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View Full Version : JD 997 or Kubota ZD331 or ??


sunnyside360
05-03-2011, 10:34 AM
Looking for advice and opinions on the John Deere 997 Ztrack mower with 72" deck and the Kubota ZD331 with 72" deck. I'm mowing approximately 6 acres of lawn about twice a week. 5 acres are relatively flat and one acre is on hill side. I'm looking to spend less time mowing -- even considered contracting out the mowing. I stopped by local dealers to get info and prices --- was quoted a price of $14,500 for a new 997 ZTrack and $14,600 for a new Kubota ZD 331. Or, should I be looking at other Z turn mowers?
Any advice/opinions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Scag413
05-03-2011, 10:50 AM
I cannot speak of the John Deere as I have no experience on one. I do have a Kubota ZD323 which is a smaller deck size and engine size of what you are looking at. I love my Kubota! I have more than enough horsepower with the 23hp diesel so I can't even imagine waht the 31hp could do! Having two separate transmissions on each wheel makes a world of differene when having to mow when the ground is wet. It also acts as a differential lock, if one wheel is stuck the other wheel's transmission continues to pull as the one which is stuck is doing the same thing. I was hesitant about the shaft drive on it but honestly I can't tell that much of a difference. It just means you don't have to replace builts all the time. Instead, you just have to maintain the shaft and it should work well for years to come. After having my Kubota, there is no way I would buy the John Deere. I would only consider Scag or Exmark with a Kubota engine on it.

06LTNox
05-03-2011, 11:12 AM
I can mirror the opinions on a ZD323. Father in law uses one on his seven acres and it is one hell of a machine. I will still go with a 997 when I replace my current mower, but I doubt either machine will disappoint.

weeze
05-03-2011, 05:58 PM
either or...either one is good

grassman177
05-03-2011, 07:48 PM
kubota is something i can tell you about, fantastic machines and built tough. i would go for orange!!!

specialtylc
05-03-2011, 07:59 PM
I have a ZD331 with a 60 inch deck. Its a great machine. Plenty of power, cuts well and is comfortable. It has a few other nice features that most other Z's dont. I have a ZD21 also. Had a ZD28 but it didnt cut as well as the ZD331 or the ZD21 for that matter.
I'm not familiar with the JD's. Does it have a diesel engine? If you plan on keeping this mower for years, you will want the diesel.

ramcat
05-03-2011, 08:34 PM
i would go with the john deere 997 because the cut quality will be much nicer than a kubota. Also, we have had yanmar diesels, the same as whats in the 997, go 4500 hours with no problems and we have had quite a few of them. As for the kubota diesel we had a 21 hp one in a walker mower and it blew up at 2100 hours. The 997 has been out longer than the zd331 but i think they are both good machines. Make sure you like your dealer!

syncom2
05-03-2011, 09:06 PM
After purchasing new, I have used my ZD331 for one complete mowing season (2010) and I can't even fathom any mower on the market today that will give a person a higher quality cut than what this beast will offer you, let alone the quantity of grass it'll zip on through! I fertilize my lawn heavily and last Saturday I was finally able to mow my lawn after it was let go (due to what seemed to be an endless spell of rain) for two weeks and two days. I was cutting off a solid 8" of grass... some places I was cutting through 10"... and the machine walked on through the grass like it was only 3". tall.. giving me a super-even cut! I did re-mow the lawn an additional time 3 hours later so it'd cut the grass up into even finer particles... after some drying had occurred of the previously cut blades of grass... which btw, were laden FULL of moisture because of all the rainfall we've had in our area. My lawn is only 2 acres, but I mow an additional 7 acres in my back field... mowing around 2,600 trees. Again, I don't mean to down-play what a JD997 will do for you, but I know from experience how ZD331 will perform.

sunnyside360
05-03-2011, 09:19 PM
Thanks for all input. I really appreciate it --- keep it coming if you have any more thoughts.

I visited some more dealers today to gain more info about both the ZD331 and the 997 Ztrack. Best quote on the ZD331-72 is $13,300 cash and best quote on the 997 Ztrack is $14,100 with 0% for 24 mos (or cash) --- little difference when considering CD interest saving. I'd go with the higher quote if the service was superior but I think both are very good. So, input from experienced folks like on this forum is invaluable. Thanks again for your help.

sunnyside360
05-03-2011, 09:32 PM
After purchasing new, I have used my ZD331 for one complete mowing season (2010) and I can't even fathom any mower on the market today that will give a person a higher quality cut than what this beast will offer you, let alone the quantity of grass it'll zip on through! I fertilize my lawn heavily and last Saturday I was finally able to mow my lawn after it was let go (due to what seemed to be an endless spell of rain) for two weeks and two days. I was cutting off a solid 8" of grass... some places I was cutting through 10"... and the machine walked on through the grass like it was only 3". tall.. giving me a super-even cut! I did re-mow the lawn an additional time 3 hours later so it'd cut the grass up into even finer particles... after some drying had occurred of the previously cut blades of grass... which btw, were laden FULL of moisture because of all the rainfall we've had in our area. My lawn is only 2 acres, but I mow an additional 7 acres in my back field... mowing around 2,600 trees. Again, I don't mean to down-play what a JD997 will do for you, but I know from experience how ZD331 will perform.

Weather and lawn conditions here in Central PA are exactly as you have described in your area. So I have the same issues. Was hoping to do some grass cutting today but not with the rain (again). I have a compact tractor with mower but it's too heavy (4500 lbs) to put on the lawn with all the moisture in the ground.

DLCS
05-03-2011, 10:00 PM
I have a 08 997 72" , Ithink we are pushing 1700 hrs. Its a beast, holds hills excellent. Ours burns a 1/4 to 1/3 gallon of diesel per hour. Dealer told me that the 31hp yanmar is actually a 37 or 40 hp engine turned down. :) I love the shaft driven deck as its one less belt to replace, just threee zerks to grease every 50 hrs or so. The only thing that I have done to it is replaced the rear tires with 6 ply tires as the sidewalls were flexing on hills and damaging the sidewalls but i mow alot of rather steep hills and banks. We did have a problem with the lug nuts pulling out of the hubs, which dealer traced to a problem with the threaded holes in the hubs. No other problems in 1500 hours of use. One thing if you get a 997, make sure you get the rear bumper/brush guard, because that hood is around $800 to replace or so I'm told.

Apples
05-04-2011, 08:00 AM
Two very good mowers. The 997 is faster and more agile then the 331. The 997 is much better on hills. I think the 997 cuts a little better. The Kubota is a little more compact. Like DLCS said, be careful with the 997 hood.

sunnyside360
05-04-2011, 08:53 PM
I decided to go with the ZD331. I test drove one and liked it. Nothing against the JD 997 but I could not find a JD dealer who had one to look at and test drive. All 4 Kubota dealers I visited had ZD331 mowers in stock.
Many thanks again for all your help. I'll post more on my experience in a couple of months.

grassman177
05-04-2011, 09:37 PM
it is a great machine man, seriously you will love it.

POPO4995
05-05-2011, 01:01 PM
Get the 997. They are amazing mowers.:)