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I recently acquired a JD 425 in fair condition with 1700 hours although engine rebuilt 100 hours ago. I love the tractor. Big difference from a cub cadet lt1042. I put a tri-cycler mulch kit on the 48" deck and it cuts superbly, although it does not cut long enough for my taste. It is set at max height and still seems short. Tires are correct size so I don't know what else to look for. BTW it is AWS. Occasionally the engine runs rough at start up but infrequently. I am going to rebuild the carb soon as I got a kit a couple days ago. I have a technical service manual on CD but am looking for a OM144042 operators manual and have not had any luck finding one. The steering is "loose" and looks like the front steering pivot has way too much play in it and am looking for advice on how much play it should have and how to fix. It is hard to keep straight when mowing. I plan on going through the Tough-Tork K91 hydro trans this winter and replace seals that are leaking and I am looking for a starting point on doing that. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Welcome from northeastern Pennsylvania.

I have a 445 without AWS, but it is essentially the same tractor with fuel injection instead of a carburetor. Depending on how old your tractor is, there may not be a grease fitting in the power steering cylinder. The end that connects to the arm on the spindle is very similar to a tie rod end. The older tractors had no grease fitting and when the joint wears excessively, it is impossible to hold the tractor on a straight line. I finally bit the bullet and spent $300 to replace mine. Now it steers like it did when new plus the replacement has a grease fitting on the joint.

The older 425/445 had a plastic cam gear which is not reliable. With the amount of hours on yours, if it is an older model, it must have been replaced by now, especially with a recent engine overhaul.

I would remove the deck and check all of the lift linkage to make sure it is moving to the highest position. Also make sure the height adjuster is working properly and allowing the linkage to travel to the highest position.

Before you disassemble your transaxle, make sure that the oil level is exactly on the full line. I have found that if I overfill just a small amount, it will puke out the excess. Keep it right on the full line and no leaks.

The 425/445/455 rank at the top or near the top of all John Deere L&G tractors. They are well built, work well and are nearly bullet proof.
 

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The front steering pivot should have very little play. Also check all the steering linkages for wear. A lil slop here and a lil there makes for quite a bit by the time you get to the rear.
Check trans level as stated in previous post. They will puke if overfull. Most leaks are on the left side of trans where the brake lever and diff lock rod go into trans.
As for the deck.. I would have to look at it to see. Of course the knob needs to be operational and links adjusted correctly.

Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
 

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Those Kawasaki engines of that era are all cold natured and tend run like crap when first started. My 425 would take roughly a minute or so to run right after starting it cold. Is that what yours is doing? I am not sure a carb rebuild will get it. When I researched this issue everyone that responded tended to have the same issue on initial start up. It is just a quirk of that engine for some reason.

You also might have some debris in the carb so before rebuilding, I would run some Seafoam through it and see what happens. That has help me out with several small engines and JD mowers. Your engine will blow a little white smoke until it burns it all but seems to clean a lot of junk out of a carbureted engine.

Good luck with your 425. I had one for three years and like the previous poster said they are pretty much bullet proof. My had over 1500 hours on the tractor and unknown amount on the engine (it was replaced before I bought but still 10 years old) and it ran like a top but looked like a wreck. The plastic hood on those things is super fragile and super expensive to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thank you all for the replies. I am fairly sure the front steering pivot is trashed. Is this hard to replace myself or does it require special tools. I can't seem to find much information on replacing this.
 

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On the deck height, there are hooks that can be used to lock deck lift in the up position. They are spring loaded and can get positioned so that when you raise the deck they are between the lift bar and the frame. This can prevent full height of lift. There are also leveling turn buckles that can be shortened. Regardless the small tires of the AWS limit your height. But you should be able to get 4" or so out of it.

Make sure to keep the u-joints at each rear wheel and the rear center pivot well lubricated at the zerks.

Yeah the steering is one of the late-life failure mechanisms. FWIR, it is a PITA to repair.

My 425 always started immediately and was smooth within 2 or 3 seconds. I never touched the carb. Mine did run rough once when there was a hole in the fuel line. It was only noticeable on start up. Check your plugs and gaps. With a recent engine rebuild, it could be the valves need readjusting after settling in. Another easy thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
pita indeed

Thanks Gityup I appreciate your input. I started tearing into the front steering and it does look like a pita indeed. Are there replaceable sleeve bearings on the pivot? Everything else looks to be tight but lots of play in the pivot.
 

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You can look up parts online and even order online from the dealer of your choice:

https://jdparts.deere.com/servlet/com.deere.u90.jdparts.view.publicservlets.HomeUnsigned?selectedMenu=JDPARTS_HOME&userAction=countrySelected&country=US&language=19

The tie rod ends wear on these and become loose, which also impacts the "wander" you describe. Another fellow has utilized aftermarket tie rod ends, with grease zerks, that are superior to the OEM tie rod ends and much less money. Here is a link to a write up he did detailing the procedure and where he sourced the compoenents:

4x5 AWS linkage rebuild with standard parts - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
 
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