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Discussion Starter #1
Ok folks - continuing saga of rebuilding the 455 AWS tractor.
The tractor is done... onto the deck.

let me start with the question: has anyone ever tried modifying a 54C deck, to fit under a 445/455?

Background:
I stripped down the original 54" deck that came with the tractor - other than the 2 idler pulleys that have bad bearings, all mechanical parts are perfect.... except for the sheet-metal.
Rust thinned the metal down, and in a few locations (like around the front attachment points) it's perforated right through.

Called a local dealer here in Canada - he quoted me $2100 for a new deck pan. I told him that this sounds like the price for a whole new deck... not just the sheet metal.... but he told me that is just the sheet metal.

I have a choice... do some welding, or try to fit a 54C deck under that tractor. I can get a 54C in almost new-condition, for $650
That's not a ton of $$ if all i need to do is spend a couple of days modifying it to hang it, and hook up the PTO.... compared to welding, grinding, and painting the heck out of the old deck. But I'll do that if I have no choice.

so.... anyone tried that before?... try to fit a 54C under a 445/455?
 

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I have not done this specific model but I have made many different decks fit different machines in the past. I will give my process / tips.
First, I do my very best to find the closest matching deck that I can, same cut size and all. To start, you want the spindle drive pulleys almost in the exact same places as the old deck. If you go bigger or smaller deck size you have to remember that you could find yourself really messed up belt / pulley wise.... I have come to find that welding on deck hangers from an old deck onto the "new" one to be the easiest task when building a frankenmachine. This task is almost impossible when you don't have an old deck to cut the hangers off of and pulleys to transfer. When I find the deck I want to use, I will try and transfer everything good from the old original deck to the new one. Most of the time I use a large piece of cardboard to transfer bolt holes and the mount locations from one to the other, that way everything stays square and it is a fairly quick test to see if it will workout. Take pictures of both decks before removing anything so you can reference them if needed during the process. If your mounts end up being in a higher or lower section of the new deck, don't forget to modify their height accordingly, otherwise there might not be enough or any adjustment to fix the difference. I will use two pieces of angle iron welded together to make a pulley mount if needed. A hole can be drilled in the middle of it to mount the pulley and the bottom sides of the angle can be modified to the contour of the deck before welding in place. If there is a large plate that all the pulleys mount too I will try to cut it off an move the entire plate to the new deck. Make small tack welds to mock everything up first then after you are confident that you got it all right and everything goes up and down right, move on to finding a belt that works. Start with trying the stock one and going larger or smaller if necessary. Try not to rely on the tensioner to take up slack, if it is too tight it will eat belts, if too loose the belt will jump off under load of cutting heavy grass...

I hope this gives you and idea of what all is involved and maybe helps some.... Just sharing the simplest version of my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yea - thanks for all that.
makes perfect sense.

for me - I will have the 2 decks side by side, so should make it really easy to visualize, and modify.

in my particular case, I am not moving any spindles, pulleys or belts. The belt routing and drive box (shaft drive) is identical on both decks. The drive shaft couples onto the same transmission on both tractors. The only difference I see, is the deck shape itself (pan dimensions) and deck mount locations. What I am still wondering about, is whether the shape of the deck is such that it will interfere with the wheels, or if it's too-high, interfere with the rest of the tractor when lifted. That is something can really can't be "modified" without significant work - making it not worth-while.

cheers!
 

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Set the deck under the tractor, and see what things look like.

Either that, or start doing body work on the original deck. :D Sometimes you can find them for reasonable money on the used market as well.
 

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I looked into this a few years ago when I was in the same boat as you... same deck, same tractor. I had a couple of people measuring 54C decks in a few critical dimensions. There was some apocryphal lore that you'd need to update the deck lift arms in order to make this swap work.

In the end, It looked like the 54C might be limited in how high it would raise, especially due to interference with the wheels (front and rear) when you're turning an AWS tractor.

I shopped and shopped and shopped for a used replacement deck. They were all in nearly as bad of shape as my original deck. when my right front gage wheel mount fell off the front of the deck, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new deck shell. (about $1700 from GreenFarmParts.com) It was easy enough to swap over most of the hardware, just replacing some gage wheels that were completely shot.

A couple months later I found a great replacement deck for $950. sigh.

Anyway, if you decide to go the retrofit route... don't forget to take the steering movement of the wheels into account when deciding if the deck "fits" especially if you've got anything other than the 23" tires on the back, or if you want to ever run ags on the back.
 

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Get a 60"!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
interesting.

thanks for all the excellent info!!

modifying the GX345 deck with hangers from the 455 deck etc worked.
But I didn't see anyone try the longer lift-arms and a 54C, which someone theorized may work...

I start the weld-job on the old deck, tomorrow 1st thing. But will continue researching re 54C anyway.....

I have a 62C from my 2305 which I will slide under the 455 - since the mounting points on the 54C and 62C are identical (made for same tractor).... once I have the 62C under there, I can evaluate all the interferences, and the lift-arm length topic. Could also check the 2305 lift arms since they look identical (not sure if they are longer or shorter though) etc

cheers!!!
 

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Am in the same poxition as moondawg and have just welded (with a patching plate) the wheel back on to the 54 inch mulching deck. Have just researched my options for a new deck and the complete deck is not available but I can buy a shell for £2,400. This is a lot. Has anyone found another deck that can be modified to fit the 455? There is a 1026r deck shell available for a few hundred pounds.

How I wished I had taken my deck off every winter and cleaned, painted and waxed it like one of the wiser virgins on the forum. Given the expense (gulp) of a new deck shell this has a lot going for it. Anyway the deck is 20 years old but I did not anticipate that grass would eat its way through steel.

My plan now is to shot blast the underside of the deck (hope there's something left) then apply a 2 pack phenolic epoxy paint designed for shipping cargo holds.

In general 455 is an excellent machine, we have 2, one picks up and one mulches, it is strong and well made. Were it not for the grass eating the deck shell, the deck mechanism still runs well and mows 3 acres at least once week.

In short what other decks can be made to fit a 455?
 

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Possible to fit 48C, 54C deck from x4, x5, x7 on a 425, 445, 455?

Not without a lot of metal work.

 
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