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I just brought home a 1981 John Deere 400 today. The previous owner worked at Kohler and restored the entire tractor about 5 years ago. A couple years ago he said he put a brand new Kohler K532 Engine. Not a rebuilt one, but a brand new engine. It has 4 hours on it. He said a new K532 is extremely hard to get. Anyway, I have a couple questions. The tractor also came with a tiller. I gave it a good cleaning and it’s looking good.

1. I ordered a new belt for the deck. It was $80 off amazon and a JD OEM part. Are there other places or brands that have the same quality, but cheaper?

2. I would like to replace the spindle bearings on the 60” deck and was wondering what part number, size and brand I should get?

3. Where is the best site to get a complete manual for the tractor?

3. I also ordered Hydrostatic fluid, filter, oil and oil filter and plan of changing all the fluids this week. Should I drain and refill the hydraulic fluid or just leave it?

4. I noticed that when the tiller was on the drive shaft of the PTO slipped off where it connects to the engine. How do I prevent that from happening?

Any other tips or things I should do? I appreciate your time and help. I’m really looking for to working with this tractor.




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The deck belt should last you many years if it's a JD belt. Aftermarket belts don't have the same pitch and won't last.

As for deck bearings, I've only used JD. I know many have used others without much trouble.

Change the hydro fluid and filter. I normally change all the fluids when I buy one I'm keeping. Then I know what's in there for sure and how long it's been since it's been changed. It's also a good time to notice other things that might need attention.

Full price manuals are here John Deere Technical Information Store
you might find one cheaper on ebay. Kohler has the engine manual for free on their web site.

The PTO lock collar probably needs a light oiling to get it working right for the tiller.
 

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As far as the deck belt goes you get what you pay for with the Deere belt. Think of it as a long term investment.
 

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The deck belt should last you many years if it's a JD belt. Aftermarket belts don't have the same pitch and won't last.

As for deck bearings, I've only used JD. I know many have used others without much trouble.

Change the hydro fluid and filter. I normally change all the fluids when I buy one I'm keeping. Then I know what's in there for sure and how long it's been since it's been changed. It's also a good time to notice other things that might need attention.

Full price manuals are here John Deere Technical Information Store
you might find one cheaper on ebay. Kohler has the engine manual for free on their web site.

The PTO lock collar probably needs a light oiling to get it working right for the tiller.
Thank you! This is very helpful.


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Sometimes on the PTO shaft the spring gets worn or is missing. Depends on the style but on someone of them you can put a hose clamp behind the collar to keep it from sliding back and releasing.

Very nice 400. The new motor. He is not kidding but it sounds like he had a connection.
 

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That collar on the PTO shaft should slip into a groove and lock on. If it came off it probably was not in the groove and locked in. Try that first before getting another one.

Ebay generally has a large supply of 400 parts for sale. I would try the local JD dealer, they still have some parts available for the 400 but not many usually just consumable type parts like a belt. As for the belt, get a JD one. You can try the dealer, but it pays to shop around. I know my local dealer when I lived in Kentucky wanted $80 or $100 for one but "Keeping it Green".com had one for around $50 with shipping IIRC.

You can also go to the Weekend Freedom Machines.com site and check their classifieds out. That forum concentrates on old JD Garden Tractors.

Changing the fluid out is cheap insurance and peace of mind but that tractor looks really maintained.

Another place to check for parts is: TractorSalesAndParts.com - Hundreds of Used Tractors Parts!
 

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That collar on the PTO shaft should slip into a groove and lock on. If it came off it probably was not in the groove and locked in. Try that first before getting another one.

Ebay generally has a large supply of 400 parts for sale. I would try the local JD dealer, they still have some parts available for the 400 but not many usually just consumable type parts like a belt. As for the belt, get a JD one. You can try the dealer, but it pays to shop around. I know my local dealer when I lived in Kentucky wanted $80 or $100 for one but "Keeping it Green".com had one for around $50 with shipping IIRC.

You can also go to the Weekend Freedom Machines.com site and check their classifieds out. That forum concentrates on old JD Garden Tractors.

Changing the fluid out is cheap insurance and peace of mind but that tractor looks really maintained.

Another place to check for parts is: TractorSalesAndParts.com - Hundreds of Used Tractors Parts!
Thanks you. I just cut the grass for the first time. Definitely need to adjust the deck. Didn’t look very good. I could also just be use to my Simplicity Broadmoor with the striping kit.


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