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Zero Turns.


Supporting Member
Ross County, Ohio
Yes, you're exactly right about that, "J".

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I got rained out this afternoon, so I'll finish up the much taller front section tomorrow because it's too wet at the moment.

I've been doing all the property management here at our place ever since 2000. Out of all the properties I've ever done throughout my life, both professionally and/or properties I've previously owned, it's this place that is the most difficult and hard on all my lawncare equipment, and even me for that matter. It's tough on me at times and rough on the equipment.

Anyhow, to provide some context of what I'm taking about, I put together a brief video as a short example, and to hopefully show just how dry it really gets this time of year, especially the closer I get to our creeks. I have plenty of dirty trees as well on the property that are a constant battle picking up after, plus another year of their bumper crops, such as walnuts, buckeyes, pine cones & paw-paws.

I only gather just the bigger stuff/debris and either toss them to the side woods or into one of the nearest fire pits. Everything else gets chewed up in the 'BIG DOG' and spitted-out through the deck chute in one direction until I sweep the entire back kept mowed area of the property, to get rid of all the leaves and smaller debris. Oh-how fun it is... not.


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So, that is why I go through mower deck blades quite regularly here at this place.

8:00PM, Sunday, October 2, 2022: 'THE FOLLOW-UP'


Got all my outdoor chores done today! Now sitting here and enjoying a little Sunday Night football and typing this post up.

More information regarding zero-turn mowers, regardless of brand/name, size or grade because they all pretty much the same, IMO.

Okay, first, to be absolutely clear going forward within this post. Please let it be known that I don’t know everything there is to know about this entire topic however, I like to think that my sharing just a few thoughts and/or experiences, it may possibly help someone if or when they ever decide to acquire a zero-turn mower someday, thanks!

I used to be a lawncare owner and operator that provided professional lawncare, tree & snow-removal services to approximately 75, both commercial and residential customers/clients, for over 10 years. I had 12 employees during peak times, four crews. I sold that successful business with nearly all of my equipment before I moved to where I live today. Back then, I performed all the maintenance required on all the equipment used and I always trained employees to do much the same.

The new mower deck blades that I installed yesterday for the 2014 - 'BIG DOG' mower has done wonders in getting my place back to looking rather decent once again.

This post is my ‘follow-up' from yesterday’s post of mine since I got rained out before finishing up the yard.

It's always this time of year that I have to deal with an abundance amount of autumn tree leaves that fall all over the place on the property, and/or whenever the grass seems to get away from me because I was away on vacation, such as all last week.

Anyhow, this place is now back to being somewhat manageable order once again, I intend on getting back into all my deer stuff all this week, wanting to get everything good and ready so when my youngest brother gets here in a few more days, we'll be chasing those beautiful Whitetails together for the very first time ever, as brothers. It will be my first time out for the new hunting season too, and believe this, I’m completely looking forward to any kind of stand time right now!

Out of all the mowers I've purchased, owned, and operated throughout my past, this particular mower I have today has impressed me in comparison, considering how much I paid for it seven (7) years ago. It was significantly cheaper than any of the others I previously owned, such as the multiple Toros or EXMarks back in 06, 08, 09 & 2012 for the lawncare business.

I've only had to replace the deck belt once on this ‘BIG-DOG’, and that was because of a thick tree branch that fell down inside, and in between the deck pullies, while mowing super wet grass one morning a few years back, and that thick limb broke the deck belt immediately. It was super easy to replace/install afterwards though. In fact, it is that feature about this mower that I properly like most, which is the ‘deck belt pully system’.


That system is truly a well-engineered, great design IMO, which has served me well, and saves me money over the life of this mower. I used to replace deck belts regularly from being worn-out, for instance, too many running hours on them when I had the lawncare business. Deck belts are not cheap to replace all the time.

I never had one designed in such a way where it's truly, a 'set it and forget it' type of thing, or until the belt breaks, or until you feel the need to replace it because it's a bit worn-out for your own liking.

It's truly a maintenance free type of system because once you set the first deck belt for the very first time of use, the only tool you'll ever need afterwards to install a replacement is a 3/8 ratchet, and that's it.

There's an open square notch inside the bracket of the spring-loaded pully to put a handheld 3/8" ratchet into it, which allows you to back-off and relieve the belt/pully pressure/tension when installing any replacement deck belt. No adjustments or tightening up are needed afterwards once installed correctly. I can change the deck belt on the 'BIG'DOG' in a fraction of the time of what used cost me with the older mowers.

Basically, after you install the belt, it's held in place by the spring-loaded pully that is always under heavy duty spring loaded pressure/tension, which provides the perfect and correct amount of belt tension for the PTO to function effortlessly, along with the deck-spindles, deck-pullies and the deck belt itself, all to function in conjunction with one another smoothly and effortlessly, and to get the longest possibly life out of each one of those mower deck components. Like I said, only one deck belt in seven(7) years that broke, which was expected considering what happened at the time.

If I were to run/mow into something solid that sticks clear up out of the ground, and any of the mower blades were to catch that solid object, the blade and/or other blades will stop rotating immediately until that object is cleared, and no ill effects happen to the engine, the engine’s RPM and/or to the PTO system overall. The belt may get slightly burnt, but hardly enough, before I disengage the PTO.

Like I mentioned previously, none of my past commercial 5'/60" deck Toro/EX-Mark/X-Series mowers had that feature. I always had to check belt tensions before mowing, and possibly adjust if needed. When I struck any solid object in the ground with those past mowers, those objects either broke into a million pieces and flew out the deck chute and/or screwed up the mower in some fashion or another, and typically, the later, whether it be blades or whatever.

This 'BIG DOG' deck belt system does not require me to physically check the deck belt at any time, even though I do out of habit. The mower/cutting function either works, or it doesn't. A rather simple deck belt pully design system and it's held up with no issues whatsoever since I've owned the mower outright from day one of purchasing date, which was to be used to mow this difficult property of ours, approximately 6.5 acres of mowed sections.

It's a real nice system, one I've never saw nor used before on any of the other commercial zero-turn mowers of my past.

Mower decks and designs are just as important to me as the power-plant (engine), especially when you get up into the 5'/60" or 6’/72” zero-turn mowers.

It really doesn't matter to me what the brand name is on a mower. Any well-built zero-turn mower of commercial grade quality, with a V-twin Kawasaki motor, dual hydraulic pumps w/fans, a captain’s chair, and a easy to use/functional heavy duty deck, then I'm good,
especially for this place because this place is truly hard on any lawncare equipment I've ever used here over the past 20 years. I don’t need a highly expensive mower for this place, just a good solid runner that cuts fairly decent.

I’m sure I’ll be buying another new mower in a few more years because I'm currently just over 700 hours on this one.

Most commercial mowers, and as a generally rule within the industry, tend to go south mechanically when they reach approximately 1,000 running hours, however if you do all the required maintenance in a regular and timely fashion, you may get a little more life out of them. like what I have done with all my mowers over the years.


Final note:

***** I've yet to kill a zero-turn mower, and trust me, I've tried, more than once too 😂

***** The ‘BIG-DOG’ at work, plus the nickel tour after completing today’s dusty mow 🤧


Video description:

2014 X-1060 BIG DOG ZERO TURN MOWER with 700hrs. on the 26hp Kawasaki V-twin motor (FX730V), 60" 3-blade with a heavy duty commercial steel deck, duel hydraulic heavy duty pumps with fans, mowing our dried up sandy/dusty place after being gone a week on vacation. Mini nickel tour from the mower after getting all the autumn leaves taking care of and lawn mowed today.

P.S. – I honestly mow much, much faster when I don’t have to hold a silly cellphone in my hand
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Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Is learning how to sharpen your own blades worth it?
Yes and no. Is it truly critical for YOU to learn how to sharpen them? Probably not for the majority of home owners who only mow their own lawns. Is it important to sharpen them? Yes. You could buy a spare set, and swap them 2-3 times a season, and pay a local company $3-6/blade to sharpen them for you. We own multiple blade sharpeners for different applications. We are cutting acres and acres of grass daily. If I were mowing 5 acres or less, I'm not sure it would be worth it. I'd hand file them (like I did the first few years in business) or pay someone to sharpen them in efforts to retain the factory angle.

Why sharpen them? They cut the grass rather than hack it or rip it. The sharp blades have less resistance which extends the life of the mower just a bit with every revolution of the blades. The less they work, the less the engine bogs down, and the longer things last. Smoother operation on spindles, pulleys, and belts. All around better on the machines.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Did the final (hopefully) cut and leaf raking a couple days ago. Scraped the deck and gave her a good power washing. Also ran a tank of rec gas + Stabil through her. Pretty happy with the first season on the Gravely. 46.7 hours.
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Senior Member
Supporting Member
Oil change and filter, added stabilized gas and ran her a bit. Greased all the points and realized i bought the wrong air filter.

Gonna fix that and I'm at 30 hours so gonna wait to do the hydrostatic.

Will change the blades after the first mow in the spring.
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Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
I've had adapters and longer bolts which ran two blades per spindle before. I've not used this although I checked it out. Looks pretty slick. Not sure on the price. I'd be curious how well they would do. There is something about a new or sharp blade I think I would miss. That is my own OCD issue to work out though. 🤷🏻‍♂️😁
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Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Yeah, seems gimmicky….. Plus no implied warranty, but list all the available replacement parts?
My fear would be coming down on top of an object and bending the middle section. All the blades would be a bit off and likely vibrate horrible. I did go back and look at prices after I posted. Initial cost would sting. $9-10 for blades. That isn't much cheaper than regular blades. Pretty sure I will not be spending any money here.