42/43/4400 front hitch repair question
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Thread: 42/43/4400 front hitch repair question

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    42/43/4400 front hitch repair question

    I recently located a used front hitch for a John Deere 42/43/4400 Compact Utility Tractor. It is complete, including the hydraulic cylinder, but needs some repairs - the price was right and it gives me something to do. Other than new bearings and a few hydraulic fittings, it is in functional condition.

    I noticed that the mounting holes are worn pretty badly and am seeking some advice on the best repair - see attached photo. There's a really good welding shop nearby and I might drop it off this week. What' the best way to repair it?
    1. Fill the holes with welding and rebore them on a drill press?
    2. Weld ½" plates on the inside and rebore all the holes on a drill press. Use longer bolts to mount it?
    3. Just leave it and tighten the bolts down tight when mounting it?
    4. Some other option?


    I'm afraid just tightening the bolts down really tight won't hold it firmly enough.

    Note: Some of the holes were clearly never used and are in perfect condition.

    Thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0786.jpg  

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    I'd vote for option #2.

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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    A combination of #1 and #2 for me. I don't think 1/2" plate is needed, but maybe 1/4" or 3/8" and then plug weld the elongated holes, then rebore on a milling machine or drill press.

    That thing must have had a hard life!
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    Thanks for the advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyd View Post

    That thing must have had a hard life!
    I believe the wear is caused because the bolts were left loose. The parts/slots that hold the snowblower and/or broom don't have nearly as much wear. The other detail that is interesting is I was expecting to see gouging and/or marring where the mount would hit the tractor frame but there isn't any. And the rest of the frame is in pretty good shape, other than the rust and worn bearings. Even the hydraulic hoses on the lift cylinder are in really good shape - I expected to have to replace them and all the fittings when I saw this, but they have been taken care of.

    The story I got from the seller is it was used with a snowblower to clear snow at a public school for about 15 years. I'm guessing the tractor frame has similar wear. I imagine one or two seasons with loose bolts would do it. And who has time to check the bolts when its cold outside?

    Anyways, like I said, the price was right and these things are hard to find so I'm going to fix it and put it to good use. Some welding, some bearings, some cleaning and repainting and some new bolts and it will be like new (only better).

    Thanks again.

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    Are the mounting holes worn? Any possibility they were filed oblong to gain alignment to the tractor frame? Are all holes used on each bracket to mount up to the tractor frame? If all the holes are used you may want to test fit the brackets onto the frame before doing anything else. Make sure you leave all the bolts slightly loose. Completely assemble the hitch then assess the situation. If all holes are used you may be OK leaving the oblong holes as is. Use grade 8 washers under bolt heads and nuts and pull them in tight with an impact wrench.
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    Mount

    A down and dirty trick is to use drill stop collars. then come in many sizes. Yes they have a set screw in them but take the set screw out. Mount the hitch with longer bolts. Align it correctly then tack the collars in place. Then remove the hitch and finish the welds. It is a quick and easy way to strengthen any hole.
    Superglidesport and JAllen like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superglidesport View Post
    Are the mounting holes worn? Any possibility they were filed oblong to gain alignment to the tractor frame? Are all holes used on each bracket to mount up to the tractor frame? If all the holes are used you may want to test fit the brackets onto the frame before doing anything else. Make sure you leave all the bolts slightly loose. Completely assemble the hitch then assess the situation. If all holes are used you may be OK leaving the oblong holes as is. Use grade 8 washers under bolt heads and nuts and pull them in tight with an impact wrench.
    Thanks for the suggestion. They are clearly worn - the edges are actually "bulged out" a little bit and the holes are elongated vertically. I would have thought that if it was being adjusted to fit, the holes would have been filed horizontally.

    On each side, two of the four holes that are in a line are worn and each one a little differently. The single hole closer to the top is worn on one side but not the other.

    I like the idea of seeing if it will fit. But, I have a #74 snow plow mounted right now and it takes more than a little effort to unhook it and remove the front brackets. However, I did remember that I have mower brackets that also go on the front in storage so I pulled one out and compared it to the one on my bench. It has four holes in a row that line up exactly with the four holes on my mounting bracket so I think it is going to work once I fix the holes. I know from experience, I can only use 2 of the 4 holes for the mower brackets so I'm assuming the same is true for the front hitch bracket.

    I actually think it would work with the holes that aren't worn. The mower brackets have two "sets of holes" - total of four - so that they can be used to match different positions for mowers. Or at least that's what my local dealer told me. I think there's enough room to mount the front hitch in either position, depending upon how much distance one needs between the snowblower and the grill of the tractor.

    I think tomorrow I'll drop it off at the welding shop to see what they can do with it. Having the mower brackets will certainly make it easier to re-drill the holes in the correct place.

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