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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Washougal, WA 98671
    Deere3520; Mower Frontier 3012

    Default Is there Anyone Else ?

    I recently purchased a new John Deere 3520 hydrostatic glass enclosed air conditioned tractor with loader. Asked the dealer what the best and biggest mower I could tow behind and they told me it was the Frontier 3012. I was very excited when the new package arrived, but soon discovered that the tractor was way under powered for the bat wing mower. I had to set the mower at the highest setting and it couldn't make it through 6" grass if it was even slightly wet, without pulling down the rpm to 1500 or less.

    Then I noticed that you cannot turn sharp radiuses with the Frontier mower without feeling like you are going to shake the whole PTO out of the tractor. So, the only way we could turn is to shut off the PTO, then make the sharp turn, reduce throttle, switch bach on PTO, bring up throttle, and start mowing straight line again. Boy, this takes a lot of time when you are trying to mow an orchard maneuvering around trees. Now I am getting even more disappointed at my $50,000 investment.

    Then, at about 50 hours of mowing, 2 of the mower decks quit; the left wing deck and the rear deck, almost simultaneously. Took the rig back to the barn, opened up the covers and found the belts all wound around the pulleys and broken and much to my amazement, found that the belts were broken and while around the steel fly wheel pulley. Then, to my amazement again, discovered the probable cause was cheap, chinsey, plastic idler pulleys which the sides had disintegrated. These pulleys would be found in a walk behind type mower. I would have never expected them to be in a commercial grade $11,000 bat wing mower!

    I called the Dealer, but of course he was out of business. I called another dealer who said "Oh, you have mower problems...that's because Frontier is built by Woods. " I was amazed as I have had Wood mowers before with terrible experiences. I went back to the bat wing and started to look closely and found Woods embossed all over the place which confirmed my worst fears.

    John Deere customer service won't even return my calls and all the other John Deere dealers don't want to have anything to do with this bat-wing mower. I used to think John Deere was a good company that built a good product that provided good customer service. My how things have changed.

    So now I have a whimpy John Deere Tractor with a piece of junk Woods mower. It feels to me like gross misrepresentation, fraud, bait and switch, you name it, I feel it. I finally went back and picked up the mower from the dealer and started to repair it myself by replacing the plastic idlers with metal lidlers and then I discovered the next problem. The so called spring loaded belt tensioner. Well, all that needs to happen is the belts wear in a tiny bit and then there is not enough tension to keep the belts jumping off the pulleys. Man is thing engineered and built terribly.

    So I am really hoping that someone else out there might be having the same problems so we could share info and take our well earned grievances to John Deere / Frontier / Woods, et al and perhaps even file a class action law suit to stop this kind of business practice. At least we were owed a disclosure at the time of purchase who actually manufacturers what. Obviously, had I known my frontier was built by Woods, I never would have purchased it.

    Please feel free to call me direct to discuss the foregoing as I am ramping up to get John Deere's attention to try to solve these tractor / mower problems.

    Chris Bach
    (360) 837-3610 PST

    PS Almost every John Deere Dealer I have spoken with says they would never match a 12' Mower to a 3520 Tractor and yet John Deere says the two are compatible

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Bigfoot62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    W. Central Louisiana
    JD 5083E; JD 5085M; NH TN70A; Ford 2600

    Default Re: Is there Anyone Else ?

    Hi Chris and welcome to TBN.

    Sorry to hear that you're having trouble, but that's what has brought many of us to this site.

    I'm not familiar with that mower, but I looked it up on the JD website. Your tractor has a little more than the minimum required hp. So, technically, the salesman wasn't wrong. But, just because something is possible, doesn't mean it's a good idea. I'm sure that your tractor is way underpowered for that mower.

    As far as the belt and idler pulley problem, replacing the plastic with metal pulleys would be what I would do also. You might want to try a belt that is just a bit shorter. If you can get it on there, that should help with the slack.

    As for JD not telling you that Woods built the mower, I don't know of any legal requirement to do so. I mean, JD didn't make the engine that's in your tractor. Many manufacturers outsource components. For example, Sears doesn't manufacture ANY outdoor power equipment, but thier store is full of "Craftsman" equipment.

    I understand that you're not satisfied with the mower. And, obviously, it's too much for your tractor. I would suggest that you find a well-established JD dealer and talk to him about your problem. He might fix the mower if it's still under warranty. He might even be willing to take it on trade for a smaller mower. (if you don't want another JD, he probably has other brands) If the dealer doesn't meet your expectations, then take the mower to an equipment auction. Then, go buy what you want.

    BTW, personally, I wouldn't go any bigger than a 6' mower on a tractor that small.
    '12 JD 5083E Cab MFWD FEL
    '10 JD 5085M Cab MFWD FEL
    '07 NH TN70A MFWD FEL
    '81 Ford 2600

    '18 Kubota RTV-X900
    Vermeer 504R round baler; JD 265 & Kuhn GMD 600 disc mowers; Sitrex V-10 rake; Krone 5.52 Tedder; Hardee 10', Rhino 7', & Modern 5' rotary mowers; JD 13' & Ford 6' tandem discs; HayKing 10' rennovator plow (sub-soiler); etc, etc.
    My other tractor is a '01 Peterbilt 379.

    "I've come to the point in my life where I can't remember if I've lost my horse or just found a rope."

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    Didn't intend to have a Deere fleet - it just happened 310C, F915,102 & 5200

    Default Re: Is there Anyone Else ?

    I am sorry to hear you are having such problems. A 15 foot mower on a 37 hp compact tractor is such a mis-match. When pulling a 6 foot mower through heavy grass my 45 Hp utility drags down. It is too bad your dealer is out of business. I feel you received very poor advice and service. If Deere does help it is only akin to pity . Your real issue is with the dealer that sold you the equipment.

    All pto shafts will knock and complain when their operating angle is exceeded. Only very expensive constant velocity joints solves that issue.

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