Exmark Lazer Z vs Gravely 260Z vs Toro 557 vs Deere 757/777? Liquid vs Air Cooled?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Steve1, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Ok, I'm driving myself nuts trying to decide here so maybe you guys can help me out?:confused:

    I'm about to buy my first new ZTR. I have finally narrowed it down after hours of shopping, after reading the threads in the search engine and all the literature I can find - which I have stacks of now), and demo'ing a Deere 757, a Gravely 260Z with the 27 Kohler, and a Toro 557 (I think that's the model number) with the 27 Kohler. (No Scag dealer close by which is disappointing.)

    All are close in price with the exception of the Exmark - it's about a grand higher. The Exmark and the Toro look nearly identical which is odd but the decks I am told (by the EM dealer) are vastly different.

    The Deere is a tank :eek: as is the Gravely but the lack of greasable spindles on the Gravely has me concerned. :mad: Both however mowed extremely well, even in wet grass that was about 15" tall.

    The Toro was decent enough but seemed a little shy on power (it was a heavily demo'd piece though) although it was rated the same as the others. It also seemed to have the harshest ride of the lot.

    Did not get a chance to demo the E/M. The Deere dealer is also bringing out a demo 777 but the only one he has in stock is the 72" version but he can have me a 60" version by early July.

    Help? Which one of these has done the best for you? Why shouldn't I buy any particular one of these mowers?

    All have local dealers with what appears to be reasonably good support. There is a Dixie dealer nearby as well but I'm told he's not that great on support and I don't particularly care for the look of the unit. I am also told a Dixie's ride is extremely harsh (by Dixie owner/operators).

    Engine-wise, I like the Kawasaki units (both air and liquid) and am seriously considering the L/C version of the Kaw motor. Opinions?

    Your 2 Cents?
  2. MoCut1

    MoCut1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    be careful of the exmark '72, diesel. i just had one sling a rod and it only had 1100 hrs on it. the dealer said that the oil pump is not big enough for the engine and its starving the motor when run for long periods of time. it has been down a month while they try to figure out who is goin to pay for me a new engine. o yea ! the engines alone are 4 grand
  3. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    LOL, Know how you feel!

    I bought a Z588e Toro in Jan. this year, we are just coming into winter here and this machine has been to hell and back, our mowing conditions are rough here. No probs at all.

    This isn't one of the models you mentioned but one you could look into, 60'' deck Turbo Force deck, suspension seat (adjustable), ROPS, 28hp Kohler EFI.

    Don't know what seat the 557 has, but I'd get a suspension seat fitted, they are worth the money!
    What motor has the 557?
    if 27 hp I doubt power would be an issue, what could of been though is blunt blades or incorrect blades for your test grass, or baffle wasn't correctly adjusted e.g is grass was long and thick and baffle was choked and you plowed in then it ''could'' bog down, this baffle is SO important, it has to be right to get the best out of the deck, not a one setting all conditions type.

    These adjustable baffles are amazing once you start getting the hang of it, then mixing and matching different blades to compliment baffle settings...no end to it, great decks!

    Take another look over the Toro and play with the baffle, you'll see how it makes a difference, as I said I know nothing of the 557, but check the 588E, awesome!

    A great guy here called ODIN has a 557, if you see him around ask him, he owns 2 new Toros. So they must be good!
  4. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517


    I am kind of toiling along with you. I demod the Toro 500 series in three engine sizes and two moter configurations. I also demod the Gravely 260 with 27 Kohler. Last year I tried a Husler Z. I was impressed by all machines. I really do not know anything about the Deere's except they seem to be cheaper according to advertizements.

    The Gravely seems to have the most bells and whistles, now how many of them you will actually benfit from is likely dependent on an individual basis.

    The Gravely is very fast, I liked the lights, the deck lift, although I am not sure is is the most efficient item in high speed mowing. The cut was great, but with the pivoting deck I got some on cut lines where the grass was not cut level. This could likely be dealt with by locking the axle. I like the suspension seat, and the ride was fantastic. I could actually mow at top speed! Seems to be very well built, and layed out very nice.

    The Toro seemed to discharge the grass a mile, although with the blades I was using, it put it all in about the same place. Growth was good that week, but it made double cutting mandatory, and even blowing of some of the grass after a double cut. I jacked around with the deck alot, and found that if it was dry I was best off with the deck closed up as much as possible for fine clippings. It gave a super cut, and really flowed the grass with all engines, even a 20 horse on a 52. I was impressed. It did a super job in damp conditions and weedy situations with the deck opened up.

    It did not ride as well as the Gravely, did not come with suspension seat unless you get into the 9,000 dollar range, was slower as far as ground speed goes, and did not feel nearly as nimble as the Gravely. The warrenty is not as good as the 2 year Gravely either. All the Toro's were set up rather poorly, ie. deck height, likely pitch, and steering controls were all off. The mowers may have performed better if set up perfectly. The deck on the Toro still intrigues me, and I respect the thoughts of my buddy Odin who really likes the Toro, along with some great comments from Australian Tony are the only things that keep me looking at the Toro. Well I can get a better trade in from the Toro dealer as well, but that is a distant second when perfromance is concerned.

    If a Hustler dealer is an option, I would look there as well. I am really impressed with the Super Z's speed, cut, brake features, suspension seat, and awsome hillside performance. The dealer situation is a deterant here for me.

    Consider this man, they will all likely be very good mowers, and you will be happy with any of them. Any decision you make is based on alot of research and will not be a hasty or foolsih one.

    I wish you luck, and look forward to any more replys.

  5. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    Personally, I love my JD 757, but haven't used most of the ones you are referring to. I might have gone with a 797 if I had to do it over again but 60/25 seems to be very satisfying even with a mulch kit so I can't complain.

    My advice to you, since I don't feel you can go wrong with any of the models you are considering, go with whichever has the BEST dealer support and the most reasonable price. For me, that was Deere because I have four local dealers and 3 out of 4 are great and you said it right when you said the Deere is a tank. Plus, it's green and yellow!
  6. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    The units were equipped/priced as follows:

    Deere 757 - Kaw 25 - 60" - $7299
    Deere 777 (Demo - 22 hrs) Kaw L/C - 72" - 7999
    Deere 777 (new) Kaw L/C - 60" - $8250

    ExMark LazerZ - Kohler 27 - 60" - $8599
    ExMark LazerZ - Kohler EFI 28 - 60" - $9399

    Gravely PM260Z - Kohler 27 or Kaw 25 - 60" - $7199
    Gravely PM260Z - Kaw 27 L/C - 60" - $8199

    Toro 557 - Kohler 27 - 60" Turbo Force deck - $8499

    I've pretty much ruled out the 72" deck since I am worried about scalping so the demo 777 is a non-issue.

    Love the look of both the Toro and the ExMark but will have to remove the ROPS on both (which is something I know I'm paying for because it's built into the price but will not keep).

    My leaning right now is either the Deere 777/60" or the Gravely 260 with the L/C Kaw/60". But I know the ExMark seems to be top dog so that's why I'm still looking.

    I also looked at the Grasshopper 200 series with the Kohler 25/60" but didn't care for the design that much. Seemed like a decent unit but I was worried about longevity and the resale on a Grasshopper around here is in the dumpster.
  7. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    7199 For a Gravely 260z with 27 or 25 air cooled? Are you sure about that price? Does it have the eyeq?

    That is like a grand less then I can get one for!

    Please confirm this, and where is this at??? :)

  8. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    i just bought a Gravely 260z friday afternoon! I love it. only got 2.1hours on my unit so far. I demo'd one for about 3 hours a week or two ago. It's an awesome machine, very fast and cuts like a champ. I got the 25kaw.
  9. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810


    Here's my .02 cents.... Any of the machines you listed, if set up correctly will cut grass well. So will others.. like Dixie, Hustler, Grasshopper, etc... One may do a little better than another under certain circumstances. You will need to determine which one works best for you. The only way to do that is to demo, demo & demo again. Please keep in mind (I know I said this before) that each machine needs to be set up correctly.. this is key. They should also be tested under the same circumstances... same lawn, same day, same height, etc. This may be difficult to do but it is the only way to make a fair comparison.

    Get as much horse power as you can and pick who you feel will give you the absolute best support.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion.. however mine is different from what you were told. As an owner/operator of a Dixe Chopper.. it is the most comfortable machine I've been on.. much more so than the Lazer (with air ride seat) I used to ride.

    Oh.. don't disregard a mower because "you don't particularly care for the look" :)

    Good luck...
  10. prostriper

    prostriper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 336

    the mowers you are looking at are all of high quality and all have years of good business. As a couple have said here go with the dealer that is most accomidating as far as service and dependability. If your equipment breaks down you want to know it is a dealer who is familiar with your equipment and has a wide selection of parts for that machine in stock.

    As far as a the motor goes I would go with a Kolher. They are more fuel efficent than the Kaw which is important right now with gas prices. We run two Exmark Lazer Z's with 60" cut and 23 horse motors. One Kolher one Kaw and the Kolher is about a third more efficent but still has the same power as the Kaw.

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