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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I'm confused. More so than normal :laugh:. When we moved to out current house 3 years ago, I lost the operator manual for my 318. I had always used Low Viscosity Hy-Gard in it since I got it in 1990. So I got the manuals on CD which was also a win because I never had the service manual for the 318.

The Operator Manual was printed in 1989. It shows/recommends the use of "John Deere All-Weather Hydrostatic Fluid" or type "F" Automatic Transmission Fluid. It shows that using this fluid has a range of -22 to 122 F.

The Tech Manual was printed in 1995. It recommends using Low-Vis for temperature ranges of -40 to +86, and use Hy-Gard for -10 to +122.

Now I remember when I got the 318 tractor, the hydro fluid was red. And for a while, when I bought the Low Vis it was red, then it went clear. I've been using low vis for the life of the tractor. It had two very hard summers at the current house, where it was used for 3-4 hours every 2 weeks in temperatures of 90 to 95 degrees. I've noticed it's slightly weaker when going up steep hills. But this place has steeper hills than I had before, and the 318 is 21 years old.

I got my 4520 to mow with, so the 318 is now in semi-retirement just mowing around the house and doing the occasional winter snow removal. Now the operator manual for the 4520 says that the low vis Hy-Gard (which is what ships from the factory) is good for -40 to +104. Regular Hy-Gard is good from 0 to +122. I realize that different machines will have different ranges for the various flavors of hydro fluids.

So the decisions I need to make based on this conflicting information are:

1) Do I change out my 318 with Hy-Gard now? Can I drain a gallon of low vis and put in a gallon of Hy-Gard to bring up the upper end? I've never seen a good answer regarding mixing low and normal Hy-Gard. I know you should not mix different brands or types of fluids.

2) Do I change out my 4520 from low vis to Hy-Gard now? I had planed to do it in the fall when the tractor was 2 years into it's warranty and will probably be at about 170 hours. I use the 4520 when it's 90 to 98 degrees out, so I'm near the high end of the low-vis spec. I've kinda been thinking of the low vis as being similar to a break-in oil- there might be a bit more wear, but right now that's OK. My dealer says wait until close to end of warrenty (mostly so if I find something I'm covered). They sell 97% Hy-Gard, 3% Low-Vis since it never gets below zero here, and in fact you'd never use any tractor if it was below +20 (which the locals consider just too cold to do anything...).

3) FWIW, I change out the fluid in my B21 to Hy-Gard. It's heaver than what was in there, which was between normal and low-vis but was an off-brand (I've never gone back to that shop). It came from the factory, and was refilled by the Kubota dealer with UDT which is withing 1% the same specs as Hy-Gard. Once it warms up it's great and now that we're in warm weather you can't tell much difference. After all the next hydro changes on all my tractors, everything will be Hy Gard (one fluid- Yeah!) I'm just wrestling with the urgency of doing the changes. The 318 gets changed every year, the 4520 and B21 will be about every 5 years once I'm over this little issue.

Here's hoping a thread on oils doesn't turn into a food fight....:mocking: I hope I'm not going down some slippery slope!

Pete
 

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I would only change over once your are scheduled to. Low Vis will be fine for your use now, even if you are at the upper range for it.
 

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I would only change over once your are scheduled to. Low Vis will be fine for your use now, even if you are at the upper range for it.
I'm with Brian on this...no reason to change till it's due. I agree that the regular Hy-Gard would be better suited for your area than the low-vis.
 

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Ditto Kenny's post.

I went from low-vis to regular Hy-Gard as most of my operation is in warm to hot temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just for grins, I pumped out a gallon of fluid and put in a gallon of "regular" Hy-Gard. I mowed a little bit yesterday, including an area that has a very steep slope. The 318 did better going up the slope that before when it was all low-vis Hy-Gard.

So I probably have a bit more wear on things from 3 years of low-vis and high slopes, but if the performance stays as good as it is now that will be fine. I can do the same trick the other way if we were to get some killer storm in the winter- change out a gallon to low-vis. But that would be a once every 5 year event or so.

The 4520 will get changed to all "regular" Hy-Gard this fall. It has only one area it mows where I have to go up and down a slope. In the low/A gear it seems to be fine. Also, the tech manual shows the low-vis good to 104 degrees on the 4520, whereas the 318 tech manual has a max temp of 86 degrees for low-vis.

So there is certainly a lesson here that a given type of oil may have different ambient temperature ranges depending on the equipment it's in. Consult your manual! :thumbup1gif:

Pete :morning2:
 

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eepete,
You have already discovered what I was going to tell you. The 318 will experience better hill performance with the hy-gard. I wouldn't worry about wear issue. The tiniest bit of wear on the rotating unit in your hydro will cause a dramatic loss of power. The low-visc just has a little more leak by. I'm not so sure about mixing oils. It is generally not recommended. On the other hand, Hy-gard and Hy-gard low-visc have very similar additive packages, so they should be, mostly, compatible.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, Kevin!

I think I removed about 1.4 gallons, so now I have 1.4 gallons of Hy-
Gard and about .4 gallons of low-vis. I was thinking the same as far as mixing, they've got to have similar additives and the amount of mixing is on the same level as when you get a attachment with a hydraulic cylinder filled with who knows what that mixes with your tractors hydro oil.

It will get changed over to all Hy-Gard this fall. When we get our once every 5 years snow, if it's very cold I'll change it out to low-vis until the spring, a small cost to be able to remove snow.

Thanks for the response !!

Pete
 

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eePete,

This the John Deere Oil Sales Guide

https://jdparts.deere.com/partsmkt/document/english/featbene/DKD1801OilGuide.pdf

which will answer most questions about HyGard.


The original 318 hydraulic fluid was type F ATF which was red. John Deere changed it to Low Vis Hygard and regular HyGard depending on the ambient temperature. Mixing the two HyGards is approved by JD per the Sales Guide.

My 345 owner manual only specifies the Low Viscosity HyGard. Always check your owner manual for the correct fluid.

I use regular HyGard in my 318, 322, 332 and 455's because I live near Atlanta (Hotlanta) and most winters (except last year) is generally mild.

An older worn hydro will operate better on Regular HyGard. I ran Low Vis in my 322 with a loader and when it got hot the loader would not lift as much. I totally agree that you can notice the difference between the two in an older tractor.

As a general rule I always run the higher viscosity oils in my tractors. Since I have ran my Mini-Loader on most of my tractors, I change the fluid at 150 hours instead of the recommended 200 hours. I just changed the filter and fluid on my 345 with only 150 hours and the filter was pretty bad. The power steering was acting funny and that fixed it.

Changing fluids regularly will extend the life of your tractor. Using the John Deere recommended oils is the best insurance for minimizing problems.

Just my Opinion,

GotDeeres :peace:

PS I buy my HyGard in 5 gallon buckets. :thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tnx, gotdeeres. I think the change over in the early 90's is where colors of fluid changed and I got into the low vis. I could swear that the first few years I bought that it was red...:unknown: The mix is working great and the 318 is doing a fine job.

When you buy the 5 gal buckets of HyGard, it's just about the same price as everything else so that's what I run with. Same deal with greases, the Deere greases are so close in price to the generics that it's not worth it. Besides, you get to see your Deere dealer and they get to see you. It's nice to put the relationship back into business and step back from the Sprall Mart "I buy what's cheapest" race to the bottom.

It's still confusing for the consumer to see the ranges for Low Vis and Regular HyGard in the oils document, but then see another range in your tractor manual (4520 in this case). I put the red dye in the HyGard on the 318 so I can see it better in the sight tube. That's a win. It just takes two or three drops and that's enough for gallons of HyGard.

Pete
 

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Pete,

I replaced the sight tube on my 300 tractors with clear PE tubing. That way it is easy to see if it is real low or too high. The Low Vis is just about clear, but the Regular HG has some color to it.

I always ask the parts guy what the price is for oil or paint and then ask how much if I buy two. He usually gives me a discount. They like to get rid of some old stock ocassionally. Never hurts to ask.

GotDeeres
 

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What kind of dye are you using Pete?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that part of why my tractor life is good is:

When Kenny speaks, I listen.

He is how I found out about the dye. Try a drop per gallon or two at first- it doesn't take much. For 10 gallons worth of fluid, I'd try 3 drops for starters.

Hey Kenny, you need to expand your "dye" post to "The Kenny approved shop stuff you need to get through the day". There is the dye, the sealer for hydraulic hoses, the NAPA primer and black paint, and probably some stuff about welding which I wouldn't know anything about. And then you can collect all the articles about "shop stuff" like the pressure gauge, the Randy's Swiss Army Table, and the like and have a "table of contents" thread pointing to them.

Wow, making work up for the people that run this site is almost as much fun as spending other peoples' money!

Pete
 

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Thanks Kenny & Pete.

As cheap as the dye is, it's too bad JD just doesn't put it in the oil in the first place. I'll bet a drop in the front axle will make seeing the oil on the dipstick easier.
 

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I'll bet a drop in the front axle will make seeing the oil on the dipstick easier.
You know Matt, that is a great idea! :good2: That is the one that is the hardest for me to see. Let us know when you've tried it. I think the black plastic dipstick doesn't help this situation.
 

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Randy, I have a hard time seeing it on the yellow dipstick, even with the knurling molded into the thing. Now I just need to make the 50-mile roundtrip to the dealer to get some.
 
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