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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The 17 year old SST18 is getting a bit long in the tooth & held together with pop-rivets & duct tape. I have been looking at two different possible replacements. One is an X384, it has the 48" deck & all wheel steering. The other is the ZTrak Z540R zero turn, probably with a 48" deck.

Mowing around the house is a mixed bag of terrain, lots of ins & outs but not much in the way of slopes (I use a 3pt finish mower behind the 1025R for about 1/3 mile of development road edge which drops off pretty quick to the ditch/woods). The SST18 handles it akk pretty well (not, of course, the steeper road edge areas - the front mounted engine would have it nose down in no time... )

The one thing that has me concerned about the ZTrak is the agri-fab Mow-n-Vac we use in the fall. If memory serves, the hitch for the Z500 series mentions a 250 lb. limit on towed items, the Mow-n-Vac is about 325 lb empty (at least that is the shipping weight).

Any thoughts?


Nick
 

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The 17 year old SST18 is getting a bit long in the tooth & held together with pop-rivets & duct tape. I have been looking at two different possible replacements. One is an X384, it has the 48" deck & all wheel steering. The other is the ZTrak Z540R zero turn, probably with a 48" deck.

Mowing around the house is a mixed bag of terrain, lots of ins & outs but not much in the way of slopes (I use a 3pt finish mower behind the 1025R for about 1/3 mile of development road edge which drops off pretty quick to the ditch/woods). The SST18 handles it akk pretty well (not, of course, the steeper road edge areas - the front mounted engine would have it nose down in no time... )

The one thing that has me concerned about the ZTrak is the agri-fab Mow-n-Vac we use in the fall. If memory serves, the hitch for the Z500 series mentions a 250 lb. limit on towed items, the Mow-n-Vac is about 325 lb empty (at least that is the shipping weight).

Any thoughts?


Nick
I would go with the X384 but I'm partial to tractors vs zero turns.

The 384's front wheels actually steer the tractor. This would be more stable for side hilling. The front casters on a ZT are going to let the weight pull it down hill. Similar to your existing mower.

A 384 should pull your vacuum better than a ZT. It should also mount to the new deck with less modifications. With a ZT you will probably need a longer hose between the two. Seeing a ZT deck is usually farther out front.

I'd recommend going to the dealership for at least a road/yard test. This should give you a better idea of what will work for you.

Good luck
 
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I'm not a fan of ZT due to the fact they get stuck easy. AWS is much better option.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
After a bit more reading, the AWS is looking more attractive - both for avoiding turf damage & because of the towing issue. Looking at the next step up in machines - the x394 rather than the x384. It has power steering + hydraulic lift. Not so much due to the hydraulic lift as to the power steering & replaceable transmission oil and filter.

Nick
 
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After a bit more reading, the AWS is looking more attractive - both for avoiding turf damage & because of the towing issue. Looking at the next step up in machines - the x394 rather than the x384. It has power steering + hydraulic lift. Not so much due to the hydraulic lift as to the power steering & replaceable transmission oil and filter.

Nick
Power steering would be nice but I would step up because of the serviceable transmission oil and filter alone. That said I have seen where people have serviced a non-servicable transmission. The issue being there is no drain for them but they removed them and just flipped it over to drain out the fill port and then refilled it. There isn't a filter that can be replaced though.

I was going to say that collection system options on a Zero Turn are limited. I wouldn't want to mess with a collection system that needs to be towed on one. The issue is a zero turn will turn way too sharp and you will jackknife the trailer or slam it into the rear of the machine. That is why JD uses a hopper system that hard mounts to the back of the zero turn. You would have to step up to a Z9xx series machine to get that though.

Cutting a slope with a zero turn isn't a big deal. You just have to get used to crabbing them. Where they are an issue is if you are going down a hill. You can lose control pretty easy because too much weight gets shifted to the front casters. The manuals all say to only back down steep hills to maintain traction on the drive wheels. Another thing to consider is if you have a rough yard a tractor is going to have a better ride. The front wheels being on an axle that pivots really helps. Most zero turns have all 4 wheels hard mounted with no suspension.
 
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Should be going in tomorrow to do the paperwork for an X394 with a 48" deck. They will have to bring in one from another store as they don't have one on site, but I can do the paperwork here & beat the deadline for the $500 off deal expiring. Using the Costco Visa for the transaction gets me another year added to the standard 4 year warranty term (a benny from Visa).

Nick

ETA: talked with the JD sales guy again & decided to go cash for a discount ...
 

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Should be going in tomorrow to do the paperwork for an X394 with a 48" deck. They will have to bring in one from another store as they don't have one on site, but I can do the paperwork here & beat the deadline for the $500 off deal expiring. Using the Costco Visa for the transaction gets me another year added to the standard 4 year warranty term (a benny from Visa).

Nick

ETA: talked with the JD sales guy again & decided to go cash for a discount ...
Nice. Nothing like a new tractor. Post some pictures when you get it home.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
It will be middle/end of next week getting in. It is the showroom model over at another store (as opposed to one stored outside under a canopy), so should have no weather exposure. They are transfering in a bunch of equipment from other locations & mine is towards the end of the list. I'll pick it up myself when it shows so I don't have to wait for a slot on the local delivery truck.

Nick
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not here yet, but have done a bit in anticipation of picking it up. We have had the little tilt-bed Sno-Bear trailer for about 12 years now. It is a good size for smaller loads like moving mowers, etc. And easier to load a mower on than the 10'x5' dumper. Over the past year, the plywood decking had gone soft & I wanted to replace it before loading the new mower. The decking was soft enough to pry it off over the heads of the nails used to secure it to the ribs using a couple of crow bars.



This left the nails sticking up so I cut those off with an angle grinder cutoff wheel. Could have used the crowbar, but grinding was easier.



I had already cut some 1/2" plywood to fit and pre-treated it with some solid Thompson's waterseal stain. Set one piece by the old to verify my cuts had been correct.



I marked the rib locations with some masking tape & then used some wide-headed self tapping screws to secure the new decking to the ribs.



Don't know if the replacements will last another 12 years - only time will tell - but will make me happier about transporting the 700+ lb x394 ...

Nick
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Finally got to pick up the x394! It has been a bit over 2 weeks since signing the check & recent weather didn't help any. It took over a week to get it in from the other store to the local branch.

Since dealer local delivery times have been slammed, I opted to pick it up with the little trailer. It pretty much fills it up.



but still had enough room to get the straps on & tight.





Really nice set up - I had totally missed that the steering wheel has a tilt function in addition to power steering.



I also hadn't really realized just how wide a stance the rear wheels had. It should really make for good stability on a slope.



The ground is still a bit soft from snow-melt, but it should only be a day or so before I can do the first cutting of the year.

Nick
 
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Finally got to pick up the x394! It has been a bit over 2 weeks since signing the check & recent weather didn't help any. It took over a week to get it in from the other store to the local branch.

Since dealer local delivery times have been slammed, I opted to pick it up with the little trailer. It pretty much fills it up.



but still had enough room to get the straps on & tight.





Really nice set up - I had totally missed that the steering wheel has a tilt function in addition to power steering.



I also hadn't really realized just how wide a stance the rear wheels had. It should really make for good stability on a slope.



The ground is still a bit soft from snow-melt, but it should only be a day or so before I can do the first cutting of the year.

Nick
You lucky dog. lol
Still got my plow on. Doh!

When you buy top of the line you get the little things like tilt steering.
 
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