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  1. #1
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    Default New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    First of all - great, but dangerous forum.
    I started this thread asking about the X300 series, but due to everyone's input, I think I've worked my way up to the X500 series. Thanks to all for adding to my increasing insanity. I've settled on a JD, despite all the various recommendations - I've got a decent but very small dealer nearby for service, and I think that, more than anything else, seals the deal for me on JD.

    Short recap: My yard (1.75 acres) is a combination of relatively flat area with several hills. My Scotts 2046 regularly scalped the hills and cut lines in the inclines. There are lots of evergreen trees (those blue spruces do a number on both me and on the tractor)that drop pine cones and short needles everywhere, and I do use the tractor to pick up leaves, which I bag and put into compost bins. I'd love to be able to mulch, but I can't cut often enough to avoid clumping. I'm not a big fan of the Power Flow bagger, but if I'm looking at a 48" minimum deck, it's either that or something like a Cyclone Rake. Given my past experiences, what's important to me, in no particular order, are:
    1. Quality of cut - I've heard a number of people complain about the X534 leaving ridges/lines, as the deck leans when turning. Anyone have any insights or experience with this that would make me shy away from AWS? I've heard the X500 steers VERY easily, even without the X540's power steering, so I think either of the 2WS tractors would be ok on that count.
    2. Mulching capability / convenience - I assume no real difference between the models.
    3. Quality / Durability of Transmission - (yeah, I know...there's always the X700 series...and don't try to talk me into a 2305 unless you've got a place for me to sleep, as my wife will kick me out!!) I do occasionally pull a dethatcher or plug aerator, so decent torque and adequate HP is important.
    4. Agility - Can't quite figure out why the X534 is rated with a LARGER turning radius (27") than the other X500 series non AWS (22"), although the uncut grass spot is smaller. The dealer didn't know. Might have something to do with how they calculate it?

    So the deal is this: I'm absolutely stretching/breaking my budget to move up from the X324 I was originally looking at to the X500 - trying to avoid that buyer's remorse everyone's warning about ("buy more than you think you need today"). The benefit to buying local? Ability to trade back in if not happy, service, full warranty (with ability to extend years for extra $), etc

    I've looked through Deere's Machine Finder, and have located a number of low-use (under 150 hours, some under 100), 2007 and later X534s and X540s that I could buy for roughly the same price as I could locally. I've decided to not look at older models, so that I can at least get the some warranty life. The cost of shipping roughly equates to what I'd pay for state tax, so that's essentially a wash. Since they're relatively recent units, they still have anywhere from 2 to 3 years on their warranties.

    Anyone with experience with any of these 3 tractors (or any others who obviously know more than I do about JD and tractors in general) - the X500 (new or used), or a used X534 or X540? - what do you think? Your feedback and advise would be GREATLY appreciated!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    May 2007
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    655
    Location
    Thornburg, VA
    Tractor
    JD2305

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Used would be fine, if you can inspect/drive it before buying, and see the maintenance history. You don't know what you're getting otherwise. Could be a hanger queen at the JD store...

    Otherwise you can't go wrong in either case. The local dealer might appreciate the sale a little more than just getting warrenty work? The difference between the X500 and X540 is the liqued cooled engine, which is has a better life expectancy and runs a bit quieter. Enjoy whichever machine you get!

  3. #3
    Gold Member daBear's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Brandon, MS
    Tractor
    Kubota L2800

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    I hope this thread picks up some comments. I am torn between and X534 and the X540 and have some of the same questions about turning radius you asked. I have a water cooled JD 285 right now, but it about time to retire the old girl. Anybody ever heard of a trade in on an older mower? It is in good shape and I am going to ask the local dealers next week. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2004
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    2,273
    Location
    western NC
    Tractor
    JD 2320; 4520

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    If the X500 is new I would go that route. I like new machines better, though I have seen some really nice JD used machines. If one is buying a new lesser machine v. a used better machine, I could see going with the used better machine, but these three tractors are pretty close and each of them is an improvement over the 300 series.

    John M

  5. #5

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    I purchased a new X540 only because money really wasn't an issue and I wanted the additional longevity of the liquid cooled engine. I have a little over an acre of grass that's mostly flat but the front yard has a very steep slope.

    I am very pleased with the quality of the cut with my 48" deck. I understand smaller decks generally produce a better cut quality than larger decks. However, my deck will lean causing the blades to cut lower on the downhill side if I mow across the side of the slope. Instead, I mow up and down the steep slope, not across the sides. This is much safer and avoids the unsightly "cut lines". Even my old Cub Cadet with a 42" deck would lean and produce the same results if I mowed across the slope.

    I think the key to cut quality is to make sure your deck is level. Start by making sure your tires are properly inflated and buy that $7 plastic deck leveling device from Deere. I spent some time getting my deck perfectly level but the cut quality was well worth the time invested. Despite what your dealer says, don't count on them properly leveling the deck before it's delivered. In fact, don't even expect your tires will be properly inflated.

    I did purchase the 3 bag PowerFlow unit despite the horribly absurd price because I need to pick up the pine needles and leaves. I live an area with loads of trees so leaves are my biggest problem. I'll highly recommend purchasing the "leaf catcher" kit from Deere. It's a set of baffles that bolt onto the bottom lips of the deck and costs less than $100. It really helps the deck suck up leaves and pine needles instead of having them blown away from the edges of the deck from the blade air turbulence. Since I have the 3 bag Power Flow and I'm mowing uphill, I added two suitcase weights to the front bracket.

    I did purchase a Cyclone Rake XL last fall but I didn't use it as a substitute it for the PowerFlow bagger. Instead, I use it like a giant outdoor shop vac to suck up leaves in flower beds and a huge drainage ravine. At least for my property, dragging the Cyclone Rake behind my X540 would be too unwieldy.
    Last edited by rod330; 05-17-2009 at 06:26 PM.

  6. #6
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    ChuckinNH's Avatar
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    NH
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    (B2620, had BX22) Simplicity Legacy w/48" mmm

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Rod330, great review, and welcome input! Do you have any traction issues with the X540?
    B2620,Loaded R-4's , Wallenstein BX42 chipper, Bush Hog SQ148 RC, 4' x 8' chain harrow, Blizzard 54" 3PT snowblower, Tirechains. com v-bar duo grip chains (hate them), Simplicity Legacy with 48"mmm, turbo collector, Country Line carry all, Countryline Middlebuster, Woods 48" BB, Kubota QA for loader, Kubota forks, Kuhn EL23 rototiller, and more to come...

  7. #7
    Gold Member daBear's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    468
    Location
    Brandon, MS
    Tractor
    Kubota L2800

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Do dealers typically discount anything from MSRP found on the JD website? I have a request for a quote in from three separate dealers within a 50 mile radius also with the question of whether they will give any trade in on my JD285.

    Deere is giving a discount on the X534 but I have not seen any factory discount on the X540. Also how loud is the 540? Do you wear ear plugs when you cut with it?

  8. #8

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Thanks ChuckinNH. I don't have any traction issues. The HDAP tires grip well and the differential lock instantly gets me out of any difficult situations. I probably engage the diff lock 3 or 4 times each time I mow.

    daBear, I didn't get much of a discount on my X540...about 8 to 10% off list if I recall. The engine itself is not too loud but the noise level increases greatly when the blades are engaged. I do wear shooter's ear muffs while mowing. While they may not be necessary, it makes the mowing experience more enjoyable. In fact, I even use muffs while operating my Deere 3270 and Gator 850D XUV on my mini-farm.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member JDGREEN4ME's Avatar
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    Southeast PA
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    John Deere 2520, John Deere X534, John Deere LT150

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalterK View Post
    Anyone with experience with any of these 3 tractors (or any others who obviously know more than I do about JD and tractors in general) - the X500 (new or used), or a used X534 or X540? - what do you think? Your feedback and advise would be GREATLY appreciated!
    I started out knowing I wanted one of the 500 Series tractors. I convinced myself I wanted the 540 because I wanted the liquid cooled engine etc. My dealer (who knows my property) suggested I might want to check out the AWS 534. I test drove it and thought about it for a day or two and choose the X534...I love it . As for some of the cut quality concerns I have not noticed it as being an issue for me. I know they went with different size rear wheels on newer models, I have no clue if that was done for the cut issue or clearance with the rear end when turning. Starting my second season with it and with the help of my dealer feel I made the right choice for my application. Your opinions may vary.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals"
    Immanuel Kant

  10. #10
    New Member
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    Randolph, NJ

    Default Re: New X500 or used X534 or X540?

    Thanks for all the insights, guys. Much appreciated.

    I had a chance to stop by my local JD dealer today. He had an X534 they were prepping for sale outside, and I was able to drive it (around a very small parking lot). I've got to say it was a bit weird at first, turning the wheel feeling the rear end rotate out from behind you. I wish I could've done a direct comparison by driving an X500 or X540, but they didn't have any outside the showroom (the midwest this ain't). I wish my dealer had a used tractor inventory, as I'd have no problem buying used from him, but they don't sell used equipment, so, based on my budget, I'll only buy new from him if it's the X500. I've only heard of the AWS uneven cut complaints from a couple of people - everyone else I've heard from that actually owns an X534 really loves it.

    Although I asked, the dealer apparently can't explain the seemingly contradictory spec that shows the X534 having a larger turning radius than the other X500 series tractors (albeit leaving a smaller circle of uncut grass). I did get the sense that the AWS, with a 48" deck would come in plenty handy with all the things I mow around in my yard, though - so at this point it probably comes down to cost (x500) vs. manueverability (X534) vs. longevity (liquid cooled) and flexibility (X540, or X335).

    I still wish there were a better option than the PowerFlow bagger, but I do have to say that the newer Power Flow units I saw had a very simple bar guard mounted on the deck - really just an "L-shaped" piece of rod - but the rod takes the bulk of punishment from trees instead of the bagger housing. Pretty primitive, but probably effective. The PowerFlow manual for my Scotts doesn't make any mention of a guard. Should've thought of that one myself.
    I'll likely talk to a couple of the used tractor dealers over the next couple of days, and then make a decision.

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