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I've owned my 1979 400 w/60" deck since 1993 and currently have ~1250 hrs on it. Last few years it seems to have lost some power and this year, mower deck gearbox and bearings made it so I couldn't move slow enough to cut lawn. I decided to get a newer mower that actually had a decent turning radius, with plenty of power and didn't want the cost of a new tractor. I ended up with a 2004 GX345 with ~475 hrs. So after 20 years of riding (and fixing) the 400, I'm skeptical of the newer, smaller tractor after mowing lawn once. First I thought I had a rod knock, but after listening to it a while it sounded more like a belt slap (mower not engaged). After getting under it I realized this is a belt drive. The 400 is a real tractor with a drive shaft power train. So I guess I'm looking for information on the GX345 reliability or issues I may have to address at some point. I have to say after getting the 400 with ~450 hrs and owning it 20+ years, that really sold me on John Deere, especially since I can still get many of the parts for a 34 year old tractor. Is the John Deere quality still there on newer models. I have to admit the 345 really makes cutting my lawn easier, with the added power and great turning radius, just questioning durability of this tractor.
 

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Personally speaking I think you've got a great garden tractor in the GX345. Hopefully some of the guys in the know on this model belong to the forum here or have similar machines they can elaborate on :fing32:.
 

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A GX345 is a more reliable tractor in every way than a 400. Not a stump pulling beast, but it is a very robust mid-sized garden tractor. You just need to get used to it!


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The 400 will be more helpful in running multiple attachments. The 3 spool hydraulics will help with a 3PH, tiller, snow equip., etc.
 

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I think for every day duties the new machine will soon win you over, I get to play with one very frequently and I love it. Very user friendly. Don't sell the old one though, you'll regret it...

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You need a 4x5 series. I went from a 400 to a 445. So much nicer in everyway except for the two spool hydraulics. I sold my 400 for more than I paid for the 445 too so maybe that's why I like it so much. The 400 was constant maintenance.
 

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I like old stuff. But after mowing my lawn and property with a 60 year old tractor for 3 years I learned its nice to have a newer modern peice of equipment around. Even if it isn't built like a tank. My x340 isn't half as tuff as the 318 but the X340 will mow circles around it and doesn't require frequent wrenching sessions. My Farmall tractor used to turn key start, then it went to needing a old school hand crank start, then I ended up pulling it with a truck to start it. Then sediment bowl started leaking....list goes on. Then came the X340. Check the oil, sit in seat, start! I feel like a spoiled brat by not needing to do any work before I use it :ROF

That being said, I think the new mower will grow on ya. It's nice to have a turn key and go machine around.
 

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A big advantage for me for the GX345 would be the foot controlled transmission.
 

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I owned a GX345 and overall it's a high quality tractor that's great for mowing. If you are averaging 40 hours a year the GX will easily get you 20 more years of service. The only issues I had with it were the battery light flickering on the dash.


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Discussion Starter #10
The only issues I had with it were the battery light flickering on the dash.
That was one of the first things I noticed and I was wondering if the battery or charging system had issues. I haven't put a meter on it yet to check it out.

I was also wondering about the safety switches on the seat/parking brake and the mower engagement, do these have issues or need adjustment from time to time. Mine seemed to be inconsistent in how they work. I was trying to show my son how everything worked and it would do something different than I just experienced. I've only had the tractor 3-4 days and only cut my lawn once, so I don't know all of the nuances about the tractor.

Another thing that made me suspicious of the Kawasaki motor was when I was looking I ran into 2 different GX345 with low hours (one with only 400 hrs) that seemed to burn excessive oil. One dealer was honest and said motor needed work. The one with 400 hours, the salesman said the tractor had been checked by service with a clean bill of health. The thing seemed like it was a fogger, my 400 has never smoke that bad even after being flooded. Salesman said it was from sitting for a long time, but I didn't buy that. I know buying something used is always somewhat of a gamble, you never know how it was maintained or if it was obused.
 

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Always run at Full Throttle and you may never see the battery light flickering.
 

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That was one of the first things I noticed and I was wondering if the battery or charging system had issues. I haven't put a meter on it yet to check it out.

I was also wondering about the safety switches on the seat/parking brake and the mower engagement, do these have issues or need adjustment from time to time. Mine seemed to be inconsistent in how they work. I was trying to show my son how everything worked and it would do something different than I just experienced. I've only had the tractor 3-4 days and only cut my lawn once, so I don't know all of the nuances about the tractor.

Another thing that made me suspicious of the Kawasaki motor was when I was looking I ran into 2 different GX345 with low hours (one with only 400 hrs) that seemed to burn excessive oil. One dealer was honest and said motor needed work. The one with 400 hours, the salesman said the tractor had been checked by service with a clean bill of health. The thing seemed like it was a fogger, my 400 has never smoke that bad even after being flooded. Salesman said it was from sitting for a long time, but I didn't buy that. I know buying something used is always somewhat of a gamble, you never know how it was maintained or if it was obused.
If your battery checks out ok, it's probably time for a new voltage regulator.
I have a 345 for mowing and a gx345 for snow duties and love using them both. Very nice machines to use everyday.

My 345 with almost 1100 hours puffs a very little smoke when starting, but doesn't smoke at all after 1 or 2 seconds of running. The gx345 with 200 hours never smokes.
 

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I started with a 400 and all the attachments and loved it. As my business grew I now have a 345 for mowing and a 955 for tractor work
 

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That was one of the first things I noticed and I was wondering if the battery or charging system had issues. I haven't put a meter on it yet to check it out.

I was also wondering about the safety switches on the seat/parking brake and the mower engagement, do these have issues or need adjustment from time to time. Mine seemed to be inconsistent in how they work. I was trying to show my son how everything worked and it would do something different than I just experienced. I've only had the tractor 3-4 days and only cut my lawn once, so I don't know all of the nuances about the tractor.

Another thing that made me suspicious of the Kawasaki motor was when I was looking I ran into 2 different GX345 with low hours (one with only 400 hrs) that seemed to burn excessive oil. One dealer was honest and said motor needed work. The one with 400 hours, the salesman said the tractor had been checked by service with a clean bill of health. The thing seemed like it was a fogger, my 400 has never smoke that bad even after being flooded. Salesman said it was from sitting for a long time, but I didn't buy that. I know buying something used is always somewhat of a gamble, you never know how it was maintained or if it was obused.
In the 2-3 years I owned my GX345 I never had an issue with it starting right up. I am sure it was a voltage regulator issue but it must have been minor as I never charged the battery. What makes you say that one of the GX345's you looked at burned excessive oil? On my GX345, if you parked it on incline where the front right tire was lower than the others, I would get some white smoke on startup. But it never needed oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What makes you say that one of the GX345's you looked at burned excessive oil? On my GX345, if you parked it on incline where the front right tire was lower than the others, I would get some white smoke on startup. But it never needed oil.
I probably mis-stated what I meant. The GX345 with ~400 hrs smoked excessively. Not a small puff but a large cloud of white smoke for a minute or two. It didn't clear totally clear up after that, it was still blowing white smoke. It's probably more likely to be a cylinder head leak allowing coolant into the cylinder. It smoke enough to concern me. The current GX345 I bought starts and smokes very little, more what I'd consider normal. The other GX345 I mentioned, the dealer said the motor was bad and they wanted ~$2000.
 

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I have a 2004 GX345 with 500 hrs.on it. I never have to add oil and put 50-60 hrs on it every year. I think they are a great robust tractor.
 

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I used my 322 to mow with for years.I got a GT245 on a trade and used it for a season.
Later sold it and bought a GX345 that I mow with now.
It is an excellent capable machine but is nowhere near what your 400 was.
If you are just mowing with it I think you will like it better but for an all around Garden tractor is pails to the 400.
As the belt drive transmission you will never know it is as it does not perform like it is.I have never slipped a belt.Though not as good as the shaft drive I doubt you will ever even notice a difference.
I kept my 322 as it is an all around better garden tractor.I use it to plow,till,run a Buford Bucket.
However for mowing I prefer the GX345.If I could only own one I would go with the 322 but I am fortunate enough to own both.
I think you will be happy with it over time but just remember that it will never be what your 400 is/was.Keeping both would be the best of both worlds.

AJ
 

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Kind of what aj is saying, I have 7 tractors, and if I had to keep one, it would be the 332. It can't pull nice and slow like a gear drive, but it can pull pretty much anything with decent traction and mows the best of all the others. The hydro/diesel really puts it on the top of the list.
 

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I have had many JD lawn tractors and now have a GX345 and couldn't be happier. The battery light can be sloved by replacing the voltage regulator, at least it cured mine.
 

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Bought my 2005 GX345 in 2007. Had around 160 hrs on it, I think. I now have 406 hrs on it. I just mow with it, plus around the house duties, and maybe a little driveway scraping. I would recommend it. All I have done is just changed oil and hydro fluid, and cleaned the screens and air filter. Oh, and add gas:thThumbsU
 
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