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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I finally bit the bullet and purchased the power lift kit for my x500 and it is officially installed and working.



Below is a picture of everything that was in the box.



The manufacturer website says "Installation with hand tools (15 min.)". This is a bit misleading. I might agree with this statement if you do not already have provisions for a snow blower or blade on your tractor, and if you have previous experience installing one of these. If that is not the case, assume the whole process is going to take you much longer, say 2-3 hours.

If you have a working blade or blower on your tractor, the first thing you need to do is completely remove the entire manual pedal operated blade lift mechanism (manufacture instructions fail to mention this or describe the process). This includes the lift link on the outside of the frame, lift link on the inside of the frame and the rod, bearings and rocker arms to which the lift links connect. And at least one of these bolts needs to be reused.

After the old manual lift parts are removed, installing the actuator components is simple, assuming all of the correct parts are supplied. In my case they gave me incorrects nuts to go with the supplied carriage bolts. I had to use replacements from my own parts supply.

Mounting the switch was easy. Mark the location for the switch in the dash using the supplied escutcheon and drill a whole. Switch goes in effortlessly.

I did my best to follow the manufacturers suggestions for routing of cables and placement of relay pack. Either their descriptions and graphics were incredible poor and I was misinterpretting their intent, or I interpretted it correctly but did not like the clue-gee appearance of the result. In the end, I opted to remove the battery (easy on x500) and mount the relay pack behind the battery on the steel support located beside the key switch. I then routed and supported the cables to the actuator under the battery compartment. Here are pictures of the relay mounting.






Manufacturer says to drill a hole in the blade lift arm for the third hole of the arm extention. I simply could not bring myself to do this so close to the edge. The pictures in the manual show the hole much further away from the lift arm edge, and it would be if the backet supplied did not hang 3/16 of an inch over the edge of the lift arm. Perhaps this is an intentional design change, perhaps the the jig used in manufacture was not indexed correctly. I will check with manufacturer on that.



After all was said and done I tested the lift and it works. The mechanism raises and lowers the blade fully in 2 seconds, as the manufacturer said it would.

After all was installed I needed to verify first hand if I could still install my deck. Nope, I could not. Turns out that the actuator needs to be removed in order to install the deck. If you study picture below, you can see why. The motor-to-deck belt tensioner needs to go into the space used by the actuator.



From my installation experience and playing with it afterward, here are some of the important things I have learned.

1) The total range of blade motion is no more than the manual lift, despite the manufacture claim to 6" lift height plus down pressure capability. To have down pressure you need to sacrifice lift height. I have mine set for 5" of lift, which allows for token down pressure.

2) The actuator needs to be removed to install and raise the deck, but the manufacture makes no reference to this that I can find. The only thing I find is where they advise you that the actuator bracket must be removed (what a pain) to use the the JD tiller. Not an issue for me since I do not own JD Tiller. The need to remove the actuator to install the deck should be pointed out.

3) If you already have a fully functional snow blade installed, you have parts on your tractor that you need to remove. Save them, you may need them if your actuator fails.

4) Unlike the JD manual blade lift system, the power lift system has a lot of flex in the cantilevered and unsupported rocker arm shaft. When I raise and lower my blade this shaft bends a bit. Perhaps the shaft is hard enough and will survive the stresses, but it is not designed with the same level of durability and support as the JD manual lift system it replaces. In fact, because of the play I see, if they could support the end of the shaft like the manual lift you might actually get an additional 1" of powered blade range out of it.

If the lift works in actual conditions and lasts I will be pleased with my purchase. At the moment I will only give it 4 stars out of 5.
 

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MTF Tractor Nut
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Nice! That should clear up most of the questions asked about the lift lately.... :thanku:
 

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Last night while attempting to blow a bunch of slush the auger head loaded up with slush and it was very heavy on the manual lift pedal. My thought at the time was "that electric life actuator sure would be nice about now". But after reading the several posts it seems clear that if you really want lift capability on the front (and lift capability on the rear integral hitch) the way to go is with a X530/540. With all the slush work I get tired of reaching around or keeping my right hand on the rear lift handle for the integral hitch. I've thought a bit about putting an electric actuator on the rear integral hitch as an option but it sure would be nice to be able to upgrade to an X530/540 in the future.
 

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Very nice job with the installation, documentation, and explanation of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope it works well for you for a long time!
:thanku:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very nice job with the installation, documentation, and explanation of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope it works well for you for a long time!
:thanku:
Thanks POENY, I really hope to get good service too. Now looking forward to snow. That could be next year at the current rate. :trink39:
 

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X530, 48 Deck/44 Blower
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...after reading the several posts it seems clear that if you really want lift capability on the front (and lift capability on the rear integral hitch) the way to go is with a X530/540. ...it sure would be nice to be able to upgrade to an X530/540 in the future.
Agree with your thoughts concerning the upgrade to the X530/X540 completely! I'm considering it already... though I do like my X300, I think the X530/X540 (when I find a deal) is in my future! :fing32:

Very nice job with the installation, documentation, and explanation of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hope it works well for you for a long time! :thanku:
Agreed! Excellent write-up and definately addressed many of the question others have posted concerning this option. Thanks! :thanku:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, I have some more information to share.

The actuator used for the lift is a Thomson D12-05B5-04. It is rated at 500lbf dynamic, 3000lbf static, 4 inch stoke.

I wanted to know how much downforce I am actually able to achieve in my current setup (which is adjusted for 5" of blade lift elevation). The answer is 144lbf. 104lbs comes from the blade itself (which i measured in place) and the extra 40lbf is added by the actuator. Although I did not measure effective downforce before electric lift installation, given that the lift assist spring is not used with the power lift and the given the little effort it used to take me to lift the blade by hand before, I would estimate downforce for my 48" blade is 50-100lb more than with the manual lift. In the end it will be like adding a couple of JD suitcase weights to blade.

I also wanted to confirm the total possible range of motion of the blade. I raised the tractor by putting 2x wood under the wheels. With the power lift I then raised the blade to its highest point and measured blade elevation. Then I lowered the blade to its lowest possible elevation. The difference was 8-3/8". This therefore is the total range of movement. This is more than the 6 inches available with the manual lift. However to gain any actuator-applied downforce you must limit the movement of the blade travel to a couple inches less than this because of the float slot in the lift bracket. In the end with the electric lift the increased travel of the blade allows more of the driveway contour to be followed.
 
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