JD 450C owner intro and frustrating head gasket problem

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oldmetalmender
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JD 450C owner intro and frustrating head gasket problem

Post by oldmetalmender » Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:09 am

Greetings all, I have wandered through here a few times in the past and thought I would register and ask some opinions on a problem on my newly acquired JD 450 C Dozer. My name is Al and I am up in the Idaho Panhandle. I purchased this 450C 14 months ago out of Olympia as the crawlers around here get worked hard and are pretty beat up. I thought I had found a good dozer and a problem has surfaced that I believe was there when I bought the unit. I was so smitten with being able to finally buy one that I missed it altogether. So my fault there.
The problem was a blown head gasket and excess cooling system pressure. I began loosing coolant and after seeing a lot of pressure in the cooling system, I tore it down. I found a badly blown gasket back in the corner of Number 4 cylinder. Three spots were damaged. Here is why I think the seller knew about it. I went through the records and found this gasket had only 10 hours on it. It sat for nearly 7 years idle till I bought it. He repaired it and found his problem was still there and let it sit. Now the same has happened to me. My fault I know. I found some very minor rust pitting from coolant sitting long term between the head and block. There was old rust staining right in the groove of the cylinder liner and the hole it sleeves in.
I took the head off and took it to a machine shop. They pressure tested it for cracks and did a very light .003 thousandths surface grind on it to true it up. They corrected the valve depth to head surface on two valves.
I put the head back on, welded up the radiator mounts, bought a JD radiator cap, Extended life coolant, tons of new fittings to stop leaks, New injector lines, injector seals and a few more things to improve it. Well it started making pressure and got a little worse. Do I possibly have a bad O-ring on a cylinder sleeve? If the brand new gasket is blown in the same spot, Could my block deck be warped? Is that repairable? I kick myself for not checking this.
I was very careful on the torqueing of the head.
I'm wondering about an in frame rebuild kit. I did not enjoy crawling under the unit to remove the belly pan. Plus an in frame kit won't fix the head gasket issue. I'm bummed I did not catch all this in start. I was tired after the long drive there. Here are some pictures of all the fun.

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What I need it for the most. We are in a snow belt. It's snowing right now with 2 feet down and no end in sight.

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It looks to be a 1975 according to the serial number list. Here are the engine numbers.


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The bad new head gasket.

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The under side.

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I need to use the dozer to push back the snow on our driveway to the road.
Do you guys think I will harm the engine using it, or should I park it. We kind of need it pretty soon. I will be honest. I don't have much experience with crawlers. I do have the manuals though and that's a great tool to have. I do have a JD400 backhoe that I have been getting to be reliable. So I have some experience playing with that.
This is a long post. I wanted to offer the information and ask the questions about the block deck and using the unit soon. And I was considering an in frame rebuild this spring. I'd like to avoid it if I could. But this head gasket thing has me puzzled. What else could cause the head gasket issue?
Thank you for reading.
1969 JD 400 backhoe
1975 JD 450C crawler

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Stan Disbrow
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Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:03 am

Hi,

I would change the oil and run unpressurized and see if it still leaks water into the oil. You do not need pressure in winter, and this trick might see you through the snow. Oh, and drain it when it's parked, too.

Or, put it on a truck and send it to me and go get another one. I would be very happy to take it as-is. :P j/k, of course.... Double :P :P

Stan

Edit: or, am I just kidding?? ;)
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B Town
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Post by B Town » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:22 am

Welcome to the site from Western Iowa. Sorry to hear about your dealing with a bad person. It sounds like your head is in good shape. Did you run a staight edge over the block? Im terribly suspicious of the block or the orings in the wet sleeves. Sitting that long is really hard on them. ? Pin hole in the liner from corrosion? Does it miss? Does it have white water vapor in the exhaust?

I agree with Stan's advise. It sounds like the head will have to come off again. Take care not to hurt the lower end. Watch all fluids closely. Best of Wishes, Bruce

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Post by mini kahuna » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:33 am

both gaskets let go in same place, that looks like the block to head fit is out of whack.
did you use a high quality gasket, that gasket doesn't look very rugged from the pictures.
does the engine run smooth....pinhole in sleeve most times engine misses and has white smoke after cold start.

I would get the block surface spotless, check for deck level with straight edge...concentrate were gasket lets go.
let us know what you find.
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oldmetalmender
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Post by oldmetalmender » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:22 pm

Well I am finally able to get back here. We have been without power since I posted up. I had to run a generator cord to the tree lights to try and cheer up my wife today. We have power back on as of this evening. Oh and Merry Christmas all.
Stan, you might just get a late big yellow Christmas gift in your driveway soon. J/K... :lol:
Well I also suspect the block deck for not being flat. I wish I had looked at the previous owners notes. His notes stopped after he did the head gasket. That would have revealed a lot and I would have checked it. I should have checked it anyway and didn't. It smokes a lot at start up especially cold. It runs really clean after a few minutes warm up. It seems to run really smooth and I had to plow the driveway back some yesterday as the snow was closing in on us. It did the job without any signs of anything amiss.
And I kept it out of the ditch this time. :wink:

It does loose coolant in warmer weather. It did not loose any yesterday after running an hour plus plowing. I was easy on it. I have not noticed the engine oil level climbing at all. I will look again in a day or two.

I suspect I will need to do an in frame rebuild later. So the head and rest of it needs to come apart again. Darn I hate doing something twice. I have a very busy summer in front of me coming up.
If the O-rings are bad on the sleeves, would it not make sense to just do an in frame kit? Maybe just the O-rings could be replaced. And someone told me that the block could be decked without taking it out. I'm wondering if this is true. It must be bad.

I thought I bought a JD head gasket. Is there a good and a better gasket to select from?

I really appreciate the replies. I am learning and really like the crawler.
Again Merry Christmas all. Hopefully I won't loose power again.

Thank you.
1969 JD 400 backhoe
1975 JD 450C crawler

oldmetalmender
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Post by oldmetalmender » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:30 pm

I forgot to add I am going to have to wait till late spring or early summer to tear it back apart. I am so late getting a restoration done on a Seattle Jeep, it has to take priority. I'll squeeze in the dozer somehow.
1969 JD 400 backhoe
1975 JD 450C crawler

B Town
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Post by B Town » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:43 am

If you are going deep enough to replae the orings, go ahead and do the in-frame overhaul. You can be confident with what was done and what you have. Good Luck , Bruce

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CatD8RII
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Post by CatD8RII » Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:39 pm

Be sure next time you have your head off to check your liner protrusion. Should be checked in several places around each liner. You need to clamp the liners down with some bolts/washers. Specs are in your manual (usually .001-.004"), but the head gasket will never seal properly if a liner height is wrong. There is a special gauge to perform this, maybe your engine guy has one you could use.

Also, did you get your head gasket from Deere, or was it aftermarket? I ran into an issue on one of the 350s where the aftermarket gaskets were too thin relative to the fire rings and could not seal the coolant passages. It actually leaked externally as I was filling the machine with coolant . Got a gasket from Deere and it was completely different, it was at least a .005" difference in thickness!

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Jd450/6-way
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Post by Jd450/6-way » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:28 pm

I probably had the same issue with my 450 last year with a aftermarket gasket that came with the overhaul kit but the antifreeze was leaking between the head and block.
It's not a nice thing to see.

So I got my head machined and the valves done and my machinist said the head wasn't out much. Then I thought Maybe if I followed the manual and used the aviation sealant the first time it wouldn't of leaked.

When I went to picked up the new head gasket at jd I grabed a bottle of the aviation sealant off the rack. I asked if anyone at the dealership has ever put one of these heads on before. They went and got a guy from outback so he shows up and I ask him if he has ever done this before and he says no so I said why I'm I $#$%$#$ talking to you. Finally one of the older salesman comes over and tells me to get two pencils put them on the work bench apart from each other and put the headgasket on it and brush the sealant on one side then flip it over and do the other side. But stay away from the sealing rings. It seemed to do the trick. Use the aviation sealant

And don't take advice from someone with clean hands at the parts counter.

oldmetalmender
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Post by oldmetalmender » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:49 am

Well I just spent 30 minutes searching for a file folder that has a large quantity of receipts from this work. Either it is in the shop with my manuals or my wife has moved it along with a few other things I have left sitting too long in one spot. I have one file here for the 450 and I did find my notes from the JD parts finder site that had three superseded part numbers for head gaskets . If I remember correctly I ordered from Green Farm parts or Reynolds Farm equipment.
I actually had to order a second gasket because of a minor ding I put in the first gasket trying to install the head by hand. I replaced the head back on using a gantry crane, a new second gasket and an engine leveler to place it gently in place. I did use a manual for the work. I don't remember anything on the liner protrusion. Just some words on making sure the gasket was centered properly on the liners. I remember the locating dowel sticking up from the block deck was severely rusted and no longer had it's original diameter. And the manual said to bolt the liners down if you needed to rotate the crankshaft which I did not need to. So in a nutshell, I am not sure if it was an aftermarket gasket till I locate the receipt. I am fearing it was not a JD gasket. I do try to use original parts. This is the kind of information that is good to have BEFORE the work is done. I can see next time this comes apart I will have more knowledge to do a higher quality job. I appreciate the reply's. I should have gotten help before I did the work.
The machine is definitely in better condition that when I bought it. All that work resealing and replacing leaky fittings and all the other fixes has paid off. But this head gasket sealing problem is still with me.

So I will remove the head when we hit the spring thaw. I will check for a JD gasket and get one if this one is not John Deere. I'll check the block deck with a straight edge to check for warping. And check the liner height with a step micrometer after bolting them down. And read through the manuals again. Am I missing anything? Everything was spotless and clean when I reassembled and will be again. The machinist said my had was pretty flat before the .003 was taken off. So that's good.
Cheers, and thanks for the guidance.
1969 JD 400 backhoe
1975 JD 450C crawler

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DrLoch
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Post by DrLoch » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:30 am

Just another thought, how old is the torque wrench you are using?

As Jd450/6-way suggests I would also consider the sealant.
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Jd450/6-way
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Post by Jd450/6-way » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:01 am

I probably had the same issue with my 450 last year with a aftermarket gasket that came with the overhaul kit but the antifreeze was leaking between the head and block.
It's not a nice thing to see.

So I got my head machined and the valves done and my machinist said the head wasn't out much. Then I thought Maybe if I followed the manual and used the aviation sealant the first time it wouldn't of leaked.

When I went to picked up the new head gasket at jd I grabed a bottle of the aviation sealant off the rack. I asked if anyone at the dealership has ever put one of these heads on before. They went and got a guy from outback so he shows up and I ask him if he has ever done this before and he says no so I said why I'm I $#$%$#$ talking to you. Finally one of the older salesman comes over and tells me to get two pencils put them on the work bench apart from each other and put the headgasket on it and brush the sealant on one side then flip it over and do the other side. But stay away from the sealing rings. It seemed to do the trick. Use the aviation sealant

And don't take advice from someone with clean hands at the parts counter.

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LeonardL
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Post by LeonardL » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:13 am

I have been reading this thread with a lot of interest and you have been given some great advice. Now that you have a game plan in place I would like to add a thing or two.
Before you install your head, make sure the threads for the head bolts in the block are good and clean as well as the head bolts themselves. Also make sure there isn't any dirt or foreign material down inside the bolt holes. All of this will effect your torque on the head bolts. After you install the head and have it properly torqued down you should run the machine until it gets to operating temperature. Then, Deere engines require a "Re-torque" on the head bolts to set the head in its final position. You will be amazed at how much these head bolts will back off from the first torque you set them at. Without a re-torque, you take the chance for exactly what you ran into. A leaky head gasket.
Sense your machinist has said the head was pretty true, I would bet your block will be okay as well. If it is anything other than a couple of bad gaskets it will be what Catd8rII told you about your liners being too tall in the bores. Also what Drloch said about your torque wrench would be another consideration. Torque wrenches should be checked and re-calibrated from time to time. Make sure you follow the tightening sequence the manual recommends.
I personally have never had an issue with after market gaskets. That being said I always stuck with one of the major brands like Fel-Pro. I do however agree that some of this after market stuff is junk. You get what you pay for. Deere has their gaskets and other parts vended for them by the same folks that NAPA or other auto parts stores have do their gaskets. They aren't something that Deere makes for themselves.
I also have never used a sealer on these head gaskets. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I'm just saying that if everything is true and above all, very clean, you shouldn't have to use a sealer. Again this is my personal preference. Fellow colleagues of mine use sealer so I'm not disagreeing with its use.
The comment about not taking advice form someone with clean hands behind the counter? I take a little exception to that because not all mechanics will greet you out front with greasy hands and a spot on their face. Most of us wear gloves these days and are professional enough to want to wash our hands before we have a consult with a customer. Any company that would allow you to greet a customer like that doesn't speak very highly of that company. I have done it, don't get me wrong. But these days we try at least to wash our hands before we do.
Anyway... those are my thoughts and I hope you get this sorted out. It sounds like you need this machine to be running. Good Luck!! :D
40 years working on JD 350s and other equipment.

oldmetalmender
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Post by oldmetalmender » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:00 pm

Absolutely I do need this machine running. It is snowing as I write. I just made a pass down both sides of our road a couple days ago, so I bought some time using the snowplow truck my neighbor has. When it closes in on us I run the dozer.

So this has been on my mind a lot and I am excited to get back into it. And I wanted to mention that I ran the dozer for 45 minutes and pulled the valve cover and did do a retorque. I did not chase the threads with a tap but did spray brake cleaner and compressed air to clean the bolt holes. I cleaned the block deck with a 3M scotchbrite type of pad on an 1.5 inch air sander. Careful to only remove tarnish and dirt without removing metal material. My wife and I looked this morning for the receipt file for the dozer. It must be in the shop. Today is getting dedicated to a good shop clean. I have three friends coming to visit for three days today and I can't let them see such a mess. :lol: I also need to sit down and recall all the work I did and document it in the notebook.

And my torque wrenches. I have the bar type and the click style. I always store the click style unloaded and in it's own drawer. I spent a couple years working at Intel in instrumentation and calibration. I wish I still did so I could get my wrench checked. But that is the past. Tearing my crawler down right now would be great. But it gets the most use moving snow back. And I need it. One of the other topics I wanted to ask about is what are you guys doing for block heaters? I have heaters on my CUCV military truck and boy does it start better when preheated. I have an outlet near the dozer and backhoe and considered putting a magnetic heater on it. I think the one I have is only 200 watt. Maybe I should do another thread on block heaters for someone searching later. I also need to search first before doing much on this.

All this information is great stuff. I am grateful.
1969 JD 400 backhoe
1975 JD 450C crawler

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NWJD fan
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Block heaters for JD

Post by NWJD fan » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:22 pm

There is at least 1 thread here on block heaters for JD 350/450's. My 350 will usually start without ether after a 1 hour plug in with an 850 watt circulating heater in below zero F temps. If its really cold (-20 or more) I use a couple of magnetic heaters on the hydraulic tank and reverser sump as well, not sure they actually help but they make me feel better. Also run 5-40 synthetic oil and a warm charged or boosted battery. Silicon pad style heaters that you glue onto sumps or sides of engine blocks with RTV silicon are more effective than magnetic heaters as they provide much more efficient heat transfer.

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