Green Tractor Talk banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,575 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ok. Here’s where I’m 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 – 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 can’t 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 here’s my 2 cents about why. I’ve never owned a Z-Turn so remember that this just my opinion and it ain’t worth much. Especially compared to folks that have a lot more experience with Z-Turn’s than I do. So in case you haven’t 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. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad. Just not as nice as the JD. Here’s where the 540R won my little shoot out. First. It has 23” tires (so did the husky), but the two others I rode and multiple others I only got to look at all either had 20” or 22” tires and the ride was really rough compared to the 23” 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 doesn’t “scream” like the others. It also comes with a hitch which many don’t 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. I’ll 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 I’ll post a couple when I get it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
Ok. Here’s where I’m 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 – 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 can’t 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 here’s my 2 cents about why. I’ve never owned a Z-Turn so remember that this just my opinion and it ain’t worth much. Especially compared to folks that have a lot more experience with Z-Turn’s than I do. So in case you haven’t 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. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad. Just not as nice as the JD. Here’s where the 540R won my little shoot out. First. It has 23” tires (so did the husky), but the two others I rode and multiple others I only got to look at all either had 20” or 22” tires and the ride was really rough compared to the 23” 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 doesn’t “scream” like the others. It also comes with a hitch which many don’t 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. I’ll 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 I’ll post a couple when I get it.
Glad you found something that you could live with. It's your money after all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigJim55

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: raco232 and Gizmo2

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
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!!.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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..
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
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..
Nice mower. You could have done a better job tying it down on your trailer.
 

·
Senior GTT Super Slacker
Joined
·
38,440 Posts
Congratulations golf12. Nice looking mower and I'm glad you're happy. :thumbup1gif:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Nice mower. You could have done a better job tying it down on your trailer.
you saw that eh?!.. Can't get away with nothin' around here (haha!).. For the sake of explanation. here's the deal. I had two larger ratchet straps with me when I went to get it as I had to tie down the box blade and rear groomer I was trading in. I didn't realize they were sitting on the deck when the fork lift operator took it away and I can only assume that someone at the store thought they belonged to them and used them to tie down some other piece of equipment. There were 3 trucks plus me picking up equipment so the straps were no where to be found. All I had left were two small straps with me to handle forward and backward movement. My house is about 10 miles from the dealership all on quiet back roads so I hooked them tight to ensure it couldn't slide forward or backward and took'r easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
you saw that eh?!.. Can't get away with nothin' around here (haha!).. For the sake of explanation. here's the deal. I had two larger ratchet straps with me when I went to get it as I had to tie down the box blade and rear groomer I was trading in. I didn't realize they were sitting on the deck when the fork lift operator took it away and I can only assume that someone at the store thought they belonged to them and used them to tie down some other piece of equipment. There were 3 trucks plus me picking up equipment so the straps were no where to be found. All I had left were two small straps with me to handle forward and backward movement. My house is about 10 miles from the dealership all on quiet back roads so I hooked them tight to ensure it couldn't slide forward or backward and took'r easy.

I would have raised holly hell until my straps turned up. That's why you need to keep an eye on them at all times. Doesn't hurt to have an extra set.

This is another pet peeve of mine. People come in to buy an expensive piece of equipment. Then want to tie it down with Christmas ribbon. At no time does the sales dork think to mention coming inside to buy the proper straps is a good idea. The customer may not know better but the dealership employee should!
 
  • Like
Reactions: coaltrain

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
there doesn't seem to be many threads or much chatter here for the residential z's so I figure I may as well keep this one going a bit to help others who might be looking at resi units vs commercial. Just a quick first timer review and thoughts about Z's vs other mowers. I cut for the 1st time last weekend and it was really neat. Though I've never run a Z before I have my share of seat time on riders - tractors with mid mounts and pto driven rear grooming mowers. My earlier suspicion that I should have bought a zero turn years ago was confirmed almost immediately. To say it's faster than any other style of mower is an understatement. I cut 2 acres of grass with a fair number of obstacles and once a month about 2 miles of kids Atv trail. I've never cut the grass and trail in less than 3hrs. The Z cut my time by 30 friggin' mins!. And I ain't even good at it yet!. Specific to the mower. The Power is great - controls are comfortable and predictable. The deck is really easy to use and I absolutely love the foot operated deck lift. On the trail there are some high spots and rocks. I Just lifted the deck to roll over them at speed. No taking hands off the controls to raise it. Deck height adjustment is really easy to. Deere put a good commercial grade muffler on this engine that is largely responsible for the nice sound I mentioned in an earlier post. It's quiet enough that after hours of mowing it did not bother my ears. I aired down the tires to 10psi and with the 23" tires I was very happy with the comfort going over bumps. I will say that I would like the seat springs to be a bit softer. I'm no giant but I weight 190lbs and wasn't compressing them much at all. (JD listen up for some customer feedback.. You should make seat spring tension an option and or offer them in different tensions that customers can buy after the fact to tailor the ride to the owners liking and make them universal across all models that use seat springs!). I'll try to check in periodically as I spend more time operating and maintaining this machine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,228 Posts
Was at the dealership yesterday and took a look at 2 ZT's. The one was a 950 I think. It was definitely built like a army tank. They had another 500 series next to it. It was not so heavy duty but still looked like a quality piece of equipment. The biggest difference I seen was in the engine guard area. The 950 looks like you can use it in a demolition derby. lol JD probably figures you are less likely to be ramming into things in your own yard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: golf12

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Picked up my new Z540M two days ago but have not been able to cut due to all the rain we are getting. Forecast doesn't look like any let up till end of next week.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: golf12 and Gizmo2

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Picked up my new Z540M two days ago but have not been able to cut due to all the rain we are getting. Forecast doesn't look like any let up till end of next week.

Nice machine. I think You're gonna like it. Give us your thoughts after your first run.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gizmo2

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Well, had a chance to cut grass twice with new mower and getting familiar with first zero turn has been interesting. The machine rides very well and the cut is very good. What I am a bit disappointed about is the squealing noises from the deck. Spoke to the dealer and he said to bring it in for service manager to evaluate. Will keep you posted.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Well, had a chance to cut grass twice with new mower and getting familiar with first zero turn has been interesting. The machine rides very well and the cut is very good. What I am a bit disappointed about is the squealing noises from the deck. Spoke to the dealer and he said to bring it in for service manager to evaluate. Will keep you posted.

Dang. That's disappointing. What deck did you get with it by the way?. Having to deal with the squeak certainly isn't ideal but don't sweat it. It's very likely something simple and thats what warranties are for!.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gizmo2
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top