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Been in the landscape biz 30+ years...Was exclusively SCAG for 20+ of those years (16 units) Had a few Lesco's (Scag knockoff) here n there too...Never once did any of those scags have to be taken back to a dealer for work...Sure...Eventually parts wearout like blade clutches and gearbox trannys that I did all the R&R on myself. I bought the Gravely's from a local dealer who was just starting out, because scag was really getting pricey and I would have had to drive to my old dealer in Illinois for a better deal than the local scag dealer...Live n Learn...Althought I still have 1 Scag SW-48" walkbehind that is 24 years old and still runs good with the ORIGINAL motor...Sooo if your in the market for a new unit...Spend the extra money on the Scag would be my suggestion...
Thats what I hear from my landscape buddies. My Brother in law has a Freedom Z that I mowed his lawn with last year while he was deployed for 6 months and I fell in love with it. Just waiting for the Cub Cadet to finally shit the bed before I drop $6gs on a mower lol.
Same for my 2003 husqvarna lawn tractor that has a 17 hp kawasaki twin... it has nearly 400 hrs also...but boy does that sucker eat gas. I can run my other 16 hp kohler iron duke powered garden tractor thats nearly 50 years old with a zillion more hours far longer before refilling plus it hold less fuel.
Thats funny , my 22HP Kawi is a gas hog as well . But it runs like a top.
 

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I am in the process of undertaking my first Garden trator restore. It's a Cub Cadet 129 hydro, 1974 vintage. very solid tractor mechanicly, but am rebuildiing the front PTO right now. That is a mechanical clutch type unit.
 

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I will be looking to replace my Cub rider with a ZT in the next year or so. No Gravely or Ariens dealers in the area. Love my Ariens snow blower but it is an older model. It’s a beast to man handle around but it rarely lacks power or can’t throw the snow.

Only have Cub, Deere, Simplicity, Ferris and Toro in my area for dealers. I already buy all my Cub and Stihl stuff from the dealer that has Cub, Simplicity and Ferris so I’m sure that’s where I will probably go for the ZT when the time comes.
 

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Thats what I hear from my landscape buddies. My Brother in law has a Freedom Z that I mowed his lawn with last year while he was deployed for 6 months and I fell in love with it. Just waiting for the Cub Cadet to finally shit the bed before I drop $6gs on a mower lol.


Thats funny , my 22HP Kawi is a gas hog as well . But it runs like a top.
One of my neighbors has an older 15 hp husqvarna lawn tractor with a kawasaki twin..says the same. Mine and his run great, just oil and filter changes but they are thirsty.
 

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I am in the process of undertaking my first Garden trator restore. It's a Cub Cadet 129 hydro, 1974 vintage. very solid tractor mechanicly, but am rebuildiing the front PTO right now. That is a mechanical clutch type unit.
Surprised, my sperry/rand new holland 16 hp garden tractor is older but uses an electric clutch to supply the front, center, and rear pro's.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thats what I hear from my landscape buddies. My Brother in law has a Freedom Z that I mowed his lawn with last year while he was deployed for 6 months and I fell in love with it. Just waiting for the Cub Cadet to finally shit the bed before I drop $6gs on a mower lol.


Thats funny , my 22HP Kawi is a gas hog as well . But it runs like a top.

These start at $13k+
 

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I am in the process of undertaking my first Garden trator restore. It's a Cub Cadet 129 hydro, 1974 vintage. very solid tractor mechanicly, but am rebuildiing the front PTO right now. That is a mechanical clutch type unit.
I use to have a 129 for snowblowing my driveway. I made a mount to install a Snapper 2 stage blower on it that my uncle gave me. Then I built a cab using pvc pipe as a frame. Cab worked great! I sold it once I bought a 5' 3 point blower for my tractor.
 

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Here's my reply from Tractor by Net. Still applies to this one too.

A ZTR with a suspension seat is a minimum for a rough pasture cut. A ZTR with a full suspension system like a vehicle has is better yet. Balloon tires on some ZTR's also help but suspension is better. The new easy ride system from Toro is new this year and it adds suspension as an option (cheaper versions are available without of course). All that said, I have four mowers here. I have a Black Craftsman Professional model with a 24hp engine and the cheap Hydro gear K46 tranny that's not very good. But it has foot control and that's really a great feature one i highly recommend. It does a good job of actually cutting grass though. And it has a rear two bag catcher system that actually works very well except in wet grass. Damp ok but wet forget it due to clogs. It's been a good mower and i have it "on loan" to a friend during the summer months as he can barely walk these days so i let him use it and then get it back in the fall so i can suck up the leaves here. As for repairs, I replaced the transmission drive belt once and serviced the K46 tranny with new 5w-50 synthetic fluid (had the typical barely moving hydro problem) and have replaced the valve covers once (they were leaking oil) along with a couple of spark plugs once and a headlight socket and bulb once as they wear due to vibration. A new battery once too of course (still running that battery 8 years later due to keeping it on a tender in the winter months and topping the water up as needed).

I also have a Simplicity ZT 2500 24hp with front suspension only and a 48" fabricated deck with Gator blades and dual ZT 2800 transmissions. That setup was a great deal at only $3000 new (after $400 Simplicity rebate in the springtime). It cuts the grass very well I'd say and especially is better with those Gator blades as it handles heavy/tall grass dispersion better. It works better of course when the grass is dry and not even damp at all. The 24hp Briggs commercial engine is good and I've had that one for about 5 years now with the only issue being a bar that cracked that held the transmission mounting points (there's two of the exact same bars and one cracked). It broke on the 3rd year while under warranty but the bars were on Nationwide back order so i just took it to my favorite welding guy and he welded it up and it's not broken since. And the other replacement finally came and is sitting in a box in my garage (took 3 months to come in). That bar was a simple fix. Just 4 bolts hold it in and pulls out the bottom side. Otherwise that mower has had no issues at all. Runs good and has a EFI system of some type on it. The ride quality of this mower is good and was better than that of the Black Craftsman mower. It was an incremental improvement that was nice when i got it. The ZT2800 transmissions have been better and I've done a couple of services on them since they have drain and fill plugs along with spin on filters. (hence the reason to get these better transmissions) It does about 7mph full throttle across the field when cutting. (level no hills light loads on the mower deck when cutting) Otherwise at full speeds it's bumpy. ZTRs in general are bumpy ride cause you can go so fast. And hence why you buy one with suspension of some kind. It's important.

My third mower is also the newest. A Simplicity ZTR Citation XL 61" fab deck with a 27hp Briggs commercial engine and ZT 3400 transmissions. This one has full suspension front and rear and it'll do 11mph across the field. That's moving let me tell you. And it's easiest on the body without a doubt. I call it the Cadillac ride. It's really great to use. You can cut full throttle and at 61" you are really doing some damage to get done QUICKER. It probably has cut my cutting time in 1/2 to 2 hrs vs 4 hrs with other mower used. Previously i used a Ford 1900 with a 72" deck. That sounds like a great combination doesn't it ? I mean wow a 72" deck would seriously cut down cutting time. Nope not really. It can't cut things that fast. It was a 30hp diesel machine with a rear discharge deck. It left clippings more so than i liked to see on heavy grass and if I tried to cut with it fast it threw me all over the place and cut even worse. Nope, I loved having that tractor but it wasn't a great mowing machine like a ZTR gets you. Even the Black Craftsman cut quality was far better (I put Gator blades on it too). As a result the 1900 was gone last spring and in came the Citation to replace it. And it's been far better for my tastes (and the wife loves it too and saves her back for doing more fun things like tooth brushing the grout on the floor ! lol). So far it's been reliable too. Nothing yet but it's only on it's second year. Unlike the Craftsman that's on it's 12th year!

I also have another machine for cutting but it's just a "backup". I have a Steiner 420 AWD articulating sub compact tractor. It has a 48" mower deck and uses low pressure high flotation tires along with a criss-cross hydro drive system to not tear up the grass in the yard. I mostly use it for loader work (sub compact loader that handles about 700lbs max) and also i use a rotating brush to clear the driveway of snow in the winter. Advantage of it is that I don't use ANY salt on my driveway. It can clear snow down to the pavement and the sun clears the rest of it off. I have the cleanest driveway in the winter months here. It's always bare and dry by 10am. As for summer use, I have used it a couple times to cut the grass but that front mount deck just blows grass all over you i found. It's really annoying so i don't use it much. A mid deck blows stuff too but it's mostly behind you by the time it catches the wind. And at 10mph it never hits you! lol
The Steiner isn't new and is a 1994 model with a Onan 20 Performer engine. It's very reliable. I have had a few problems with it over the years I've had it. MOstly simple things like plug wires and new spark plugs along with a charging problem with the Molex connections they used back in 94' which weren't very long term reliable and corroded due to their unprotected nature in this application (auto type connections weren't used in tractors till later years probably due to this reason) But, mostly it's been reliable for me. I have the hydro system serviced every 5 years or so and use only the STeiner hydro fluid as it's proven to be reliable without issues or questionable fluid life like other manufacturers supplied for this application. I can't really complain at all about it. It wasn't a cheap machine to buy but it's been a good machine. And where else can you have the cleanest driveway in the neighborhood ? Without a lot of work? I can have it cleared in the winter in 15 minutes. 400ft plus turnaround area at top. That's big.

So, all that said. I highly recommend a ZTR. And get a ZTR with suspension. One without it isn't going to save any time cutting and you might as well just buy a Home Depot or Lowe's tractor. As for price, more $$ gets you more machine. It's worth it IMO. Same holds true for regular tractors too. And always buy one step up from what you think you need. Bigger never hurts. Smaller does!

Steve
 

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I use to have a 129 for snowblowing my driveway. I made a mount to install a Snapper 2 stage blower on it that my uncle gave me. Then I built a cab using pvc pipe as a frame. Cab worked great! I sold it once I bought a 5' 3 point blower for my tractor.
Sweet!
 
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