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Discussion Starter #61
Rims can rust tight to the keyed axles and be a bear to remove without damage to them or the transaxle..If you try using a hammer and block of wood to whack the inner side of the rim,often the axle shaft will come right out of the transaxle with it--it is only retained by a flimsy snap ring inside the transaxle case..

I've had some stuck so good heating up the hub with a torch after deflating the tire didn't help,using a steering wheel type puller bolted to the wheel weight holes in the rim--tightening the screw just started bending the rim centers..

One tractor transaxle I had I was determined to get the rims off of,I needed the transaxle for another tractor,and had the rims off the original one,so I didn't really care if I wrecked the rims getting them off,but would have preferred not to,so I'd have spares--I heated the hubs up bright red several times and tried the puller again,with no luck..

Then I had an idea--I tack welded a 5/8" nut to the rim hub,and put a 5/8" bolt that had long threads in it and used my air impact gun to tighten the bolt against the 3/4" axle,and the rims came loose,the bolt pushed against the axle shaft and shoved them right off ..worked slick..getting the welds off to remove the nut required some patience and careful use of the cutting torch but they were not scarred up badly enough that they couldn't be used again..
Thanks Tractorholic. Hoping I don't have to exercise that idea!
 

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Thanks for the pics and info!

Have you hacked into the Bluetooth yet, so you can run the tractor remotely from your phone?

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #63
You know what, that reminds me. It seems my tractor is the only one in the Craftsman Pro line that does not come with the $80 bluetooth plug. It has all the wiring and such, but not the plug.
Remote control with the phone; that idea has some merit! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #64
Thanks to Jd1a for mentioning the high lift mower blades in my mower deck! If he hadn't, I don't think I would have figured out what's going on. I changed which part of the yard I start mowing this last time, and I noticed that I didn't hear the mower deck roar quite as early as I had before. Then I looked again at the wet spots, and thought about you mentioning high lift blades and it hit me! When I go through the mud/wet patches, the blades are picking up mud and plastering it all over the inside of the mower deck. Then grass sticks to the mud, and more grass, etc.
So, next time I'm getting the weed hacker to hit those spots, and I'll mow around it.
I also noticed with the buildup inside the mower deck, I need to slow down a bit when i mow to keep the cut looking good.

And, some genius flung a short piece of a red cargo strap in my yard. I didn't know it still had the S-hook in the end until I hit it with the mower...and it put a 1/4" divit in my blades.

Last, I have ground enough material off of the bottom front bucket support so it will slide into position on the tractor. but I need to drill holes to put bolts in. I think I will test fit everything in place, and then figure out where to put the bolt holes. Then, after rigging this whole apparatus, I will file 13 over 50% of it, so I can get the bucket to lift without 100 pieces of hardware involved, and me imitating and octopus trying to use it.

And I found matching paint for the Craftsman Pro yellow!
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Alright, here is a picture of the K57 installed, with the K66 fan mounted on top. The fans were identically splined, so it could go on a K46.
I forgot to add the part number. My K57 now wears a K66 fan, Part # 1A632085090. The K46/57 fan is 7" diameter, and spins CCW. The K66 fan is 8.5" diameter, and spins CCW. The K66 does seem to help keep the tranny cooler, as you would think. I've only seen a max of 50*C, or 122*F so far, even with outside air temp of 85*F while mowing.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
So, I took the tractor out to pull the aerator across the yard again, as my yard has so many puddle spots when we get a good rain. Clay soil tends to do that. But, it seems I need to add about 100# on the back of the tractor in addition to my 220. And/or get rid of the turf glide tires. Had several times in the front yard one wheel would break loose as I was turning on the slope while pulling the aerator to loop around. Once I got well along in the backyard, I noticed the tranny temperature kept climbing past 70*C. I've not seen it go that high before. It hit 84*C and I decided to shut down for the evening, instead of mowing like I wanted to. I noticed tranny oil on the hitch point, and on the tranny case once I got the tractor cleaned off and cooled down.
Cleaning the tractor was a must, as I know I hit at least two land mines (dog poo piles). Even rolled the tractor forward 3 times while pressure washing things to make sure I got all the stuff blasted out of the tire treads. Had some poo in a tread before and parked it in the garage. Boy did that stink!
All that said, the aerator did a good job pulling out plugs this time. Much better than earlier this spring, or in the fall last year.
I just remembered I pushed the tractor about a foot in the garage, before I realized the hydrostatic release lever hadn't been pulled out. Any idea if that might have blown a seal or something?
 

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Discussion Starter #67
I pulled the transaxle out, and after looking at the pattern in the dirt spatter, the vent cap looks like the culprit. I cleaned everything, topped off the oil, and then mowed part of the yard. Still see oil that got pushed out, despite being in the flatter part of the yard. So, new vent is on order, but I'm also going to think through modifying the vent, as it seems there are others out there who have issues with the vent leaking on inclines.
Also, I removed the battery this time to pull the transaxle. That made things a lot easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
Alright, I think I can do an update now. Just after my last post we went on vacation, so after we got back I was pretty jet-lagged and didn't do much until this week. After I cleaned the transaxle, topped up the oil and ran it again I pulled the battery out and finally realized that the main shaft seal was leaking. Not the vent cap. I guess I damaged the seal when I pushed it down the shaft, because I didn't tape around the splines first. Whoops.
So, new seal installed. Cleaned things up again. Topped off the oil. Drove around a bit, and all is well. And, I discovered that an ATF funnel works pretty good to top off the transaxle, once you remove the battery!
Also slapped a couple neodymium magnets onto the oil filter, to trap ferrous materials in the filter. I've been using one (a FilterMag) for years in my pickup.
Spent an hour or so last night adjusting the mower deck to mow evenly. Not sure if it's always been off, or if my frame rails tweaked something or what. Made a little measuring block from a piece of wood, to make it a bit easier to measure from the ground to the blades.
Last, the front scoop. So, I spent another hour or so trying to figure out how exactly it mounts to the tractor. I think I figured it out, but two of the mount bolts will not work now, since they don't have long enough threads to reach through with the 1/4" frame rails installed. They are 3/8" threaded shoulder bolts, with a 1/2" shoulder that acts as the scoop mount points. I haven't found one on the Internet that will fit, so I think I will drill and tap them for a 3/8" bolt, and use them as shouldered nuts. If that doesn't work, then maybe I'll get a couple 1/2" bolts and cut 3/8" threads in them, leaving the grip length as the mount surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
So, that didn't go quite as expected. Got the bolts drilled out just fine. Tapped the first one okay, but the tap broke in the second one. :( No one in town seems to have a tap extractor, and I didn't want to wait two days for the mail, so I tried a carbide drill bit. It didn't do much. Ground the tap piece flush after a bit of chiseling, to try to work pieces loose, then I ended up just beating the tap piece up, alternating spots and sides, with a chisel and punch in order to fracture it into pieces to remove them. Finally got it all out, then resumed threading the hole. Got that done, and i stopped for the night.
I had also purchased a pair of 1/2" bolts, in case this didn't work...
 

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Discussion Starter #70
So, mounted the bucket okay with the Craftsman brackets, but had to drill a hole in each one in order to get the lower mounts lined up. And, I still do not care for how far in front of the front axle those position the bucket. They push it out another foot! So, the plan now is to weld 4 inch extensions onto each frame rail, and drill mount holes in those.

In other news, the effort on the mower deck leveling worked great. Tractor cuts really nicely now. And, I must have run over something sharp last mowing, because the right rear tire seems to have a slow leak. Figures. Which I think helped me lop the top cover off of one of my sprinkler heads tonight. Hoping it still sprays correctly, but time will tell.
Have not yet convinced myself to remove the frame rails and weld just yet, because it's at least 100* out every day when I get home.

By the way, does anyone have a good method for adding weight to the rear tires, like windshield washer fluid? Do you just push the tire bead open near the top, and start pumping fluid in? Water is only 8# per gallon, so I don't know how much...maybe 2 gallons, I could get into these tires. 20x10x8s. Probably better off buying a batch of ten pound barbell weights and bolting them inside the wheels. If I mount them evenly on both sides, that could work.
 

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I haven't done the fluid in tires, but lots of folks here have, and there are lots of pics, discussions and Youtube videos around showing the procedure (do a little searching).

From what I've seen, you need to remove the air valve from the stem (tools are readily available) and pour/pump it in through the valve stem.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

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I put antifreeze (do not use water, most use washer fluid) in my tires, I put in tubes first so no worries about leaks or rust build up. I used a little 12volt electric fuel pump to fill the tubes (about 12 gallons) then put in the valve core and pump up the tire. My tires are Deestones 23x10.5x12 super lugs, the wheel ended up weighing 75lbs total.
 

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Man you seem to do a lot more work than most do in the lifetime of owning their machine. I applaud you for keeping an eye on it, and checking levels frequently and beefing up the frame.

Personally, I try to use the simplest, strongest, and cost effective machines out there, which is why I stick with the old sears. I mean 1966-1979. The frames are heavy gauge, strong rear axles that rarely break, easy to repower because it's a horizontal shaft, and a flat frame, the parts are almost 100% interchangeable between all years with the exception of maybe swapping the front half of the frame, and drilling 4 holes....

I try to keep any and all electronics off my machines except for charging system, and lights. Dirt, dust, and water don't mix well with fragile electronics, and I laugh at people that want self mowing, err mowers like the husqvarna robotic mower.. I want those as much as I want a self driving car... which is not at all...

But back to your thread... Again, I applaud you in taking the time to strengthen up your machine, add the scoop, and take the time to make sure the trans temp stays low etc. In the long run though, The hydro on that may still not last when you use ground engaging attachments a lot or haul a lot of weight. when it comes to loading the rear tires, the easiest way to do it is with a tire bead breaker.... Just pop one side of the tire off the rim, fill it 3/4 full of fluid, and re-seat the bead. Takes about 10 minutes to fill a 23x10.50-12 tire with about 6-7 gallons of fluid. I use windshield washer fluid because it's cheap. Sometimes you can get "recycled" antifreeze from junkyard for a few bucks a gallon, or RV antifreeze in the off season on sale... Some people are super worried about toxic fluid in their tires, so if that matters to you, get rv antifreeze that's pet safe, but it's expensive. Washer fluid is probably the next best thing because it mostly evaporates. Regular green antifreeze is very toxic, and leaves a lot of residue. fluid filling your tires, and adding only 1 set of wheel weights to that will probably be the best bet, but again it is still a lawn tractor not a garden tractor, so i'm pretty sure most of the mods you have done may have already voided your warranty... Another reason I like old machines, no worries about voiding a warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
Thanks GT-80 for the compliments!
Yeah, for nearly anything I touch I cannot leave well enough alone... I hear you on the warranty. Front axle is supposed to be lifetime, but I may really put that to the test with the front bucket.
I do like the fact you have identical twin tractors there, one with a front loader. Very nice.

I am still reviewing Craigslist, FaceBook marketplace, and AuctionTime to see if I can find an older machine i am comfortable with. Would like to have an old Simplicity Soveriegn like my dad had! Hmm, may need to check Ebay. No Simplicity dealers around here though--I'd be on my own. Save MyTractorForum, of course!

Thanks for the advice (everyone) on fluid filling the tires. I will wait until I get new rear tires before I take that plunge...since I just ran over a piece of the neighbor's fireworks last month and put a hole in the tread block of one of the rears. :( Stunned me, because I thought that part would be thicker. Guess not. I will probably get a pair of HDAPs I think--4ply. Bars will probably tear up my yard a bit much, since this is still the do it all machine.

My frame rails extend about 8 inches behind the rear of the tractor, so I can place some plates on those in the meantime.

just got done welding some 4 inch pieces onto the front of both rails, as I did NOT like the fact the Sears brackets have the bucket hanging about 2 feet further in front of the tractor nose. Talk about stressing stuff! Still need to match drill mount holes, but once that is done I think I can get back to remounting the bucket. Have not figured out how to get rid of the octopus arms yet though.

I agree, if I do much bucket work I will tear something up... But, I am counting on the K57 charge pump and Rotella synthetic to at least keep things working longer.
 

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These tire patch/plug combos work better than plain "tire string" type plugs..

I've saved a few like new tires that had a 1/2" slice right where the tread ends at the sidewall (like some a-wipe stabbed them with a pen knife) ,where your supposed to not plug a tire with them..

They are kind of pricey though,I usually go beg at a gas station or tire shop and see if they'll sell me one or two when I need one..
 

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A neighbor used some on her shed's gutters to seal up the lap joints at the seams--it lasted about 6 months before it cracked and let it leak again..
She also tried "painting" the liquid white flex-seal on the window sills & trim and found its not that great as a coating--it took several applications before enough soaked into the dry wood to make it look like it had been painted,and in a few months it was peeling and looked like it was watered down white stain..

I've been tempted to try some on tires with weather cracks on tractors,but can't see paying $20 for a quart of it..someone suggested using rubberized driveway sealer (without "grit"),they claim it works as well as tire bead sealer too,but I've yet to try any..don't need a 5 gallon pail of it really!..
 

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Discussion Starter #79
Okay, the rail extensions are done, painted, and the rails are re-installed. Also, put the front scoop on. Doesn't look to shabby.
I did make some small changes. I welded some reinforcement under the lower front bolt holes, as I didn't want stress from using the scoop to make the bolts tear out. And, I was going to grind the little lip flat that is near the rear axle so I didn't have to use the big flat washers as shims, but I decided that it would be okay as it is...and I have better ways to make use of my time. In one picture you can see the electrical tape I wrapped around the washers, so I could hang on to them with my hand while trying to feed the bolt through them and the frame holes.
Did not get to try it out yet; got done at 9pm last night and then discovered that the septic had gone out. :(
And, still mulling over how to use the spring loaded mower deck mechanism to raise and lower the bucket.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
Spent an hour tonight just fiddling with adjustments. Also had to cut off one hole on some extensions I welded on, as one was hitting the release cable. I cannot really use the second holes I made, without tweaking where the cable mounts. So, I did my testing only with the first hole vs the original pins. I can use the second hole once I install an electric actuator (as I won't need the cable). Some interesting results, as when I welded these on it was just guesswork.
The first hole gives another couple inches of height when the bucket is raised. Which was what I primarily interested in after reading how some folks complaining how high the bucket did NOT raise. And, it goes below horizontal when lowered, as I tried it by putting the front wheels on some 2x4s. I originally tried to press the pins out, but they would not budge, so I use 1/2" bolts in the holes. The end of the scoop moves 15" now, between the lowest and highest positions.
The reach from the seat isn't too bad, probably in part because the scoop is mounted directly to the frame now. But...I still want to make things easier. Eventually.
Now I need to figure out weighting down the rear end.
 

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