Considering buying a 590 but have several concerns
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    Considering buying a 590 but have several concerns

    I really have my purchase options for a new tractor narrowed down to either the 590 or the Kubota GR2020. Here are the issues I'm sort of hung up on. Hopefully someone here can address them and provide some advice / recommendations.

    1) I've never used a tractor that has the 2-pedal hydro operation. I'm also considering the Kubota 1 "treadle" pedal design and have driven one. I will be driving a JD today to test out the 2-pedal. Any thoughts either way? (Actually, I've never had a tractor that had any pedals to operate the hydro, having used a Cub Cadet 129 for the past 37 years)

    2) The reverse safety switch...again...my old Cub has no such thing so I can go forward and reverse at will. I know the switch can be disabled but, if I'm correct, whenever the dealer does work on it he will reconnect it (?) It just seems that having to hit that switch every time to go in reverse sounds like a bit of a pain.

    3) The quick oil change system...any thoughts on this? It appears one is only doing an expensive partial change at best. Love the idea of not having to mess with an oil pan bolt, but, when it's time to change oil, then all the oil should be changed.

    4) Mulching kit...yes or no? The Kubota dealer tells me that it doesn't work all that well (at least when mowing tall grass) AND he mentions that it's engaged all the time. The Deere dealer I've been visiting tells me that on the 590 it can be turned on and off. Thoughts on it? The mulching idea sounds nice if it works well.

    Thanks for any input...

    Keith
    Last edited by three4rd; 09-07-2018 at 09:37 AM.

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by three4rd View Post
    I really have my purchase options for a new tractor narrowed down to either the 590 or the Kubota GR2020. Here are the issues I'm sort of hung up on. Hopefully someone here can address them and provide some advice / recommendations.

    1) I've never used a tractor that has the 2-pedal hydro operation. I'm also considering the Kubota 1 "treadle" pedal design and have driven one. I will be driving a JD today to test out the 2-pedal. Any thoughts either way? (Actually, I've never had a tractor that had any pedals to operate the hydro, having used a Cub Cadet 129 for the past 37 years)
    No worries. They are both good systems and it is just a matter of what you are used to. Regardless of what you've used in the past, once you've spent a couple hours on the tractor it will become second nature. My old 175 Hydro had the forward/reverse lever on the fender. I used that tractor for 25 years and it took me all of 15 mins to get used to the pedals on the new X500.

    2) The reverse safety switch...again...my old Cub has no such thing so I can go forward and reverse at will. I know the switch can be disabled but, if I'm correct, whenever the dealer does work on it he will reconnect it (?) It just seems that having to hit that switch every time to go in reverse sounds like a bit of a pain.
    Most folks agree the RIO switch is a PITA. The good news it has a habit of breaking... err.... ummm... I mean, it has a habit of no longer working shortly after you get the tractor. It can be disabled in such a way that if you ever need to send the tractor to the dealer it can be restored to normal operation in less than 5-mins. [hint hint - wink wink ]

    3) The quick oil change system...any thoughts on this? It appears one is only doing an expensive partial change at best. Love the idea of not having to mess with an oil pan bolt, but, when it's time to change oil, then all the oil should be changed.
    To the best of my knowledge the X-series tractors do not have the quick oil change system. Only the E-series. And even if it did, there is a $10 kit from JD to remove the quick change system and restore it to using a normal filter system. :-)

    4) Mulching kit...yes or no? The Kubota dealer tells me that it doesn't work all that well (at least when mowing tall grass) AND he mentions that it's engaged all the time. The Deere dealer I've been visiting tells me that on the 590 it can be turned on and off. Thoughts on it? The mulching idea sounds nice if it works well.
    I installed the mulch kit and blades on my X500 upon delivery before I even mowed a single blade of grass. Mine mulches all the time and can not be turned off and on. Which, is fine because I would never turn it off anyway. Been mulching for over 30 years and it works FANTASTIC. You are correct though, if you are going to be mowing very tall grass you probably don't want to mulch.
    Last edited by jgayman; 09-07-2018 at 10:07 AM.
    darkrt likes this.
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    Just a word on the RIO. On the 590, just unplug the wire to the RIO switch under the dash. Loop the end of the wire back to itself and your good to go. If you take it to the dealer just remove the loop and plug the wire back in. Its that easy. I have a 2016 590 and have encountered no problems, just saying. Good luck with whatever you purchase.
    "It's not how fast you mow, it's how well you mow fast"




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    On the 2016 and newer x500 series, the mulching kit consists of some internal baffles and a gate that can be opened or closed to discharge.

    I have it on mine, and it works great most of the time, except this year when we kept getting all the rain and my grass would never dry out all the way. With the way the baffles are set up, the blade furthest from the discharge chute only passes 50% of its clippings to the middle, where as the middle will attempt to pass 100% towards the discharge. With the dampness of the grass, I was getting too much build up in the deck around that far blade, even with the discharge open.

    Finally removed the mulch kit (about 15 minutes once deck was off tractor) and put my regular blades on. I'll put the mulcher back on for leaves.

    Quick Gear Grinder here. All the hardware for the mulch kit was 1/2 inch nuts/carriage bolts except the nut/bolts holding the little chute plate, that was 10 mm. I can understand needing something smaller there, but don't switch to metric just in spot. Pick one or the other but don't mix SAE and Metric.
    Rudy-

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    Quote Originally Posted by three4rd View Post
    I really have my purchase options for a new tractor narrowed down to either the 590 or the Kubota GR2020. Here are the issues I'm sort of hung up on. Hopefully someone here can address them and provide some advice / recommendations.

    1) I've never used a tractor that has the 2-pedal hydro operation. I'm also considering the Kubota 1 "treadle" pedal design and have driven one. I will be driving a JD today to test out the 2-pedal. Any thoughts either way? (Actually, I've never had a tractor that had any pedals to operate the hydro, having used a Cub Cadet 129 for the past 37 years)

    2) The reverse safety switch...again...my old Cub has no such thing so I can go forward and reverse at will. I know the switch can be disabled but, if I'm correct, whenever the dealer does work on it he will reconnect it (?) It just seems that having to hit that switch every time to go in reverse sounds like a bit of a pain.

    3) The quick oil change system...any thoughts on this? It appears one is only doing an expensive partial change at best. Love the idea of not having to mess with an oil pan bolt, but, when it's time to change oil, then all the oil should be changed.

    4) Mulching kit...yes or no? The Kubota dealer tells me that it doesn't work all that well (at least when mowing tall grass) AND he mentions that it's engaged all the time. The Deere dealer I've been visiting tells me that on the 590 it can be turned on and off. Thoughts on it? The mulching idea sounds nice if it works well.

    Thanks for any input...

    Keith
    The operator pedal is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I wouldn't own a Kubota because of the Treadle Pedal design. I am tall and have long legs and the treadle pedal is very uncomfortable to use for me verses the two pedal system. I have friends with Kubota's which I drive several times a year, so I am familiar with both systems.

    No question that both brands sells a lot of tractors. I found I end up stepping on the Treadle Pedal when I am getting on and off the Kubota's which can be dangerous. But, it comes down to personal preference so try both and see what you like. Also, the rest of the machine ergonomics make a big difference. And drive the machine on a lawn surface to see how they ride. I always laugh when people tell me they drove the tractor at the dealership on the parking lot and it seemed fine and when they get on a bumpy lawn, they are shocked at the bad ride. Try to drive the machine where it's going to be used. If possible, see if the dealers have a demo they will drop off for you to mow at your home. That's the best test of any new machine.

    The oil change issue is easily returned to "normal, full change system" as others have mentioned. I don't care for the partial oil change system, but I do think its going to expand and become the "norm" as time passes. Hopefully, the ability to "over ride" or "bypass" the partial change system continues to be available as an alternative.

    The RIO is easily overridden and should be as far as you are cognizant of what's going on around you when mowing. There was just a local story on the news where a 7 year old girl received her prosthetic lower leg and foot with the help of local Shriner's after she lost her foot and a portion of her lower leg in a lawn mowing accident in May of this year. I don't know the details of the accident and frankly, don't want to. But obviously this is a risk and I can't imagine the impact such an injury would have on both the victim of the accident as well as the person operating the machine.

    There are a lot of really good mower blades available now to achieve various types of mowing objectives. I just replaced the blades on my zero turn with some new special blades which have a special coating as well as being sharpened nearly to the spindle (despite the reality that you really just use the outer few inches of the blade, but having more of the blade sharpened doesn't hurt a thing). These blades have a different designed tip on them and I have never seen a blade which cut very long grass and leaves very small clippings as well as these blades.

    I mowed a neighbors lawn last night and in the week since i last cut it, it had grown to where i had to cut 7"+ off the grass. I mow at 3.75" of cut height and the grass height measured between 11" and 12" tall when I cut it last night. We have had rain every day for the past week plus and until yesterday, very warm temps which has made the grass grow like crazy. I was sure I would need to either bag the lawn last night and in the end, I cut the first cutting of the front yard, then the first of the rear yard, going back to the front so it has some time to dry and cutting it at 90 degrees to the first cut and then returned to the rear yard and did the same. In the end, no clumps, no obvious clippings on the lawn and the result looks great. Yes, I cut the entire lawn twice, but it really looks great and not like the other lawns cut in our neighborhood cut yesterday or today (it's drizzling here and has been all day.)

    Personally, I focus on blades which provide great lift as they stand the grass up when its being cut, which provides a much better appearance when done with the mowing. Also, your ground speed makes a difference on the cut as does the number of turns in the cut. Changing direction every cutting helps. Some people get on their tractors or mowers and mow the lawn the exact same way, every single time to the point of developing "ruts" in the lawn which the machine can follow without operators input.

    Probably the most important factor in your purchase you haven't mentioned is the dealer and their ability to support you and your equipment. Everything from the condition of the dealer facilities to the depth of their parts inventory and the way they treat and interact with you is very important. If you feel like you are a bother now, or that you are not a priority to the dealer when shopping for equipment, good luck trying to get their support when you need it.

    The responsiveness of the sales person and the dealership's inventory of equipment can help you gauge the operation and whether it will be able to service you down the road when your machine needs a warranty repair or an emergency service. So weigh your feelings about the dealer in your purchase decision as well. Hopefully, you have top notch dealerships of both brands in your area. Such is not the case in our area. Our Kubota dealer is very difficult to deal with and outright hostile to many customers. Hard to believe, but it's true.

    Good luck with your purchase.
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    Thanks to all for such quick and helpful replies! Good to hear about the apparent ease of disabling the 590 RIO, especially since I looked at a few sites and youtube clips that refer to a more expensive re-wiring approach. The suggestion of simply unplugging one wire is a remedy I've not encountered yet.

    The Kubota dealer nearby is HUGE...they do more than just Kubota. The inside of that place - especially the shops - must approach the square footage of the average shopping mall, whereas the Deere dealer is a small, family-owned operation. I must admit to being partial to the latter being that my Dad (and now my brother) owned and operated an auto repair business. Interestingly, the KB dealer said that hardly any tractors come to the shop for repairs. They send out mobile repair units and do it right at your house. Both dealers have been very nice to work with so far (though both are probably tired of all my inquiries - I think the KB rep and I have a bit over 60 email exchanges that started last fall already, plus I've been there three times already. Rather stupidly of me, when I test drove the 590 (yes...unfortunatley only on the parking lot), I never thought to go in reverse; rather went forward the whole time, so that's why I really need to go back.

    I do like the 4-year warranty versus only 2 for the KB. I agree that any system of hydro operation will quickly become accustomed to. Not sure what to say on the Kubota 20 HP Kohler vs. the Deere Kawasaki 25 HP engine. I can only speak for the longevity of my K-301 Kohler that was in my Cub, but that was a cast-iron block. No matter what I buy here, I'm still planning on putting another engine in the Cub - hopefully then to be used to mow a few woods paths I maintain and also to do the plowing with, being that I already have the blade for it. Wasn't planning on ordering any snow equipment with either the KB or JD. Perhaps not a great move, but that's where my thinking is for the present. Could always get that stuff later on and, of course, could sell the Cub.

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    Single pedal is horrible, Quick change oil is only on a few E tractors and get "mulch on demand", it has a lever, mulch or no mulch in 2 seconds. Get the X590, seat is comfy!
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    And I am in the "Why all the complaining about the RIO?" club.

    Geeez...is it really that hard to get used to pulling a knob or pushing a switch before pushing on the reverse pedal? You learn how to tie your shoes, didn't you? Does your mommy still dress you, or did you get that figured out? What about complaining that "I started my tractor but it just sits there. It won't mow the lawn for me. "

    Seems like many people want to take the short route without care of the consequences. "Oh, I disabled the RIO because I'm the only operator of this tractor. No one else will ever use it and I'll never forget I disabled a safety feature." Must be nice to be able to see the future. I'll buy the winning lotto numbers from you next Wednesday when I get paid.

    How about "Oh that shield made it difficult to do a repair and maintenence on that part so I just let it off." Care to tell that to the person that fell victim to a dismemberment from a similar situation? Really think they asked to be maimed by a machine? Personally, I don't know of anyone who asked the machine to tear their arm off, but have met a couple fellows that had it happen to them. What about the little girl SulleyBear mentioned? I believe I heard something about that story also. Tragic. What if was your daughter?

    Personally I dislike hearing about safety feature over-rides. Like it or not, they are there for a reason, whether you understand or appreciate them or not. True, maybe Big-Brother has gone over-board on some things, but in my mind, not when it comes to machines and electricity. I'm an electrician by trade, and some of the things I have to deal with can boggle one's mind, but it is what it is. Do you think I like to dress and work in a hot, restrictive arc-flash suit on live gear? Not particularly, but I think it's better than having my boss call my wife and tell her my body can be claimed at the morgue later that day.

    Whether you disable a safety feature is up to you. Not many are going to be able to stop you. But remember, things happen fast. Faster than you can think, let alone re-act.
    Machines are dumb. They are not designed to stop when your pants get caught and you're about to lose your leg. They go until their input energy is cut or they burn up. Think of all the damage that can be done in the mean time.
    It's like playing in Vegas. You get tricked into comfort and a sense of control, but the house is geared to be the winner.

    This is not intended to be critical of anyone or start any debates. Just my personal take.

    Back to topic. Rant over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kylew View Post
    This is not intended to be critical of anyone or start any debates. Just my personal take.

    Back to topic. Rant over.
    Most commercial quality ZTR mowers are capable of traveling 2X faster than any standard lawn mower and they have the ability to make rapid 360-degree direction changes. They do not have RIO.

    I figure I've been operating a riding mower for 40 years without having to push/pull any switches or levers to enable mowing in whatever direction I need to. No point in starting now.

    There are some safety interlocks which make sense and do help to keep the operator safe. Unfortunately RIO isn't one of them.
    darkrt likes this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Most commercial quality ZTR mowers are capable of traveling 2X faster than any standard lawn mower and they have the ability to make rapid 360-degree direction changes. They do not have RIO.

    I figure I've been operating a riding mower for 40 years without having to push/pull any switches or levers to enable mowing in whatever direction I need to. No point in starting now.

    There are some safety interlocks which make sense and do help to keep the operator safe. Unfortunately RIO isn't one of them.
    With the greatest respect, duly noted, and I knew this was coming, just not from whom. Again, personal opinion. Yours is that is not a safety feature, mine is that it is. My opinion is that the RIO is not intended to keep the operator safe, more so to help make the operator aware of the surroundings to keep others safe. I do concede that it's far from perfect though.
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