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Discussion Starter #1
I am about to buy (unless you all talk me out of it) a 1983 JD400 with 49" snow thrower, 60" mower deck, 430 hours, new paint on all (by auto body owner), good tires, runs well for $3300. I am moderately mechanically inclined and I can't see or hear anything wrong with it. I believe this is a good deal, but I wanted to be sure.
Questions:
1. This is a little heavier duty and larger than what I need, but I think that is better so that it will last longer...is that true? And, gulp, if I had to sell it down the road, could I get my money back on it?
2. Any way for me to know if the tractor really has this low of hours on it?
3. (Although most members think bigger is better...) I know there is a 54" deck for this model, but is there any size even a little smaller (around 48 or 50) that would properly fit a 400?
4. Anything in particular that was a problem for the 400 that I should look at more closely?
Thank you all in advance!
 

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Around here the tractor would go for $1500 and the blower for $500.

A bigger machine is heavier duty, also costs alot more to fix
 

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I paid 1800 for mine, came with a HD 60" deck and 54" hydraulic Plow blade. It had also been recently repowered with a Kohler Magnum 20hp engine and had been repainted several years ago.
 

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Young Buck
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Money sounds a little high but if it is immaculate and you want it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you think the prices for tractors could be higher (i.e. inflated) in CT? It seems like other things are.
 

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That is a high price but if the hours are that low then it maybe money well spent. I would check the compression on the engine but some things to consider for a 400 for that kind of money:

1. Do all the hydraulics work like they should? Does the Hydro work like new?
2. Are the tires good, I mean really good? For that price they should almost be new, and if they are AG's so much the better.
3. Is the blower and the deck in immaculate shape? The deck should have a new belt and the gear box and spindles should be in really good shape as well.

In other words, I would not settle for any issues at that price because that is max dollar for the tractor and only two attachments.

I would offer him $2300 and see what he does. You can score a decent 400 with just a deck in the 1500-1800 range fairly easily on Ebay. However, they will most likely need paint and tires will most likely be fairly used up. For comparison, I paid around $3300 for my 400 in Mar 10 but I got a deck, blade, chains, weights, and roller for it. The hour meter showed around 435 hours and I tend to believe it but mine is a working tractor so the paint is well used and I ended up replacing the tires. I found mine in Illinois.

I have never seen anything but a 60 inch deck on a 400. I am sure they made a smaller one but it sort of defeats the purpose of having a 400. If you are buying this for mostly mowing, I would probably consider another tractor, like a 425/445/455 series or a 318 because these are not the most manueverable beasts. They are great at removing snow and doing ground engagement activities. You can get a good used 425 for less money than they guy is asking for the 400. It won't have a blower but it will turn on a dime.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, 69Project, for your thoughtful answer.
1. I neglected to check all the hydraulics. I checked the mower deck only.
2. The tires are great, not Ag, but look like good traction (remind me of quad tires)
3. Snow thrower and mower deck were both painted well (as was the tractore). I spun the snowthrower shaft by hand very easily and quiet. We ran the mower deck and it sounded nice. I did not check the spindles nor belts
4. I will be mowing, but only a medium sized yard. I have many huge maple trees and therefor huge leaf clean up in fall. I have a Cyclonerake to attach to the tractor, so I plan to mow and vacuum (the Cyclonerake can get fairly heavy when full). I plan to snowblow our medium sized driveway and path to barn and woodshed (and possibly neighbors yard(s)). I sometimes haul cartloads of wood from the neighborhood. I sometimes haul trailerloads of mulch or soil or .... around. I also move around our pop-up camper. I suppose there is more. If there is a woodsplitter for it, I may get one someday.
I am concerned about the turning radius, but, unlike my old Bolens, at least if I have to K-turn sometimes, I can do it with power steering and hydro shifting instead of manual grinding (which was really getting old)
5. I was looking for a smaller deck so that I can park it in my not-too-big barn or woodshed (and, as I said, the property is not that big anyway).
6. I like that it has just what I need for now, and that I don't think it will need any fixing. I'm not lazy at all, but I'm always very busy with family stuff, work, and home and car repair, etc.
7. One last little thing, I think I can get him to throw in the wheel weights. Do you think I would still need chains?
 

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60" deck is the only one offered.

It will last a good long time, they are already 30+ years and still tougher than 99% of what's out there
 

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I have never used the chains that came with my tractor. Last winter I plowed my driveway which is a good 10-12 degree slope uphill with no issues. That was with turf tires too. I have ags with rimguard in them this winter. I doubt you will need the chains, but try and get the weights. If you are going to do all that, then the 400 is probably right for you. The rear end/hydro is really strong so you should have no issues hauling that stuff around and if you are used to having to manuever around the yard with no power steering then the 400 is step up. Yes, there is something to turn-key operations. Just make sure the engine is strong and has been maintained. They will run a long time but are definitely the weak link in my mind for the 400 if they are not taken care of.
 
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