opinions on new Z500 series?
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    opinions on new Z500 series?

    Hey all. I planted a pile of trees all over the place this spring so I have many more obstacles to deal with when I cut now. I have been thinking about a zero turn for a few years and now I'm at the seriously thinking about it stage. I'm looking at the Z540R or the Z535R. I used to mow with a 318 garden tractor which was a great mower. Then I bought my 1023E and had the 54D and it cut fine. I switched to a 60" rear groomer and its been really good to. For the record. The rear groomer cuts better than any mower I've ever used. All of them cut well, but all of them had/have their own specific precision and mobility challenges. So I've kinda done the goldielocks thing and tried about every kind of porridge there is except the zero turn flavor. Now with lots of new trees and gardens added in various locations. I think a zero turn, might finally be what I need to mow better and faster than I could with any other machine I've used. So that's the back story. Green paint is my preference so I'm leaning that way. I'm not spending silly money a new commercial unit or anything. That said. Even the Z500's ain't exactly easy on the wallet either. But I want something that has a little more to it than the Z300 series . Don't get me wrong. The Z300's seem to be very stout units as well. I wondered if any one here has any experience with the Z540R or the Z535R?. Being a "residential" zero turn. They do appear to be a decent compromise between commercial grade equipment and residential. Up here in Canada. I'm looking at about $8500 after tax for a Z540R with the rebate JD is offering. That is the tippy top of what I'm willing to spend on a mower. I'm sure some might suggest buying a used higher end unit. But I prefer to buy new cause' I just don't want to deal with reliability issues or getting a "good deal" only to have to drop big dollars two months later when a major system fails or something. Anyway. I just can't seem to find much real world info on these Z500 series units (specifically the Z540R & the Z535R) on line anywhere so any thoughts or opinions are appreciated!
    Last edited by golf12; 06-14-2017 at 09:24 AM.
    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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  3. Top | #2

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    Have you been to the dealer and looked? I would urge you to do that and just for grins get a quote on the 915. It seems you like to buy nice stuff. With that said we rationalized our 930M as we have rougher property that is gradually getting to be more and more groomed. We believe the 930M will be less Operating Expense then the maintenance (damage) we might do to a residential series. We priced a 915 and the quote was $7700 US. I realized that in Canada it will be different and it won't be as cheap as a 500 series-but it might be closer then you think. We jumped up to the 930M as we had a Gator we just weren't using anymore and we sold that for $7,500 and put another $2k with it and got the 930M. "We" is my son and I. We have adjoining properties and shared the Gator and now share the 930M. He was rock solid on the 500 series-until we go to the dealer and looked closely at them. And as I have said in my earlier posts the 300's and 500's look to be excellent machines and if you have a well groomed yard I bet they work fine. I had a 130L riding lawn mower and it worked great on my home place for several years and it was the lowest end rider John Deere made at the time. Wish I had it back. Wonderful machine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomerangJ View Post
    Have you been to the dealer and looked? I would urge you to do that and just for grins get a quote on the 915. It seems you like to buy nice stuff. With that said we rationalized our 930M as we have rougher property that is gradually getting to be more and more groomed. We believe the 930M will be less Operating Expense then the maintenance (damage) we might do to a residential series. We priced a 915 and the quote was $7700 US. I realized that in Canada it will be different and it won't be as cheap as a 500 series-but it might be closer then you think. We jumped up to the 930M as we had a Gator we just weren't using anymore and we sold that for $7,500 and put another $2k with it and got the 930M. "We" is my son and I. We have adjoining properties and shared the Gator and now share the 930M. He was rock solid on the 500 series-until we go to the dealer and looked closely at them. And as I have said in my earlier posts the 300's and 500's look to be excellent machines and if you have a well groomed yard I bet they work fine. I had a 130L riding lawn mower and it worked great on my home place for several years and it was the lowest end rider John Deere made at the time. Wish I had it back. Wonderful machine.
    This is very good advise. You have to keep in mind that the z500 series is a residential mower.

    I was going to suggest the same exact thing. Go to your dealer and test drive the z500. Then test drive one of the z9xx mowers. The difference will be apparent very quickly.
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    I hear ya' guys. I did exactly that and inquired first about the higher end machines. The 930m is friggin' $14,000 up here!. That's why I turned my attention to the 500 series. There is absolutely no way I can square myself with a spend that size for the once a week 3'ish acres I mow. I did take the 540 for a rip and was as impressed as a guy who's never run a zero turn before could be. It felt planted and heavy - stable and well built. No odd vibrations or rattling like I heard from the only other machine I've sat on and run which was a cub cadet. The cub just felt cheap by comparison. I will say as well that the kawi motor on the 540 is one of the nicest sounding gassers I've heard. I figure I'll try out a couple of other brands just to do my due diligence. Thanks again fella's
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    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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    Ok. Hereís where Iím at. I took a short ride on 4 machines including the 540R. In a 2 day span a couple of weeks ago I rode a Husqvarna Ė cub cadet - toro - and the 540R. All were comparably priced units between $7500 and $8500 MSRP Canadian dollars. The only model number I can remember is that the husky was the MZT. For the life of me I canít remember exactly which model the toro or the cub were. I was going more off price range. The husky dealer was the only one not offering any incentives or discounts so after tax it was the most expensive. In the end the green one was the best of the bunch and at the risk of sounding like a JD fan boy hereís my 2 cents about why. Iíve never owned a Z-Turn so remember that this just my opinion and it ainít worth much. Especially compared to folks that have a lot more experience with Z-Turnís than I do. So in case you havenít figure it out yet. I picked the JD. The husky was admittedly a close second to and it had rops which everyone should offer at this price point. But the overall fit and finish on the husky along with what seemed to me to be a much louder engine were the stand out negatives for me. Donít get me wrong. It wasnít bad. Just not as nice as the JD. Hereís where the 540R won my little shoot out. First. It has 23Ē tires (so did the husky), but the two others I rode and multiple others I only got to look at all either had 20Ē or 22Ē tires and the ride was really rough compared to the 23Ē rear tires on the husky and the 540R. To compare. The commercial 930R has 24 rear tires. So in the ride department. The ride on the husky and the 540R was much closer to that of a commercial machine than any of the others. I quickly decided that for me anyway, tire size is a deal breaker. From there. The fit and finish on the JD I found to be really good. The plastics fit just right. Everything is tight and clean. The seat on the R is the nicest of the bunch and overall as I said in my first post. The JD just feels really planted, centered and solid. The kawi motor they put in it is really nice to. Its powerful and has a nice deep throaty sound and doesnít ďscreamĒ like the others. It also comes with a hitch which many donít and lastly and arguably most important it has the best warranty of all of them all at 4 years/500hrs. On top of that. The JD dealer network near me is good to deal with. Hard to put a price on that. Actually I can because the JD guys were the only ones willing to take my finish mower on trade. I could have sold it myself and already had it listed for $1500 but JD exceeded my expectations and gave me $1300 for it which is fantastic and no fuss trying to sell it myself. Long story longer. I have a Z540R coming late next week and I added the mulch kit and LED light kit which is really slick. The lights mount on the handle bars. Now with all of this said. I know, I know. No matter what I say or add to this machine its not a badass commercial unit. But the Z-Turns in this price range are at the highest end of the residential market and are a big leap beyond entry level zero turns. They may not cross the line into the commercial world but they walk right up to it. Iíll give a hat tip to all of the oems as they all offer really nice machines. But for my money. JD is on top. Not that anyone gives a crap about pics of a zero turn mower (haha!) . But Iíll post a couple when I get it.
    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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    Quote Originally Posted by golf12 View Post
    Ok. Hereís where Iím at. I took a short ride on 4 machines including the 540R. In a 2 day span a couple of weeks ago I rode a Husqvarna Ė cub cadet - toro - and the 540R. All were comparably priced units between $7500 and $8500 MSRP Canadian dollars. The only model number I can remember is that the husky was the MZT. For the life of me I canít remember exactly which model the toro or the cub were. I was going more off price range. The husky dealer was the only one not offering any incentives or discounts so after tax it was the most expensive. In the end the green one was the best of the bunch and at the risk of sounding like a JD fan boy hereís my 2 cents about why. Iíve never owned a Z-Turn so remember that this just my opinion and it ainít worth much. Especially compared to folks that have a lot more experience with Z-Turnís than I do. So in case you havenít figure it out yet. I picked the JD. The husky was admittedly a close second to and it had rops which everyone should offer at this price point. But the overall fit and finish on the husky along with what seemed to me to be a much louder engine were the stand out negatives for me. Donít get me wrong. It wasnít bad. Just not as nice as the JD. Hereís where the 540R won my little shoot out. First. It has 23Ē tires (so did the husky), but the two others I rode and multiple others I only got to look at all either had 20Ē or 22Ē tires and the ride was really rough compared to the 23Ē rear tires on the husky and the 540R. To compare. The commercial 930R has 24 rear tires. So in the ride department. The ride on the husky and the 540R was much closer to that of a commercial machine than any of the others. I quickly decided that for me anyway, tire size is a deal breaker. From there. The fit and finish on the JD I found to be really good. The plastics fit just right. Everything is tight and clean. The seat on the R is the nicest of the bunch and overall as I said in my first post. The JD just feels really planted, centered and solid. The kawi motor they put in it is really nice to. Its powerful and has a nice deep throaty sound and doesnít ďscreamĒ like the others. It also comes with a hitch which many donít and lastly and arguably most important it has the best warranty of all of them all at 4 years/500hrs. On top of that. The JD dealer network near me is good to deal with. Hard to put a price on that. Actually I can because the JD guys were the only ones willing to take my finish mower on trade. I could have sold it myself and already had it listed for $1500 but JD exceeded my expectations and gave me $1300 for it which is fantastic and no fuss trying to sell it myself. Long story longer. I have a Z540R coming late next week and I added the mulch kit and LED light kit which is really slick. The lights mount on the handle bars. Now with all of this said. I know, I know. No matter what I say or add to this machine its not a badass commercial unit. But the Z-Turns in this price range are at the highest end of the residential market and are a big leap beyond entry level zero turns. They may not cross the line into the commercial world but they walk right up to it. Iíll give a hat tip to all of the oems as they all offer really nice machines. But for my money. JD is on top. Not that anyone gives a crap about pics of a zero turn mower (haha!) . But Iíll post a couple when I get it.
    Glad you found something that you could live with. It's your money after all.
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    Congrats! I wrote earlier in the thread about what we did and how we ended up with the 930M. Had we not sold the Gator to have that money to re-purpose-we would have ended up with a 500 series. They are really nice! And like you we moved to the 930M to get the Kawasaki motor. It sounds great!

    Check back in a month or so and let us know how you feel about it. Love to see some pics. Especially of the options you got.
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    Picked it up Friday. Man I should have gotten a Z-Turn years ago. I explained above why I went with the 540R and after getting it home and doing laps all weekend to get used to how ride it. I am extremely happy. Its fast, its really comfortable, the motor sounds amazing and the deck is a snap to level and adjust. I've never worked with a mower deck that was so easy to level. I ran it around after dark for a bit as well to check out how the lights work. The lights are so small you can barely see them on the motion control levers but they light up like its day time in front of you.

    Sorry there are no pics fella's. Seems you can't upload from photo bucket anymore without upgrading your subscription. I don't mind a small fee but they want $400!. What other hosts are available out there to upload pics from?. Or is there another way I can upload my pics to the forum?
    Last edited by golf12; 07-04-2017 at 10:00 AM.
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    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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    One pic/vid I wish I had was when the dealer was loading it on my trailer and the pins on my ramp came loose!. He was correcting his position going up the ramp and the torque of the machine turning caused the pins on the ramp hinges to slide out of their sleeves. Thankfully he was 99% already in the trailer so when the ramp let go so nothing was damaged and no one hurt. Could have been bad!!.
    Last edited by golf12; 07-04-2017 at 09:07 AM.
    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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    Like many others having the new photo bucket problem I just discovered uploading pics to the forum. Still not sure I'm doing it right to get them to show in a thread but here goes..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Z 2.jpg Z 1.jpg Z 3.jpg Z 4.jpg
    2014 1023E - R4 Tires - H120 Loader - Ballast Box - Forward lighting kit with Artillian horse blinders - 48" Ratchet Rake Snow Edge - 42" HLA Forks
    2017 Z540R - 54" High Capacity Deck - Forward Lighting & Mulch Kit - 60" Farm King Rear Snow Blower

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