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Discussion Starter #1
I bought the 2009 850d used about three years ago. Appeared to be in good shape and has served me well for easy lawn chores. But, now hauling wood. From day one, it's had a bit of a saggy ride even empty, seems more saggy on the left side. I notice lately when I am hauling firewood, loaded down, it's close to bottomed out. Of course, depends on how much and how heavy the wood. But wondering if it's 'normal' for a Gator to have a pretty mushy ride and if there is anything one can do about it and if one 'should' do something about it. I can live with it if it would be an expensive fix, lol. I am not where my Gator is or I would look. Is it shocks or springs or both?

This Gator has also always been kind of hard to turn. No biggie for me but curious if it's 'normal.' To make a big, slow turn, you gotta tug on that steering wheel.

Thanks for feedback on what is 'normal' for a Gator's ride.
 

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Looks like your shocks are worn but check for play on the a arm bushings and wheel bearings while youre at it too.
If everything is in order these should ride pretty firm, whenever anything gets mushy its time for a checkup

And the shocks and springs come together by the way, you might even find heavy duty or sime aftermarket ones.
I know jd sells H.D. for some models and the pricing shouldnt be that much of a difference but i do not know if they have them for the 850 aswell
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I bought it in 2016, it was only 7 years old. The dealer's ad said "one owner, barn kept, babied all its life, just look at the bed, it's barely been used." If that's true, it had not carried a lot of heavy loads. Would you think it's possible the shocks could wear out in only 7 years, 720 hours of riding around their ranch? (Of course, they might've carried hay but it's not crazy heavy.
 

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When I bought it in 2016, it was only 7 years old. The dealer's ad said "one owner, barn kept, babied all its life, just look at the bed, it's barely been used." If that's true, it had not carried a lot of heavy loads. Would you think it's possible the shocks could wear out in only 7 years, 720 hours of riding around their ranch? (Of course, they might've carried hay but it's not crazy heavy.
Babied or not, driving on rough roads could cause that and its almost 10 years old now.

Edit: dont know if these are adjustable by the way but if so check the adjustment and tighten them if possible

Also to add, my definition of saggy ride might be different. If you have a chance to bring it to a dealer or know somebody with experience it would be best to let them check.
Its no shame in trailering it to a john deere dealer and asking them
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry for ignorance. If you replace rear, should you replace front struts? (I assume it has some, I am not where my Gator is to look at it.)

Since I am hauling firewood, should I go heavy duty if such parts are available? Adjustable?

I saw mention of people complaining that the Gator's 'attitude' is kind of rear end higher than the front. That kind of makes sense to me. Mine seems to slope to the front left too much. Should the ride be leveled out?

Is this a fairly straightforward install? I am not much on mechanical work but can/will do uncomplicated stuff. I wonder how much a dealer would charge, I have no idea.

What is a good source for parts online? Recommended site?

Is it fairly 'normal' for a 10 year old Gator to need a repair like this? This is not going to be cheap, lol. But, heck, it runs good and I use it a lot.

If I took it to a dealer, would they diagnose problem for free?

Thanks for any help.
 

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Sorry for ignorance. If you replace rear, should you replace front struts? (I assume it has some, I am not where my Gator is to look at it.)

Since I am hauling firewood, should I go heavy duty if such parts are available? Adjustable?

I saw mention of people complaining that the Gator's 'attitude' is kind of rear end higher than the front. That kind of makes sense to me. Mine seems to slope to the front left too much. Should the ride be leveled out?

Is this a fairly straightforward install? I am not much on mechanical work but can/will do uncomplicated stuff. I wonder how much a dealer would charge, I have no idea.

What is a good source for parts online? Recommended site?

Is it fairly 'normal' for a 10 year old Gator to need a repair like this? This is not going to be cheap, lol. But, heck, it runs good and I use it a lot.

If I took it to a dealer, would they diagnose problem for free?

Thanks for any help.
No you do not need shocks all round if the problem is only in the back.
It is wise to keep the front in mind for the future though and save up for it.

Again i see mushy ride as if youre riding a horse after you come down from bumps and it doesnt seem to want to level out.
Normally you hit a bump and it should stay planted.

If you can get heavy duty hell yes if you use it to carry loads.

If the gator is riding uneven make sure to check all corners and balljoints and bearings while youre at it.

Installation of the rear shocks is easy enough if you have a jack

I would look if you could get aftermarket, iam not into aftermarket so i cant tell you where and what.

And yes its perfectly normal for a machine of 10 years to have leaking shocks

Wether your dealer would just take a look at it on a trailer depends on the hospitality.
I know we would have a look and say you need shocks and send you on the way but i cant speak for all dealerships.
Call your local dealer and see if they want to look at it if youd bring it.
 

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Please verify p/n and information before purchasing!!!!

Front:
11 - Absorber
Part NumberAM137957
Qty Req2
RemarksSUB FOR AM135372
$238.62USD

Rear:
Shock Absorber
Part NumberAM137958
Qty Req2
Remarks(SUB FOR AM136157)
$184.68USD

Heavy Duty Front Suspension - ST903591
1 - Support
Part NumberVGA12123
Qty Req2
$317.68USD

Heavy Duty Front Suspension, Attachment - ST746927
1 - Support Kit
Part NumberVGB10544
Qty Req1
$272.86USD


The shocks on this gator consists of a damper and spring assembly which is sold as one part number. Please understand the damper controls the rate of compression and extension while the spring carries the load and determines how much the suspension moves (squats) as a load is applied.

The OP needs to better quantify what they mean by mushy.

Mushy could mean:
1) There is no damping and it feels like your riding on springs bouncing around. Shock seals leaked and they are no longer capable of dampening. Sometimes oil will show at the rod seal.

2) Springs squat excessively and unable to carry the load. Assuming the preload is adjusted to max already the springs could be fatigue and no longer deliver their as new spring rate. Unless these springs are designed incorrectly, manufactured incorrectly or made of poor quality material this shouldn't be the case.

It looks like "heavy duty" shocks are only available for the front as I believe they are suggested when using a front plow.

Given the price of these shocks, they should be of very high quality and carry a lifetime warranty. There is no reason for a low usage shock to fail in 10 years unless corners are cut during the design and/or manufacturing phase. If JD had any competition for replacement parts, they would have a very difficult time competing.

Compare the shock assembly to any automotive aftermarket part and ask yourself why price and warranty differential exists. As long as the customer is willing to purchase green they have no motivation to change their practice as it is highly profitable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In my OP, I described it as, "From day one, it's had a bit of a saggy ride even empty, seems more saggy on the left side. I notice lately when I am hauling firewood, loaded down, it's close to bottomed out."

It's never been a 'firm' ride, you hit a bump and the level of the entire frame kind of slowly rolls back and forth. Now, with firewood, it DOES bottom out at any bump. I can hear it hit metal, which stops it from bottoming any further. It can't go any further because it hits metal. Clunk. It seems to bottom out under the bed, the rear shocks.

Would there be any adjustment on this? Far as I know it is all OEM, stock.

Someone above posted some prices. $238 and $184 for front, rear shocks. That's $476 front, $368 rear. For all, $844, plus tax. Plus install if a dealer does it. Sound right? Sheesh. Or maybe I could do rear shocks myself and see if that fixes it if I can't diagnose any possible adjustment prior to buying parts. TIA!
 

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Not certain about your 850D, but on my 855D there is an adjustment for spring preload that is turned using a spanner wrench that came with the Gator. The adjustment mechanism is at the bottom of the spring and it is very obvious if your model has it.

Here's a video showing how to adjust (if yours are adjustable). Feel free to skip to the 1:25 mark if you like.

If your shocks don't have the adjustment, perhaps the shocks from the 855D will work on your Gator.
 
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