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dufftron

Looking to "upgrade"

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dufftron

Hi All,

I've been using a Simplicity 7116 w/48" deck for the past 10 years to mow my property that totals ~6 acres. About half of that is woods that doesn't get mowed, 25% typical lawn and 25% what I will simply categorize as rough (Existing trails, making new trails, creating an orchard from what had become a buckthorn and honeysuckle nightmare, etc.).

I like the garden tractor but to be honest have never liked the mower. The cut height is too low and it's become hard to get parts and sometimes the part you think you need ends up being the wrong part.

So, I'd like to get a new machine for mowing. The 7116 can stick around for other stuff if needed.

I don't need anything fancy but $$$ also isn't really an issue. I suspect I need something a bit newer so I don't end up having trouble with parts. I would prefer a nice mowing deck that can cut at least 3.5" without having to screw around and I would prefer to mulch.

Anyone want to recommend something? There are so many used Simplicity models that I don't even know what to look at!

Tom

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dufftron

Yeah for sure. I am hoping people can at least point in a few useful directions to do those investigations.

I like the 7116 because it's simple and has been fairly tough. Don't like the mower deck. Need something about this same size and power to pull around a trailer full of firewood.

Are there any recommendations for similar machines, slightly more modern with a better mulching mower deck and reasonably easy access to replacement parts? Which newer Simplicity garden tractors would you look at?

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PhanDad

I agree the only "downer" with the "Sovereigns" is the lack of cutting height with the deep decks.  That's why I've switched to summer mowing exclusively to the Homelite T-12 with the shallow right discharge deck that'll cut up to about 4".  

As to "new" tractors, I have no personal experience.  I can say the members with larger properties (like yours) are going Legacy.  And the vertical shaft Prestige seems to be another choice for a "good" tractor with a fair amount of versatility.  

But IMO based on postings, they don't seem to be made as tough as the old Sovereigns; one of the issues with both tractor is the front axles.  Here's a couple posts about those issues:

https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/65836-early-legacy-the-axle-problem-to-look-for/

https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/64111-simplicity-steering-issues-help-needed/

And as an aside, "back in the day" (60's through I'd say the '80's), the various "Sovereign" deep decks I used then, cutting height didn't seem to be an issue.  But in the Phila area, it's gotten a fair amount hotter and drier than I remember it being back then. I think that's the main problem with mowing at a max height of 3" with those decks.  

 

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SmilinSam
4 hours ago, dufftron said:

I don't need anything fancy but $$$ also isn't really an issue. I suspect I need something a bit newer so I don't end up having trouble with parts. I would prefer a nice mowing deck that can cut at least 3.5" without having to screw around and I would prefer to mulch.

Anyone want to recommend something? There are so many used Simplicity models that I don't even know what to look at!

Tom

Well, the 7100 series(Soveriegn) style tractors were last produced in 2000. 90's to early 2000's  Landlords were the vertical shaft equivalent/counterpart of the 7100 series.. The Conquest and Prestige tractors replaced both the Soverign and Landlords.  If you want to stay in the same size/class those are your options. They also did make a 40" mulching deck for a while for the conquest/prestige tractors. Dont really know how well it worked. Had one once but never used it more than once or twice in dry shorter grass.

I have been managing a 10 acre property here for the last 20+ years. Used most Simplicity models made over the years playing with them in the hobby. I dont think you would be happy going to a smaller frame tractor. You could always go up into the Sunstar or Legacy size class. That is what I have done, though I have 2-3 of the Soveriegn "class" here to use the handy attachments made for them.  I generally mow with a Prestige nowadays. My older relics runs things like grader blades, sickle mowers,  weed mowers and such. For the serious grounds work I use the larger subcompacts. I have a Sunstar, a older Legacy, and a Kubota BX25d with loader and backhoe.

It all depends on what you want to do with the tractor. If you buy a bigger unit with a loader or do other bigger work, then you wont be able to mulch mow with it. If you buy one to mulch mow, it probably wont be suitable to do much more.

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Chris727

I have a '99 Landlord DLX and 2011 Prestige.  I love the 50" deck of the Landlord but the tractor leaves a bit to be desired in some respects.  The Landlord has around 730 hours on it. My prestige has around 680 hours on it. I have only owned it for the last 30 of those hours.  It has the 54" deck. I wanted the '09 or newer in order to have the fully hydraulic steering.  Ironically that was part of the major expenses as the power steering cylinder was leaking and could not be easily rebuilt. A new cylinder was around $300 and took over a month to get. Special parts have not exactly been easy to get. I do not know if a mulch kit was offered for the 54." At work (JD dealer) a lot of customers inquire about adding mulch kits thinking that they will have fewer clippings or be able to mow tall grass with less mess. These are not ideal scenarios for mulching. I always advise that if someone is going to mulch, they need to mow more frequently and the grass must be drier than when side discharging. Otherwise the deck will need the be cleaned underneath much more frequently. Mulching is better suited to a smaller lawn. Some of the JD mulch kits are now "mulch control." We sell quite a few of them. You can flip a lever on the deck to turn the mulch feature on or off. I do not know if Simplicity offers such a feature. 

Edited by Chris727
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Brettw

Just a thought.  I have taken a deck, adjusted it as high as possible in the front and the back (while still following the guidelines) after installing a new roller bar and rollers.  Then used straight vs. gull wing blades.  I was pushing 3+ inches and still had the great cut.  Still might not be what you are looking for, but that certainly makes a difference in what to expect from the deck's max height.

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SmilinSam

Another consideration to bear in mind is used parts, attachments , and accesories availability. Nothing really equals the availabilty of this kind of stuff as it does for the 7000/7100 series tractors. 30 years  + of relative interchangability. The only other manufacturer that can claim this is Wheel Horse. Landlord, conQuest, Sunstar, and Legacy tractors are harder to find used items for. than the 7100 series. That and there are not as many different attachement choices out there.

The exception in attachment availability is if you have a Legacy or Sunstar with a 3 point hitch. Whether cat 0 or cat 1 , a 3 point adds alot of versatility and options for used equipment availability. However, if you get a tractor without the hitch or without a rear PTO, those options are hard to find, and usually expensive. Not uncommon to have $1200-$1500 ++ in a used 3 pt hitch/rear PTO  combination setup. I have around $1700 in my cat 1  hitch / 540 pto setup hanging on my $1000 Legacy /54" deck tractor. Worth every penny though as far as I am concerned. Especially when I hang that 48" bush hog mower on and go mowing through the 4' tall weeds and brambles...Loaders for the Sunstars and Legacys are also not common and expensive...but again, a tool well worth the investment. ...especially on a multi acre property.

The conquests and Prestiges from 2007? and older( the ones without the newer coil over shock suspensions) can also mount and run a 36" rear rototiller. I have used them on both conquests and prestiges, and currently have one setup for my one prestige. They work great on the prestige. Not so much on a conquest. The conquest manual lift is such that you end up not  being able to get a happy medium for tiller depth and transport height . If you get it set to till deep enough, it wont lift high enough to clear the ground completely. If you set it to clear the ground completely, it wont till deep enough.sm00

There is one big plus to the newer vertical shaft tractors. Cheap used replacement engine options are readily available out there. You just go buy a cheap MTD, sears, or other box store tractor with a junk deck or transmission  that has the engine you need and swap the engine. Sometime you can get one of those tractors complete and running for $300-$500. One of my Prestiges was bought at auction for $600 with  a blown up engine. Bought a $500 low hour engine out of a junk  Lowes Deere L130. Have added 300 hours to the clock since..

Parts tractors for the ConQuest and Prestige  are getting to be a little more available  as time marches forward. The only real wear concerns for those though is the front ends/steering systems. The one plus is that the Brodmoors of the same hood styles share all those same parts. In fact, the Broadmoor/conquest/prestiges are all the same basic chasis. The only real differences between the tractors are the lift systems, wheels, and transmissions. Everything else seem to swap back and forth between them.  The prestiges  08 and older, have power steering, but it is a power assist system that fits in between the steering wheel and lower steering arm/gear. So other than that the steering is essentially all the same on all 3 tractors. Getting to be alot of those Broadmoors out there with dead transmissions for cheap.

So theres some more points to ponder on.

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CarlH
On 6/2/2021 at 4:22 PM, dufftron said:

I would prefer a nice mowing deck that can cut at least 3.5" without having to screw around and I would prefer to mulch.

I  have been using a 60" deck equipped Sunstar the last few years to mow with.  Like Brett, I have done everything to increase the mowing height with a Sovereign.  (The limit appears to be the length of the main drive pulley assembly.  The top pulley has interference with stuff under the Sovereign chassis and the belt gets misaligned.  I didn't cut, shorten, and re-weld the assembly.)

The Sunstar deck, when adjusted to match the Sovereign maximum height still has a higher adjustment notch.  I have not tried a 48" deck on a Sunstar to see if it will mow as high as the 60" deck.  Be aware that it takes significant power to mow heavy, wet, tall Bluegrass with the 60" deck as fast as I want to mow. sm01

NB:  The early Legacy's have much the same 60" deck mechanically as the Sunstar 60" deck,  however the mowing height is adjusted differently (electrically) so its max mowing height is unknown to me.

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tadams

I love my Hustler Zero turn for mowing and the deck adjustment is simple and a push with my foot it up or down and set where I need it.

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Bill725
On 6/3/2021 at 6:13 PM, dufftron said:

I'm going to check out the Legacy.

If you are going to spend that much money for a Legacy or XL, I would highly recommend a liquid-cooled engine, Kawasaki or diesel. I really like my Legacy XL 4WD, with FEL, 3-point and PTO, powered with the 27HP Kawasaki.

Edited by Bill725

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hurleyii

Based on what you said I'd recommend a Sunstar, Duets Ultima, Agco Allis but only a 60" deck has mulch option. However I believe one could do it to a 48" deck with the right amount of fabrication skills. That's assuming a blade exist to do such a thing.

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hurleyii

Also it's been sometime since I seen the post but there is a place we used to order deck wheels from which where boat trailer wheels. They gave us an extra 1/2" of cut height

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