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  1. #1
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Default LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    In general, I really like the design of my LA145 mower because it seems to perform well for a grass-cutting-only lawnmower. The problem I've had with the engine's carburetor and sticking float valve are more related to ethanol in the fuel than a problem with the B&S engine which performs flawlessly otherwise. However I have spent over $200 in repair parts on my mower deck in the first 90 hours of use. I think 10% of the purchase price is a little high maintenance on the costs.

    I've now replaced all the idler pulleys (two small and one large) one time and just had to replace the center spindle because it blew up the last time I mowed. I grease my deck religiously as can be seen by grease on the outside of the spindle assembly. I also have never hit any big rocks with this mower. I'd say nothing bigger than a golf ball. It's life has just been spent mowing my 1/2 acre yard around my house.

    The good news is that the spindle was only $60 complete and the small idlers are about $9 each with the larger one being $12. I'd gladly pay more for better idlers if I knew where to find them, but replacing these at least once per year won't break the bank. The deck is very easy to remove and replacement of parts is a snap, even if I think the parts are failing too early. Here are some pictures of my deck and spindle and the new replacement. I've got my fingers crossed as to how long the deck will go before something else craters. I'll soon order a replacement spindle and idlers to keep on hand for the next repair.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -bustedspindle-01-jpg   -bustedspindle-02-jpg   -bustedspindle-03-jpg   -bustedspindle-04-jpg  
    Jim


  2. #2
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Jinman, those spindled are a lot different than the ones on my 44" mower deck. Looks like pot-metal, not good. My theory is that you may not be greasing them enough or they are a poor design and quality. When you grease them, how much do you put in and how often? My deck zerts are on the top of the spindles (where the nut is on yours) and I always shoot 8 or 9 punps from the grease gun three or 4 times a year. Make sure it comes out of the seals when greasing. I mow a lot toughter terrian with mine and hit a lot of large rocks and sticks and the spindles have lasted 10 years without failing. Ray

  3. #3
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by rayikeo2 View Post
    Jinman, those spindled are a lot different than the ones on my 44" mower deck. Looks like pot-metal, not good. My theory is that you may not be greasing them enough or they are a poor design and quality. When you grease them, how much do you put in and how often? My deck zerts are on the top of the spindles (where the nut is on yours) and I always shoot 8 or 9 punps from the grease gun three or 4 times a year. Make sure it comes out of the seals when greasing. I mow a lot toughter terrian with mine and hit a lot of large rocks and sticks and the spindles have lasted 10 years without failing. Ray
    Ray, I have a battery powered greasegun. The zerks are on top of my deck and I grease them every 8 to 10 hours of operation until the grease oozes out the bottom of the deck at the blade or the top at the pulley. This deck has NOT suffered from undergreasing. Today, while we were mowing, my wife was in 5" Saint Augustine grass and heard a thunk. The deck immediately quit working. The strap that holds the electric PTO clutch had broken off and the clutch spun and jerked the wires loose. I know the broken pulley put some extra stress on that PTO clutch, but it never stopped spinning the other day when the spindle cratered. It just rattled and I shut off the PTO. I ordered the strap today. It's a whole $1.62 and the plastic grommet inside the clutch where it fits is $4.64. While I was at it, I ordered a whole new set of idlers and a new spindle. Total parts order before shipping is about $88. The mower is nickle-diming me to death.

    Have a look at the front of my deck in the photos above. Not only do we not mow in rocks, we hardly have the paint worn off this deck. We go out of our way to not abuse our equipment and I try to maintain it at a high level. I am on my third set of new blades. I sharpen them once and then they are worn out by the time they have been sharpended twice. This deck and its components are designed to wear out quickly. This is a terrific little mower, but the deck is wearing me out.
    Jim


  4. #4
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Sorry to hear of all those problems. If it were mine I would losing faith in the quality of the deck. The only other I can think might cause the problem would be if the spindle top (center) nut is too tight and binding the bearings and causing a self destruct with friction and heat. I don't think you are abusing the deck with the yard you mow. Does the spindle turn freely when you turn it by hand before installing it on the mower? I am wondering if the grease zert on the side of the spindle is factory or dealer installed. Some of the information on decks says the spindles are maintainance free, but that might not apply to your deck and it doesn't apply to mine.

  5. #5
    Gold Member KENSFM's Avatar
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Jim, you are using WAY too much grease on the spindles. This is causing them to run hot, expand and cause most of your problems. Of course the fact that they are a cheap aluminum casting made in China does not help. Sometimes less is better, give that battery powered grease gun some time off.
    Ken
    "Wake up, if you want your dreams to come true."

  6. #6
    Veteran Member K7LN's Avatar
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by KENSFM View Post
    Jim, you are using WAY too much grease on the spindles. This is causing them to run hot, expand and cause most of your problems.
    I think I would give this idea a try also. In another couple of posts, I wrote about some bearing problems I had. In that case, it was sealed bearings. It is usually better to be a little under lubricated than over lubricated because of the heat factor. All of my bearings are sealed and I never grease them. I might also add that you should use a light wheel bearing grease.

    You also mentioned cutting 5" of grass. I have to wonder it that isn't a little too much at one time for such a weak part.
    Last edited by K7LN; 06-17-2010 at 01:05 PM.
    JD 790 w/70 FEL & 7 BH on turf tires
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Well fellows, I'm going to have to disagree with you about the grease. This spindle has no seal and the bearing freely allows grease to flow through. I've looked at the illustrated parts breakdown for the spindle. The dangers of not insuring grease is in the bearings is far greater than any damage that might be done by too much grease in my opinion. I believe this part failed on my mower due to its aluminum casting having been weak or perhaps cracked when it was installed. I don't think I'll have anymore problems since I've replaced it. However, there is no maintenance on the idler pulleys and their sealed bearings. No amount of greasing of the spindles can account for three idlers failing in less than 90 hours.

    As far as saying that this mower cannot handle my grass, well that's a bit of a stretch. I have the mower deck set to 3-1/2" cutting height. When I mow over 5" grass, we are only cutting the top 1-1/2". I'm not scalping my lawn. Saint Augustine grass is best left very long because it provides its own shade and preserves water. I like my grass longer so I don't have to water every day. I'm pretty sure you misunderstood what I meant by the 5" grass. That's my normal maximum height before mowing. I have to mow every 5 days or the grass grows out of control. As it is, it's long, lush, and even.

    I haven't given up on my mower, but I think I've had to replace a lot of parts. From what I've seen, the parts that I put on the mower seem to be holding up better than the originals. At least that's true for the idler pulleys. We'll see how I do in the future on spindles. For now, I'm sure glad I have my kubota G1800 diesel lawn tractor as a backup. I'm sure I would have better performance from a premium X-series Deere also. This is not an indictment of Deere, only that their lower-end mowers can be high-maintenance. That's my experience and all I'm trying to say. Luckily, their parts support is superb and I'm able to keep my mower running most of the time.
    Jim


  8. #8
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Good luck jinman, the problem I see from the pictures is the design of the spindles and the construction material. From the point of where they bolt to the mower deck to the belt pulley is too long for the strength of the allum or pot metal (whichever). The belt then provides more torque that the design can withstand. So the end result is a weak 48" mower deck and not up to JD standards. The least JD should do is re-design the spindles and do a recall. I bet every owner of that deck is having the same problems.
    The only other possible explanation is if when you install the spindle to the deck then install the blade to the spindle it some how binds up the bearings and causes them to be so tight that the heat/friction destroys the bearings. Again that would be a bad design. Ray
    Last edited by rayikeo2; 06-18-2010 at 02:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Epic Contributor
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by rayikeo2 View Post
    The only other possible explanation is if when you install the spindle to the deck then install the blade to the spindle it some how binds up the bearings and causes them to be so tight that the heat/friction destroys the bearings. Again that would be a bad design. Ray
    Ray, the spacers at each end of the shaft have a shoulder that bottoms out so you cannot overtighten the spindles. When I put the new spindle on the other day, I tightened it down and could feel the spacer seat. The blade spun easily and freely before I put on the belt.

    I just think my sandy soil is hard on idler bearings and I had a bad spindle on my deck that failed early. How high value can it be when the whole mower and deck sells for $2100? If I'd have spent a bit more money, I probably would not have these problems. I'm still way below the price of an X300 and I'm just sure I'll have to continue doing more than average maintenance. There are probably some other decks with similar problems and some that work perfectly. At this price point, quality has got to be hit or miss. You can't blame Deere for wanting in this low-cost market. I'm just thankful that they don't abandon me on parts. I'd be really upset if I couldn't order the parts online and have them delivered via UPS to my house. It doesn't matter what level of mower you buy, having your parts delivered by UPS doesn't get any better.
    Jim


  10. #10
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    Default Re: LA145 48" Deck is high maintenance

    I work on JD's all the time, and I've never seen a broken spindle housing like that. I'd call it a fluke. JD has built hundreds of thousands of those tractors, with 2 or 3 spindles on each - that's a lot of spindles. If there was a design problem, it would be all over the internet.

    But as you've discovered, the parts are not very expensive if you have problems.

    How long have you had the tractor? For most people, 90 hours on an LA is 3-4 years worth.

    Good, low cost tractors.

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