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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
Thanks for a great forum to get input. I am struggling with what to do with my 420 and I thought that this would be the place to get feedback. This 420 has been in my family since it was new and it now has over 1,000 hours on it. My kids and my house have loved having it around to do work. It recently began vibrating like crazy and when I took it to my local guy he sad the drive shaft from the motor is vibrating very badly and the motor is leaking so it it isn't work fixing. While I appreciate his honesty, it is hard for me to decide to move on. The tractor has a rare 44 loader, 2 stage blower, 3 point hitch, and a 60 inch deck. Logically I should just sell off the attachments and part out the tractor as it is only getting older and will probable me more problems. The other side of me is that it doesn't owe me a thing and I should put some money and time into it.
I respect and appreciate all of your knowledge. Unless you own a 420, you wouldn't understand that struggle. My wife says just move on (hahaha).
Thanks
Rick
 

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Sounds like a really nice setup! I'll be no help on diagnosing the vibration, but are you interested/capable of doing work on it yourself?

If it were me, I'd like to keep that setup (assuming all the attachments and rest of the tractor are in good shape) so I would spend some time either trying to fix the engine or pricing out a re-power. That's probably not cost efficient if you can't do the work though.
 

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You can probably find a used drive shaft on eBay for a decent price (make sure they show good pics of the splines) and probably you could get a shop to rebuild the engine for around $1000. If you have to replace everything you have with new of the same quality of a machine you'd be in the $14,000 range for sure. You could also rebuild your shaft (although not sure if this is NLA) https://partscatalog.deere.com/jdrc/sidebyside/equipment/64825/referrer/navigation/pgId/17497967
 

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Rebuilding my First JD GT
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420 is a very nice and very capable machine especially with the loader and 2 spd locking differential. Combined with a hard to find expensive 44 loader makes for a nice set up worth repairing. Put a good used driveshaft on it and go from there. Looking at about $100 on ebay or possibly less if you are patient and find a decent deal. Having the loader alone on one of the biggest garden tractors can come in handy in more ways than one. My vote is to keep it and use it. The set up you have can go any where from $3,750.00 to $7,000.00 depending on running condition and location.

If you do decide to sell it and part it out. I'd like to ask for first dibs on the hood and a few other parts :)
 

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The least expensive tractor that is comparable to yours in todays market is a SCUT. The X7xx GTs don't have 2-speed final drives or Sundstrands.

Set a repair budget for the next 25 years of $5,000 ($200 per year, average) and you will be thousands ahead of the game.

Fire the mechanic that told you that it wasn't worth fixing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to your help. I think finding a used drive shaft like the PAGUY said is my best option and finding a mechanic that would do the work. Thanks for giving me a link to the part. Does the mechanics diagnosis of a bad drive shaft make sense to the issue? If so, do you think this is something I could do? I've taken the carb apart and worked on other things, but I have never worked on the engine. The machine has been kept inside so it doesn't have that much rust. It would be a project. I can't hurt a tractor that may already be broken. I am also thinking about a repower while I am at it. I thought that this would be the opportunity to do it.
If was going to get part the machine out, I will certainly start with the people who know and care about this equipment. I live in NJ and if you know of anyone who could help me, I would appreciate it.
Thanks again for your time and input.
Rick
 

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As I was reading your first post my inclination was to tell you to scrap the mechanics advice, but keep the tractor.....it probably would not be worth it to pay a mechanic to do all the work, but if you are willing to give it a shot yourself and have the room to store it and make it a somewhat long term project, and taking into consideration that it is part of your family, I think it would be well worth it ...the Onan is expensive to get parts for, but despite its age it is not that many hours and that is an excellent machine...keep your eyes open on Facebook Market and CL for one for sale that you could pick up as a donor tractor....fortunately it seems that there are some for sale in the Northeast ...best of luck with it...shoot us some pictures
 

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Not knowing your abiliites, I was a little on the fence as I started reading....until you listed the attachments...and it's been kept inside?

We are drooling. Keeping it is a no-brainer!

For the bones of what you have, I'd also say that its worth investing in a repower - buying a kit and either doing it yourself or paying some one else. I repowered my 318 and it just starts and runs. I had contemplated doing a rebuild, but I'm pretty certain that I'd still be messing with carbs or points or something if I had....while looking for hard to find parts.
 

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So, the issue is did the driveshaft ruin the splines on the charge pump shaft? Replacing the driveshaft isn't that tough, replacing the pump shaft is a bit more involved for sure. And yes the driveshaft working loose or the universals tightening up could definitely cause the vibration. This isn't uncommon especially if the driveshaft hasn't been kept lubricated properly, and that is a pain to do so a lot of owners don't do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It looks like I found the right place to give me the confidence to give it a try. After watching engine removals on Youtube (and staying in a Holiday Inn Express hahaha) I decided to just take my time and see what happens. I am crossing my fingers on the rear spline. With all the good vibes on this forum, I will certainly let you know how it goes. Just don't tell my wife I've decided to become a garden tractor mechanic. I will keep you all posted and thanks again for your help.
 

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The shaft bearings could also be going south. Take care to check that the shaft does not deflect in any direction. It is probably the drive shaft, but it's best to know that for a fact. Good luck!!
 

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Thanks to your help. I think finding a used drive shaft like the PAGUY said is my best option and finding a mechanic that would do the work. Thanks for giving me a link to the part. Does the mechanics diagnosis of a bad drive shaft make sense to the issue? If so, do you think this is something I could do? I've taken the carb apart and worked on other things, but I have never worked on the engine. The machine has been kept inside so it doesn't have that much rust. It would be a project. I can't hurt a tractor that may already be broken. I am also thinking about a repower while I am at it. I thought that this would be the opportunity to do it.
If was going to get part the machine out, I will certainly start with the people who know and care about this equipment. I live in NJ and if you know of anyone who could help me, I would appreciate it.
Thanks again for your time and input.
Rick
This is where i get my pto parts---seems like ok prices https://www.drivetrainamerica.com/search-results/?search_query=15+spline
 

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Sounds like you owe your 420 to try your hand at fixing it. Get a factory service manual and start fixing.
 

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Rick,
Just my opinion, but I would get it fixed. Whether you do it yourself or have someone do it. Like others have said, it would cost a lot more to replace in kind.
Depending on where in NJ you are, I know a guy just across the border in NY by me that might be able to help. He's a former JD service guy and has his own shop. He does not do major rebuilds anymore since he getting close to retirement, but can help if you get stuck & need advice or at least can point you in the right direction.
If you decide to do the work yourself, get a service manual for the tractor (TM1590) & service manual for the engine (CTM-2). They are invaluable.
 

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Another vote for keeping it. Find a driveshaft repair shop or there is one guy on ebay that sells custom shafts for 400's and 317's. Here is is contact: https://www.ebay.com/usr/huntingguy84 I bought a new driveshaft from him for under $300 last year. He might make one for a 420 for you. I asked and he said he will do some custom builds.


And if you're done with Onan engines (expensive hard to find parts), you can always re-power with a full kit for about $1800-$2100 with a Honda or Briggs Vanguard.

Honda:
https://repowerspecialists.com/products/john-deere-420-with-onan?variant=1858558001175

Vanguard:
John Deere 420 Repower
 

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Rebuilding my First JD GT
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I vote rebuild and keep. Or if the engine can not be bored, then a repower.
This ^ You did not mention unless I missed it whether or not it smokes while running. If it's not smoking then there is no reason to rebuild IMO. Oil leaks can be a very easy fix or could be seals little more involved but still nothing very difficult. There are plenty knowledgable members here that have no problem walking you through each step of the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good Evening,
It is hard to believe that just a week ago I was done with this tractor but thanks to you all I decided to go for. I got the drive shaft off this evening. I'm shocked I actually did it. The rear yoke was jiggling on the drive pump. So here is the million dollar question. I attached 4 photos of the trans pump. The threads on it look good to me. I wouldn't say it is perrrfect but it doesn't look stripped or anything crazy. Can you all tell me your thoughts? I was also looking at a used drive shaft but I am worried I will be in the same situation. I think the rear yolk is bad. I was thinking about having the front and rear yolk change or should I just but a new shaft or a used one.
Thank you Thank you and Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Rounds of virtual beers for everyone.
Rick
 

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Rebuilding my First JD GT
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Best pic is the third one down imo and it looks like it's good to me from what my eyes are seeing. If you look at the black painted section closest to the pump and compare those splines to the ones that are metalic they don't look much different in size from where the coupler fit over the splines compared to where it did not come in contact with the splines. Before you buy anything I'd say start the engine up with out the driveshaft connected and make sure you don't have a thrown rod. if the engine is still shaking really bad with the driveshaft off then further investigating would and should be performed so you know exactly what you are getting into. If the shaking and vibrating is solved then replace the shaft and fix the oil leaks and you are golden. .02¢
 
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