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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everyone, I've followed the forum since purchasing my first 826 and like the weekly emails to stay up on the top posts.

I purchased a late model 826 with the taller chute for my sister last February and checked it over and brought it to her to use for the remainder of the season.

I brought it to my house this summer to add the impeller kit and do more maintenance on it. Last year I noticed the friction disk was pretty worn and I had one new in the bag from John Deere. It's the last thing I need to do and then bring it back to her.

I have the Tech Manual for these and loosened the nut and replaced the friction disk and went to adjust to it 1/16th gap. The problem I am encountering is when I have 1/16th of a gap for the forward speeds when in reverse the gap is larger. The old friction disk was wore flat but worked well yet at times it would try to inch itself forward.

Does anyone have any suggestions? In reading through the rest of the Tech Manual they talk about pulling the whole drive system from the blower and working on it, which is maybe what has to be done, but this late in the season I am hoping it's relatively simple and am open to suggestions.

On my 826 I've replaced all the bearings in the auger housing, axles, and installed new grease in the differential so I am familiar with them and capable but this one has me wondering which way to go to get the friction disk so it's 'square' with the wheel that drives the transmission.

Thank you for any help!
 

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Yeah, really hard to tell from a verbal description, as there is a lot of parts in the operation of any drive system. Could be one or a multiple issue problem.

I have a few JD826, and glad to say after restoring them, they all shift just fine.

The way you are talking, I assume you have the service manual that explains and shows you the maintenance procedures and adjustments. If not, I can post it for you.
 

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Which 826, 826D, 826TRX? Different manufacturers!
 

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I've dealt with something similar to that with my 826…the issue with mine (and probably yours) is, age wear of parts that are not that obvious. Maybe something here will help you. My fix was unconventional, but worked perfectly.

To narrow it down, check the bearings that align the traction drive. Take the belt tension off of the engine pulley and check for side play / end play. If there's none (should be imperceptible for play on both), you know the problem is somewhere else and the drive plate is correct. This assumes the bronze bearings for the traction assembly are in good shape, you can see those on either side of the case.

On my machine, the culprits were the pivot points for the drive wheel assembly itself. After so many years, the holes were worn to the point that no amount of adjusting was correct. If I tried to get that 1/16”, the play allowed the drive wheel to randomly contact the plate. If I increased the gap, the wheel would slip. I believe the out of square condition is due to the return spring on the drive assembly, one side is under tension, the other isn't. If you look, you might be able to see the hole on the tension side is more oval than round and the mating shaft has a corresponding groove.

The proper fix would be to make the hole…whole again (pun intended haha). You don't have time for that.

my fix.. modify the control handle to increase the travel of the pivoting drive assembly. I simply ground the back side of the drive lever on the handlebar, maybe an 1/8” or so (dremel or similar), which allows the drive wheel to not only move further away from the drive plate, it lets you maintain the desired 1/16”.

If you look at the control handle from the side, you'll see what I mean. Disconnect the rod, follow the arc of the handle that acts as the stop against the handlebar and grind or file that area. It doesn't take much, set the 1/16” distance at the closest point and you're done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Does it still shift thru the gears OK??
Before replacing the friction disk yes it did - and I installed the new one it did also, I'd try it in 2nd and 3rd and it was fine. After I tried adjusting it a few times getting reverse to operate better it would make a squeal in the forward gears. At that point I pulled the friction disk off and put it in my shed until I had time to look at it again which will be this coming weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, really hard to tell from a verbal description, as there is a lot of parts in the operation of any drive system. Could be one or a multiple issue problem.

I have a few JD826, and glad to say after restoring them, they all shift just fine.

The way you are talking, I assume you have the service manual that explains and shows you the maintenance procedures and adjustments. If not, I can post it for you.
I know! Those were my thoughts too - my 826 runs and operates just fine - sure I've been through it extensively and taken certain parts of it apart numerous times so I'm familiar with those areas on it, but the drivetrain has never been anything I've really been into. On my I replaced the drive chains and repacked the differential and had the axles out, but that's about it.

I do have the service manual that has been posted on this site - thank you - I have it saved on computer and also printed out so can use it when working on them. I have quite a few Deere's of this style :) many that I need to go through yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've dealt with something similar to that with my 826…the issue with mine (and probably yours) is, age wear of parts that are not that obvious. Maybe something here will help you. My fix was unconventional, but worked perfectly.

To narrow it down, check the bearings that align the traction drive. Take the belt tension off of the engine pulley and check for side play / end play. If there's none (should be imperceptible for play on both), you know the problem is somewhere else and the drive plate is correct. This assumes the bronze bearings for the traction assembly are in good shape, you can see those on either side of the case.

On my machine, the culprits were the pivot points for the drive wheel assembly itself. After so many years, the holes were worn to the point that no amount of adjusting was correct. If I tried to get that 1/16”, the play allowed the drive wheel to randomly contact the plate. If I increased the gap, the wheel would slip. I believe the out of square condition is due to the return spring on the drive assembly, one side is under tension, the other isn't. If you look, you might be able to see the hole on the tension side is more oval than round and the mating shaft has a corresponding groove.

The proper fix would be to make the hole…whole again (pun intended haha). You don't have time for that.

my fix.. modify the control handle to increase the travel of the pivoting drive assembly. I simply ground the back side of the drive lever on the handlebar, maybe an 1/8” or so (dremel or similar), which allows the drive wheel to not only move further away from the drive plate, it lets you maintain the desired 1/16”.

If you look at the control handle from the side, you'll see what I mean. Disconnect the rod, follow the arc of the handle that acts as the stop against the handlebar and grind or file that area. It doesn't take much, set the 1/16” distance at the closest point and you're done.
Catch-22 - this is interesting. I will try those things. I am one I like to get to the bottom of things and figure out why something is happening and then go about fixing it.

What your explaining about the handle makes sense and I will look at it this weekend when I get it back out. On mine I've never adjust that rod (maybe I should yet it works well so I leave it alone!) but I noticed you could unscrew the rod going into the case and also the rod going up to the handlebars, I tried adjusting it many times until I figured out the gap was different on one side of the drive disk vs the other.

I assume you mean to pull the belt off and check the play on the drive wheel that the friction disk connects to move the machine?

I do notice on this machine it doesn't always return back to neutral after using reverse as mine does, I've sprayed it with lube and it helped alot but it's not always perfect at returning. Where mine as soon as you let off the clutch handle it's back to neutral.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help everyone! I will get picture and hopefully we can figure this out!
 

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Catch-22 - this is interesting. I will try those things. I am one I like to get to the bottom of things and figure out why something is happening and then go about fixing it.

What your explaining about the handle makes sense and I will look at it this weekend when I get it back out. On mine I've never adjust that rod (maybe I should yet it works well so I leave it alone!) but I noticed you could unscrew the rod going into the case and also the rod going up to the handlebars, I tried adjusting it many times until I figured out the gap was different on one side of the drive disk vs the other.

I assume you mean to pull the belt off and check the play on the drive wheel that the friction disk connects to move the machine?

I do notice on this machine it doesn't always return back to neutral after using reverse as mine does, I've sprayed it with lube and it helped alot but it's not always perfect at returning. Where mine as soon as you let off the clutch handle it's back to neutral.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help everyone! I will get picture and hopefully we can figure this out!
The clutch control rod sets your friction disk to drive plate distance. The problem is, the age of the machine and wearing of the pivot points. The bronze bushings on the hex shaft wear and can be replaced, but the shaft itself also wears after forty or so years. That will throw off the alignment of the entire assembly. On the other end, at every contact point there is age wear (both ends of the clutch rod, the holes where the assembly is anchored to the case, etc). The wear on this end of the assembly causes a subtle problem that makes getting the clutch distance difficult. With more and more wear, you lose the effective “throw” of the clutch rod. You set the gap to 1/16” and find the drive disk randomly contacting the plate, so you adjust a little more gap and now it slips or stalls in the travel gears.

What I did was to add in more travel to the drive disk, to account for that age wear. Remember, the clutch handle acts as the limiter for the drive disk assembly… It worked perfectly for me.

One caveat… check the drive plate bearings to be sure that's not adding to your issue. Either clamp the belt tensioner out of the way, or remove the belt completely. Grab the pulley and see if there's any end or lateral play of that shaft (The drive plate being on the other side), if so, that will cause the drive plate to wobble and make setting the drive disk even harder. There should be zero (or close to) play in any direction. If there's end play, loosen the locking bolt on the pulley and while holding pressure against the drive plate to zero the play, tighten it up. If the pulley tries to slip back to the original position, take the shaft key out and flip it over, so the locking bolt has a clean surface to mate with.

If the drive plate shaft has side to side play, that's a little more involved to repair. There's a bronze bushing, a thrust bearing and seals to deal with.

But… if you add in more travel to the drive disk assembly as above, you can leave that repair for the warmer weather.

The lazy shift lever is probably just dry contact surfaces, I use marine grease on the hex shaft, smear it around, run the the gears, clean off the excess. Under the control panel, same thing on the pivot points for the shift lever. If the spring on the hex shaft is rusted, that will weaken it…a little judicious stretching may get you out of trouble for the winter.

Sorry for the war and peace….good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Took snowblower out to my parents heated garage to work on this. I took a video, is there to much side to side play in the shifting mechanism? I'm thinking so, yet haven't compared it to my snowblower in town. I did look this week and many of the bushings are no longer available from John Deere but can size them and hopefully get from McMaster-Carr.

Video

Catch-22, if you think your repair on the clutch rod will fix this for this winter I can try it if that's what you were up against too. Then I could source the parts this winter and tackle it next summer. Thanks!
 

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I don't think so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I ended up just taking it apart. The differential was so dry the gear was stuck on the right axle, had to take differential apart on the shaft and then remove gear off axle. The drive chains have to be original as they have green paint on them, but I could not find the link with the splice to remove them and was able to slip it off to take sprocket off.

The shifting mechanism came out nicely and I split the housing and have the drive plate shaft ready to be removed but there is a super small roll pin where the control rod comes down behind the engine I need to remove.

Does anyone know what size the bushings would be as it doesn't look like John Deere stocks them any longer.

Per this thread: Click Here they are 5/8 ID x 7/8 OD x 1 1/4 inches long - this is #13 in the parts breakdown.

My parts guy is really good and helpful, so I will give him first chance at seeing what he can do or dig up for me. On a 14SE push mower this summer it showed it was NLA in the parts catalog for it but in the JX75 mower parts breakdown the part number was still a good number and was able to be ordered.

As always thanks for the help and Happy Thanksgiving - I will post back with results as I put it back together.
 

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Whenever I take those corroded, dried-up differentials apart, I always clean them up really good with my wire wheel, and always drill and tap for a grease zerk fitting ... never understand why the factory never did that in the initial design, as all of them are dry and froze up. I'll tell you though, that slip clutch, zero turn system they have is one of the best when all in good operation. I use the "00" grease in the initial re-assembly, then use my gun with the red Moly in it when all assembled.



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Well… you certainly tore into that! Since you're already deep in and if you have the time…

1) Replace the bronze bushings on the friction disc assembly. The side to side movement won't be gone, but both ends of the assembly will fit tighter and it will move in the same plane as the drive plate, a lot smoother and without binding. That should fix the difference in the friction disc to drive plate variation too (1/16” one side, more on the other, yes?). The side to side movement is limited by that forked section at the top…as you can see, the steel rod wears on that after forty plus years…it's not enough of an issue to attempt modifying to eliminate it. If the hex shaft spring isn't rusty, stretch it out (evenly) by an inch or so. That will increase the force to center the friction disc.

So that's the friction disc irregular wear and the binding fixed.

2) While you have the diff. apart, wire brush it clean, add a grease fitting and you've just made the machine a pleasure to turn. I use marine grade grease, but since you can now add grease, it's not a must. Just check the clearance between the grease fitting and the gear on the inside of the housing for interference, before you button it up. While you're at the hardware store, buy a new locknut for the axle…losing the star wheel in a snow storm takes the fun right out of it.

3) Replace the two hex shaft bushings you removed to get the assembly out. That will do a lot to keep the entire assembly moving in the same plane as the drive plate and tighten the chain a little.
The caveat is, the sprockets, chain and the shaft itself are worn, so don't expect zero play. If you have access to a drill press, you could use a bushing with a smaller I.D. and drill it to the exact size of the worn shaft (It won't be the same on either side). You're not looking for a ”tight” fit. Too tight will cause heat and crack the bushing.

4) When you re-assemble the axles, make sure to sand the rust off the two-piece shaft, some people add a grease fitting, but I just pack it with marine grease.

5) Have a close look at the roll pins on the axles, if they're worn flat, replace them with new and longer ones. Get a few fender washers (7/8” I.D. I believe) and add them as needed. Zero / 1/16” end play is what you're after, that helps keep the chains running true and takes the side to side slop out of the machine. The longer pins mate better against the fender washers (Shims) and the longer pins make it easier to drive them in.

6) Check and adjust the drive disc pulley end play. Looking at your picture, you can see the bolt and locknut on the belt side of the pulley. See if it moves back and forth, there should be near zero play there.

7) If after doing any or all of those repairs, you still can't get the 1/16” setting for the friction disc, the cause is all the incremental wear in the clutch assembly. Increasing the effective travel range of the friction disc will fix that. The goal is to get the friction disc in the same plane as the drive plate and not slipping under load, or engaging when it's not supposed to… Adding travel by grinding a little off the back side of the clutch handle solved my problem and has worked for years.

Good luck!
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oneacer and Catch-22, that is the plan on this one to add the grease zerk. On mine I didn't do it, just cleaned and put John Deere grease (Dad buys it by the box for the farm) inside and closed it back up. I do have Marine Grade grease as well so will do as you say with that.

And yes, once I got started I just kept going. While I was waiting for forum replies I took the axles out and then from there it said to split the snowblower but the drive mechanism came right out. Will get that front part out today yet and go from there.

Next thing is working on getting the parts ordered and I will replace the two drive chains as I did those on mine as well. I hope to have a little tighter system when done and an easier adjustment for that friction disk, time will tell. No snow here yet and my snowblower is working just fine so it will just be my sister and her husband shoveling haha. Thanks everyone.
 

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Well done! Even without the grease fitting in the differential, fresh grease will easily keep it lubricated until you feel like getting back at it.

Those old JDs are pretty much indestructible…look at the one you're working on, forty plus years of use and a few bits and pieces and it'll be like new.

Now if you want to talk about improving on the design (haha), I'll send you a part number and steps to replace the bronze fan bushing with a double-row ball-bearing flange bearing with a grease fitting… Much less drag, zero shaft play and (with the auger brake off) the fan / impeller spins like a wind chime.
 
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