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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Feb 2013
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    John Deere 425

    Default JD 425, which one to keep?

    Hi all,

    I'm new here. I read a lot of forum posts here while researching garden tractors and it was really helpful. I ended up buying a 1994 JD 425 with a 54" deck. I wanted a rototiller too, and in searching for that I found a setup that was nearby and too good to pass up. So I bought a second 425, this one a 1997 with 54" deck, 450 tiller, front weights, and a bagger. Now I've got to figure out which one to keep.

    The 1994 has 650 hours on it. It seems to be in great shape. It doesn't have the PTO or 3 pt hitch. It came from Eastern Oregon.

    The 1997 has 850 hours on it. It's a little rougher cosmetically. The steering column is a little loose, the hood and one side is damaged (the owner said he ran into a couple limbs. His place had a lot of oak trees.) It has the PTO and 3 pt hitch. The guy I bought it from said it has a lot of new components in it, and it sounded like he had it serviced every year. But his place is on a big hill and the ground is pretty rough, so I'm guessing it's had a rougher life than the '94.

    I read in a forum post that 1997 was when they started using the metal cam shaft. Can anyone confirm that?

    The '97 also has cruise control. Does anyone have that, and if you do, do you use it a lot?

    I'm leaning toward keeping the 1994, but I need the PTO and 3 point hitch off the '97 if I do. I'm not much of a mechanic, although I do change my own oil and can be pretty dangerous armed with a Google search. Is swapping the PTO and 3 pt hitch a huge undertaking?

    Any thoughts will be very much appreciated. I'll get some pictures posted tomorrow. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Gold Member BlackRaptor's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    SEMN
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    John Deere 3320

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    I personally would go for the one in better shape with lower hours.

    However those plastic cam gears are a concern.
    I did some research my self also and the 97 was the first year of the metal cam gears I also talked to the John Deere dealer mechanic.
    Just an idea but if the 94 has better cosmetic parts such as hood why not swap the good stuff from the 94 onto the 97 than sell the 94 with the lesser parts on it.

    I cannot comment on the cruise on the 425 but in general I've never used it i have too much stuff to mow around. my 2520 had cruise lock on it never used it. i guess if your lawn was a half mile of flat straight ground it might be nice.

    In a perfect world i would keep both but that's 3000+ bucks sitting around doing nothing.
    Chad.
    2012 Ford F-150 FX4 max tow ecoboost 3.73 ELD
    2012 John Deere 3320 Cab 300CX FEL
    1997 John Deere 425 60" MMM
    1962 JI Case 830 wide Front
    1960 Farmall 460 Narrow Front
    1954 John Deere 70 Wide Front FEL

    Husqvarna Rancher 460 with 24" and 18" bars.

    2008 John Deere 2520, 200CX FEL, 62inch Ramp on Deck. (Traded)

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2002
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    1,493
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    Lancaster PA
    Tractor
    Yanmar 186D

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    I thought 98 was the year they changed to the metal timing gear. How hard it it to check? If one of them had the metal timing gear neither one of then have all that many hours. Having two can sure be handy. I think the parts are worth more than the whole machine. There is a guy near me who parts out JD lawn and garden equipment. He seems to sell of the good stuff and then sell the carcass.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Yanmar 186D

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    I found this on another site.

    In February of 1998, steel camshaft gears went into all 620D engines.

    The following engine(s) should have the steel camshaft gear and stiffer valve springs.

    FD620D-DS02 with the beginning engine serial number of 149283



    They also said that if you pull the water pump you can see the gear.

    Chris

  5. #5
    Gold Member BlackRaptor's Avatar
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    John Deere 3320

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    That's awesome info Chris. My Dealer = fail.
    Mine was a very early 97 so i knew mine was still plastic or least thought it did. However my valves have been removed i can tell the gaskets used are not Kawasaki factory. So i'm golden.

    If both your 94 and 97 and plastic than i would pick the cleaner one and add the needed extra to it.
    Chad.
    2012 Ford F-150 FX4 max tow ecoboost 3.73 ELD
    2012 John Deere 3320 Cab 300CX FEL
    1997 John Deere 425 60" MMM
    1962 JI Case 830 wide Front
    1960 Farmall 460 Narrow Front
    1954 John Deere 70 Wide Front FEL

    Husqvarna Rancher 460 with 24" and 18" bars.

    2008 John Deere 2520, 200CX FEL, 62inch Ramp on Deck. (Traded)

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2005
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    976
    Location
    Central WI

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    My 455 has the "cruise" and I've tried to use it, but find it is not that great. It is simply a toothed rod that teh linkage grabs and olds the pedal in position. In other words there are "clicks" so if you want to go faster you can up it by a click or two. If you have rolling hills it wil go faster downhill and slower uphill.

    Now if I had a big long stretch I might use it, but I can't remember the last time I used mine.

    I believe the PTO is a pretty simple install where you just swap rear covers plus a gear and of course the linkage. I did not do mine the dealer installed it for me back in 1995-6.
    JD3720 300CX FEL, 48" forks, MX-5, RB1172, BB1172 air seat susp
    JD 455 2 wheel steer
    JD x750-Auto Connect w/60" HC deck

  7. #7
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
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    2,937
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    Mid Atlantic
    Tractor
    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    I'd take the pto and 3ph off the 97 and put it on the 94. Neither should be difficult to switch out. Dash control will probably be the biggest PITA to swap. Keep the best of both. One might have the hydraulic bypass valve or patch panel. I'd get those too.

    I have cruise on my 94. I use it from time to time when cutting the field. It does relieve stress off you leg from being in position for a long time. Set the cruise then you can move around all you and while mowing as long as you keep the seat down. But, as with most, cruise is not a necessity.

    I have heard stories that support both 97 and 98 for steel cams. But, easy enough to pull the water pump and check it out. A new cam, if you do it yourself and change out the other stuff that should be done will set you back about $500 if you do it yourself, about $1300 if the dealer does it. It will fail, probably before 1000 hours.

    New valve seals do not necessarily indicate new cam. The valve seals can be changed from the top without having to crack open the engine. Just need to remove the valve covers. At any rate, you should adjust your valves. Easy enough to do. Sounds like the 97 owner didn't really take care of the machine. I'd be wary of that one. Change all the fluids and flush the radiator.

    If you plan to use for years to come, you might want to keep both just for parts. Parts are expensive.

  8. #8
    New Member
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    John Deere 425

    Default Re: JD 425, which one to keep?

    Thanks all for the responses! I'd love to keep them both but we bought a fixer house and need the cash. Plus I'd like to get a loader for it before they stop being made. The weather is supposed to be decent here this weekend so I'll do some mowing with each of them and see if I can check on the cam gear on each. Unless it does something to change my mind, I'm going to keep the '94 and swap the hitch & PTO over to it.

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