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Dad2, my dear friend called me last night as he has a neighbor who is a 92 yo widow, who's husband left his John Deere F525 in the garage in about 2008 when he no longer felt well enough to mow, and he hired a lawn service. The lawn service continues to cut the lawn to this day.

The F525 was bought new by another neighbor, who died and his widow sold it to the neighbor who's widow currently has the mower in the garage. I have no idea on hours, etc.

For some reason, all of a sudden, Dad2 is interested in this mower. I think part of the reason is because his mower is very long in the tooth and very tired. He has asked my opinion on this John Deere F525 and frankly, I had to look it up to see what it was. Not only have I never operated one, I don't think I have even seen one in person. But I will admit, I also never was really looking for one before, either.

I performed an advanced search on GTT and see where GTT Member J3 driver has one and his son Levi uses it often and loves the machine. I sent him a "conversation" and he very graciously replied with links to serial number and identifying information as well as many other pieces of helpful information. Thanks again, J3 Driver for responding and taking the time to provide the details and links, etc. I sincerely appreciate it.

Under the old GTT system, I would have awarded J3 Driver "Reputation Points" as well as publicly "thanking" him with the "Thank You" designation. Since those personal recognition options no longer exist, the least I can do is thank him here in the thread. Thanks again. Its was generous of you, J3 Driver.

Any of you who have personal experience with the F525, I would appreciate hearing the pro's and con's of this machine. I am going to be getting the serial numbers and hour meter reading and some other details soon, I hope so we can learn more about the machine. In the mean time, I advised paying between $300 to $500 for the machine, assuming its going to need tires, complete service, battery, probably a carb rebuild and tune up and probably some belts and hoses. After all, its been sitting 12 years or more and apparently it was a case where he used the machine and then parked it and its still sitting just as he left it.

The neighbors both have lawns which are less than 25,000 sq feet in size, so I doubt there are many hours on the machine. From what I can tell, the general service parts still appear to be widely available from Deere and even some other sources. However, the carb is NLA, and some other individual parts like that are listed as NLA, so there could be some problems if the carb needs more than a rebuild, etc. The carb kit, float, jets, needle and seat and gaskets appear to all be available without a problem.

I STRONGLY suggested Dad2 NOT attempt to start the mower to get it home. I would rather winch it onto a trailer and bring it to my shop and then, I can empty the fuel tank, and avoid starting the machine with what could be 18 year old or more fuel in it.

I found the operators manual online and the procedure for moving the machine by putting the hydro into transport mode without the engine running. This is how I am going to suggest the machine be moved.

Any specific problems any of you have had with the machine, I would appreciate hearing. Overall, from the posts I have read on more than a dozen threads, overall the machine seems to be well liked and appreciated by those who have it.

I just want to avoid a real problem if possible if there tends to be a specific long term problem which might be tough to remedy as these machines approach being 30 years + old...........depending upon its serial number.

Thanks in advance for your replies. I do appreciate it..............

SB
 

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I had a F525 for several years and I liked it. It was very maneuverable and easy to drive, the front deck allowed reaching under trees and it didn't use much fuel.The only two downsides I can think of is it wasn't great on hills, as going up them it didn't have tons of power and on side hills it wanted to slide sideways. The second downside is the motor and hydro-static trans are one unit. If the hydro goes out, I remember people saying it was very expensive to fix and best to part out the machine. I purchased mine used for $500 and traded it in for more when I got my 2032R. Overall it was a great mower.
 

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It has been a lot of years since I have driven one, but I spent a lot of hours on one back in the day on the farm where I grew up. We had about 3 acres worth of lawn to mow, with lots of trees, buildings, and other obstacles to work around. I graduated from a little model 68 rider, and then we upgraded to a couple of Deines "Marty J" lawn mowers. If you are not familiar with those, they are freakin' fantastic mowers. Eventually, we got a F525. I don't consider it a true zero turn (I am of the opinion that if it has a steering wheel it cannot be a zero turn...but that might just be me; the Marty Js may have spoiled me), but it is pretty close. I love the front deck style. It is a fantastic mowing machine. If it runs well, it could be a fantastic deal for you. And because posts are worthless without pics, I conjured up this old gem of me on the F525. This is probably circa late 1980s? Maybe early 90s...

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Discussion Starter #4
It has been a lot of years since I have driven one, but I spent a lot of hours on one back in the day on the farm where I grew up. We had about 3 acres worth of lawn to mow, with lots of trees, buildings, and other obstacles to work around. I graduated from a little model 68 rider, and then we upgraded to a couple of Deines "Marty J" lawn mowers. If you are not familiar with those, they are freakin' fantastic mowers. Eventually, we got a F525. I don't consider it a true zero turn (I am of the opinion that if it has a steering wheel it cannot be a zero turn...but that might just be me; the Marty Js may have spoiled me), but it is pretty close. I love the front deck style. It is a fantastic mowing machine. If it runs well, it could be a fantastic deal for you. And because posts are worthless without pics, I conjured up this old gem of me on the F525. This is probably circa late 1980s? Maybe early 90s...

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Thanks for the post, it would be Circa early 1990's as they were first made in 1990 from the information I found. Also, from what I have read, they were expensive little suckers, also........The unit which Dad2 ended up buying, was nearly $7,000 with the Power Flow deck blower and rear bagger and wheel weights and other accessories which the original owner purchased.

They also had a snow blower available for the front, which It seems the original purchaser also bought when he ordered his machine, which must be how it got up to nearly $7,000 new.................(taxes and all accessories, etc on the invoice)......
 

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Well, he bought it. He paid $400.

It has 544 hours on it.

So far, the tires are holding air. We are going to use the tire sealer in them instead of replacing the tires, as they look very good still. It even came with a couple of new spare belts......

Here are the photos after we "drug it home", after I got the Hydro Over ride to function again, to safely move the unit.

From the VIN Number, it's a late 1996 model year unit..........

There was also a front mounted snow blower available and from the paperwork the seller had from the Original Owner, it appeared they might have ordered one with this unit when it was bought new. I have advised Dad2 to return to the neighbors garage and storage area to see if he can locate the blower, as well as the deck belt safety covers, etc. It looked like on the original paperwork that perhaps there should also be wheel weights and some other options some where. Its worth a look.

As of when I left last night, the unit hadn't been started. He was getting a new battery and was to replace that, as well as clean out the fuel tank. Thank goodness that the woman selling this unit had the John Deere Technical Service Manual in the book form to go with it. This thing is very different, and frankly, not the easiest to work on.

We power washed it and worked on cleaning it up. I already found a new Power Flow housing online and ordered it as the current one is full of duct tape and plastic patches, as shown in the photo/

It appears to be in decent shape. 48" deck. Probably be firing it up today or tomorrow. Hopefully, it runs after having been sitting for at least 12 years............

Thanks to those who replied and provided information via "Conversations". I sincerely appreciate your responses.....and the information you provided.
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Discussion Starter #6
The F525 runs and it moves. A guy who has one saw it out in the driveway and stopped by right after we got it running, he offered $1,500 for it. Dad2 hasn't decided to sell it. An $1,100 gross profit, less the new battery and some cleaning solutions, penetrating oil and carb cleaner is something to consider, at least.........that's still a $1,000 profit for about 3 hours of effort.

I told him if the first person who came along offered $1,500, its best he hang onto it for awhile and see how we get it moving appropriately and mow with it, he might just find he really likes it.

I did order a new housing for the deck mounted belt driven blower for the debris collection. Once it arrives, I will transfer the parts over to the new blower housing. That was $120 in round numbers.

The unit needs to have all of the moving parts lubricated and sprayed with silicone spray, some penetrating oil and similar to get things moving properly again...................Just think, the mower was last run and used when George W. Bush was POTUS...........
 

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Well Dad2 mowed with the F525 and he loves it. It does cut very well and he likes the maneuverability around the trees, etc. I have the hydro system working like it should, it just needed to be lubed up and also the release valve was partially stuck in the down position, from being parked with the Hydro release partially engaged for over 12 years.

Once the valves freed up and the pins operate like they should, the machines movement is very good and it has the full range of speed.

No question, the machine is NOT service friendly. And its got a very "interesting" deck height and traction system with the large hand crank on the front of the deck. I will have to take some pictures of it and post them. Very complex and expensive system to use for its purpose.

It's surprising how much of an aversion, by many people, to the traditional zero turn mower steering and operation system with the dual control levers. My buddy who owns the local sales and service facility for a number of brands, including Hustler, ExMark, Cub Cadet, etc. finds the steering wheel models of the front mower units and the versions which Cub Cadet offers are attractive to older, first time users of these types of machines.

He has found that while many older women easily adapt to the lever machine controls of the traditional zero turn, he said he finds men struggle far more often to get the machine operation down, if they have no prior experience. The steering wheel machine controls are familiar to everyone and make using these machines much easier for some.

I am gathering the parts to rebuilt the deck mounted impeller blower for the material collection system. I will post a step by step for those interested in how to replace the exterior housing and the impeller and bearings on the deck mounted blower housing to restore it to full function.

I have rebuilt a few of these over the years, usually as a result of either someone running them into something and breaking the housing or the other common issue, is people run with the bottom of the blower housing dragging on the ground and wear it out. Once it gets a hole in it, so much for the function, despite the entire roll of black tape and duct tape which the previous owner attempted to "buy some time" before fixing it correctly.

Fortunately, the parts are all readily available to undertake this repair. The main housing is available from a company in Texas, for 1/2 of the cost from Deere. Deere gets $240 and change for the bare housing and I paid $120 plus a shipping fee. I wouldn't be surprised to find out the company selling them in Texas makes these for Deere. I will post links for the parts and numbers and prices in the thread for the rebuild, which hopefully will be in the next week or so, as time permits..........

This deck mounted blower is used on a wide range of machines, from the 425, 445, 455 like I own to the x4, x5 and x7 series machines. The repair and rebuilding process is going to be similar between all of these machines so the step by step should be useful to GTT members with a variety of machines..

Stay tuned for the next chapter............
 

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