus, GA
The first time I needed hydro filters, I bought them from the dealer at $25 each. The next time I bought them, I think it was less than $20 for a pair on Amazon. It's just an oil filter.
It’s not just an oil filter. It’s a hydraulic filter. Totally different than an automotive engine oil filter. I buy mine at NAPA.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
119
One key difference: It is a high pressure application. For this reason, these filters must not have a bypass valve. Otherwise, the filter would be operating in bypass all the time. So be careful when substituting an automotive filter than may fit dimensionally.
 
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