In 1837 a blacksmith in Grand Detour, Illinois, developed a plow from an old broken saw blade to cut through the thick, sticky soil in the area. His name was John Deere and his company has gone on to develop a wide variety of equipment for those who work the land. This includes products for agriculture, commercial, construction, forestry and residential use. The lawn and garden tractors were first introduced in 1963 when the company decided to enter the consumer market, and the John Deere 285 came along a few decades later.
The 285 garden tractor was built in the company’s factory in Horicon, Wisconsin. This model was manufactured from 1987 to 1991 for use as a riding lawn mower for homeowners. The next larger model was the John Deere 320 and the smaller model was the John Deere 265. The John Deere 285 model featured a 4x2 two-wheel-drive chassis, a rear sleeve hitch, manual enclosed re-circulating ball steering, expanding mechanical shoe brakes and an open cab.
Engine and Transmission
The John Deere 285 was sold with a Kawasaki model number FD590V, 584 cc, 2-cycle gasoline-fueled engine. The 18-gross horsepower engine had a compression of 8.7:1 and 3,350 rated RPMs. It included a foam air cleaner with a paper filter. The engine was liquid-cooled and had one 12-volt battery. The John Deere 285 had a Sundstrand BDU-21, hydrostatic type transmission with forward and reverse gears. This mower could go 7.0 miles-per-hour in forward, and 2.9 mph in reverse.
Fluids, Electrical and Battery
This model required three types of fluids to run properly. The John Deere 285 fuel tank held up to 3 gallons of gasoline. It also had a 3.3-quart capacity liquid coolant reservoir and held 2.6 quarts of oil. The John Deere 285 riding lawn mower included a 17 amp, alternator-charged, negative-ground charging system. The battery on the mower was a 22F-group battery with a cold-cranking amp rating of 341.
The John Deere 285 garden tractor’s wheelbase is 47.9 inches. The total shipping weight is 625 pounds. The overall dimensions of the John Deere 285 are 71.5 inches long, 41.5 inches wide and 43.6 inches tall. The two wheel drive turn radius is 2.1 feet. This model features 16x6.50-8 front tires and 23x10.50-12 rear tires. The 285 was available from 1988 to 1990 as a 46-inch mower, from 1988 to 1991 as a 50-inch mower, and as a 41-inch mower in 1991.
There were several attachments homeowners could use with the John Deere 285 garden tractors. This included two mid-mount, 3-blade with manual lift, mower decks – one was 46 inches and the other 50 inches. Both of these had a cut height range from 1.5 to 4 inches. A front-mount, manual lift blade with a 26-inch width and 17-inch height was available, as well as a 42-inch snow blower. The blower was front-mount, single-stage with manual lift.
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