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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
These are my spare spindles. They have newer bearings and spin quiet and easy. They have zerks that all take grease like they should. They're off the early 400 deck that was on my 1975 400. They need to be prepped before painting. Not gonna take them apart just to blast them. I'll hit them with some paint stripper and coarse steel wool. Does a good job of cleaning up parts like this. I'll also wire wheel the pulley grooves and the hubs where the blades bolt on. They'll be going in my JD parts cabinet when they're done till needed. See the short chunk of pipe on the left with the square bore? That's how much I cut off the 420 mower driveshaft after the gearbox swap so it was short enough to go on the PTO stub. Had to take the same length off the male part of the shaft. I have another driveshaft I can use if I ever put the original gearbox back on the 420 deck. Would have to be shortened up to match the original 420 driveshaft length and needs the knuckle replaced on the gearbox end.
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The other two are off the parts 400 deck I bought. They're in nasty condition but they spin like silk. Go figure. No grease zerks on them from the factory. None on another 400 deck I have either. I did the bearings on that one back in '07 and they're still fine.

How does a hub get buggered up like this? There's even pieces missing where the blade wasn't protecting them. All 3 were like that. The pullies are as thin as roof tin. I can bend the edges with my fingers. I'd wire wheel the grooves but there isn't really enough metal left to do that.
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Calculating ratio's is not that hard. Takes a bit of time to get the hang of it but it's not rocket science. Deere made it really complicated with their goofy PTO arraignments on the 400 series. So many possible variables. Engine pully size, reduction in the front gear case, reductions in the rear case, Pully sizes on the output shafts, pully sizes on the mower deck and the possible reduction in the mower gear case. No wonder you and everybody else is confused.
I can calc pulley dimensions and ratios no problem. I even know the value of pi to 3 decimal places thanks to a public school math teacher who made me memorize it. I just sometimes have a brain freeze about which pulley should be larger or smaller than the other one to increase or decrease speed. On my golf cart for example, the drive pulley on the engine has to be bigger to increase ground speed and the driven pulley on the transaxle has to be smaller. The gearbox pulley on the deck is driving the spindle pullies so a larger diameter pulley on the gearbox should speed the blades up.
 

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I'm actually in the process of refurbishing my unused 400 60" deck spindles to sell. Ebay prices are crazy. Even used rusted spindle pulleys are stupid expensive. I have new bearings ready to go. Mine does not have zerk fittings. They came apart pretty easy and the pulleys are undamaged. Albeit a little rusty. I'll clean them up and paint them. Hope to get $100 each or so. Hopefully they are the same as 420/430 spindles to widen me customer base. I found out the 400 gear box spins opposite direction when i sold to a guy who had a 430. He called back a couple days later and said wow this cuts horribly and found out why. Hahaha, Oops. I redunded his money. Still havent sold the gearbox yet.

 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I did something similar to your gearbox buyer Merc. I found the new gearbox on my 420 deck now amongst dad's many treasures and put it on a 400 60 incher. When I tried mowing with it the cut was terrible and virtually nothing was coming out the chute. Had to laugh at myself when I realized why. You'd think it would have occurred to me to check the rotation before doing the work to mount it. Nope!

Can't do it now unless I temporarily pull the gearbox off the 420 deck but I was gonna mount it on a 400 deck, flip the blades over and see if it would do a good job of mulching leaves that way.
 
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I got caught up on mowing so I pulled the deck off the 420 to sharpen the blades and clean the bottom side. I can sharpen them with the deck mounted no problem but I wanna make sure the deck doesn't do any more rusting under there. Most of it is fine but the vertical section on the front of it is pitted quite a bit. I oiled the snot out of it again too.

I took too long fiddling with the 420 deck and had to mow the acre behind my shop again so I fired up my resto'd 400. Did a really good job too. The steering was a bit stiff at first. Dry seals maybe. Smoothed out quickly though. I need to exercise it more often. Doesn't turn short but it's an excellent mower tractor otherwise. The hydro control was kinda stiff too. Felt like something is too tight. I completely rebuilt the entire steering system about 10 years ago and it's only had maybe a 100 hours put on it since. It used to be fine bu it doesn't like re-starting now after I shut it down after use then try to fire it again soon after. Let it cool down for an hour or so and it starts fine. I haven't put points in it since around 2007 and they cause crappy warm starts on another 532 I have. If it starts refusing to go when it's warm I clean or replace the points and it goes back to no problem with hot re-starts.

The K532 Kohler in this 400 sounds like an industrial strength engine compared to a Honda or a Vanguard. My Vanguards purr but the Kohler rumbles. Kinda like the sound difference between a V6 with a performance exhaust vs a V8.
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I slathered oil on the bottom of the 420 deck twice yesterday. Gonna let it dry good before using it. It's sitting behind my shop belly up and we just had an hour long rainstorm. Probably washed some oil off so I might need to put another coat on it. Gotta remember to tighten up the blades(!). Last time I had this deck off I stood it up on the back wheels with my trusty old Ford 800 and boom, then removed the blades to sharpen them. Then I dropped the deck back down and did some work on the top side. After I was done working on it I mounted it on the 420 and took it for test mow. It didn't cut grass worth a shlt. That's when I remembered I didn't put the blades back on..
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The 420 deck will never look as good as this 400 deck on the bottom side. It has zero pitting. Oiling it has created a permanent residue. The 420 deck will end up like that too. This pic was after power washing the 400 deck. It doesn't affect the dried out film of oil at all. Not that I can see anyway. It's like power washing something (like a gearbox) with really old grease caked on it. Can never get it all off without some scrubbing and even then not all of it comes off. Same same with the deck.
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Topside of the deck. I bought a 400 with a blown engine to get it. Wasn't planning on putting the tractor in working condition but I did. I bought a rebuilt 532 and dropped it in the tractor. It handled my snowblowing and most of my mowing for years. I call it my Beater 400 because it gets all the dirty jobs, kinda like Mike Rowe.

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Didn't have one the right size and this was my first try at grinding a bigger key down to the correct size for the drive pulley. Wasn't acceptable. Ground too much off one side and there wasn't enough metal left to straighten it up. Wouldn't have been enough of the key sticking up for the pulley. Had to do another one. I got the 2nd one close then finished it off with a flat file. Tried to do it just using the bench grinder on the first one. It was tricky to hold it without removing some material off the end of my finger tips so I used vice grips.
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
This shows the 3/8 bolt I used for the drive pulley instead of a roll pin (or 'spring pin' as some guys call it). I tried a 5/16 bolt but the existing roll pin hole was too big and the bolt could be wiggled. So I drilled the hole to 3/8 and it's a really tight fit now. Pulley doesn't wiggle a bit. My plan is to either put this gearbox back on the 420 or use it for a backwards rotation leaf mulching deck next fall, like I already described. Pretty sure I'll put it back on the 420 deck though. I don't like the slower blade speed with the new gearbox that's on it now. It works fine and I'll use it if need be though.
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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
This pic shows which way the drive pulleys turn and the ratio for both gearboxes. The arrows should actually be on the drive pulley faces but suffice to say the result is they turn in the opposite direction.

The 420 gearbox on the left is 1.5:1. The input shaft on it turns 1 1/2 times for 1 rotation of the output shaft. The input shaft turns at a 1:1 ratio with the output shaft on the 400 gearbox on the right. And just to make it more interesting the drive pulley is 2 inches (diameter) smaller on the 420 gearbox.
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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
This is the gearbox mount from my parts 400 deck. The gearbox only had about half the fluid it should have but it seems fine. It's kinda growly turning it by hand but it might just need the shims done properly. Gonna leave it as is for now. The seals may have been replaced. Not sure but the silicone is fairly fresh around the gearbox caps.

One of the bearing caps on the driveshaft knuckle will rotate and move up and down a bit. Gonna replace the knuckle so the gearbox is ready to use if needed.

The gearbox mount is in remarkably good condition. I'm 2 fer 4 on that. Out of the four 400 decks I have two mounts are good and two were junk. They're kind of a mickey mouse design. The front bracket is as weak as it looks and breaks easily. Correction: I meant they break sometimes, not easily. Bad wording. Anyway I made a new one to replace one of the broken ones. Not that hard.
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
The 400 gearbox in the first pic is off a deck I've had for a dozen years. It's a Curtis. There's no ID/tag at all though on the gearbox that was on my parts 400 deck. If you can read the Curtis tag you're a better guesser than me. Gotta take a better pic with the flash off. The 420 gearbox is a Peerless. The data tag on it is painted over so that's all I know. The new gearbox I put on the 420 has an oddball name, which I don't recall at the moment. Not a Curtis or a Peerless according to the tag but maybe it is and the tag just doesn't say that.
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420 gearbox..
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
This is the job my resto'd 400 with the 420 style deck does. Actually looks better in person. Nice and smooth and even. She's a good old girl.
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
These spindle pulleys off my parts 400 deck are painful to look at. Can you imagine what that poor mower went through? The deck was still mowing not too bad but the belt didn't have much life left in it. I kept it in case I'm ever super desperate for one.
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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
Unexpected bonus with the gearbox swap. Before I did it the 420 had to be revved up at least 3/4 throttle and warmed up to operating temp or it would stall engaging the deck. It will engage no problem stone cold at about 1/4 throttle now. It's somewhat baffling. If the original gearbox had enough binding going on to cause that why did it work at all? Made a racket, which is why I replaced it, but it spun fine. The deck is so quiet now I don't really need ear muffs. Not gonna run that way but nice to know it's that smooth.

I went over the deck support system again yesterday before mowing. The blade height is simply too high for the correct size deck support wheels to work properly. But that can't actually be the case ..so WTH? I probably should stop thinking about it. All I'm doing is confusing myself even more.

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Just to really confuse you Army, JD used the same style of deck 0n the 425, 445, 455, AND the 50, 55 series SCUTs, (550, 650, 750, etc) AND the 260/261 three point finish mower. So you have the possibility of having four, five or six different gearbox ratio's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Yep that worked Jake. It's even more fun now.

I checked the deck side to side level again yesterday before mowing with it. With a short 2x4 under each spindle bolt head but not quite touching ..the cutting edge of all 3 blades is almost exactly 2" off the floor. Front to back angle looks fine at that point. The left side deck hanger has about a 1/2" of threads showing but the right side has none. It's adjusted as short as it will go. The smaller rear deck wheels were still a couple inches off the floor at that height but the dinky front wheels I put on it were already touching the cement, which was also the case when all 4 of the bigger original wheels were on it too. The blades were way too high with the original wheels though. The result is the fronts contact the ground, then the rear of the deck continues to drop down until the back wheels are on the ground too. Can actually see it doing that. It's like a 2 step procedure. The deck drops down on the front wheels, then distinctly tilts backwards till the deck is supported at all 4 corners by the wheels. It's the wrong angle too. Should actually be a bit of frontward tilt.

The current status is, if I drop the deck down to where the front wheels aren't quite touching it does a really good mowing job. I'm still cursing the lack of a deck height adjuster like on a 400. WTH? Why would they do away with that?

Another problem with the deck is the blade tips are a half inch apart where they meet. Explains why I get two thin strips of grass not being cut between the blades.They don't appear to be ground shorter on the ends so maybe they aren't the correct blades. Based on all the other issues I've run into on the 420 it wouldn't surprise me a bit. They're pretty thick compared to 400 deck blades too. I'm gonna measure a 400 blade today see if they would overlap at all.
 

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Army, the 420 depth control is in the rear of the machine. Has a roll pin through the adjusting screw. Can't adjust it from the seat. Maybe you already knew this.

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Nope I did not. Thanks Tommy. I went through the 420 manual and couldn't find a reference to it. I wish they had left it where it was on the 400's. I have three areas I mow at different heights and I use it a lot.
 

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Tommyhawk is right. The adjusting screw for deck stop height is a screw that limits the rockshaft travel. If I recall correctly, setting that screw at the right height for a mower deck will also limit your 3 pt hitch travel distance because the rockshaft tabs lifts the 3 pt arms. And to complicate matters, I never remember which direction to turn the screw to raise and lower the deck height so a word to the wise, you might want to make a note or put some painters tape on the back of the tractor with a direction arrow and save a lot of trial and error time.
 

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Righty tighty higher deck
Lefty loosey lower deck.
 
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