Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
Do you know what model the 38" deck is off of? Anything will work with modifications. As far as an easy swap, model number of other machine would help as I can look up part numbers. Most of them will work, but you will of course need to change belt sizes. make sure to check the deck mounts, and measure that they are approx. the same. They can be off a little and still be utilized. You have to also consider the PTO engagement, are they the same or will things need to be changed for this also.
All in all, JOHN DEERE decks are interchangeable, but it does depend on model of machines