After my initial adventures installing the Front PTO Kit in the 1025R, I decided that there must be a better way. This post describes an easy and quick method Iíve used a couple of times now. I like it and it has worked well for me.
The first time you assemble the Front PTO kit, the manual (LVU27270) directs you to insert the spline of the shaft into the bearing openings of the quick hitch mounting bracket and then adjust the sensor. They end the instructions with ďDo not remove PTO drive shaft from mounting bracket.Ē I suspect this instruction is to prevent damage to the sensor. If youíve installed the bracket first on the front of the tractor and youíre trying to insert the spline from underneath while managing the full weight of the drive shaft, it might not be hard to get a bit of an angle going in and hit the sensor. You canít see the sensor from beneath the tractor, so youíre working blind. And the sensor must be very close to the shaft to work properly. So while the instruction is reasonable, itís not practical. Take two heavy things, one very long, and connect them loosely with a floppy connection. Now figure out how to transport and store that very heavy, awkward thing. I donít know anybody who keeps the two pieces together when theyíre off the tractor. So my method assumes that these two pieces are separated during storage and also considers protecting the sensor. If you are a stickler for John Deereís instructions, this method is not fully applicable.
The method is described below in detail and summarized in the attached pictures:
1. Clean all the connection points, then grease them. The grease that was put on last year is sticky like tar. Itís also full of dirt. If itís a new Front PTO kit, there is no grease, but the connection points may still be dirty. Carefully clean each of the 5 connection points and then use a brush to apply a thin layer of fresh grease to all the surfaces. This makes a big difference in how smoothly everything will go together in the later steps. I do this on my workbench. It is much easier to apply grease there than while underneath the tractor, and I end up wearing less grease.
2. Set up 2 dollies in front of the tractor. You will need about 7 feet of clearance in front of the tractor for this method. The dolly closest to the tractor is for the PTO end of the drive shaft. Itís height should be such that it fits underneath the tractorís undercarriage with the drive shaft on it. In addition, it should have some means of securing the PTO shaft end to it and preventing it from sliding off the end. The dolly farthest from the tractor holds the Quick Hitch Mounting Bracket. It is 4 3/8 inches high. It could be another ľ inch higher, but no more. If your dolly is lower, it will be easier if you add some board shims underneath the bracket to get it somewhere close to 4 Ĺ inches.
3. Put the drive shaft on the dollies. The PTO end goes on the dolly nearest the tractor, and this is helpful because this dolly will manage that end for you while you carefully insert the hex end of the shaft into the bearing assemblies, avoiding contact with the sensor. You have complete visibility of the sensor and itís not hard to control the hex end because it is well-greased and the other end of the drive shaft is moving freely on the other dolly. When I did it this way, at no point did I feel the sensor was at risk.
4. Place a hairpin clip on the locking groove of the hex end to keep it in place. This keeps the drive shaft connected to the mounting bracket during the rest of the process. The large hairpin clip was slightly modified by placing it in a vice and opening it up a bit more than normal. If you donít have a hairpin clip handy, Iíve also successfully used a cable tie. (Youíll have to cut it off later.)
5. Roll the shaft under the front of the tractor and connect the mounting bracket to the tractor. Roll the shaft and bracket under the front of the tractor until the bracketís side posts are directly beneath their installation slots on the tractor. Then tilt the back end of the bracket up so that the posts go into the slots, pushing the bracket toward the back of the tractor. When the posts are fully in their slots, lift the front end of the bracket up and install the retaining rod.
6. Connect the shaft to the PTO spline. Set the PTO selector lever to ďrear PTOĒ; this disengages the mid PTO and makes connection to it easier. The trip under the tractor will be brief. The connection will be easy because everything is freshly greased. After connecting the shaft, tug on it to make sure itís locked in place. Then go to the front of the tractor to remove the hairpin clip and connect the sensor to the tractor.
A final tip: Before firing up the front PTO, clean off any excess grease from the joints and zerks. Once turning, the PTO shaft is amazingly self-cleaning. Better to have the grease on your rag than on your driveway and the bottom of your tractor.