Potential 420 Restoration Ques

General help and support for your Lindeman through 2010 John Deere crawler
Skidder
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Potential 420 Restoration Ques

Post by Skidder » Thu Nov 10, 2005 4:57 pm

I found a 1956 JD 420C that I am thinking about getting in operating condition and using for trail maintenance and pulp wood skidding. We currently use a 420 wheel bound tractor for pulling pulp, but I think a crawler would be a lot more useful and a whole lot more fun. I'm not too worried about the engine, they're pretty straight foreward. It's the rest of the system that pushes me out of my comfort zone. I'm looking for any information that will help me decide if this is something I can get in good operating condition without spending a fortune or if I'll be in over my head and budget quicker than a logger with bees chasing him.

Any easy items to look at as far as track and roller condition, clutch condition, hydraulics? The 420 looks like it hasn't been used in 5-15 years and has been stored outside. The muffler has a cap on it, but the air intake is rusted through. I haven't opened up the oil bath to see how much water has gotten in through the intake. The key is in the ignition and isn't frozen. No battery in it to try and turn it over. I pulled the dip stick and the oil looked pretty clean. Must have changed it before parking it. There was a little surface rust on the upper portion of the dip stick though. There is a tool box mounted on the fender and it has a grease gun in it so hopefully the owners did maintain it decently when they where using it. The 420 is sunk only a few inches into the dirt and leaves. Do the tracks run a good risk of being froze? How do you move these beasts if they don't run on their own power?

How deep is deep? Well, there will probably be 4-5 people working on the project with two of them being old farmers with 2 poper experience. Welding and cutting aren't problems either. How big is the budget? I'd like to keep the cost under what the crawler cost new in 1956 (3k)?. Under 1,500 would be ideal but I'm afraid that would only get me started if there are any major problems. I don't need it show room condition, but I don't want anything left un-fixed that will only cause more problems down the line. I want to do it right or not at all.


To make a long story short, what should I look at/for to help me decide to move forward or back away from this 420 project.

(not sure how to add the pictures I have to this post, but I do have pics)

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jdjohng
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Post by jdjohng » Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:35 pm

Skidder,
To post your pictures go to http://216.104.73.215/jdcrawlers/pictures/upload.php and follow the instructions there. Once you do it it is easy. The answers to your other questions are better answered by someone that has more experience with these crawlers than myself.

Skidder
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Thanks and here's a pic

Post by Skidder » Thu Nov 10, 2005 6:43 pm

Here's some pics of the poor ole 420. Thanks for the picture posting info.
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Lavoy
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Post by Lavoy » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:27 pm

Most of what I am going to say is a guess because I am not standing next to the crawler, but after 100 or so crawlers, I think I will be close.
If it has sat outside this long, cover or no cover, the engine is stuck. I good rebuild on an engine is about $1000 not including externals.
The steering clutches will very likely be stuck and or not useable, add another $1000 give or take to the bill.
I would guess also that the crawler is going to have some other problems, or it would not have been left to sit that many years ago.
I guess what I am saying is that you are not going to anything resembling a restoration for the dollars you want to spend. If you are talking $3000 over and above the purchase price, you will just be getting warm. Don't make the mistake of comparing a crawler restoration to a tractor restoration, it is not the same thing. A crawler has several additional components that a wheel tractor does not, and ALL of them are expensinve to fix.
If all you want to do is make it run and drive without really repairing or replacing much for parts, then I guess you can probably do it, but sooner or later, you are going to break a large expensive component because you took a short cut. All in all, there are no shortcuts in fixing a crawler. Any piece that is not repaired correctly will eventually come around and bite you in the butt.
I am not trying to discourage you from buying the machine, I just want you to be prepared for what you are getting yourself into.
Lavoy

JimAnderson
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420

Post by JimAnderson » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:44 pm

Skidder,
If you are using a two wheel drive rubber tired tractor to skid
logs with and its less than 6000 or 7000 pounds in weight
you'll love the little 420 c for logging,They are stable and pull
like crazy.I've used both my 3020 ag tractor and 40 c for skidding and
the crawler is a lot easier to manuever in the woods.
If you look at past posts here you may have seen the statement
that with crawlers you are buying the undercarraige.That is
very much the truth,but final drive assemblies are pricey too.
From the first picture you posted it looks as though the front
idler is adjusted close to the end of the track.If that is the case
then you are looking at new pins and bushings.I think Lavoy
said about $1400 in parts from Deere and then the labor to install
them.The pads look pretty decent .Check the sprockets for wear.
Pointed thin teeth not good.Check the final drive housings for
cracks and damage.If you can pull the little cover at the top
of the housing that has three bolts holding it on and check
the pinion gear for broken and chipped teeth.If the machine
is sunk in the ground you may have difficulty checking the
bottom rollers for wear but if you can see them check for
thin or missing flanges.
If you pull back on the blade lever you may be able
to jack the blade up.If you can get the blade up you
can put the transmission in neutral and maybe tow it.
I towed my dads 420 c with a bad ring and pinion half
a mile across a bean field with a ton and a half truck
so it can be done.Just don't expect the steering clutches
to work if it has been sitting.The brakes may be locked
with rust as well.Unless someone gives you the beast
in my opinion you will blow your budget to get it to
do what you want.It still needs to be rescued though.
JimAnderson

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Lavoy
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Post by Lavoy » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:53 pm

I should have given you some things to look for, sorry, but Jim has you covered there.
I did notice in one of the pics that it appears to be an "all green" (under 100,000 serial number). Check the track clutch housings where the side frames bolt on, this is a common failure point on the early 420's.
Lavoy

Skidder
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Post by Skidder » Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:13 pm

Thank you for all the good info. It isn't nearly as positive as I was hoping, but it's good to hear now before I jump in head first.

The serial number on the crawler is 090357.

The right steering stick moves like I think it would, but the left one will only push forward. I'm guessing that's not a good sign.

The local area it was used in is fairly flat with sandy soil. I'm guessing silty or clay soil would have been better but at least no rocks in the sand.

So how many specialty tools are required for working on the undercarriage and the clutches?

A few years and a few people, I think I can spread the cost out enough. It's getting all the bearings, bushings, clutches, pins, final drives, etc. fixed right that will be the biggest hurdle. What a fun piece of equipment for the woods this crawler would be!

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Lavoy
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Post by Lavoy » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:44 am

Not a lot in the way of special tools. Only thing needed for the steering clutches is the gauge for setting the plate, and I have them for $10.
Main "tools" you will need are factory parts and service manuals, they should be the second purchase right after the crawler.
Lavoy

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:51 am

Hi,

As far as the similarities between the crawlers and the wheel tractor 420's go, they're pretty much the same only in the engine and transmission areas. Once you get past the tranny, things start to change (i.e. no differential). The final drives are very different and, of course, there's the whole track thing going on.

I'd expect that you are going to have to drop both tracks and pull both final drives even if the engine should crank right up. Sitting is hell on the steering clutches. It doesn't take long for the steel discs to form a film of rust and the fiber discs to absorb some moisture and swell up. When either thing happens, the clutch won't release, so you can't steer. My experience, while less that Lavoy has, is that the only solution is to pull the final off and get to work. There's just no shortcut in this area.

As Jim noted, the track chains look worn, so it'd be a good idea to have the pins and bushings replaced in them. Heck, you have to drop the tracks to get to the steering clutches, so it's a perfect time to have that work done.

Once you get the tracks, rollers and steering clutch work done, the rest of it won't seem so bad. And, I'd advise you not to skimp on the U/C work, since that tends to leave you with a machine stuck w-a-y out in the woods (won't move from bad clutches, track popped off, etc). There's been many a time when that's happened to folks, for sure!

So, that's the bad news. The good news is that these things are the greatest things since sliced bread for skidding logs out of the woods. We used ours (the one I have was my dad's when I was a kid) a lot for that job, and it works better than anything else I've tried. At one point, I also had a JD350 crawler/dozer and it wasn't nearly as handy in the woods as the 420. I kept banging into things with the 350 that I always missed with the 420. ;) I've also used several 4WD wheel tractors at times, and they always want to get stuck in places that the 420 never did. ;) ;)

What I'm trying to say, is that the poor old girl looks like she needs a lot of work, but it'll all be worthwhile - big time - in the end. Don't let the thing scare you. :)

Stan
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: '58 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 inside manual blade
Have: '78 JD350C w/6310 outside manual blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350, '51 Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2005 x495, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

Skidder
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Time to start the sticks forward

Post by Skidder » Fri Nov 11, 2005 3:57 pm

What a wealth of information, you guys are great.

From here I guess the next step will be to converse with the rest of my deer hunting gang/logging crew to see if they will be willing to assist with the project, contact the owner of the crawler to see if he'd be willing to part with it, and then get myself the manual for the ole girl. Everything is on a fine balancing point, but the thought of crawling through the woods pulling pulp and grading trails just gets my blood boiling. Getting the crawler up and running is half the fun.


What is it going to take to get the 420 to move from it's current placement? With the blade up, will it pull with an electric winch, or am I going to need a tow truck or a crane to try and get it up on a trailer. I was hoping to get it running where it is and load it on a trailer that way, but that sounds like a no go from the input I've recieved. Getting the entire crawler into a shed to dissassemble it would be ideal, but can the work be done by taking parts off out side, fixing them, and then re-assembling it (sealing up any exposed internal parts while the tractor sits there of course)?

Let me know what you guys think. Also, if I don't take the project on, I'll see if the owner would be willing to let someone else get the old popper going.

Thanks again for all your imput guys, and Thank You to any Veterans out there! We wouldn't have freedom if it wasn't for them.

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BKahler
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Post by BKahler » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:29 pm

Skidder, my 440 crawler had saw for several years outside before I bought it. I might be wrong but I think if you get get it out of gear there is a good chance it can be pulled up onto a trailer. Not sure if winch would do the job or not. Mine was loaded onto a trailer by the seller using a tractor to pull it up. To unload it we used my dump truck and just kinda pulled it off. I think my steering clutches are ok or at least the brakes are because the guy riding it off the trailer was able to steer it into position to park it.

Hopefully you'll decide to rescue it, every time I walk down to my shop and look at the 440 sitting next to it makes me happy! I'm still several months or more from being able to work on it but one of these days.........:D

Be interesting to see what your decision ends up being, to rescue or not to rescue.....

Brad

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DAVE BLERSCH
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Post by DAVE BLERSCH » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:27 pm

get some one with a car carrier, they are hydralic and have a winch on them that crawler only ways aprox 5000 lbs i have one just like it and my car carrier is a small mutishibee one and carrys mine any were. then you can unload it into a shed to pull it appart. :lol:

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CCWKen
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Post by CCWKen » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:06 am

LOL... Yeah if it's free and out of gear, they'll roll real easy. And it doesn't take much of a slope to get going on it's own. :shock: Don't ask me how I know. :o
JD420C, Ford 3910, IH 2606, Kenbota G32XKS

Tim Snow
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Post by Tim Snow » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:55 am

how much fun would this be to restore! if your counting cash before you start. I have to ask if you are married? I know i never considered how much the old lady has cost me for the past 22 years. But will admit the investment was worth it. Thats how restoration is. no matter the cost just look at what she'll look like and run like when your completed. If your in a rush than i would discourage it but over time it will be a piece that always make you proud. Im new to the crawler game i have a 57 420c mine came with clutch issues Lavoy and others walked me through it. You came to the right place Lavoy and his knowledge has been god sent. My vote is get it......Tim ....Please keep us imformed

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:37 pm

CCWKen wrote:LOL... Yeah if it's free and out of gear, they'll roll real easy. And it doesn't take much of a slope to get going on it's own. :shock: Don't ask me how I know. :o
Hi,

Don't have to ask. I know how you know! ;)

My worst experience was plowing snow, before I realized that there was a layer of ice under the snow on top of the dirt. The hill was steep (this is at my old hilltop place in upstate NY), and the thing suddenly rotated 90 degrees and started down the hill in a hurry.

You know, there's not a whole lot of difference between grousers and ice skates.

Fortunately, the covering snow built up enough alongside the track frame to eventually retard the motion of the machine *before* I ran out of driveway.

Stan
There's No Such Thing As A Cheap Crawler!

Have: '58 JD 420c 5-roller w/62 inside manual blade
Have: '78 JD350C w/6310 outside manual blade
Useta Have: '68 JD350, '51 Terratrac GT-25
Also Have: 1950 M, 2005 x495, 2008 5103 (now known as 5045D)

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