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Discussion Starter #1
Posted on a similar thread but thought I'd start my own and add a few pics. The tractor is a 2008 and belongs to a friend who's a landscaper. Just rolled over 600 hours when the differential came apart and lost rear drive. All ten bolts worked loose, broke off or fell out of the bull gear. When that happens the wheels are completely loose and freewheel. The tractor has only a pinion brake so you have no brakes at all. Luckily he was using front wheel assist along with the tiller and loader or it could have been much worse. He was landscaping a yard at a new house on the edge of a long steep hill.

He bought the tractor in 2016 with 180 hours on it. I serviced the transmission and found some aluminum filings so cleaned it up and changed the oil. After 8-10 hours I drained the oil again, checked the screen and found no filings. Don't know if he had any service done since then, I haven't had it in my shop. He said he had been noticing some noise when he'd road the tractor between jobs, but seemed fine when in the dirt or under load. I found all ten bolts in the bottom of the case, all of them are bent and have the threads chewed up. One bolt was broken off in the gear but I was able to screw the piece out with my fingers, no locktite at all on any of the bolts. The case has some minor damage and the differential carrier has the holes egged out. The side cover is destroyed. The bull gear has some marks on the top edge of the teeth but it will clean up with a file. Have most of the cleanup done just waiting on all the parts to come in.
 

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Wow! I think there was a thread about a year ago about the the same thing that happened to another guy, seems to a be an assembly goof at the factory.
My initial search of possible problems found his post, as soon as I saw it I just knew I had the same issue.

Says in the manual to use high strength thread locker on these bolts, but they apparently skipped that step. Not one bolt had sign of any in the threads. One bolt was still fully engaged in the gear but snapped off, I turned the piece out easily with my fingers.

Kinda surprised me how easy removing the whole assembly was. In only four hours I had it on the table with the side open, that included pulling the rear cover first to confirm what I thought was the problem.
 

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My initial search of possible problems found his post, as soon as I saw it I just knew I had the same issue.

Says in the manual to use high strength thread locker on these bolts, but they apparently skipped that step. Not one bolt had sign of any in the threads. One bolt was still fully engaged in the gear but snapped off, I turned the piece out easily with my fingers.

Kinda surprised me how easy removing the whole assembly was. In only four hours I had it on the table with the side open, that included pulling the rear cover first to confirm what I thought was the problem.
If you would, please post a picture of the bolts from the ring gear........including the broken off portion of the bolt. Now those with 2305 have another thing to worry about, in addition to the driveshaft failure worries...........

It would also be helpful if you would post a picture of the V.I.N. Tag, so we could have the serial number range of the machine. It would help establish a serial number range for the tractor which had a failure.

Splitting the case and actually pulling a bolt out of the pinion carrier is the only way to know if a 2305 is missing the thread lock. Then, pull all ten bolts and properly thread lock them, torque them back into the carrier assembly and reassemble.

Which parts are you having to replace to complete this repair? Obviously, the 10 ring gear bolts and You mentioned the side cover was damaged as well. Just curious what other parts need to be replaced.
 

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If you would, please post a picture of the bolts from the ring gear........including the broken off portion of the bolt. Now those with 2305 have another thing to worry about, in addition to the driveshaft failure worries...........

It would also be helpful if you would post a picture of the V.I.N. Tag, so we could have the serial number range of the machine. It would help establish a serial number range for the tractor which had a failure.

Splitting the case and actually pulling a bolt out of the pinion carrier is the only way to know if a 2305 is missing the thread lock. Then, pull all ten bolts and properly thread lock them, torque them back into the carrier assembly and reassemble.

Which parts are you having to replace to complete this repair? Obviously, the 10 ring gear bolts and You mentioned the side cover was damaged as well. Just curious what other parts need to be replaced.

Probably the easiest thing that can be done is service and check the screen regularly, if you find ANY signs of filings I'd definitely investigate. The bolts were obviously hitting the side cover 400 hours before completely failing. When I changed the oil at 165 hrs there was only a few filings and a small piece of a rib from the side cover. If it had been investigated then it probably would have been a matter of cleaning it up and getting the bolts torqued and loctited.

Going to take about $1500 in parts, the side cover is around $550 and the differential case is about $700. The right side bearing is hard to successfully remove without damage so just going to replace both bearings, also all the gaskets and of course filter and oil.

The bull gear has some marks on the top edge of the teeth but at $750 I'm going to clean it up and re-use it. The marks were likely caused by a bolt trying to wedge between the gear and the case. Luckily that didn't happen or it would have blown out the bottom of the case. The case has a small flap broken out where the gear hit, but don't believe it really adds significant strength. Looking at the other posters pics his was broken in the same spot. You can also see the marks on the bottom of the case from the bolts digging in.

I'll get some pics of the bolts and vin when I get back to the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you would, please post a picture of the bolts from the ring gear........including the broken off portion of the bolt.
It would also be helpful if you would post a picture of the V.I.N. Tag,
Here's the bolts and vin tag
 

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Here's the bolts and vin tag
There was no lock-tite on those bolts, and the bolt heads are not drilled for safety wire. No wonder they came loose.

I just checked the 1025R Technical Manual to see if JD indicates whether the ring gear attaching bolts are supposed to have thread locker applied to the attaching bolts. They do indicate to apply thread locker.

Hopefully they did when they initially installed them. :dunno:

I personally believe cap-screws that are used in these types of applications should be safety-wire bolts, but I guess they are just too expensive and take too much time to install!!!

https://www.mcmaster.com/safety-wire-bolts
 

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My initial search of possible problems found his post, as soon as I saw it I just knew I had the same issue.
I tried unsuccessfully to find that thread, can you provide a link? It would be good to have that reference here as well for future members with this issue.
 

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This is unfortunate for sure. It seems like the post about this issue earlier this year or late last year, was in Canada, if I recall correctly. Its clear there is now an issue which those with the 2305's should be very careful to pay attention to. It would be handy to see if we could get the VIN number on the other tractor which experienced this failure to see if there is some similarities.

Are the rear end assemblies in the 2305 and the 2320 the same model units? I couldn't really find the specific units listed by model number for these machines. The tractors are so similar in size and both were made largely at the same time........2006-2011 for the 2305 and 2006-2012 for the 2320.

Actually, the gears and axles, bearings and case in the SCUTS and even like in my 455 with the K91 Tuff Torq are very stout and if assembled correctly and serviced, very few catastrophic or even hard part failures. I was pleasantly surprised when I went into the rear end assembly on my 455 with 2,600 hours on it. Other than needing gaskets and some seals and the PTO clutch and PTO clutch brake shoe, everything else in the case was like new. When was the last time someone posted on GTT that they had to put any gears, axles, bearings,(hard parts) in any of these rear end assemblies? It's not very common, for sure.

Now, that I think about it, I wonder if it would be possible to get an inspection camera probe down through the case filler neck area where you could visually see the ring gear bolts...??... Inserting a remote inspection camera probe into the case would be a very good idea to look for any signs of abnormalities or wear. It sure would be great if you could, verses having to disassemble to verify.

It would be a good idea for those with these machines to invest in a proper filter opening tool to check the filters for metal wear material, in addition to the shavings. It would also probably be a good idea to service the hydro's every 200 hours or less, just to keep an eye on the fluid and possible debris as the OP on this thread suggested. The moment anything out of the ordinary occurs, a noise, vibration, etc. it must be checked carefully.

This is the filter opening tool I have always used and really like it. There are cheaper alternatives out there, but we opened every filter every time, so I wanted the best quality tool which was easy to use........

Amazon.com: Longacre 77750 Oil Filter Cutter Tool Model: 77750 Car/Vehicle Accessories/Parts: Automotive
 

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This same situation happened to me with my 1986 GT430 about 6 years ago. The difference in my case was that John Deere had worked on my tractor and they didn't use Locktite either. :banghead: All the bolts had worked themselves loose and eventually sheared off. Before all the bolts sheared and the tractor became completely immobile, the broken bolts kept wedging themselves between the gears and the casing, which cracked the casing. The gears themselves were not damaged as they are very tough. Not many parts were still available, but luckily, I found a used transaxle from a 300 series and transplanted my 2 speed gears in it, making sure Locktite was used. A lot of work for such a simple mistake. "Just Locktite It." :gizmo::nunu:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Now, that I think about it, I wonder if it would be possible to get an inspection camera probe down through the case filler neck area where you could visually see the ring gear bolts...??... Inserting a remote inspection camera probe into the case would be a very good idea to look for any signs of abnormalities or wear. It sure would be great if you could, verses having to disassemble to verify.
The filler neck goes into the front case area so that's a no go, but I think you could go up through the hole for the suction strainer in the bottom of the case. There isn't much room between the differential carrier and the side cover but you might be able to get in along the bottom of the bull gear and then carefully rotate the assembly to see the bolts one at a time. I plan to test that theory when I get it reassembled and it's still on the bench. That flat area between the strainer and the bull gear is where most all the bolts ended up.

You can also pull off the back cover easily, you only have to remove the three point arms and hitch, then you can see the bull gear and the ends of the bolts as they go through the gear. I was able to reach in and move the gear with my finger so I knew it was completely loose from the carrier.
 

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My 2305 is a 2008 with 250 hours. I presently have it up on blocks to grease the drive shaft u-joints, service trans and change engine oil. I'm starting to get a little paranoid after reading this post. :unknown:

If I see any shavings at all in the suction strainer I'm going to remove the 3 point and pull rear cover. My son has a probe camera so I'm going to try the idea from the previous post about going in through the strainer opening for a look. From the tag S/N my unit was likely built before the one in this thread.

May be time to trade?
 

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My 2305 I believe is a 2008 with 466 hours.

SN#: LV2305H520263

I literally just changed the Hydro fluid and filter. I tried to pull out the screen but it was to much of a PIA I said screw it since I was changing the fluid early anyway. This really is scary and I can't afford a trade in or the money to fix it if something happens. Fortunately I don't have any problems at the moment but it sounds like the only way I can check if this is a problem is draining $100 worth of brand new fluid....
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
My 2305 I believe is a 2008 with 466 hours.

SN#: LV2305H520263

I literally just changed the Hydro fluid and filter. I tried to pull out the screen but it was to much of a PIA I said screw it since I was changing the fluid early anyway. This really is scary and I can't afford a trade in or the money to fix it if something happens. Fortunately I don't have any problems at the moment but it sounds like the only way I can check if this is a problem is draining $100 worth of brand new fluid....
Drain it into a nice clean pan and there's no reason you can't reuse it. Get the pan with the clean fluid out of there before you do any work and you won't contaminate the fluid. Getting the strainer out is kind of a pain but not impossible, taking off the left side wheel and tire makes it easier. Remove both hose clamps and work the hose elbow loose, can't remember for sure, think I removed the short hose completely and then pulled the strainer cover and screen.

Been thinking about inspecting and a better option might be to pull the axle housing on the right side. There is a small rectangular hole in the side cover that *might* let you actually get a socket on the bolt. If that's the case then you could actually take the bolts out one at a time and put loctite on them. My bolts were all gone and the side cover so chewed up I couldn't tell for sure. I didn't pull the axle housing until the whole unit was off but I think the OP on the other thread did remove his with the unit still in the tractor. The axle housing is easy enough to remove, just a few bolts and then it pulls right off. No gasket required, just uses silicone on the mating surfaces. I didn't get a pic but of mine with the side cover still on, but he had one on his post, I attached it below.

If you did find the bolts and gear loose it pretty much has to be opened up. The bolts will egg the holes out as they work back and forth which causes the metal to roll up around the holes. You'd never be able to pull the gear up completely tight against the carrier. Even as bad as mine looked, there was really only 2 holes where that happened on the back side. All of the holes were damaged on the outside, 3-4 of them were egged out pretty bad. The threads in the gear are almost perfect condition.
 

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My 2305 is a 2008 with 250 hours. I presently have it up on blocks to grease the drive shaft u-joints, service trans and change engine oil. I'm starting to get a little paranoid after reading this post. :unknown:

If I see any shavings at all in the suction strainer I'm going to remove the 3 point and pull rear cover. My son has a probe camera so I'm going to try the idea from the previous post about going in through the strainer opening for a look. From the tag S/N my unit was likely built before the one in this thread.

May be time to trade?
My 2305 I believe is a 2008 with 466 hours.

SN#: LV2305H520263

I literally just changed the Hydro fluid and filter. I tried to pull out the screen but it was to much of a PIA I said screw it since I was changing the fluid early anyway. This really is scary and I can't afford a trade in or the money to fix it if something happens. Fortunately I don't have any problems at the moment but it sounds like the only way I can check if this is a problem is draining $100 worth of brand new fluid....
Keep in mind that there are two known "victims" who have reported this problem among all of the tractors sold over the run of the 2305 which was 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, so technically 6 model years. Hopefully, the scope of the parts not being lock tited properly was one employee at the rear end assembly companies bad Friday afternoon and it only impacted a hand full of units.

Since the average one of these machines is now more than 10 years old, it would lead me to reason this isn't a widespread issue as it sure hasn't been reported as a frequent issue. Actually, these machines have very few issues inside the hydro case, etc. It's the driveshaft not being greased and now this, which seem to be two "known" areas to watch and be aware of. Fortunately, they are both regarding issues which owners can be proactive and avoid a potentially devastating repair bill.

It is interesting that both of these machines which have had a failure seem to have very low hours (comparatively). A 10 year old machine with 400 to 500 hours on it is a low hour machine in my book.

I know if I owned a 2305, I would wait to see if "iamrfixit", the GTT member who started this thread, has any luck seeing the gear and bolts with the inspection camera. That is going to be very interesting if he can. Then, you could drain the hydro when servicing it and allow the camera to carefully look around for any signs of the metal shavings in the case or any case damage or that the ring gear is not tight and running square.
If such an inspection with the camera isn't possible, I would be removing the 3 point hitch and pulling the rear cover. The rear cover uses a gasket, which is part number LVU802920, so I would make sure to have that on hand. Just make sure to really clean the area around the back case carefully with both a blower and then a power washer as you certainly don't want to introduce any dirt into the rear case when the rear cover is removed.

Personally, I FIRST would check the torque on the bolts first and see what they show (I would want to know). I bet the vast majority are going to be spot on the recommended torque number. If the bolts are all torqued correctly, the chances are they were installed correctly, using lock tite.

If it were my machine, I would pull the bolts one by one and be CERTAIN they all have lock tite and they are all torqued correctly when you reassemble it. I wouldn't pull more than one bolt at a time to apply the lock tite and then re-torquing them, just to keep the gear tight while going through this process (verses pulling all the bolts out of the gear at the same time.)

Then, of course, since you are already in there, it would make sense to check the torque on everything which you can see in the case when opened. All of the specific torque numbers are in the Technical Service Manual. I would also pull the PTO clutch when the rear cover is removed. You can measure the PTO clutch disc thickness and check the PTO clutch brake shoe and if worn, deal with that issue when inside the case. Now would be the time to check it and replace if needed.

It's a critical way to avoid a catastrophic failure that frankly could make the issue of repairing the machine an economic challenge. I bet if one had to pay the dealer to perform the repairs being described, they would have at least 10 to 12 hours of labor in the job plus the parts, assuming they removed the entire rear assembly as did "Iamrfixit" did, which is exactly what must be done when going into the case not sure what's damaged and broken.

I would guess the time to pull the rear 3 point hitch arms, remove the rear cover and perform the check on the bolts, etc, and reassemble and fluid and filter change is likely a 2 to 3 hour job for most with experience and the professional tools.

Personally, if the machine has been good for your needs and you like it, I certainly wouldn't trade it just because of this POTENTIAL issue. If you are not able to do the work I described above with pulling the cover, etc. have someone who is a skilled mechanic perform the work for you and then you have peace of mind that this issue won't be looming to potentially cause you trouble down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Keep in mind that there are two known "victims" who have reported this problem among all of the tractors sold over the run of the 2305 which was 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, so technically 6 model years. Hopefully, the scope of the parts not being lock tited properly was one employee at the rear end assembly companies bad Friday afternoon and it only impacted a hand full of units.

Since the average one of these machines is now more than 10 years old, it would lead me to reason this isn't a widespread issue as it sure hasn't been reported as a frequent issue. Actually, these machines have very few issues inside the hydro case, etc. It's the driveshaft not being greased and now this, which seem to be two "known" areas to watch and be aware of. Fortunately, they are both regarding issues which owners can be proactive and avoid a potentially devastating repair bill.

Then, of course, since you are already in there, it would make sense to check the torque on everything which you can see in the case when opened. All of the specific torque numbers are in the Technical Service Manual. I would also pull the PTO clutch when the rear cover is removed. You can measure the PTO clutch disc thickness and check the PTO clutch brake shoe and if worn, deal with that issue when inside the case. Now would be the time to check it and replace if needed.

I would guess the time to pull the rear 3 point hitch arms, remove the rear cover and perform the check on the bolts, etc, and reassemble and fluid and filter change is likely a 2 to 3 hour job for most with experience and the professional tools.

I did find a reference on another forum from 2015, then another person posted at the end of that thread saying they had the same trouble. The second guy might have been the other poster on here, the date on that post is a couple weeks before the post on this forum.

Besides the driveshaft issue and now the bolts falling out, early 2305 models also had problems with the rear PTO breaking the main case. The case was strengthened mid 2006 but you still want to make sure you have a properly working (and properly maintained) slip clutch on your rear pto mower, tiller or any equipment that's subject to jam suddenly. Even the strengthened case can fail with a sudden jamming of the PTO.

Unfortunately there's not much to check inside the rear cover. On this model the PTO clutch and PTO brake are in the front case.

Anything that requires the side cover to come off (like differential work) means the whole unit has to come out of the frame. The side cover is in behind the frame rail, so no way around pulling the whole unit, short of cutting off the frame rail. Honestly, removing the rops, hitch, fenders and floorboard to get down to the transaxle is probably harder than actually pulling it out. Any in-frame work on the front case would also require first removing both drive shafts. When you pull the whole transaxle, the shafts simply slip off at the splines as it's removed and can be slipped back on as it's installed back in the frame.
 
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