John Deere 185

The John Deere 185 lawn mower is a very heavy and large machine. It is the bigger brother of the John Deere 175 mower. Like the 175, the JD 185 also has a variant, the John Deere 180 lawnmower. The main difference between the 2 is the fact that the 180 has a gear drive transmission while the 185 has a Sundstrand hydrostatic transmission, making the JD 185 an automatic with infinite gears for traveling forward and infinite gears for reversing also. It’s top speed is 8 kph (5 mph). The gear box requires 0.7 liters of transmission fluid to fully fill it.

The John Deere 185 has many attachments that add to it’s functionality and general usefulness around the garden and yard areas of your property. You can attach a 42 inch John Deere 2690M blade to clear snow or other debris. On top of this, you can also attach a 38 inch single stage snow blower to the JD 185 if you live in an area of heavy snowfall and need to keep your property clear of snow. There is a rear bagger attachment, like on practically every single JD garden tractor lawnmower that has a capacity to hold up to 6.5 bushels of grass before it needs emptying. Even though the lawnmower weighs quite a bit at 292 kg (645 lbs) with the largest rear, 42 inch mower deck attached, it’s still advised that you use some front mounted weights to help prevent it from rearing up like a bucking horse.

The engine powering the John Deere 185 mower is a Kawasaki FC540V gasoline, 1 cylinder engine with natural aspiration. This engine has a displacement of 0.534 liters and produces 17 hp. This may not seem like a lot for a machine that weighs in at 292 kg (645 lbs), but when you take into account that it’s over 20 years since the last JD 185 was produced in 1990, then it seems fair enough.

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6 Reviews of the “John Deere 185”

  1. Les A says:

    Outstanding lawn tractor. I wish I could buy this same mower now. Very heavy duty overall. Reliable.

    Year of Manufacture: 1989
    Pros: Outstanding Reliability and Dependability. I am original owner and still runs like new even after 25 years. Never replaced any belts and almost no problems over all these years. Best money I ever spent to buy this mower. Probably about 100 hours per year on the mower – use it to pick up leaves also in the fall and I have a LOT of leaves. I like the grease fittings on the front wheels and on the 38 inch deck. Also Kawasaki engine is extremely reliable. Plenty of power even when grinding up wet leaves. Have done all maintenance myself.
    Cons: Originally when I purchased the mower, solenoid would click when trying to start the mower when hot. John Deere has a starter improvement kit that solves this problem and real easy to install and not expensive. After this fix, never had a problem until last year. Would stall out when put on full throttle – would only run at half throttle after I apparently added some bad gas. Replaced fuel line, fuel filter, fuel pump. Turns out only problem was a clogged main jet that was blocked by some red sediment blocking half of the main jet and not letting enough gas into carb. Not sure how this stuff got past the fuel filter. Was a simple fix. Some smaller parts are no longer available from John Deere or Kawasaki-for example smaller springs on carb. I wonder what I would do if I need some small part which is not available.
    Attachments: Bagger. Also 38 inch deck
    Modifications: None

  2. A. Rinzel says:

    This old girl is 25 years old and failed to run for the first time this spring. It would start and shut down under load change when hot and would not restart. The problem was with the ignition module that Kawasaki calls the igniter. A replacement took about five minutes after ten minutes of trouble-shooting using the Deere repair manual and we were good to go again. This is a mighty durable machine, a bit heavy, but it mows like a champ with a sharp blade. I will keep mowing with it until I expire or until the machine becomes too expensive to maintain. I now use only fuel without ethanol as the machine has more power in heavy grass when using that fuel. I must travel about 20 miles out of my way to get that fuel, but it is worth the trip for my eleven small engines.

    Year of Manufacture: 1989
    Cons: Heavy and a bit hard to steer in tight quarters at low speeds.

    • A. Rinzel says:

      Incidentally, my JD 185 has the 38-inch mowing deck. This mower has grease fittings for the spindles.

      Year of Manufacture: 1989
      Modifications: Update: This machine developed a problem with starting, the solenoid clicking but no cranking. I followed the recommendation of a previous reviewed and installed the relay kit that John Deere markets for this machine and others that are similar with Kawasaki engines. It took no more than twenty minutes to do. Now it starts like a champ at every try.

  3. ben kanable says:

    I pulled this mower and a 180 out of a horse pasture that they had been sitting in for 7 years. I changed the spark plug, oil, aired up the tires and cleaned the carb right in the pasture and drove them both up onto the trailer to take them home. I gave the 180 to my father in law and I still have the 185. Both have performed flawlessly ever since.

    Year of Manufacture: 1989
    Pros: love th quick steering and small turning radius.
    Lots of power from a relitavely small tractor.
    Unbelievable reliability.
    Jds have the best and smoothest cut in th biz.
    Cons: No grease fittings on the mower deck!? Hand packing mandrel bearings is a pain!… that’s about it.
    Attachments: 46″ deck

  4. Terry P says:

    always reliable use it year round in north east wis. very easy for my wife or kids to use

    Year of Manufacture: 1988
    Pros: plenty of power for cutting or blowing snow
    Cons: power steering would be nice but still ok without it
    Attachments: 46 in deck 38in blower rear wgts
    Modifications: chrome hub caps converted hitch to a 2in reciever

  5. KC says:

    very happy with my old girl

    Year of Manufacture: 1990
    Pros: always starts,runs like a Deere!!!
    Cons: no power steering
    Attachments: front blade

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