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HOW-TO: Adding the JD CargO-Mount™ System to Your Tractor

For those not familiar, the John Deere CargO-Mount™ system is a method of mounting small attachments to a lawn or garden tractor. There are electric spreaders, tool carriers, carry-alls, bucket holders, canopies, and other accessories available from Deere. Many MTF'ers have developed custom attachments using these convenient mounts as well.

The system consists of three primary mounting point types. First are the small 2.25" plastic "bushings" that are mounted to the rear fenderdeck. Each bushing has a large and a small hole, in which simple attachments just slide down in for mounting.

Next are the oval-ish "slots" cut into the top of the hitch plate. Some of the attachments connect only to the slots, some connect only in the bushings, and some use both.

Third is two bushings/holes on the middle of the tractor on either side of the steering wheel. Some small carry-bags, work lights, and the front canopy 'legs' on the L-series attach in these holes.

It is possible to add this versatile system to a large number of tractors (both John Deere and others) by following the information in this post. The cost is less than $8 and around one hour of your time. You'll need the following tools and materials:

PARTS:
GX20411 SCREW (qty. 4) $0.55ea, $2.20 total
GX21077 BUSHING (qty. 2) $2.60ea., $5.20 total
L-Series CargO-Mount Template (click and print)
X-Series CargO-Mount Template (click and print)

TOOLS:
Electric Drill
3/16" drill bit
3/8" drill bit
1 1/8" hole saw or equivalent
Torx head scredwrivers (if using GX20411 screws)
Dremel or similar rotary tool with cutoff wheels
Metric tap set (optional)

THE PROBLEM:

My old LA130 had the CargO-Mount system, and I found it very handy. I had the tool carrier mounted constantly, except when I was using the CargO-Mount electric spreader.

Like many people, I also bought the canopy roof, used it just once, and set it aside. =) The CargO-Mount canopies Deere offers fit in the large holes in the bushings. All of the other attachments I have seen mount in the small holes, so it's possible to use both the canopy and other attachments simultaneously.

Moving to my GX345, I missed having the carry-all. Since I also needed to put down about 200 pounds of grass seed, I knew I would need to find a way to mount my spreader as well. I made a trip to my local John Deere dealer to take some measurements and found something strange. It turned out that there are variations in the spacing and orientation of these mounts from model to model -- the X300/X500 series have the larger holes inboard (closer to the centerline of the tractor), and the L-Series have the smaller holes inboard. The L-Series have four slots for mounting on the hitch plate, and the X300/X500 only have two. I could see that the bushing spacing was different due to the fender designs between the models. The X-Series have a narrower 'flat' section on the fenderdeck than the L-Series, which accounts for the difference.

It didn't seem possible that the same attachments could fit into the two different systems! It took a bit of figuring out, but I made some PDF templates that should work as a "universal" CargO-Mount system that can be added to many tractors.






THE SOLUTION:

First, you'll need to download and print out these two PDFs:
L-Series CargO-Mount Template
X-Series CargO-Mount Template
Cut them out and tape them together as shown here:


Now look at the rear of your tractor. From the top rear of the fenderdeck, measure down 11" to the hitch plate. You'll need to center and align the dotted line on the strip with the 4 oval holes at this line. Tape the template in place.​



The L-Series machines have 4 oval holes as indicated on the template, while the X-Series only have 2. I'd recommend creating 4 holes, as this gives the greatest flexibility in mounting attachments. (As an example, the L-Series CargO-Mount spreader uses all 4 of these holes.)

Centerpunch and drill out the 3/8" holes as indicated on the template, being careful not to damage any components behind the plate such as your transaxle or oil/fuel tanks. Use a Dremel or other rotary tool or file to open the sections between the holes into elongated slots. (Note that I just had my markings taped off here, as I had not yet created this template). Finish off the holes with a touchup of the paint to prevent rust. You're now done with the first part.



Moving up to the fenderdeck, choose between one of the two "dog bone" templates to decide which fits best on your machine. It shouldn't matter a great deal which one you choose, as the small holes (where the majority of attachments fit) are in alignment on either template, as shown here:


(As a side note, the X300/X500 Series has a fifth hole, denoted by the yellow arrow in the photo below, which is used for mounting the bagger. It may be possible to add this hole as well, and use a later series bagging system on an older machine. I haven't explored the possibility, but it's worth thinking about if you have the need.)


It gets a bit tricky to position the template on the rear fenderdeck, and it's even harder to try and explain. Obviously, you need to center the chosen template on the top of the fenderdeck, with the marked front and rear sides postioned correctly. That's the easy part.

Next, you need to see how far forward or backward the template should be relative to the hitch plate. Looking up at the underneath of the fenderdeck, you need to center the forward mounting hole (the small black dot on the template) about 1/4" rearward of the hitch plate, as shown in the photo. (Note: I did not find the forward/rearward positioning to be of critical importance -- I believe it just needs to be in the ballpark)


I aligned mine mostly by sight by removing the rear wheels and viewing the hitch plate and fenderdeck from the side. This allowed me to lay a long straightedge on the fenderdeck and move it into alignment with the face of the hitch plate. I used a long strip of masking tape in the approximate position, and a marker to draw a line along the straightedge to draw the 'hitch plate line' on top.

Another way to do this is lay a straightedge along your hitch plate and move it up and draw a line with a magic marker to note this 'hitch plate line'. If you remove the fenderdeck, you can then position the template for drilling these holes out from underneath.

After positioning the template, use a centerpunch to mark the drilling points for the two small bushing mounting screws (the black dots), and the larger holes (the shaded gray 'figure 8') for the hole saw. You can then remove the template and drill the holes, again being EXTREMELY careful not to drill into any important components underneath (like your fuel tank!!!)

I honestly can't remember the size of the drill bit I used for the small holes, but I started around 3/16" or so and worked my way up to the correct size for the screws. The GX20411 screws from John Deere are not self-tapping, so you will need to use a tap to cut the threads into this hole if you use them. Of course, you may also choose to use an appropriately sized sheet metal screw, or a bolt and nut to secure the bushings. It's all a matter of preference and the availability of a set of metric taps.

Next, you'll need to drill out the 1 1/8" holes using the hole saw. The holes do overlap some, so start slowly on the second hole to avoid 'jumping' the hole saw on the edge of the first hole. It is also possible to use the template to draw the 'figure 8s' directly onto the fenderdeck, drill out the largest hole possible, then open them up to the correct size with a small grinding bit.

It's a good idea to touch up the paint to prevent rust. Then position the bushing in the holes you have created, and bolt into place. Make sure to position the small and large hole correctly relative to the template you have chosen.

That's it - you're done! Here's some pics of my GX345 with the CargO-Mounts installed:






If you decide to add the CargO-Mount system to your machine using the instructions in this post, please post pictures and let us see how it worked out for you!

:wwp:​
 

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Surely there is a way to adapt this to a 100 series too. Id love to have one on my 185. (beer cooler).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Surely there is a way to adapt this to a 100 series too. Id love to have one on my 185. (beer cooler).
Quite possibly. Try printing out the templates first and just lay them out and see if you can line everything up. If you can, you should be good to go. Please let us know if it works -- it may help others out as well!
 

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I couldn't find any great pictures of the back of a 185, but I found the ones below. It looks like it might fit. The things to be concerned about would be:

1) Are there any other holes/etc in the way on the hitch plate at the 11" down position?
2) Will one of the 'dogbones' fit on the flat center of your fenderdeck?

If there's nothing in the way, and a 'dogbone fits', you're probably okay. I can't guarantee anything though, so please check it out as thoroughly as you can before you start to drill!
 

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USMC
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Sweet setup with the cargo mount. slkpk
 

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Looks really nice Dave!

Whish I had your patience, or you were my neighbor..............:ROF

Dave:trink39:
 

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You did it !!!!!!!:thThumbsU great job:thThumbsU
 

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Wow! What a superb, thorough and detailed explanation. I can't thank you enough for doing all the heavy lifting for those of us that want to employ this system. Now I need to decide between L and X series attachments so I know which one to use!
 

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Tractor Jockey
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awesome. Im going to try this on my GX345 for sure. Very innovative.
 

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I couldn't find any great pictures of the back of a 185, but I found the ones below. It looks like it might fit. The things to be concerned about would be:

1) Are there any other holes/etc in the way on the hitch plate at the 11" down position?
2) Will one of the 'dogbones' fit on the flat center of your fenderdeck?

If there's nothing in the way, and a 'dogbone fits', you're probably okay. I can't guarantee anything though, so please check it out as thoroughly as you can before you start to drill!
yeah. I despise drilling on my sheetmetal. How much does deere charge for the CargO-mount? Ebay came up blank.
 

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Whish I had your patience, or you were my neighbor..............:ROF
If you want to bring up your rig, we could have it done in an hour or so. =)

You did it !!!!!!!:thThumbsU great job:thThumbsU
Thanks, KATT. In your honor, one of my first custom attachments will be a rear CargO-Mount Grill Emblem holder! =)

Now I need to decide between L and X series attachments so I know which one to use!
That's the beauty of it. You don't need to choose based on attachments (unless you plan on using the L-Series canopy, which would require drilling holes in the front near the steering wheel as well). The small holes in the bushing are in the same place on either template -- and the majority of attachments I have seen use only the small holes. The L-Series canopy is the only attachment I have seen that uses the large hole on the bushing.

As for the oval slots, drilling out all four allows you to use either L-Series or X-Series attachments that connect there.

Wow! What a superb, thorough and detailed explanation. great job
Just trying to make something as useful as one of your "How-To's". =)

How much does deere charge for the CargO-mount? Ebay came up blank.
The part numbers and prices are at the top of the first post under "parts". It's under $8 for everything.
 
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