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Hi all, what was the last year of the plastic cam gear in the Kawasaki engines?

Secondly, would na X485 be one of the affected Deere models? I'm looking at an x485 with just over 1000 hours that looks like she was ridden hard and put away wet.
 

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The X485 will have a Kawasaki with a steel cam gear in it since they were built 2002-2008. The chart in Sergeant's link is good but the serial numbers given are engine serial numbers, not tractor serial numbers. After 30 years the serial number tag on the engines is usually gone or unreadable. I have never seen a tractor serial number chart giving the exact break for the plastic vs. steel change. It would be nice to hear from 425/445 owners with tractors built in 1998 that know their engine and tractor serial numbers to get a handle on when in 1998 the change took place.
 

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I have a 425 made in 1998 and it had a plastic gear ...unfortunately the tag is also long gone
The tractor serial numbers for the 1998 start at 060001, where does your serial number fall?
 

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One thing I have learned about older JD's is that there is always a changeover period where there are units that are built with either engine in them. On the 4xx series of tractors, the radiator has a manufacturer date on it but it may not be the same as the engine or the tractor date. Think of the production line and the supply of engines at that line. There would be many different people putting whatever model engine they had at their station. All of those units would be from the same production date. If it were me, unless it was a really great deal, I would avoid any '98 model tractor unless the gear could be verified. But that's just me and I am a flipper who does not like engine work.
 

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I understand Rudy's point on the production line, but it would still be cool if we could have some data from 98 425's and 445's with their tractor s/n's and plastic or steel original cam gear.

My 425 is a 98 with sn
2443970
It is missing the engine label, so I will eventually open it up to check. There are enough folks on here that we could do a little crowd sourced data collection and have more info.

Does anyone know if JD keeps records of tractor serial number and the serial number of the engine installed? That would really help.
 

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I live a few miles down the road from the Kawasaki Plant in Maryville, Mo. I make an effort to visit the plant on days when they have grade and high school students visit days. They also allow local citizens to come on those days. When I bought my '99 JD 345 I was told by the dealer that I should visit the Kaw plant go see what and how the Kaw engines are built. I made my first visit in 2001 and got the opportunity to meet the plant manager, who was very informative on the V-twin(s) engines they where making. I told him I have bought a '99 JD 345 with the FD611V and had some concerns regarding it's performance. He mention they have made a "big important" change in the engine with a "steel cam" for the governor workings. He also said, " some earlier models of the FD611V could have a plastic cam due to the parts supply on the assembly line, and that may be no more than 35-50 plastic cams being in the FD611V engine." However, it would be those models with serial numbers should range from #FD611VU000001 to # FD611VU000050... Code FD611V-BS01.

So, if you have the FD611V engine that has the serial from FD611VU000001-FD611VU000050, you could have a plastic cam.

Another thing that might help those that have doubt on what cam they have, is to take a stethoscope and hear. A plastic cam will have less decibels (noise) than a metal cam.
 

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Do they have engineering there too, or just manufacturing? Sounds like a cool tour.
Just guessing...

Probably day-to-day engineering, but design/corporate engineering are probably at another facility.
 

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I don't know what a "engineering department" would look like at the Kaw plant in Maryville, but, they do have a Research and Development section there, and I far as I would could see, there wasn't any tours in that part of the plant. I would guess the main engineering programs are held in Grand Rapids, Mi. I think they just celebrated 31 years of Kawasaki plant mfg. there is Maryville this past year.
 

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That's sort of a weird thing for him to say about the FD 611V engine. Kawa actually says that the two different cam gears require a different valve train. Does that mean that they just stuffed an old plastic cam gear into a 611 that had the wrong valves and springs? That sounds unethical and I do not believe they would have done that unless they changed out the whole system. I guess the plastic cam gears came with the entire plastic set of plastic water pump and oil pump drives and the different valve train.
 

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When I made my trip to the John Dealer in May 1999 to look for a good lawn tractor with a 54" or 60" deck, the dealer did tell me the best one that I should buy was the 345 due to it's overall performance and horsepower. On the sales lot he had several 1999 345(s) and couple older ( I didn't ask the year of the older 345) 345(s) with the FD590V 18 hp engine. There was a price difference of $900.00 for the 345 with the FD611V 20 hp engine. He went into details on the difference of the two, and the engine was the factor as the older model had the plastic cam and the new model had the metal cam setup.

When I went to the Kaw plant factory tour in 2001, I ask the plant manager why the 345 model engine was swapped out for the 20 hp. over the 18 hp. He said the 18 hp had the plastic and some cams had separated and required a different system. He didn't go into details all the parts that was changed in the FD611V. Just mention the cam was now a metal one.
 
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