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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I'd post my experience replacing the front to rear AWS tie rod on my 2012 X749 that I got about a year+ ago. Sometime last year discovered that the front end of the tie rod was popping loose from the ball that is on the pivot arm that transmits wheel position information to the rear wheels. I've kept it going by using cable ties to hold it up and try to keep it in place, but I'd already gotten a new one. When it came off / loose twice in one day last week, figured it was time as Spring is sorta here in far Northern WI; temps today are mid to upper 30's with rain, but it was nicer a few days ago (50's to 60's).

I was gambling and had just removed the snow blower. It is also necessary to have the front PTO shaft off as well as any mower deck to conduct these repairs.

I haven't sprung for the (quite expensive) service manual as yet (now $236 for all formats), and not sure if it hadn't already gone up when I bought the used X749 so I was winging it, but the process seemed to go OK.

The part runs ~$58 from Green Farm Parts (less GTT discount), JD Tie Rod Assembly AM138619.

Looking at the assembly there didn't appear to be a way to remove the part directly, as the large (24 mm?) locknut that needs to be removed from the bolt that holds the ball onto the pivot assembly doesn't have sufficient clearance from the cross braces and front hydraulic hoses to remove it in place. I ended up removing the pivot assembly itself. Also needed to remove the front linkage tie rod that goes to the left front wheel. Made a point of measuring the tie rod length before going further (it was at 23.0"). I had initially considered just trying to reuse the old rear end of the tie rod but the nut holding it in place wouldn't cooperate, so ended up removing the entire tie rod assembly.

The pivot assembly uses 4 large bolts that were on pretty tight, so I got to test out a HF air impact wrench that worked well for removing the bolts. Was able to get a wrench on the pivot assembly nuts from the inside of the frame. With the 4 bolts removed and front wheel tie rod disconnected, it was possible to lower the pivot assembly and tie rods and then remove the rear of the original (broken) tie rod. Also used the impact wrench to loosen the large nut on the rear of the tie rod.

Installed the new tie rod onto the pivot assembly, insuring its length was the same as the original one, then bolted the rear end to the rear steering linkage. Remounted the pivot assembly; Decided against using the impact wrench and went with just tightening the bolts manually (but as much as I could manage).

The final connection was to reconnect the front tie rod to the bracket that is connected to the left front wheel.
 

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Thanks for write up and pictures. How many hours did this occur at? Did there look to be any previous abuse or just normal wear and tear? I have a X729 and those rear pieces do hang down low.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for write up and pictures. How many hours did this occur at? Did there look to be any previous abuse or just normal wear and tear? I have a X729 and those rear pieces do hang down low.
I got the machine a year ago when it had about 400 hours (now at 454 hrs.). It could have been coming loose previously, or could have happened after I acquired the machine, but first noticed it when in the low 400's. I am aware that there is minimal ground clearance with these AWS machines, but this front to rear tie rod is not as exposed or as low as those tie rods that are under the rear axle. That said, I really enjoy the maneuverability of these machines and use it for mowing around in my orchard areas as well as more open areas. I had been considering getting a Z-turn mower, but I've been happy with the versatility of this machine for mowing and snow removal.

My yard is somewhat rough, and this connecting front to rear tie rod could be exposed to some heavy forces when making lots of direction changes while also encountering the rough ground. It is unfortunate that it isn't a captive (bolt held) tie rod end, but perhaps this is done as a protective measure.
 

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I have an x485 AWS, closing on 600 hours. So far no steering linkages have come off. :good2:

I am guessing sealed bearings in the pivot. I really expected it to have a grease fitting. :nunu:

On top of the rear axle spindle, each side, there is grease fitting, but on mine the fitting is pointing straight back and I can't get my grease gun on them :banghead: I plan to pull the rear wheels and turn the fittings to a more accessable position.

Mine has a grease fitting on the u-joint of the driveshaft that connects the engine to the transaxle. I have to have my deck off to grease it. Does yours have that fitting? The owner's manual doe not mention it
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have an x485 AWS, closing on 600 hours. So far no steering linkages have come off. :good2:

I am guessing sealed bearings in the pivot. I really expected it to have a grease fitting. :nunu:

On top of the rear axle spindle, each side, there is grease fitting, but on mine the fitting is pointing straight back and I can't get my grease gun on them :banghead: I plan to pull the rear wheels and turn the fittings to a more accessable position.

Mine has a grease fitting on the u-joint of the driveshaft that connects the engine to the transaxle. I have to have my deck off to grease it. Does yours have that fitting? The owner's manual doe not mention it
My recollection is that there are a couple fittings on my AWS system that help to have the rear wheels to be removed to lubricate, but they can be lubricated from underneath (w/o deck in place). Just did this this afternoon since it was due.
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My X749 does have zerks on the main drive shaft U-joint (though I did go to look to be sure). Surprisingly, my Gen1 2032R does not have a zerks on the drive shaft U joints, though it does have a boot / enclosure on these so they don't get as dirty as on the X749.
 

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Don and Zebrafive,

I had a 2004 X495 with over 2500 hours when I sold it (bought it from a local cemetery with about 2400 on it and I know they had the dealer replace some parts in the steering linkages during their heavy usage in the years prior to my acquisition...) I never had to do any work on this steering linkage myself, but here is an excerpt of the section in the X495 tech manual for what it is worth -- not sure how directly it may apply to the later X749.

View attachment steering section of X495 manual.pdf


Chuck
 

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On my x485 I found three fittings for the rear part of AWS.

One at the bottom rear that can be greased from the rear of the tractor. Key 4 picture 2
Two more, top of rear axle housing at the kingpin. Key 4 picture 1 Mine both face 6 o'clock. Wheel makes it hard/impossible to grease with a straight grease connector on my grease gun. JD should have faced them inboard. 3 o'clock for the left, 9 o'clock for the right. :banghead: How hard would that have been? :dunno: I plan to pull the rear wheels and turn mine. Why not any in the bottom king pins? The maybe there are some and not mentioned in the manual? I'll look when I pull my rear wheels.

Then (not related to AWS), I found a fitting on my driveshaft, Key 2 picture 3, not mentioned in the operator's manual :nunu: Hey JD anyone proof read these?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Inboard zerks on rear wheels

Zebrafive

The grease zerks on the X749 on the tops of the rear wheel knuckles were pointing inward and thus were reachable.
 

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Zebrafive

The grease zerks on the X749 on the tops of the rear wheel knuckles were pointing inward and thus were reachable.

I need to change mine. I don't know if they are loose, or why thay are pointing straight back. I need to pull the rear wheels to do it.
 
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