JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

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Omp1973
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JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by Omp1973 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:06 pm

I have been lurking for the last few weeks trying to collect enough data as I can but I need any extra ammo I can get before going into the JD dealer and raising havoc .

The story goes two years ago my father took his beloved late 50s JD440 crawler into the local dealer for a overheat issue and a stuck steering clutch on the left side track .

They found a head gasket and replaced it and rebuilt the head to the tune of $3000.

Then they dug into the LH track and found the clutch cover and plates rusted, they removed it cleaned up the steels and friction plates (replacing 3 of 8 ) . They installed a new cover and throwout bearing . This was $4800.

They then delivered to my farm where it was used to push some snow and loose dirt around. The LH lever made a ratchet noise and felt unlike the RH lever. My dad wrote it off as old versus new. I now know different .

It appears that the throwout bearing has to travel past its limits (detention balls popping and TO bearing snapping back)

I have gone through the procedure in the book for adjustment but still have overtravel of the TO .

Is there a potential that the tech failed to properly adjust the clutch cover before assembling the final into the case . And is there a way to fix it without removing the final?


And here is the best part, the JD dealer has told me that even though there is only 7 hours since the repair , they don’t care , no warranty.

Thanks for your time and sorry for the rambling

Matt

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gregjo1948
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Re: JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by gregjo1948 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:03 am

With that much money spent, you could have bought a working JD 350. For a shop that should have all the knowledge and tools to repair a machine like that, they certainly over charged you. I don't know how they can justify those ridiculous fees. I took the head from my 350B to a local machine shop and they rebuilt it for $300.00. I think I would have left your machine there for them to try to sell it to get their money and bought another good condition 440 for $5000.00. I'd probably be posting the whole situation publicly in local media to head off other unsuspecting customers. I hope you can get some justice out of this situation. gregjo1948
JD 350B diesel w/rops & 6way blade, Case 580B Loader/backhoe, Farmall 504 high crop w/ flail boom mower, International 404 utility, International 284 diesel w/belly mower, 1972 Ford F600 dump truck, Galion 3-5 roller, Allis Chalmers D17

Jim B
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Re: JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by Jim B » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:14 am

Welcome to the Forum. A couple things for reference. If you add a general location to your profile there might be someone near you, or with knowledge of your area, that might be able to help in some manner if needed. Second the 440's fall in the early model crawlers so this post will likely get moved to that board by a Moderator.

It is unfortunate that you are having problems. How much business do you do with this dealer? I would agree the costs seem to be high. That said, without a detailed break downs of the work done and parts required we don't have the entire picture. You don't mention problems with the engine now so it appears you are only questioning the steering clutch operation at this time.

To review a few things:

I think a crawler would go to a Forestry and Construction (yellow equipment) dealer. If the dealer was not yellow, is your dealer one that has/had mechanics familiar with crawlers? Just because they are a JD dealer doesn't mean they have the skill sets for work on all JD machines. If they didn't have the expertise I would think they should have passed on doing the work. We have some around that you don't want to take anything other than your lawn "tractor" to, they cater to the homeowner. That's where most of the money seems to be now with small farms going away.

Did you or your father look at any of the parts of the steering clutch during the repair? I question the cleaning and reusing rusted plates and then only replacing 3, of the 8 discs, with new. My thought on cleaning the old discs and plates is that this could have thinned them making the stack height wrong. Did they ask, and get approval, about doing this (cleaning and partial replacement) as a cost saving measure? Such has been done. My thought is that if you need to replace some discs and steels, you should replace them all or you will likely be back in it sooner or later to repair it again. There would seem to be reason to question whether or not the fingers, on the pressure plate, were set with the proper gauge at the time of assembly. To my knowledge that adjustment can only be done while the final is off and the pressure plate is in the open.

I think time is against you in this case, and may be the biggest factor in the dealer's refusal to warranty it now. It sounds like it is about 2 years after the work was done. You may know for certain the 7 hours is accurate but given the fact that hour meters are known for not always registering correctly (and have been known to have been disconnected for various reasons), the dealer is likely looking at the calendar time frame not the hourmeter reading. Sorry to say, but the dealer should have been contacted and asked to check it out when it was first noticed; not 2 years later and after you have worked on it. Most work shops do have a limited time of warranty, at least the ones I am familiar with.

Sorry if it appears I am taking the dealer's side. I am not saying the dealer is right, just trying to put some things that need to be considered out there for thought, before raising havoc. Good luck with this.

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Lavoy
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Re: JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by Lavoy » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:21 am

My 2 primary thoughts are this.
1. The dealer screwed up, and did not do the job correctly.
2. You are well past any potential for warranty or recourse.
Now on to the issue of function.
Finger height adjustment will have no effect on the the steering lever coming too far back. That clutch is grossly out of adjustment, if adjusting by the book, this can not happen, so you are doing something wrong there. Read carefully though it again, and see if you missed something. With the steering lever about 1 5/8" from the dash, you should be against the brake actuation screw limiting further travel of the lever. Brake application is what will limit the distance the lever can travel, no other possibility.
One comment on the labor charges, it is exorbitant, but I know how it happened. They have no book on stuff this old, so it was a time and materials job. At $120/hour or more, it adds up fast when the tech is essentially looking up or to a degree guessing on some of the job. It sucks, I agree, but it is often the way it is when having a dealership work on old equipment.
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Parts and restoration for antique and late model John Deere crawlers.
Owner and moderator www.jdcrawlers.com

Omp1973
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Re: JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by Omp1973 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:05 pm

That’s why I’m here, so much honest knowledge. I had it in my head that the throwout adjustment would set the throw of the bearing . So what part of the brake adjustment / band system sets the limit? Is it the band adjustment or the brake synchro screw?

Thanks for all the help!


Matt

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Re: JD440 gasser steering clutch drama.

Post by Lavoy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:46 pm

Both so to speak, but in the correct sequence.
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