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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    SouthWestern Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default JohnDeere 550 Gator

    Anyone have any experience with one of these. Looking at one now but know very little about them. Have owned numerous ATVs all makes and models even still have one a 700 Yamaha . Will keep this but need something that can haul flowers mulch water and go to the top of our little mountain trail. Wife will use it mostly use it. Comments please

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    SouthWestern Virginia
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    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    No one has purchased one of these 550s yet? Would really like to hear from someone who has. Really like the leg/foot room but is motor to small?

  3. #3
    Silver Member Milo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    196
    Location
    Preston County, WV
    Tractor
    Kubota B7500, Polaris Ranger 500

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    I had my choice narrowed down to a 550 Gator or Polaris 400/500 Ranger because at 56" they were the next narrowest side-by-side after my Mule 610 that fit my needs of a nice bed, and bench seat. I did a brief test ride on the Gator and 500 efi Ranger. They both have similar ground clearance and travel with their independent suspensions, along with similar load and towing capacity. I actually feel the Gator's double wishbone front suspension should be a bit more stout than the Rangers. But then again I've never heard of Rangers having any problems with their suspensions.

    The Gator I rode was a little cold natured to start but after a brief warm-up the choke could be pushed off. It had some rattles emanating from the bed area. The bed snaps down securely, but it's not held down tight which allows it to vibrate. It might not with a load in it. It rode well (much better than my old Mule) and accelerated well off the line but kind of ran out of power and flattened out, they say around 27 mph. It felt like it had just a bit more power and speed than my 13.5 hp Mule but the engine was also a little noisier and "buzzier". The Gator has a 2 cylinder 16hp Briggs and Stratton engine. I can't recall if it's liquid cooled or not. Compared to my Mule it had a much nicer suspension and more ground clearance, but barely any faster.

    The Ranger 500 with its fuel injection started on the first try then settled into a nice idle. (The 400 is carbureted but I didn't try it. They say it runs about the same as the 500) With just partial throttle the Ranger felt quicker off the line and it took the bumps at least as well as the Gator. The steering is great being fairly quick yet seemed effortless, almost like power steering but it isn't. A little more throttle and I notice I'm going 30 mph on the standard speedometer (none on the Gator) and the engine is smooth. Then I floor it and it really takes off but around 40 MPH I let off. (It is a brand new machine after all) The reason it runs so much better than the Gator is it's liquid cooled, counterbalanced, single cylinder engine makes 32 HP. I later find that Polaris has been using this engine for years and it has a bullet proof reputation.
    I think I would have been OK with the Gator 550 but after riding both I went with the Ranger 500 EFI. In the woods my Mule was fine but there were too many other times where it was simply way too slow and the Gator wouldn't have been much of an improvement in that regard. The best value is probably the 400 Ranger. It's engine is actually around 450cc and makes 29 hp, and the "400" is $1,000 less. (msrp $8,300 vs $9,300). Compared to the 500, the 400 is carbureted and doesn't have the speedo and tach also. I think the Gator was priced to me at $8,300 also after the JD dealer added freight and "prep".
    The reason I spent the extra $1K for the 500 wasn't the extra 3 hp, but mostly for fuel injection. I believe it'll make it easier to start and idle to warm up, especially in the winter. FI tends to be less affected with ethanol. I'm also thinking of taking it to Colorado and Utah and at those elevations it should be a big improvement over a carburetor. The digital speedometer on the 500 is nice to have and the tach will be useful to check idle speed.
    Last edited by Milo; 11-06-2012 at 09:03 AM.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    SouthWestern Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    Thanks I will go try a 500 Polaris

  5. #5
    Bronze Member IntervaleFarms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    99
    Location
    Burtts Corner, New Brunswick Canada
    Tractor
    John Deere 4110

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    I would also recommend checking out the Polaris Rangers. I also was considering the 550 Gator but ended up going with a 400 Ranger...mostly due to the significant clearance sale I found. I probably would have gone with a 500 Ranger otherwise. So far I am very happy with my decision and cold starting hasn't been an issue yet.
    Case IH 485
    Polaris Ranger 400

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    13
    Location
    asheville nc
    Tractor
    2007 John Deere 3203, 2001 john deere l118 garden tractor. 30+ peices of John Deere construction equipment

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    My 2008 500 Polaris Ranger has always started right up and it is AMAZING to have. I highly recommend it.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    677
    Location
    Maine
    Tractor
    International 2544 / Gator 825i

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    Seems like the bed rattle is pretty common...this member on the JD gator forum had a fix for it that he listed here along with some other upgrades he's done to it....made a nice little unit out of it so far http://www.johndeeregatorforum.com/f...Gator-Upgrades

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3
    Location
    Spring Valley, WI
    Tractor
    Gator 550

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    This is my first winter with the Gator 550 and I'm not impressed with the engine. It doesn't like the cold. The engine is air cooled and it seems that the cooling is designed for warm weather, when it is below zero the engine seems to never get warmed up. As a result I have stalling issues when idling and have to replace the oil frequently as it takes on a milky appearance due to water. I am using synthetic oil and have used the Gator down to about -20F. If I store the Gator in a heated garage it runs great until it cools down.

    I also really don't like the fact that the gas pedal and brake pedal are the same height. If I wear large winter boots it's easy to step on both pedals when I try to stop. If the brake pedal were higher (like in a car) it would be safer.

    All in all the Gator works OK but if I were to do it over again I would look more closely at other brands and models. There is just too much cost cutting and the engine is typical Briggs quality (that is not a good thing). On the other hand the suspension is very good.

    -Whaleya

  9. #9
    Veteran Member PMA's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    1,135
    Location
    South Carolina
    Tractor
    John Deere 5325, CI Farmall 85U, Mccormick International 404

    Default

    My cousin bought a JD Gator 550 and it had like 14 hours when it started smoking and would not cut off [dieseling] Took to dealership after keeping it a month they said they fixed it after replacing several parts. He got it back, now with 21 hours it started doing the same thing again. Has anyone had this problem? I have a 620I that is 4 years old and never had a bit of problem. His gator has a Briggs and Stratton motor. Sent from my iPhone using TractorByNet

    Sent from my iPhone using TractorByNet

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    SouthWestern Virginia
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    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default Re: JohnDeere 550 Gator

    Have had the 550 gator since right after Christmas and so far so good. Easy to start and runs great , only problem was rusting bed rails which were replaced by the dealer. 10 hour service has already been done and the machine goes anywhere on our 21 acres that you want to go. Even trailored it to South Carolina to ride and other than cold and snow no problems. The floor board room is great and the power is adequate. Bed rattle has not shown up yet. Did add some hella driving lights which really light up the night

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