John Deere 165

The John Deere 165 lawn mower is a garden tractor that was built by JD over a period of 2 years from 1986 until 1988. All production of this model took place in JD’s plant in Horicon, Wisconsin. Most people don’t see the JD 165 as a particularly powerful ride on lawnmower due to the fact that it’s engine only produces 12.5 hp. This engine is a Kawasaki FB460V gasoline engine with natural aspiration. The displacement of the engine comes to 0.46 liters and it is air cooled. You will need to make sure that the engine always has 1.8 liters of engine oil to prevent excessive wear on the engine parts.

The transmission used on the John Deere 165 is a hydrostatic one. This makes operating it relatively easy as it gives the machine infinite gears going forward and the same in reverse. In other words, the JD 165 is an automatic. As this John Deere mower is 20+ years old, most people haven’t heard much about it before. However like so many JD lawnmowers and tractors, there is a large restoration community out there that fixes up and fully restores old mowers like this one.

If you are someone who owns a John Deere 165 or has restored one, please feel free to leave a review on it below. If possible try to list the things that were giving you the most hassle during the restoration of it. It will also be informative to the readers to let them know about the modifications you have made if any. Please also try to list any attachments such as snow blowers, snow blades, front blades, scrapers, etc, that you have used with the JD 165.

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6 Reviews of the “John Deere 165”

  1. Paul says:

    It cuts great

    Year of Manufacture: 1988
    Pros: Just got mine this week. I find it to be a nice tight well built riding lawn mower but what do you expect from John Deere

  2. Dave A. says:

    Just got it back from John Deere for blade sharpening and lube. Worked great first time I mowed. Just tried to mow again and will not move in any gear. How do I fill the transmission fluid or change? I hope I did not get the Deere Antlers while they had my mower!!!

    Year of Manufacture: 1986
    Pros: Great Mower with bagger
    Cons: Needs belts on occasion.
    Attachments: Bagger only.
    Modifications: None

  3. rick gowdy says:

    put straight 30 weight oil in it

    Year of Manufacture: 0
    Pros: guessing 1986 replaced deck bearings and drilled holes for grease fittings on hubs save on replacing bearings
    going to change diff and trans next just got tractor in feb.
    Attachments: plow love it plowed off ice for kids

  4. carroll bain says:

    Bought it about 15 yr. ago. Use it every year( 1 acre) and no real problems.

    Year of Manufacture: 0
    Pros: Check the 10 blade cooling fan for the transmission. I am now replacing mine. Only about 3 blades left. Total pain to replace. JD dealer got a bunch of repair parts in one day. Really impressed.
    Attachments: mower deck.
    Modifications: plug in for 12 volt sprayer.

  5. Bill Thompson says:

    Impressed with the overall reliability and availability of parts. Nice tight turning radius. Kawasaki engine is great!! Nothing runs like a Deere

    Year of Manufacture: 1986
    Pros: This has been a very reliable lawnmower that has served in pseudo-commercial duty for most of its 25 years. I calculated that it has mowed roughly 2500 lawns over the years, as my two sons mowed ours and several neighbors’ lawns while they were in school.
    The Kawasaki has been bulletproof in that it just keeps on running in spite of being completely neglected. I added the spin-on oil filter accessory and I think that may be what has kept it going with few and far between oil changes.
    Cons: The mower deck needs some bearings replaced every year. This has been the weak point for this mower, but I guess it’s typical of any mower deck.
    Also, I had big problems with the starting circuit. The engine would turn over very slowly or not at all, making starting difficult for many years, until I found that JD had a retrofit kit to add a relay that assisted the start circuit.
    And last, but most significant at this point, the hydro transmission will not pull when it gets hot. It will drive for about 20 minutes, then is gradually gets weaker until it won’t move until you shut it off and let it cool. I still don’t have a solution for this issue, but I’m working on it. If any readers have experience here and know what it takes to fix it, I’m all ears.
    Attachments: Bagger
    Modifications: Accessories I purchased are: spin-on oil filter, headlights, hub caps

    • J. B. says:

      Look at the spec’s on conventional and synthetic oil and you’ll see a huge difference in all aspects but the flash point and the sheer protection as heat builds is also a great deal better than conventional oils. I’m an Amsoil guy and use it in everything. My wife’s car’s transmission went agly nearly 3 years ago. I changed the filter and changed to Amsoil synthetic. It’s running still….correctly and the leak stopped, another big plus for synthetics, keeping seals like new.

      I drain out conventional whatever it might be and replace with synthetic. I’m sure you have some clutch pack problems and if new, might never have them with a synthetic oil. I have a dozer with the same problem……in the shop.

      Year of Manufacture: 0

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