Ztr 60" John Deere 7 iron or scag TT

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnnyusa, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. johnnyusa

    johnnyusa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    IM stuck between these two Mowers. Anyone who has demoed these 2 mowers any feedback would be great. I live in the northeast where the spring is a nightmare with clumping and tons of irrigated lawns here. I was leaning toward the deere until I read about Scags direct driveshaft to the cutter deck ( no slippage) . Does that make a difference in cut Quality?
     
  2. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I doubt the drive shaft has anything to do with cut quality of the Scag, it's the Velocity Plus deck. The drive shaft is stronger than a belt but belts are cheap so I have never understood this. The drive shaft gear box can be expensive to replace but should never give a problem if fluid levels are maintained. Both decks must preform somewhat equal even though some members that have driven both have indicated the Scag was a little better in super wet conditions. John Deere has just come out with the new 800 series which is supposed to be better built and has some new idea's they are trying like the pump/wheel motor combination while Scag believes in a separate wheel motor, pumps, with cooling and reservoir for cooler running temps. Scag has a fabricated deck and would rather use layers to build up the deck to 1/2" while JD has a stamped deck with reinforcements but still very thick. Scag seems to have larger better built spindles, more engine combinations and models. I feel the Scag is built better but others do not always agree, both machines should hold up fine unless they are abused. The Scag Turf Tiger has dated styling compared to the Deere's modern appearance. If you have hills the Turf Tiger is one of the best at holding them with the fuel tank below the seat and wide stance.

    They are two totally different machines. They look and handle different and take a totally different approach as to what makes a ZTR. There is no way to know what you will like unless you demo both in the wet Spring stuff up there. Reading this board isn't a substitute for an actual demo so do yourself a favor and spend some seat time in each before making your decision. The decks are so close in performance I don't think I would base a decision on that alone. Both machines should provide you years of great service, so where can you get the best service? Your Scag or JD dealer in your area?
     
  3. Mike Blevins

    Mike Blevins LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,362

    I tried out a John Deere 757 this past winter. I am partial to the Scags. I liked the Scag controls and options. Hydro cooler,adjustable handles,better seat, etc. Another option to look at would be warranty. The Deeres are a bit more expensive here also. I have looked at the new Deere zero mowers but haven't tried them out in the field. Only time will tell with anything new. I would wait on the new machine until it starts getting reviews from other lawn companies. Demo Demo Demo but your not going to go wrong with the Scag.
     
  4. derekarbeiter

    derekarbeiter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    If I were you I would demo both machines and see what works best for you. I have a JD 717A and absolutely love it and would never buy anything else. The 7-IRON II deck is THE best. If you mow in wet conditions, the 7-IRON is your best bet. The Scags are great machines also though. As for the new JD800 series, I have seen them but not demoed them but I'm sure they will do fine. The new ones have less parts than mine and my JD is one of the most simplified. Thats what I like about JD's approch. Less parts, more dependable. And that is something companies such as scag and toro have ignored. What ever you do, buy what YOU like. You cant go wrong with either, so just relax and enjoy shopping.:)
     
  5. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Derekbeiter, have you been reading all the problem post with the 800 series by John Deere, you can't recommend them to a new guy right now.

    On the other hand you're right about the 7 Iron decks they are great. Scag and John Deere are top notch machines (excluding the 800 series for now). If you want to go John Deere find a 700 series right now such as the 757. Reports of them cutting side by side have mostly give the Scag Velocity plus the edge in wet grass but apparently it is too close to call often. Get which ever one you like but avoid the 800 series for now. The fewer parts idea isn''t working yet. I say this with respect for both company's.

    Scag, Exmark and Toro have been very dependable, I'm not sure where your getting your information.:confused:

    John Gamba says the Exmark Triton deck doesn't work well there so you may want to avoid that paticular deck there.
     
  6. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,472

    if you have narowed it to these two machines then YOU need to line them up at a site and mow with them for a hour a piece. Which ever machine will not do this needs to be eliminated from your list. When I bought my Ferris they let me use it a whole day before I bought.

    I know you are looking for advice but You could not talk me into a exmark triton deck. See I used it in our area and it was horrible but delphi lives in michigan and loves it. Do you see my point you have to demo these mowers.
     
  7. derekarbeiter

    derekarbeiter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    Tacoma 200,

    What I meant was I admire JD's attitude. They try to illiminate as much parts as possible and that means less parts to break. I didnt mean that the Toro and Scag products werent dependable, they just have more parts. Take for example the Kanzaki dual piston pump that JD uses vs. two hydraulic pumps. Now JD has a combo with the pump and motor in one housing to reduce parts even further and that goes for the deck as well. These innovations help to create less total parts and that reduces the chances of breakdowns. I didnt recommend the new 800 series, I just said that they will probably turn out to be good. Deere has been building turf equipment for a long time now and they know what they are doing. Its kind of like buying a new car, you dont usually wait to see if they are dependable, you know because its what the company does. I have nothing against scag, I have just used JD equipment for a long time and they know how to build things.:)
     
  8. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,445

    I have owned both Scag with the Velcoity decks & the John Deere 60" 7-iron. Both Mowers have their strengh's & weakness. I was not impressed with the Scags ability to deal with early morning wet, thick, high bermuda or Zysohia turf required double cutting. For that reason I sold the Scag for a Walker & kept the 60" 7-iron for wide area mowing. Both Scag & John Deere have the best build decks, furthermore both Scag & John Deere are driveshaft to gearbox, then final belt drive, their is always some belt slippage with belt drive, another reason for the switch to Walker gear drive.
     
  9. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    OK when you said "As for the new JD800 series, I have seen them but not demoed them but I'm sure they will do fine" I thought that was an endorsement for the 800 series which LawnSite is full of post with problems with the integrated hydraulics. German engineers always followed that basic rule "simpler is better" and I tend to agree for the most part. But it doesn't always work out in the real world.

    I have been scratching my head ever since John Deere came out with this new integrated pump/motor. Heat is the biggest destroyer of hydraulic systems. Scag Turf Tigers use a separate reservoir, a hydraulic oil cooler that is actually two separated coolers to prevent cross contamination, all to keep operating temperatures low and help the hydraulics last longer. Exmark chose a simpler design by eliminating the cooler and keeping a reservoir, but then they had to use Mobile one synthetic oil to hold up under the increased operating temperatures with pretty good success, now John Deere has simplified it even more by using a integrated pump/motor with cooling fins as the only way to keep heat down. Yes it's simpler, and in the long run it may prove to be very reliable but for now I like the Scag approach. I will gladly take a chance on a hose leaking once in a great while to keep my hydraulic system operating cooler.

    If your going to use an automatic truck to tow a load it would be simpler to not use a transmission cooler. Less chance of leaking etc. But I'm a believer in a transmission cooler. Different schools of thought I guess. John Deere is going out on a limb with some radical designs and as expected with any new design there will be bugs to work out. Thing is it will be years before the 800 series ZTR's start getting 3,000 hrs or so before we can actually make a informed decision if this new system, and design of the 800 series will hold up to more traditional designs.

    I'm a big John Deere fan so don't get me wrong. In most cases I like the simpler approach but maybe not on hydraulics for now. Actually I do have a wait and see attitude for auto's also. Look at all the recalls such dependable auto company's have had in recent years. Even Toyota and Honda which are usually at the top of reliability list have had major recalls. The new Toyota Tundra has had many problems for example and they have fallen in reliability scores.

    Thanks for your input derekarbeiter. Please don't think I'm taking your opinion lightly and all this debate is in good spirit. I'm an Exmark, Scag, John Deere fan but if I see a problem I am not blindly loyal to any of them and will point out any problems I see or suspect. Believe me I've been plenty critical of the Triton and XR7 decks but I still like and respect both company's.:usflag:
     
  10. derekarbeiter

    derekarbeiter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    Tacoma 200

    I am not trying to put down any products either, but the way I look at it is that if Parker and John Deere feel that this system works better, it probably does. Deere tests their products for a very long time before they actually even come into production. The 3020 series CUTs were tested for about 25,000 hours before being placed on the assembly line. A hydro system does produce heat, I agree, but it isnt moving any faster than the engine. Should the engine have a cooler as well? The new integrated systems do have a fan on the top as well as cooling finns. The way I look at it is if John Deere can build a $250,000 combine, they can build a little zero turn mower. They have more knowledge than a lot of companies out there because they have more experience. I look for the simplest, best built machine that delivers the best cut quality and Deere is the answer.
     

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