John Deere Mini 717 or 727?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by inHaliburton, May 24, 2007.

  1. inHaliburton

    inHaliburton LawnSite Member
    from Picton
    Messages: 197

    Hi All,

    First timer here. Looks like a great site for cutters!

    I have a GX-335 that I'm thinking of trading on a 717 or a 727. Does the 48" deck on the 717 cut out further than the rear wheels? I would rather have the 54" deck, but would not be able to maneuver in some of the smaller places that I cut. Lots of rocks up, and un-even terrain.

    How are they horizontally on hillsides? Does the 727 with the 54" deck more stable on hillsides?

    Any advantages to the stand-on, or are they the same except for the sitting down aspect. Are they any better on hillsides than the 717 or 727?

    Thanks for the info.

    Regards, Paul.

    in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,933

    I have a JD 717A. There is very little trim distance, none for all practical purposes. I can't comment about the hillside stability questions.

    Check out this thread, post #7. You can gain an understanding of how the edge of the deck is aligned with the drive wheels.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,073

    What Roger says is true about the 717, and you'll hate that with a passion coming of an L&G tractor. Trust me, I know the issue all too well. It matters a LOT when you make the transition... and then dimenishes some over time on a ZTR.

    But Paul, you have yourself a NICE L&G tractor there with the GX335... and if it's worn out now, you still had a nice one...

    I VERY STRONGLY ADVISE that you do a lengthy demo of the 727, 757 sit down ZTR's and the 647, 657 stand-on's.

    The way zero turn equipment handles on slopes is sooooo different.
    And you may also find that you don't save the amount of mowing time you expected.

    So demo at length for slopes, which machine style fits you best, and keep a time chart in the process.

    That's my advice.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,933

    I'm not sure a demo on slopes provides much help, unless one has much experience. Before I bought my ZTR, I had a couple of places in mind I would like to try a stand-on or ZTR. I laugh at that thought when I mow them now. I did no demo before buying. Any demo on those places would have provided me with entirely wrong insight.

    I bought my machine about one year ago, so I now have some experience. How I use my machine on slopes now is not like I used it when I first got it. I have learned how to manage the machine so much better over the course of time. In the places I mentioned above, the first couple of months, I was only able to mow a portion of those slopes. Now, I am able to mow all of the area. Why? Now, I have learned where to go, how to get there, and how to deal with different traction situations. A demo on those places would have been very misleading. How I use my ZTR is much different than how I formerly used by w/b mower.

    My point is that a demo on slopes by an unexperienced operator may provide information that is misleading.
  5. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    I would go with the 727A. You will have some trimming capability with it, but I do strongly suggest you demo both the 727A and the 737 or 757. You will probably find you like the Mid-Ztraks more....:rolleyes:
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,073

    I guess I can't entirely disagree with you there.

    I guess sometimes I take for granted that I have ran many different types of machinery in my lifetime, and take to most things naturally. Dozers, track loaders, trackhoes, backhoes, skid steers, tractors, you name it. None of them took me long to learn to run them extremely well. I take that for granted I guess.

    For me, it wasn't too hard to get the jest of what a zero turn mower could and couldn't do and how to wedge things in my favor. But let's be honest too... you push them past their limits to learn what the limits are. Once you figure that out, then experience comes into play in using pattern tactics to get the most out of them... which is risky business sometimes because you are working around their limits.

    I still think it is VERY important for a guy coming off of something with a steering wheel to demo zero turn equipment on slopes and get comfortable with it. And you need a while alone with a piece of equipment for that... no a one yard supervised demo. Sometimes even an experienced rep demonstration can allow someone to show you the abilities.

    I ran tractor type equipment so long that I was extremely comfortable with it. I'd ride right on through a place where people tend to fear a tractor type will roll over.... that's what I have found in talking with people here anyways....

    An it is real important for a buyer to know that some of the areas he may now cut without any concern at all are sometimes a big deal on ZTR's.

    I mean dang... a GX335 it will go right on practically just like it was on flat ground and do so literally until it turns over... and if you leave the diff-lock off, it will get stuck going across a slope before it's near turning over.

    He needs to know he can be in the danger zone of machine runaway in much lesser places where nothing other than normal operation is required on the GX335.

    I mean you can get in real trouble on just a 15 degree slope with a ZTR if the lay of the land is a little weird.... ESPECIALLY WITH A SMALL ZTR. Something like this would never happen on a mower with a steering wheel.

    So, it's important I think, that the idea that a mower "Just Goes" where it is pointed is snuffed out really quick. That doesn't always happen with zero turn equipment... and it is because it depends on traction to steer itself from the rear tires. Certain degrees of slope, terrain variables and approach angles can often easily override this.... and you have to have the mental awareness that it is always a possiblity it will happen.

    I mean even the ones that are very good on slopes... I still find they surprise me once in a while and want to run away somewhere that I didn't expect them to.

    I guess in closing, ZTR's are indeed more stable against rollovers. You just about have to hit something in a way that bounces them over, or drive off something. Generally rollovers are associated with being a result of a runaway machine. And while they are more stable in that sense, they just are not the always predictable trusty steeds that L&G tractors are. Thousands of homeowners/acreage owners buy and sell ZTR's in the same month for this very reason.
  7. inHaliburton

    inHaliburton LawnSite Member
    from Picton
    Messages: 197

    Well, you all have given me much to consider.

    I was in a JD dealer today and drove a zero turn maching around for a while. Very touchy! Lots to learn! Need lots of practice! Was very alert for about 15 minutes. Didn't try anything fancy, didn't try to get "close" to fence lines and other items in my way. VERY sensive controls compared to a steering wheel. Was pleased with how it handled on slopes, though.

    They didn't have a 717a in stock, but expect on in next week. I think the machine I rode today was a 425(??) series machine.

    I've decided to got with a 54" deck. Instead of getting a 717 with a 54" deck, what are advantages or disadvantages of using a 727, or 737 with a 54" deck?

    Regards, Paul.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,073

    This was discussed at length here recently.

    The consensus is to consider your expectations.

    The 737 is a nicer looking and more comfortable machine.
    But it's also larger.
    And it does not have any trim capacity.

    What I'm saying is, you won't have any deck sticking out past the tires to get real close to stuff with or to hang out over a curb or bed edge, etc.

    The 727 is not near as pretty as the 737 and is less comfortable.
    But it does have trim capacity over the 717a and the 737.


    It has been my experience that when coming off a lawn tractor, trim capacity is a major concern, and the loss of it coming off a lawn tractor to a ZTR that barely cuts out it's own tire tracks is near maddening......

    But with time, it is something that fades. I'm to the point now where NONE still drives me nuts. But I am happy with just a little out past the tires... not a lot. My current favorite mower only has about 3" out past the tires on each side, which seems like a lot, more than plenty... and I could live with like an inch or two now, whereas I couldn't have before.

    On a side note... have you given any consideration to the 757 (25hp 60")???
  9. inHaliburton

    inHaliburton LawnSite Member
    from Picton
    Messages: 197

    Hi Envy...

    I did search for threads dealing with differences between the 2 machines, but didn't find. If anybody comes up with the link, would appreciate.

    Trim capacity is a feature that I want, so the 717 and 727 are contenders.

    Up here there is quite a variety re terrain. It isn't called, Haliburton Highlands for nothing. Uneven terrain with shallow soil covering granite is the norm. Tight places means if you can't reach with the mower, or the hill is too steep, means lots of trimming. I use a Stihl FS-250 with .095 Echo hex string. I love the sound of the string screaming when it spins. I work in shorts (I put up with the cuts and nicks on the legs), safety glasses and ear muffs, and no guard so I can let out more string which enables me to cover a lot of territory quickly. The lack of a guard makes it easy to trim around base of trees, flower pots, etc.

    Re the 757: too big for the clients I've got up here. Even a 54" deck may mean a lot of additional trimming for me. I'll be paying close attention next week during my cuts to whether a 48" or a 54" deck would be the most appropriate. Most of my cuts now take about 40 to 60 minutes to cut. My biggest cut take me just over 2 hours with the GX-335, and an additional 30-40 minutes to trim and blow.

    Another issues up here is my short season that runs from mid- to end-of-May until late September. Then I'm into leaves.

    Regards, Paul.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,073

    Sounds like you might mow in terrain like mine.
    The whole thing just sounds a lot like me.

    Be carefull with the zero turn stuff!

    Anyways, here is what I suggest to most folks... drop by Lowes/Home Depot tomorrow and buy yourself a good length of PVC pipe. Cut it to 61" long and mark it good at 55". Throw it on the truck and check your sites with it.

    Myself, I don't have anywhere I can put a 52" that the 60" won't fit and have yet to find one.

    As for the trim thing... the 717 has none and neither does the 737.
    So for trim your choices are the 727 (23/54") or the 757 (25/60").

    I'll see if I can come up with some links for you............

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