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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a 42" ztr with a max budget of $3000.
First my history. I have MS and my right foot is basically useless which rules out tractors. Previously I used a deere stx 38 and then an l100, both of which didn't have right foot pedals. I bought a used areiens zoom this year but the frame ended up breaking (a common occurrence with these, ariens even sell frame repair kits instead of being an honest company and fix their mistakes). I have about 3/4 acre to mow.

First thought was go back to deere. It looks like the 345m for $2600 would work.
Second was the simplicity courier for $3000.
Third was the ariens ikon x for $2700.

Pro and cons -- I love the deere mulch on demand, can see using it a lot near beds and driveways. I also like the greasable, easy to clean deck spindles. It has front scalping wheels too. For simplicity I like the better engine, suspension and larger rear tires (20"). Plus it has a 3 year vs 2 year warranty and a lifetime on deck. Third the ikon x gets great reviews, has kohler engine and is the heaviest. It has a 3 year warranty too.

For support, ariens truly sucks. They expect the dealers to provide all the tech support, they do not easily allow customers to talk to the factory experts. But when you call dealers they just say bring it in, pay me! Not sure about deere or simplicity support.

What do you guys think, which one should I go with?
 

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I am looking for a 42" ztr with a max budget of $3000.
First my history. I have MS and my right foot is basically useless which rules out tractors. Previously I used a deere stx 38 and then an l100, both of which didn't have right foot pedals. I bought a used areiens zoom this year but the frame ended up breaking (a common occurrence with these, ariens even sell frame repair kits instead of being an honest company and fix their mistakes). I have about 3/4 acre to mow.

First thought was go back to deere. It looks like the 345m for $2600 would work.
Second was the simplicity courier for $3000.
Third was the ariens ikon x for $2700.

Pro and cons -- I love the deere mulch on demand, can see using it a lot near beds and driveways. I also like the greasable, easy to clean deck spindles. It has front scalping wheels too. For simplicity I like the better engine, suspension and larger rear tires (20"). Plus it has a 3 year vs 2 year warranty and a lifetime on deck. Third the ikon x gets great reviews, has kohler engine and is the heaviest. It has a 3 year warranty too.

For support, ariens truly sucks. They expect the dealers to provide all the tech support, they do not easily allow customers to talk to the factory experts. But when you call dealers they just say bring it in, pay me! Not sure about deere or simplicity support.

What do you guys think, which one should I go with?
From what you are saying I'd totally rule the arens out.

Maybe try finding a used pro unit in good shape. However sometimes this is easier said than done. You should be able to get a better price shopping for a zero turn this time of year.

Note a lot of ZT's use a foot pedal to lift the deck. Especially the lower priced units. (Without power lift) Some also have a foot parking brake.

Another possibility is modifying it to work for you. I have done this many times on motorcycles and trikes over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
From what you are saying I'd totally rule the arens out.

Maybe try finding a used pro unit in good shape. However sometimes this is easier said than done. You should be able to get a better price shopping for a zero turn this time of year.

Note a lot of ZT's use a foot pedal to lift the deck. Especially the lower priced units. (Without power lift) Some also have a foot parking brake.

Another possibility is modifying it to work for you. I have done this many times on motorcycles and trikes over the years.
I have looked for used pro types without luck, especially since I am trying to stay around 42 inch. I have a utility door in my garage that's about 52 inches wide.
the z345m doesn't have a foot pedal.
the simplicity does but I can reach over with my left foot to change the height, I won't be able to use any of them on the fly.


Thanks!
 

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Before finalizing the deal on a machine with a Mulch on Demand deck I would recommend testing one out. I know you are looking at the smaller series so it isn't a 7 Iron Pro deck that the Z9xx machines have but I really haven't found any good reviews of the MOD Deck on the 900 series. Lots of complaints about leaving clumps and poor performance compared to the regular deck. My entire fleet (of 2 machines) is green so I am a fan of JD but if the only reason you are going green is because the MOD deck, I would say you really need to try it out. There are lots of types of grass out there so maybe what you have out there is the one type it works on. It is a great concept but poor execution. There are aftermarket chute block options, though I don't know about on the smaller series, that perform better.
 

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Before finalizing the deal on a machine with a Mulch on Demand deck I would recommend testing one out. I know you are looking at the smaller series so it isn't a 7 Iron Pro deck that the Z9xx machines have but I really haven't found any good reviews of the MOD Deck on the 900 series. Lots of complaints about leaving clumps and poor performance compared to the regular deck. My entire fleet (of 2 machines) is green so I am a fan of JD but if the only reason you are going green is because the MOD deck, I would say you really need to try it out. There are lots of types of grass out there so maybe what you have out there is the one type it works on. It is a great concept but poor execution. There are aftermarket chute block options, though I don't know about on the smaller series, that perform better.
I hadn't heard anything bad about it, but truthfully I haven't researched that aspect much, thanks.

I was looking at JD because of my previous good luck with them, the cost and their reputation. After having the ariens frame break though I am a little worried as the deere frame doesn't appear as robust as the others.
 

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I hadn't heard anything bad about it, but truthfully I haven't researched that aspect much, thanks.

I was looking at JD because of my previous good luck with them, the cost and their reputation. After having the ariens frame break though I am a little worried as the deere frame doesn't appear as robust as the others.
Like I said, I had researched them as I also thought it was a cool concept. However I was looking at the 900 series which is a different deck. Maybe it works well on the smaller residential decks but through my research I found lots of complaints. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

One thing I have noticed about machines lately is how many of the major components are pretty common between all the brands. They all pretty much buy the engines from Kawasaki, Kohler, Brigs. There are only a few companies out there that make the trasnaxles. So the difference really comes down to frame and decks.

There really isn't much else to a zero turn.

I honestly can't help all that much with the smaller series as I haven't really looked at them. This applies to both tractors (I understand your limitations) and zero turns but things I would look at are deck quality, is the transaxle serviceable, reliable engine. On the transaxels I know with some tractors they are sealed so it isn't easy to do fluid changes. One where you can change the fluid and maybe a filter, would be a justification to spend a little more for maybe a step up. I have read good things about some of the Z5 series machines but I couldn't speak to the differences.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Like I said, I had researched them as I also thought it was a cool concept. However I was looking at the 900 series which is a different deck. Maybe it works well on the smaller residential decks but through my research I found lots of complaints. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

One thing I have noticed about machines lately is how many of the major components are pretty common between all the brands. They all pretty much buy the engines from Kawasaki, Kohler, Brigs. There are only a few companies out there that make the trasnaxles. So the difference really comes down to frame and decks.

There really isn't much else to a zero turn.

I honestly can't help all that much with the smaller series as I haven't really looked at them. This applies to both tractors (I understand your limitations) and zero turns but things I would look at are deck quality, is the transaxle serviceable, reliable engine. On the transaxels I know with some tractors they are sealed so it isn't easy to do fluid changes. One where you can change the fluid and maybe a filter, would be a justification to spend a little more for maybe a step up. I have read good things about some of the Z5 series machines but I couldn't speak to the differences.
I appreciate your thoughts. In this price range and deck size I believe everyone uses the same non-serviceable hydros, the EZT
.
 

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I appreciate your thoughts. In this price range and deck size I believe everyone uses the same non-serviceable hydros, the EZT
.
You could be right. I don't know the price points but if the next series up was serviceable and close to budget, I would really try and do that. Like I said, I don't know all the differences in the smaller machines. All the Z9xx machines have serviceable hydros. If it is way out of budget to get that, then so be it. If you were close then maybe you could get there with some bartering. Sticker doesn't necessarily mean that is the price. When I bought my Z950R I was hard on them with the price. I left them some meat on the bone to keep the doors open but we both walked away happy with the deal. That is what you want in the end of the day. Also shop around if you have more than one dealer near by. We have several not too far away to shop from. However if you go to two dealers that are part of the same chain, don't be shocked if you get the same quote as you are likely in their computer system. I didn't notice where you are at or what your timeline is but around here (Minnesota), in the next month or so there are better prices on mowers because they want to make room for the snow blowers and no one wants to buy a machine just to store it. Though I bought my Z950R in Jan.

Edit: Just looked and see you are in NY so maybe you could get by and get one in the winter. My dealer offered to store my machine until spring but I still picked it up because it wasn't a big deal to get it in the heated shop.
 

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Thanks, I will check them out but I think they will be out of my range...unfortunately my disability check doesn't go far! I can't even mow some of my neighbors to help pay for it as my immediate neighbor does have a lawn business and does their lawns, I wouldn't compete with him.
 

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I have the Z335E 42" and I'm very happy with the mower. Plenty of power from the Kawasaki motor. Easy hand deck adjustment. Mulch kit available. Good warranty. I am a satisfied customer after one full season mowing 1.5 acres of semi-rough lawn on undulating property.

IMG_4139.JPG
Z335E ZTR with hitch and bumper kit
 

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Not sure if you are considering financing or paying cash. They often have 0% offers which is tough to beat.

My machine is also paid for by my disability check. Mine comes from my time in the military but I understand. Since you are near the end of the season there might be more opportunity for haggling and some programs might open up. When I bought mine they had $0 down 0% for 60 mo so I left my money in the bank to collect interest. Of course there are different programs for different machines at different times of the year. It seems to me that my deadline was Feb as that is when the programs change for the spring. I had everything done early Jan so I had a few weeks to spare. Not sure when the fall sales kick in though traditionally. I really didn't start shopping until late Nov or early Dec. Started looking at trading in my X585 and getting a 1 Series but went ZTrak instead. That was mainly because I didn't like the collection system on the 1 Series.
 

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I just took a quick look at current offers. Looks like 4.9% for 48mo or 0% for 12mo on all (smaller) ZTraks. However those all end on 10/27 so there might be a new program at the end of the month or beginning of Nov.

On the Z9xx they are only doing 0% for 48mo or 0% for 60 on the Z977R but that is a $20k machine. It is hard to say but if you are considering finance option, I would hold out. Not positive they will step up the offers but I don't think they will go down on the ZTrak. If paying cash then it may not matter much.

Even if you tried to make some of it back by cutting grass for a neighbor I wouldn't count on that. We used to do that but would only charge enough to cover fuel pretty much. He was an older retired Vet. He passed away this summer so we don't cut the grass anymore. I wouldn't want to have had to depended on that income to cover the costs of the machine and have a neighbor move out or something and be struggling.
 

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I have the Z335E 42" and I'm very happy with the mower. Plenty of power from the Kawasaki motor. Easy hand deck adjustment. Mulch kit available. Good warranty. I am a satisfied customer after one full season mowing 1.5 acres of semi-rough lawn on undulating property.

Z335E ZTR with hitch and bumper kit
I take it you don't have the mulch kit though, right? You didn't find the ride too bad on the rough ground? I am looking at the M version which has a supposedly better seat then the E.
 

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I just took a quick look at current offers. Looks like 4.9% for 48mo or 0% for 12mo on all (smaller) ZTraks. However those all end on 10/27 so there might be a new program at the end of the month or beginning of Nov.

On the Z9xx they are only doing 0% for 48mo or 0% for 60 on the Z977R but that is a $20k machine. It is hard to say but if you are considering finance option, I would hold out. Not positive they will step up the offers but I don't think they will go down on the ZTrak. If paying cash then it may not matter much.

Even if you tried to make some of it back by cutting grass for a neighbor I wouldn't count on that. We used to do that but would only charge enough to cover fuel pretty much. He was an older retired Vet. He passed away this summer so we don't cut the grass anymore. I wouldn't want to have had to depended on that income to cover the costs of the machine and have a neighbor move out or something and be struggling.
Thanks!
 

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I take it you don't have the mulch kit though, right? You didn't find the ride too bad on the rough ground? I am looking at the M version which has a supposedly better seat then the E.
They are all going to ride rough. Even the big ones bounce you around a lot. I would go with the best seat you can afford or consider upgrade options. Not sure if they fit but many people here have installed Puffer seat bases to get air suspension. They are not cheap but if something like that would fit, maybe save a bit by going with a cheaper seat and then upgrade it.

I went with the full suspension seat on the 950 and glad I did.
 

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I take it you don't have the mulch kit though, right? You didn't find the ride too bad on the rough ground? I am looking at the M version which has a supposedly better seat then the E.
I didn't get the mulch kit. The ride is fine for me, and I am not worn out after an hour of mowing. You may want to see if your dealer will provide a loaner to help you get the right mower.
 
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