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Discussion Starter #1
This web site is getting more hits suggesting that individuals interested in purchasing an 825i are stopping by. An independent assessment (mine) may be of interest.

The 825i was purchased in for a variety of reasons.
1) Timber stand improvement - The cab design sheds branches just as we hoped. That means no lights on top. We have driven it through brush that I wouldn’t walk through. The glass cab protects you from limb whip and thorns that are not fun in an open station tractor. And the glass has yet to scratch or break.
2) Controlled burns in reconstructed prairie and oak savannah
3) Crop scouting and soil sampling
4) Fence row spraying and plot seeding

So driving in the timber, in the fields, on the road between fields, over a frozen river (for streambank erosion control), in the snow and in sand/gravel/dirt.

Here is how we have outfitted the 825i:
1) Factory stock bench seats plus heater, windshield wiper, front brush guards and front fender guards. Stock rims and tires.
2) We made a paper template and made floor mats from ½” think foam exercise mats from Sam’s/Costco.
3) We made a bed mat from a ¾” stall mat for livestock. If we did it again, we would probably use a ½” thick mat as ¾” is very heavy. But when using it to pick rocks, I appreciated the ¾”.
4) Instead of installing a dedicated winch which is never where you need it, we had the dealer install a Viper Elite 4500# winch (VIPER-EX4500 ; https://motoalliance.com/Site.Store.go?action=gotoProductDetails&id=61) with synthetic cable on a 2” receiver mount. That means that we can use it on the front or rear 2” receiver, a 2” receiver mount on the trailer used to haul the buggy or a mount built to hook around a tree (boulder, anchor, etc.). This winch comes with a snatch block which has a sharp edge on the outer edge of the pulley which needs to be ground off before using it with synthetic cable. This winch also has a Rf remote control system which is waterproof which allows us the above flexibility. We now know that if we were doing it over, we would find a way to mount the contactor and Rf control system for the winch directly on the winch mounting bracket. That would let us move the winch to other vehicles as well. Maybe a mod for next year.
5) We swapped out the RED 12 volt DC cable connector bodies installed by the dealer for GREY bodies. We found a supplier of RED bodies at [email protected] while GREY bodies were $3.50. (http://www.solarseller.com/anderson_sb_quick_connect___disconnect_cable_connectors__accessories__stage_wiri.htm ) The electrical contacts are identical – but different color bodies are designed so that they do NOT interchange. This is primarily a work vehicle and I wasn’t about to fork out $90 to hook up a sprayer and seeder. The color is part of the part number. Different companies are granted exclusive rights to a color. The bodies are designed so that they can be hard bolted to something or have fasteners (pull points) attached for easier disconnects. We’ll see how the current system (zip tied) works with winter gloves on.
6) While we were at it, we bought and added boots for the front/rear connectors on the 825i and also connector covers.
7) $3.50 connectors enable long extension cords to use the winch off vehicle. We were going to buy 40’ of battery jumper cable but figured out that one could buy to two 20’ 4 ga jumper cables for less money. By using one 20’ cable when that is all that is needed increases the current capability and minimizes voltage loss. The local Sam’s Club has them for $20.The spring clamps from one set of jumpers will be hooked up to a connector so that we can jump another vehicle directly from the front/rear connector. With care, one can get 4 ga stranded wire into 50 amp pins.
8) The first time we drove it on the road, I felt like an exposed target. We immediately ordered and installed the flasher/turn signal kit.
9) The second time I drove it, it was night and it was immediately obvious that one could easily outdrive the stock lights. We purchased two 4” square 35 watt HID lights from a small business that specializing in retrofitting farm tractors (http://www.larsenlights.com/) . One is a flood (SF17 Wide Flood) and the other a long range spot (SF17 Euro Beam). They are mounted on the front brush guard. It took 4 tries before we got them mounted right. Had to elongate the holes in the mounts on the brush guard mounts, elongate the holes in the light mounting bracket, change the rubber isolation mount and grind down the front of the light mount by 3/16”. A ¼” re-enforced isolation pad between the brush guard mount and the light’s base allows the light base to slide forward over the weld bead which keeps the grill from limiting the adjustment to the light. That comes pretty close to centering the lights in the opening so the “look” is right”.
10) Found some aircraft parachute release activation switches (Eaton Electrical Toggle Rocker Switch DPST on E-bay that fit the standard dash cut-outs for individual switches. A little black magic marker covered the white lettering perfectly without changing the texture. And the price was right.
11) Not being able to see the gear shift lever at night was bugging some other users. So we acquired a couple of little blue accent LED’s (CUA25400) from JC Whitney. One is mounted in the “hood” above the instrument panel and points down on the switch panel. The second is glued to the dash and illuminates the shifting levers. Both are hooded so you can’t see the light directly.
12) Not being able to read manuals or write notes in the cab at night was bugging me. Looked at the JD interior light ($55) and chose to play with a 24 white LED array we found on Amazon (24 SMD LED Panel Hyper White with 2 adaptors (194 DE3175) 12V Dome Interior lights). We fabbed a mount for the LED and the switch from a little piece of 3/8” acrylic that drops into the opening which Deere provided in the overhead console. That turned out even better than expected. It is very bright and looks OEM. The switch was mounted in that same piece of acrylic.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
JD 825i Review - Part 2

13) We actually ordered two of the LED light boards because if the overhead light worked, we were going to turn the second one into a bed light. Took a piece of scrap acrylic and cut a triangle which was the width of the LED assembly on each side and the length of the assembly. Filed two sides flat & smooth and then sequentially sanded two sides until it was optically clear. Taped the LED to one side it, cover it and the ends with electrical tape and then covered everything with black liquid insulating tape. Also covered the leads to the LED with liquid tape so it looks like a single wire. Glued the polished surface to the glass with clear silicone adhesive. Placed it at the top center of the rear window with the LED array pointing down at an angle and as far up and under the trim as I could get it. The acrylic triangle acts as a “crude lens” coupling the LED array to the window. That points the light into the bed improving illumination and reducing glare to your eyes as you dig through piles of stuff. With the bed up, you also have light on the engine. The wire can be hidden in trim all the way around to the front console where the switch is located.
14) Backing up in brush was giving me a pain in the neck. And it is not nice to hit trees (without a rear bumper) while backing up. We found a mirror - Kolpin UTV rear-side mirror (#98300) that can be modified to work well (http://www.kolpinpowersports.com/products/utv-unit-accessories/utv-rear-side-mirror.html?vmcchk=1). Pry off the cap, cut off the roll bar clamp, dis-assemble and grind/file the “top” smooth. Separate the mounting bracket from the arm and reverse it. The curve in the bracket is a perfect fit with the curve that is in the accessory bracket at the top of the windshield. Mount it next to (but not over) the cutout for switches. Reversing requires replacement of the knob that tightens the clamp with a nylon locking nut. Drill a hole and bolt it in. You can use the original bolt but we used a round headed carriage bolt that we knocked the shoulders off of so that it fir would fit the hole to the base. Alternatively, you can mount the round bracket to the bottom of the accessory bracket. Reversing the bracket raises the mirror another ½”. Properly placed, the mirror sits in front of the wiper motor and does not take up any additional windshield viewing space. The mirror is a wide angle design which for this application is a plus. There are mixed feelings because in this location, if mirrors the driver.
15) We get stuck, pull stuff, etc. but dirt and sun take their toll on conventional snatch ropes/straps. We’re hopeful that a Bubba Rope (http://www.bubbarope.com/atv-snatch-rope) will solve our problems with dirt, water, sunlight, etc. This is a small version of a rope design widely used by the military. Don’t let their name fool you. So far, you can’t tell that it has been used.
16) This is also an ag vehicle to be used in scouting, soil sampling, etc. So we got spacers which allow us to center the wheels on 30” rows. Expensive pieces so think twice. They add 4” in width. The mud flaps still work. They do add stability.
17) Yes, we got tracks. You can see the trees that need to be cut when the underbrush is either dead or leafless. Standard tires are not much good in snow. We got Camoplast 4S UTV tracks which are rated for 4 season use because we sometimes also have mud and sand to play in whether we want to or not. They will cut your speed by ~35% - which is one of the reasons we choose the 825i. I was accused of buying a gimmick until the accusers rode in it after the tracks were installed. You can go across the rows in an ag field at full speed – not something one would do with tires. The added height makes fording the river much more comfortable.
18) After remounting two tracks that we had lost in 10 degree weather at 9PM at night, we immediately went out and bought a Gates belt tension gauge. Buy it ($20) and use it. Break-in is a pain (4 hours of controlled low speed driving) but do it.
19) To pull things, we bolted a hook inside of a piece of 2” square tubing that fits into the receiver. That keeps forces in line. The next step is to connect a 3” forged ring a few links back of the standard hook on a chain that is also carried. No more disconnected chains – at least on the vehicle side. We also took a receiver hitch and replaced the ball with a clevis with a 90 degree twist.
20) Some little kids wanted to ride with so we picked up an aftermarket 2 point seat belt and installed it. Used the two bolts from the adult seat belts.
21) The first time we really used it for work, the lack of a horn was identified as an obstacle. A little horn behind the brush bar (Part #: WLO260) and a horn button (Part #: KLE317) from JC Whitney solved that problem for a lot less than Mother Deere wanted ($85). The horn button mounts in the standard location but the square hole had to be reamed to round. We then cut a piece of adhesive backed Velcro to match the diameter of the horn button so there is tactile feel for use at night.
22) That huge front window crates a lot of glare when driving into the sun. Thought about a Deere spec visor but they are always in the way. So decided to play with tint. Found a scrap (5” x 3’) of electrostatic plastic tint while browsing in a thrift store. Tint is clearly the place to start. The cut around the mounting bold covers is a pain but can be done. When people get in and don’t comment, you know that you are on the right track. This charcoal gray tint is stated as 35% VLT (Visible Light Transmission). I think that we’re going to play with tinting the top of the side doors now.
23) For all of the electrical stuff, we wired in two 6 connector fuse blocks. One is always on and one is switched. Both are mounted right below the existing fuse block below the steering wheel. Wish we had told the dealer to do this so that dealer installed options could have used it instead of having a bunch of independent fuses floating about. The under dash area is becoming a rats nest (that I’ll sort out sometime).
24) A JD “quiet cab kit” was ordered and is in. Bought an inexpensive sound meter so we could track the results and report it here. The kit has NO measurable effect on either the A or C weighting scale (at rest at 1000 RPM; or at 25 MPH on gravel; or at 25 MPH on dirt). To say that we were disappointed after spending that kind of money is an understatement. So, I got out a tube of black silicone and some foam rubber and start filling in holes and gaps in the cab. Still no measurable effect. The backup is JD noise cancelling headphones. It needs something.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
JD 825i Gator Review - Part 3

25) We are researching after-muffler silencers. We want a quiet vehicle to see the wildlife that we feed by farming in the woods. It appears that there are three choices for silencers – a) Kolpin Stealth Exhaust 2.0, b) Flowmaster Hushpower, and c) Benz Silent Rider. We assume that the fuel injection system has a back pressure sensor (wires are going to the right place) so the preference is for a “tuned” silencer (as opposed to a packed silencer). That would make the Flowmaster the choice but they have discontinued the production of silencers. But old stock is being sold on E-bay by a third party. The Benz is a packed design. We’re still searching for useful information on the Kolpin. Attaching a silencer to the stock muffler would be easy but doing it in a way which doesn’t restrict access to the rear receiver (for the winch) and allows the bed to be raised for engine access looks to be a problem.
26) Deere makes a windshield washer kit. Have thought about it but no decision yet. I see that Kolpin makes an accessory power washer for UTV’s. No decision. With tracks, it can be mudded up pretty badly.
27) An article in a farm mag about an 825i being used for spraying indicated that the owner had “slimed” the tires. Probably a good idea.
28) Wasted a lot of time looking for a plastic storage bin that fits the width of the rear box. Has to be big enough to stick the winch into along with a selection of hand tools and “stuff”. Titan makes a 53” box which is 2” too big and DeeZee makes a 40” one which wastes 11 inches. We ended up with a 50 gallon Contico which is water tight” and lockable. We then built a series of dividers on the inside to keep things separate and give us two layers of storage. We quickly learned that the best place for it is loaded over the bed’s balance point with access from the side and strapped down.
29) We have a pair of German Shepard’s that wanted to ride. Going through the woods could toss them out faster than “xxxx”. We have found two design approaches which makes sense. The first is a simple wooden rack with a plywood bottom and plywood sides hinged to it that slides into the bed. Plywood base with hinged/ slatted sides. A batten across the front keeps the sides straight. The second design has 4 posts (1” x 1”) which are welded to broad “U’s” which fit over the corner assemblies in the bed. The posts have a top rail and a bottom rail with expanded metal filling the field on three sides (right/front/left). Decisions. Decisions.


Some negatives:
1) The brakes were terrible as delivered so we had the dealer “condition the brakes”. It is a known problem and Deere has a solution. Made life a lot more fun and everyone feel a lot safer.
2) Freewheeling is still disconcerting when going down a hill with wheels. The lack of engine braking makes steering safely in difficult terrain more difficult.
3) On the first ride, the CV joint (behind the cab) linking the front and rear axles, acted up and made a very unpleasant noise The temp of the bearing protector said 220 degrees on the IR thermometer and one could definitely not hold a gloved hand on it. But the dealer said – no identifiable problem. We’ll see when it breaks.
4) It needs an adjustable steering wheel for people with different heights and builds. 40 year old JD tractors have this feature so what is the problem?
5) Power steering would also be nice, especially with tracks. In rugged terrain (and especially rocky river crossings), you want to drive with your thumbs outside of the steering wheel. 50 year old JD tractors have this feature so what is the problem?

Some needs:
1) Am trying to figure out how to carry a gasoline powered tree pruner on the 825i. Any suggestions?
2) Finding a way to make the front bench seat adjustable forward and back would be nice. Any suggestions?
3) Does anyone know how to activate the temperature sensor on the instrument panel?
4) After running through brush and corn stalks it is clear that the front opening where a fixed winch would mount is a magnet for sharp objects and nothing protects the radiator. It needs a screen of some kind. Another project.
 

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Just a quick thank you for taking the time to report your findings with your 825i....I too own one, but with the full Poly Cab with the real glass windshield and wiper option, and I really like it alot...I also have the rear sliding glass window...if money wasn't a factor, I probably would have ordered the Deluxe Glass Cab, but after having the Poly Cab, it suits me fine...I do think the Deluxe Cab is much nicer looking and fitting...

And, yes...my Gator is too noisy...I just installed an aftermarket Roof Mounted Pioneer Stereo in mine to listen to some tuines instead of just "noise"...and mine is at the Dealership right now actually getting a few things done to it...one of which is having a back -up camera system installed...I also have extra lights both forward and rearward, along with a reciever mounted Warn XT-30 Winch...I only have a little over 25 hours on mine so I am still learning and playing....I have a standard 72" snow plow that has the hydraulic cylinder mounted on the blade frame for up and down, but I have to manually move it to angle the blade...I haven't had a chance to use that yet...no snow here in Maryland so far...(yippee, I think???)

Anyway, I really liked reading your comments, and hope you continue to post when you have more mods or fixes done to yours...I always like reading about other peoples rides, and hear about the regular old personalizations they do to theirs...having many different ideas are always good to know when you are thinking about doing something to your own...

take care, my friend...the best to you and your Gator...

Larry in MD
 

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3) Does anyone know how to activate the temperature sensor on the instrument panel?

I forgot about this...I have heard on another forum that the temperature sensor isn't even on these Gators...the little icon in the digital dash is a "generic" symbol that was placed there for use in other applications...seems everyone asks about it, and that answer sounds about as reasonable as any...this came from a Deere Tech Guy, so I am assuming it's true....

Larry in MD
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Larry,
Thanks for the comments and feedback.
1. A back-up cam makes sense. It was another “duh” moment. Did you mount it on the back of the cab to keep it out of the dirt & mud?
2. We have a portable GPS unit in it to “mark” spots in fields that need attention.
3. Looking for information on the center of gravity for the “buggy”. There are smart phone apps for measuring angle which would let one monitor tip-over risk. I’m hoping that there are Deere engineers monitoring this forum that can provide technical specifications.
4. Have learned that tracks are very nice but can also get one in trouble. When the river was freezing over, we intentionally drove on ice which we would break through. If the water under the ice is deeper than your track tips, you’re stuck. Same thing holds when crossing at a ford.
5. Would love to have someone take the output from a noise cancelling “headset” and run it into a sound system. That might be a reasonably priced in-cab noise solution.
6. The female members of this tribe have grown to like this work vehicle – which is how it got its name “The Buggy”. It has opened up areas that were difficult to get to with bigger vehicles or totally inaccessible in the winter.
 

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1. A back-up cam makes sense. It was another “duh” moment. Did you mount it on the back of the cab to keep it out of the dirt & mud?

Yeah...up on top...with a little "sun shade" over it...I'll take some pics when I get it back from the dealership and post them here so you can see what I've done....

I saw a little "inclination" gauge cluster on one of the ATV/UTV sites I browse...can't remember which place it was at the moment...it was only like $30 or $40, and had two gauges in it...one for side to side, and the other an end to end incline gauge...it was pretty cool for sure...looked kinda like am "level" gauge in an airplane, but with a 4 wheeled outline instead of wing tips...it did have "degree" number's on it and it might have had the "%" numbers for hills if I remember right...it looked cool enough for me to want it, because it was priced right, and it looked cool...it came in powered, for backlight, and un-powered....Now I got myself thinking about that damn thing and I'm gonna have to find it again later this evening...I'll let you know if I find it again...

I know what you mean about the women folk liking it...my wife jumps in mine (or I should say, "ours") and takes our little 19 month old Grandson for rides all the time...we live in farming country here on the Eastern Shore of MD, and we have mostly backroads around our house....she'll head out on the shoulders of the roads and ride for miles...there is an old Coast Guard Station on a Creek with Bay access about 8 miles from our house...she'll ride down there and all around that area and then head back home...we have a "booster seat" that fits in a chair and we take that and strap it to the passenger high back bucket seat, and then strap the little boy (Boo) in that to get him up a bit so he can see out the windows...the faster you go in the Gator, the bigger the smile is on his face....he loves it!!!...one of our friends told us one day that they'd never heard of a year and a half old kid getting an $16,000.00 toy before...hahaha...he's got his own little electric Peg Perago Gator that he rides himself, so we are "Gator'd up" pretty good....

You mentioning about your tracks getting stuck when they are submerged made me think of what my Garndfather used to tell me back when I was a young buck riding the roads in pick-up's as a teenager...he always said that "the only thing a 4 wheel drive truck will get you is twice as stuck as a 2 wheel drive"....from my experiences, I gotta say he was correct...it's funny, because as of yet, I haven';t even put my Gator in 4 wheel drive...(haven't needed it to be honest...)...I have heard from others that their Gators perform great in 2 wheel drive, and hardly ever put it in 4 wheel drive...they are badassed machines most certainly...I've impressed a few of my friends with rides in mine....I can't wait to head to a trail system like the Hatfield McCoy Trails down in West Virginia to try it out there...we are planning on going there either late winter or early spring....seems like everyone that goes there can't wait to go back!!!...It's almost 8 hours from us so I want to spend at least 3 or 4 days there when we do go...I might not want to come home after seeing that scenery!!!

take care...

Larry in MD
 

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There are smart phone apps for measuring angle which would let one monitor tip-over risk. I’m hoping that there are Deere engineers monitoring this forum that can provide technical specifications.
 

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If anyone comes up with a fix please let me know. I would like to add a stereo but inside cab is to noisey. I have 20 miles on mine and really disappointed.:confused:
What do you want a fix for???...I didn't understand from your statement as to what you are looking for....I installed a stereo in mine and it's made the noise inside alot more bearable...plus, I have done what I can to stop the squeaking, and rubbing wherever possible too...

It's definitely alot better than it was when I first got it...I've got close to 250 miles on mine now...

Larry in MD
 

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What I want to fix is how loud it is in the deluxe cab. We can't even talk when were riding.
Ummm...if you are talking about you and your wife...some guys I know would pay extra for that feature...hahahaha...

Seriously...from everywhere I've read, that is the number one complaint about 855's and 825's...too noisy...I am looking at the clutch modification that is supposedly coming out soon by "Team" that will give you more speed, with less rpm's, fuel consumption, and most importantly...noise..

I can't wait till they start selling them!!!

Larry in MD :D
 

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Noise

Well here is what I did. I bought some noise canceling foam 2" thick and glued it on the wall behind the seats,under the seats,and the gas tank cover and it made a huge difference. I should take a picture And post it, I'm very happy with how it works guys,very quite compared to what it was
 

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Well here is what I did. I bought some noise canceling foam 2" thick and glued it on the wall behind the seats,under the seats,and the gas tank cover and it made a huge difference. I should take a picture And post it, I'm very happy with how it works guys,very quite compared to what it was
Wow!!!...great idea...I'd love to see a few pics of it...if you could post some, that would be killer!!!

thanx man...

Larry in MD :D
 

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Thanx for the pics...looks like a great good getting it all covered...you say it made a big difference???....I'm just curious how much it actually did help before I try the same fix...

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to post up the pics here...

Larry in MD :D
 

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noise

well it was worth it for me ,, when it idles u barely hear it , i forgot to mention i also put foam in the battery box ,, i would guess that it is bout 20 to 30 % quieter, and i am not done with it, that is only a trial run ,
 

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sound deadning material such as fatmat, dynamat or similar should work great for that plus it wont absorb water eventually causing rust and mold u dont have to worry about mice or any other critters making a nest in it also
 

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That's a great idea Osiris...I hadn't even thought of those sound deadening mats...I've used them in the past too...duh!!!

Thanx man...

Larry in MD :D
 

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i would say ill get some put it in and test with the db meter but i think ive got enough projects lined up when i get a chance :eek: plus my stock at home is going in the truck :D, also if i rember right i got my db meter at radio shack if anyone want to test theyre results and have #`s to back the results but if i rember right evey 3db is twice as loud to the ear so a 30% reduction in noise might see a 1db diffrence
 

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noise

I have a deluxe cab on mine so i dont have to worry bout water , and i cant check mine with the db reader cause the foam is glued in there cant take it out , and besides that it works very good for me , its quite reallly quite for me
 
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