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Any info on John Deere M-series ZTR - NOT F680

Mr.Ziffel

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
North of Seattle
If anyone's reading my posts they know I'm in the hunt for a new mower, moving from a 72" JDF935 probably to a ZTR. So far Toro is in the lead because of its wet cutting capabilities, but I have real doubts about the dealer. Exmark seems to have a slight edge as the favorite on this forum but only slightly ahead of Dixie Chopper. I need to evaluate all comparable mowers and luckily I've found a good dealer for Scag nearby, but I'm concerned about its shaft-drive and some of the comments on this board. That leaves the JD M665 which in the brochures seems to be the spitting image of the Lazer/Toro ZTRs. From the pictures and specs it seems that they did like the Japanese and reverse-engineered it, but made it slightly less beefy. I have heard very good things about the 7Iron deck which seems to be available on it. Can any of you help me with info and/or impressions? The two Commercial/turf JD dealers I deal with are clueless--they say they're checking it out for me but they've never even seen one. I'm sure one of you fine folks can enlighten me. Thanks, Will M.
 

gorrell

LawnSite Senior Member
Mr. Ziffel, I personally do not own a JD midmount but have used one owned by a friend of mine. My opinions: steering levers much too stiff to operate, would wear me out if I had to run it all day. JD (or whoever makes it) should use a vertical shaft engine so the muffler isn't right behind the operator, way to much engine noise! 7 iron deck does do a nice job, even though I'm not a stamped steel deck fan. I can tell you one thing though, my friend borrowed one of my DC's when his JD was down and he told me a DC would be his next mower. My thoughts, Lynn
 

toddman35

LawnSite Member
Location
Central, IA
that has the 25hp kohler on it. i tried the 653? is that right? well it was the 54" deck and the 23 hp kohler. didnt get to cut with it, just drove it around a bit. i agree that the steering levers were to stiff. i have usued the toro ztrs, and they cut GREAT even at 9.5 mph.
 

beck

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
St. Louis, Mo
I used the M653(54",23hp) just the other week. I have had limited time on ZTRs. A friend of mine uses Scag which two differences I noted were dual fuel tanks on the Deere which my friend did not like because he posed the question as to what if you are cutting on a hill and the first tank runs out. Amazingly enough that happened to me when I was using it.

The other difference is that the scag has a foot pedal to lift the deck which could come in handy on uneven ground.

The deere did do nicely while climbing hills.

Those two things alone have not turned me away from the Deere, because the dealer support for the Deere is far superior in this area than any other brand. They offer a 4 hour turn around on equipment repair or else you get a loaner for free.
 

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Location
Chicago, IL USA
Mr Ziffel, after owning 5 Deeres, but never owning a Toro rider, if I just had those 2 choices, I would go with Toro. It seemed like I used their demos more than my own JD's. Since I switched mower brands, I've never needed to borrow a Demo since. From what I have read here, Toro is the better choice. I did learn too that Green paint is more expensive than Stainless Steel and that Stainless Steel never rusts. :)
 

ncmow

LawnSite Member
No personal experience w/ the JD ZTR's but typically they are alway slow in entering the market but when they do, they go after it very aggressively. As only their 2nd real year into the ZTR business, they have a couple of good models (front and mid-Z). Their dedication is starting to show and eventually they will one of the 4 or 5 big companies that will survive. Their service also takes a back seat to no one. I will definately consider at next purchase. We all have our preferences, but boy isn't the GREEN paint pretty.
 
OP
M

Mr.Ziffel

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
North of Seattle
Thanks everyone for your responses. Amazingly enough the JD dealers around here don't have any of these machines and two of them don't plan on getting them--they push either the big F's or the lawn tractors--all of the homeowners bag because of the wet conditions here [north of Seattle].

When I talk to them about the ZTR's they really don't want to know about it, but I'm amazed at what business opportunities they're missing. The local mom and Pop Toro dealer who I'm leery of dealing with told me he sold 39 Z's last year and 37 so far this year. I've met a group of large-lot country homeowners who have a little social group because they all have the X's or T's--after I check out the Scag and now the Woods[they have a midZ now and the dealer is great] and or Ferris I'll make a decision but I'm leaning heavy to Toro. Glad I've started checking this out early. Thanks to LawnSite I'm getting good info.

Looks like I'll have a F-935 with 72"rotary and 60"flail decks for sale at a good price if anyone is interested.
 

ncmow

LawnSite Member
Mr. Ziffel,
Hold-off on that Toro. I thought you posted a good thread so I went to visit some friends at a JD dlrship to see what I could find out for you. They had both the mid and front Z's on disply. Since you are not interested in front, I'll talk only on the Mid. They have sold a few mid-z's to commercial cutters who previously had others. Luckily, they have had very few problems. One particular customer come up while I was there who had over 600hrs this year and was very satisfied. No service problems so far even w/ the 25 kohler. I ran the machine for around 10-15 minutes and didn't find any major flaws. The deck cuts good and leaves a nice dispersal. Machine appears very simple but effective (like most others) in design. Control levers were a little stiff but again machine was new. Hard call. I think you will start seeing more and more of these on trailers.

 

hogfaneiw

LawnSite Member
JD M-series built by Husqvarna, with JD deck. 2001 model husky has loosened up steering levers and switched to vert shaft engine.
 
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