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Hi. (First post with pictures.)

I bought an x500 early last month (October) after having my third MTD machine die in 15 years. My neighbor has had a JD for 11 years with no issues other than routine maintenance.

I went to a local dealer and bought an x320 on an impulse. After having it at home for a few days, and also reading here about the transmission tradeoffs, I went back to the dealer and traded up to an x500.

When I get something, I typically start modifying it to suit my needs and taste. The x500 was no exception. I purchased a 44" blower from the dealer when I bought the machine. I then immediately bought a JP electric sleeve hitch. Again, this forum was very helpful to me in sorting through the issues.

Here is what the JP sleeve hitch looks like mounted.





I then wanted a back light, but wished to do so without modifying the tractor. Throughout my mods the goal was to add features without changing the tractor as it came from the dealer. I added the back light by using plastic cable ties to fix a small strip of plywood underneath the back, using the predrilled holes for the cable ties. The advantage is that the plastic tubes project below the seat pan and provide a space for wires to be run between the wood brace and the seat pan.



I added a magnetic light, shortened the cord (using two layers of heat shrink, with electrical tape over that) and added a lighted switch (more on that later).
 

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Here is installment two.

I ran the switches for the rear light and JP hitch into the storage area to the operator's right. It looks like this.


Next, I added the wiring for the JP hitch and the rear outlet. I ran the JP line directly to the battery since it takes a 30a fuse. For the rear outlet, I piggybacked on the 10A fuse for the front outlet, using a "cheater" or (without a moral statement) an "extender". This gives me two fused circuits in the place of one. Here is a picture.


Now I moved on to getting more light out front, especially for using the blower. While I had made the substitution of the 30W halogens (P796? bulbs), the blower chute was blocking too much light for my taste. So I fabricated a custom light bar. Here is what it looks like.



Sorry for the portrait orientation of the second picture. The key item to notice is that the cord for the from 12v outlet runs from the light bar to the outlet while hiding most of it under the hood, out of the way.

Since I am limited to four pictures in each post, I will go into the details of the light bar in my next post.
 

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Wow great mods! I really like the front lights!!! What kind of spinner knob is that you have on your wheel?
 

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Installment three.

For the light bar, I wanted something that could be put on or taken off rapidly but also provided full functionality. I measured the two mounting points in the plastic up front, near the hood. The large circle is approximately 1.25" in diameter. The hole in the center of that is 0.5" in diameter, with a smaller 0.25" hole at the bottom.

To fab my light bar I used some scrap plywood and dowels that I already had. I cut the 1.25" dowel into two pieces. Then I drilled out a 0.5" hole in the large dowel that was 2.75" deep. I inserted a 3.5" length of the 0.5" dowel into each of the larger dowels. I measured the distance between the holes and drilled two 1.25" holes into the plywood base to accept the larger dowels. I glued everything together and then painted it black. I also drilled two 5/16" holes for the dual 55w halogen lights I picked up at Walmart ($18) total. I wired it to a 12v switched cord that I picked up at Radio Shack ($8). The result looks like this.










I can literally install or remove this light bar in 5 seconds. It is tight, sturdy and functional.

END OF TRANSMISSION
 

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I bought the spinner for $14 at Lowes. I had never used one before. It is better than power steering. I can turn the machine in ways that I had not realized was possible.
 

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Installment three.

For the light bar, I wanted something that could be put on or taken off rapidly but also provided full functionality. I measured the two mounting points in the plastic up front, near the hood. The large circle is approximately 1.25" in diameter. The hole in the center of that is 0.5" in diameter, with a smaller 0.25" hole at the bottom.

To fab my light bar I used some scrap plywood and dowels that I already had. I cut the 1.25" dowel into two pieces. Then I drilled out a 0.5" hole in the large dowel that was 2.75" deep. I inserted a 3.5" length of the 0.5" dowel into each of the larger dowels. I measured the distance between the holes and drilled two 1.25" holes into the plywood base to accept the larger dowels. I glued everything together and then painted it black. I also drilled two 5/16" holes for the dual 55w halogen lights I picked up at Walmart ($18) total. I wired it to a 12v switched cord that I picked up at Radio Shack ($8). The result looks like this.










I can literally install or remove this light bar in 5 seconds. It is tight, sturdy and functional.

END OF TRANSMISSION
I LOVE this! Thank you for posting this modification. "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!"

I will be looking at doing this exact mod this weekend.
 

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Hi Smallholder,
Very nice mods :thThumbsU, they all look pretty easy to do :thanku:
Todd
 

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The tractor, accessories, and improvements look great!

One question about the power draw. If the three lights (two front and one rear) are on and are 55 watts each that is a little over 13 amps. Add headlights (if used) and the rear plow's actuator and you may be pushing the alternator fairly hard. Have you considered LEDs as a lower power draw option?

All in all great additions and :thanku:for taking the time to document and share them!:trink39::thThumbsU
 

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:ditto::ditto:eek:n the LEDs. When I get to my mod, I'll be using them.

Great job with the placement of the bar itself. I have been eyeballing the same area.
 

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Great job with the placement of the bar itself. I have been eyeballing the same area.
That would also give you a place to hang your Brady doll while you are using the seat. :sidelaugh:ROF:hide:
 

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As an x500 owner I am inspired by your mods, especially the front lights. Thanks for all the pics. :thThumbsU
 

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You appear to be all set to move a bunch of snow... The mods are great upgrades! Enjoy!
 

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QUOTE=TurtleBoy;1963078]That would also give you a place to hang your Brady doll while you are using the seat. :sidelaugh:ROF:hide:[/QUOTE]

Let me know when Tebow is sporting 3 rings and a Brazillian supermodel. :biglaugh::biglaugh:
 

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Looks like your enjoying your new tractor, the mods look great and let us know how they work out for you this winter. slkpk
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The tractor, accessories, and improvements look great!

One question about the power draw. If the three lights (two front and one rear) are on and are 55 watts each that is a little over 13 amps. Add headlights (if used) and the rear plow's actuator and you may be pushing the alternator fairly hard. Have you considered LEDs as a lower power draw option?

All in all great additions and :thanku:for taking the time to document and share them!:trink39::thThumbsU
Yes, if everything is on, the draw exceeds the alternator output. I considered LEDs but have not yet found anything that provides light out front that comes close to a halogen for a reasonable cost. (LEDs work great when you look AT them. They are bright and well suited for things like a taillight. But for projecting light out to illuminate objects, I have not been able to find any LEDs that work well for a comparable price.)

The current load does not concern me, much. The two halogens on the mount are 110w together for a 9.16A draw. The alternator is rated at 15A and my recollection is that the tractor requires about 4A. So, with only the front facing halogens, I should be OK.

I don't intend to use the tractor's headlights, at least not continuously. The same is true for the rear light. The sleeve hitch actuator has a 30A fuse on it, so I am guessing it is between 20-25A at most. Since it will be used very sporadically (a few seconds at a time), I don't' see any issues with that either.

Lastly, this is all worst case use of the blower. If I use it during the day, I should replenish the battery. If I end up working in a way that has some daylight work with night time work, I should keep the battery charged throughout the snow season.

Anyway, that was my reasoning before I cribbed this all together. I would appreciate any comments.

Terry
 
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