I just picked up a GT235 with good compression and carb/fuel problems. Runs just fine when fuel is sprayed in.
I am not worried about that. I will get it running. The engine is an 18 hp Briggs V, so it looks like maybe a 2003.
It also came with a very good condition 48C deck. It had no hood (lol, imagine that) everything else looks good including new tires,
I paid $200 on marketplace. I figured the deck and tires were worth that.
I am thinking that the gt235 might be a good mowing only machine. It is hydro, so that will help the wife and kids.
If things go badly, I will part it out, but it looks promising so far.
Hang on to it, and gradually restore it. Maybe you can find a used hood. The GT225 and GT245 both use the same hood, and I believe the GX255 and GX325/345 also have the same hood. The hood consists of four green pieces and the headlight and grill assemblies, and the metal "hinge" assembly.
I bought a GT235 new in 2002, still have it. Mine has the B&S engine, just turned 600 hours on it. I used it heavily the first three years I had it, then moved it to my Mom's house where it only mowed 1/4 acre, so it basically quit accumulating time, just got used enough to keep the engine running well. Recently, I switched it with my 318 and brought the GT235 back to my place. It still wasn't getting much use, but now that my X748 is in the shop, the GT has taken over mowing over 5 acres again. I mowed most of this morning, and a couple of hours yesterday, high grass that needed cutting several days ago. I had forgotten how good a mower it is. I have the 48C deck, which is perfect for the 18 hp engine. You can put a 54" deck on the tractor, but I think it would be too much if the grass got high. The 48 cuts really smoothly, and it stays cleaner than the 54C that's on my X748, I believe because the X7's deck has some curves and molded areas (for belt clearance and chute design) that tends to collect grass rather than pass it through.
The tractor is heavy enough to give a pretty smooth ride; the seat suspension (two rubber plugs adjustable for ride stiffness) could be improved, but overall it's pretty comfortable. It's also heavy enough for good traction on hills, although it does not have a locking differential. The K71 tranny is a strong one and suitable for ground engaging implements (plow, tiller, snow blower, blade, etc.)Manual lift and manual steering aren't really an issue, the deck isn't all that heavy, and the steering is easy for not having power assist.
I used to have ag tires on back, but changed them to a larger than standard size turf tread. A 24x12-12 tire works great if you decide to upgrade the tires. You might be able to tell in the pictures that I've had to replace the top portion of the hood. Come winter time, it pays to carefully open the hood by slightly spreading it by using the rear side vents, rather than lift it from the middle at the instrument panel.