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Lawnmower advice

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by bigpern23, May 22, 2017.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    We decided this weekend that we're ready to take our trusty 10-year-old ride-on mower out behind the shed and put it out of its misery (it's got a number of problems - most notably the reverse gear no longer functions) that are fixable, but we're done putting money into this thing.

    So, looking at a new mower, I'd like to get a zero-degree turn mower, but I'm hearing they aren't great on hills. I have two small hills in my yard and I'm not really sure why hills cause a problem for zero-degree mowers, nor how steep a hill has to be to pose such a problem.

    Anybody have one? Any issues with hills in your yard?

    I test drove a regular ride-on mower today and the turn radius is much tighter than my old one, so I'm open to sticking with a regular one, but a zero degree would definitely shave some time off my weekly mowing.
  2. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    We have about an acre and it is relatively level. I have a John Deere d110 that works great. I think we got it three years ago.
  3. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    Zero turns are OK on hills as long as you go up and down the slope and not side to side. How much yard are you mowing? Anything less than an acre, a zero turn may be overkill.
  4. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    That's good to know because I can attack the hills pretty straight on. Do you know what the issue is with riding side to side on the slope? Are they more prone to turning over than a regular ride on?

    We're on about 2/3 of an acre, but there are some boulders and other obstacles that would be easier to handle with the ZTR. The zero turn is $600 more than the regular ride on I'm looking at, but it's faster and the tighter turns will make it more efficient. As of now, it takes me 2 hours to mow and trim the whole thing. It might be a little overkill, but I figure if it lasts me 10 years, that $60 extra per year will have been worth it to get to the beach sooner.
  5. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Yeah, my d110 is just a standard john deere and on the small end of the scale.
    42 inch mowing, 18 inch turn radius.

    Works great for me.
    bigpern23 likes this.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    That's one of the ones I'm looking at. The ZTR is a 42-inch deck base model. Apparently, these things are selling like crazy. Salesman said they've already sold more this year than all of last year and Deere hasn't been able to keep up with demand. It'll be a couple of weeks before I can get a ZTR. The 100 series is in stock, which is partially why I'm interested in it.
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I live in Cali. With are emissions regulations not all models are available.
    I would've liked a bigger model, but the 110 is what was in the budget at the time.

    For the first five years we lived there I was borrowing an actual full on tractor and discing the the property, which increased my trouble with furrowing. So it is a muy rough ride on the mower now.

    I've done almost no landscaping in eight years. It used to be citrus grove, and it still looks like they pulled the grove out yesterday.

    When the rainy season ends and everything is finally dry enough for me to work on it, takes forever, but after a couple-three weekends of hard work I can get through it in two-three hours the rest of the year.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Ouch, sounds like a huge PITA.

    Usually the first cut takes me longer and then about 2 hours the rest of the season, but this year, it's been taking 3 hours because the mower is so shot. Reverse no longer works, which means there's a small section of the yard that I can't even bring it into and other parts that are just plain more difficult to cut. The chute constantly clogs, no matter how high I raise the blades, so I have had to mow over the same area three times to pick up the grass (I bag and dump it, otherwise the kids and dogs track it into the house).

    Like I said, I could fix most (maybe all) of the problems with it, but we put $300 into it two years ago and $700 into it last summer. Time to just bite the bullet and get something new rather than pouring more cash into it.
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  9. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    We live, literally, at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The incline starts about a quarter mile from our house.
    The view is fantastic, and there are some aspects of country-living I've liked.

    But honestly, I'm looking forward to moving back into town in another year or two.
    bigpern23 likes this.
  10. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    The problem with zero turns on hills is the engine is in the rear and all the steering is in the rear wheels. The front wheels are casters and do not control steering. As a result it makes zero turns prone to slippage on slopes. Most manufacturers recommend not using a ZTR on anything steeper than 15%.
  11. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Gotcha, good info, thanks. I read the 15-degree slope recommendation, but none of the stuff I read mentioned the reason for it. I'm not too worried about slippage, since the one slope I have that exceeds that 15 degrees is short and it would be two passes going downhill (I can zip around to a more gradual slope, rather than attacking it uphill).
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