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JD 757 or Gravely 260Z

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mac B., Oct 8, 2004.

  1. Mac B.

    Mac B. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    OK I have decided against the ZD 21 that was in my other post because of the power issues and price. I have narrowed the 757 and 260Z down to two I am most intrested in. Does anyone have any comments on the 260Z good or bad? The only thing I am worried about on the 260Z is the deck spindles, and if they hold up good or not and if you guys like the hydralic deck lift. The one I am looking at has the 25 Kaw. 60" deck. Is the 27hp Kohler a better motor choice? How is the Gravely cutomer service? I did a search on the 260Z and could not really find any reason that it would not be a great mower.

    Thanks Mac
  2. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    I have had multiple gravelys over the years and am glad of it. Customer support, good products, great performance all define my experience with gravely/ariens.
    I currently have a '02 262 ztr 60" with the 25hp kawi, a pro-g 36" with the 13hp kawi and a 21" ariens.
    The 262 is a ztr with the hydraulic deck lift, and as far as a rotary mower, cuts well. I had looked at essentially most commercial rotaries, yet for my applications, gravely fit best.
    PM for more details.
  3. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Combined hours well over 3000.

    Since you asked, the spindles are the worst part of the machine. We have had to replace at least 8 spindles among the 3 machines.

    The bearings are puny, especially for a 72" deck (avoid the 72, too many problems with blades hitting ground and busting spindle bolts).

    The spindles are not greasable. They are disposable. The spindles are a gimmick....a sales trick, so they can say "maintenance free" but they are not replacement free. They get noisy and by then it is too late to replace a bearing...they have gotten hot or rusted and must be replaced.

    The spindles really are a blemish on an otherwise great mower. The hydraulic lift is awesome, and if you get a lot of hours on one you will find yourself actively using it "on the fly" to even out uneven lawns for a master cut.

  4. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    The Gravely cuts better, in my opinion.

    JD probably better in terms of parts system...with a good JD dealer you have your part by tomorrrow if it is not in stock. Gravely will make you wait.

  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    The 260Z hands down.... in my personal opinion....

    Have you demo'd?

    Check them out, dollar for dollar, spec for spec, and when you finish out the JD specs and still have a list of the Gravely, I think you will agree.
  6. mdl

    mdl LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 11

    There is nothing inherently inferior about the 757 stamped deck. I don't have one but have used one for over 10 hours and the cut quality is excellent.

    I have demo'd the 260 diesel and thought it was overall a great unit. I would own one except for one thing. The front wheels are splayed to the outsides of the frame. This probably helps with the ride and stability but severely interferes with its ability to trim on the left side around trees.

    The Kubota stamped deck is inferior however. I had the ZD2160 and sold it due to its poor cut. For me, the Kubota fabricated pro deck gave little improvement in cut quality, with the 757 and 260 cuts being much better (and about equal).
  7. Sam-Ohio

    Sam-Ohio LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 304

    The spindles on a Gravely have cast iron housings and these have held up very well. Are you concerned about the fact that they have sealed , non geasable bearings ? They went to this spindle design in 1998 - six years ago and so far they have been very reliable and trouble free.

    The hydraulic lift on the Gravely mowers is powered by its own dedicated hyd. lift pump. This all mechanical system that does NOT use any electric motor or elec. switches to power the lift system is most nearly bullet proof. It has one great advantage , and this is its ability [with liftmaster jack] to raise up the front of the 260 and its mower , so that it's easier to clean out and very easy to change out your mower blades.

    The Gravely mower deck shell is all 7 ga. FABRICATED steel, with extra 10 ga reinforcing plates in the top around the spindles. The deck is 5 1/2 inches deep left to right, front to back. The discharge chute is super wide 24 inches. The mower blades are set back about 4 inches from the front of the mowers skirt and there is an inside FRONT air baffle. All of this is designed to move more air and more clippings through and out of the deck faster and without any clogging even at very high ground speed. The quality of the appearance of the cut that the Gravely mower will give you is really great, and it is the result of the great room under the deck, and the terrific air flow this allows.

    The Gravely can run up to 15 mph ! This makes it one of the quicker units around, and this is why it is important that the mower has the capacity to handle so much grass so fast.

    Did you note that the 260 Z engine is a verticle crankshaft ? This allows the mower drive belt to go straight and flat from the engine to the mower. The other way of mounting the engine [horizontal crank] would cause the mower belt to bend and twist around mule drive pulleys. If the belts are bent and twisted like this, it uses up more horsepower from the engine [about 2 hp wasted] and it causes MUCH MORE belt breakage. So the Gravely has a more efficient and much more reliable mower drive system. Also , many of these mower belts can cost upwards of $70 ! , so a system [mule drive pulleys] that causes more belt failures, can become quite expensive to maintain.

    Finally, the Gravely has a pivoting front axel, that greatly improves the ride at high speed on rough ground. This axel also can be locked straight and solid if you are using it on steep hills, and this will stabilize the whole machine more on hill.

    The 260 Z comes standard equiped with a suspention seat, headlights, and a hood over the engine, so the sound doen't get so oppressive
  8. JBird

    JBird LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    I have the 737, same deal 2 less horses or deer in this case. I love it and think it has the absolute best deck height adjustment ever made. It's a knob on the right side instrument panel and a pedal. No additional hydro pump to burn out, rob your power or slow you down when your running full out and have to slow down and to let your deck have time to lift. The deer will cut in the pouring down rain and not skip a beat. Been there done that. The only thing I would consider, and I've demo'd alot of them, is the Ferris is5000......schweeeeet! like riding in a dang car. If JD would come out with suspension I'd buy three
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I have to agree with Sam. I do not like mule drives and see absolutely no need for them at all for anything short of a 3 cylinder diesel. But I probably would not be swayed on that one single thing.

    Anyways, one point not mentioned is the unitized hydro pump on the Deere. I'm ill educated about it. So while it looks good on the 727 set up with the bog fan housing and all... it still seems like it may be a downfall some time in the future because it's unitized.

    Now as far as the 7-Iron goes, I take nothing away from it for being stamped. It's strongly built of 7 guage steel and reinforced. Plus it's also very sleek and smooth underneath. But I'm telling you, you better demo and cut plenty of grass with one before buying....

    I have demo'd two of them. First a M665 25hp/60" and then later on, after my shock at all the 'rave' cutting reviews, I demo'd a 757 to see what the heck they changed, not once, but twice, a second time with different blades..... The cut SUCKED every time.

    My conclusion is that the cutting ability must be geograhically challenged because I'm positive all these guys who love them cannot have such low cut quality standards.
  10. Mac B.

    Mac B. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Thanks for the replies guys. I think it sounds like the Gravely is for me. I think the ground speed and quality of cut that I heard about is what has swayed me, but also no one has anything really bad to say about the 260Z. Does anyone know how much the spindles cost, and roughly how many hours they last? The spindles are the only thing that had me wondering. And what motor do you guys suggest. The one at my dealer has the 25 Kawasaki.I am going to try to demo today.

    Thanks Mac

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