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View Full Version : My New "cheese" Inspired Ztr


psparaco
09-07-2011, 08:13 AM
OK I moved the post to a new thread since the original thread was irrevelent.

Orginally I was asked to look at a craftsman 50 inch ztr but after dealing with a craftsman 30 inch tractor for 8 years off and on. I seriously do not want to deal with that company no more. After 4-5 yrs they discontinue their products. Finding parts for the thing was a challenge. The reason i upgraded was the tractor blew a piston rod last thursday and yet I had a 3/4 full of oil in the crankcase. tractor was a 2003, 13.5 HP briggs and stratton engine, no oil filter, fuel filter, 1.1 gallon gas tank, top speed of 3.5-4 mph. When my fiance can push a push mower faster than the tractor. ITS SLOWWWWW. the only advantage is it cut 30 inches wide.

I chose the model cheese selected based on that inspiring video he made and lucked out finding it accidently.

I am so excited to see it!!!

You will have a lot of fun with it, it's a great machine!


If you want to use the side discharge, lift the chute up as high as possible using a bungee cord... Tie the chute to the bottom notch of the height adjustment system so that it is lifted.

If you leave the chute as is, it can leave a mess (grass trail). If you do it my way, the grass spreads evenly and doesn't leave clumps or trails of grass. It gives a lawn a very clean look.


*** Always raise the deck to the highest height when going up the trailer ramp***


My only concern with rigging the chute up with a bungee is if I hit any object that isnt leaves or grass will become a high velocity (speed) projectile and with the chute up allows it to take out someone's car or house window or better yet their face. Maybe I only use it up when it isnt facing the street or a house or any bystanders within 500 feet.

I can't wait til I get to use it. It has been raining since sunday this week. I swear I hate rain when its this much. This may be my first week where people's lawns need it and I can't cut due to a monsoon of rain during the week. :mad: I did test it out on the day I got it last saturday before all the rain came on my parent's yard and my own which is right next door plus the property I also cut behind us. So total I had roughly 26,000 square feet to play around on between lots of trees and other obstacles to practice around.

I warned my parents , " DO NOT EXPECT STRAIGHT LINES FOR AWHILE" I've never driven a ZTR ever. I am used to a steering wheel. My dad says its like driving a M-1 Tank, minus the torret and catapillar tread. Imagine a ZTR with those specs on it lol. What!!! You do not want to hire us to cut your lawn. BOOM!!! who's next lol. jk.

I have several properties that it took me 45-65 minutes to cut, trim/edge and cleanup using the 30 inch craftsman tractor and push mower combo. If I had to guesstimate. It should take me 15-30 minutes total time to complete the job and since the ZTR manuevers better. I may not need the push mower except on slopes near water or greater then 20 degrees.

Things I need to buy or have already bought ( for the ZTR):

(1) 5 gallon gas can. the 2.5 and 2 gallon wont cut it for the ztr since it has a 3 gallon tank. speaking of which.... Cheese how often do you have to fill the blooody thing up?

(2) Hour meter (already bought) The ZTR did not have one installed. I was going to pay someone to install it until i realized... I know how to read electrical schematics and do simple wiring. I intend to install it today. How else is anyone supposed to know when to do maintenance on it. My fiance said " Cant you do it every 3 months? no not mowers. it goes by hours dear" lmao.

(3) The bagging system sometime next year.

Ok I think i wrote another book again sorry all.

Paul.

P.S. As soon as I get the hour meter installed and if it isn't raining out I will pull it out and snap a few pics of it and post it. to a new thread.

Hedgemaster
09-07-2011, 09:20 AM
That's a lot of typing, but I don't think you ever mentioned what you bought! LOL

psparaco
09-07-2011, 10:30 AM
OH YEA DOH!

2010 Toro Timecutter Z series Z4235 Model# 74366
-3 gallon gas tank
-42 inch twin blade deck
-22 horsepower kawasaki engine
-hydrostatic drive
-Belt deck drive
-600lbs operating weight
-dimensions 78"L x 54"W x 38"H
-no hour meter yet. Have it just haven't installed it yet. Sometime today or tomorrow depending on my schedule and my part time job schedule. I hate rain. when it rains for more than 2 days straight.

Paul

wandfsmall
09-07-2011, 11:04 AM
It is easy to install an hour meter you would not even have to read the wire diagram most likely. Good luck with your mower, and smart move not going with the craftsman ztr they are a pain to work on.

CHEESE2009
09-07-2011, 11:48 AM
I can't give you a real answer on how often it needs to be filled up, but trust me when I say it's rare. You can get a lot done with this baby before it gets thirsty!


As for raising the chute, I've never had a problem with flinging objects. Usually when I'm on a lawn, I do the perimeter so that the chute is facing the inside of the lawn, then I make my stripes in a way so that it's always aiming towards the lawn.

Even then, the grass kind of floats in place. It doesn't really go all that far. Just be careful when the grass is wet, it'll plaster all over walls/cars LOL.

I've gone over a few rocks, but they tend to fling into the ground and never get any height.


-


Damn I wanna see your tractor lol..

Hedgemaster
09-07-2011, 11:20 PM
OH YEA DOH!

2010 Toro Timecutter Z series Z4235 Model# 74366
-3 gallon gas tank
-42 inch twin blade deck
-22 horsepower kawasaki engine
-hydrostatic drive
-Belt deck drive
-600lbs operating weight
-dimensions 78"L x 54"W x 38"H
-no hour meter yet. Have it just haven't installed it yet. Sometime today or tomorrow depending on my schedule and my part time job schedule. I hate rain. when it rains for more than 2 days straight.

Paul

I'm just starting to look into getting either a walk behind or a ZTR, so I'm not real familiar with them, or price ranges... is that a "homeowner" model? That's what it's looking like on the Toro website.


I saw a Craftsman "Professional Series" 36" walk behind at the outlet store the other day for $1,859 (reg. $3,099) Someone returned it - it's obviously been used, but I looked at teh air filter and it's still clean, so must not have been used much. "Hmmmm..." I thought, as I pictured all of the lawns I cut that are killing me with my 21" Toro. The "Craftsman" part scares me though.

Now you have me wondering... a ZTR for under $3,000? Again, I say "Hmmmm..."

wandfsmall
09-08-2011, 07:36 AM
I'm just starting to look into getting either a walk behind or a ZTR, so I'm not real familiar with them, or price ranges... is that a "homeowner" model? That's what it's looking like on the Toro website.


I saw a Craftsman "Professional Series" 36" walk behind at the outlet store the other day for $1,859 (reg. $3,099) Someone returned it - it's obviously been used, but I looked at teh air filter and it's still clean, so must not have been used much. "Hmmmm..." I thought, as I pictured all of the lawns I cut that are killing me with my 21" Toro. The "Craftsman" part scares me though.

Now you have me wondering... a ZTR for under $3,000? Again, I say "Hmmmm..."

yes that is a homeowner unit, honestly you would be better off buying something like a Hustler sport with a Kawasaki engine but even a homeowner with a briggs or kohler courage should last long enough to make a little money. A GOOD commercial ztr will up your productivity and lower your costs though.

CHEESE2009
09-08-2011, 10:28 AM
A machine is a machine. All will run fine!

A lot of your competition will be checking out your quality. My competition spends a fortune on brand new equipment and they still prefer the tractor I use.


It's either the machine is great, or the competition doesn't know how to cut grass with what they've got... lol



Remember, it's a machine - it'll last.

Hedgemaster
09-08-2011, 07:11 PM
Hey Cheese, is that the same ZTR you own?

I really would like to invest in "something" to get my jobs done faster next season, but some of the prices for commercial equipment are just outrageous - I mean, I know that you get what you pay for, but I'm not wiping my a$$ with twenty dollar bills, if you know what I mean.

wandfsmall mentioned the Hustler Sport. It's funny, because I was out of town last month and saw a huge dealership with tons of inventory on display, and they had one of those outside. It caught my eye because it was "small", and I figured it may be worth looking at as an "entry level" ZTR. I didn't realize it was a "homeowner" model until later when I looked it up online.
I'm going to stop again on Saturday when they are open to see how much they cost and get some info on them.

I never knew they made "homeowner" ZTR mowers. The price of a commercial grade walk behind nearly made me choke, so when I think about the possibility of RIDING a mower for the same cost as a walk behind, again, I say, "Hmmmm..."

psparaco
09-08-2011, 08:16 PM
Personally I don't see the point of blowing $6000+ on a commerical ZTR when a homeowner model is all the same. As long as you do the maintenance on it as required and keep it clean and working, it'll last you as long if not longer then a commerical mower. I have been using a 22 inch weedeater push mower for 6 years. 3 years for my own place and 3 years on 25-40 properties a week. again if you take care of it. it'll last a long time. I have another mower i just retired after my first year. I used it for my business back when i was a kid and had my own business then (1991-1997). I used it on about 15 lawns a week for 6 years straight and 2009 for my business this time around. 1997 - 2008 seasons it was used on just my parent's and grandmother's lawns. The routine maintenance was performed on it as required. the only reason i retired it was due to rust holes through the frame. If it wasn't for that.... belts, wheels, oil, spark plug, cables, etc can all be replaced. My toro ztr cost was $2,599.00 plus maryland 6% sales tax ($155.94), $2,754.94 total.

Just my opinion.

P.s. Scott. I haven't been able to take any pics nor install the hour meter yet. Since it had been raining off and on for 5 days now. I told my part time job boss I can work extra hours if needed. I worked today 6am-2pm and 5pm-8pm and work tomororw 6am-2pm. He knows the lawn business will be resuming on monday so I work then 6am-10am then off to cut a boat load of lawns. PRaying for sunshine this weekend to dry it all out. I hope

Paul

wandfsmall
09-08-2011, 09:38 PM
I never knew they made "homeowner" ZTR mowers. The price of a commercial grade walk behind nearly made me choke, so when I think about the possibility of RIDING a mower for the same cost as a walk behind, again, I say, "Hmmmm..."


In all honesty the sport is a homeowner mower but it still has an upgraded engine, does not shut the electric clutch off when you back up, and I am sure if you looked at that and a box store unit you can tell that it is a little heavier built. For example step on a mtd deck and you could bend it... jump on a sport deck and you would not hurt it.

The transmission is still only rated for 750 hours, still better then the briggs intek and kohler courage that are rated for 500 hours but a weak link none the less. A commercial unit would be rated for 3000 hours by comparison.


remember you get what you pay for.

CHEESE2009
09-08-2011, 10:39 PM
I'll be honest, I treat my machine like crap.

I'll run it at it's max speed, run over rocks, down ditches, againts curbs, etc. I like to take my chances a lot, lol...

I've rammed through fence gates trying to squeeze it through them.

Also, I never tie it down in the trailer and it occasionally moves around. The seat flaps up and down over bumps, etc.

All I gotta say is, everything else gets broken when it comes in contact with the machine. The machine itself is still working like new.



Don't get me wrong, when I feel the machine needs a good cleaning, it gets damn clean;

Pressure washed
Greased
I buffer out the scratches
Apply wax
Apply expensive wheel cleaner
Apply "Back to Black" on the black parts of the machine to really make it shine.

^ all of that is basically cosmetic... Grease is all you really need LOL!!!

I should open up a mower cleaning shop, because I'm that damn good at it, lol!



In the end, looks brand new. The machine is low maintenance, seriously.


The 42" Toro Timecutter Z, best purchase I've ever made. My truck costs me an arm and leg at $65K, has more problems than the tractor that I treat like crap. I will most likely get another one as I expand, that's how much I trust the machine.

Hedgemaster
09-08-2011, 10:47 PM
Paging Dr. Scott - Ruler of the Underworld... Paging Dr. Scott...

:D


So that is the one you have been using? Good to know. It's always nice to get input from someone who actually uses the model you are asking about.

Do you mulch with it? If so, how well does that work?

I hate bagging, and I'm currently very, very happy with the results of my Toro Super Recycler push mower, so I'd hate to spend all that money and have less than impressive results left behind in my client's lawn.

psparaco
09-09-2011, 08:47 PM
Well update on the hourmeter install. I discovered I don't have all the materials needed or skill to properly do it correctly. So I am taking the ZTR tomorrow to my mechanic who is a mechanic who works on stihl, toro and various other lawn care equipment. He has already serviced my other mowers, trimmers, blowers and snow blower. Since I already have the hourmeter. It shouldn't take more than an hour tops to install it.

On a worse note. My cell phone took a crap today after 18 months of use, so I upgraded and the new one won't be delivered until Thursday next week which means no pictures Scott until them. :( I don't expect the mechanic bill to be more than $25 bucks.

I'll let yall know how it goes when I get back. Hopefully I can get some lawns cut in the AM before I head there. Depends on if the grass is dried enough.

Paul

Hedgemaster
09-09-2011, 09:03 PM
Eh. Sometimes it's just better to let someone else do it for you.
Hey, thanks for posting what your mower cost in the earlier thread. It gives me something to compare others to.

I'm glad you started this thread - it really has me excited to find a mower that can help me be more productive, at a price I can probably afford. While the whole "homeowner quality" thing can be debated, there's no shame in starting out with something like that. At least not for me anyway. I look at this whole business thing as a learning/growing experience and I never expected to have a fleet full of the best equipment money can buy. At least not until mid way through my second season. LOL!

I'm going to stop at that Hustler dealer in the am to check out the Sport. I can then take a look at the Toros at my dealer just up the road to compare.

wandfsmall
09-09-2011, 09:22 PM
While the whole "homeowner quality" thing can be debated, there's no shame in starting out with something like that.

I agree with the fact it is a starting point, that why I suggested the Kawasaki engine. I have less problems with them then I do the briggs or kohler engines. If you have to start with the timecutter or troybuilt pony/cub rzt that will at least hopefully allow you to save up to get better.

I can assure you that you will have more repair bills on a homeowner unit then you will a commercial unit. Otherwise we would all just sell homeowner units. Another suggestion is buy it from a dealer if you can, they will be more likely to help you in a timely manner if something does happen, and will likely sell at the same price as the box stores.

Just grab the frame of the Hustler and the toro and you will feel the difference.

Hedgemaster
09-09-2011, 09:51 PM
I agree with the fact it is a starting point, that why I suggested the Kawasaki engine. I have less problems with them then I do the briggs or kohler engines. If you have to start with the timecutter or troybuilt pony/cub rzt that will at least hopefully allow you to save up to get better.

I can assure you that you will have more repair bills on a homeowner unit then you will a commercial unit. Otherwise we would all just sell homeowner units. Another suggestion is buy it from a dealer if you can, they will be more likely to help you in a timely manner if something does happen, and will likely sell at the same price as the box stores.

Just grab the frame of the Hustler and the toro and you will feel the difference.

Gotcha.

The good thing is that I have a dealer less than 2 miles from my home. The bad thing is that their location is so small, they only have a few Toros sitting on display outdoors. I don't recall seeing any Hustler literature in the shop, so I don't know if they would even get one in for me/service it.
I know they mention Wright, Great Dane, Ferris, Bobcat, and of course Toro as that seems to be the one they deal in the most.

As far as the homeowner mowers go, I think I could likely get some decent life out of one since I'm a one man show. I'm still at the stage where I'm going to have a mix of lawns where the rider won't be used and abused every single hour of every day - I'm still going to be pushing some lawns. I don't have to worry about an employee abusing it either. Much like my Toro Super Recycler, it can get me by until I can upgrade.

I'm not going to make any impulse buys either. I'm still weighing the pros/cons of a walk behind as opposed to a ZTR.

psparaco
09-09-2011, 10:27 PM
Let me give you a ballpark example of a typical "NON RAIN" week for me lmao.

I cut about 31 properties a week.

21 - I used to use my old 30 inch craftsman tractor which might I add fit through most single gates.

10 were solely push mower either due to hills, size of yard or both.

Of the 21 i either used the tractor on all or some of those lawns. Push mowers work well for getting into nooks and crannies that the tractor wasn't capable of doing.

13 of the 31 is a townhome either end of group or middle of group.

18 are single family homes with property sizes ranging from 6,000 sq.ft. to 13,000 sq.ft.

All toll I spent an average of 26.42 hours total a week cutting those lawns.

mon-5.6 hours
tue- off for rain day
wed-7.16 hours
thu-7.16 hours
fri-6.5 hours

(YES i started my stop watch the moment i pulled out my driveway at home til the moment i finished and loaded up the trailer after my last lawn of the day) sometimes i took a 10 minute lunch, smoke breaks accordingly, fuel stops if needed all in those times. I have tuesdays off for a reason. all monday cuts are townhomes. i can average $40/hour doing townhomes and $30 an hour on all others. reason for tuesday off is if it rains monday . townhomes can get done on tuesday and vice versa.

NOW with the my NEW "Cheese mobile" toro timecutter Z ( 42 inch deck) ZTR and a push mower where needed.

I estimate the following:

25 out of 31 I can use the ZTR some or all of the lawn. Since I have the big foot plate. I can carry my trimmer and hand held blower with me (already tried it).

5 of the 31 have a single gate backyard that the old 30 inch tractor could go thru that the 42 inch ZTR can't.

The rest who have gated backyards have double gates, so I shouldn't have a problem.

The tractor's top speed was claimed to be 4mph. Although my fiance with a push mower could push the darn mower faster then the tractor drove. lol.

The ZTR has a top speed of 7-8 mph depending on how much moonshine i put in the tank that morning lmao. sooo kidding. just 87 octane gasoline. but still 7 mph.

I intend to clock myself this week to see where I fare. Now my times have been based on just myself working alone. I think my fiance will be accompanying me, so she will be doing the push mower, trimmer and blower where needed, so my times may be alot better than i am guessing.
Since I have 2 handheld blowers and 1 trimmer I should be good. since the darn ZTR is soo much bigger than my tractor. I am stuck with 1 push mower in the trail vs 2 in it with the tractor. Its ok i'll keep the spare push mower in the bed of my truck along with the gas cans, trimmer and 2 blowers.

Oh and btw Scott as for you not tieng down your ZTR. Regardless of what I have in the trailer. Everything gets tied down unless I am only traveling under 1/4 mile to my next stop. Only things that don't get tied down is my traffic cones and my ramps.

I will update this on Monday night after I cut to see how my time made out. So far for mondays. my average time is 5.6 hours. Lets see how much i improve the time. IF you care to take a guesstimate now go right ahead or keep it to yourself. I am thinking maybe 4-5 hours tops. maybe less.


Paul

wandfsmall
09-10-2011, 10:46 AM
Gotcha.

The good thing is that I have a dealer less than 2 miles from my home. The bad thing is that their location is so small, they only have a few Toros sitting on display outdoors. I don't recall seeing any Hustler literature in the shop, so I don't know if they would even get one in for me/service it.
I know they mention Wright, Great Dane, Ferris, Bobcat, and of course Toro as that seems to be the one they deal in the most.


Well if he does not have hustlers on the property he likely can not get them for you. It costs someplace around the $40,000 to $100,000 per line you take on. They also give dealers protected territory to help recoup the costs of bringing in a line as with that you also have each engine and transmission if you were running a good service center(cost of that running around $40,000 at the minimum). They do not let us just buy 1 unit at a time.

As for the other lines he talked about Wright will be expensive, Great Dane is no longer in business, Some of the Farris Mowers are available in the Simplicity lineup as well so you could save money by changing paint colors. Bobcat is a good line when you get to the fastcat but your also looking at the $6000 range. And toro also you have good ones and bad ones.

If your looking at the $3000 range your looking at basically 4 units. The first 2 are about the same in quality same with the 2nd two although Hustler will have a better warranty and dealer support.

Toro Time Cutter
Troy Built Pony/Cub RZT(same mower)
Hustler Sport
Badboy MZT


As the the Walk Behind they will last longer then a homeowner ztr, fit threw most gates and can be loaded in the back of a pickup with out killing you. Downside is you have to talk or stand on a silky. Honestly though prob a better investment.

SECTLANDSCAPING
09-12-2011, 12:07 AM
The main difference I seen with residential ztrs and commercial is the transmission. The tranny on a commercial is twice as big and most the time it has one on each side. That is also the reason why commercial units are often twice as fast.

I had a cub cadet residential model. I bought it new for $2700. Later I bought a used lazer Z for $3500. When we were mowing a campground I could lap the cub doing passes. No lie! I would like to think it was the operator but it was the machine hands down. I later sold the cub with 1100 hrs on it. I didnt have to many problems with it.

Hedgemaster
09-20-2011, 09:14 PM
Cheese, since you didn't address it, I'll ask again...

How does your Timecutter do at mulching, or do you not mulch?

I'm seriously looking at one of these now, and I'm very, very happy with how well my Toro Super Recycle 21" mower mulches, so I'd hate to spend nearly three grand on something that doesn't leave my lawns as nice as they are now.

Any input would be appreciated.

Hedgemaster
09-20-2011, 09:31 PM
ETA: (forum software timed me out, so I couldn't add this to the above post)

I got a price of $2,500 from my dealer for the SS4235 (20hp Kaw) and $2,800 for the SS4260 (22hp Kaw). Not sure the 2 extra hp, engine guard, foot assist HOC, and anti-vibration mat are worth the extra $300 or not, but that's the difference between those models. The next two models up are the 50" mowers, but they may be a bit tight in my 5'x8' trailer - one of the reasons I'm looking at the smaller homeowner ZTRs.

My dealer also has a Toro Titan MX (MX5480) 54" on the lot for $4,500. It normally runs $5,500, but someone bought it and within the first hour, the plastic seat cover got sucked into the engine and burned it up. The dealer replaced the engine with new and is selling it for $1,000 less - as a new mower - full warranty. Seems like a decent deal in comparison to the Timecutter when you factor in improved quality, but it's a bit large for what I need at the moment, and I'd really like to keep my spending under $3,000, as I still have other equipment to buy.

Side note: When asked what his opinion was of the Timecutter, my dealer shrugged, and said, they seem "OK", but when you break something, it's not as easily fixed because you can't just replace one part - you replace a whole "unit". (I think he mentioned the front spindle/tire)
He went on to add that for someone like myself, who is a one man operation that isn't going to be abusing the equipment, it would probably hold up OK.

CHEESE2009
09-21-2011, 06:43 PM
The Timecutter is a great purchase.


I've never mulched with it, but I have bagged and used the side discharge chute.


Bagging looks fantastic, but when the grass is wet, the chute will get clogged. It's very simple to unclog though, it's actually not hard at all to do and takes two seconds.

The side discharge works extremely well, though I also tweaked it so that it's lifted more upwards, so the grass spreads evenly and doesn't leave a trail. You can't even notice the clippings on the lawn after, unless you have cut extremely long grass of course!


The controls are very simple, and the learning curve takes absolutely no time at all to get used to.


If anyone is planning on purchasing a zero turn mower, I recommend this machine! I can't think of anything negative to say about it, it's durable, it'll do any job you throw at it.


If you can get it for under $6k, get it!

LGann
09-23-2011, 07:00 AM
I have been pricing mowers for a few months now. Also with a commercial verses residential mower is they are not rated for the hours that most lawn care services will use them. I looked at gravely, toro, bad boy mowers and of course john deer. i have a little help to as i have a lawn service that helping me get started and throwing me jobs. I have not yet bought a mower since i have just started in the last few months. My first purchase will be a gravely 34 in commercial grade and maybe a 52 in as well next mowing season. for both mowers it was gonna run me around 13k. I found out with gravely they have a incentive package that if you spend 10k or more you get the mowers at fleet cost. This would actually save me around 2500.00 for buying two mowers.

wandfsmall
09-23-2011, 03:14 PM
I have been pricing mowers for a few months now. Also with a commercial verses residential mower is they are not rated for the hours that most lawn care services will use them. I looked at gravely, toro, bad boy mowers and of course john deer. i have a little help to as i have a lawn service that helping me get started and throwing me jobs. I have not yet bought a mower since i have just started in the last few months. My first purchase will be a gravely 34 in commercial grade and maybe a 52 in as well next mowing season. for both mowers it was gonna run me around 13k. I found out with gravely they have a incentive package that if you spend 10k or more you get the mowers at fleet cost. This would actually save me around 2500.00 for buying two mowers.

Every company gives fleet programs for more then one mower purchase. So if you were also looking at other brands ask the dealers about fleet programs for them as well. I am not saying your making a bad decision just throwing that out. You will not regret going commercial grade, it will more then pay off in the life of the mower.

Steve
09-26-2011, 04:00 PM
Every company gives fleet programs for more then one mower purchase.

What kind of benefits come from such fleet programs?