john deere or xmark

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Jeff Voorhies, May 19, 2006.

  1. Jeff Voorhies

    Jeff Voorhies LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19


    I have narrowed my search down to the Exmark Lazer ZHP 46" or the John Deere 717A 48" cut. Both have 19HP Engines. They are close to each other in price and both have dealerships close to my home. Which one would you choose. I am not a professional and will only be cutting around 4 acres.

  2. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    I owned a 717 and now have a exmark and a 737 and I would choose the 717 hands down without a second thought. However, if you have a sorry dealer no matter what you get can be a bad experience so make sure there is good dealer support no matter what you decide to get.
  3. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    I would go with the Exmark.

    Have you seen the decks on the JD? They are all stamped.

    I've had a bad experience with JD on a homeowner model tractor. 60 hours on it and the coil went, 2 spindles went "dry" (sealed units) and one idler pulley siezed-up.

    The dealer told me that they had been having problems and promptly sold me a upgraded set of spindles. Notice I said sold...So I have had to replace all spindles and idler pulleys at 60 hours...I am sorry, 61 hours.

    I have a new TTHP Exmark and that mower is built and has a superb quality cut.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I bought a JD 717A about three weeks ago. It is an excellent piece of equipment with my limited experience (35 hours). The quality of cut is superb, far better than I had expected -- stamped deck, or no stamped deck. It does not stripe, but leaves a carpet cut.

    I have an Exmark 36" Viking w/b. The wheel tracking on the smaller w/b is far heavier than with the JD ZTR. A week later, I have to look hard to see which mowing pattern I used last time with the ZTR. Not so with the w/b - the wheel lines are much more pronounced.

    As a piece of equipment, and for the result, the JD 717A was an excellent choice. I have other issues in terms of using a ZTR vs. a w/b, but that is another thread.

    Despite having an Exmark for nine seasons and having great success, I discarded the Lazer HP early in my decision making. The prices were high, and the dealer wasn't much interested in my business.
  5. dfischer

    dfischer LawnSite Member
    from Il
    Messages: 114

    Stamped Deck?:hammerhead:

    Do you have any idea how much Deere spent to make a 7 gauge stamped deck for us? Why? No welds, better airflow, fewer sharp crevices to hold grass, and the strength of 7 gauge steel.


    I posted my take on all the deere Z's last fall. Might want to take a look. As I recall I felt the 717 has no/too little deck overlap relative to the wheel width. But please do the search, as I no longer recall.

    I can tell you I get great mulch results from my 757 w/60 deck, but think it's a bit underpowered. At 10 hours I'm still hoping it'll loosen up a bit..
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    dfisher ... You are right, there is little deck overlap relative to the wheels. I opted for the 48" deck, rather than 54, because of trailering considerations.

    My 36" w/b has no trim room either, but the flexibility of movement allows much better control while mowing around obstacles. I'm a bit disappointed about the control for close work on the 717A. I am having to learn to do larger trim (I typically trim before I mow), so that the ZTR can cover all the area needed for complete cut.

    On the topic of stamped deck, I continue to be amazed at quality of work. Our area was hit with rains last week, like so many other areas. The schedule got out of whack, and I prioritized properties when we could mow. Three were pushed back for various reasons (vacant house, owner doesn't care, scrappy yard anyway), but we were able to get them mowed today. Growth was huge, but the sun was out this afternoon, with a good breeze, upper 50s. The cut through the heavy, tall growth was a pleasant surprise. I had no clumping at all, great even spread of clippings, no rows (or even hint of passes). I use forward/reverse passes.

    I was prepared for double cutting, at least having to mow at a much higher cutting height. In one case, I did mow 1/4" higher than usual, the others ordinary height. They were all left looking smooth, clean, no stringers, and beyond my expectations. I checked the underside of the deck a couple of times -- bare metal in all the right places.

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