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I have bought/owned/repaired/restored/sold many closed frame John Deere garden tractors. I have only owned 4 open framed tractors; two 316s, a 318, and the 420 I am now restoring. All four of my open framed tractors were missing their tail lights when I bought them. And I've seen countless more that were missing their tail lights. I always wondered why so many of these tractors are missing their tail lights. I never bothered to order the parts to replace the tail lights on any of my previous three open frame tractors. But I did order the parts needed to fix the tail lights on this 420. NOW I KNOW why so many of these tractors are missing their tail lights! REALLY John Deere??? You are going to design these tail light assemblies to be held in place with these two little fragile molded plastic pins on the back of the lens housing?? I wouldn't expect to see something that cheap on a "Home Depot Cheapo" lawn mower!! The little plastic pins seem to work okay on the closed frame tractors because they are only holding the lightweight plastic lens in place. On the open frames, they are holding that same lens, the larger plastic surround piece, and a heave metal plate that clamps it all in place. No wonder they don't last long. And you can't even remove the red lens, remove the cheap plastic pins, and drill for some proper fasteners, because the lens is GLUED on. SHEESH! (rant over) :)
 

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The original lights did have metal pins/bolts, but of course they rusted and ceased and broke when you tried to take them off
 

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Just an FYI, a standard rectangular clearance light will bolt right into the 318 housings. They don't have the same pattern, but are a little more reasonable in price. (I think something could be found on-line, for a little more $, but I got a couple at Fleet Farm so I would have lights. (I kept the old lenses, I'm missing the harness and sockets, early style, so the only one on Ebay looked totally not worth $27 and shipping...) Interestingly, despite being so old, they came apart without anything breaking.

And these just have holes, so a couple of 10-24 nuts & bolts replace the silly plastic studs.

Overall the lights on the 300 series of tractors are a little lackluster.

And 300 series tractors have nothing on the 4_5 tractors. I see very few with lights for sale... And there is no alternative to those. Although someone makes little plastic keepers (tail lights) for them if you have one with lights, or replace them on one you find for a good price.
 
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Just an FYI, a standard rectangular clearance light will bolt right into the 318 housings. They don't have the same pattern, but are a little more reasonable in price. (I think something could be found on-line, for a little more $, but I got a couple at Fleet Farm so I would have lights. (I kept the old lenses, I'm missing the harness and sockets, early style, so the only one on Ebay looked totally not worth $27 and shipping...) Interestingly, despite being so old, they came apart without anything breaking.

And these just have holes, so a couple of 10-24 nuts & bolts replace the silly plastic studs.

Overall the lights on the 300 series of tractors are a little lackluster.

And 300 series tractors have nothing on the 4_5 tractors. I see very few with lights for sale... And there is no alternative to those. Although someone makes little plastic keepers (tail lights) for them if you have one with lights, or replace them on one you find for a good price.
This is what I did as well, direct bolt in replacement.
 

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Serious question--- do y'all operate your garden tractors on the road very often? I've often wondered why a garden tractor NEEDS taillights? To keep deer's and other critters from tailgating?

Kiddin, I know many are unfortunate enough to have to live in an area with a lot of traffic at the ends of their driveways and moving snow necessitates being seen at night.
 

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Couldn’t these plastic housings be plastic welded back together using a soldering gun for plastic welding and a couple of pieces from another busted up tail light housing? Just thinking out loud.
 

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The little tin speed nuts are what's on my 400 taillights. Had to improvise when re-installing some of them after a couple tear downs but when I was cleaning dad's place up I found some in a little Tupperware container. So now that I'm ready for it the little nuts don't break or go missing anymore when I take them off.
 

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The little tin speed nuts are what's on my 400 taillights. Had to improvise when re-installing some of them after a couple tear downs but when I was cleaning dad's place up I found some in a little Tupperware container. So now that I'm ready for it the little nuts don't break or go missing anymore when I take them off.
They use them on the plastic dash panels too. Not a fan.

Signed,
I have a broken one.
😢 :ROFLMAO:
 

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Yeah, that's a flaw all right...especially since it reaches across several models. Kind of like four coil springs on the rear-engine Corvair....really, that's the best you could do? A minor flaw at best though and easily overcome, considering the capabilities/abilities/strengths of those affected models.
 

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I have bought/owned/repaired/restored/sold many closed frame John Deere garden tractors. I have only owned 4 open framed tractors; two 316s, a 318, and the 420 I am now restoring. All four of my open framed tractors were missing their tail lights when I bought them. And I've seen countless more that were missing their tail lights. I always wondered why so many of these tractors are missing their tail lights. I never bothered to order the parts to replace the tail lights on any of my previous three open frame tractors. But I did order the parts needed to fix the tail lights on this 420. NOW I KNOW why so many of these tractors are missing their tail lights! REALLY John Deere??? You are going to design these tail light assemblies to be held in place with these two little fragile molded plastic pins on the back of the lens housing?? I wouldn't expect to see something that cheap on a "Home Depot Cheapo" lawn mower!! The little plastic pins seem to work okay on the closed frame tractors because they are only holding the lightweight plastic lens in place. On the open frames, they are holding that same lens, the larger plastic surround piece, and a heave metal plate that clamps it all in place. No wonder they don't last long. And you can't even remove the red lens, remove the cheap plastic pins, and drill for some proper fasteners, because the lens is GLUED on. SHEESH! (rant over) :)
You have to realize, that's JD 2021! The original tail lights of the 80's had 1/4" nuts & bolts and a steel backing plate to hold them in and hold them they did ...
 

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Poor design, no doubt. I've just resurrected a couple on my 1988 318. I know rear tail lights aren't needed. I just don't like seeing two Gaping holes on the rear of my machines, imo.
IMG_20210413_152346619.jpg
 

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I never thought about the rear red taillights until now. My X590 has red reflectors. Doesn't make a lot of sense for red taillights on a "dedicated off-highway" tractor. I like the rear taillights on my X748. By changing the light switch position, when you go in reverse white backup lights illuminate. It makes more sense to have a combination red/white taillight or just a white light with red reflector. A standard rear white work light is needed more often than a red taillight/reflector.
 

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If this is all you can find in the "significant flaw" category for 318's (open frame) your not looking very close. As for lights, it is a touch of class and measure of pride to have them working properly. Certainly not required. What would be the point of going through all the work of cleaning and painting then leave those holes? Its been a couple of years since I tackled a 318 but I always have been able to find those black cups on Ebay. Perhaps their no longer available. And I did mount them with stainless screws rather than the Tinnerman nuts Deere provided. There's not a lot of metal to work with so you need to be careful when drilling.

266007
 
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I never thought about the rear red taillights until now. My X590 has red reflectors. Doesn't make a lot of sense for red taillights on a "dedicated off-highway" tractor. I like the rear taillights on my X748. By changing the light switch position, when you go in reverse white backup lights illuminate. It makes more sense to have a combination red/white taillight or just a white light with red reflector. A standard rear white work light is needed more often than a red taillight/reflector.
About the only thing I do in the "dark" would be to plow snow. I like having lights for that, so that cars won't actively try to kill me... or at least I give them a nice bright target... :ROFLMAO:

ETA: I should mention, I'm on a city street and plow a bunch of the neighbors driveways.
 

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About the only thing I do in the "dark" would be to plow snow. I like having lights for that, so that cars won't actively try to kill me... or at least I give them a nice bright target... :ROFLMAO:

ETA: I should mention, I'm on a city street and plow a bunch of the neighbors driveways.
I purchased some incredibly bright LED bulbs on ebay that replace the stock incandescent bulbs and plug right into the existing sockets. They are super bright and run cool with less amp draw than the original bulbs. What's not to love. I can at least see what I'm doing when plowing at night.
 

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Taillights are primarily useful for parades and photo ops.
I have been waiting for someone to stick a couple of chrome exhaust tips out of the empty light holes.
 

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Taillights are primarily useful for parades and photo ops.
I have been waiting for someone to stick a couple of chrome exhaust tips out of the empty light holes.
Those wide holes... you could do dual tips! :ROFLMAO:
 
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