To preface this post, I've had my 1026r for a little over 5 years and have had very few issues. I've never really put it in 4WD as most of my work involved situations where I did not want to tear up turf with the front wheels. Tractor has about 200 hours on in it.
Earlier this week, I went to bring the tractor out of the shed and haul a small trailer up to the house. Yes, we have snow here in the winter and I wanted to put the tractor in 4wd to insure that it would make it up the rather steep hill with the trailer in about 6 inches of snow. When I went looking for the lever, the tip was barely visible and, when I grabbed it, the lever fell off. Once I found it, I discovered that the weld to the small bracket wasn't really there. It was a bad weld. It's obvious too, there's rust on about 75% of the surface so it was barely hanging on even when I bought the tractor.
I couldn't even figure out what it was supposed to look like so I used Google to find the right part numbers. I found one ( labeled "european" ) and it seemed fairly cheap and it showed the small bracket ( and pin ) that this was supposed to be attached to. Great. Now I just take that to the service department and they can order. Wrong.
The dealer service department couldn't do anything for me as far as ordering a new part free of charge because the tractor was too old. Even it was an obvious defective part. That an the "european" level is different ( not sure how ) from the one for the US ( which I could never find ) and the US one, rather than being realistic in price, is over a HUNDRED DOLLARS. For a piece of thick steel rod with a bracket welded on the bottom.
So does anyone know what the difference is between a "european" 4wd lever and the US one? Does it route differently on a european 1026r? Or is this John Deere's US markup?