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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

This past fall I got a 2001 345 tractor. Been using it all summer to mow grass and it's been great so far until the last two or three mowings. After about 15 minutes of mowing, the hydro starts to whine and get really jerky. The steering and power lift on the deck get so weak that they won't work at all. The transmission does not seem to be getting hot, I don't have a temp gun but I can hold my hand directly on it without any discomfort. When trying to work the steering or lift, the transmission whines quite loudly. If I park the tractor for about an hour, I can run it for another 15 or 20 minutes and then it starts making noise again.

For a bit of history, see this thread: http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=109324

I'm thinking about changing the fluid again in case any leftover kero from the flush is causing the hydro fluid to break down or something. That seem like a good idea? I have checked the level and it's fine, doesn't seem to be horribly discolored either, although it is starting to turn a grayish color. Anyone have any other guesses as to what might be going on here?

Thanks in advance for any help,

Jeremy
 

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From the photos in the other thread...and not to be doom and gloom...but it looks like it's eating itself inside out. I've never seen so much metal in a K71. It's likely from the final drive part of the trans, as the hydro pump/motor probably wouldn't make that much metal before totally failing.

I think you need to drop the trans, flip it over, and remove the cover to peek inside. I have a feeling that the final drive has damage (done likely before you bought it), and that metal is slowly chewing up the charge pump and hydro pump/motor.

If you don't want to something this major just yet, go ahead and do another filter and oil change. Change both filters.

Try something for me. Go drive up a hill and try the steering and lift. Do they get worse the harder the trans has to pull? Or, is there no change? If you loose the steering or lift, it's a sure sign of a tired hydro pump/motor. Eventually the charge pump can no longer provide enough oil to the pump/motor to keep them "charged", and as a result there is no oil flow left to run the steering or lift. If the steering and lift don't change, you may just have clogged filters (hopefully that's what it is).

Let us know how things go, we'll all be glad to help you figure out whats going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I just took the tractor out and did two fast laps around the yard. The hydro was starting to make noise after the second pass and I could tell the engine was working harder to keep it at full speed. I took it up the steepest part of my yard (which is not that steep) and the steering pretty much went away completely. I don't think the power assist was doing anything at all, it felt like it does when you turn the wheel with the tractor off.

So should I drain the fluid and see what the internal filter looks like? No matter what I do I'll need to drain it, so I guess I might as well go for it now and see if there's chunks in the internal filter again.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, doesn't look like good news for me tonight. Drained the tranny and the fluid is black as black can be. It's only got about 11 hours on it since I changed the fluid at the beginning of the summer. The internal filter has lots of shiny bits in it too.

So something is losing lots of metal inside the transmission somewhere. Is it time to drop it and see what's going on inside? I'm pretty competent mechanically, but I've never been in a hydro transmission before, so take that into account. lol :)
 

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They aren't bad at all. Been into several Hydro Gears now. Takes me longer to get them off the mower, take off the brake and other hardware than to crack them and replace the motor and pump.

Saint
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Decided to crack this thing open last night and see what's inside. Found some carnage. :( I'm amazed that it worked as well as it did considering what was wrong.

Looks like the bearing let loose on the intermediate shaft right before the main gear on the diff. That shaft and the gear that rides on it were just flopping all over the place. They're digging into the casing at several places which is where most of the metal bits are coming from. So that shaft as well as the gear are shot, and the output gear on the hydro motor is shot as well. Looks like balls from the bearing got stuck down in the output gear and chewed it all to pieces. Pics below. :)

The shaft and offending bearing. The other side of the shaft didn't have a bearing or bushing on it, I assume there should be one but I haven't looked it up yet.
shaft-bearing.jpg

The gear that rides on the above shaft. This mates with the output gear on the hydro motor. Lots of teeth almost gone.
gear.jpg

Output gear on the hydro motor. You can see some balls still stuck down in there. It's pretty much destroyed.
output.jpg

This is where the other end of the shaft rides in the casing. I assume there's supposed to be a bearing or bushing there, but there's no trace of one. Hopefully there's enough of the casing left to hold something in there.
casing.jpg


So that's the story. :( Where's the best place to get parts from for these transaxles? Doesn't seem like Deere probably carries them, I know my local dealer doesn't anyway. He said they just replace the whole unit whenever they have problems.
 

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Wow that is not good. Sorry to see/hear!
As for parts, I would just contact Tuff Torq. Price everything out and then compare a whole replacement used tranny from e-bay. (I don't like the idea of the casing being hurt...)
 

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So that's the story. :( Where's the best place to get parts from for these transaxles? Doesn't seem like Deere probably carries them, I know my local dealer doesn't anyway. He said they just replace the whole unit whenever they have problems.
Sorry to see that, the best place is directly from Tuff Torq, here the link.

Tuff Torq Service Parts Catalog

They ship fast too. :goodl:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is there an exploded parts diagram anywhere that would have the part numbers listed? Not sure which ones are which in their parts catalog.

Anyone ever change that output gear on the hydro motor? How hard is it to change? I have the tech manual at home, I'll have to check it out later and see if it details how to remove and change that gear. That's the only thing I'm really worried about.
 

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JD offers all the parts for these transmissions. Be sure to compare prices w. TT, you might be surprised.

Sorry you found what you did, but it's totally rebuildable.
 

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Wow! Gave it's all in service of you! Sorry to see that.

Saint
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sooooo anyone know where they have the parts listed for the K70? It's not listed in the parts catalog?
 

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Sooooo anyone know where they have the parts listed for the K70? It's not listed in the parts catalog?
TT or JD? If JD, sure they are...go here:

http://jdpc.deere.com/jdpc/servlet/com.deere.u90490.partscatalog.view.servlets.HomePageServlet_Alt

Then enter the model "345".

Select "325. 335. 345 Lawn & Garden Tractors"

Then expand (the "+" sign) "Alphabetical Index"

Then scroll to "T" and hit the (+) to expand.

Scroll to "Transaxle" or the other transaxle parts.

From there you can scroll through the transmission parts using the arrows above the parts breakdown window or you can look up other parts via the alpha index. You can enlarge the diagrams or change the window sizes as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry, I should've been more specific. I meant directly from Tuff Torq. The three gears, two bearings, and a bushing from JD are $345!!!
 

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The best thing to do is to contact Tuff Torq directly.

Tuff Torq Service Center in TN (423) 585-2000 (find with Google)
 

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The thing I'm afraid of is that you are going to need more than just those final drive parts. Given the diagnostic tests you did, the hydro pump and motor are likely damaged. As may also be the charge pump. You need to pull those parts down and check them too. If you find any scratches on anything that will snag your fingernail, the hydro pump and/or motor will need to be replaced too. I hope this isn't the case, but the operational symptoms you describe aren't due to just a clogged filter.

Hit us more photos of those parts and we'll help you figure out if they are bad. I really hope not, but if you need many more parts you may find a complete tranny being the best bet.

Again, hoping for the best!
 

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With that many shavings shown on the filter, it would be very hard to believe that those are the only parts you will need...I am sorry to say:-(
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've contacted Tuff Torq and they have confirmed that the K70 transaxle is now listed as obsolete. They requested that I send them a list of the parts I need and they'll see if they still have any of them in stock. I'll be doing that shortly and I'll post back with what they say.

I did remove the charge pump and it looks picture perfect. Nice and smooth inside with no signs of wear. I'll continue to disassemble the motor and pump later tonight. So far it seems like the filter was doing it's job and nothing made it into the pump assembly. It looks like most of the metal bits where from the bearing and from the gears rubbing on the housing. My theory (and I could be totally wrong here) is that all the fine metal in the fluid ruined the hydraulic properties of the fluid and that's what was causing the pump to struggle. It worked like a dream with new fluid and it wasn't until the fluid turned this lovely shade of black that I had any trouble with it.

It'll all depend on if Tuff Torq has the parts I need and how much they are. If I have to use JD for the parts, then I'll be looking for a used trans. If I can get the parts from TT for $150 or so, then I think it's worth a shot. I'll post back once I hear from TT.
 
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