Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

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Deltahedge
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Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

I purchased a 2012 John Deere 260SL this past year. It's in pretty rough condition so I decided to take it apart and give it some repairs this winter. I grew up working on irrigation motors with my dad, which gave me a little mechanical understanding. It has been a long time since I've attempted something like this. My wife enjoys jig-saw puzzles, and this feels like the beginning of a jig-saw puzzle to me.

The goal is to have this put back together by the end of February.

Special Thanks to the following for documenting their rebuilds. (There are others, but I can't remember all of them at the moment. I'll add to this list as I remember)
@Pete1313
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1500

@TonyC
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7326

@g-man
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1584

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Last edited by Deltahedge on Fri Mar 19, 2021 12:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

MasterMech
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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by MasterMech »

Great project!

Are you re-using the engine or replacing?

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

@MasterMech I am going to re-use the engine. There were a few issues with the engine, and I hope I got those taken care of.

The engine ran pretty rough. It would idle ok, but, as soon as I release the clutch to move, it would lose about half of its RPM but would slowly move. If I released the clutch with the reel engaged, it would lose RPM and die. The governor most likely needs to be adjusted, at a minimum. I bought an OEM carb and installed it and adjusted the governor. Since I have taken the entire mower apart, I haven't tested the engine on the mower to see if that does anything for its problems.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by MasterMech »

jspearm1983 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:45 am
@MasterMech I am going to re-use the engine. There were a few issues with the engine, and I hope I got those taken care of.

The engine ran pretty rough. It would idle ok, but, as soon as I release the clutch to move, it would lose about half of its RPM but would slowly move. If I released the clutch with the reel engaged, it would lose RPM and die. The governor most likely needs to be adjusted, at a minimum. I bought an OEM carb and installed it and adjusted the governor. Since I have taken the entire mower apart, I haven't tested the engine on the mower to see if that does anything for its problems.
I know on my GX120, the connecting rod knock is becoming the dominant noise on the machine. :lol: It also will woof through intake every once in awhile on heavy acceleration. These things tell me that my engine is tired. The plan for mine is to buy a $300 OEM replacement and transfer over the lighting coil and flywheel.

I mention it only because of the time and effort you’re putting into a full rebuild. There’s nothing wrong with poking at the little motor a bit to see if it’s got any real life left in it. Just be aware that replacement engines are pretty cheap in the long run. On a high-hour machine (like mine is) you are likely to gain back performance you never knew you were missing out on too.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

@MasterMech Yeah, this whole rebuild started because the motor wasn't running all that great. I pulled the engine off and went through a few easy checks. I didn't take the head off, because I didn't want to get all the way into the weeds.

Here's what I have done to the engine so far, some things just for looks, other things because it was needed.
1. Compression was at the top end of the specs, so that was good.
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2. The rocker arms were tightened down all the way, making solid contact with the rods. So, I adjusted the gap to the GX120 service manual spec. (0.15mm on intake and 0.2mm exhaust)
3. New OEM carb, throttle and governor linkages and springs, and air filter
4. New pull-start cover. It came with a red cover, which makes me think someone put a new pull start on it at some point, or, someone put a replacement engine on at some point.
5. Some black rattle can on the fan cover (I was dumb and didn't use chemical resistant paint, so just the little gas that spilled on it while connecting the gas tank to the carb ruined some of the paint)
6. New spark plug
7. It also got a new valve cover
8. Next on the list is an oil change

Before
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After
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Everyone feel free to give pointers or other things I should check while the engine is completely off the machine.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

@MasterMech If it were you, would you take the transmission apart to see if it needs any work while I have to torn down to this? It will probably never be easier than right now to work on.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by g-man »

Yes.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by MasterMech »

jspearm1983 wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:34 am
@MasterMech If it were you, would you take the transmission apart to see if it needs any work while I have to torn down to this? It will probably never be easier than right now to work on.

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Not having any experience with your machine, I can't say for sure. If you had no trouble from it before, I think I'd at the very least, drain and flush the trans, refill with fresh oil. If it operated at anything less than 100%, then I'd be a little more curious about what was going on inside. If you have a way to peek in through a drain/fill plug (borescope?) I'd check for sprocket and gear tooth wear before breaking any gasketed seals.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

The mower is coming together nicely, with only a few more things to do before it is ready to start cutting.

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I replaced a few bearings and seals where the drive shafts pass through the frame plates/panels.

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Deltahedge
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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

While I had the entire mower taken apart, I figured I would also change the bearings and seals on the drive roller. This proved to be a pretty difficult task because the nuts that hold the sprocket onto the shaft turned out to be stuck on pretty good on both sides.

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Your first though it to put a wrench on the hex part of the shaft. The manual specifically warns to make sure you put the wrench deep on the shaft and not just at the end. If you put a wrench on the shaft outside of the slot for the transport wheel attachment, you will break the shaft, and then you wouldn't be able to attach your transport wheels.

I attempted various ways to hold the shaft while trying to unwind the nut; wrench, wrench with a cheater pipe, deep drive sockets. Everything was a little awkward because they put force on the shaft so far away from where the nut is attached. And I also suspect the shaft was torqueing while I was applying force because of the distance between the nut and the hex part of the shaft. I tried hammering. I tried heating. I try soaking in different penetrating oils for weeks and weeks. Nothing seemed to work.

I ended up with what you see in the above picture. The pipe wrench does not leave a great finish on the shaft, but that's fine as long as the gouges in the metal don't stick out so far as to damage the new bearing seal when it comes time to reinstall. I was eventually able to get it off by standing and jumping on the crescent wrench. Even this rounded off some corners on the nut (not surprising).

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You can see why it was so difficult to remove. I'm not sure if these come with some anti-seize from the factory, but I applied some when I put them back on.

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The shaft holds the sprocket with a key.

Similar to other bearings and seals on the mower, and as @Pete1313 points out in his thread, the housing in stepped to take the seal first, and then the bearing.
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First install the seal, then install the bearing. When they are installed correctly, there should be a gap to that grease can enter in-between them from the grease zerk, as you can see light coming through between the seal and the bearing in this photo.
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Then install the snap ring.
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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by TonyC »

Oh, I remember breaking those free, what a B! I used heat, penetrating oil, and a lot of grunting. I didn't have to get into the engine, good luck with that.

My JD Restoration at the link in my signature below. I'm making myself repaint the handle since I took it all the way down to parts. If I could just make myself get out the rattle can.

I'll be watching your progress.

Cheers, and good luck!

Tony

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

Thanks @TonyC

You've got a really good looking machine. I have read through your restoration and I have had to deal with the same exact issues you had. I've pretty much got it finished as much as I am going to this year. It's back together, it just needs to be back-lapped, and then I'm ready to start mowing. I need to update this thread.

I noticed how nasty the handle was on mine and I hit it with some black rattle can while I had the entire thing taken apart.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

Since I had the entire mower taken apart. It seemed like the best time to do some cosmetic things as well.

Kickstand and handle were missing some paint and needed to be cleaned up.
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I painted part of the kickstand with a couple coats of truck bed liner. It will get some new green paint to cover the entire thing before it goes back on the mower.
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I took the frame apart and painted it as well.
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The grass shield and side plates got some cleaning, sanding, and painting.
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You can still see where some of the rust was on this side plate. I suppose I could have smoothed it out with Bondo or maybe a high build primer but just added regular primer and paint.
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I taped over any stickers I wanted to be visible and they all came out clean with no bleed lines.
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I think the new paint makes it look pretty clean.
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All the plastic covers were damaged. I'm not sure how they got to be in the shape they're in, but the best fix I came up with was just trimming some of the material off. I also added some Bondo. I know that Bondo makes a specific formula for plastic, but I just used the regular stuff, so we'll see how it holds.
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Here is what the handle looks like with new black paint, and you can also see what the plastic cover looks like after trimming the damaged part off.
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I am planning something special for the plastic covers, but that will be the subject of a new post down the road.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by bp2878 »

Love what you’re doing here. I’ve done some rebuilds but never a frame off restoration like this. I do want to though but can never find the time. I spend winter woodworking and spring and summer is spent either in the yard, garden, fishing or golf course. It’s super fun bringing them back to life!

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

It would be a crime to take your used greens mower completely apart without changing the bearings and seals on a lot of the parts. I put all new bearings, bearing scups, and seals in the reel bearing housings.

Taking it apart is pretty straightforward
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I wouldn't even think about replacing the bed-knife without one of these manual impact hammer screwdrivers. This is a great tool that I bought specifically for these screws, but I'm sure I will find other uses for it as well.
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I installed the seal first, and then the bearing cup. You must make sure the seal is all the way in place to leave a gap between it and the bearing cup. The gap between those two parts is where grease will enter from the zerk on the outside of the housing.
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I put some anti-seize on the new screws and installed the new bed-knife. Get a good look at it now to admire the beauty, because it will never look the same.
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Reassembled
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I'm inching closer and closer to being completely done with this rebuild.
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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Herring »

Looks great! How hard/what tool used to press in the new bearings? I can’t wait to replace my reel and bedknife.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Herring »

Herring wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:13 pm
Looks great! How hard/what tool used to press in the new bearings? I can’t wait to replace my reel and bedknife.
Edit, I see the Motion Pro press now.

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Re: Amateur John Deere 260SL Tear Down and Rebuild

Post by Deltahedge »

Herring wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:22 pm
Herring wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:13 pm
Looks great! How hard/what tool used to press in the new bearings? I can’t wait to replace my reel and bedknife.
Edit, I see the Motion Pro press now.
Yep, that's the one. It had most of the sizes I needed, but I don't know if it's better than a normal bearing set you can get on online or possibly at an auto store.

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