L5450 - 4wd problem, removing propeller shaft cover

OliG

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May 6, 2021
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Quebec, Canada
Hello everyone,

New member of the Kubota family here, as I just bought a new to me L5450 from 1994! I'm basically a newbee when it comes to tractors, having only owned a small garden tractor so far... This one is in a different class!

Tractor is in good shape and everything seems to work as it should, except 4wd. The last owner told me he never fixed or diagnosed the problem as he never really needed the additionnal traction... maybee true, maybee not, but I got what I think to be a good deal on it around here so I took it anyway. It runs fine in 2wd.

I intend to use the tractor on our wood lot in muddy trails so I would of course appreciate the added traction of the 4wd if possible... I read than similars problems on kubota are often caused by a stripped coupling linking the transmission to the propeller shaft or the propeller shaft to the front axle, wich would be, it seems, an easy and innexpensive fix. So I went to remove the propeller shaft cover first, but it is blocked by what appears to be a cross member for added strenght to the loader (wich is a LA1150). This piece is quite intimidating, held by 8 big nuts and maybee 3/4" thick metal. See attached image.

I bought the service manual thinking maybee it would explain how to work around or remove this piece, but there is no mention of it, the manual simply says to remove the propeller shaft cover... Wich basically confirms that this part is from the loader assembly. My question is then, is it the correct approach / safe to remove this part to then remove the shaft cover? The shaft cover doesnt appear to be telescopic as many I've seen while searching.


Thanks for the help!
 

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rbargeron

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Hello Olig - and welcome to OTT and to the L5450 fan club !! I never stop bragging about these tractors.

Removing the brace on the loader should be a simple (and safe) unbolt. Might need to loosen one side frame's bolts 1 turn to "free" the brace - see attached parts drawings. The shaft cover also unbolts and drops down, exposing the shaft and splined couplings, etc. There are snap rings and threaded collars on the shaft (I think - never had one apart!) Let us know what you find.

BTW Kubota's parts lists are here. Often they are better than the WSM for showing the details.

Take care, Dick B
 

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OliG

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Hello Dick,

thanks for the answer, I will try to remove the shaft today to see if the couplings are the cause. If not I will leave the shaft out until I fix it (or get it fixed) to not cause further damage. I'll let you know what I find :)

Otherwise yeah I really like the tractor and, even if I did not compare to many others, I can can clearly see that it is built to last!

Do you happens to know a place where I could pay and get the pdf version of the operator manual? Found some paper versions online but would like to download to read it now...
 

rbargeron

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Hi Olig, sorry - I'm not aware of a downloadable owner's manual.

About your front-wheel-drive, take a look at the attached pdf's of the 4WD engagement parts. Does the lever seem to operate ok? If it seems loose or if motion is blocked it may be part of the problem.

When you have the front shaft down, if the problem isn't in the couplings, try moving the lever 110 to see if it feels like its moving fork 010 back and forth inside. (you'll know by whether the driving shaft will turn easily or be locked engaged)

The service manual is unfortunately silent on the 4WD lever, fork, and sliding coupling. In pics on pages S.3-13, S.3-17 and S.3-18, its the lowest of the 3 shafts. On S.3-17 the 4wd shift fork is the black area in the lower right of the 3rd pic down. The parts drawings show it, including coupling 170 that slides forward to engage 4WD.

As is often true, access to the inside for service requires the tractor to be separated (split), in this case just ahead of the 4WD lever. Not a huge job, but it may explain why it has been avoided before now. Hopefully you'll find something easier to fix on the outside.

Good luck, Dick
 

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OliG

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May 6, 2021
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Quebec, Canada
Hello,

I finally had time to go under to remove the loader brace, but stopped when removing the 2 bottoms hex bolts (100 in the loader part diagram) because as soon as I freed the first one, a generous flow of oil poured down... It appears that one of theses bolts is also used as plug in the oil pan. Do I get this correctly : it replace the 110 plug on the attached diagram, so in order to remove the brace to access the shaft I need to change the engine oil?

The last owner changed the filter and the oil just before selling me the tractor, so that kind of a waste. Not having the owner manual bugs me a bit as I dont even know what kind of oil goes in this engine and how many quarts... Any place I could find this info?

Many thanks!
 

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GeoHorn

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I’m not going to be as helpful as rebargeron, but I’m pretty certain the loader frame DOES NOT involve the sump drains. Drains are not structural and would not be used to support a loader.
It sounds as if you’ve mistaken which studs/bolts to remove.
 

OliG

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May 6, 2021
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Hello,

I agree it does not make any sense, after looking again at the part manual, the drain plug is more at front than the loader brace.

I'm sure that I need to remove theses 2 bolts to remove the brace though... I just dont get why there is oil coming out of there... I'll just try again and see if it was just a small quantity in the metal post, I tighthen it back quickly when oil poured so maybee it was almost over...

I will let you know what happens!
 

rbargeron

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I just looked under my rig - those two bolts go through the bottom of the flywheel housing. Its the next housing behind the engine block.

The flywheel housing is intended to run dry. But if the transmission front seal or engine rear seal is leaking, the oil would collect in the flywheel housing. The the 100 bolts are threaded through, so any collected oil will drain out if removed. On some Kubotas there's a fitting down there to get rid of any seepage. (see next post)

The pto clutch would slip/chatter if running immersed in oil, but it might return to normal once the oil's been drained out for a while. When the machine is running again leave one of the 100 bolts out and notice if it continues to drip, and whether the pto works ok. Then you can decide whether to fix it or ignore it until you know more about the tractor. Take care, Dick B

p.s. see L5450 fluids and capacities attached :geek:
 

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rbargeron

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On some Kubotas there is a bottom plug on the clutch/flywheel housing with a loose pin to let any seepage leak out. There's usually very little oil there. But if there's no way to get out, a little can become a lot over 27 years !
 

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OliG

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Hello!

First, thanks a lot rbargeron for the L5450 fluids and capacities, I will keep this in my files for sure!

Finally got the shaft cover removed. The oil problem when unbolting the brace was minor after all, when I loosen the same bolt again only a couple drops of oil came out, so it emptied the first time and I guesstimate that maybee 100 ml came out. As you say, that little over 27 years is marginal...

Now seeiing the driving shaft, I could do the basic diagnostic while lifting a front tire and spinning it that the problem is in the region of the front axle. If I turn the wheel while 4wd is engaged, the driving shaft is not moving, and I can hear a faint sound of gears touching each other at constant intervals. If 4wd is not engaged, I can spin the driving shaft by hand easely, but I can't turn it at all if 4WD is engaged.

Next step is now to remove the driving shaft hoping that the front coupling will be stripped, and that I wont need to remove and open the front differential...

So I guess the good news is that it wont require a full split at transmission :)

Let me know what you think, and thanks again for the help, it is more than welcome!
 

rbargeron

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Hello!

First, thanks a lot rbargeron for the L5450 fluids and capacities, I will keep this in my files for sure!

Finally got the shaft cover removed. The oil problem when unbolting the brace was minor after all, when I loosen the same bolt again only a couple drops of oil came out, so it emptied the first time and I guesstimate that maybee 100 ml came out. As you say, that little over 27 years is marginal...

Now seeiing the driving shaft, I could do the basic diagnostic while lifting a front tire and spinning it that the problem is in the region of the front axle. If I turn the wheel while 4wd is engaged, the driving shaft is not moving, and I can hear a faint sound of gears touching each other at constant intervals. If 4wd is not engaged, I can spin the driving shaft by hand easely, but I can't turn it at all if 4WD is engaged.

Next step is now to remove the driving shaft hoping that the front coupling will be stripped, and that I wont need to remove and open the front differential...

So I guess the good news is that it wont require a full split at transmission :)

Let me know what you think, and thanks again for the help, it is more than welcome!
You're on a good path now - glad to help. I like helping new owners of the L3 machines (L3350, L3750, L4150, L4350, L4850 and L5450) These machines are where Kubota proved their quality and earned their market share in the US. They aren't fancy - but are bulletproof and last a very long time.

How many hours on this one? Got any pics?
 

OliG

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May 6, 2021
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Hello,

I might be lucky after all as the front coupling linking the propeller shaft to the front axle is stripped smooth on the axle side. After taking out the shaft and spinning the front wheel, the pinion shaft is moving accordingly to the movement of the wheel, so I assume that the missing link is indeed the coupling! I will go to the nearest kubota dealer tomorow hoping they have the coupling to confirm it will restore the 4WD... Fingers crossed!

You can see in the attached pictures the coupling and the tractor itself! It is not new with over 4000 hours, but I hope it will gives me many years of service. I'm planning to add a full lenght skid plate under it to protect from forest environnement, and to weld a front mesh on the front grill. I already ordered a new cab air filter, a new seat and a missing read window. It has more rust than I care to admit, but I will eventually restore it if all mechanical is sound. It came with a nice Laurin cab, a snowblower, quick attach bucket, a pair of forks and a hydraulic snow plow.

I'll tel you know if the new coupling fix the 4WD!

Thanks
 

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rbargeron

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Wow - what a great find! As Garrison Keillor would say, as time goes on you'll come to realize you have the exact machine you'd have wanted all along, had you known.
Congratulations - Dick B.
 

rbargeron

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Jul 6, 2015
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Hello,

I might be lucky after all as the front coupling linking the propeller shaft to the front axle is stripped smooth on the axle side. After taking out the shaft and spinning the front wheel, the pinion shaft is moving accordingly to the movement of the wheel, so I assume that the missing link is indeed the coupling! I will go to the nearest kubota dealer tomorow hoping they have the coupling to confirm it will restore the 4WD... Fingers crossed!

You can see in the attached pictures the coupling and the tractor itself! It is not new with over 4000 hours, but I hope it will gives me many years of service. I'm planning to add a full lenght skid plate under it to protect from forest environnement, and to weld a front mesh on the front grill. I already ordered a new cab air filter, a new seat and a missing read window. It has more rust than I care to admit, but I will eventually restore it if all mechanical is sound. It came with a nice Laurin cab, a snowblower, quick attach bucket, a pair of forks and a hydraulic snow plow.

I'll tel you know if the new coupling fix the 4WD!

Thanks
I noticed the splined coupling (part 32580-44310) is a bit different on these tractors - it's slightly bigger than other models - and has a seal (part 32580-44320). I doubt you'll find a local dealer with either part in stock - so I checked Messick's. They have several of the couplings - but only 2 of the seals. If I were you I'd snap up a coupling and both seals before they become extinct.

Grease it all well when going back together ! Take care, Dick B
 

OliG

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May 6, 2021
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Hello,

Well, I'm quite happy to report that the new coupling actually restored the 4wd function! I raise my hat to Kubota engineers for designing thoses softer couplings that takes the hit, preventing more expensives parts of the drivetrain to be damaged... Very clever.

The process was very smooth at the dealer, they didn't had the part in stock but ordered it and I got it 2 working days later. I asked if they still have many parts availables for older tractor like mine and they said that a lot is still available, wich is nice to know.

I cleaned everything and greased the couplings before putting it back together. Front wheel no longer turns freely when 4wd is engaged, and I also lifted both tires off the ground with the loader, and both wheels spins when going backward. Looks good to me, can't wait to try it on muddy forest trails :)

Still need to buid a skid plate before putting it to work...

Thanks for the help!
 

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rbargeron

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Congratulations! Great outcome. You have a lot of tractor there - should last many years.

A skid plate will add weight down low (good for stability with the cab's weight up high) - but might cause some issues of its own. Another L3 fan down south got a L5450 a few years back that had a full skid plate - he said it reduced ground clearance - and it made oil changes and linkage adjustments more difficult. If I can find his contact info I'll pm you with it. Take care - Dick B
 
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Russell King

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You may want to verify the front and rear tire size are correct size since they may have been changed over the years. The rolling circumference ratio is important to maintain on 4wd tractors
 

rbargeron

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You may want to verify the front and rear tire size are correct size since they may have been changed over the years. The rolling circumference ratio is important to maintain on 4wd tractors
EDIT: In post 19 below OliG has posted the actual tire sizes on his tractor. I believe they are right for the L5450 gearing.

The terms "Transference Ratio" and "Inter-Axle Ratio" address the whole lead/lag 4wd thing. The question is how much difference is best. On tractors with "front wheel assist" 2-6% front "lead" is common practice.

From the parts lists its possible to follow the gearing from the rear drive pinion to the front axles - for the L5450 the Transference Ratio calculates at 1.508 : 1 (front axle turns faster). This can then be applied to the rolling circumferences of the actual front and rear rubber to get the effective Inter-Axle ratio. For this thread's L5450 with R1 rubber, its around 1.04 (front pulling). That's a good ratio, not outside the "skwirm" tolerance for most tires. Its still a good idea to take it out of 4wd on pavement.

Pretty interesting subject - especially finding every bevel and planetary gear tooth count in your model so you can calculate it. Sometimes the owner's manuals publish it. See post #20
for more details..... Dick B.
 
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OliG

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I just had a look at tires sizes, the R1 are :
16.9-28
11.2R20

I also got a turf tires set in the bundle, the sizes are :
21.5L-16.1SL
29x12.50-15NHS

I tought I had the correct ratio as TractorData List the sames diameters for the R1 tires in the L5450 specs, but you have me doubting if the part catalog list rear tires at 16.9-24 instead of 28...

How can I verify that the rolling circumference ratio is ok for both tires sets I got?

I do not intend to keep the turfs tires, but if I sell them I dont want the next owner to run into trouble because of them...

Thanks again for your help!

EDIT :
I just found in the online parts manual that rear tires are indead 16.9-28, So I guess my ag tires are ok?
 
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rbargeron

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Here's the way to verify: The front R1's being 11.2 inches wide means they are 9.5" tall from the bead. The aspect ratio for ag tires, height-to-width, has been 85% for years - it isn't usually stated in the size designation (like in car tires). So your front tires' diameter is 39" and multiplying by 3.142 the rolling circumference is 122.5"

The L5450's gearing produces a "transference ratio" of 1.508, meaning the front axles turn 1.508 turns for each turn of the rear axle. Multiplying the rolling circumference 122.5" by 1.508 gives a figure of 185" This is the theoretical distance the front axle tries to move during one revolution of the rear axle.

However the rear tires are (16.9)(.85) = 14.36" tall from the bead. So the tire's diameter is 28" + 14.36" + 14.36" = 56.73" and the rolling circumference is (56.73)(3.142) = 178.23" - a slightly smaller distance.

Dividing these two theoretical travel distances by each other shows your R1's are rolling with the fronts trying to go 3.8% further than the rears. (The "Inter-Axle Ratio" would be described as 1.04)

The important number here is the 1.508 "transference ratio" of the L5450's gearing. Other Kubota models are likely similar, but the precise number is unique to the chassis gearing.

Figuring your turfs is the same process. Measure their diameters, then multiply the smaller one by 1.508 and divide it by the larger one. The result should be within 6 percent. If the difference is greater, they will steer goofy or wear drive shaft couplings sooner, but its not a major concern - especially on grass ;) Take care, Dick B
 
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