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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently purchased a John Deere 400. It came with a loader (see picture with my profile), a Model 50 Snow Thrower, a Model 60 Mower Deck, a cab and a homemade cultivator.

Long term I'd like to get it looking as good as some of the others I've seen here. Mid term, I need to be able to use the snow thrower this winter. I've already gotten the tires filled with Rim Guard.

Short term I'm going to change the fluids and filters and try attaching the mower deck. Can any one offer any pointers for attaching the deck? I've got the manual, which covers many details about the deck, but not how to attach it.

Thanks,
Bill
 

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Bill,
Putting on the deck for a 400 is pretty easy. The hardest part is getting the deck under the tractor and getting the drive shaft hooked up. You will get all the practice you need switching from snowblower to the deck each year. Good luck, and you'll love the 400.

Joe
 

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I drag the mower under. It is a pretty tight squeeze between the front and back tires. I then hook up the draft links (the ones that go from behind the front tires to the back of the mower) and then the lift links. I find it is easier to open the front draft pin on the left side if I get the power steering control out of the way by turning the front wheels after getting the mower in place.

When that is done I connect the drive shaft since I'm in the middle of the tractor and lastly put on the front "thing". Then I start the tractor so I can lift the mower to point the gauge wheels forward and set them to the right height.
 

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Bill
On the 60, one wheel can be turned 90d and locked. Do so, it is so you can 'roll' the deck under the tractor sideways. Once your hooked, don't forget to pull the pin and turn the wheel forward again, makes a great trench plow if you don't.

The only other thing I have ever found difficult with the 60 deck is the size of the owners arms required to move it!!

Greg
 

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Bill,
The easiest way that I've found is to turn the wheels and roll the deck under. As for the drive shaft I pull it apart and attach the front before I put the deck under the tractor. Then I slide it back together as I'm rolling the deck under the tractor.
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm. Maybe I should back up a little.

Oil filter. 1" wrench for the hex on the top? I'll probably just remove the shroud around it anyway.

Drain plug. I've already siphoned out the oil with one of those suction pumps they make for power boats. It makes things a lot neater. But the drain plug looks like it has a square, recessed hole, possibly to fit a 1/2" socket drive?

As you've probably guessed, I have neither a 1" wrench nor a 1/2" drive socket wrench. What can I say, I've never owned something this massive. Never needed them. A borrowing I'll go I guess.

Isn't there a better system for draining the oil, though? It looks like it's just going to run all over the frame when I pull the plug. My first thought is to put a short length of pipe in the drain hole running out through the access hole in the frame. Although I'm wondering if that would be prone to damage from either getting bumped or from the engine moving under torque load. Any thoughts?
 

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Bill,
Removing the shroud around the oil filter makes things so much easier and cleaner, especially when you pre-fill and screw on the new filter.

Originally there would have been a small brass valve with access through that hole in the frame. With a piece of hose on the valve bib, draining oil is a breeze. I think that the valve cannot be installed with the engine in the tractor. So, your thought of adding a 3/8" npt nipple through the hole seems the best near-term solution. I have seen engines with this drain arrangement--no problem with torque on the pipe, but it has to be removed to pull the engine. Keith's suggestion seems useful when you remove the plug.
Harold
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update

Yep, the oil drain plug took a 1/2" socket drive. However, the hole seems to be slightly forward of the drain, so I don't think I want to run a pipe nipple through there quite yet, although I do think it's a good idea. I'd probably put a 90-degree elbow on the end of it with a plug in that.

Took the shroud off the oil filter side of the engine. Was able to get my 12" Crescent wrench on the hex on the end of the filter and get it off.

Power washed it while I had everything off of it. Found a missing bolt where the drive shaft attaches to the engine and replaced that. Put everything back together.

Now, back to the mower deck.

I found that it really helped to put a small homemade dolly under the skid on the front left corner of the deck. That made it much easier to move around and get under the tractor. I was wondering what this loose piece that I had was for. Turned out that it attached between the front of the deck and the front of the tractor to pull the deck forward into place. Got the rear arms attached to their respective points under the tractor and connected the lift point to the tractor lift clevises (clevi?). The deck goes up and down with the inside / right lever.

Now I only have one question left: Why is the drive shaft from the mower nearly an inch away from the end of the PTO spline shaft? I mean it doesn't even come close to engaging and it's not like there's any sort of adjustment (is there?.
 

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Bill,

I've found it easier to pull the drive shaft apart and attach the front without the deck under the tractor. Then when rolling the deck under the tractor slide the drive shaft together as your rolling it under. This is a lot easier on your stress level than trying to get that coupler in place with the deck in the way.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, Mark. But really I didn't have any trouble getting it to line up. It was just that the locking collar was a little rusty and when I slid it back to release it didn't want to pop back and actually lock in place. So I wound up sliding it all the way on and back off a few times, examining the mechanism each time wondering why it wouldn't lock on. But it finally caught.

I did a "test mow" with it. It seemed as though it was working the tractor pretty hard. I looked at the belts through the grill and noticed they had started to come off. When I took the grill off to put them back in place, the pulley on the engine was hotter than I wanted to touch.

So I'm thinking I need to adjust the belt tension, although the adjustment under the hood by the battery is already as tight as it will go. But I also think I should tear down the mower deck and check all the bearings. Probably wouldn't hurt to replace them all? Not sure if there's anything else to check or not.

For those who wrestle with these mower decks, I strongly suggest making or buying a small dolly to rest the left side of the deck on when sliding it under the tractor. I slid mine in from right to left. Something like they use for snowmobile skis to move them around the garage. The lower the dolly is the better so the gear box on the deck clears the foot rest. Having only done it once I still think it's easier than the 46" deck on my Farm & Fleet tractor.
 

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I can tell you that the engine oil change is pretty mess free. I do allow the oil to drain over night and my unit has the factory drain valve w/rubber hose.

The mower deck coupler is the most difficult. I may have to try the suggested method of pulling it apart and installing the front halve first. That coupling is a real bear to wrestle with.

I have never had any difficulties removing the deck from under the tractor now sliding it under. The deck rolls really well on the gauge wheels and no muscle is required to move it around as it supports its self. There is quite a bit of clearance to roll the deck under said tractor. I never had a need to turn the front wheels nor jack up the tractor. Nothing gets in my way. Real slick.

I suppose if you go to lift that deck, it gets really heavy, but I seldom lift it off the ground.
 
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