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So I finally decided to look for a dipstick since there was non under the filler cap where I expected it and found a sight tube listed in the parts book. However the picture wasn't good. The hose that goes from the filler cap is solid black hose, where can I view this sight tube, and I'd like to know what idiot decided that was a good idea???:hi:
 

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It should be on the right side, rear end of tractor, rear wheel, mount to the inside frame. It should have clear tubing going to the ports for the fluid to gravity to report level in the tube itself.
 

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Eric,

None of the degree holding engineers working at Deere in the 1980 time frame when the 420 was designed were anything close to idiots. Further, the transmission filler cap and tube are on the firewall under the hood -- but the transmission itself is over 3 feet away at the rear of the machine. For this reason, the short glass section viewable from the rear of the tractor is very good indicator of fluid level, and works well at idle running speed as described in the manual. If you don't have a manual for your tractor you should get one as it has lots of helpful and important information. The exploded parts diagrams from the Parts Catalog document for the 420, the PC 1925, also is a good guide. Below is an excerpt from the PC 1925 showing the components involved in the filler and sight tube function -- please note the tube lengths and understand that no dipstick could snake back there from the filler cap location.

420 transmission filler and sight tube parts.jpg

Chuck
 

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Eric,

Sorry that my comments came off as so severe -- was not my intent. I always recommend getting all available manuals and publications on a tractor you intend to keep long term as the factory publications are invaluable.

I do admit to being sensitive to criticism of vintage industrial designs as they come from a period where well meaning professionals were dedicated to doing their best work relative unconstrained by short term financial motives of the sort we have seen in some contemporary endeavors. I myself received my engineering education in the 1960's at USC and other institutions...and am somewhat dismayed to see the present university climate so compromised by needlessly high costs and fraud in admissions. I may retire this year or next in my mid-seventies, but will miss the deep involvement in the ever expanding technologies which keep working in the industry a fresh experience on a nearly daily basis. Just because my career and many patents are centered in electronics does not mean that I am not appreciative of other disciplines like mechanical and hydraulic design -- which in part explains my "hobby" involvement with these vintage tractors.

Thanks for calling me out on my over-reaction in my last post, as I so wish to keep my contributions here positive and useful to all members.

Chuck
 

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I will add this to the conversation. I agree with Chuck concerning the engineering of JD tractors of the 80's. I had a GT 430, which you probably already know is the diesel version of the 420. My 430 also had the filler up front on the left side and the sight glass on the right rear.

As far as engineering, the GT 420/430 are arguably the best lawn and garden tractors ever produced by John Deere.
 

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Eric, if you want to stay original, the short piece #14 is a piece of glass tubing that locates in the bracket #16 , to show the fluid level at about midpoint of the bracket. After having that glass tube get broken twice when the tractor wasn't even being used, I just replaced it with a full length of clear tubing. I did put a small wire tie around the tubing, above and below the bracket, hoping to prevent chafing of the tubing over time.
Another tip I used from a poster on another forum was to paint the inside of the bracket white. The fluid level shows up better with the white background. You will need to remove the fender pan to see the upper connection of the sight tubing at the tranny.

I found this tractor much easier to add the fluid than my 317 closed frame tractor. It also has a sight tube but the filler is behind the hitch plate and with a small hose attached to a small funnel stuffed in the filler pipe, it takes a while to completely refill it. One nice improvement the bean counters didn't mess with on the open frame redesign.

tommyhawk
 

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When to check level?

Not to hijack this thread, but this is the first time that i've heard that the fluid level should be checked with the engine running at idle. I have the owner's manual and repair manual and don't recall reading that.

Steve.
 

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VT, I think it depends om what model tractor you have as to when/how to check hydro oil level. My 314 & 317 can be checked engine off or running...it may vary 1/4", but that's it...but my 322 has to sit, engine off, for 5 or 10 minutes before I get a true oil level. I don't have a 420/430 and therefore don't have a manual for either and can't comment on the "correct" procedure. As Chuck says, get the manuals, read them, and follow them! Bob
 

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Bob,

Yes, it is model dependent... The open frame tractors do need to sit with the engine off for an accurate read -- don't know if it is because of the power steering or some other item(s) specific to that model series.


Chuck
 

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I had a 1987 model 420 a few years ago and I put a piece of clear tubing from the bottom fitting up through the bracket, and straight up, where I installed an inline tee fitting. I put an easily removable rubber cap over the third leg of the tee that could be removed when adding hyd oil, as it allowed the transmission to vent.
 
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