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I just bought a John Deere GX345 tractor with a 54C mower deck. Well I wanted to take the mower deck off to perform some maintenance but ran into an issue from the word go. On the 54C decks you're supposed to pull out a spring loaded pin and then rotate the gauge wheel rod 90 degrees to allow the deck to roll out from underneath the tractor after detaching it.

Well the pins holding the rod and the rod itself seem to be rusted in place. I managed to remove the pin from one of the rods by removing the hardware that mounts it to the deck and pounding it out, but I can’t get the rod to move. Up or down or rotate. I’ve soaked it with WD-40 and placed a short 2x4 on top and hit it repeatedly with a sledge hammer. No go. I also tried putting a long screw driver through one of the height adjustment holes and then putting a short bar on the screw driver for leverage to see if I could get it to rotate and that didn’t work either.

I’m wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience or if anyone has any nifty ideas on how I might get these to budge. Of course I don’t want to directly pound on the rod itself with the sledge hammer or it will “mushroom” the end and I’ll never be able to slide it out of the hole in the mower deck.

I know I can remove the deck without the wheels rotated, but I would like to get the rods “unstuck” so I can adjust them. Any have any good ideas?

A picture of the mechanism can be found here: http://manuals.deere.com/cceomview/OMM152805_I4/Output/Index.html?tM=HO Scroll down the left hand menu and select "Service Mower" and it the first picture in the "Remove Mower" section.

Thanks in advance!
 

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USMC
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Don't laugh at me but I had the same problem once upon a time. The cure for me was to pull the spring loaded pins back all of the way until they were clear of the rod. On this 54C deck that I've got the pins seem to be just a hair longer than on my other 54 C deck. slkpk
 

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Don't laugh at me but I had the same problem once upon a time. The cure for me was to pull the spring loaded pins back all of the way until they were clear of the rod. On this 54C deck that I've got the pins seem to be just a hair longer than on my other 54 C deck. slkpk
slkpk, +1 point for pointing that out trying to help a member, -1 point for admitting that was your issue, +1 point for making me laugh, your +1 on the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good point about the pin potentially being too long, but I've completely removed the pin and the rod still isn't moving. Yet...It will...Hopefully!
 

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Have Dog - Will Travel
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Does the rest of the deck show evidence of rust? Do you suspect it sat outside for a couple years. I don't have a good recommendation, but my half baked idea would be to try something other than WD-40, like a PB Blaster or other, and let it soak for a day, wack 4 times, than more penetrating oil for another day. With a little patience, I am sure you will get them out. FWIW, I've never seen one stubborn beyond a good wack with a rubber or mallet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The rest of the deck doesn't show much rust at all. I was told it didn't sit outside, but I can't say for certain. I'm going to pick up some PB Blaster, give the rods a good soaking, wait a while and give them a good whack with a punch and 2 lb mall and hopefully they'll break loose! If not repeat until they do.

Thanks much for all the replies. I'll post how things go...
 

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try something other than WD-40, like a PB Blaster or other, and let it soak for a day, wack 4 times, than more penetrating oil for another day. With a little patience, I am sure you will get them out. FWIW, I've never seen one stubborn beyond a good wack with a rubber or mallet.
Nephew's 48 was the same. I don't know why thread after thread they think WD-40 is a rust remover or penetrating oil ( common thought I did) :banghead3
I used a combo of PB Blaster and Slick 50 (hand pump oiler).
If any holes are sticking above put a screwdriver through it and twist left and right ( might need to tap with a hammer gently ) same up and down, it will give!!:fing32:
 

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Maybe the previous owner welded them in place......................LOL
 

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Hadn't thought of that one Mike !!
 

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Have you had any luck getting them to break free? slkpk
 

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I saw this thread about 30 minutes after having the same problem. I sprayed some PB Blaster and let it sit for about a day (not because I thought it needed to, but because I needed parts for the deck). I flipped the deck over and give it 5 or 6 very "spirited" whacks with a hand sledge, and it freed up. The advantage of flipping it over is that there's a nice large surface to hit, and you don't have to worry about damaging the rod. If your wheels are already all the way down, this wouldn't work, but hopefully they're not set like that.

I cleaned it up with WD-40 and a brush, then gave it some grease, and it's good as new. Hopefully it stays that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: I finally got them to break free this weekend!! A combination of PB Blaster, heat from two torches simultaneously, a pipe wrench and a mall. Cleaned them up with a wire brush on the bench grinder, greased the rods and now they move freely. A little JD yellow to mask the burn marks and good to go! Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I hope others find this helpful.
 

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Another Day in Paradis...
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Bfh...
 

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Glad you got them free! I always get out the large "persuader" when things are stuck really tight!
 

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Glad to hear you got them free. slkpk
 
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