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JD 997 users out there?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cpeltier, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. cpeltier

    cpeltier LawnSite Member
    from Telford
    Posts: 8

    I have been running a diesel John Deere 60" 997 for a couple of seasons on a large property and love the smoothness, power, and fuel efficiency, however I have been having problems with sliding and turfing on hills and wet/damp conditions especially under trees.
    I have tried a JD 777 mower and had almost no problems under the same conditions. I suspect the problem lies with its higher weight and higher center of gravity but I am not sure. The 997's 26-12-12 tires are round shouldered and I was thinking that maybe going to a sqaure shouldered or bar tread may help with traction and turfing? The 777 I tried has 24-12-12 tires and they were square shouldered and I experienced very little slipping even with a fully loaded Material Collection System and 60" MOD deck.

    I find that on some steeper hills I have to go straight up and back down. If I try to go down front first I will skid all the way down as soon as I brake usually losing traction on one tire first.

    I would like to put a Material Collection System on the mower but if I can't resolve the traction and turfing problems I may have to move down to a gas mower.

    Thanks Chris
  2. tb8100

    tb8100 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from TX
    Posts: 1,627

    Check out a Bad Boy AOS diesel. They run CAT engines- a 28hp 3 cylinder and a 35hp 4 cylinder. They stick to hills better and have square shouldered tires, with bar lug tires as options. They also have 4-wheel suspension and suspension seats, neither of which John Deere offers. They also have full electric deck lifts with an optional foot assist pedal. No other mower offers that. . The twin 9-gallon fuel tanks swing out and the baffled 5-gauge deck cuts smoothly at a cool 15mph. Check em out!!
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Yeah,...THAT's the idea to resolve a minor traction issue on a machine that you already own and love... Buy a new machine! :hammerhead::rolleyes::laugh:
  4. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,299

    I would try the bar lugs or square shoulder tires before buying a different mower. If it comes down to it, though, a Grasshopper front mount would be a good option for traction and weight distribution. They also have a collection system that is very popular.
  5. JTF40

    JTF40 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 875

    EXACTLY - When a man spends $12,000.00+ on a machine, He KNEW what he wanted when he bought it.

    I operated the 997 diesel @ the EXPO in muddy conditions and I really liked it - very smooth and powerful. But, the green paint is very expensive. :usflag:
  6. tb8100

    tb8100 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from TX
    Posts: 1,627

    lol, well he's run into an issue that he may or may not be able to resolve. If square-shouldered tires don't do the job, bar-lugs may not be the answer. They aren't near as turf friendly, especially on such a heavy machine as that. Since he said he was possibly looking at getting another machine, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. (not sure if your post was directed at me, but I thought I'd respond just the same).
  7. Lazer_Z

    Lazer_Z LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 2,579

    tb8100, Telling him to go buy a new machine to solve the problem is not going to solve the problem of him losing traction. Trying a few set's of tires would be the cheaper way to go about it, if you can call it that as tires that size are fairly pricey I'm sure.

    Chris, good luck and let us know what you come up with.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    The mower is too heavy, too tall, too long and not well biased.
    This problem is well documented.

    I sincerely doubt a set of tires is going to do much for it.

    It may gain a little traction, but will still have the problem.
    It might hold a little better, but will tear worse under trees, and when it doesn't hold, the damage will likely be worse.

    Changing mowers is more likely to solve the issue honestly.
  9. cybervision

    cybervision LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    Have you tried playing around with the air pressure in your tires? I would think running them on the low side may help.

    Have you contacted John Deere or your dealer yet? Even though you are probably over their max 15 Degree incline they may have some suggestions. Maybe they can lend you a set of rims and tires from another machine to try out.

    Also, consider starting a new thread and labeling it something like "JD 997 NOT HOLDING HILL PROBLEMS". And state in the post you want a fix to your machine that you are not looking for another brand now. Maybe that way you will find someone who has already solved this issue.

    Good Luck
  10. cpeltier

    cpeltier LawnSite Member
    from Telford
    Posts: 8

    I am now running the tires around 10 PSI and it does help somewhat.

    I am going to try a 26.5-14-12 square shouldered tire (stock 26-12-12). The stock tire has only a 10 3/4" wide footprint on the lawn. This new tire is closer to 14" and the tread is not as agressive with more rubber in the footprint. The problem will be getting it on the stock wheel. I may have to make a custom wheel.

    This may be a waste of time but it is only throwing a couple of hundred dollars at an already expensive delimma. I am sure that I will lose at least 3K on a trade. You could say I am throwing good money after bad...

    I have been talking to the dealer about this for over a year and they have gotten a few back for this very reason. They have suggested tire swaps but there are very few tires in this size. None of the ones I could find were any better. They did suggest contacting http://www.mccordtiregroup.com/ for a custom solution. They were going down this road with another customer but in the end it was simplier for him to trade down. Now that it is winter I have some time to play around with this.

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