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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a used Cat 0 3ph from a guy on FB and was going to install it on my 445. I thought it would be a snap like the others I have fabbed using the existing rock shafts. When I went to take a look at the rock shaft I was floored! It is smaller than the old 318 series! They were 1-inch and the 445's is 3/4-inch! I looked a Ruegg's 3ph and he replaces it with a larger diameter shaft but he also wants over $200 just for the shaft. What was JD thinking? I guess they were thinking that if you wanted a 3ph you would need a new shaft anyway so why give you a nice strong one to begin with. I am trying to think of a way around this obstacle. Any ideas? I have three old 318 shafts and was thinking that I might be able to use one of them. The 445 shaft has only the two hydraulic cams and no end levers like the 318. I could remove both end levers and make two new bushings for the one-inch shaft. I'll have to measure it so see if it will fit. It's things like this that keep me going. I love to solve problems that don't involve the IRS or my bank account!
 

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Calm down inspectorudy, Yes the 445 rockshaft that only lifts up the mower deck is 3/4" when you buy a three point rockshaft from Deere they are 1"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree but for some strange reason, JD had always used a one-inch shaft on its other tractors that were designed to do the same thing.
 

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Kish JD 318/420/430
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Ah, but Rudy you forgot about the famous bean counters at Deere:tango_face_glasses::tango_face_glasses::tango_face_glasses::tango_face_devil:
 

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Honestly I fail to see an issue here. A 3/4" steel shaft is more than capable of lifting a mower deck. The newer X series 2006- don't come with rock shafts......
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree that a 3/4-inch shaft is more than capable of lifting a deck but why did JD use a one-inch shaft for so many years? Did the steel get stronger? I suspect Russ is correct.
 

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I would suggest that the Deere engineers actually knew that they were doing
and sized the shaft for the load it is subjected to.
It's possible that due to differences in the design, the shaft on the 455 is under less load then the 318's.

I'd use the correct shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Actually the 300 series has a much more robust deck actuation mechanism than the 445. On the 318 the ram pushes a dual cam follower type lever that is very heavy construction and the 318 decks were not as big as the 445/455 60-inch decks. On the 445/455 the deck mechanism is a slender flat bar that is connected to the lightweight dual levers on the shaft by a single pin, and that in turn moves the deck. All of the parts are thinner and less robust than on the older mowers. On the 300 series there were two levers at the ends of the shaft the raised and lowered the deck with two flat bars thus doubling the strength of the 400 series. I'm not saying it is wrong just that I am surprised to see such a change in philosophy by JD after many years of a proven design.
 

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Actually the 300 series has a much more robust deck actuation mechanism than the 445. On the 318 the ram pushes a dual cam follower type lever that is very heavy construction and the 318 decks were not as big as the 445/455 60-inch decks. On the 445/455 the deck mechanism is a slender flat bar that is connected to the lightweight dual levers on the shaft by a single pin, and that in turn moves the deck. All of the parts are thinner and less robust than on the older mowers. On the 300 series there were two levers at the ends of the shaft the raised and lowered the deck with two flat bars thus doubling the strength of the 400 series. I'm not saying it is wrong just that I am surprised to see such a change in philosophy by JD after many years of a proven design.
Proven designs, yes, but what about changes in technology? The 300/400 series was designed back in 1980-82... meanwhile the 4-5 GT's were designed in 1989-91. Ten years brought about a lot of technology change. Use of early computers to design 4-5 components and study stress locations and many other things would have greatly aided in reducing overbuilt locations and resulting in areas of improvement. Also we know a lot more about steel now that we did 40 years ago. Everyone always wants to compare old to new... when honestly you can't. Old is old and new is new. Comparing a 110 to a 318 isn't fair and comparing a 318 to an X748 isn't fair.

The cool part about the "savings" that most folks find absurd is the fact that in 1965 a fully outfitted 110 would have been about $10,000 in today's money... you can get a lot more machine today for 10K.... at least in my book you can. Shoot a fully outfitted 430 with a couple attachments would be pushing $25,000 in today's money... I don't see many X750's selling for $25,000.
 

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Proven designs, yes, but what about changes in technology? The 300/400 series was designed back in 1980-82... meanwhile the 4-5 GT's were designed in 1989-91. Ten years brought about a lot of technology change. Use of early computers to design 4-5 components and study stress locations and many other things would have greatly aided in reducing overbuilt locations and resulting in areas of improvement. Also we know a lot more about steel now that we did 40 years ago. Everyone always wants to compare old to new... when honestly you can't. Old is old and new is new. Comparing a 110 to a 318 isn't fair and comparing a 318 to an X748 isn't fair.

The cool part about the "savings" that most folks find absurd is the fact that in 1965 a fully outfitted 110 would have been about $10,000 in today's money... you can get a lot more machine today for 10K.... at least in my book you can. Shoot a fully outfitted 430 with a couple attachments would be pushing $25,000 in today's money... I don't see many X750's selling for $25,000.
Yea...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got to looking at the issue of the 3/4-inch shaft and realized that you guys were right and that it was too small for the job of a 3ph so I got a one-inch rod and fabricated the parts that were on the smaller rod. I upgraded all the parts to much thicker metal so that there wouldn't be any weak points. I was able to bore out the bearings to fit the one-inch bar and that went fine. The biggies are the two lift arms that are welded to the shaft. The arms on the shaft are inset about two inches from the outside of the lower frame where the 3ph lift arms are. That means that the shaft arms and the 3ph arms are about two inches off in the vertical plane. I have taken two 2x3/4 steel bars and cut and angled them to make up the offset. The big difference between the shaft on the 4x5 and the 318 series is that the bar does not just slide out with the bearings like the 318 but has to be finagled out of two fixed holes in the frame. One end has to go out a little ways and then the other end has to be brought forward and out. If the shaft is too long it won't come out once the parts are welded on to it! Tomorrow I am going to have to make sure that it will come out with just a tack weld just in case. I loved every minute of it! Fabricating is like a form of art. It makes you think and figure out how to do things. I only cut the 3/4-inch lift arms about 2/3's of the way through and then used my 20 ton HF press to make the bend in them. I'll weld up the cuts and they will be like factory. I paid $150 including shipping for the 3ph and everything else is scrap except the 1-inch bar so I'll have about $180 in a nice Cat 0 3ph v a Ruegg for $450 plus shipping. Don't ever think that you can have too many tools! Every time I think that I have too many I use one of them. I'll take some pictures tomorrow just so you doubters will believe me!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here is my almost finished 3ph. I have made one elephant ear and one to go. Otherwise, it is all done except grinding off some of the welds. You can see the puny 3/4-inch shaft that is OEM. I upgraded all the parts to thicker metal. That new shaft is one heavy mother! Lots of trial and error fitting that thing so that I can take it out of the frame. I've had a good time making this and look forward to some new projects. The top link bracket looks crooked but that is just the camera.
 

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Here is my almost finished 3ph. I have made one elephant ear and one to go. Otherwise, it is all done except grinding off some of the welds. You can see the puny 3/4-inch shaft that is OEM. I upgraded all the parts to thicker metal. That new shaft is one heavy mother! Lots of trial and error fitting that thing so that I can take it out of the frame. I've had a good time making this and look forward to some new projects. The top link bracket looks crooked but that is just the camera.
Nice, selling with a 3 point hitch gets you an extra $500?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't necessarily think in terms of money but in terms of desirability for the buyer. If I was buying a FEL I would want a 3ph instead of a weight box or something like that for the versatility of the hitch. If I wanted to mow without the FEL on I could drop the extra weight with a flick of my wrist instead of having to lift out weights one by one from a box. I looked up the JD weight box on CL and found a new one for $350 with brackets. That's a lot of weight! The newer ones are for guess what...... a 3ph and are only $300! The old ones mounted to the frame and could not be removed unless empty. I got this 3ph on FaceBook and haven't bought anything on CL in a long time. I don 't know if that is a trend that any of you have experienced but for me, it is a big change.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here is the 3ph all finished and painted. Two full days spent but I think it's worth it for the fun and the few bucks I saved. Here is the electric 3ph on my X520 that I bought for $150. Retail on them is $850. The guy I bought it from got it at one of the merchant-no-return-item warehouses where everything is sold by offers to the middle man. He paid $100 for it. I added the top link to the tractor frame because it was made for an ATV with no back frame member. It is a little different from the hydraulic 3ph in that it will apply 300#down force and 250# up force or lift.
 

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Looks like a lot of hard work. However, I would be very concerned about the single bolt and but holding the tractor end of the draft arms. Those bolts will see a lot of stress. The OEM and off-brand hitches all have an angle bracket the pin mounts to to support both sides of the bolt/pin.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
If you look carefully you can see two angle brackets holding the inner side of the draft arm bolts. They are just like the OEM brackets and use two bolts through the frame just like Ruegg's 3ph. I took no short cuts and it is identical to an original JD except I made the shaft lift arms beefier than OEM ones in case the new owner wants to add a Cat 1 set of arms to it. The lift arms are 3/4 x 2-inch steel. The 3ph bolts that go through the arms and lift parts are all 3/4-inch. Not going to break, ever! Here is a close up of the angle bracket and bolt. Here is a lighter picture of the bracket but there is a black hydraulic hose on top of the two bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm running out of steel so I went to my friendly steel building company to look for some. They are a huge fabrication company that makes girders and beams that are yuge! But they will let me ask for what they call "Drops" and if they can find any they will sell them to me pretty cheaply. I bought a 10 foot piece of 2x2 1/4 square tube today for $40. That's about half price from a normal dealer. My mouth waters when I go into the plant because of all the steel lying around and in piles. I guess it's what a cabinet maker feels when he goes into an exotic lumber yard. Anyway, I am going to convert the JD weight box that came with the 445 to a 3ph setup. It should make loading and unloading it a whole lot easier.
 

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Great job Rudy. How did you make those bends in the welded pieces on the rock shaft? What was that 3PH off of?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I see that you recognize the toughest part of the build Merc. I used my old HF band saw and cut about 2/3's of the way through and then used my old HF 20-ton press to bend it gradually to the angle that I wanted. Then I ran bead after bead with my MIG, really hot, into the crack until it was slightly above the original metal and then ground it smooth. I tried acetylene on the first one and then hitting it with a big hammer but it was too strong and I couldn't control the amount of bend. So off to the presses! I realized that I was approaching the limit of bend and worried about it cracking but it didn't. I used a very hot setting on the MIG because I wanted a little undercutting of the stock to make sure it was bonding rather than just filling the gap. The owner of the 3ph said it came off of an old Craftsman that I had never seen before. It looked like a tank, really boxy like a small Case, and he said they didn't make it very long but it was almost a subcompact. I realized that if I ever wanted to go more degrees than I did on the bends I would probably have to cut it and then weld it as two pieces. I also discovered that if I used a thin. 1/4 inch thick piece of steel along the cut, it was much nicer than just using the end of the press jack. Now if I could only find a friend with a 40-ton press!
 
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