question on 721D

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
I have this guy at the shop where I work who is selling his GH. It's a 1997 721D with a 72" deck. I know NOTHING about GH mowers other than what little I've read so far here. I am unsure of the hours, but figuring his quote of 90min mow time twice a week 6mos a year then that gives me approximately 1450+/- hours on it. He says it's in excellent shape and he's asking $3200 for it. Does that sound like a fair deal?? He will be getting the exact hours off the mower tonight as well as taking a few pics of it to show me tomorrow. If it looks OK then I'll try and see it in person and maybe do a test mow.

I would appreciate any feedback you GH owners have. All aspects, good & bad are welcomed. What are they good at? What sucks about them? Any service headaches or odd mechanical behavior faults I should know about? I want to make as much of an informed decision as I possibly can. My main reason for buying it is that it has the front deck and is 16 inches wider than the 54" on my JD GT235. Also the GH front mowers are supposed to be capable of running other attachments? I'm interested in either a plow blade or a snothrower (or both). Do the GH mowers really work as well as they say and does GH still make attachment stuff to fit a mower that's 14 years old?? How long was this model in production? Sorry for so many questions... please help a noob out here! LOL

Thanks!!!
 

KennyV

Lawn Pro
Messages
5,447
I have seen only good things said about GH...
The diesel engine is a big +, the guys I know that have GH love them... and that price for those low hours is a great deal on a nice size machine... :smile:KennyV
 

Ida-Boy

Active Member
Messages
75
Larger the deck the more it will tend to scalp. I have a 61" and sometimes I wish I would have went with a 54" deck...
 

KennyV

Lawn Pro
Messages
5,447
Larger the deck the more it will tend to scalp. I have a 61" and sometimes I wish I would have went with a 54" deck...
I run a 72 inch on my ZTR and an 84 inch finish grooming mower, (neither are GH)... I have never had scalping problems...
But I try to keep the area I mow as level as I can, ... :smile:KennyV
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
Larger the deck the more it will tend to scalp. I have a 61" and sometimes I wish I would have went with a 54" deck...
I wondered about that super deck width having negative aspects, too. When I asked the guy and he said that his lawn is sort of bumpy and uneven - as is mine - but that the deck's roller wheels really minimize scalping in all but the worst cases. I've seen some mowers (I think the Ventrak is one) where the deck is actually three sections hinged together to form one "self-adjusting"deck, allowing it to sort of "float" over uneven lawn profiles without scalping. My other concern is hilly terrain. I have some shallow ditches and side hills that I'd worry about being able to safely traverse on a ZTR.

I want to cover as much acreage as possible in the shortest time so that 72" deck is very tempting, but don't want to scalp the snot out of my lawn and dull the blades all to hell, nor be unable to mow everywhere and therefor have to hang onto my Deere just to hit those roadside ditch sections and the other steep areas on my property. The biggest advantage of the front-mount - especially in Grasshopper's case, is having attachments to allow it to work year 'round. That really helps justify the price.

Thanks for the responses. Keep 'em coming folks!
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
I wondered about that super deck width having negative aspects, too. When I asked the guy and he said that his lawn is sort of bumpy and uneven - as is mine - but that the deck's roller wheels really minimize scalping in all but the worst cases. I've seen some mowers (I think the Ventrak is one) where the deck is actually three sections hinged together to form one "self-adjusting"deck, allowing it to sort of "float" over uneven lawn profiles without scalping. My other concern is hilly terrain. I have some shallow ditches and side hills that I'd worry about being able to safely traverse on a ZTR.

I want to cover as much acreage as possible in the shortest time so that 72" deck is very tempting, but don't want to scalp the snot out of my lawn and dull the blades all to hell, nor be unable to mow everywhere and therefor have to hang onto my Deere just to hit those roadside ditch sections and the other steep areas on my property. The biggest advantage of the front-mount - especially in Grasshopper's case, is having attachments to allow it to work year 'round. That really helps justify the price.

Thanks for the responses. Keep 'em coming folks!
I have not had any scalping problems but my lawn is pretty much flat.

A front deck like the GH is not as good at climbing as a mid mount my GH has poor traction I would not try mowing much of a ditch with it.

How deep and how wide is your ditch.
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
The hours are even lower than I had expected. The meter reads 903.4 for a 14 year old GH... seems pretty low; averages out to about 130hrs per year. I am hoping he gets some pics of the mower itself & deck for me to check out tomorrow. If everything looks good then I may go take a look at his 'Hopper this weekend.

Black Bart,
The ditch along the east side of my driveway isn't very tall; about a 20 degree slope and 100 feet long. Not wide either; 1 pass would mow each bank. The area I am concerned with is a steep embankment where the main road along the edge of my property slopes upward. There's a sidehill that's probably pretty close to 30 - 45 degrees, but it's only about 40 feet long or so before the bank turns almost vertical and I obviously don't mow that, not even with a weedwhacker.

I emailed Grasshopper last night requesting more info and to inquire if the attachments for their current 721DT line will still fit up to a 721 that's 14+ years old. If so then great, if not then I'll have to scour Craigslist and/or other internet sites with used implements for sale and hope I can score a dozer blade and/or a snowthrower in good shape for a reasonable price. (As you can see, I've already pretty much made up my mind about this piece of machinery. LOL.)
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
The hours are even lower than I had expected. The meter reads 903.4 for a 14 year old GH... seems pretty low; averages out to about 130hrs per year. I am hoping he gets some pics of the mower itself & deck for me to check out tomorrow. If everything looks good then I may go take a look at his 'Hopper this weekend.

Black Bart,
The ditch along the east side of my driveway isn't very tall; about a 20 degree slope and 100 feet long. Not wide either; 1 pass would mow each bank. The area I am concerned with is a steep embankment where the main road along the edge of my property slopes upward. There's a sidehill that's probably pretty close to 30 - 45 degrees, but it's only about 40 feet long or so before the bank turns almost vertical and I obviously don't mow that, not even with a weedwhacker.

I emailed Grasshopper last night requesting more info and to inquire if the attachments for their current 721DT line will still fit up to a 721 that's 14+ years old. If so then great, if not then I'll have to scour Craigslist and/or other internet sites with used implements for sale and hope I can score a dozer blade and/or a snowthrower in good shape for a reasonable price. (As you can see, I've already pretty much made up my mind about this piece of machinery. LOL.)
If you are correct and it is 40 degree slope I can guarantee you the Grasshopper WILL NOT climb that hill and for that matter it won't come down it either.

A ZTR can not climb that and a GH will not climb nearly as well as a ZTR.

Grasshoppers are poor on a slope I would not use a tractor on a slope that big.
Are you sure about the degree of slope.
What have you been using on it in the past.
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
If you are correct and it is 40 degree slope I can guarantee you the Grasshopper WILL NOT climb that hill and for that matter it won't come down it either.

A ZTR can not climb that and a GH will not climb nearly as well as a ZTR.

Grasshoppers are poor on a slope I would not use a tractor on a slope that big.
Are you sure about the degree of slope.
What have you been using on it in the past.
When I inherited the property from my late father the fields & roadsides had NEVER been cleaned up. It was a haven for biting insects that would come out of the weeds & brush literally in clouds and just about carry you off. Not to mention that I felt it just looked like sh!t. That bank is steep; I'm guessing 35 - 40, but it's not very long, again maybe 30 - 40 feet before it becomes too steep to even think about mowing with anything but a weedeater. I have to lean towards the bank and hold onto the bankside fender when mowing it. I'm using my '99 John Deere GT235 w/ a 54" deck. Now the bank is only 4' - 5' high from bottom to top. I know it wouldn't be a big deal to let it grow back. I'm thinking that I could just approach it from the level section at the bottom of the slope with the 'Hopper and drive up to the bank and hit it with the 72" deck, back down and move right and hit the next unmowed section, etc., etc. Would only have to do that maybe 4 or 5 times, once a month. Most everything else on the property is flat or on only very mild grades (under 15 degrees). I have some walking / riding trails in my small patch of woods, but nothing steep or dangerous. I could almost justify keeping the Deere for those trails and the roadside bank, I suppose.
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
When I inherited the property from my late father the fields & roadsides had NEVER been cleaned up. It was a haven for biting insects that would come out of the weeds & brush literally in clouds and just about carry you off. Not to mention that I felt it just looked like sh!t. That bank is steep; I'm guessing 35 - 40, but it's not very long, again maybe 30 - 40 feet before it becomes too steep to even think about mowing with anything but a weedeater. I have to lean towards the bank and hold onto the bankside fender when mowing it. I'm using my '99 John Deere GT235 w/ a 54" deck. Now the bank is only 4' - 5' high from bottom to top. I know it wouldn't be a big deal to let it grow back. I'm thinking that I could just approach it from the level section at the bottom of the slope with the 'Hopper and drive up to the bank and hit it with the 72" deck, back down and move right and hit the next unmowed section, etc., etc. Would only have to do that maybe 4 or 5 times, once a month. Most everything else on the property is flat or on only very mild grades (under 15 degrees). I have some walking / riding trails in my small patch of woods, but nothing steep or dangerous. I could almost justify keeping the Deere for those trails and the roadside bank, I suppose.
If you buy that GH and it sounds like you are really hot on it DON"T sell the JD tractor until you have mowed a few times with the GH.

I think you may be able to get a run and get that 5 feet but it may slide back down like I said a GH is a great mower but not worth a dam on hills.

Tall grass never really drys so be careful it may work but it is really pushing the limit of what that mower can do I have had mine spin on level ground just had one caster wheel over a slight drop off about an inch.

The GH has a spring that you can tighten on each side it is connected to a cantilever and it lifts on the rear of the deck putting more weight on the drive tires.

If you buy it be sure to crank those springs to the max it will help your traction.:thumbsup:
I have been mowing with a GH for the past 25 years wore out 2 of them so I know a little bit about a GH
 

173abn

Well-Known Member
Messages
869
strange because I mow some really steep hills w/no problem,just up and down.also mow my ditch length wise.I have a 61" deck and don't have a problem w/scalping..russ
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
I don't plan on selling my Deere anytime soon. It's been paid off for many years so my only real problem if I buy the 'Hopper is room to store everything. Polebarn is planned in the near future; may have to be stepped up a bit if I get another machine. My garage is just about overflowing. LOL. I gotta have some place to park my Jeep inside the wintertime!

If I purchase this used 'Hopper I will work with it a while and investigate its abilities and limitations before making any changes. Thanks for the "heads-up" on the wieght shift adjustment, Bart. I had similar traction troubles with the JD when I first got it. About 5 years ago I put a set of tires on the back that are the same style that Deere used on their "X" series 4wd garden tractors; about 90% of my traction loss problems disappeared just by switching the rear shoes. Amazing. I would think the same thing could be accomplished on the 'Hopper. Tires really can make a difference. Bar tread / chevron tread tires have their uses but they are not the ultimate answer to more traction. There are plenty of other options out there. I have a couple of amphibious ATVs and the chevrons tires are great for water propulsion, but can be pretty sucky in clay, silty mud and other sticky soil types. I will dig deeper and see what else can be had that grabs but still offers a quality ride.
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
I don't plan on selling my Deere anytime soon. It's been paid off for many years so my only real problem if I buy the 'Hopper is room to store everything. Polebarn is planned in the near future; may have to be stepped up a bit if I get another machine. My garage is just about overflowing. LOL. I gotta have some place to park my Jeep inside the wintertime!

If I purchase this used 'Hopper I will work with it a while and investigate its abilities and limitations before making any changes. Thanks for the "heads-up" on the weight shift adjustment, Bart. I had similar traction troubles with the JD when I first got it. About 5 years ago I put a set of tires on the back that are the same style that Deere used on their "X" series 4wd garden tractors; about 90% of my traction loss problems disappeared just by switching the rear shoes. Amazing. I would think the same thing could be accomplished on the 'Hopper. Tires really can make a difference. Bar tread / chevron tread tires have their uses but they are not the ultimate answer to more traction. There are plenty of other options out there. I have a couple of amphibious ATVs and the chevrons tires are great for water propulsion, but can be pretty sucky in clay, silty mud and other sticky soil types. I will dig deeper and see what else can be had that grabs but still offers a quality ride.
Yes tires will make a big difference.
You need a angle gauge to find out what your hill is.
People say I can climb a steep hill OK but what is their idea of a steep hill.

Kinda like this guy that was telling me how fast his Honda Civic was he said it was a rocket ship.
I told him one mans rocket is another mans glider.

You could check with Grasshopper and see what they say about climbing hills but I'm willing to bet they will tell you not to try to climb more than a 15 percent grade.

Unless a person knows what the slope is it becomes a discussion about what they call a big hill.

The GH carries most of the engine weight on the back dollies and a lot of the mower weight hangs on the front tires so the drive tires only carry part of the tractor weight.

This works well on flat lawn it distributes the weight but not so good for climbing hills.
People with a GH will get defensive but it is just a fact that the design is not the best for climbing steep hills.
If it will do what you want to do then it is a great mower but they are not the best climbers.
Something with 4 wheel drive would be good for climbing.
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
I hope to have the guy bring the 'Hopper to my place and let me take it for a "test mowing" around the property. He's got it loaded up it on his trailer, sitting in his garage, so it's half way here already. LOL. That will be the ultimate measuring stick to tell me if this machine is really for me or if I need to let it pass and keep on looking. Again, the big selling point for the front deck mowers is their versatility. Grasshopper has lots of attachments that make the machine truly a year round rig and not just a grasscutter. Front appeals to me because of the ease of service by simply flipping the deck up for cleaning, sharpening and blade changes, etc. One of the things I truly dislike about my Deere is fighting the deck out from between the front and rear tires. It is a tight fit. Still, the GT235 is years beyond the old 317 that I had. Still, the ease & the quality of cut are strong arguments for me for a front deck. We shall see...
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
I hope to have the guy bring the 'Hopper to my place and let me take it for a "test mowing" around the property. He's got it loaded up it on his trailer, sitting in his garage, so it's half way here already. LOL. That will be the ultimate measuring stick to tell me if this machine is really for me or if I need to let it pass and keep on looking. Again, the big selling point for the front deck mowers is their versatility. Grasshopper has lots of attachments that make the machine truly a year round rig and not just a grasscutter. Front appeals to me because of the ease of service by simply flipping the deck up for cleaning, sharpening and blade changes, etc. One of the things I truly dislike about my Deere is fighting the deck out from between the front and rear tires. It is a tight fit. Still, the GT235 is years beyond the old 317 that I had. Still, the ease & the quality of cut are strong arguments for me for a front deck. We shall see...
That would be awesome if he lives close and will let you demo it.
GOOD LUCK
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
The owner is bringing his 721D over to my place this weekend and dropping it off along with his trailer. If I like it he comes to pick up his trailer and I pay him for the mower; if not then he'll get the mower & trailer and take both back. At least this will give me the whole weekend to mess with it and not just mow a few passes but really work it to see how all aspects of it function (traction testing under various dry/grassy/muddy conditions, low speed vs. high speed ride quality, handling around in and near my woods, and I'll poke around and inside the machine to check for ease-of-servicing problems, etc., etc. I wish I could try it in Winter conditions too, just to insure there are no cold-start headaches should I eventually decide to buy a snowthrower for it also. (After all, it is a diesel! LOL)

He told me that the Kubota motor was tuned up at his nearby Grasshopper dealer last spring and he had both pumps replaced about 3 years ago. He's gonna dig out all of the manuals & service paperwork and bring them with him, so I can verify everything. I sure hope it all works out.
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
The owner is bringing his 721D over to my place this weekend and dropping it off along with his trailer. If I like it he comes to pick up his trailer and I pay him for the mower; if not then he'll get the mower & trailer and take both back. At least this will give me the whole weekend to mess with it and not just mow a few passes but really work it to see how all aspects of it function (traction testing under various dry/grassy/muddy conditions, low speed vs. high speed ride quality, handling around in and near my woods, and I'll poke around and inside the machine to check for ease-of-servicing problems, etc., etc. I wish I could try it in Winter conditions too, just to insure there are no cold-start headaches should I eventually decide to buy a snowthrower for it also. (After all, it is a diesel! LOL)

He told me that the Kubota motor was tuned up at his nearby Grasshopper dealer last spring and he had both pumps replaced about 3 years ago. He's gonna dig out all of the manuals & service paperwork and bring them with him, so I can verify everything. I sure hope it all works out.
That is great that you get to try it, I think you will like it the only thing that I see as a possible problem is the GH is not the best climbers NO front mount mower is due to the design but if it will mow you hill then you will like it.
Let is know how it works out for you.

If you have traction problems don't forget what I told you about winding up the springs.
 

Jinzo Ningen

Well-Known Member
Messages
125
Well... after a couple of false starts last weekend the owner finally dropped off his 721D at my place yesterday. It's in really good shape. The only "bad" things I noticed were that the left front floating wheel on the deck was missing and that the mounting bracket was pretty badly bent. He had the deck wheel with him, so all I'd need to do is remove the bracket and beat the hell out of it with a BFH to straighten it again and then re-install the wheel and it should be just fine. Also, a few small rust spots that could use some touch-up paint. And of course some paint polish with a couple coats of wax and rubbing some Armor All into the seat and on tires, hoses and other rubber bits & pieces would go a long way towards making the old girl shine like new again.

The blades do need to be sharpened or better yet, replaced. He told me that the best mow he ever got with it was while using Gator Blades but that the current set are generic type; a few years back one of the Gator blades was damaged hitting a rock and he just put a set of "regular" style replacements on due to cost. I do notice that although it does a great job gutting grass it doesn't cut buckhorn weeds worth a poop. Odd, since my Deere would slice them just as well as any grass or weeds. Perhaps this is due to the dull edge of the blades, or the style of blades currently on it? So while I'm thinking of it, do you guys recommend med-lift, hi-lift or Gator type blades??? Grasshopper suggests using their brand (obviously). The literature they sent me says that their blades last up to twice as long as typical aftermarket (Oregon, etc.) blades. What do you 'Hopper owners say to this claim? Also, what are your thoughts on using Grasshopper brand filters & oil versus non-GH syntheitic oils & filters? Is the GH stuff really that much better?

Other good things I discovered during my inspection of this 721D machine are:

Deck engagment clutch is brand new; the right pump motor was replaced 3 years ago; left pump motor was replaced 2 years ago; engine tuned up last spring. New fuel lines this spring along with all new Grasshopper brand filters. The seat is in like-new condition: no wear, tears or rips. The chevron-style tires are a little worn, but after all they're 14 years old so that's really no surprise. After a test mow last evening I am seriously tempted to replace them with a set of the same Carlisle tires I put on the back of my Deere GT235. Those have excellent traction in slippery stuff but would be a lot more forgiving on my grass in those zero turns.

Oh, and another good thing, the 'Hopper tackled the slopes along my ditch that I was initially concerned about with NO problems! After giving the mower a thorough once-over (twice) and seeing it in action I am thinking that I'm gonna buy it. Even though it's 14 years old I think his asking price ($3200) seems reasonable considering the low hours and overall very good condition of everything. If it all works out I am hoping I can get one of my two local Grasshopper dealers to do an even trade: my 1999 John Deere GT235 for a 721-compatible snowthrower and maybe even one of those manually-adjustable Little Bully 60" blades, too. New or used doesn't really matter to me, just as long as they're in good solid working order. I'll try and get some pics of the machine posted up for you all to look at today or tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for all of the helpful advice on this purchase!! :thumbsup: I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go!
 

KennyV

Lawn Pro
Messages
5,447
Hello and good to see another diesel mower here....

The Oregon Gator Blades are spectacular... so far on everything I have put them on... They are the best blade I have ever has on my 72 inch ZTR, (Not a Grasshopper)...

High lift designs work well if you do not have sand or loose, dusty soil, they are actually very good in heavy turf grasses...

As to oil.. That is a Kubota engine... Kubota's Love synthetic I have several on Rotella T6... great stuff, and it filters well through Wix Filters....
I'm sure russ, geoff and the other 721D folks will have opinions to add...

Oh, one other thing... You will LOVE blowing show with a ZTR.... :smile:KennyV
 

Black Bart

Well-Known Member
Messages
550
Glad to hear that it worked out for you.
My concern was climbing the hill maybe it is not as high a percentage as you thought.
I don't recall you saying what the hours are but a 14 year old 721D for $3200.00 sound reasonable to me.
I agree with Kenny T-6 would be a good choice for oil.
I have never tried the gator blades so not qualified to say if they are good or not.
I read where some like them and others don't so I guess you will just have to give them a try.
 
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