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...just did this. 33 hours on it and the oil came out brown-dark brown. i removed exactly 2 quarts and added exactly 2 quarts of Castrol Syntec 5w50.

it's certainly quieter. i think i'll plan to do this every other yr.

ps. it takes no time at all... i removed the deck as well, did this and changed the engine oil in about 2.5 hours including running to home depot and napa.
 

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dark brown oil after 33 hours?... sounds like your tranny is working hard (lots of heat)....

are you dealing with hills or pulling lots of loads?.... or are you perhaps not running at WOT, so the fan doesn't blow sufficient air?
 

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dark brown oil after 33 hours?... sounds like your tranny is working hard (lots of heat)....

are you dealing with hills or pulling lots of loads?.... or are you perhaps not running at WOT, so the fan doesn't blow sufficient air?
it was medium brown.. like dark honey.

this tractor is new to me.. only put 2 hours on it myself.

i know the previous owner had no hills but he was fat and probably did not run it at WOT.
 

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:banghead3 I have a LT160 with the K46 That quit pulling yet again. The first time the oil burned up,so an oil change,air bleed and a good clean-up got it going again. The second time the drive pulley stripped, so a replacement pulley,oil change(synthetic this time),cleaned off the case and good all last season. Second time out this season and she quits before the blades come on. Out the no good little tranny comes out again. This time I decide she`s gotta come apart. Dump the oil in a big glass jar and it looks good. Cannot find anything burnt, scored,twisted or otherwise inside. Noticed a little filter around the oil sump. It didnt look dirty or clogged but looked as though oil may not be getting through it fast enough. So I figure we`ll leave that out and see what happens. Back together she goes with the old oil cause the synthetics too expensive and I`m tired of putting money in this heap. Clean `er up, put `er back in, re-bleed and she`s mowing again. Third time out and shes still going good. Noticed I don`t get the loud whine when the pedal goes down for either direction any more. Maybe that filter had something to do with it ,maybe not. If and when it craps out again I`m done screwing with it. I learned a hard lesson with this thing. I bought this new back in 03 and paid a better part of 3Gs for it. They sold me the plug aerator to pull behind it and I think they knew better. I know this is naive but I thought I was buying high quality,not just a name and pretty green and yellow paint. At least I can keep the Kohler out of it,as I`m sure that will last a lot longer than 5 or 6 hundred hours. I would`nt have gotten this much out of it if not for the info from the fine folks here at MTF. Thanks for reading my rant if you cared to. Happy mowing to all.
 

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:banghead3 I have a LT160 with the K46 That quit pulling yet again. The first time the oil burned up,so an oil change,air bleed and a good clean-up got it going again. The second time the drive pulley stripped, so a replacement pulley,oil change(synthetic this time),cleaned off the case and good all last season. Second time out this season and she quits before the blades come on. Out the no good little tranny comes out again. This time I decide she`s gotta come apart. Dump the oil in a big glass jar and it looks good. Cannot find anything burnt, scored,twisted or otherwise inside. Noticed a little filter around the oil sump. It didnt look dirty or clogged but looked as though oil may not be getting through it fast enough. So I figure we`ll leave that out and see what happens. Back together she goes with the old oil cause the synthetics too expensive and I`m tired of putting money in this heap. Clean `er up, put `er back in, re-bleed and she`s mowing again. Third time out and shes still going good. Noticed I don`t get the loud whine when the pedal goes down for either direction any more. Maybe that filter had something to do with it ,maybe not. If and when it craps out again I`m done screwing with it. I learned a hard lesson with this thing. I bought this new back in 03 and paid a better part of 3Gs for it. They sold me the plug aerator to pull behind it and I think they knew better. I know this is naive but I thought I was buying high quality,not just a name and pretty green and yellow paint. At least I can keep the Kohler out of it,as I`m sure that will last a lot longer than 5 or 6 hundred hours. I would`nt have gotten this much out of it if not for the info from the fine folks here at MTF. Thanks for reading my rant if you cared to. Happy mowing to all.
You have the perfect LM to do the tranny upgrade.
 

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I have read about the K66 upgrade,but I feel that would be throwing good money at bad. The last time the trans came out, I noticed a good sized crack where it mounts on the LH frame rail. I`ll just milk this one along for as long as I can and when it finally gives up for good,Ill try to find something used and overbuilt. I`m hoping to find a commercial grade that needs some fixing up.
 

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Hello All,
I want to thank all of you who took the time to post information about your John Deere and your troubles and fixes for the hydrostatic transmission. The information came in handy for what I ultimately did to mine to rectify the situation. Here's my story:

<snip>

I just wanted to thank you for posting this.

I'm in the market for a JD (probably the LA 125) and got pretty worried about the HS transaxle failures. The thought of having to spend $1000 to replace a "non-serviceable" part every two-three years pretty much turned me off.

It's nice to know that for $65 in parts and some labour, this is fixable. I do my own mechanical work, so this is comforting. (I do my own mechanical work because I have to, I drive a 10 year old Jeep, and would be in the poor house if I had to pay someone else to fix it :bonk: ).

:trink39:
 

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i think i am obsessed now, can not wait to get on each night and check this site, i guess that is what happens when you get the JD bug.
I read these post about the tranny problems and have asked some questions myself, since I own a x320 that in another year when the warranty runs out will attempt to change the fluid, and just wondering if maybe you are better off with the manual transmission.
I have a older R72 with the manual tranny, and its been running for over 20 years and no issue.
what are your thoughts, is the manual more reliable
 

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Definitely more reliable with proper use, as the lever action of gears doing the work as opposed to using fluid power. Gear oil lasts much longer than auto trans oil. A lot depends on the application and power requirements.
 

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i think i am obsessed now, can not wait to get on each night and check this site, i guess that is what happens when you get the JD bug.
I read these post about the tranny problems and have asked some questions myself, since I own a x320 that in another year when the warranty runs out will attempt to change the fluid, and just wondering if maybe you are better off with the manual transmission.
I have a older R72 with the manual tranny, and its been running for over 20 years and no issue.
what are your thoughts, is the manual more reliable

I agree that geared drive is more reliable however, I haven't read where the K58s in the x320s and above have had any problems. I have a slight grade to my front yard where back fill was brought in for my "raised" ranch. At one point it is about a 15 degree pitch. I have noticed that the slower I approach and ascend the hill, the quieter the transaxle is. When I "gun it" i hear more whining like it is working harder.

Regardless, I too still plan on changing my fluid after my warranty is up. Changing it before you have problems and before you burn the oil up is the key. I believe the charge pump in the k58s really set them apart from the k46s even though the are only slightly beefier.
 

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I noticed when i got done mowing last night and was cleaning off my mower that on the back of the x320 transmission there is a black and blue type plug that looks like it could be twisted off and there was a collection of dirt around it, which means that fluid had escaped, is this a vent plug? If so is that normal to see that. I also wondering if you could remove that plug and then use one of the suction type devices that I have posted on this site to suction the fluid out as much as possible and then refill through as well, without having to drop the tranny. Also, i noticed in the dealership office the other day when I was looking at the new x360 and 500 that there is a small clear plastic type container that is where the salesman said that you would add tranny fluid if needed, it had a fill and low level mark on it. Does anyone know how this is feeding into the tran on these model.
 

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I noticed when i got done mowing last night and was cleaning off my mower that on the back of the x320 transmission there is a black and blue type plug that looks like it could be twisted off and there was a collection of dirt around it, which means that fluid had escaped, is this a vent plug? If so is that normal to see that. I also wondering if you could remove that plug and then use one of the suction type devices that I have posted on this site to suction the fluid out as much as possible and then refill through as well, without having to drop the tranny. Also, i noticed in the dealership office the other day when I was looking at the new x360 and 500 that there is a small clear plastic type container that is where the salesman said that you would add tranny fluid if needed, it had a fill and low level mark on it. Does anyone know how this is feeding into the tran on these model.
Basically, the K46/K57/K58 are similar, sealed, units. You can expect similar results.

Regarding sucking fluid out: The t/a's have two chambers. It is unlikely you can pull all the oil out from one hole. About the only way to change the fluid is to open the case. After doing that and changing the oil, your efforts might not be well rewarded.

From experience, the K66 Upgrade may be the best option. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, all the available K66r's will be gone. (Tuff Torq is not making any more ... at least anytime soon.)

www.jd-k66-upgrade.com

ps: There may be a new development coming! www.twitter.com/SUPER_500
 
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