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Discussion Starter #1

I've read enough about the plastic cam gear in the 445 to get me just a little bit shook. I purchased my 445 late last summer. The serial number of the tractor is mostly obliterated, BUT, the engine air cleaner sticker says that it was manufactured in June of 1998. I've searched too many hours with this information and cannot get a definitive answer. I'm eight hours short of 1500 hours and the machine is running well. I know the water pump can be removed to check on the gear if necessary but I hate to go to that trouble if not necessary. Is it possible that the plastic gear could have this many hours on it AND twenty years???
 

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I believe February 1998 was the cut off for the plastic cam gear. Steel after that.
 

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Everything I've ever read about the plastic gears says they go between 800 and 1200 hours. If so, you either have a plastic gear that's way past its due date or you've already got the steel gear and you're home free. I'd bet on the latter.
 

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Everything I've ever read about the plastic gears says they go between 800 and 1200 hours. If so, you either have a plastic gear that's way past its due date or you've already got the steel gear and you're home free. I'd bet on the latter.
mikgran
I believe February 1998 was the cut off for the plastic cam gear. Steel after that.

These two responses are encouraging!
 

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The front engine number is rarely still on many of the engines. That date on the air cleaner is not the engine build date. They are not built at the same time so it is only a pull as need part. It really is not that big of a job to pull the radiator housing off and then remove the front cover on the engine. That will expose all your questions and if you have a new gasket handy if the gear is steel then you just put it app back together. If you are a pessimist then you can buy the new gears and gasket kit and have them ready to go if needed.
Watch this short video on how to replace the cam gear on a 445.

 

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The front engine number is rarely still on many of the engines. That date on the air cleaner is not the engine build date. They are not built at the same time so it is only a pull as need part. It really is not that big of a job to pull the radiator housing off and then remove the front cover on the engine. That will expose all your questions and if you have a new gasket handy if the gear is steel then you just put it app back together. If you are a pessimist then you can buy the new gears and gasket kit and have them ready to go if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm still wondering if there were any noticeable differences in the 445's or the engines therein to differentiate the plastic vrs the steel other than serial numbers.
 

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If inspector is right about a "pull as need part" and the air cleaner has a build date of June 1998 then the tractor would have to have been built after the the air cleaner was built and well within the "age of the steel cam gear". Now you need to know if when they put the tractor together is the engine a "pull as need part" too or are they being built at the same time as the tractor is assembled.
 

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My opinion- drive it and don’t worry about it. Not likely that someone would have replaced the air cleaner. And I’m pretty sure I’d read where February of that year was then end of plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If inspector is right about a "pull as need part" and the air cleaner has a build date of June 1998 then the tractor would have to have been built after the the air cleaner was built and well within the "age of the steel cam gear". Now you need to know if when they put the tractor together is the engine a "pull as need part" too or are they being built at the same time as the tractor is assembled.
I, too, believe that the June of '98 on the air cleaner is the best evidence apart from looking inside! I've got to learn to throw my concerns out the back door.
 

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I'm still wondering if there were any noticeable differences in the 445's or the engines therein to differentiate the plastic vrs the steel other than serial numbers.

In JDparts Label 3A has been replaced by Label 3B.

MAYBE 3A was plastic cam engine and 3B is steel cam engine????
 

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Here is the Kawa with the water pump removed and the gear showing. This is the easiest way to determine for sure if your has the plastic gear. Three bolts and a hose to remove.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In JDparts Label 3A has been replaced by Label 3B.

MAYBE 3A was plastic cam engine and 3B is steel cam engine????
Another good sign! I've got the 3B.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Could a small bore camera be inserted through the oil drain to "look" at the cam gear?:tango_face_glasses:
I only wished I had that kind of high-tech equipment!
 

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I only wished I had that kind of high-tech equipment!
I have no experience with this product or brand, but for $20 you can get an inspection camera that connects to a smartphone or laptop. I'm sure it's very low quality but I would expect it to get the job done.

https://www.amazon.com/DEPSTECH-Semi-Rigid-Inspection-Megapixels-Waterproof/dp/B06WRNGYXY/ref=sr_1_10?crid=25KO96A4JP0HT&keywords=borescope+inspection+camera&qid=1557775977&s=gateway&sprefix=bore+scope,aps,178&sr=8-10
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have no experience with this product or brand, but for $20 you can get an inspection camera that connects to a smartphone or laptop. I'm sure it's very low quality but I would expect it to get the job done.

https://www.amazon.com/DEPSTECH-Semi-Rigid-Inspection-Megapixels-Waterproof/dp/B06WRNGYXY/ref=sr_1_10?crid=25KO96A4JP0HT&keywords=borescope+inspection+camera&qid=1557775977&s=gateway&sprefix=bore+scope,aps,178&sr=8-10
No laptop and no smartphone. I'm from the flipphone era.
 

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The combination of already having 1,500 hours on the machine and the date on the airbox would make me feel pretty comfortable it has the steel gear. John Deere had obviously identified the plastic cam gears as an issue prior to Feb. 1998 so can't imagine they would intentionally install an engine built like that in June or later of '98. I would be surprised if they had 4-6 months worth of engines sitting around in a warehouse, and even if they did it is pretty common for manufacturers to go through any old inventory and update the part before installing it in the machine.
 
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