New mower deck... Purchase sight unseen?
I have an "older" B7100d (late '70's vintange) with a Woods RM48 finish mower. The mower is getting shall we say "tired". It needs some new sheet metal at the discharges as well as new caster wheels and a general going over. Mechanically (gearbox, belts, idlers etc.) the unit is in good shape and has served me well, but... I want a "new" full floating deck. There are places in my yard that have NEVER been mowed! I also have bent the casters a number of times and now I can not get the deck to set level so I always have a windrow in the lawn.
I have looked at the Woods, Land Pride, King Kutter and Caroni decks (I want a 48" deck). They all have their features, pros and cons. The prices are from mild to ouch! My research, however, has led me to the First Choice deck. I really like the design, the way it "appears" to be put together, the powder coated finish (the Land Pride deck I looked at had been setting outside for a short period of time and had rust all over it!). I also want a rear discharge deck. The problem is, I have to drive about 2 hours to "see" the deck...
My question is, are those of you who own the First Choice grooming mowers happy with your purchase? Do you think I would be safe in purchasing this deck sight unseen (the dealer can have it shipped to me fully assembled in a couple of days in "orange" to match my 'Bota). Have you had any issues with the deck, good or bad? Do you think the deck is built for a long service life with normal maintenance (15+ years?)?
Thanks in advance for your advice!