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Great dane?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Gomow, Sep 13, 2002.

  1. Gomow

    Gomow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Local dealer quoted me a price of $6100 on a Great Dane (Chariot?). It is a 2000 model with 25 hrs. 25 horse Kohler 61" cut. I don't really know anything about these mowers except they were somehow tied to Skag. This is really more than I was wanting to spend, but I hate to pass up a real steal. This mower has been at the dealer since it was new (still get full warranty) but has had to sit outside in a covered shed at night because it won't fit in his door. The paint is a little faded but everything else is good. I'm gonna demo it Monday to see how I like it. What do ya'll (Texan for you guys!) think?
  2. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    I've got one with700hrs and I'd buy another in a heartbeat.

    Especally at that price !!!!

  3. wattsup

    wattsup LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    A friend of mine has one and loves it. If it only has 25 hrs it is not even broken in. I would buy it. However, my friend has a hard time finding accessories (striping kits, etc), so he has to make everything himself or pay to have things made. Anyway, if you like the sticks between your legs go for it, I think that is the best set up. It is easier when ducking tree limbs, etc...
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    make sure the 25 was not of the issue ,that gave so much trouble.do a search and u will probably find what im talkin about.
    noticed my exmark dealer is also going to carry the danes. pinckston. i see less chariots etc than the other popular makes that are in this area. of course the smooth controlls that some brands have
    achieved ,will no doubt be on most brands in time . could be already . i havnt demowed much in couple o yrs.
    one thing i shyed away from was the center controlls. i have arthuritus ,and thought that might get tiresome . dont really know tho.
  5. Phishook

    Phishook LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,143


    This has been the first thread that GD has come out on top.

    Excellent Price. I gave something like $8000 4yrs ago.

    Do a search on Great Dane, there are a bunch pro's and a bunch of con's.
    Love the center controlls, don't have to worry about getting them into neutral. Also, they are better on your wrists. My wrists stay in a straight pos. while using it. If your wrists are bending while you're making a fist(holding onto the handles) it causes tendonitis. Might take awhile but it's true.

    But then the seat, 25 vert. KOH, deck support arms all gave me some problems.

    Here's a little GD history. Dan Scag started Scag mowers, then sold out and started Great Dane, then sold out to John Deere because of a copy right. I think that's how the story go's.:confused:

    I should be buying new this fall or spring. I'm going to demo a new one to see if the've made some improvments. My replacment spindles are greasable now!:mad:
  6. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    I have 2 Great Dane Chariots that I bought new. They each have around 700-800 hours on them. They're good machines and they're not so good. Here's as quick a rundown on them as I can squeeze onto the forum.

    I bought them for the center controls. That was the biggest selling point. And I haven't been disappointed. I've always found them to be comfy.

    Many have said that the hydraulics are loose and difficult to control. The reason is that the cutting deck's support strut on the right side bumps the dump valve slightly as you mow and when you raise and lower the deck. As it loosens, control goes away. The cure? Remove the little allthreaded rod that is used to work the dump valve and use a wrench to tighten that sucker up. This is a silly design.

    Mine have been very comfy, but I'm a really big guy. After a period of time, my seats have broken down and now I'm constantly hitting my hip on the parking brake support and it hurts like a mother! Another silly design.

    But here's why I don't think you should buy this machine at all.

    The Kohler Command 25 engine is turned one quarter of a turn around so that the right cylinder is tucked up close to the seat and this cylinder runs very hot! It is so hot that there are times when I'm mowing and I do a turn and I get a blast of heat on my left shoulder. And the heat that I feel is unbeleivable. I don't really see how any air cooled engine could take this for very long. And my history with the Chariot/Kohler combo has NOT been a happy one. Without exception, I have yet to get more than 450 hours out of one of these Kohler engines without major repairs on the right cylinder due to excess heat. And the Great Dane rep blames it on Kohler, while the Kohler rep blames it on Great Dane. Whatever, it's the LCOs that come up on the short end of the stick and this design flaw makes the machine so much of a lemon that they, at least, did the right thing by painting it a lemon color. I'm going to go out right now and take some pics so that you can see what I'm talking about. In the meantime, if I'm too late and you've already bought the machine and it's a done deal, then you should do the following:

    Get a Donalson air filter AND a turbo precleaner. I don't know if a kit is available so you may have to fabricate one.

    Fab on an oil cooler and an Amsoil bypass filtration system.

    Switch to Amsoil synthetic oil at around 100 hours.

    Clean the clippings off of the mower EVERYDAY!!

    If you'll do these things, I think you'll really like the machine. It has been a good one in all other respects. However, I very much resent any MFG putting out stupid design flaws on the LCO community and then expecting us to try to make money with their products. I can't begin to count up the lost revenue due to downtime with these machines. I've made a promise to never buy another Great Dane product nor will I ever buy another Kohler product. And this is because when I had the problems that they threw on me, neither stepped up to the plate to try and help me out.

    Ok, pics are coming.
  7. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Ok, I'm back.

    This first pic is of the parking brake lever. If you'll notice that it's in the up position in the pic, but when it's down it leaves a sharp edge that can cause some considerable pain when you hit a bump and bounce over on to it.

  8. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Next is a pic showing the area between the back of the seat and the right cylinder on the engine. This area requires constant cleaning. That means EVERDAY. Also, as you can see, the battery cables run through here and we've had some problems keeping them from burning through.

    During leaf season, this area may need to be cleaned several times per day.

  9. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Hey Mowerdude, now how about some pics of the whole mower, and the awesome stripes it creates?
  10. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Here's the air filter after ONE day of mowing. I put this filter on brand new yesterday.

    I know that this is normal for a stock filter, but if you combine the speed with which this filter gets dirty, with the problem of no air flow around the right cylinder, you have a recipe for problems. You can see why I would recommend the Donalson.

    When a filter gets this dirty this fast, it only takes one day to come in bone tired and forget to clean it the following day. You'll notice that I run with the filter cover off. That's because with the filter cover on, it was "out of sight, out of mind." We were forgetting. When we started running with the cover off, we could visually monitor the filter everyday. Also, with the Peco system in place, the Kohler filter cover cannot be removed. The Peco's subframe is in the way. So now there are 3 MFGs that have conspired to make my life miserable. You can imagine my surprise when I found that, after installing the Peco, I had to completely remove the stupid thing subframe and all, just to change the air filter. If I run without the cover, I can leave the Peco in place.

    And BTW. It only takes one little bitty peice of trash in the carb to shut the whole thing down. We used to be able to clean the carb out in the field, but now, they've changed the design on the carb and if we try and clean it, it's never right again. We have to buy an entirely new carb. Around $200. Fun.

    This particular machine has 720 hours on it and this is the 2nd engine.


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