Can I Install A 45 Loader on My John Deere Signature Series X7xx? The answer is YES!
I went through this process January 2018. I have since had a few requests for information on the conversion process. I'm going to share with everyone thinking of buying a John Deere 45 loader for their Signature series garden tractor what is required for this modification to work.
Full disclosure if you use the drawings and information on this forum you accept all responsibility and liability for use of this information. My Tractor Forum and I will not be responsible for anything you screw up.
The John Deere 45 loader is a fantastic addition to any Signature series X7xx tractor. When I purchased my X738 in December of 2017 I believed I would use it for mowing 90% of the time. However I purchased a used 45 loader and installed it on my tractor in January of 2018 and would say it has been on my tractor and used for moving dirt for upwards of 80% of the 80+ hours currently on my machine. 10% has been used with the 47 snowblower and the remaining 10% mowing my 1/3 acre lot or 1/2 acre rental property.
Don't believe anyone that tells you an X7xx series tractor can't do a lot of work. It may take longer than a bigger machine but it can move a lot of material. I have dug out and loaded into my dump trailer over 100,000 lbs of dirt, sod, rock, and wood over the past 19 months all with my 45 loader. In the last month alone I have moved 50,000 lbs or 25 Tons of material from my yard. After inspection there has been no issues with my tractor, no transmission issues, no tire issues, no frame issues. I can't find one negative result from using a 45 loader on my X738. Anyone that says this method of attaching a loader is insufficient or needs additional support or any other "Helpful" tips hasn't seen my tractor.
So how is it done? First, find a 45 loader.
Second, use the drawings to have a machine shop laser cut, water cut, or plasma cut the mounting plates. All the information should be on the drawings for this page. If you have the necessary fabrication skills you could cut these out yourself but I doubt you will get as precise as a machine when cutting and drilling the mounting holes which are exact for matching the holes on the frame. It can be done though so good luck!
Third, You have two options here. You should have received the mounting tube for the loader from the previous owner. If you did you can decide to cut the mounting tube 15 1/2 inches in from each end and weld them onto the mounting plates and be finished, or you can have two 15 1/2" long by 2 1/2" OD, (2 in ID) square tubes welded to the mounting plates so they are flush with the inside of the plates. I chose to not cut the original mounting tube so the loader can be used in the future on a machine designed for the Through-The-Frame mounting should I decide to sell the loader down the road.
Fourth, have two square pieces that fit in or on the top of the open ended pipes welded into place to close off the end of the pipe not attached to the mounting plate. 2"x2" should work as this is the inner diameter of the square tubes.
Fifth, cut two triangles from flat steel to weld on the top side facing the rider position of the tractor. See the pictures for proper orientation. The triangles aren't exactly triangles as you will cut the two lower tips off the pieces. Once cut out they are 1 3/4 in wide by 1 3/4 in tall. I welded mine on 1 1/2 in. in from the end of the tube. If your tube is too long or too short you will have these in the wrong place. Important note: I put very little weld on the short flat portions of the triangles so they wouldn't be too wide. Once welded into place these triangles are used for centering the support arms of the 45 loader when attaching it to the tractor.
Sorry, the centering triangles referred to in step 5 are not shown on the drawings. I cut these at home and welded them on myself after the mounting plates and bars were welded together.
Sixth, prime and paint the brackets to protect them and to make them look like they belong on your tractor. I used self etching primer and John Deere green purchased from my local John Deere dealer. The support brackets for the loader will scratch off the paint each time they are mounted so you can decide how often to touch up the paint.
Final step. The drawings show 4 bolt holes for mounting the loader brackets to the frame. I have not seen your frame and therefor can't tell if John Deere has made any changes to how they route hydraulic lines inside the frame. Three bolt holes line up with existing holes in your frame from the factory. There is a fourth hole towards the bottom rear of the mounting bracket that you can drill through the frame with a 1/2 in bit as long as you can put a bolt and nut through it without interfering with anything critical on the inside frame of your tractor. I drilled the hole on the left side of the tractor but didn't drill the hole on the right side of the frame due to interference of the hydraulic line behind the frame at that location. There has been no issues with only 3 bolts holding the right bracket on the tractor.
Use Grade 8 nuts and bolts for securing the brackets to the frame. Also before mounting the right side bracket make sure to take a picture of your product ID sticker which has your model and serial number. Once installed the bracket will cover part of this sticker. If you need warranty work on your tractor the dealer will need to take a picture of it and in the past my dealer has just taken a picture of my picture from my phone.
Good luck finding a loader and attaching it to your tractor. Now Go Move Some Dirt!
Currently own John Deere X738
54” HC Mower Deck
Single Bottom Plow
Project 1964 110 Round Fender