Looking at Pro-Turn Z, any issues with Gravely engine to know about?

RWlawnman

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I'm starting a lawncare business and am leaning toward starting with a Pro-Turn Z 52" model. I like the dealer who I'll be buying from and feel confident in their support going forward. I would get a Pro-Turn 100 with the Kawasaki engine if they have one, but they would have to order it. What they have is the Z, so I'm considering going with it. Of course, the engine is uncommon, though I understand it's made in Japan, which I feel is a plus as they are known for building excellent small engines in general.

So my main question is if anyone has the Gravely engine and experienced problems? Or has anyone had one for a long time and can say they have been satisfied with it? I'm glad for any opinions or experiences to share.
 

pollishpickle

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I have the Pro Turn 460 with the Yamaha engine that I really like. The air ride seat is a real bonus that makes it comfortable to mow for hours. I had a Kawasaki mower before and the Yamaha uses less gas even though it is 33 hp compared to 28 and is quieter also.
 

bertsmobile1

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Unless you have buckets on money I would strongly suggest buying a used mower ( or 3 ) to kick things off.
Nothing worse than having $ 15,000 sitting in your shed while you are pushing a hand mower around yards.
You won't know what equipment you need till your contracts start coming in.
For example I have a commercial customer who has contract with the local council to mow the verg on a 15 mile stretch of country road.
For that he uses a 42" Great Dane fitted with Gators.
He also does some churches & a cemetery and for those he uses a Walker as they want the clippings removed so the lawn looks like green carpet.
HE does some farm land that is vacant waiting for redevelopement .
For that he uses his Toro Timemaster fitted with High lift blades.
HE also has a JD EZ225 with a 32" deck which he is no longer using much , he had that for residentials so it could go through side gates which down here are usually 36".
He used to do a lot a 1 to 1/2 acre lots with houses at the front that went almost fence to fence but he has given most of them up as they are not particularly profitable.

A different customer got retrenched & decided to be a lawn contractoor, walked into the local lawn mower shop and came out with $ 62,000 ( AUS ) of Husqvarna gear.
HE had been working 10 hours a day for 3 years before he became my customer and in those 3 years he had not made a cent and still owed $ 20,000 on the gear.
I sold him some of my loan mowers more suited to what he was doing and a tear latter he had sold most of the gear the Husqvarna shop had sold him & was using my gear
Four years on he is now making enough to look at new gear to replace some of the stuff I sold him.
A 61' deck is not much good for doing 1/4 acre blocks & a 36" deck makes hard work of 3 acres of pasture.
 
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RWlawnman

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Unless you have buckets on money I would strongly suggest buying a used mower ( or 3 ) to kick things off.
Nothing worse than having $ 15,000 sitting in your shed while you are pushing a hand mower around yards.
You won't know what equipment you need till your contracts start coming in.
For example I have a commercial customer who has contract with the local council to mow the verg on a 15 mile stretch of country road.
For that he uses a 42" Great Dane fitted with Gators.
He also does some churches & a cemetery and for those he uses a Walker as they want the clippings removed so the lawn looks like green carpet.
HE does some farm land that is vacant waiting for redevelopement .
For that he uses his Toro Timemaster fitted with High lift blades.
HE also has a JD EZ225 with a 32" deck which he is no longer using much , he had that for residentials so it could go through side gates which down here are usually 36".
He used to do a lot a 1 to 1/2 acre lots with houses at the front that went almost fence to fence but he has given most of them up as they are not particularly profitable.

A different customer got retrenched & decided to be a lawn contractoor, walked into the local lawn mower shop and came out with $ 62,000 ( AUS ) of Husqvarna gear.
HE had been working 10 hours a day for 3 years before he became my customer and in those 3 years he had not made a cent and still owed $ 20,000 on the gear.
I sold him some of my loan mowers more suited to what he was doing and a tear latter he had sold most of the gear the Husqvarna shop had sold him & was using my gear
Four years on he is now making enough to look at new gear to replace some of the stuff I sold him.
A 61' deck is not much good for doing 1/4 acre blocks & a 36" deck makes hard work of 3 acres of pasture.
Thanks for the input, and I certainly get what you are saying. I wound up ordering a new Pro-Turn 152 with the Kawasaki engine. The only other option in that line was the Kohler engine, either with or w/o EFI. The dealer mainly recommended staying away from EFI.

I understand the idea of going used, and easing into it. I would agree to do that with a budget limited business plan. I do have enough capital to start off with a new rider, however, and don't need it to pay for itself right away. I've got a several year business plan to get this on solid ground, and then a plan to build it up from there with multiple teams, I hope, over the next decade or so. As such, I don't want to deal with someone else's headache, and rather have a solid machine to start with that I know I can rely on. I went with the 52" as that seems to be the bread and butter size for the cutters around here. Yes, I don't know my end market yet, but I'm completely confident this size will be useful. A 48" was the other consideration, and I was torn between those two sizes, frankly, but I wanted the bigger mower to be my best model, and I'll probably look for a smaller one as move forward, which may even need to be smaller than 48", I don't know yet. And it could even be a stand behind, maybe. Either way, I could see getting that one used, maybe, knowing I have the 52" as a reliable model. A 60" seems like it would be more limited in what it would be useful for, I understand things like flex in the deck and rough terrain can be an issue for that size. I figure if I have a job that a 60" would work for, the 52" will at least be a usable alternative. 48" would be a harsh replacement for 60", and could be too big for some smaller jobs possibly? Anyway, it was a roll of the dice which way to do, but like I said, I do have a plan to add a smaller one down the road when needed.

The guy you described with $62k in gear is a crazy story. I don't see how anyone can expect that to pay off in this business in a short time period. I'm looking at a total investment of $15k-20k (US) for an initial investment, and don't need it to be really profitable for a couple of years. After that, I expect it to be doing well enough to stand on it's own. I hope with my budget, that will be reasonable. With 3x that budget? No, I can't see that being reasonable to expect. Unless you have some very profitable jobs, it would take many years to make that investment back for sure.
 

bertsmobile1

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Best of luck to you, sounds like a plan,,, for now .
The problem is often what you set out to do is not what you end up doing.
Like the customer who was only going to do paddock slashing who now does almost nothing but high pruning & hedge clipping.
Not what he intended to do but saw a market that no one else was interested in
So the $ 40,000 Diesel Toro wing mower ended up being sold in 2 years with almost no hours on it at a massive loss .

OR the other customer who ended up buying a backhoe mounted mower to mow steep slopes & embankments.
He was going to do domestic lawns & gardens.
And don;t forget that we pay near 3 times the USA price in $ ( Aus ) for yard gear down here, except for JD which is about 1.5 x the USA price .
 

RWlawnman

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Best of luck to you, sounds like a plan,,, for now .
The problem is often what you set out to do is not what you end up doing.
Like the customer who was only going to do paddock slashing who now does almost nothing but high pruning & hedge clipping.
Not what he intended to do but saw a market that no one else was interested in
So the $ 40,000 Diesel Toro wing mower ended up being sold in 2 years with almost no hours on it at a massive loss .

OR the other customer who ended up buying a backhoe mounted mower to mow steep slopes & embankments.
He was going to do domestic lawns & gardens.
And don;t forget that we pay near 3 times the USA price in $ ( Aus ) for yard gear down here, except for JD which is about 1.5 x the USA price .
Thanks, all good things to keep in mind. I'm just looking to get started with a business now, and grow from there. As you say, there is no telling where that will go. I'm pretty sure what I'm starting with here is going to get me occupied with work pretty quickly, which is the plan. As that develops, it could certainly take some twists and turns, and that could be a great thing. As you say, I can't predict what they could be right now, I can only start where I'm at and proceed with what I can see to do next. As I get started and get my foot in some doors, all kinds of things are possible. I respect what you've seen and the experience you have, and appreciate the insight.
 

bertsmobile1

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Very few apprentice plumbers go into training intending to work with sewerage .
But the ones who retire early very rich do
:) :devilish: :mad:
 

Richkiminhou

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RW,
I bought a used Pro Turn Z52 with 86 hours on it. It has the Gravely branded 764cc engine. It’s manufactured by Loncin (China) and it’s a Kawasaki clone. I have 101 hours on it now. The engine took many cranks to get it started but I changed the oil to a straight 30W and put some Lubegard Biotech in it. Now it cranks up immediately. I hope to get at least 1500 hours out of it but only time will tell. No issues thus far. Strongly suggest changing out the battery to a bigger unit and putting it on a trickle charger overnight. The mower is built like a tank. Very please with it.
 

RWlawnman

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RW,
I bought a used Pro Turn Z52 with 86 hours on it. It has the Gravely branded 764cc engine. It’s manufactured by Loncin (China) and it’s a Kawasaki clone. I have 101 hours on it now. The engine took many cranks to get it started but I changed the oil to a straight 30W and put some Lubegard Biotech in it. Now it cranks up immediately. I hope to get at least 1500 hours out of it but only time will tell. No issues thus far. Strongly suggest changing out the battery to a bigger unit and putting it on a trickle charger overnight. The mower is built like a tank. Very please with it.
Thanks, I wound up buying a Pro-Turn 152 instead. I figured the extra cost was worth the beefier components, and it has the floating seat system. I tell you, that floating seat is nice, I can tell that it's making the ride more comfortable. That alone was worth the upgrade, although you can just upgrade the seat to a floating system on the Z or any other model.
 
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