K66 + 42-inch deck - anybody make one?

grasscatcherJune 3, 2014

Hi all, I've currently got a lawn tractor (Craftsman DYS4500) that has 106 hours on it and the K46BT tranny appears to be giving up the ghost (slipping on hills). At least I think it's the tranny. I just replaced the drive belt to see if the problem was with the old belt, and everything else looks OK underneath, but it is still slipping. Tranny slips while ascending moderate hills. If I feather the "go" pedal, I can make it up some of the hills slowly. If I try to go at a normal speed, the transmission shudders a little underneath me and the tractor loses forward momentum. Also happens when the tractor is cold, just not quite as bad. I will do the tranny fluid change next to see if I can get another year out of it.

In the meantime, I guess it is time I keep my eye out for a good deal on a garden tractor. I don't have much to mow, just a half-acre, but it is almost all hills, with plenty of obstacles, trees, etc. Thinking I would like a K66 tractor so I don't have to worry about the tranny going out at 100 hours; however, I am looking for a 42" deck, because 1) my shed door is only 48" wide, 2) garden gates are only 48" wide, and 3) some of the obstacles I am mowing around necessitate a smaller deck (e.g. - 46" gap between several trees and fence). I thought about a walk-behind or commercial stand-on or sulky unit, but I would also like to pull a sweeper, and maybe an occasional cart.

So, question is, does any manufacturer offer a K66 GT with a 42" deck? First glance at several retailers does not indicate such an animal exists. Can a 42" deck be retrofitted to the GTs? Will a dealer offer that option in place of a 48" deck? Don't see a reason to pay $600 - $800 for a 48" deck that I won't be able to use. Also, I would like to keep it under $4k, so that eliminates the green tractor unless I go used...

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In theory you could order a JD X500 (K72) with the 42" deck off an X300 but that's out of your price range.

Might find a clean used X500 and the dealer might juggle things around for you.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 6:54PM
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might look for something with a geared tranny..?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Sounds like I might have to go used. I better get to know my local JD dealer and see what they get in stock for used tractors.

As for a geared tractor, the only thing available new is cheap (bargain basement lawn tractors) or expensive (Kubota), seems like every tractor in between has hydro units. My problem with the geared units in cheap tractors is that everything else on the tractor is probably cheap, since they are typically sub-$1000 tractors, and not sure of what kind of quality I'm getting there, and nobody seems to have a track history on the geared machines (good or bad). Again, probably have to go used here...

I see Craftsman offer a GT for under $2600 (Model# C48GTCA), but again, stuck with a 48" deck. :(

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Get a X300 ($2,800), drive it until the K46 dies - mine has 175 hours and no sign of trans problem. Then spend about $1600 for a K66 upgrade (search net fot K66 upgrade). Or get a new X300 and immediatly get the K66 upgrade and sell the new K46 for $800. I had hills, plug aerated, plowed 300 ft driveway. Just moved to TN so have a small lot and no hills now:)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:43AM
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John Deere GT225 has a K71 and 42 inch deck.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:04AM
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There are an amazing number of entry level lawn tractor mowers running just fine using the K46 trans. The people who post regarding problems are a small percentage of users and when pushed for details, more often then not, have been asking more of their K46 equipped mowers than they were designed to do.

You can pull your K46 and make whatever repairs are necessary (Tuff Torq tech support is very helpful and the place for parts) and you can add drain plugs for frequent oil changes. That will cost a lot less than a new rider.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:23PM
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JAL - just curious:
"and you can add drain plugs for frequent oil changes. "
are you talking a drill/tap of the case operation? If so, is that not risky for metal particles in hydro sys?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 5:54AM
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Yes you need to be carefull drilling and taping for the drain plugs, taking the K46 apart first. See this for drain plug locations https://www.tufftorqservices.com/EnvEEdefault/FlatHTML/TechInfo/ttcoil/pdfs/K46 Drain Port Location.pdf
Or see this for all kinds of info on rebuilding the K46 http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/parts-repairs/164892-tufftorq-k46-repair-guide-pictures.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Drain ports

This post was edited by leafeanator on Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 7:31

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 7:29AM
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think I got it - split the case, drill/tap the hole(s), thoroughly clean the parts, reasm.
OK, I guess, if you've got a bit of shadetree mech. skill, tools, shop,etc. ... but surely think all the major OEM mfgrs may have left a bad taste in their buying public's mouth by saving a few bucks in building 'em sealed to begin with..JMHO. Big enuff job just changing out hydro fliud with tranny in place w/drain & fill plugs for the average Joe...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:46AM
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***"all the major OEM mfgrs may have left a bad taste in their buying public's mouth............."***
Yep, but the OEMs are counting on each and every case of failure of the transmissions remaining "an isolated case caused by extenuating circumstances" when the typical owner of one of the so called "sealed for life" units is told by the repair shop that they need to buy a new transmission. The OEMs seem to be hoping that there will never be a rebellion by the consumer masses to have all the light duty transmissions equipped to drain and fill them like the higher end units.
And, the OEMs are precisely correct in their hopes/beliefs of that remaining status quo.
The OEMs can shave a few dollars off of every transmission they build by omitting the steps for drilling and tapping to include a drain plug, plus their cost for the plug itself.
A few $ multiplied by thousands of units built adds up to a substantial savings for the OEMs.
And because of this planned obsolescence, the OEMs of both the tractor, and the transmission.....stand a good chance of selling either a new tractor, or a new transmission to most of the consumer public.
Of all the millions of units sold sold to consumers world wide, how many do you suppose have ever gone to a forum like this and learned ANYTHING at all about the scenario?
I would say the answer is "So few the OEMs don't have a thing to worry about in keeping right on building them just as they are doing currently."
Those are my thoughts on it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:48PM
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There are at least two absolute certainties in manufacturing...

1. A manufacturer will do everything they can to maintain or increase profit per unit.

2. A manufacturer will do whatever is necessary to maintain or increase market share.

If the number of transmission failures in entry level riding mowers (or ANY failure for that matter) were statistically significant then manufacturers will react to that.

As limited as my experience is in the UNIVERSE of L&G equipment I repeat... "The people who post regarding problems are a small percentage of users and when pushed for details, more often then not, have been asking more of their K46 equipped mowers than they were designed to do". That statement seems to be sustained by the lack of response from manufacturers to address what our insignificant minority considers to be a major problem.

If transmission failure is a consideration when one is shopping for a new LT the simple solution is to be found listed as #1 in Slammer's Rules... Carefully evaluate the size mower you need and buy at least one size larger.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Good points, all. Sorta interesting how it seems that such an issue allus seems to come around to "we have seen the enemy and they is us.." - kinda like politics. :(

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Used to be that businesses genuinely appreciated their customers and we responded by supporting those businesses.

As time went by and the economies of the world changed businesses lost sight of the fact that their customers are their bottom line and cared less about them, but they'd at least give us the illusion that they did care.

Now days, businesses don't even give us the illusion that they care about their customers.

Consumer apathy is at an all time high. We accept what we're offered and say thank you instead of voting with our wallets. We waste time whining on interment forums and blogs amongst ourselves instead of letting big business know that we are not happy with their products or service yet continue to buy what they give us.

The enemy is US...

But when you buy a riding lawn mower with an entry level transmission and expect it to do the job of a garden tractor when it fails shut up. You got exactly what you paid for... the wrong tool for the job and that is not the manufacturer's fault.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:37PM
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