View Full Version : Jd Z-trak

12-19-2001, 09:21 PM
I'm new to the list only been on a couple days. Its a graet site. The season starting to slow down, so I finally have some time to see whats going on in other parts of the country. My question is: I have a JD Z-TRAK 60in cut, its been a great machine. Just wanting to see if any other companies out there are using them. Mine has about 600hrs on it now, just tring to foresee any problems that others have delt with. Altalawncare Thank You, It's a pleasure to be here Billy.

lee b
12-19-2001, 10:22 PM
Join the club, a very small exclusive club on this site. I have a M665 z and it's been great also, 300 trouble-free hours of hard use on rough-azz industrial sites. The only problem I can think of with the Deere z is that nobody makes blades to fit the 7-iron deck, except Deere, and I can't find gator blades to fit it. Other-wise I"m really pleased with it. I can't wait to demo one of the new Deere/Dane ztrs coming out the first of next year.:cool:

12-19-2001, 10:47 PM
Hey Lee. I don't have the 7-iron deck but I think the blades are the same. I bought it the year before that deck came out. My local hardware store found gators for me. They are a little thinner than the jd blades, but they cut wonderful. I'll try to get some order numbers for you and pass them on.

lee b
12-19-2001, 10:54 PM
I would appreciate that very much, but the 7-iron blades have a much bigger bolt hole than most of the older style blades. Yours may have the same size hole, my bolt has a 15/16" head {ca't remember the actual bolt size}. Thanks

12-19-2001, 11:12 PM
Lee, thats the same size as mine. I beleive the bolt is around 1/2 in. give or take 1/8

12-19-2001, 11:26 PM
Local JD dealer lent a friend a 60 " cut Ztrak while his other was down for a couple days, He loved it till he ran my Dane and another friends Grass Hopper.
He said he liked my dane better though.

A buddy that is the chief mechanic at JD told me to stay away from them he said he has more repair notice sheets from the factory for the Ztrak then anything else he has ever seen at deere but that was the first year after they came out.

I am not trying to flame your equipment just pass on what experience I have had with them.

Lee, just wait till youve ran a dane. I think you'll see why they bought them out.


lee b
12-19-2001, 11:35 PM
I've seen a picture of the new ones and the specs, it doesn't look like anything Deere or Dane has built before. If they take the best that both have to offer I believe they'll have a really good mower. Looking forward to trying one, dealer told me they'll be out in January.

12-19-2001, 11:40 PM
Hey natural. Thanks for the input. The best advantage of the Z is the ablity to stick to a hillside. I cut some step areas and it holds like glue, not to mention the knobbies I had order for it. No mid-mount I ever demoed could stay on those hills and talk about a scarry ride to the bottom!! I only know of the grasshopper and walker that offer front mounts. I demoed a walker, way to slow. Another suprising element of the Z is the net power to the deck the mower outputs. The 20hp kohler of the Z seamed to put out more than the mid-mounts with the 25 hp.

12-20-2001, 09:01 AM
Have you seen the new John Deere line? I think they are due in at Phillips in March of next year. 3 models that look exactly like the Super Surfers, only with 7 iron decks! Ray told me they were not going with the commercial Gret Dane Chariot look-A-Like, only a sit down home owner type Z, so I guess the Z-trac will still be the main sit down type commercial Z offered from Phillips.

If you go by there, Ray can make you a copy of the spec sheet for the JD standers.

BTW, does yours have the '7-iron' deck'? If so how does the cut speed compare, and wet cutting ability compare with what you've run before?

12-20-2001, 12:04 PM
Mike, just read your post where you don't have the 7-Iron deck.

Has anyone compared the 7 iron deck to the Toro SFS deck, Gravely, or Dixie Chopper in heavy wet grass????

12-20-2001, 04:15 PM
I read on this site earlier this year about the 7-Iron deck, i heard that its quality of cut and how well it spread the grass clippings out was alot better than the Scag and the Exmark decks. I cant remember which thread that was from but someone did a comparison of the 7-Iron deck. From what ive heard the deck is great, and the JD ZTR wasnt soo great but their are many happy customers who have the JD ZTR's.
I can't wait either for the new JD/Dane ZTR, still have green blood running in me, though right now i have a Scag Turf Tiger.:alien:

Matt (Lawncare)

12-20-2001, 06:55 PM
uh oh. i was fine with u until u said it would beat any z mid on hills
if a man knows how to do hills,he can do anything where the soil will hold.that has been the big suprize ,for me about my exmark. on the other hand the deere z track looks like a fine machine to me. ps if the z track is 4 wheel drive u may be better on hills or any terrain . thats what it would take to beat this lazer
and a good operator on hills.

12-20-2001, 09:44 PM
Well awm ,I'm a professional been in this business going into 8th year. I'm on this site for professional input, not for someone to be o.k. with me or not. Seems to be your the best on this site with your exmark. Good Luck and cut on my friend.

12-20-2001, 09:58 PM
I have run the z-trac for 2 years. I have only mulched with it.It mulches grass easily even 12inches high.The Z is terrible on hills.otherwise agood machine. Hardy Boys Lawn Service

lee b
12-20-2001, 10:23 PM
Are you talking about the outfront Z-trak or the mid-mount? My M665 will hold a hill great, if it gets to steep, it'll slide, but has never tried to roll.

12-20-2001, 10:51 PM
I Have amidmount 665 .Always lost traction easily,even when new.2002 will buy a lazor or super z.Thanks

12-20-2001, 10:52 PM
I had a JD M665 and ran it for a little over 1 year. Then I forced the dealer to buy it back ! Worst PIECE OF JUNK ztr I have ever owned or operated. It had only two good features. It would stick to steep hillsides like glue, and the 7 iron deck would cut anything you could knock down. However, the quality of the cut was very bad and the machine rarely ran a week without some type of breakdown. I have posted info in the past about all of the design flaws in the current M665 machines. I hope JD gets it right on this new series of machines.
The cut is not as good as the cut of my Toro (SFS deck) my Bobcat, or my Grasshoppers.

lee b
12-20-2001, 11:14 PM
I don't understand how your machine could have been as bad as you say, guess you got a lemon. I cut rough industrial sites and haven't had a problem yet. I've compared the cut to lazers, grasshoppers, and others and cannot see where they are any better at all, as a matter of fact, most will not cut bahia nearly as good. I've only put 300 hours on mine, but they have been hard hours compared to mowing residential yards. My mower still operates like the day I bought it. What are the design flaws, if you put the Deere next to a lazer {one of the highest rated mowers ever} you will see they are almost identical in every detail. If it tore up every week, and you ran it over a year, you were a little slow to get rid of it. I wouldn't have anything as bad as that for a month.

12-20-2001, 11:38 PM
you are right mws ,im the best there is. but it dont take the best ,just an operator that has learned to use wt on the front
an how to use a ztr on hills . id heard that they wernt good hill machines so finally got a chance to find out . u have to learn how.
then a lot of midmount z are hard to beat. bout the only limitation is if the soil wont hold u .fact . later now bud

12-21-2001, 01:31 AM
AWM, Hey expert. How do you put wt. on the front of a JD F-620 front mount mower?? I want to know so I can also be the best. Later bud.

Albemarle Lawn
12-21-2001, 04:21 AM
OR are these different?

12-21-2001, 08:07 AM
appreciate the compliment ,but wouldnt call my self an expert.
just pretty good at what im good at.
now as far as how u can put some wt on the front of your mower ,i dont know for sure what it looks like.if youll post a picture ,ill try to help u out.. but are u sure u need to .. a mid z needs it to keep the front end down.aint nothin like havin one rare up and flip on u.said from opinion not experience
later now bud , we is buddies aint we.:)

Richard Martin
12-21-2001, 09:21 AM
If you want to add weight to a front mount you might try the Exmark weights. They sit on the front caster yolks and look like they might fit anything.

12-21-2001, 11:21 AM
Albemarle Lawn, The the M665 is a mid-mount. The F-620 which is now a F-680 I think is a front mount like the grasshoppers.They change the numbers on the F-620 back in 2000 .

12-21-2001, 07:11 PM
I held on to the machine a long time before giving up on it because:
1. I knew I would loose money on the deal even if the dealer would take it back at some depreciated value.
2. Dealer kept telling me they would get the problems fixed.
3 All repairs were always under warranty so I was only out the downtime.
4.I still had the ztr it was going to replace and that one kept me going when the JD was down.
5.I really liked it for steep hillside work, it was very stable working across steep slopes.
Now as to the problems:
The 25hp Kohler developed oil leaks at almost every gasket over a period of time.
The mule drive belt is not well protected at the rear pulleys, and if the rear drags, the tension pulley hits ground and belt comes off.
When engaging pto, belt jumps and spring falls off that holds tension on rear pulley and belt then comes off. JD had a service bullitin about this problem.
When pto belt comes off,it is jerked down under bottom of stacked pulleys on deck. Bolts sticking up that hold this assembly in place, also prevent placing belt back up on pulley. If you can get belt partly up on pulley, you can engage pto and hope for the best. Either belt comes up, it shreds, or it is pulled tighter under assembly.
Blade spindles are too thin at bottom .Bottom is a sleeve with no threads and is very thin. When blade hits a rock or other item in ground, the shock is transfered through blade and deforms this sleeve area.Blade bolt is then ruined when you try to remove it and spindle must be removed and sent to machine shop to be repaired.
Deck scalps bad at anything lower than 2.5"
Height adjustment indicator is meaningless. The numbers mean nothing relative to the real cutting height.
Thats about all I can remember right now.:angry:

lee b
12-21-2001, 07:52 PM
The engine problems were with Kohler, not Deere. Never had a belt jump off, even though I've dragged bottom many times on curbs accidently. I've ruined 7 blades hitting metal and concrete this year, {industrial sites always have hidden surprises} never hurt a spindle. Engage blades while idling, no problems there.. Doesn't scalp any more than any other 60" deck and cuts great. You must have had a lemon, because I haven't had a single problem you listed and my machine is used on some of the roughest mowing conditions I've seen. Sorry you had problems with yours.

12-21-2001, 08:26 PM
Glad to hear you have had good luck with yours. I also mow rough industrial sites and had great expectations for mv M665. Mine was one of the first ones off the assembly line, so maybe that had something to do with it. My dealer sold quite a few of them, and I do notice that there are always one or two in the shop every time I am back there. I am interested in looking at their new machines when they get here. I still like the other JD machines I have.:)

12-22-2001, 01:34 AM
MOWINGMAN, I also had a problem with hitting rocks and bending sleeves. I correct this problem by taking a coned shaped grinder thats fits in a drill and honed it out a little, but make sure to not to hit the threads!

12-22-2001, 01:38 AM
I've had some bad experiance with the 25hp kohler also. I demoed a Woods and a Graverly with that engine. Both backfired and neither seemed to me to have the hp of the 20hp kolher on the Z.

12-22-2001, 10:24 AM
I thought about doing that, but since I had a spare spindle assembly, I just changed it out and let my friend fix it at his machine shop. I found out that the only thing JD designed on the whole machine was the 7iron deck. Even the spindles were not JD designed.:(

Matthew Morgan
12-22-2001, 11:26 PM
Here is an addition to your problems list.

electric blade engagement clutch failure at about 500-600 hours. Mine will only engage at full throttle. If anything less, the mower will die. I hate that.

Handle dampners will leak and fail every 250 hours.

O-ring in line to hydro oil coolers will fail and leak.

Engine backfiring will casue a blowout of a muffler baffle. New muffler, $126! Ouch!:angry:

The list goes on.

I like the machines, but I will probly purchase another brand next time. I have two M665's now. My problem is dealer support. I only have a Grasshopper and a Bush Hog dealer in my area and support is slim to none. My Deere support is good.

I hope the next generation is better.

I love the deck though. I feel the best in the industry.

:angry: Matthew:cry:

12-23-2001, 01:12 AM
Hi Matt, I have a F-620 front mount 20hp kohler, no problems with blade engagement. Maybe try pulling choke out when engaging blades, works for me setting in high grass. No problem with handle dampners, and no leaks yet. I've demoed some mowers with the 25hp kohler and your right bad backfireing. Sounds like something Kolher needs to fix. Been using Dura Lube oil additive in engine along with JD brand oil since new. Oil is very clean every oil change hope it will last for many more hours.

lee b
12-23-2001, 10:17 AM
Matt, are you letting your mower cool down before shutting it off? You need to let it run alittle while after working it and always switch it off at 3/4 throttle, not idling, and your Kohler will not backfire. Every mower with handle dampners have the same problem, you'll have to change the dampners every so often, they are a normal wear item just like blades. If your engaging the blades at full throttle you'll be replacing the blade clutch regularly, and that would happen on any brand of mower with an electric clutch. Only engage blades at idle or a little faster, unless something is wrong, the engine can more than handle it without stalling.

Matthew Morgan
12-23-2001, 08:44 PM
I have tried letting the engine cool down, shuting off at idle and every other engine rpm. it changes nothing. If I shut them off at idle, they backfire. If at any higher rpm, the engine will "diesel". I just don't like it. They are also VERY cold blooded engines as well.

I HATE the idea of engaging blades at more than an idle, but anything except full throttle will kill the engine, even when the engine is hot. This really smokes me. I advised my dealer of this problem after purchasing the mowers and told them about possible cluth problems. They said "no problem, if you have trouble, we will take care of you". After a lengthy arguement, I had to pay the bill for a new clutch!

They are O.K. mowers with a great deck. I will probly have a different brand next time.


12-23-2001, 09:21 PM
That's one thing I have to give JD dealerships, the one I deal with anyway. Last spring I bought a brand new 1445 31hp diesel front mount mower. It had a 72" cut came with the works, but it just hit the market! It retailes for 24,000.00. I was dissatisfied with it was not much faster than my 20hp 60" front mount Z-Trak. For example I cut a wide open field with the Z in about 55 min. The same field took 50 min. with the new mower with 11 more hp. and 12 more in. of cut and being diesel at that. But understand it operated like a fork truck not a ztr. Anyway to make a long story short, I put 14 hrs. on it and took it back with no hassels. I guess a few bugs needed to be worked out.

Todd Cannon
12-25-2001, 02:33 AM
MWS LAWN, we run 3 F-620's. we learned from a JD rep that even though the drive tire's max. pressure is 20#s, you get amazing traction at around 10-12#s. The draw back is that you have to be more careful on your turns as the tires will now tear the turf more easily. We love the mowers. We have found them to be the most versatile mowers on the market. They easily go from open fields to well-groomed, bagged lawns.

mowin at the lake
12-25-2001, 01:46 PM
The MCS on the john deere works good.
We have replaced the fan once ($230) and the fan housing
($180) do to the amount of rocks and sticks.
Last week we replaced the electric clutch on it ($230)
and but a short block in it . The air filter bolt is spot welded on the bottom and the weld broke , so the bolt dropped into the intake and ended up in the #1 head. The metal shavings made it threw the block and kinda chewed thing up....
It does get expensive but it is used a lot.
We bag all of our accounts.
The system has about 1500 hrs on it.

I think we paid $1800 for the bagger 2 years ago.

The last recall on it was back in October for the double rear tail wheels.