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Ride on mower suitable for large garden

I have a Viking MT580 ride on mower, which has just been serviced and is fantastic condition apart from the deck (all the parts on the deck are good, but the deck itself has corroded over the past decade). I contacted the Stihl group, and they were able to find a replacement deck in Austria but wanted well in excess of £1400 (exc. VAT), which I found somewhat ludicrous. It's very frustrating, but it looks as though the mower and accessories are now next to useless as a consequence.

I have a garden of 6500 metres squared. It's not too bumpy, but is far from flat. I have quarter of an acre of fruit trees, and nearly half an acre of woodland which is sparse enough to access with the mower and cut the grass there. Is there anything out there that might be able to tackle this for around the 2 grand mark? I would like something that lasts, can maneuver around the trees and collect up the cuttings, so if I have to up the budget I will have to dig deep - it's come at an unfortunate time.

Thank you for any recommendations! 



  • Gardengirl..Gardengirl.. Posts: 4,170

    Ride on mower sounds nice but my garden grass area far to small for that

    Hampshire Gardener
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,431

    I'd go for one with grass bags you can lift off the back and tip on the compost heap. The ones that tip and dump are easier at the time but later you have to fork up all the cuttings onto the heap. If you don't heap them up they take up a very large area.

    We got our current one on ebay. I don't think I can name and recommend though. I was happier with the last one. Obsolete by about 20 years

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • JamesyJamesy Posts: 6

    Thanks for the replies Gardengirl and Nutcutlet. The Viking one had a grass catcher (tip and dump, though I usually just took it off and put it on the compost by hand, as it was prone to getting blocked). I've lots of discreet nooks and crannies for dumping grass cuttings luckily.

    I'm thinking of perhaps a john deere X125, as it doesn't totally blow the budget and looks like something robust enough to last. I'm sure there are plenty of other good choices out there.

  • ColinAColinA Posts: 392

    With ref to your estimated price was that for a complete deck or is it possible to buy the shell and transfer all the parts over?

    Also you may be able to buy pattern parts from a local dealer as there are companies out ther that supply them especially if the rest of the machine is in good condition and the spares are readily available.I am speaking as an ex garden machinery dealer

  • JamesyJamesy Posts: 6

    I'd asked them for just the shell, and the price quoted was over £1400. The model is from 2001, and it's hard to source the parts these days. I will continue to ask around, as I'm currently renovating the house and am also getting married in a few months, so it's very bad timing! image

    Is anyone familiar with Toro as a brand? The model Toro ZS4200 would be perfect for getting around all my trees. I can find it for a similar price as the John Deere (which initially seems to be well priced, but by the time you add any accessories, such a grass catcher, ends up fairly dear). The mowers seem to be popular in Australia and NZ, and I don't know if they originate from there. Seems to be plenty of UK and European sellers for this brand and model though.

  • ColinAColinA Posts: 392

    Yes Toro are a good make I never sold any but serviced alot in the time I had the business.

    Its a pity you specified that you wanted to collect the clippings, because we sold lots of the Husqvarna rider range these are rear wheel steering and the domestic version will cut round and round a 12 inch tree. They do make a mulching deck but you would have to make sure that there are no protruding roots etc as the blades are timed and striking any solid object puts the blades out of time and is expensive to repair.

  • JamesyJamesy Posts: 6

    I've seen plenty of Husqvarna models for sale, though from what you say, the blades would concern me as it is a little bumpy in my area of partial wood, plus the moles sometimes push up a few solid objects in their mounds!

    In the end, the local garden centre was able to propose a generic deck, that should be compatible with my old Viking - suddenly £1400+ has been reduced to around £300. The chap who maintains my equipment is ex-army and used to do maintenance on all their machines, and he's confident he can install it all for me, so if that works I will be very happy!

  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    I don't know if you have considered getting the deck welded? I'd ask around at garages if they have anyone who could weld it for you. Theres plenty of decent welders around who could do the job pretty neatly. I've seen cars with floor pans rotted out and they have had the rusty stuff cut out and plated. If the mower is basically sound there is no reason not to at least get a price on the job. There's a number of good Polish welders who charge a fair price.


  • JamesyJamesy Posts: 6

    I'm afraid too much is corroded now, it really needed to be replaced completely. The garden engineer I use can weld well, and last year he thought he might be able to do some welding to fix it for at least another year, but he said he was beyond repair.

  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    The Generic Deck sounds like a good idea, even better if it can be aluminium, Steel decks are always going to be prone to corrosion as stone chips the coating which is covered in wet grass. Glad you found a reasonable option and you get many more years of service out of it.

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