Retiring the Old Gal

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Mark J, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I started cutting grass when I was around 9 years old on a second hand Yazoo. Big machine for a little kid.
    My dad bought her from the state mental hospital when they sold some older ones off to get new ones.
    This Yazoo is a YR60. Tricycle landing gear pushing a 5 foot wide deck powered by a 11.5 horse heavy duty air cooled Wisconsin engine. She is around 42 years old. Definately not a day younger. She's is older then I am.
    She still cuts a mean yard today. As far as I know Yazoo was the first to market zero turn mowers. This mower will turn within its own length.

    What's surprising is that this is the only mower I've ever mowed a yard with other then one time I borrowed my Dad's Deere because the old gal wasn't feeling too well. I quickly learned how to make her dance. Using it's turning momentum and hitting reverse to bring the back wheel off the ground and swinging it around an object. The back wheel is the steering wheel.:smile2:
    Like operating any piece of equipment if you operate it long enough you can perform ballets with it. There is no clutch. It's operated with a steering wheel and a lever that goes from forward to reverse.
    It's the only mower I've ever known for over 30 years.
    Since I left home I've always had big yards so dad gave her to me to use.

    A week ago after getting beat up bad by the ol gal I realized enough was enough. This mower isn't for folks with a bad lower back. I hated having to mow grass which was something I have always enjoyed doing.

    I got with the cousin on the farm who is a Yazoo dealer. Dad got them sold on Zoo's a long time ago and they had bought several of the tricycles to keep places around the farm mowed. They buy so many parts that he became a dealer. He isnt a stocking dealer, he is just a dealer so he can get the price cut in parts.
    I picked up the phone and called the supplier dreading hearing the price of a new zero turn.
    Turns out I called at the perfect time. He had one already assembled that was a demo model and had never cut the first blade of grass. It was already sitting on a trailer.
    He was willing to deliver from Winston Salem way down in the sticks at no charge.

    Yesterday I cut grass with it. She has a 5',1" deck zero turn powered by a 27 horse Kohler power plant fed by twin fuel tanks that hold 5.6 gallons each.
    She cuts better then 5 acres of grass an hour.
    Fun to drive but I have to learn how to make her dance. It'll be awhile before I get the feel of this one lodged in my brain but I have managed some smooth moves out in the open with nothing in the way.

    Now what to do with the ol gal. I'd like to keep her around because no telling how many hours I have on her and how many miles of grass I've cut on her.
    It'll be a sad day if she ever finds another home.
     

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  2. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Sorry to hear you have to retire the ol' unit. Take a break from the boat projects and fabricate you a nice, cushy suspension for the old girl. That way if you do have to use her for a backup it won't beat you to death. Course if you do that, you may wind up trading off the new one:smile2:
     

  3. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I doubt it. The new one has a built in beer holder.:smile2:
     
  4. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    Let go Mark. Its a lawn mower. LOL! Sell it to Paul. He could probably use it. :wink:
     
  5. r ward

    r ward New Member

    Messages:
    2,954
    State:
    Kathleen G
    nah to fancy for Paul
     
  6. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    I guess there is a part of my brain that knew there were people that really get into lawnmowers, but you're the first one on my life list. Have fun.:smile2:
     
  7. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Heck I'd kill for a zero-turn ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!

    The ole gal looks pretty good for 40 years old:wink:.
     
  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Paul needs a brand spanking new one for brand new yard.
    I can hook him up.:smile2:

    I guess there is a part of my brain that knew there were people that really get into lawnmowers, but you're the first one on my life list. Have fun.

    You ever heard of solitude? Aint nobody messing with me while I'm on monster grass cutting machines:smile2: Nothing like a fresh cut yard.
     
  9. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Looks like a great mowing machine, congrats and good luck with those dance lessons
     
  10. postbeetle

    postbeetle New Member

    Messages:
    6,598
    State:
    Iowa
    Mark, I live, here in flyover country, in John Deere heaven. Green paint everywhere. Corp offices 40 mile away. Combines 40 miles away. Skidders 40 miles away. Dozers and skid steers thirty miles away. Farm tractors and machinery 60 miles away. Lawn tractors and mowers in Horicon 3 hours away. John Deere everywhere. People HAVE to have a JD mower. They are literally everywhere.

    We mow a lot and have since 1985. First thing we bought was a JD 212. Very nice stable and mechanically excellent machine. Still have it, no deck but we use it to putz around on for lawn work. In 92 we had to go to a zero turn. After planting several hundred trees on the 4 acres we mow, the efficiency of that JD was totally useless, could not mow around all those trees without spending 2 days doing it. Went to our first zero turn, a Grazer. Nice machine but poorly engineered and very difficult to keep belts on and service. Now have a Grasshopper. Excellent machine and have had it for 7 years. Of course whenever you buy something they always come out with something better the next year. And they did. I can't wait till this one dies, if it does, to get the "new, improved" model. It is just that I don't think this one will die before I do.

    Won't ever buy JD green paint again, although I did see a nice 140 HP tractor that I liked the other day. LOL
     
  11. Dave L

    Dave L New Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    State:
    Minnesota
    That new mower is a beauty.
    A friend of mine had 2 old yazoo's just like yours. They were in very poor shape non-running and parts missing on one. He sold the pair for some good money. I guess what I'm saying is there are collectors out there looking for them old yazoo's. They are becoming very rare and the older they get the more they are worth.
     
  12. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    That old gal still looks pretty good to me. I bet the new one is awesome.
     
  13. TOPS

    TOPS New Member

    Messages:
    4,099
    State:
    Cabot,Arkansas
    Both of the mowers are looking good, I bet the old one will still mow good.
     
  14. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Dave, my dad gave 600 bucks for the old mower in the mid 70's.
    It's worth more then that now. I've seen them go anywhere from 850-1200 and I have a complete spare frame from a junked mower.
    This one would be a great candidate for a collector that is into restoration.
    It's all original but the front deck wheels, tires, and seat. At some point a 1-7/8" ball was welded on the rear. Came in handy moving boats and trailers to cut underneath them.
    Biggest problem with these mowers is traction on hills with the turf tires.
    Mowing sideways on the hill it does great. Backing up a hill as an amateur is dangerous because if you go into reverse too hard the mower will go into 90 degree mode. The deck will remain flat, the chasis will lift straight up and throw you over the handle bars. You better hit the ground running because she's coming swinging a 5 foot deck that weighs a coupla hundred pounds:smile2:
    Going up a a steep grade in forward you often have to manually lift some weight off the deck with the tall lever on the right side. Its lift assisted with the big spring on the deck. If that spring breks, you aint going nowhere as it is constantly taking some of the weight off the deck.

    Olefin. The new mower is awesome. It's a whole new world and the comfort is much better. I'm already looking into an acessory listed as a suspension seat. Where the old mower works on your lower back, this one will shake your chest over the bumps if you are moving at a good clip. I can live with that alot better. The tires are much larger all the way around and the whole mower has a lower center of gravity and weighs around 1100 pounds. They are built real well. It's just a much more comfortable ride in every aspect. I'm long legged too. On the old one I braced my knees on the frame. They get sore too after about 3 acres of grass.

    Top, the old one is STILL a grass cutting machine. It's just alot more slower mower then the new ones and it's down on blade tip speed compared to the newer mowers with much larger engines.
    In a wide open field the new mower will cut better then 5 acres an hour. I can my roughly 2-1/2 to 3 acres in about an hour. The old mower would take me 3 hours or a little better.
    The old mower beats the new mower in one area though. I could take the old mower , run up to an object like my martin pole which is a 1-1/2" steel pipe lay the front deck wheel on it and spin around it cutting the grass right up to the pole within an inch or so because it steered from the rear. I can do this cutting wide open and never slow down on the old mower.
    The new mower you can't do it because it steers from the middle of the mower and steers with the drive wheels. So it does lack a little in close quarters cutting around small object

    Back in the 90's Yazoo was bought out by Kees which has been in manufacturing for the better part of a century and the name was changed to Yazoo/Kees or YK. Sometime shortly after 2000 Husqvarna bought them. Elecrolux either owns Husky or Husky owns them. Remember the old Kee roller skates and ice skates? Kees made them among many other things including radios for the military in the late 30's early 40's.
    At any rate my mower is still a Yazoo/Kees. the Husky line is a totally seperate entity.

    Like I told my dad though, I was going to buy one mower in my lifetime and this was it. If it lasts 30 years I wont to have to worry about its longevity beyond that. It'll probally be somebody else's problem. No doubt the best 6500 I've spent in a long time. It's well built. Just a small example of this.
    The grass chute folds up and lays on the deck for trailering. That grass chute weighs around 15 pounds. The deck is made from 10 guage steel.
    She's a half ton hoss.

    Somebody asked me today where my old zoo was and I told them it was where it usually is. They asked , well where is the new zoo?
    I told them it was parked behind the old one within 6 inches of it. I was hoping that they would breed and I could become a dealer.:smile2:
     
  15. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Ohhh, I am SOOOOO jealous :wink:
     
  16. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Get you one boss. We'll race.:smile2:
    You are on the verge of deal time. New model year coming up and the suppliers run specials.
     
  17. SUNDROP

    SUNDROP New Member

    Messages:
    395
    State:
    Washington
    Shes a fine old gal, pretty her up and keep her. I am amazed how many folks are into collectible yard tractors mowers etc. You can put a Christmas tree on her deck and driver her in the parade!...LOL!!