Dating a Hustler Z without the Serial number or model number?

Kindyr

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I have had my mower for a couple of years, but I'm hoping to figure out what year so I can be sure I get the right parts.

The mower I bought was well "loved" by it's previous owner. One of the things they did was regular washings, which has made the serial number on the foil sticker completely illegible, so I can't just check the serial number or model to date the mower. Is there any place that documents the changes between model years that will allow me to narrow the date to a smaller range?

Things I know
It came with a Honda Engine. It is currently on a replacement motor, but it is a Honda replacing the earlier Honda.
The deck is an XR-7. I believe it is a 60" but haven't specifically measured it.
It has Hustler Z stickers on the front of the mower. No mention of "Super". Was there ever just a Z model that wasn't a Super Z?

I have multiple upgrades I would like to look at if I can confirm a make and model. Are there any aspects of the mower that will help date it beyond the ones above? I saw a super Z listed in another thread with a Kawasaki Engine and listed as a 2009, so I believe I mine is older than that. The mower is an absolute tank and I expect it will last me the rest of my life with a bit of maintenance. I just want to do right by her.
 

bertsmobile1

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Get a digital camera, not a mobile phone and take some photos of the sticker at a variety of angles
Then drop the images into any photo app you like
Some where will be a command that says "make negative" or "invert colours"
After that keep hitting the increase contrast till there is enough of the numbers for you to read.
The human eye is pretty poor with white on white but the digital camera sees it quite well .
Some times a polarizing filter or sunglasses will make the invisible visible.
 

Kindyr

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Thank you for the suggestion. My firends DSLR did not pull out any additional information but he had an idea that worked perfectly. So for anybody else facing this issue, the answer is Blacklight. We had a small blacklight flashlight that made the serial number completely visible, and if I understand that the leading two digits of the serial number are the year of manufacture, then I own a 2006 Hustler Z.
 

bertsmobile1

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Never thought about that so I have just learned something new
 
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