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post #1 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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JD 345 20 hp purchase question

I'd like to get something with a 54" deck to take the load off of my LX188 and the 48" deck, I have a lot of grass to mow.

I have owned air and water cooled Kawasaki powered JD's with good results so I was looking for something a little larger than the LX 188 and the 345 seemed to be a good choice. I did a search here on a 345 and from all accounts, except for the cam gear issues on early 18hp models, it seems that they are pretty solid buys.

Everything I've owned was more basic, no power steering or hydraulic deck raise/lower for example, so I'm a little concerned about issues with those "frills", are they troublesome?

At the moment, I have a choice between:

A late 18hp model from a private owner with 1300 hours and a service history that has a cracked hood and some other cosmetic flaws for $1,300. It's pretty dusty and needs a good cleaning but it starts right up and seems solid.

A very early 20hp model from a dealer that looks like new with 1400 hours for $2,000. They are closed today so I can't ask about it or go look at it, so I thought I would pick brains here before they open monday.

(They also have a GT245 with a power flow and 800 hours for $2k but that's aircooled and I don't need the power flow, I sold the unit that came with the LX 188).

My inclination is to spend the extra for the dealer 345 on the assumption they have gone through it but I learned on my LX188 from a different dealership that's not always the case. I also haven't seen much on the 20hp engine but I'd rather have the 2 extra hp on a 54" deck if there aren't issues with that engine.

What do you guys think?

Thanks

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post #2 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 11:32 AM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

Depending on your buget, a 345 with 20 hp water cooled engine is the way to go........If you can I would look for one with between 600 to 800 hrs depending on your budget.

They are good garden tractors for sure. I had one awhile ago. Just wanted something bigger and diesel, decided on a X495. I'm happy with it.

My 345 had about 800 hrs on it when I sold it.

Even look for a GX345, it's a newer 345 same series.

Something like this might be great, depending on condition and you can swing price. Have the guy send you some pictures are go see it........Won't last long at that price.
https://columbus.craigslist.org/grd/...858296086.html

If you have never rode on one yet, you will love the feel of it and the power steering, makes a load of diffference.

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post #3 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by Jimbochap View Post
Depending on your buget, a 345 with 20 hp water cooled engine is the way to go........If you can I would look for one with between 600 to 800 hrs depending on your budget.

They are good garden tractors for sure. I had one awhile ago. Just wanted something bigger and diesel, decided on a X495. I'm happy with it.

My 345 had about 800 hrs on it when I sold it.

Even look for a GX345, it's a newer 345 same series.

Something like this might be great, depending on condition and you can swing price. Have the guy send you some pictures are go see it........Won't last long at that price.
https://columbus.craigslist.org/grd/...858296086.html

If you have never rode on one yet, you will love the feel of it and the power steering, makes a load of diffference.
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, $2k is the top end of my budget so I don't have a ton of options water cooled and low hours.

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post #4 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 12:08 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

I had lack of success with cub cadet decks, sold my remaining Gt2550 and was so happy with my LX178 that I decided to go deere all the way and stay water cooled. My first inclination was the 345. I drove well over 100 miles to look at one but was disappointed in its condition for the price. Then I stumbled on a 445 in great shape for its age and the price was right. With 12 acres to mow, the 60" deck was welcome and I got shaft drive to the deck! I couldn't be more pleased. If you've a lot to mow like I do, the 60 inches is the way to go. The only drawback I can see is the 300 pound weight when you need to pull it. I use a chain and the LX178 to get it in and out of there.....works beautifully.

In the past:
Craftsman, MTD, Snapper, 1961 Ford 801 Powermaster, 1992 LB 4.5HP 580546, 2003 LB 10552 6.5HP Duraforce, IH Cub Cadet 105, 2001 Cub Cadet 2146 14HP Linamar 38" deck, love of my life (Sold 10 Dec 2011), 2007 Cub Cadet 2550 22HP Kohler Vtwin 50"deck (Sold 22 Aug 2018)
In use:
1994 JD LX178 sweet little mower, only 15HP, twin cyl, 38" deck, liquid cooled!
1998 JD 445 22HP Shaft driven wheels, shaft driven 60" deck, diff-lock, hydraulic lift, power steering, fuel & temp gauges, fuel injected, and liquid cooled! This machine has it all!
2005 Nortrak NT 254 25HP Diesel 5' FEL, here's a case of cost-cutting, I only need a tractor 3 or 4 times a year

Going to try to stay Liquid Cooled the rest of my life! Hey, it gets HOT here!
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post #5 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by mowergene View Post
I had lack of success with cub cadet decks, sold my remaining Gt2550 and was so happy with my LX178 that I decided to go deere all the way and stay water cooled. My first inclination was the 345. I drove well over 100 miles to look at one but was disappointed in its condition for the price. Then I stumbled on a 445 in great shape for its age and the price was right. With 12 acres to mow, the 60" deck was welcome and I got shaft drive to the deck! I couldn't be more pleased. If you've a lot to mow like I do, the 60 inches is the way to go. The only drawback I can see is the 300 pound weight when you need to pull it. I use a chain and the LX178 to get it in and out of there.....works beautifully.
I would like to look at higher end models like the 445 but I'm really limited in budget right now and summer is coming so I need to move soon. If the 345 at the dealer is what it appears to be, I assume it won't be around long and I'll have a decision to make tomorrow.

My neighbor has a few watercooled Kawasaki JD's from the same 1990's era as my 188 and the 345 and he has 1800 hours on them without issues.

I had a lot of trouble with Craftsman decks splitting at the leading edge flanges which is why I bought my first John Deere 180 probably 15 or more years ago. I've rebuild the spindles and replaced belts but the deck is still solid and my old yard was mostly woods and really rough. I've got a thread somewhere else about the 180 being underwater November of 2017 and it's still running, used it yesterday for a few hours as a matter of fact. That sold me on the Kawasaki engines and John Deere.

I would still get crank windows in my cars if offered so I don't mind manual steering and deck raise if it means less to go wrong, haha.

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post #6 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 02:37 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by 8888 View Post
I would like to look at higher end models like the 445 but I'm really limited in budget right now and summer is coming so I need to move soon. If the 345 at the dealer is what it appears to be, I assume it won't be around long and I'll have a decision to make tomorrow.

My neighbor has a few watercooled Kawasaki JD's from the same 1990's era as my 188 and the 345 and he has 1800 hours on them without issues.

I had a lot of trouble with Craftsman decks splitting at the leading edge flanges which is why I bought my first John Deere 180 probably 15 or more years ago. I've rebuild the spindles and replaced belts but the deck is still solid and my old yard was mostly woods and really rough. I've got a thread somewhere else about the 180 being underwater November of 2017 and it's still running, used it yesterday for a few hours as a matter of fact. That sold me on the Kawasaki engines and John Deere.

I would still get crank windows in my cars if offered so I don't mind manual steering and deck raise if it means less to go wrong, haha.
Me, too, on the crank windows. I inherited my dad's truck that was 23 years old when he died and the passenger window was real hard to turn.....he'd never used it since the truck had A/C. I took it off, looked it over, lubed it up and it was just like new! Power windows quit at the most inopportune times AND always in the wrong position.

I know that in certain parts of the country, the used tractors go for a premium but sometimes you find the person who needs to sell. I didn't pay any more for the 445 than I was willing to pay for the 345. The power steering is quite a plus considering the weight of the tractor with the 300 pound deck! I can "palm" the turns quickly and easily. The hydraulic deck lift it marvelous, too.

One size upward never hurts.......like a car with too much hp or a wife that's too pretty and cooks well, too!

In the past:
Craftsman, MTD, Snapper, 1961 Ford 801 Powermaster, 1992 LB 4.5HP 580546, 2003 LB 10552 6.5HP Duraforce, IH Cub Cadet 105, 2001 Cub Cadet 2146 14HP Linamar 38" deck, love of my life (Sold 10 Dec 2011), 2007 Cub Cadet 2550 22HP Kohler Vtwin 50"deck (Sold 22 Aug 2018)
In use:
1994 JD LX178 sweet little mower, only 15HP, twin cyl, 38" deck, liquid cooled!
1998 JD 445 22HP Shaft driven wheels, shaft driven 60" deck, diff-lock, hydraulic lift, power steering, fuel & temp gauges, fuel injected, and liquid cooled! This machine has it all!
2005 Nortrak NT 254 25HP Diesel 5' FEL, here's a case of cost-cutting, I only need a tractor 3 or 4 times a year

Going to try to stay Liquid Cooled the rest of my life! Hey, it gets HOT here!
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post #7 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 07:27 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

The power steering and hyd lift are dead reliable. The only real problem area is the fuel pump. Do a search on this forum - BBQed GX345
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post #8 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 07:56 PM
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Don’t assume dealer sold mowers have been “gone through”.

The more money they put into them the less they make.

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post #9 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 08:11 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

I would drive both of the two you are looking at and go from there. Be sure to run them until warm and run the decks too, listening for bearing noise. Look them over/under for any sign of fluid leaks. I'm not sure how much difference you will notice between the 18hp and the 20hp power wise, $700 is quite a bit for that little bit of an upgrade, imo. My 345 is a '97 18hp, stilling running the plastic cam and is my favorite for cutting the grass. It has plenty of power to pull my 4x6 utility trailer loaded with oak firewood with no issues, in fact, my 112 (when it was running) could do the same.

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post #10 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 08:12 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

Quote:
Originally Posted by JD-285 View Post
Don’t assume dealer sold mowers have been “gone through”.

The more money they put into them the less they make.

Ditto

2012 X728
48C deck
MC519 collection system
3 point hitch
47" blower and suitcase weights
54" blade
Curtis ROPS soft side cab
Front bumper and fenders
Front mounted thatcher
45 Loader

1997 345
48" deck
snow thrower
2 bag bagger

1984 420 with 50" deck - sold

1968 112 all original, from my dad, with:
deck, snow thrower, white patio blade, cab, 1966 #80 cart with vac system, all shop manuals
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post #11 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 08:20 PM
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What kind of warranty does one get from a dealer on a mower this old?

285 "Wife's"
285 "The Ames"
165 "The 165" (Upgrade to FC420V from 170)
111H "Baby B."
445 “Braille”
X500
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post #12 of 78 Old 04-07-2019, 09:05 PM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by 8888 View Post
I would like to look at higher end models like the 445 but I'm really limited in budget right now and summer is coming so I need to move soon. If the 345 at the dealer is what it appears to be, I assume it won't be around long and I'll have a decision to make tomorrow.
If fuel injection isn't important, and you are happy with a carb, don't forget to look at the 425 as well, I saw several for good prices in Ohio when I was looking to buy over the last couple of weeks. They can be found within your budget frequently.
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post #13 of 78 Old 04-08-2019, 01:40 AM
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by papashelby View Post
Ditto
Yup, bought two Ariens walkbehinds from a dealer that supposed had gone over them, get them home, both had frozen idlers for the drive setup, both had super-black oil, and one the oil level didn't even reach the dipstick...
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post #14 of 78 Old 04-08-2019, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by rayjay View Post
The power steering and hyd lift are dead reliable. The only real problem area is the fuel pump. Do a search on this forum - BBQed GX345
I will. I seem to remember the LX188 having something similar?

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post #15 of 78 Old 04-08-2019, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 345 20 hp purchase question

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Originally Posted by JD-285 View Post
Don’t assume dealer sold mowers have been “gone through”.

The more money they put into them the less they make.
I found this out with a different dealer when I bought the LX188, the salesman claimed it had been gone through and the service department contradicted her right after I got it home and found dirty oil and a clogged air cleaner. I raised so much hell they ended up giving me a few maintenance kits, bringing them to my house.

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