Kubota ZG227 VS. Kubota ZD1011

posted under kubota, mower, zero-turn by neilm on 1/23/2018

Let's take a quick walk around these machines here. We'll just show you some of the similarities and differences. If there was a list of Neil's favorite models, this would be one of them. I really like when companies make innovative products, things that are different from what you see everywhere else. Kubota has really done that with these two mowers. When we go around this series of mowers, you'll see that there's a lot of choices made in the way that these things are designed that just make them a step ahead of common variety, every day, zero turn mowers. The biggest difference between these two models in particular, from one to the next, is clearly that one is gas and one is diesel. The ZD Series being diesel and the ZG Series being gas. If you look down here underneath the seat, that's where the differences really start to stand out between this and most other zero turns. Down here, underneath the seat, you'll see the Kubota has their own unique transmission. Most zero turns on the market will use transmissions from either Parker or hydrogear.

In this case, Kubota has something unique to themselves. Everything starts inside this central center gearbox, where a shaft is run from the engine in the back to this gearbox here in the middle. This gearbox has wet clutches inside of it. That wet clutch spins this shaft down here in the bottom that goes forward to the mower deck. There's a big difference in durability between wet clutches, that are used here, and magnetic clutches that you'll find on most other mowers. If you're pulling a button out on the mower, the odds are you're engaging a magnetic clutch. When you pull that button out, it uses magnets to snap those clutch plates together. Magnetic clutches are fine, it's a relatively inexpensive way to turn a PTO on and off. They can be used on $1500 lawnmowers, or on up to some $20,000 zero turn mowers. Kubota has a better way of doing it. In this central box down here is a fluid filled clutch plate, just like what would be used in a bigger tractor, and when you move this lever forward, hydraulic pressure is used in order to engage that clutch, this creating a heavier duty system.

Bolted onto this central gearbox are the pumps and the wheel motors. Again, on most zero turn mowers, you'll see belts and hoses run between all of these pieces. In this case, Kubota has everything bolted together with [unintelligible 00:02:17] and seals. Well, in the short term, you're not likely to notice a big difference between this design and another design. Over the long haul, as hoses start to rot, and crack, and leak, and belt's stretch need to be replaced, you don't have that ongoing maintenance here because everything is sealed internally in wet [unintelligible 00:02:36], all you really have is a serviceable filter right here on the front, unscrew, drain fluids, and fill it back up again, and off you go. You just don't have that nickel-and-diming that takes place over the long haul. This is also a more efficient system as well. If you look at equipment design, using [unintelligible 00:02:50] are more a efficient transfer of power than using belts and pulleys. Every time you introduce a belt and pulley, you'll lose a certain percentage of your power to heat and friction. In a shaft system, it's just more efficient, putting more of the power from the engine down to the mower deck.

We have a hydraulic system down in this, we also have a hydraulic cylinder to raise and lower the mower deck. When you want to raise this up and down, rather than using a foot operated pedal, you just use a hydraulic cylinder to raise that up and down. This particular series of mowers is a little bit different than the bigger one. The bigger series, the 1200, and 1500 series, use both an up and a down pedal where in this mower it's simply an up. When you want to raise the mower deck up you step down on the pedal, deck goes up, when you let go of it, the deck goes down. It is nice because if you're mowing the lawn and you see a tree root or something out in your yard, all you simply have to do is to push down on the pedal and raise the deck up and over whatever the obstruction is. This does cause a little bit of confusion with the height control. Right over here on the side of the machine is a dial that I can turn in order to change my cutting height and I just have a simple position marker over here between one and five. These are not inch markers, they are relative to how the mower deck is leveled. When you want to change the cutting high, you need to use your lift lever down here to lift the mower deck up, to raise it off of the stops, so that you can then turn this dial to the cutting height that you want, and then lower the mower deck back down again. On a zero turn mower, the mower deck is usually the first thing to wear out as a machine ages. Maintenance of that mower deck is really important. Over here on the side, you'll find the grease zerks, for the mower deck, are located right at this side. They're very easy to get to. Also, on the machine, right here, there's a flip up cover right underneath your feet, or you can get to the central gearbox here, and another grease zerk around the side that goes down the mower deck spindle. There are three models in the ZG series. 227, with either a 54 or a 60 inch deck, and a 222 that would come with a 48 inch deck. All three of those mowers are powered by a Kohler manufactured Kubota engine. It'll have Kubota stickers and some Kubota labelling on it but it is fundamentally a Kohler engine.

In the ZD series, all of those models are called a 1011. Both equipped with 21 horse diesel engines, available in a 48 or 58 inch deck. I am very much a diesel guy myself. There is about a $1000 spread between the diesel and gas variance. For my money, that would be a $1000 well spent. Not just in longevity, because that engine is going to way outlast the rest of this machine over the long haul, but in fuel economy. Diesel simply have better fuel economy than any gas engine does, creating about 30% more torque in itself is a very important thing for mowing applications. When you're pushing through high grass, it's the torque from that engine that you need to move through the grass efficiently, and not necessarily a lot of horsepower. From performance for fuel economy, for easy starting, the diesel engine is just a great choice. If you do not want to handle diesel fuel, you don't want something else around your garage to take care of, a gas engine is a fine choice as well and serves 95% of this industry very, very well. That's the Kubota ZG200 and ZD1011 Series mowers. Like I said, in my opinion, good quality innovative products that are just a little bit different, a little step ahead of what's offered by a lot of other companies in this industry. If you could use a product like this, give us a call and Messick's. We’re available at 800-222-3373, or online at www.messicks.com

Tags: zd1011, zg222, zg227, zg327