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Hey everyone,

First time poster here and I would like to share with everyone a problem that I am having. Hopefully you guys will be able to draw your extensive mechanical and garden tractor experience and give some advise on the best way to remedy the situation.

I bought a 99 LX188 from an older couple who unfortunately cannot use it anymore, I paid the asking price 900$. They claimed they bought the tractor new, and have been regularly performing maintenance since. I took it home and mowed my 1.3 acre lawn and did not notice anything that jumped out as unusual in operating the lawnmower. I have the owner’s manual and I have been working on performing all the maintenance and one of the service items was to check the transmission fluid in the overflow tank. I got down to check and my heart sank. The overflow tank is not connected to the hose which feeds the hydrostat (if that is what it does).

There is dirt and fouling around the hose and inside the hose. I am worried that some of this may enter the hydrostat and I will be left with an expensive hydrostat fix or an unusable lawn mower. What are your guys thoughts as the best course of action in this situation? Should I clean the coupling area as good as possible, hook up the reservoir tank and hope for the best? Should I drain the hydrostat and replace the filter? I am moderately mechanically inclined but no master mechanic here. Also, broke from just buying the mower.

Thanks for reading
 

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I don’t know anything about your tractor specially, but I would probably remove the hose completely and see if it is clean on the inside on the transmission end. If it is clean on that end, I would clean the hose and reservoir and put it back together.

If hose looks like dirt has been passing all the way through it, then I would also change fluid and filter. Possibly twice if fluid and filter indicate a lot of dirt has gotten in there.
 

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The tranny used in the LX188 (seems to be 2 models of trans. used) does not have an external filter as many of the older hydro tractors. There is one internally that would require transmission disassembly as I see it. I only have an operator's manual for tractor s/n 110221-. It calls for SAE 10w-30 engine oil, API classifications SE, CC, or CD.
You can get the connecting hose and a new foam filter from your Deere dealer but they may not have it in their stock. About $5.00 plus oil.
I would recommend removing the seat, deck position knob, and then the fender pan. IIRC there are two bolts thru the seat springs and two nuts (maybe 4) to remove under the front foot rest. The seat switch and tail light wiring is easy to deal with. With the seat removed, the fender pan is not too heavy for one person to handle. You might have to clip some wire ties on the fuel hose to lift the fuel tank up out of the way.
This gives you good access to the reservoir and the top of the tranny for a good cleaning with the shop vac, etc. Once you can take a good look inside the broken hose you may have a better idea how much if any dirt has entered the system. If it looks promising, replace the hose, clamps, and reservoir and add oil. Try not to worry about it. ( Yeah right!!!)
If you decide to change the oil, there is a good drain plug on the bottom. The only pitfall is the trapped air inside the case when you refill it. I saw a post here recently that recommended placing the rear end on jack stands, start the engine, and cycle the forward & reverse pedals until the unit responds without hesitation and smoothly. Sounds like a good approach that I haven't had an opportunity to try out.
Good luck with your new LX188. It is a great mower.

tommyhawk
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The tranny used in the LX188 (seems to be 2 models of trans. used) does not have an external filter as many of the older hydro tractors. There is one internally that would require transmission disassembly as I see it. I only have an operator's manual for tractor s/n 110221-. It calls for SAE 10w-30 engine oil, API classifications SE, CC, or CD.
You can get the connecting hose and a new foam filter from your Deere dealer but they may not have it in their stock. About $5.00 plus oil.
I would recommend removing the seat, deck position knob, and then the fender pan. IIRC there are two bolts thru the seat springs and two nuts (maybe 4) to remove under the front foot rest. The seat switch and tail light wiring is easy to deal with. With the seat removed, the fender pan is not too heavy for one person to handle. You might have to clip some wire ties on the fuel hose to lift the fuel tank up out of the way.
This gives you good access to the reservoir and the top of the tranny for a good cleaning with the shop vac, etc. Once you can take a good look inside the broken hose you may have a better idea how much if any dirt has entered the system. If it looks promising, replace the hose, clamps, and reservoir and add oil. Try not to worry about it. ( Yeah right!!!)
If you decide to change the oil, there is a good drain plug on the bottom. The only pitfall is the trapped air inside the case when you refill it. I saw a post here recently that recommended placing the rear end on jack stands, start the engine, and cycle the forward & reverse pedals until the unit responds without hesitation and smoothly. Sounds like a good approach that I haven't had an opportunity to try out.
Good luck with your new LX188. It is a great mower.

tommyhawk
Thanks both of you guys for the response. I was surprised at how easy taking the body panel off was! Anyway I snapped a pic of the oil and the hose, they look alright so I think I am just gonna replace the hose and put some oil in it and get back to mowing!
 

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Sounds like you have a plan! Once you have the reservoir back on to seal things up, don't be afraid to give the tranny case a good cleaning with the shop vac and/or air hose. Lets the hydro stay cooler without the dirt.
Initially fill the reservoir to the top mark, run it around, back and forth for a bit, shut it off and recheck the oil level. Add some if necessary. Oh yeah, park on a nice level area for checking the oil. Loosen seat and slide it all the way forward to add oil.

tommyhawk
 
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