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Discussion Starter #1
My 54" mower deck for the JD 345 will be completely refurbished in couple weeks. While waiting for that, I'm installing new bearings in the drive pulleys..#AM118794, replacing the #M111358 plastic bushings with brass oil sintered (full length) bushings in the #M143350 upper arm, and #M136635 lower arm . This will add greater protection and last longer than the plastic bushing. The #M78194 shaft the two arms pivot on was rusted so it was almost impossible to move them. So, I've decided to drill and tap and add grease zerts so I can grease this shaft. But, I've ran into a problem trying to drill the hole in the two arms for the zerts. I have tried about 18 1/4" drill bits and still cannot get a hole started. Those arms must be of some strong metal. Although, several years ago the #M143350 upper arm broke and I replace it. So, if it breaks easy, I should be able to t[drill the hole for the zert. I don't know why Deere didn't add zerts in these two arms as the phot below shows. Keep trying Fred, you might exceed.

 

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If you installed self-lubricating sintered bronze or "Oilite" bushings , there's no reason to grease them.
If not, and the pivots resist drilling (18 drills should be a good hint), try assembling with some wheel bearing grease; the kind meant for disc brakes.
Isn't there a plastic cap (M131119 ?) that goes on top when it's all installed ?
 

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You may be over engineering this. Considering how long the last deck and parts lasted, you’ll probably helping the grass grow before you need to worry about replacing. The 18 drill bits are a sign from above to find a better use for your time and energy 😁
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you installed self-lubricating sintered bronze or "Oilite" bushings , there's no reason to grease them.
If not, and the pivots resist drilling (18 drills should be a good hint), try assembling with some wheel bearing grease; the kind meant for disc brakes.
Isn't there a plastic cap (M131119 ?) that goes on top when it's all installed ?
[/QUOTE

gatz, Yes, there is a Yellow plastic cap that installed on top of the shaft with a washer and 'C- Clip', but, that appears this didn't help keeping any moisture out. Over the past 21 years I have removed these deck...pulleys, arms, and all the other item, and I have greased/lubricated this shaft to the point no rust should have occurred.
 

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While I tend to agree with the other posters that I would skip the drilling for zerks but since you asked, have you tried a cobalt bit?

You didn't specify, but I'm assuming the drill is dulling and not breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I made a trip to my favorite Ace Hardware store today to obtain some drill bits. This store has just about every type and purpose drill bits for any type of metal. I ended up with a Milwaukee brand...Cobalt and Titanium types in 3/16" and 7/32 sizes. The first deck part..#M143350 upper arm I used the titanium 3/16" bit and drill and tap the hole and install the 1/4-28 grease zerk. All went well on that part, but, no way can I drill the #M136635 lower arm. I tried the titanium bit first to no avail, and the cobalt bit didn't make a dent into the arm. This deck arm must be of some rare metal that Deere uses that no cobalt or titanium drill bit will drill a hole for a grease zerk. All my drilling was done on a drill press at medium and high speed. I may have to throw in the towel on this venture, and settle for the one zerk on the shaft.
 

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I tried drilling out the center hole on a JD mower blade last year. Won't do that again. I have found that when drilling hard metal that slower speeds help. The bit will heat up instantly at high speeds and then it is gone. I did order a 118 degree bit guide and now I do my own bits. I cannot believe how easy it is. I've been buying new bits when I could have just resharpened them.
 
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