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Discussion Starter #1
Today I switched over from snowblower to mower on my x580. This is the 5th season for the tractor, and I cannot be more dissatisfied on the removal/attachment of the snowblower and mower. I figured that it would get easier as time goes on, but its just getting more annoying. Whoever designed the attachment configuration at John Deere must have been laughing at all the poor souls whom would dare to install/remove a snowblower. The constant pulling, pushing, twisting, all while sitting on the ground and cutting up hands while contorting them in strange angles hoping to loosen or tightened something. Then there is the belts, which requires superhuman strength to wrangle. Almost certainly the tension spring on the mower will become disengaged, so that will be another 5 minutes to get aligned. Sorry for the rant but its just ridiculous how difficult it is to install attachments. If i knew it was going to be this difficult I never would have gotten this torture device of a tractor! Growing up I had a Wheel Horse and that was a breeze compared to this JD. I could do it all in probably a 1/4 of the time with much less contortion and blood letting....
 

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Time to move up to an autoconnect setup! Installing attachments has been the bain of all machines, with exception of maybe Gravelys front mount attachments (I'll never hear the end of that will I??) until the autoconnects. Wish I had one but I just deal with the issues. I found the 47 snowblower to be exceeding difficult to get the belt on and off. Everything else isn't too bad but that definitely hits my button.
 

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Does Deere have an auto connect for snowblowers?

The X700 series has a shaft driven front PTO, but it is manual and I think you have to remove the auto connect for the deck to mount the shaft to the front PTO.

Ventrac has some front connection machines, but you better be prepared for sticker shock (or stronger).
 

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JD has a system called Quick Tach for front implements but it just makes it easier to lock in the lifting mechanism, you still have to connect drive shaft or belts to get them to work. So that I don't think has been solved yet.
 

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Hooking up a belt is not hard if there is no tension and enough slack. I used to struggle with the 42X deck on my X300. Then I read the instructions and learned about using a rachet/breaker bar to make it easier. It does make it easier. But, now I have a 48X deck and it has a tension release lever. That makes it really easy to remove/replace the belt. I have only seen videos on the snowblower and it does not seem to have a tension release. So, you have to fight the tensioner and it does not look easy.

The shaft connect/disconnect looks pretty easy on the x700 series (and earlier similar models) but I have never tried it.
 

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kneeling on left side of machine pull tensioner pulley bracket towards you with left hand while feeding belt around pto with right hand takes all of about 10 secs. the first 5 times I did it was longer process, now I can do it in the dark! It doesn't take super human strength and I could see someone with arthritis having a struggle. it can be done without laying down which is probably not the case with a shaft having to get 2 hands under there!
yes a tensioner lockout would have been a good option,but that would have cost $10 more for deere to drill three holes and supply a pin!
 

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Having had an X360, my present X738 with auto-connect, and helped my son with his X730 with auto-connect, I must be missing something. The X360 took slightly more time, but mostly because I was trying to let my SIL do most of it while switching either direction mower to blower or blower to mower. Maybe 10-15 minutes either way and no skinned knuckles. With either X7xx, it’s a matter of knowing the right sequence and it’s 2-3 minutes, 5 tops. I think the auto-connect feature is great, not always perfect, but close. It is easier to get under the tractor to remove the driveshaft for the blower, but that’s it. I don’t think twice about removing the deck. If I remove the blower, I sometimes leave the hitch on and do my blade work before putting my deck on, but I don’t hesitate much to remove the deck to put the blade back on, I don’t need the front driveshaft on for that.

Maybe consider having the dealer give you a refresher, search YouTube for videos on how to do either.
 

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The only thing I find frustrating on my X500 mower are those spring loaded "J" pins. The springs always bottom out or jack the pin off kilter and jam it just as you need it to be straight and moving smoothly. I'm thinking of removing them in favor of just plain pins with cotter pins to hold them.

The drive shaft models sound great, but the cost is out of my league and I'm sure they too have issues.
 

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The only thing I find frustrating on my X500 mower are those spring loaded "J" pins. The springs always bottom out or jack the pin off kilter and jam it just as you need it to be straight and moving smoothly. I'm thinking of removing them in favor of just plain pins with cotter pins to hold them.

The drive shaft models sound great, but the cost is out of my league and I'm sure they too have issues.
I've called those J pins everything in my vocabulary! I have a puller bar similar to a 5th wheel hook for them now! it helps getting them out,but not so much aligning them to fit in![you have to hold your tongue just right}
 

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I took an angle grinder to the ends of my J pins. I really had to pull to get them to clear. In the closed position they went past the bar father than needed. I only cut a little bit off, and left the pin extend past the bar about 1/4". Made a BIG difference in releasing the deck.
 

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You guys have never dealt with Honda engineering. I have a well equipped shop and like to think I am mechanically proficient. On the Honda 5518 I had years ago, it took 2.5 hours to go from mower to snowblower and 3 hours the other way. Integral parts of the frame had to be removed and new ones installed for the mounts to attach. Incredibly hard and the deck weighed 236#s. Had to use line up bars on everything, and I cursed the entire time doing it.

Here, I just found a thread with some pics of the assembly:

 

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Sounds like someone is getting a little cranky from being quarantined or self-distanced or whatever it is we are calling it now! LOL! All tractors and implements take work to swap things over from one to the other. Some are easier than others. Some require a bit more knowledge of the simple things during the process that make them easier. If you don't like the swapping part aspect of it, buy separate implements. Get a dedicated lawnmower and a separate snow blower. Problem solved.

A little trick I found on those spring loaded J-pins for the mower decks, I found that if you pull back (toward the back of the tractor) on the rear deck guide wheel while you are pulling the pin, it makes it much easier to maneuver. Just my $0.02
 

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I took the deck off of my X534 today. I am not sure it is easier than doing it on the X300 or not. The rotatable wheels are nice, but the ones that were on it were so worn they weren't at the right height. Also I have no concrete, just gravel and it is not perfectly flat. I tried the trick of pulling back and it really helped on one pin, but the 2nd one was really tight. Even with vise grip pliers I had a really hard time getting it out. I think the deck was not at exactly the right height and no matter which way I moved it, it wasn't quite enough. After about 5 min of messing with it, I was able to get it out. Getting the deck out from under the mower was the next challenge. I undid the front hanger from the tractor, since I couldn't get it unhooked from the deck, but I think that makes it easier. I already knew the trick of turning the wheels to make it easier to slide the deck out.

That drive over deck on the X700 series is sounding better already. But, I am not convinced it would work well on my not so flat driveway or grass.
 

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Sounds like someone is getting a little cranky from being quarantined or self-distanced or whatever it is we are calling it now! LOL! All tractors and implements take work to swap things over from one to the other. Some are easier than others. Some require a bit more knowledge of the simple things during the process that make them easier. If you don't like the swapping part aspect of it, buy separate implements. Get a dedicated lawnmower and a separate snow blower. Problem solved.

A little trick I found on those spring loaded J-pins for the mower decks, I found that if you pull back (toward the back of the tractor) on the rear deck guide wheel while you are pulling the pin, it makes it much easier to maneuver. Just my $0.02
the john deere engineer had three arms! one to hold the lift bar at the right height, one to pull back on the deck and one to manipulate the pin. perfect design!
 

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Might be time when switching over to pay someone, Have John Deere Dealer Pick it up and have them do it. Easy Peasy on the Back..........it makes the wallet lighter also...... :)
 

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This is off the cuff: Wonder if there would be some way to make an attachment that when the deck was raised into position, the deck's pin would push a hinged, springed, hook aside, and as the pin came into position, the hook would just snap back and capture the pin. Sort of like how a car door latch captures the door's pin, except it would be vertical. Ah, but there might be issues with the pin being in the correct left right position...hmmmm....needs more thought. Pardon me, I have to go to the garage to scope out my deck..... This idea could be dangerous....😈
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Might be time when switching over to pay someone, Have John Deere Dealer Pick it up and have them do it. Easy Peasy on the Back..........it makes the wallet lighter also...... :)
I might consider that in another 42 years when I turn 80!
 

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I did my 1st switch over from winter to spring mode and I didn't find it bad at all from a time or difficulty perspective. The softcab was pretty simple to remove and the blower belt wasn't too tough once I figured out which pully to push to give me enough slack to walk off the PTO pully. I'd estimate it took 5-10 minutes to get the belt off Once the belt was off, everything else was simple going step by by step.

I haven't put the deck back on yet because I am leaving it off to reduce the weight on the soft ground while I do bunch of cleanup, so we'll see how that goes. Getting off did cause me to drop a couple of choice words trying to pull the rear J pins. Hoping the tip to pull the deck help next time.
 

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Time for an X7. So much easier. Switched mine from Snow to Mow last weekend. Spent 3 hours total doing the switch, and that included taking off the wheel weights, suitcases, quickhitch, driveshaft, etc. and putting the deck on, sharpening the blades, putting on the triple bagger on and leveling the mowing deck. Checked the oil, coolant, and airfilter, tossed on a coat of wax too. Ready to mow! Hope it don't snow big again, always risky this time of year.
 

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Time for an X7. So much easier. Switched mine from Snow to Mow last weekend. Spent 3 hours total doing the switch, and that included taking off the wheel weights, suitcases, quickhitch, driveshaft, etc. and putting the deck on, sharpening the blades, putting on the triple bagger on and leveling the mowing deck. Checked the oil, coolant, and airfilter, tossed on a coat of wax too. Ready to mow! Hope it don't snow big again, always risky this time of year.
3 hours? not exactly a sales pitch for upgrading ;)
 
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