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Hi everyone, new member here but not new to garden tractors. I am in the process of considering a new X738 or X758, but was wondering how vibration free and smooth the shaft drive mower deck is? I would think they would be better than a belt drive but have no personal experience.

I've also read some reviews where owners have complained that the auto connect deck is a pain and not nearly as easy to use as the Deere videos would have you believe. Would also appreciate any input from the owners here.

Do the diesels run at the same max rpm as the gassers? If the diesels run slower how do they achieve the same mow deck blade rpm as a gasser?
 

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I've had my X758 for a year (one mowing season). 60" deck is very smooth, very nice. No problems with vibration.

I have the auto connect, and would be just as happy if I did not have it. I think that value of that comes down to how often you take your deck off. For me, it goes on in the Spring and off in the Fall so it doesn't really have any value. The value is the "Drive over deck" since that's easier than scooting the deck sideways under the tractor.

If you remove the deck every month or so, I can see where auto connect could be nice. You're going to get of the tractor either way- to manually connect the PTO shaft or to make sure you're lined up OK.

When I mow, I've been running at 3/4 full throttle, works fine.

Pete
 

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I have never owned a garden tractor that did not have a shaft drive deck. I bought my first one in 1984. I have never had any issue with shaft drive decks. I grew up with belt drive decks. That is why I have never owned one of my own.

PTO RPM is less usually less than full throttle. The correct PTO RPM is designed into the tractors.

The new X700s have drive over decks. So there is no more sliding the deck in & out. I do not have any experience with the auto connect decks on the X700s. I had a 1026R with auto connect. I never had any problems with it. Setup has alot to do with the issues. My dealer was very good at setting up the auto connects.

The gas engine will cost less, but use more fuel. Diesel engines cost more, use less fuel & out last a gas engine if taken care of properly.
 

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Steve, I have the X738 and am very happy with it. While I certainly don't abuse it, I give it a serious workout with a full complement of implements, front and rear.

The mower deck is very smooth with no more vibration that I would expect from a large three-blade deck. Even after going through some small finger-sized brush, it has continued to run smoothly. I do regularly maintain and balance the blades. Frankly, you will get more vibration from the engine running than you would feel through the mower deck.

As for the quick-connect feature of the deck, I love it! I am taking it on and off on a regular basis. It truly is drive over, connect the drag link, raise the deck, drop the scalp wheels, adjust the height dial and go. When I say regular basis, that could be as often as weekly. I am swapping between mower and implements frequently. After retiring a mower that required six spring retainers and pins to be removed before maybe being able to slide the deck out sideways, this is a dream! I really believe the Deere engineers did a good job on this one.

Taking the deck off is actually a little more difficult than remounting. The rear clips that lock in the lift arm can get finicky if the deck isn't sitting just right with no tension. Once it's jiggled a little, the clip snaps open easily. And, of course, if you forget to release the scalp wheels, or take off the drag link, or omit any other detail, it's start over time.

I checked out both gas and diesel when shopping. They both performed the same, in my opinion. I wouldn't worry about mower or any other pto rpm level. I chose gas for the cleanliness of gas over diesel, and the convenience of single fuel for my equipment. I also chose to have the front blade installed, as well as three-point lift and rear pto. No regrets with spending money up front on those accessories.
 

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SIL father bought a x738 this past April, I always run it at full throttle. The auto connect is easier than not having the auto connect. but not as easy as the Series 1. Hate to say it for me I would go with the 1023 over the x758 , you get L & H range, plus 3 pt hitch, rear pto . all for what maybe 1000-1500 more.
For the x series you have raise the deck wheels, then lower deck to the ground ,disconnect the front connection, takes seconds , release the rear latch also and then back up over the deck.
The series one raise the wheels, lower deck to ground, release the rear latch and then back up over the deck
The x series has one extra step for disconnecting and attaching the mower deck.
 

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The shaft drive is smooth on my X739 54HC deck.

Get the auto connect kit, its only a few hundred extra if purchased with the deck. I bought mine without and after a few deck removals bought one on Ebay for several hundred more than it would have cost if purchased with the tractor.

I remove my deck often for cleaning the underside, blade maintenance, mulch kit installation, dirt work, tractor maintenance, etc. and found removing and connecting the drive shaft to be a major pain. The dang splines never seemed to line up for me and it would take 3 hands to get it hooked up! One to hold the shaft, one to slide the collar and one to move the deck belt so the splines would line up. Plus with the deck is in the way so its difficult reach to do all of the above, at least for me it was.
 

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Between the equipment I have and the equipment at work I must say the diesel is worth every penny.The shaft drive deck operation is smooth.Whichever one you get the hdap's over the turf is a good choice too.
 

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I have the X738 with auto connect and the 54"HC deck with mulching kit.. At times the auto connect can be a pain in the butt especially if you take it off in the garage like I do on cement, it wants to slide. The deck does not vibrate at all and I use all speeds (engine wise and drive train wise) on the machine, depends what I am into to cut.. I also have the extra alternator for other devices on the machine and the 47" two stage snow blower.. They all work great with the drive shafts.. I did the Gasser because and just because! We have had that conversation on GTT before and I don't want to get into that again.. Whatever you chose you will be happy. I Love my X738.. I don't need a FEL I have a backhoe too and I also do not need the 3Point hitch so the deck stays on all summer. I ordered the auto connect for ease of making that connection.. I may start taking the deck off in the grass and just picking it up with the backhoe in the future. This past fall the deck turned on the cement backing off (hint, click in the all wheel drive orange floor knob) and i had to lift the tractor off the deck with my hoe and slide the deck out before I broke something! That sucked big time.. a two minute job turned into a 30 minute operation! The tractor was in front of the backhoe in the garage! Lesson learned. The price jump to diesel was my deciding factor, spending 22+ grand for what I ordered was enough for me. Especially for a lawn mower and snow blower.
 

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Comments on what I've read:

I have the HDAPS, like them a lot and prefer over turf tires.

Driving over the deck on concrete is about impossible, I put it on and take it off on level grass. I might look into some sort of blocking/chocking device, but it would be one more thing to keep track of. If I did stuff with the deck frequency, it would be worthy figuring out some jig to help.

I got the alternator upgrade so I could power a sprayer and just not worry about overloading anything.

Pete
 

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Driving over the deck on concrete is about impossible, I put it on and take it off on level grass. I might look into some sort of blocking/chocking device, but it would be one more thing to keep track of. If I did stuff with the deck frequency, it would be worthy figuring out some jig to help.
Pete
Have you tried dropping the deck on a rubber mat or other non-slip material? Works for me on my slick concrete floor.
 

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I'll give that a try, good idea!

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to everyone who replied to my questions. You all have been very helpful. I'm about ready to order the tractor and am leaning towards the X738. I certainly do realize the points in favor of the diesel, but find myself concerned with comments I've heard about the diesel stink while mowing and the sooting up of the garage. Some like the smell, I'm not to sure I would. I live in an area that practically has no wind so the odors would certainly linger. Longevity of the diesel doesn't concern me because at my age the gasser will certainly outlast me anyway.

I would appreciate any additional comments regarding the validity or not of my aforementioned concerns.
 

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Thanks to everyone who replied to my questions. You all have been very helpful. I'm about ready to order the tractor and am leaning towards the X738. I certainly do realize the points in favor of the diesel, but find myself concerned with comments I've heard about the diesel stink while mowing and the sooting up of the garage. Some like the smell, I'm not to sure I would. I live in an area that practically has no wind so the odors would certainly linger. Longevity of the diesel doesn't concern me because at my age the gasser will certainly outlast me anyway.

I would appreciate any additional comments regarding the validity or not of my aforementioned concerns.
I had a 455 diesel for 16 years. You don't get much smoke or smell. I have the X739 now. Couldn't get the AWS /AWD in a diesel. It's definitely harder on fuel than my diesel was but other than that you can't go wrong with either.
 

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The newer engines gas or diesel have to meet Calf.emissions plus and EPA updates in the last few years so with either one your not going to get the exhaust smell as much as older ones.
Now that you made the choice what's on the attachment list?
 
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I have a X754 (AWS & diesel). It is a pleasure to use, and the shaft drive deck is far smoother than the belt driven L130 POS I used to have. I also have the auto-connect and I'm so glad I got it so I don't have to flop around on the floor like a fish out of water connecting the driveshaft. The drive-over feature has been less impressive as I take my deck off on my garage floor and the damn thing slides around. I'll have to try the stall mat idea mentioned earlier. Also the AWS makes mowing around obstacles a breeze; but its sensitivity makes getting the deck lined up just right to reconnect it a tad bit of a nuisance.

After disabling the damn RIO (lawyer) switch, I put the coarsest grip tape I could get from Home Depot on the deck to give the drive wheels more bite.

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My only gripe with the X7xx series is the rear mounted radiator air intakes get covered in chaff quickly if you live in a dry climate like I do. Watch your temperature gauge!

Regarding the diesel smell. I have a 2001 4200 for doing the heavy tractor chores. The X754 doesn't sound or smell like my 4200 does.
 

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Hello:
Do you lube the splines on the stub shaft on the mower deck gearbox? Mine came dry from dealer, 54" HC deck with auto connect.
kenner
 

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Hello:
Do you lube the splines on the stub shaft on the mower deck gearbox? Mine came dry from dealer, 54" HC deck with auto connect.
kenner
I always smear a little grease on mine before installing deck. Also good idea to check the two setscrews on the adapter. Takes a metric allen wrench.
 

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I painted some marine anti-seize on the autoconnect coupler a while back and that's stayed in place much better than plain go grease.
 

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If the 738 is what you think will suit you best then I would say go for it. The 58 will burn less fuel per hour and will have some longevity over the 38, but that sounds like a non issue for you as well.

There is some smell at startup with a 58. It goes away in seconds. The only time you get soot is in the winter IMO when you start them cold (below zero) and that only lasts until it warms up.

I chose my deck with the standard non auto connect shaft connection. Its not that bad to connect but it does require you to get on the ground. If you never take the deck off it will never be an issue. I went the way I did because I use all kinds of other stuff that require me to have the deck off and I didn't want that bracket hanging down to get damaged in the woods or someplace.

The cut quality of the 54HC is excellent and the deck design is good. I know of 4 HC decks and none of them have any vibration or rattle to speak of. My personal machine has 580 hours on it with no troubles. Keep the spindles greased and it should last a very long time.
 
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