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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, back again looking for the correct diagnosis and prognosis. My dear old, beat to where it's *real* hot and back (remember the sweat stain on the cement when I replaced the tractor drive belt?). This, I believe has been coming for a while....maybe two or three (more?) years, even.

The 345 is at a complete standstill...and that bahia grass is standing out there laughing and pointing it's ungly little black seedheads at me!!! Seems this has been coming on for the last two or three (more?) years. Every now and then I'd get kind of a squeal out from under the bottom of the engine around the clutch assembly. I want to say it would squeal, grunt, moan, or whatever when the mower was disengaged...but my memory isn't what it was when I was eight years old, either. At times the engine would only bump when I'd switch the key...I put this off to a slight starter/flywheel "thing"...now, I wonder if it was something else.

This afternoon I headed out to start mowing the yard when the sounds started coming out from under the engine area...this time there was a couple of "knocks", or maybe it was more like "bumps", that accompanied the grunts and groans...whatever the case, it didn't sound right so I shut the engine down and prodded around the clutch...you know, touch it just right and it magically quietens down and all is well. :thThumbsU

After the engine was turned off I smelled "something"...nope, I had a bath a couple of days ago so it wasn't me. It kinda reminded me of when a friend of mine had a bit too much spring water :drunkie: one evening back in 1975 (or '76) and got his Datsun stuck in some mud...he kept rocking that straight shift back and forth back and forth... And no, it wasn't him I smelled then, either, I think it had something to do with his truck...

Anyhow, after giving the general area of the clutch the "magic touch" I got back on the tractor and hit the switch. Rather than the "ZING ZING VROOOM!!!" of that nitro-fed, 5000hp kawasaki engine firing up I heard something that reminded me of a hammer hitting a piece of concrete. Just a good strong "bump"...wasn't really a "knock", but...well, you get it, I think. Hmm, engine no turny over...not good. So, what do I do?....I get back off and do the magic touchy thing again. This time I notice that the center of the clutch assembly feels hot whereas the rest of the clutch seemed pretty cool. The "smell" seemed in close proximty to the clutch area...but, it could have been a rat or something in the muffler.

From my reading here in the forum I've just about diagnosed the ailment of my trusty ol' 345 as being acute (but it's not pretty) case of clutchitis and will require a world reknown specialist (me) to do a clutch transplant.

But, before the operating room is sanitized and the cockroaches swept out I feel that I need to get a second or third opinions from the specialist here? I'm laying it on the line with ya'll again...gotta get the green machine rolling again!!!!! Shux, this oughta be an easy photo essay...as long as the clutch comes off peacefully...and that is actually what the problem is. ;)

So...whay say ye? (Is "ye" really a word?)

...and as usual, thanks!
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Pleeeeze!!!! Somebody got an educated guess on this? If it's the clutch I need to go ahead and get one coming...closest one at a dealer is about 125+ miles from me.<groan>

The evil bahia grass has started throwing rocks at my windows...I'm getting scared to go outside. This could get nasty!!! :hide:

Ed
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Hmmm... Having never done a clutch transplant before, the best I can do is, yes, "Ye" really IS a a word... Although I'm NOT sure its legal in Scrabble.

Does your machine have the FC590V or the FD611V? I dunno if that's important on the 345s, I do know on the 130-185s the electric clutch model varied depending on year/serial number range, so the take-apart differed...

I hope yours is just that less serious air-gap adjustment problem that people keep mentioning!:goodl::i_praying
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The E/NO is FD590V082845 and is a Kawasaki.

The tractor's PIN is M00345B046131. I bought it, as best as I can recall, back in July of 1998. The tractor has 494 hours on it, which isn't a lot of hours but it has operated in a dusty, sandy, bahia-ridden environment...could the environment cause increased wear on the clutch? And, if excess wear, would too wide of an air gap cause the engine to "lock up" and only a strong "knock" be heard when the starter is engaged as if it (the starter) is trying to crank the engine but something is stopping it?

Something is telling me it's the clutch but...? :confused:

Ed
 

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Hmmm.... Looks like the 345 guys are sleeping in this weekend...

I thought I would do a bit of a gander through the wayback machine for ya, and see what I could find....

here's people talking about REMOVING the clutch. Some really good information in there about WHICH clutch it might be....

Here's a more recent one about removing the PTO clutch, some good pictures in there...

Hmmm... So far, its looking like most folks remove them and service them/replace them if there seems to be a problem, but most of their problem descriptions don't match what you're hearing... Usually its noisy, squealing...
 

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Diesel Power
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Remove the deck and crawl under the machine. Have someone start it and watch the clutch. The bottom pulley should not spin with the PTO switched off. Does it spin? If yes it is locked up and you need a new one, or at least new bearings. Removal can be an adventure, but I think we can walk you through it if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ltg, thanks for the links...I'll probably be referring back to them later. I'm curious about what I can use for the metal rod to ease the clutch off the shaft. As for noises, it has given me short squeals (screams?) at times...usually with the mower disengaged. It was more like a non-rhythmiscal pulsed squeal....engage the blade and it would quieten down.

HarrryC, the engine will not crank. When I turn the key to crank the engine bumps one time hard...let off the key and turn again and the same things happens...just a hard bump. Would a clutch that has self-destructed keep the engine from turning?

Thanks for the help!

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The deck belt was still on the clutch pulley. I took it off and the clutch pulley spins...but with a raspy, dry scrubbing sound. It is definitely not in a bind, though. The tractor acts the same way with the deck belt removed...hard bump when I turn the key.

I pushed the tractor back into the garage where I don't have much room to get at it. As it is I can't turn the traction drive belt pulley...I'll try to get at it better and see if I can turn it.

Ed
 

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Diesel Power
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As it is I can't turn the traction drive belt pulley...
If it were me I'd take the clutch off and go from there. If it still locks up you have major problems. I'd probably move up and see if I can spin the flywheel by hand, if not remove the starter next. The engine could be seized.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmmm, now I'm a little worried. I went back to see if I could move the pulley where the tractor was parked and while there something made me check the oil. It looked "weak". When I smelled it it smelled of gas. I changed the oil last summer and have cut twice with it so far this year...low hours on the oil change. The oil level has been fine. I had to replace the fuel pump last spring (March 2012) and the tractor did fine all summer and the first two cuttings of this year.

When the mower quit I had backed it out of the garage and shut it off for a couple of minutes. I then cranked it back up and drove it maybe ten feet when I shut it down due to the "clutch" racket it was making. The engine seemed to be running fine when I turned it off...I was thinking the electric clutch was going or had go out. Then, when I went back to crank it up again, all it would do is bump hard.

HarryC, I was typing and just looked and saw you had responded about the possibility of the engine being seized. I tried grabbing both sides of the drive belt and "pushing and pulling" at the same time, but couldn't get it to budge...should the drive pulley be fairly easy to turn? Does any of what I wrote above mean anything more to you? This sure isn't a good time for a major financial hit right now, but it never is. :(

I'll work on getting the mower where I can work on it and get the clutch off.

Ed
 

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Diesel Power
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Gas in the oil eh...the engine could be hydrolocked. That gas in the oil is most likely caused by a stuck float or worn needle in the carb. Pull the plugs and let it dry out a couple of days. You'll need to change the oil and fix the carb issue. I would still pull the clutch and check it out ...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, I dropped the deck and managed to get the mower to a place that I can check it out better. I got the long bolt out that holds the clutch on. I had read *somewhere* that there was a ring-clip but I don't see one...looking at the diagram on www.johndeereparts.com it only shows the thick washer and not a ring-clip. Fifteen years of intimate contact with the environment appears to have made a firm connection between pto and engine shaft. I'm going to soak it in PB Blaster and see if I can budge it tomorrow.

I'm a bit confused, though, as to how this actually works. Is the crankshaft inside of a sleeve and the clutch attached to the sleeve?

A big question that is still lingering for me is would/could a pto/clutch malfunction in a way that will lock the engine up in a way that when you turn the switch all you get is a hard "bump" or "knock"?

The deck drive pulley turns freely. I managed to move the the drive train belt some...it simply slipped on the drive train pulley...the pulley did not move.

I mentioned some of this before, but at the risk of being redundant I'll mention it again...the engine or pto/clutch was making a noise (I took it to be the pto) with the blade disengaged and just before I shut the engine down I heard something that sounded like something was hitting something...like something had come apart at a high speed. The engine only ran for probably 15 seconds from the time I started the engine, heard the "different" sound, and shut the engine off. It hasn't turned over since then.

Anymore thoughts from anyone...I can use all the help I can get!
Ed
 

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I'm an expert on JD 345 problems. If you don't believe me. Read all my post of the subjects.

Here's what you need to do. Get under the tractor and take a big screwdriver or something that you can use to remove the big spring...One with the rubber cover from the support bar. This will remove any tractor drive belt tension and free up anything that makes the tractor moveable. This also will free any PTO connection. Now, try to start the engine. If you have the same "sounds, bump noise", you have a twisted crankshaft, or a piston rod broken and it's hitting the wall.. That's the noise you hear.

If the engine starts and runs okay, you probably have one or more idler pulley frozen.

Report back on what happens in doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It cranked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I went to Autozone and picked up a can of Deep Creep and liberally drenched the topside of the pto along with a few shots up into the pto shaft. I intended to let it sit overnight and come back tomorrow to see what it did. Well, I decided to mess with it a little more and found that the entire pto/clutch assembly would turn. :dunno: Feeling on top of the assembly I could feel a thin washer around the crankshaft(?) along with a small little tab or something made into the pto assembly I could feel a move slightly. Since the entire pto assembly had turned I decided to try the engine to see if it had freed something up. I hit the switch and the 345 cranked up!!!!! :sidelaugh:praying::woohoo1:

I quickly shut it off and looked back under the mower. The pto assembly had turned some and pulled the electrical connection loose. So the entire assembly is apparently spinning somewhat on the crankshaft. I still couldn't budge it by wiggling and tapping on it (light taps) so I decided to liberally soak it Deep Creep again and come post what I had found.

Can I still be in deep doo or does this sound like a new clutch will fix it? Also, why did the pto assembly spin and what makes it stay still to start with?

Thanks for *any* feedback/help you can send my way!!!!
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One thing more, I still had the bolt out when the engine started. Did the bolt being out allow the pto assembly to turn?

Ed
 

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Sort of related, I had a clutch on a dead motor which I wanted to take off, (gave it to a member here).
Undood the bolt, pulled on it tapped on it, squirted my own concoction of penetrating oil on it, swore on it **** thing would not come off.
Went over to a friends place asked I he had a wheel puller I could borrow,
He came over grabbed the clutch and off it came right in his hand. He still thinks i'se a rotten mekanik.
 

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Diesel Power
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One thing more, I still had the bolt out when the engine started. Did the bolt being out allow the pto assembly to turn?

Ed
There is a stud that hangs down from the frame and it goes into a slot on the clutch housing. That prevents the clutch from spinning. So either that is missing, or it fell out of the slot, or when you removed the bolt the clutch slipped down far enough to disengage from the stud. It the clutch is not engaged in the stud what will happen is what you saw. The entire clutch will spin and tear the wiring out of the tractor. From what you described so far you need to replace the clutch. Just make sure that stud is there and engaged in the clutch/slot.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks, Harry. I think you probably hit the clutch on the head regarding the clutch dropping down and the stud letting it spin...that makes very good sense from what I've witnessed. Should I be able to feel an inch or so of smooth shaft (crankshaft, I presume) between the bottom of the engine deck and the top of the clutch assembly? The thin washer I mentioned and that I was able to feel with my fingers is at the bottom of the shaft laying on top of the assembly so that kinda tells you how much room there is there.

I did see a half inch or so drop in the clutch after I had sprayed it with Deep Creep...I wasn't sure if I had maybe pushed it up and it was simply dropping back down. Thanks for the explanation of the stud holding the assembly in place...that had been bugging the stew outa me as to how it stayed stationary.

Another question I have is whether it's the stud could come loose and vibrate upwards a bit and cause the clutch/motor to get in a bind? If it moved up and caused this would it have damaged the engine or is it simply bolted into the chasis? Also, for the life of me I cannot find that stud shown in the diagrams at johndeereparts.com...anybody know a part number for it?

I want to get back over and work with it today (the ugly bahia keeps throwing those rocks at my windows) but I've ran into a slight problem. I don't know if you read about those "mysterious illnesses" that have been in southeast Alabama or not, but two days ago I started getting a slight burn in my sinuses...moved on to my throat, then chest, started coughing, and now this morning have a headache and a fever a little over 100F. One of those cases reported was at our local hospital. I'm sure it's just some freak flu-bug hitting me or something but it looks like my Memorial Day weekend isn't going to a very lively one!:dunno: Besides, like a friend told me...if it's the deadly version of the "mysterious illness" there's nothing they can do...you're a gonner no matter what. :Stop:

But, whatever the case, I will get a clutch ordered and see how it goes. I feel a lot better now as even if it's old, dusty, a somewhat ragged...I love my JD345!!!!!!!!...and it's paid for! :thThumbsU

Ed
 
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