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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to buy a X728. It will be used for mowing, blowing snow and working on my forest land. I'd equip it with a 3-pt. hitch and rear PTO to operate a wood chipper. Additional jobs will include operating a front grapple for moving logs. (A sub-compact tractor was considered but I don't want a diesel engine. A new X-series is too expensive for my budget.)

This forum and others have educated me about the tractor. For example, I understand I'll need to relocate the lift cylinder before installing the 3-pt. hitch.

What are the good and bad points of an X728? Engine, drivetrain, hydraulics, maintenance, usability?

As a minor example, I sometimes see tape or screws holding the rear taillight lenses in place. Do the lenses get loose over time?

Thanks!
 

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The taillights get broken when owners back up without looking where they are going. The lens is just plastic and will not take that kind of impact. Even with that operator error problen they are excellant tractors. I have pushed snow with a x720 ultimate and it worked great. Probably the only bad thing about them is the price. Roger
 

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For the work you're planning, you'd be much better off with a compact utility tractor, and it will be much less expensive than getting the 728 and equipping it. At a minimum, you should price what it will take to add the 3 point hitch and rear PTO - you may be unpleasantly surprised. A compact tractor will also potentially have the hydraulics to run a front grapple while the 728 does not.

As the owner of a 455, I am very aware of the limitations of the large garden tractors. I inherited mine, but if I were buying I'd go the compact tractor route for sure - the more capable loader, real Cat 1 hitch, standard PTO make it a lot more versatile. I'd also greatly prefer a torquey diesel when running a high-load accessory like a chipper. If you're worried about starting a diesel in Minnesota winters, just get a block heater.

That's my two cents - not meaning to discourage you, but rather to keep you from spending a ton with an unsatisfactory result.
 

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That's a nice grapple Dennis - did you build it yourself? I was thinking of the more conventional ones that mount in place of the loader bucket, and require three hydraulic circuits (although you could always split one with an electric valve).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good point on the taillight damage. I did see one tractor online with undamaged taillights and one screw head sticking out of the bottom edge of each lens. I thought perhaps the lens clips were weak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I were buying I'd go the compact tractor route for sure - the more capable loader, real Cat 1 hitch, standard PTO make it a lot more versatile. I'd also greatly prefer a torquey diesel when running a high-load accessory like a chipper. If you're worried about starting a diesel in Minnesota winters, just get a block heater.
I appreciate your thoughts. You bring up good points.

I can only afford the 1023E and 1025R models. Those used prices are at or above an X728 with an added 3-pt./PTO/misc. parts.

I'm leaning away from the 1023E or 1025R primarily for two reasons:

Diesel Engine: I'm not a fan of the fuel, regardless of the higher torque and today's Tier 4 emission controls. Diesel is being phased out in commercial and consumer vehicles. I am buying a tractor I'll own for 20 years like my family's faithful JD 140 survived 50 years. I think diesel will be dead before gasoline.

Engine Power: The two wood chipper brands I'm looking at require a minimum 20 hp at the PTO. John Deere doesn't have a PTO horsepower spec for the X728, but if the reduction from the engine is similar to a SCUT, the 27-hp X728 will be 20 hp at the PTO. The 1023E and 1025R have 15 and 18 PTO hp, respectively. Obviously, the X728 will be running at the minimum required power so not eating up 5" branches, but at least it's usable.

I'm reading the smallest SCUTs have a Cat 1 Limited 3-pt. hitch like the X728. I don't need a loader. Continuous PTO is fine, too.

The X728 weight is ideal to load into my current utility trailer.
 

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I was just going to post my pic of grapple and move on rather than add to the never-ending X7 vs. 1-series debate but here goes. I was faced with similar decision a while back and for me the X7 was correct choice. I live on 10 acres of woods but really don't do much forest management. I have found I can burn brush much faster than chip it and don't want the chips anyway. I have the 3-point but no rear PTO.

For me, mowing is around trees in the 3/4 acre around house, up/down/sidehill and not much actual area to mow. The 1-series would take me twice as long with switching out of 4WD, be too scary for me on my sidehills, and ROPs would be hooking on all kinds of stuff.

With that said, do I wish my grapple lifted a few feet higher so instead of moving logs, I would lift them onto trailer... yes, but I get by. Both have limited Cat 1 3 points but the 1-series lifts higher and more weight. I have a landscape rake and box blade and another ~ 8 -10" of lift would be nice but I get by. I've never needed to lift more weight as I think the front end gets light with rated weight. If you're going to add the PTO, make sure to get right P/N as I think there was a change at some model year. I think someone on here or MTF has some videos of a MacKissic chipper being driven by X7 but it may be diesel.

On the HP, my advice is not get too hung up on ratings, both the gas and diesel should be sufficient to drive the chipper as long as you aren't abusing the thing. Most that have had both would claim when under load with the snowblower or mower, the diesel will out torque the gas. Either choice will handle snowblower fine.

I could have gone either way on gas/diesel once I chose X7 but I have a reasonable chance of fixing gas myself rather than calling in professionals. I'm not sure I agree with your argument on diesel fuel availability in 20 years... in my neighborhood, if farmers can't get diesel fuel for their 300HP tractors to plant corn/soybeans we'll have bigger societal problems than my garden tractor.
 

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A compact tractor will also potentially have the hydraulics to run a front grapple while the 728 does not.
I love my Grapple.

The X728 has the hydraulics to run a grapple, adding a cut-out valve will help it to work a little faster. Land vehicle Vehicle Tractor Agricultural machinery Tree
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Dennis. You use your tractor in essentially the same way and conditions I'd operate mine, so it is good to learn about your experiences.

I have been out of the loop on today's lawn/garden and utility tractors until recently returning to the market. I didn't realize there was this X7 vs. 1-series debate. All things considered, I believe the X728 package with its gas engine is better for my needs and preferences.

My post title was a mistake. It should read: X728 -- What to look for when buying one

Please reply if you can recommend, based on your experience with an X728, any tips on what to look for when buying one. Do I need to consider anything specific regarding engine, drivetrain, hydraulics, maintenance, etc.?

I appreciate the knowledge base on this forum. And enthusiasm: I sold a tractor here in less than 48 hours.
 

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I don't know whether there are specific condition issues to look at other than the usual... such as does the hour meter work and does it make sense, does the previous owner have maintenance records etc. One item I'll mention just because I'm a little compulsive... the left side of deck is formed into an edge for stiffness and some people seem to grind the edge of the deck down to nothing. Another thing I'll mention is the AWD of the most recent X728s (2009 and newer) are no different than the X738 system. Prior to 2009, the X728 (and its predecessor model the X585 were on-demand mechanical 4WD. The AWD uses hydraulic motors to power front wheels vs. on-demand uses a front driveshaft and differential. People debate which they like, I think by now the AWD is pretty proven in the field.


There have been some issues with the cluster failing or getting full of dirt and they can be expensive to replace. The fuel sensor/pump has been known to fail. The float mode in the SCV has also can pop out of position and sometimes needs a bit of work. Other than that, they are pretty rugged machines.
 

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Thanks to those who pointed out the mini-grapple. While perhaps a little less versatile than the ones which mount in place of the loader bucket, it looks like it has great lift capacity - I may need to get one.
 

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Also, in reply to the original post, do the X7s really require relocating the lift cylinder to install a 3-point hitch? I don't recall needing to do so when I put the hitch on my 455 - admittedly it was a while back.
 

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Yes, the X7 Ultimate series require you to relocate and actually turn around the lift cylinder to install the 3 point. This entails adding a couple small hyd hoses to reach it. I think the change should be effective 2008 and newer. I think for X475/485/585 etc, you have to install a new lift arm for deck but the cylinder is already in back where it belongs. I have never really seen the benefit JD achieved by moving cylinder to the center location rather than in rear where it has been at least since 318/420 days. If you have the dealer install 3-pt it adds a few hundred bucks to install (which makes it a ~$1000 total add) and then they just say "have you considered the 1025, they come standard with 3-point" :lol:

I think for your 455 you just pull rockshaft and a few things and bolt things up but don't have actual experience with it.
 

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Yes, the 455 3-point install was a rockshaft swap and then some bushings and small parts. I think it's a pretty good guess that the cylinder was relocated to save money as relatively few buyers would want a hitch on the tractor. Of course as you point out, adding it then becomes much more expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks to everyone for the information so far. Items like the SCV float issue are good to learn. I've already located info on the DIY maintenance.

What would we do without internet forums? In 1968, my grandfather didn't have the luxury -- he simply drove down the road to buy a shiny new 140 because his son-in-law suggested a green tractor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
After all of the helpful replies about the X728 ... I bought an X585 instead. :) I don't mind the fewer HP and mechanical part-time 4WD.

It's an early model (2003) and thanks to this forum and others, I knew to check for things like the steering control unit hydraulic line update (done). I was looking for an X5/X7 package with a snow thrower -- this one luckily has my preferred single-stage unit, plus a 62" deck and new dealer-installed rear PTO.

Next I'll tackle the 3-pt. hitch installation -- most likely I'll go with a Ruegg based on the lower cost.

Thanks again to those who commented above.
 

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I think you will be happy with the X585. I have little brothers to both; I own both a X485 and X720. The X485 is at my rural property doing mowing and development work. It has Ruegg 3PH installed and fluid filled Ag's on the rear. Besides mowing I use it for preping property for seeding with landscape rake, box blade, and Brinly disc. Love that tractor, I expect much more from it than the X720 which spends a boring life in town mowing and bagging my home lot. Put that thing to work. It will take it .... Gabby
 
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