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Discussion Starter #1
After 20 years of tinkering with Garden Tractors of different manufacturers, mostly GT's built the 70's, I'm looking for something much more newer. My wife and I live in a home on 5 acres, most of the property is heavily wooded, I'm guessing we mow about 1.5-2 acres. The elevation is pretty level, except for some steep ditches out by the road, but not too steep to feel uncomfortable cutting them with a garden tractor. One of the biggest issues we have is there's quite a bit of uneven ground that we cut, (ie. pot holes, stump holes), there's also some uneven areas that can scalp if you're not careful. We used to mow it with a JD317 with a 46" deck, which was ok for cutting the grass. After selling the 317 borrowed an old case 155 from my dad, with full length rollers on the deck which NEARLY DESTROYED OUR YARD! We're currently use a Gravely 818T with a 50" deck and its better than the Deere. However, it's a 78' model and getting looong in the tooth! I still want something somewhat heavy duty, being a former small engine mechanic I can't bring myself to buy a tractor from a big box store.

Right now, I'm looking at either a used Conquest or Prestige or something from Deere. Like most parts of the country, I have a better chance of finding a Deere in Georgia than a Simplicity. However, I feel like the Simplicity is a better product IMHO.

My budget is 3K, which I know isn't going to get me a new anything. I do feel like it will get me something that's in good shape and would hold up for a number of years. I'm leaning towards a Conquest because they seem to be found in better shape for that price, I also like the idea of manual steering and lift ( i feel that PS and Hydro lift is another thing to break) but I'm not sure if my wife could handle the manual lift. She's not very muscular and she will be using this as much as I will.

The reason I'm asking as many questions as we will most likely be having to make a roadtrip to buy a Simplicity, they're scarce as hensteeth in Georgia and I would hate to drive 5 hours to get one only to have her not being happy with it.

I know its subjective, but how does a Simplicity do with potholes (stump holes) and uneven terrain? I'm not looking to make my yard look like a golf course, but I'm a little gun shy after my experience with the Case.
 

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You're 3K should get you a decent JD 4X5 series GT.

The 425 is carbureted, the 445 is fuel injected and the 455 is Yanmar Diesel.

The 60" deck would cover more ground but also scalp more than the 54" or 48"

I've heard the gas Kawasaki's like the fuel compared to the Yanmar Diesel.

The plastic hood and side covers on the 4X5 series are something to be desired.

It does have a K92 in it, that's about as good as it gets.

I've also heard the Simplicity does a very good job of mowing.

Good luck with your search.

CCMoe
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The 4X5 series John Deeres have been at the top of my list, with the 455's being a strong consideration. If I could find a 455 with a 48" deck that would be nice, but most of them have the 60" deck. Which would scalp our yard a good bit. I really don't want anything over a 54" deck, which I feel would be pushing it. Some 455's have the 54" but not many, most I've come across are pretty worn out by now and have a steep asking price. Along with the plastic hoods, some of the 425-455's have the cam gear issue to deal with, and seem to have a problem breaking the power steering lines. I know this personally because my dad has replaced his friends low hour 445 lines twice.

Thank you for the link to the Kubota tractors but I've had experience with a 60" Kubota deck, not on our current yard but on my parents yard and they will scalp badly. I would consider a 48" deck Kubota.

One thing I forgot to mention would like to eventually get is a tractor mounted tiller. Also, my wife and I plan to downsize in the future and I would like to get something that would work in a smaller yard. We would probably get a home with an acre yard. Which since we don't cut all 5 acres shouldn't be that much of a difference.
 

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Regardless of what tractor you end up getting, one item often overlooked is that the turf tyres do horrible in the conditions you described. They are fine for level dry smooth grass lawns which is what they are designed for. But anything else is a maybe. Perhaps taking a look at the ATV tyres such as the Bear Claws or the Ocelots will help you there.
These are examples only as your tyre sizes are unknown at this point:

https://www.amazon.com/9-10-Ocelot-P367-ATV-Tire/dp/B0798LS57D/ref=sr_1_13?crid=32VXCER7BDNUF&keywords=ocelot+atv+tires&qid=1560781637&s=gateway&sprefix=Ocelot+ATV,aps,185&sr=8-13

https://www.amazon.com/Pair-Kenda-Bear-Tires-24x9-11/dp/B00DUJMJHU/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3SAG4ICW4A02H&keywords=bear+claw+atv+tires&qid=1560781753&s=gateway&sprefix=Bear+Claw+ATV,aps,167&sr=8-10

One thing to keep in mind is that you can get larger tyres with the same rim size and they work just as well. Just need to make sure they fit under the fenders.
 

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I'm curious as to how the full length rollers about destroyed your yard..?? If so, that rules out the Simplicity, but they do have a full floating deck with full length rollers that moves with the terrain to prevent scalping. If you have any small stumps you can normally mow over, this can be hard on the rollers especially when backing. You say stump holes, so it should easily go over those just fine. As for power steering, in 900 hours I have replaced one power steering hose...and having power steering is definitely worth it!! For quality of cut...even cut over the contours of the yard, nothing beats the cut of a Simplicity...and as a by product of the full length rollers, you can get some amazing stripes. My walk behind Simplicity Pacer also has a free floating deck with rollers, so these pics has a couple of the small mower and of the deck on the Prestige...do not attempt this on a Green Machine... :tango_face_wink:
 

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+1 one about the cut quality of a full roller Simplicity deck

There is something magic going on in them

no joke
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think the deck on the Case tractor is not set up like a Simplicity. It was more rigid and did not float as I expected. More like dug into the ground, especially on the slightest uneven terrain. I did not take pictures of the yard, but it was pretty bad.

As for stump holes we have many and some quite large. I try to straddle them but sometimes one side of the mower can fall into the area where I believe a tree stump must have been. As for stumps we do not have any, at least not any I could drive over.

Well, I'm going this weekend to look at a Snapper GT2354. I couldn't find much info on the model tractor but I do know its a rebranded Simplicity Prestige. I did read where someone mentioned the deck isn't the same as a Simplicity, but of all the photo's I could find it's the same. The price is half of my budget, and the tractor only has 145 hours on it. Since I still have a good bit left over for attachments I hope to find a tiller and rear turbo bagger if thats possible.
 

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JD317GA,

Looking at Craigs List, you have a better chance getting a herd of goats than finding a Simplicity or John Deere down there!

CCMoe
 

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The Snapper uses an inferior deck from what I've heard, but not totally sure on that. I also don't believe it has the rollers on the back of the deck, so it likely isn't a full floating deck either. I would also make sure it is setup ok to run any Simplicity attachments...it may not have the capability to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It has the rollers, the same linkages that connect the deck to the tractor. Heck, I even found a Snapper Owners Manual for it online through Snappers Website. It covers all Simplicity, Agco, MF, and Snapper models in the same manual.
 

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It has the rollers, the same linkages that connect the deck to the tractor. Heck, I even found a Snapper Owners Manual for it online through Snappers Website. It covers all Simplicity, Agco, MF, and Snapper models in the same manual.
That's good to know!! It's been several years since I was told that info...perhaps it was for a lesser model...I believe they used to have a comparable model to the Regent as well.
 

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Good Morning,

I've owned a few tractors mentioned on here. Some of it depends on needs on your needs outside of just mowing. ie. bucket, snow blower, etc. Personally, I really regret selling my 455, but it just was not needed on my current city lot with all the accessories I had for it. Actually, my simplicity is probably overkill, but I absolutely LOVE the cut even though I'm still working on getting the "stripping" down.

Good luck
 

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Snapper has been Simplicity's baby brother for several years now, well over a decade. From what I understand, many of the tractors share a lot of the same components/parts. However, the main difference is the deck. I remember looking at several Snappers at a dealer about 10 years ago and again 4 years ago, none of them had the floating deck or rollers. The dealer told me that this is one way how B&S separates the brands.

I have owned several Simplicity tractors over the years, from an old Coronet in the 80's to a 2007ish Prestige. They were all great cutting machines and never scalped, not once.

Sent from my SM-J320V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, after two days and 770 miles later we have our new to us tractor! My wife and I were so excited we took turns cutting the back yard when we got home. It has 146 hours on the meter.

This Snapper has the floating deck and rear rollers. I'm assuming that it is one of the Snapper that Simplicity made before being sold out to B&S since it has a Kohler engine and the better deck. Also, the data plate says Port Washington, WI and not Milwaukee, WI.

The photo of our back yard is where you had to be very careful cutting because it would scalp so easy. My wife cut it with no concern and no issues with scalping! The only place in the photo that was scalped is from the last time we cut with our 41 year old Gravely.

I plan to build a sleeve hitch on the rear using a linear actuator. I also plan to find a turbo vac adapter for the deck so I can use a bagger.
 

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Awesome! Congrats!
 
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