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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm in Southern MN and of course winter is on it's way.
I live on a fairly busy road. Of course I do my best to watch for traffic, sometimes the way the road is, I just don't see traffic. Thankfully I'm never in the actual lane of traffic long, but it still has had me thinking about what I can do for lighting.

In the summer it's not really needed, so I'd probably return the tractor to "stock" for summer use, but it may not be a bad thing to have this set up so it's an easy on/easy off in case I need to work late on something some night. Anyway......

I don't have a cab (yet) and the factory lights are at best a disappointment.
Has anyone rigged up a microswitch for reverse lights?

What have you guys done to improve your visibility both on and off the tractor? I'd like to see more of what I'm doing, and be seen more at the same time. BUT... I don't really want to drill into my tractor to do it.

I was kind of looking at 2 sets of the lights I'll list below.

I was thinking I'd make a custom bracket in the rear tail light bucket area. Back there I'd use the red flashing, and have the clear fog light set up on a micro switch and relay that I'd rig to work when the hydro shifter went into reverse.
On the front I was thinking amber flashing, and the front facing fogs tied into the factory headlights, but with a relay.

Both front and rear would use a weather pack connector, so they are easy to remove.

I just don't know how I'd mount them to the front!


The lights I've been looking at:
 

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A rear work light was a factory option from JD for the 316-430. It mounted to the rear of the fender pan. My Dad has an original one on his 420.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, I can't believe with the crappy lighting these tractors have, especially for snow removal, that no one has done anything beyond the plug and play LED bulbs.
There are a crazy amount of smart folks around here!
 

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I look at our tractor lights as more of a "be seen" rather than "to see with".

One thing about snow, with all that white, you really don't need much light. (I'm also in the city, so light pollution is a thing, not to mention the street lights, house lights, etc.)

I forget to turn them on most of the time. :)
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh man... I'm in BFE, so I need the lights to see what I'm doing and not run over stuff.

I'm debating building a cab, so installing lights would be much easier.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You could use magnetic battery-powered LED lights and stick them to the fender. That would be no drilling and no wiring and immediate results
I may do that for a temporary solution. To the rear is less of an issue, but I suppose I can aim them to the front like the 1025
 

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I would get a really nice powerful headlamp. (flashlight strapped to your head) :) That way the light is always where you need it.

Just for the record I'm not at all against adding better lights to the tractor. :)
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How about a flashing yellow safety beacon?

mjydrafter
I would get a really nice powerful headlamp. (flashlight strapped to your head) :) That way the light is always where you need it.
That's a thought as well. The lights I noted above actually have like a flood light function AND a flashing yellow, red, green, blue...etc options. I was thinking I'd do the red in the rear and the yellow in the front.

I have a couple headlamps, and they just don't seem to produce enough light. They also don't do much for the being seen side of things. But that's not a horrible idea. I may have to shop around for a better one. The "good" one I have is from Mac Tools. I used it as a Technician, and it might just be getting dim from use. The batteries don't seem to last terribly long, especially when it's cold.
 

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IMO all those flashing lights are overkill. I use LED bulbs and can see, or be seen just fine. I do have a "led driving light" I plan on adding to the rear. But Im just going to use a toggle switch in the rear pto switch hole.
 

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That's a thought as well. The lights I noted above actually have like a flood light function AND a flashing yellow, red, green, blue...etc options. I was thinking I'd do the red in the rear and the yellow in the front.

I have a couple headlamps, and they just don't seem to produce enough light. They also don't do much for the being seen side of things. But that's not a horrible idea. I may have to shop around for a better one. The "good" one I have is from Mac Tools. I used it as a Technician, and it might just be getting dim from use. The batteries don't seem to last terribly long, especially when it's cold.
Check this place out, they have the real deal stuff. The tool truck stuff is usually pretty good, but relabeled for them (not unlike some Deere implements)

Battery Junction headlamps.

Signed,
flashlight junky. 🤪
 
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I drove snow plows for 10 years. One thing I learned was flashing lights give people something to aim at. Collisions were happening so often back in the 70's the MTO (Ministry of Transportation Ontario) started playing commercials on TV with an animated machine gun mounted on the back of a plow truck shooting at idiots trying to pass it. By the time I left the road dept the trucks were lit up like xmas trees. We had headlights, wing lights, plow lights, tail lights, plus the standard flashing blue lights, big red lights mounted 3 feet taller than the tailgates, blinking yellow caution lights ..and no lights at all sometimes. They converted all the older trucks to 100 amp alternators and spec'd that for new ones. Only had 60's before that and they were getting killed.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I drove snow plows for 10 years. One thing I learned was flashing lights give people something to aim at. Collisions were happening so often back in the 70's the MTO (Ministry of Transportation Ontario) started playing commercials on TV with an animated machine gun mounted on the back of a plow truck shooting at idiots trying to pass it. By the time I left the road dept the trucks were lit up like xmas trees. We had headlights, wing lights, plow lights, tail lights, plus the standard flashing blue lights, big red lights mounted 3 feet taller than the tailgates, blinking yellow caution lights ..and no lights at all sometimes. They converted all the older trucks to 100 amp alternators and spec'd that for new ones. Only had 60's before that and they were getting killed.
That's a good point. Although USUALLY here in MN people have gotten to realize that they will NEVER win with a plow truck and generally keep away from flashing lights.
I remember when I was in my 20's they made a huge push for ticketing unsafe drivers around plows. They would have cops either in front of or right behind plow trucks and they would write out some NASTY tickets for folks driving stupid. It must have kind of worked because most of the time they are good around the plows.

Now if they would just do the same with tow trucks and other emergency workers on the side of the highways. Man that gets me going.... I have a number of friends that are Tow drivers.... and weekly they have stories where they were almost hit...or they were JUST missed.

All in all though, I think some flashing lights wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm not on an actual Highway, but it's the only paved road out of town, so it's heavily traveled.... and I'm on a hill... where the speed limit changes from 55 to 45 to 30.
 

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So...this is somewhat near and dear to my heart, because I use my tractor ALOT after the sun has set. Summer to cut grass sometimes, pull trailers for work around acreage, and snow blowing. I've done lots of offroad motorcycle racing at night and know what good lighting is and for sure these tractors dont have it.

This is what I've found after 10ish years of trying...lots of rambling so sorry in advance:

1. Do not waste your time or money on bumbs for the OE headlight. Halogen, LED, doesn't matter...they all will leave you disappointed.

2. I have yet to find an easy drop in light bar for the headlight, but I haven't searched a ton in the last two years or so. Ideally though the whole factory bulb housing would come out and I'd fab an aluminum plate to replace it which holds an LED light bar. Major concern would be heat though.

3. Most of the cheaper Amazon LED cubes or bars aren't worth the effort to install. Light throw and dispersion is usually terrible, and durability is as well. I've gone through like 12 sets of all the "PRC" brands and they all fail.

3b. These have been on my tractor for 3 years...one pair faces front, other faces rear. I also have a third pair I put on my MY49 blower which has the paddle bailing belt mod and shakes like a dog shutting razor blades. 2 years of use and they still (somehow) work.


4. I have a custom fab weight box on the back of my tractor, and it's full width. The lights I linked are slim enough to fit on it without issues. I have had other cubes in the same place that end up getting ripped off. I like that the light is shining from behind me during snow blowing as it really helps see where I'm at with the edge of the blower (no cab here either).

5. I have both pairs of mine wired to added toggle switches on the dash. Fully fused, relayed, etc. Because when I bought the tractor halogen worklights were better than LEDs (for under 150 bucks or so). That said I do have some rubber halogen housings that I want to try these in...I have them on a boat and they're unbelievable: Amazon.com

6. Yellow vinyl on the lights helps me tremendously while snow blowing. Uncolored the white light blinds me especially if it's snowing.

7. Magnetic mount lights suck. They don't stay put, ferrous material gets between the mag base and fender over time, etc. They do more to frustrate you when they vibrate out of position then they're worth in my opinion

So I guess all that is to say...I would not invest in a flashing light, I would invest in a good pair of lights / wiring / connectors (Deutsch DTM) / switch gear, and I would try to mount them on the rear fender pan. Get a good pair of lights and you won't have to replace them every 2 years like I did being cheap!

And FWIW I've had stellar luck with Baja designs on motorcycles....just very pricey for a work tractor.
 

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The flashing lights are great for alerting normal people that a plow truck is on the road. But for the nincompoops they're like a moth to a flame. Most drivers behave themselves so there's no crazy story to tell about what they did. The mental midgets get all the attention.

Most people around here are really good about slowing down and getting over for tow trucks and disabled vehicles. This is cash crop territory so we're used to sharing the road with big machinery. Unfortunately the same idiots who rear end snowplows do the same thing to tractors and combines and vehicles that are broke down. They get all the press too and regular folks don't get any.

That's a good point. Although USUALLY here in MN people have gotten to realize that they will NEVER win with a plow truck and generally keep away from flashing lights.
I remember when I was in my 20's they made a huge push for ticketing unsafe drivers around plows. They would have cops either in front of or right behind plow trucks and they would write out some NASTY tickets for folks driving stupid. It must have kind of worked because most of the time they are good around the plows.

Now if they would just do the same with tow trucks and other emergency workers on the side of the highways. Man that gets me going.... I have a number of friends that are Tow drivers.... and weekly they have stories where they were almost hit...or they were JUST missed.

All in all though, I think some flashing lights wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm not on an actual Highway, but it's the only paved road out of town, so it's heavily traveled.... and I'm on a hill... where the speed limit changes from 55 to 45 to 30.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
had to look that one up--haha!
Ya, I'm 15 min to the closest Walmart... if that helps give you an idea! My town is so small it only has 2 churches, 3 bars, 1 gas station and a brand new Dollar General. LOL

Population sign says 908.

The flashing lights are great for alerting normal people that a plow truck is on the road. But for the nincompoops they're like a moth to a flame. Most drivers behave themselves so there's no crazy story to tell about what they did. The mental midgets get all the attention.

Most people around here are really good about slowing down and getting over for tow trucks and disabled vehicles. This is cash crop territory so we're used to sharing the road with big machinery. Unfortunately the same idiots who rear end snowplows do the same thing to tractors and combines and vehicles that are broke down. They get all the press too and regular folks don't get any.
I'm in Farm Country too, but being I'm at the edge of town where the speed limit changes... we get some mental midgets that don't realize that the 45 zone goes PAST my house...and are doing 60+ as they go by. USUALLY they are paying attention, even though they are going too fast. I've only seen one that put himself into a BAD pickle, and luckily the truck driver was able to avoid him (neighbor across the street is a construction company).

Usually in the snow they slow down quite a bit though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So...this is somewhat near and dear to my heart, because I use my tractor ALOT after the sun has set. Summer to cut grass sometimes, pull trailers for work around acreage, and snow blowing. I've done lots of offroad motorcycle racing at night and know what good lighting is and for sure these tractors dont have it.

This is what I've found after 10ish years of trying...lots of rambling so sorry in advance:

1. Do not waste your time or money on bumbs for the OE headlight. Halogen, LED, doesn't matter...they all will leave you disappointed.
I agree 100% there. I have LED bulbs, and they are worthless. They don't throw more light, they just changed the color.

2. I have yet to find an easy drop in light bar for the headlight, but I haven't searched a ton in the last two years or so. Ideally though the whole factory bulb housing would come out and I'd fab an aluminum plate to replace it which holds an LED light bar. Major concern would be heat though.
I've looked a little, but I haven't seen anything that would make me OK with cutting my hood.

3. Most of the cheaper Amazon LED cubes or bars aren't worth the effort to install. Light throw and dispersion is usually terrible, and durability is as well. I've gone through like 12 sets of all the "PRC" brands and they all fail.

3b. These have been on my tractor for 3 years...one pair faces front, other faces rear. I also have a third pair I put on my MY49 blower which has the paddle bailing belt mod and shakes like a dog shutting razor blades. 2 years of use and they still (somehow) work.

Those look great! I may give them a try! I like the idea of the yellow and red flashing, but being able to see is priority #1

4. I have a custom fab weight box on the back of my tractor, and it's full width. The lights I linked are slim enough to fit on it without issues. I have had other cubes in the same place that end up getting ripped off. I like that the light is shining from behind me during snow blowing as it really helps see where I'm at with the edge of the blower (no cab here either).

5. I have both pairs of mine wired to added toggle switches on the dash. Fully fused, relayed, etc. Because when I bought the tractor halogen worklights were better than LEDs (for under 150 bucks or so). That said I do have some rubber halogen housings that I want to try these in...I have them on a boat and they're unbelievable: Amazon.com
OH I learned long ago to do the wiring and connectors RIGHT the first time. It's "faster" the first time, till something goes wrong. When it does, it's always at the WORST time!

6. Yellow vinyl on the lights helps me tremendously while snow blowing. Uncolored the white light blinds me especially if it's snowing.
I will have to give that a try! I didn't think that being I would be moving so slow the white would be blinding, but it does make sense.

7. Magnetic mount lights suck. They don't stay put, ferrous material gets between the mag base and fender over time, etc. They do more to frustrate you when they vibrate out of position then they're worth in my opinion

So I guess all that is to say...I would not invest in a flashing light, I would invest in a good pair of lights / wiring / connectors (Deutsch DTM) / switch gear, and I would try to mount them on the rear fender pan. Get a good pair of lights and you won't have to replace them every 2 years like I did being cheap!

And FWIW I've had stellar luck with Baja designs on motorcycles....just very pricey for a work tractor.
I'll probably hold off on the flashing light, till I can build a cab and then just get a dedicated flashing light.
 
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