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John Deere Zero Turn: Z645, Z655, Z665 Review & Mowing Pics

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by GoldStarMowing, May 31, 2012.

  1. GoldStarMowing

    GoldStarMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    John Deere Z645, Z655, Z665 Review:

    A few months ago I purchased a new John Deere Z655 54” zero turn mower to use as a backup (0.3 hours on the clock). I was originally looking at purchasing a Z700 series but after discussing the cost and availability with 4-5 different Deere dealers I decided to look for something else. I noticed the Z600’s on the lot and was actually pretty impressed with them when I did a quick walk around. After a test drive I ended up taking one home.

    My Z655 has just over 50 hours on the clock and I’ve really been impressed with it thus far. For a “residential” zero turn mower it’s a fairly heavy-duty machine and it does a fantastic job mowing even at top speed (9mph) which actually surprised me. I didn’t expect it to cut as well as it does.


    Like most zero turns the Z655 has the two control sticks. As far as I’m concerned they are infinitely adjustable, I don’t remember how many positions Deere says they have but regardless of how big or small you are you’re bound to find a position that fits you comfortably as an operator. The control levers have adjustable dampers and give a super smooth, yet firm and responsive feel, which I really like. The feel is essentially identical to the 900 series. The Z655 operator station is plain and simple, throttle and choke on the same lever, key, hour meter, PTO, and a blank switch for the optional headlight kit. There is a fairly large storage bin located behind the controls and the mower has two cup holders, all of which have small drain holes in the bottom.


    The seat gets a thumbs up as far as I’m concerned. Firm, yet plenty of give to help take the shock away from the operator when driving on rough ground. Plenty of travel to accommodate tall guys, like myself, or short operators. The increased seat back height (21”) gives great lower back support and helps to take away a lot of operator fatigue compared to some other mowers on the market. The seat also has a nice set of padded armrests, which are fully adjustable and can be flipped up out of the way if you prefer.

    Mower deck:

    The Z655 comes with a 54” High-Capacity mower deck. The deck is stamped from 9-gauge steel instead of the standard 10-gauge Deere usually stamps their residential decks from. The Z655 also has a piece of round bar welded around the front and side perimeter of the deck for collision protection.

    As far as I can tell, and as told to me by my salesman, the Z655 deck comes off the same press as the 7-iorn commercials do. Comparing the profile of the 54” high capacity to the 7-iorn on the Z700 series it’s essentially identical, in fact the mulching kit used by the 7-iron 54” is compatible with the Z655 54” high cap, as are all the blades, and the deck spindles are the exact same.

    The 54” high cap mowing characteristics are the exact same as that of the commercial 7-iron. It stripes the same, side discharges the same and has a great cut quality even in long grass at quicker speeds.

    Servicing the deck is simple and quick, I’ve noticed I don’t get much build up under the deck regardless of mowing conditions and it stays rather clean. There are only two or three small spots that I have to scrap off. The plastic spindle covers come off with one screw so cleaning is easier and they don’t rattle around or make any noise (little things like that drive me crazy). The grease points are easily accessible, like they should be on all mowers.


    The Z655 comes with a 27hp John Deere Cyclonic engine built by Brigs. I wasn’t real crazy about getting a mower with a Brigs engine since I’ve always been a Kawi fan but so far nothing negative to report. The engine idles smooth all through the RPM range with no excessive vibration or noise. It comes equipped with an auxiliary oil cooler to help keep the fluids cooler prompting longer engine life. The 27hp has plenty of power to handle almost all mowing jobs, wet or dry, even with the heavy G6 gators I run. I have yet to bog the engine down even mowing half a foot tall grass. The hydro’s show no sign of power fade or make any added noise/vibration even after hours of running and they eat up hills no problem. Servicing the engine is fairly simple and there must have been a mechanic in the room when they were designing the engine since they added things like an extended oil drain hose. The air filter takes a quick turn of two screws to get to and all the fluid levels are easy to see/check at a quick glance. The oil filter is the only thing that takes a little work to get to. It’s located in a tight spot, but I can still reach my hand in and take it off.

    Overall Quality:

    Again, I’ve been really impressed with it especially considering it’s a “residential” mower. The build quality is a lot nicer and a lot “beefier” than some of the other residential units on the market. The frame is fairly stiff and has no noticeable flex even with one of the front casters off the ground. The mower has great hillside performance and the casters don’t steer you down the hill like they do on some zero turns.

    For the people out there who mow 40 hours a week and log thousand of hours each year obviously this isn’t the machine for you. For the homeowner with less than 6 acres to mow or for the pro that just wants a reasonably priced backup mower to eliminate down time, give the Z600 series a look. I’m really glad I took a chance on this mower and it fits my needs perfectly.


    -Great cut/stripes
    -Smooth to operate
    -Simple to service/maintain
    -Heavier build than most Residential units
    -Deere’s dealer network/support
    -4year/500hour warranty
    -Quality machine


    -Dealers aren’t willing to negotiate price a whole lot.
    -Combined throttle & choke lever. I don’t know why they were combined into one, but they should really be separate controls.
    -Had to take it back to the dealer shortly after purchase to have the choke adjusted. It was taking a good 5-8 seconds of straight cranking to get the engine to turn over on a cold start. After being fixed it starts after ½ - 1 second of cranking on a cold start now.
    -No on-board diagnostics.

    I’ll continue to add to this thread as I put more hours on the mower and I’ll advise on any problems/issues I have with it.

    Here are some mowing pics, no striping kit: 3.25-3.5"

    I mow both the properties pictured here. Customer photo.





    *Note: All pictures and images are the sol property of Gold Star Mowing and it's clients.*

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

    I'd say that looks fine. I've been a fan of the 54” High-Capacity mower deck for a while. Was going to buy a 445 with the 54” High-Capacity mower deck. Nice work.

  3. GoldStarMowing

    GoldStarMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    Thanks, appreciate the compliments. After taking it easy for the first 10 hours or so I decided to use it as my primary mower for two weeks to really put it through it's paces and it handled everything I threw at it. The "high-cap" deck is fantastic, as far as i can tell the only difference between it and the 7-iron is a few millimeters of steel.
  4. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    Nice write up, thanks for taking the time to share your experience with your new mower to the homeowner group. My question, is the 600 series a new series? Maybe you said it and I missed it. Certainly a beefier machine over the 2 and 4 series. Seems priced very well at that and lays a nice stripe. Certainly another machine for the homeowner mowing a few acres.
  5. GoldStarMowing

    GoldStarMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    More than happy too and thanks for the compliments. I believe the 600 series was brand new to the market in late 2010 possibly early 2011 but ill have to double check. Maybe someone else on here might know. It's a great machine for what it's built and designed for, hard to beat in the homeowner arena. The dealer actually said they have a couple guys using it commercially. I personally wouldn't use it as a full blown, thousands of hours a year, commercial mower but it's nice to have a backup, without the 900 series price tag.
  6. comanche1313

    comanche1313 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Do you think this mower would hold up for a business mower only cutting 5 to 6 yards a month?
  7. GoldStarMowing

    GoldStarMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    Yeah, I think it would hold up doing 5-6 yards per month assuming it was well maintained. Mine has about 175 hours on it now with nothing negative to report.

    How big are the yards you'd be mowing?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. comanche1313

    comanche1313 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Well after I looked at the 2 mowers this afternoon I think I am going to go with the 915B. I have one yard that is 5 acres and 1 is 3. I am very grateful for your post. Very good info.
    southerntide likes this.
  9. GoldStarMowing

    GoldStarMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    If you have one that is five and one that is three acres the 900 series would be a safer bet. The 900 series is built like a tank and will definitely serve you longer than a 600 series model would. (Not to say the 600 series isn't built well, but it isn't built the same as a 900) As my original post says I had no problem using the 665 for two weeks straight mowing my accounts (2-3 acres) but it's not a 1000 hour per year mower. Good luck with the decision!
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Ridin' Green likes this.
  10. meth

    meth LawnSite Member
    from 10940
    Messages: 121

    This is a great thread thank you. I am considering a 645 to mow my 1.5 acres at my house. When I went to my dealer they didn't have a good opinion of this series and tried to push me to an x series tractor. They claimed these are a small step above a box store unit. I found this response very odd. My yard is pretty bumpy so I am concerned how this will ride with my bad back. Also, do you know if you can pull a yard cart, spreader, aerator, etc with this?

    Thank you for your help!

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