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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So I've had my doubts about this machine all week, they say if its too good to be true, it usually is. Here is the link:

AG-Pro is one of the only local dealers here, I've found they're pretty big across midwest area. I've been eyeing this because if you search for any other x540 in Ohio, this price literally cannot be beat. This machine is 2011/240hrs/list $3700 (I got them to $3500). Other x540s have 600/700/800hrs, range from 2007-08 and are asking around 4k. So i figured something had to be wrong with it, called the dealer spoke to the salesman who took the trade in and said it was an older couple who decided on a zero turn. So I made the trip up this morning. Keep in mind this is the FIRST LT/GT I've ever driven let alone even started. I'm not kidding.

I get there and OF COURSE my sales guy, the ONLY sales guy working is 19-20yr old and said he started 3 months ago. At the 2 other dealers I visited both my salespeople were very early 20s women who weren't correct in half their statements (saying x540 only accepts 44 front blade, did not understand what i meant by K72) and seemed like they'd rather be at happy hour talking about the hot guy at Trader Joes. Every.SingleTi.me I go to an AG-PRO in Ohio I cannot seem to get an experienced, knowledgeable salesperson. I'll give it up for Colton though incase he or anyone he knows reads this, he was at least trying. Kid just started but he knew more than me, I mean Ive never even driven a lawn/garden tractor.

I cannot tell you why I didn't take any pictures! I so disappointed with myself, I was gonna take pictures of the frame, engine bay deck and post them here. When I got there I was completely wrapped up in looking at it and it never crossed my mind.

Exterior is in good shape for 9yrs old, looks garaged or in a shed. Paint a little dull but 30 min and some compound this thing would look like 2018. A few scuffs that most likely wont come out and a black streak on one the rear fenders should come off with paint thinner or goo gone. Steering wheel pretty faded (dont care) back of seat is pretty bad, completely separated from plastic seat frame to about halfway down. I've decided I will replace the seat if purchased.

Deck looks good. A few tiny rust spots, much of what you see in the pictures above is dirt and grass. Knocked all over it , seems very solid. I spun the blades by hand and they took some force to move. Not like muscle, but they didnt spin freely. I was told to do this by you guys, not sure what this means.

Engine bay was clean, 2020 battery, oil was clear. Air filter looked white.

So he starts it up and it puffs out some white smoke, Ive read this is normal here. He said it hadn't been started in awhile and the fuel was very low. After idling for maybe 20-30 sec, he accelerates and it stalls. Said again it hasn't been started in awhile, they leave them outside at night. Started back up, no abnormal sounds to me (not that I know what im listen for, but no crazy knocks or bangs) this time he gets maybe 10ft and it stalls again. He mentions the fuel is very low and I look. Its somewhere between 1/4 and E. So he has to run inside to finalize a sale and I hop on, starts up and I put around the parking lot for about 5 min. No stalls. Steering seemed REALLY easy/loose. I attribute this to the power steering but I've never steered anything else? I actually prefer tight powerful steering like those euro sedans or my Mazda. But thats a car so...Deck was on the ground and it was pavement so it was loud but no "uncommon noises" Went in reverse, seemed smooth, he came back out and I parked it. There was no available field to "let loose"
Engine definitely got a lot louder as increased the throttle. I think thats normal.


So he starts it back up and I say let me see the lift. Nothing. At all. So he mentions a tech was tooling around on it for a couple shifts out back and was interested in purchasing but didnt have the funds. He also says he heard someone saying that the "hangars" were not connected to the deck for lift. So I told him to hit the lever while I watch underneath and figure I would see some movement of some kind. Nothing. Nothing i could hear either. He looks while I operate switch and he sees nothing. We both see 2 what look like 3in bolts attached to the frame and just lying on the deck near the rear of the deck. We could move these freely and i figure this has something to with it. Conveniently neither sales nor service was in today ( I waited until Sat to go up there thinking that's the busiest day and all depts would be staffed) so he called another sales guy who didn't have any answers. Ultimately there was no solution.

I had him kick the blades on and they wouldn't. Tried twice to engage the PTO and it didn't work. I then see the parking brake is on and ask him if thats the issue. He said i don't think so but released the PB and the blades spun up. Sounded quick, did it 3 times. Im assuming this is a safety precaution? Also a loud squeal when turning on the blades, said its the belts gaining tension and is completely normal.

We talked about price and pricing out some attachments and the way I found that deere credit line worked. Different rates for different products? I was going to roll in all my attachments at a lower rate but deere informed me only the machine is 6.9 everything else is 9.9% and they are considered separate purchases. We both agree that there would be no sale until proven that the hydraulics work and I would want a report from service as to why or what they did to fix. Here's the thing, I don't want to go back. He said he would call me first thing Monday and then send me a video of the lift engaging and I stated I would be talking to service as to why it wasn't working. If I purchased I would attempt to have the machine transferred to a sister store nearby and either pickup or pay for delivery from there. I do have access from a family member to a trailer but they are 45 min south of me which would make the round trip for them like 7-8 hours. He said we process payment all over the phone if I wish.

While driving home I got to thinking THATS WHY ITS SO MUCH CHEAPER THAN THE OTHER X540S THEYRE SELLING, the hydraulics are busted. Most likely not true as I would THINK they would state that in the listing or at least a note in their system. I was told they only had $2400 into it and that's the reason for the price. Still doesn't make sense to me when they could easily charge 1k more and I think it would sell but I'm not going to argue.

So if anyone is kind enough or bored enough to comment everything will be taken seriously. This is obviously my first purchase and I will be using this for some ground engagement and snow removal (residential, my home) so it needs to be solid. Since I joined here a week ago everything Ive posted has been responded to and with great advice. These are one of the most polite/warm/welcoming boards on the net. I appreciate you all.
 

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Well hydraulics leak, if it were "busted" you wouldn't have driven around on it since the same pump is used for the transmission and hydraulics. Did you turn the deck knob to the lowest setting before looking for movement of the deck lift? If the hangers to the deck weren't connected then it may have been set for the highest level so not much movement. I wouldn't rule the machine out, just tell them you are coming back when a mechanic is there and that you'd like to see all functions working. If they say that won't be possible then you have your answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well hydraulics leak, if it were "busted" you wouldn't have driven around on it since the same pump is used for the transmission and hydraulics. Did you turn the deck knob to the lowest setting before looking for movement of the deck lift? If the hangers to the deck weren't connected then it may have been set for the highest level so not much movement. I wouldn't rule the machine out, just tell them you are coming back when a mechanic is there and that you'd like to see all functions working. If they say that won't be possible then you have your answer.
Im not ruling it out by any means. I was told it was working fine before, they may have serviced the desck and not connected the hangars. I just need to see it working
 

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I'd go look at it again for sure. Have a mechanic with you if you're unsure of certain things.

Sounds like it's fine to me. Just make sure to add some diesel or gas to the tank (whatever that machine uses) and make sure it don't stall out. And if dealership has the hydraulics working, check that out too.

All good then I'd buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Do you know if they have a copy of the manuals with it?
I highly doubt it. I started a discussion specifically about this last week asking where I can find a paper copy of the operators manual. All I can find is online .pdf an nobody had any idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd go look at it again for sure. Have a mechanic with you if you're unsure of certain things.

Sounds like it's fine to me. Just make sure to add some diesel or gas to the tank (whatever that machine uses) and make sure it don't stall out. And if dealership has the hydraulics working, check that out too.

All good then I'd buy it.
what is that stalling a symptom of? I suppose it could be many things?
 

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You can probably find a paper copy on eBay the have them all the time, but make sure to get an original not one of the copies, not only illegal but copy quality on them isn't very good. I think eBay cracked down on the copies due to JD hitting them with a DMCA notice.

 

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The stalling is thanks to the epa, to meet emmissions standard the kawasakis (across the board at least with JD) are slightly lean and cold blooded.for some reason the x540s were the worst at that.
 
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If you de
I highly doubt it. I started a discussion specifically about this last week asking where I can find a paper copy of the operators manual. All I can find is online .pdf an nobody had any idea.
If you decide to buy the machine tell them that the factory manuals are part of the deal.
 

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A few things. Puff of smoke at startup. Try cranking and after a couple cranks, then push the choke. That's how these liquid cooled Kawasakis act.

The stalling could be a number of things. A common failure on these is the ECM. Its $100 and extremely simple to replace if that's the problem. Youtube channel Taryl Fixes All has a test for an ECM problem (on x300, but same principle applies)

As to deck lift, check to make sure hydraulic fluid is full. Like has been mentioned, if it moves, the hydraulics should also be working. And definitely check to see where the deck height was positioned. Move it to the highest height. Try the lift to see if it will move to the highest height. If it does not move, move the height knob down to the 2.5 and see if it will go down. The height adjustment knob is supposed to be moved only when the deck is fully raised.
 

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It all sounded pretty normal for an X540 to me. They always smoke at the first start-up and they will stall until warmed up. I do not know what you meant by large bolts lying on the deck. It sounds like someone has messed with the deck lift rods and didn't put them back on. On almost all JD hydraulic lift mowers the lift arms will not come down without some help if the deck is not hooked up to it. If the deck has been unhooked then the hydraulic lift arms will not come down. If I lived there I would offer them $3000 and take it like it is. Make sure there are no cracks in the hood. There is no good fix for them and they will spread. A new one is about $500. That is too good of a mower to pass on if the problems are just little ones. Find out what the 3-inch bolts are. Did they have loops on one end? If so, they are the deck lift rods.
 

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Don't finance a used machine because the rates are usually terrible (as you found). Pay with a credit card and then do a balance transfer to another credit card. Reason being, some cards give you 0% for 12 months on balance transfers.


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Discussion Starter #14
The stalling is thanks to the epa, to meet emmissions standard the kawasakis (across the board at least with JD) are slightly lean and cold blooded.for some reason the x540s were the worst at that.
Any more info on this? Other with 300 hrs 540s have any experience with this? I assume its just a sensor?
 

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A few things. Puff of smoke at startup. Try cranking and after a couple cranks, then push the choke. That's how these liquid cooled Kawasakis act.

The stalling could be a number of things. A common failure on these is the ECM. Its $100 and extremely simple to replace if that's the problem. Youtube channel Taryl Fixes All has a test for an ECM problem (on x300, but same principle applies)

As to deck lift, check to make sure hydraulic fluid is full. Like has been mentioned, if it moves, the hydraulics should also be working. And definitely check to see where the deck height was positioned. Move it to the highest height. Try the lift to see if it will move to the highest height. If it does not move, move the height knob down to the 2.5 and see if it will go down. The height adjustment knob is supposed to be moved only when the deck is fully raised.
I dont remember what the know was set to but the deck was on the ground. Deck wheels were rolling on the ground. I plan to have it serviced and have the techs look over some specific things and see if there are potential problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It all sounded pretty normal for an X540 to me. They always smoke at the first start-up and they will stall until warmed up. I do not know what you meant by large bolts lying on the deck. It sounds like someone has messed with the deck lift rods and didn't put them back on. On almost all JD hydraulic lift mowers the lift arms will not come down without some help if the deck is not hooked up to it. If the deck has been unhooked then the hydraulic lift arms will not come down. If I lived there I would offer them $3000 and take it like it is. Make sure there are no cracks in the hood. There is no good fix for them and they will spread. A new one is about $500. That is too good of a mower to pass on if the problems are just little ones. Find out what the 3-inch bolts are. Did they have loops on one end? If so, they are the deck lift rods.
Pretty sure they were the lift rods, sales guy even mentioned one of the techs saying it was unhooked. He supposed to get back together and send me a video Monday morning.

I thought the same about the stalling. It was 930am and the thing has been outside for a week, it stalled twice within a minute or 2? But the third startup after I rode it, it didn't stall. I've read you dont start these and just go, sit and let them idle for at least a minute or 2, he didn't do that so im not THAT concerned.

No cracks, exterior shell is in real good shape for 9 years. Just needs some compound.

I think ill have it serviced anyway for peace of mind while I begin to learn my own maintenence. At least the transaxle fluid. Then I have a record for all fluids and filters and will be able to follow a precise schedule. I have to use this thing from day 1 until winter so I can't afford a week downtime attempting to fix something when it arrives. Over the winter and spring I can learn the **** out of it. Just have to complete a project before it gets too cold.
 

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Sounds very normal to me as well. I've got a 2010 with 160 hours. Due to the cold blooded nature of the liquid cooled, you'll choke it so hard to fire up that you get that little puff from the excess choke. If I release the brake before it has a couple moments it'll stall. I have to use a little choke when I engage the blades on the 54" deck (I did change the drive pulley on deck so tip speed is faster and that doesn't help). If the machine is warmed up on a 90F day I might not have to use choke engaging blades, but it's rather normal if you read up a ton. There was nothing wrong with the hydraulics because the power steering was working. Your description of it being super easy is dead on for a correct working hydraulics system. Only think off is the deck, depending on how low the deck wheels were set you might not be able to lift/lower the deck. Did you notice where the deck height setting was set to? If it was maxed and the wheels had been put all the way down by a newbie then the deck won't be able to lower because the deck wheels were holding it up.

I got my X540 with 72 hours on it at 7 years old for $500 do to a divorce. Good deals happen, just usually not to me.
 
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If you're interested in a x530, there's this one in Ann Arbor. I don't know how far that would be for you.

 
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