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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

New member here, but veteran lawn mower. My 1984 Honda 3813 (with the inline twin OHC GX360K1) just isn't cutting it any more. (sorry about that) Actually it's cutting just fine, and runs like new, but the 50-foot turning radius, clumsy brake/clutch, and open diff are finally irritating me to the point of considering something a few decades newer. But as always, nothing's ever simple.

I have a Cyclone Rake -- the smallest one -- that will have to be towed behind whatever I buy. I'm leaning toward a high-end homeowner/low-end commercial ZTR for example, the Gravely ZT-XL 42" or the Scag Freedom-Z 36".

These both come equipped with Kawa V-twins and Hydro-Gear drive. The Scag uses a better engine line than the Gravely, but the difference may be minimal. Scag uses the ZT-3100 (not sure which variant), Gravely the ZT-2800 (also unsure of variant). The principal difference between these two is that the ZT-2800 has an "open" hydraulic system and PM gears. The ZT-3100 has internal charge pumps and cut steel gears. They both have a maximum weight spec depending on variant. In both cases, the maximum weight spec (depending) doesn't have more than a few hundred lb headroom over the weight of the machine.

Now here's the problem: Scag says nothing about towing. Gravely says that towing 300lb is permitted with a 30lb "tongue" weight. The 300lb total should be okay, but the tongue weight is a problem because of the CR's design. It uses a dual-hitch system and casters such that the equipment is "locked" to the tractor. IOW, on a right turn, the CR will swing out to the left. This means that there will be quite a bit of weight on the hitch when the CR is full. I'd estimate as much as 175lb since essentially the full weight of the power unit is carried on the hitch.

What I don't understand is this hitch weight spec. I've sent both of them a technical service question about it, but I'm here looking for real world experience. The hitch weight is carried by the same structure on the mower as the operator. They do not have an operator weight spec! And around here, I've seen some pretty beefy operators. So why should the hitch weight spec be so low, when the operator, such as myself who's not a very big guy at all, could conceivably vary from 100lb to 300lb, let's say.

I'd appreciate some real-world experience from anyone who has towed stuff behind their ZTR. The CR people say you can do it, but then they sort of have to say that to sell their product. I think it's a close call. Looking at an outlay of $4K to $6K for these two machines, I'd like to have a lot warmer and fuzzier feeling about hitching up the CR to them.

Anyone have $.02 to throw my way?

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to MLF! :)

.....What I don't understand is this hitch weight spec..... The hitch weight is carried by the same structure on the mower as the operator. They do not have an operator weight spec! And around here, I've seen some pretty beefy operators. So why should the hitch weight spec be so low, when the operator, such as myself who's not a very big guy at all, could conceivably vary from 100lb to 300lb, let's say.....
Maybe the frame/rear axle is rated @ 330lb and they are allowing an operator weight of 300lb. So if you weigh 150lb, a hitch weight of 180lb would be Ok?

Might also be that the center of balance is different between the two models and one gets light in the front faster with weight added to the back.

Have you found anyone else running a CR on the back of a ZTR? With major weight and caster wheels both front and back and only the drive wheels roughly centered to hold direction, I would think it would be hard to hold it stable if you have any hills and worse if the grass is wet.

My 2 cents.... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thought I'd close the loop on my question....

The more I thought about this, and after standing there looking at that Scag 36" ZTR, I just couldn't picture those two drive wheels managing a ~250lb. Cyclone rake, particularly on the inclines it would have to travel over. So i ditched the ZTR idea.

Ended up ordering a Husqvarna YTH24V42LS. 24 hp Kawasaki FR (yeah, I know, bottom of the line) V-Twin, TuffTorq K46 with Hilliard auto-locking differential (this was one an important factor that drove me to this model) fabricated 3-blade 42" deck. It's probably not going to last nearly as long as my faithful (and still working perfectly) HT3813, but at least it won't come to a halt with a spinning drive wheel on wet leaves during November cleanup. You wouldn't believe how many times I had to jump off that thing while it was in gear, to push it out of a slippery spot.

It's funny, the more I look at these new tractors, the more I appreciate how well that Honda was made. That "14" horsepower engine could pull anything without breaking a sweat, all the while just sipping fuel. The motor doesn't consume a drop of oil, heck, the oil doesn't even get dirty! (I'm not exaggerating.)

The tractor shows 27 years of wear, with some reinforcing welded to the deck from hitting one too many tree roots, but the dang thing just won't quit. It requires nothing more than routine maintenance. It's still on the original timing belt and the original deck drive belt!! And just last year, the original belt from the PTO clutch to the deck got trashed by a tree branch that was thrown up, otherwise THAT would be original. Original clutch, too. That thing was built for the long haul, for sure.

Anyhow, thanks for reading my post.
 

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Thanks for letting us know what you decided GE. :)

Unfortunately on about everything one buys, tractors, tools, appliances, etc., you have to buy commercial grade to get what was considered homeowners grade in years past. :rolleyes:
 
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