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  • Diesel Powered Mowers

    I have a 2005 diesel truck that has a 140 miles on it and it continues to run like a charm. I also have a 2011 diesel that is just bar none the best diesel truck out there. I love diesel because they last forever and that is why I only buy diesel trucks. I think all gas trucks should go away and make everything diesel.

    But to get to the point. I have heard about diesel engines in mowers and I only know of Grass Hopper having a few diesel but there are no dealers in my area. I wanted to ask you guys a few questions regarding diesels in mowers.

    What companies are using diesel mowers?
    Is diesel in mowers a good choice (as I'm guessing they will last forever)?
    Are they comparable in price of gas mowers?
    And in general what are all your thoughts or experience using diesel powered mowers?

    Curtis Michael
    President
    The Grounds Crew
    (425) 765-2638
    www.thegroundscrewllc.com

  • #2
    kubota makes some nice diesel equipment ,and anything diesel is more cash just like when you bought your trucks .

    Comment


    • #3
      Both Toro and Exmark sell diesel zero turns.

      I don't know anything more about them.

      Comment


      • #4
        I run John Deere, the most amazing GT is the X749, all wheel drive and all wheel steer, has a 3pt hitch, rear PTO, you can use the thing for anything including a small loader, 72" deck, bush hog, finish mower, tiller etc.

        They do however have a steep price tag, the engine is a Yanmar, they can't be beat, most of the fishing boats here run these engines also, I also had them in the excavators, never had an issue.

        I did however start with the Diesel ZTR, 997 model, excellent machine however mowing was a small fraction of when we did so I traded, spraying is very big for us and the X749's have 40 gallon sprayers on the read, air ride seats mean you can go across really bumpy ground and it's like riding on air.
        Andy
        Halifax, Nova Scotia

        Comment


        • #5
          it really boils down to personal preference and for lawn mowing it really does not add much in the form of savings when it is said and done with.

          diesel fuel is usually 75 cents a gallon more and throw in the fact that the diesel option usually results in at least a couple thousand dollars more for the unit not to mention they need the oil changed more frequently and when they break they cost 10 times more to fix.

          in the end, it really don't save much as well as most diesel mowers are liquid cooled and in the past i have had seperate issues with that and in my opinion radiators on a machine like a mower in a dusty enviroment don't mix too well if the operator is too lazy to clean it out daily.

          my f-550 ford needed a new injector pump as well as the injectors themselves and a couple of other fuel system parts and just the cost for the parts i could have put a new motor in my truck with the gas engine without even getting into the labor.

          years ago the diesel was a good option when it was half the price of gasoline and in my area only one out of every ten gas stations have diesel so it can be tiresome going out of the way to fuel up.

          when you add up the initial cost of ownership the extra cost for fuel and then throw into repairs are a lot more it really does not provide a savings and then in the winter the warm up time is extended as well as you got to plug them in and the fords and the dodges are horrendous to start if it is not plugged in and it is 15 degrees outside.

          the exaust is nasty and when i have to go out in the middle of the night to plow in the winter i wake the whole neihborhood starting the thing.

          if it is a big truck in the 26,000 gvw range or bigger or a piece of equipment like a loader or excavator then yeah get a diesel but if it is a lawnmower you will never recoup the cost.

          but either way it boils down to personal preference and no matter what you say if someone loves it you probably won't sway their opinion on it anyway.

          just my two cents after 23 years of being a business owner and pretty much having tried them both.

          Comment


          • #6
            You sound about right. I was doing some personal research on them and everyone just says they are expensive. However, I do like them for my trucks. I guess it just isn't necessary for a mower. Thanks for the advice guys.

            Curtis Michael
            President
            The Grounds Crew
            (425) 765-2638
            www.thegroundscrewllc.com

            Comment


            • #7
              A full answer to your question from a mechanical standpoint is this. Run a diesel engine on a mower and you will find it sounds like it is redlined. Guess what in a lot of cases it is, that is why they do not seem to hold up really any better then gas engines in this application. Overall my diesel customers have higher repair bills then my gas customers, so I do not recommend them. As for the brands that run diesel engines almost all of your top commercial lines do. You will find the choice of engines limited to Yanamar for John Deere, Kubota, Shibaura, and Cat(from what I understand they do not produce this engine though they just rebadge it)
              I am the owner of www.AllOutdoorParts.com an online mower parts distributor. I am also a Briggs Master Service Technician and Expert Certified Mechanic for Kohler. If my posts helps you please like my facebook page at www.facebook.com/alloutdoorparts

              Comment


              • #8
                Do any of you guys that run diesel equipment know about off road diesel? It is significantly less because the highway taxes are not assessed because the equipment is not used on the highway. Most of the time they keep people from cheating the system by putting red dye into the fuel.
                Pat

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do any of you guys that run diesel equipment know about off road diesel? It is significantly less because the highway taxes are not assessed because the equipment is not used on the highway. Most of the time they keep people from cheating the system by putting red dye into the fuel.
                  off road diesel is the same as home heating oil and it has the dye in it as well as it is not nearly as clean as the diesel fuel plus home heating ol cost about the same so combine that with running dirtier fuel through your machine you are better off running the real diesel fuel.

                  until i switched my home over to natural gas i only used diesel fuel for my furnace over the conventional home heating oil and as a result i got double the time per tankfull as well as my furnaces efficency was a lot higher and my maintenance was almost eliminated compared to the crap they sell as #2 home heating oil.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Do any of you guys that run diesel equipment know about off road diesel? It is significantly less because the highway taxes are not assessed because the equipment is not used on the highway. Most of the time they keep people from cheating the system by putting red dye into the fuel.
                    Yes, some of the service stations here sell it and it is marked or you can go to a depot and buy it which is what I do.

                    Was reading some of the other comments and while I agree older diesel engines may have been loud, may have sounded like they had to be red lined to get the RPM required for the mower or the smell, this is not the case with the newer engines.

                    If it is really cold outside then for about 1 to 2 min you can sometimes smell the diesel, in the summer you never smell anything, there is zero vibration and I run our gear around 1,800 RPM, super smooth and quiet.

                    I am surprised diesel at the station is more expensive than gas, I run a diesel Jetta and diesel is generally $0.40 less a gallon (US)

                    As for repair costs, there are far less pieces on a diesel that can go wrong vs gas, I have been running diesel's since the late 80's along with gas, my experience is the diesel will not only outlast a gas engine, the overall maintenance cost is far less, like anything it depends on how well you take car of the equipment.
                    Andy
                    Halifax, Nova Scotia

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      off road diesel is the same as home heating oil and it has the dye in it as well as it is not nearly as clean as the diesel fuel plus home heating ol cost about the same so combine that with running dirtier fuel through your machine you are better off running the real diesel fuel.

                      until i switched my home over to natural gas i only used diesel fuel for my furnace over the conventional home heating oil and as a result i got double the time per tankfull as well as my furnaces efficency was a lot higher and my maintenance was almost eliminated compared to the crap they sell as #2 home heating oil.
                      That is like comparing apple to oranges. Those are 2 totally different technologies as far as combustion. One requires and ignition source that does not burn as clean (I used to repair boilers) while the other burns more completely because of the sealed chamber and the compression of the fuel air mixture.
                      Pat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That is like comparing apple to oranges. Those are 2 totally different technologies as far as combustion. One requires and ignition source that does not burn as clean (I used to repair boilers) while the other burns more completely because of the sealed chamber and the compression of the fuel air mixture.
                        i was not compareing natural gas to diesel i was comparing diesel fuel to #2 heating oil.

                        i only reffered to the natural gas because i recently switched over to it when they ran the line down my street and i was speaking of the diesel and #2 heating oil as in past tense as far as heating my home.

                        as far as the diesel and #2 heating oil or otherwise known as off road diesel the #2 fuel oil is much dirtier and there is obviously a reason for that.
                        a diesel engine can not run as efficiently off of #2 because of the impurities in it and as a result will cause problems for the diesel engine mainly the injector pump and injectors by running it long term whereas the oil burner furnace can tolerate the impurities but even the oil burner can benefit and run more efficiently off of the diesel fuel.

                        also the #2 oil has a dye in it that causes a blue smoke to appear in the exaust to tip off law enforcement that you are running the #2 in your vehicle to avoid the road taxes which will result in impounding the vehicle and heavy fines and that dye also causes excessive soot build up in the burner plentum.
                        Last edited by dpld; 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i was not compareing natural gas to diesel i was comparing diesel fuel to #2 heating oil.

                          i only reffered to the natural gas because i recently switched over to it when they ran the line down my street and i was speaking of the diesel and #2 heating oil as in past tense as far as heating my home.

                          as far as the diesel and #2 heating oil or otherwise known as off road diesel the #2 fuel oil is much dirtier and there is obviously a reason for that.
                          a diesel engine can not run as efficiently off of #2 because of the impurities in it and as a result will cause problems for the diesel engine mainly the injector pump and injectors by running it long term whereas the oil burner furnace can tolerate the impurities but even the oil burner can benefit and run more efficiently off of the diesel fuel.

                          also the #2 oil has a dye in it that causes a blue smoke to appear in the exaust to tip off law enforcement that you are running the #2 in your vehicle to avoid the road taxes which will result in impounding the vehicle and heavy fines and that dye also causes excessive soot build up in the burner plentum.
                          I was confused by this comment as I have since I was a kid interchanged furnace oil with off road diesel for diesel tractors, I was always told they were the same, so I asked a long time friend who owns a fuel depot (Esso), he has been in the business for 36 years, he said they are the same although he did however state that the refining process here in Canada is very different than the USA, it could well be that the furnace oil in your state is not refined as much as it is here.

                          What got me to thinking about this is I have a diesel generator here at home, installed it I believe in 1996, the fuel for it is supplied from a T off my furnace oil barrel (located outside the house), it does a weekly test so it does see quite a few hours of use over the year, we also tend to loose power at least three times a year, I have run off the generator for a max of 5 days, generally it's less than 24 hours.

                          The engine is a Yanmar, other than changing the oil and fuel filter once a year, I have never touch it.

                          Here is an article on the various grades.

                          http://www.enviroharvest.ca/dieselvsheating.htm
                          Andy
                          Halifax, Nova Scotia

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I was confused by this comment as I have since I was a kid interchanged furnace oil with off road diesel for diesel tractors, I was always told they were the same, so I asked a long time friend who owns a fuel depot (Esso), he has been in the business for 36 years, he said they are the same although he did however state that the refining process here in Canada is very different than the USA, it could well be that the furnace oil in your state is not refined as much as it is here.

                            What got me to thinking about this is I have a diesel generator here at home, installed it I believe in 1996, the fuel for it is supplied from a T off my furnace oil barrel (located outside the house), it does a weekly test so it does see quite a few hours of use over the year, we also tend to loose power at least three times a year, I have run off the generator for a max of 5 days, generally it's less than 24 hours.

                            The engine is a Yanmar, other than changing the oil and fuel filter once a year, I have never touch it.

                            Here is an article on the various grades.

                            http://www.enviroharvest.ca/dieselvsheating.htm

                            well being in the united states and you being in canada i would not have a clue as to what the differences are if any at all.

                            both fuels are the same with the exception of the dyes and impurities.
                            pretty much in a nutshell, the #2 oil is the bottom of the barrel and the obvious differences between a diesel engine and a furnace are vast but the furnace is more tolerent of the swill that goes through it then the engine is.

                            but with that said anytime you have a cleaner grade of fuel it will burn longer and cleaner regardless of how it is used even if it were burned in a can.
                            for me i was not satisfied with buying the #2 oil because being it had more inert properties in it you were only getting about 75 to 80% real fuel compared to the good grade and as i said i got more bang for the buck by just useing the quality grade.
                            the easiest way to see the difference is put some diesel and #2 oil in two different clear glass jars and the diesel is golden and translucent and the #2 is dark and merky with all kinds of swill floating around and if you let the #2 settle out you will see all kinds of crud on the bottom.
                            i have a 200 gal fuel cell in the back of my truck with a pump and nozzle on it so it was easy for me to drive to the station and fill it up and drive home and transfer it into my home heating oil tank.

                            obviously most people don't have that option and being i did i took advantage of it.
                            i have a lot of good freinds that are mechanics and two of them are diesel mechanics on big rigs and they concur with my opinion and that solidified my original thoughts.

                            as far as diesel engines go, they are great motors and do have less parts but at the same time they are very expensive to fix and the heart and sole of the engine is the injector pump as well as the injectors and if they get screwed up your engine will not run properly and just like," we are what we eat " the same holds true for a diesel engine.
                            my main reason for even getting into this part of the debate was to convey to anyone who chooses to use a diesel equipted peice of equipment and spend that extra money was to spare themselves the trouble of saving a few bucks on cheap fuel because in the long run they will not get the optimum efficiency out of the motor as well as cause themselves some mechanical related issues with the engine that will result in unwanted repairs as well as more fuel filter costs and oil changes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have a 2005 diesel truck that has a 140 miles on it and it continues to run like a charm. I also have a 2011 diesel that is just bar none the best ditruck out there. I love diesel because they last forever and that is why I only buy diesel trucks. I think all gas trucks should go away and make everything diesel.

                              But to get to the point. I have heard about diesel engines in mowers and I only know of Grass Hopper having a few diesel but there are no dealers in my area. I wanted to ask you guys a few questions regarding diesels in mowers.

                              What companies are using diesel mowers?
                              Is diesel in mowers a good choice (as I'm guessing they will last forever)?
                              Are they comparable in price of gas mowers?
                              And in general what are all your thoughts or experience using diesel powered mowers?
                              1 what I would look at is who is going to take care of you.
                              2 yes the diesel motors will last longer, but you are still using the same mowing platform as a commercial gas mower.
                              3 yes they are comparable to gas.
                              4 we run tractors both gas and diesel, but come winter the gas tractors get parked and the diesel tractor get changed over to snow removal. If all I was going to do was mow I would only buy gas, because of the price.

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