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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > John Deere Gator Forum

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 04-23-2017, 08:34 Post: 196553
Cheapsnake



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

Just picked up a 6x4 with a totally toast engine, almost zero compression. Rebuilds on these engines doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'm also seeing a lot of issues with the cooling systems. So I'm considering swapping out the original engine for Harbor Freight's 22HP Predator, which I hear a lot of good things about. Aside from being a solid engine with plenty of power, the elimination of the cooling system vastly simplifies things.

I know I'm not the first to consider this swap, so I'd like to hear from anyone who's done it, the successes as well as the horror stories. Thanks.






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 04-23-2017, 10:30 Post: 196555
6x4gator



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

The engine on my 20+ year old 6x4 started leaking last season, just Friday the oil pressure light came on and stays on. Level on the dip stick is just above full. I ordered replacement sensor hoping that solves the warning light problem. I know the engine needs attention but I'd rather put a new one in than spending probably double to rebuild the existing one.
I don't think the Predator solves a cooling issue. It being air cooled, sticking it in the confined space under the bed might have it's own cooling issues. You'd probably need to mount an electric fan at rear to move air under the bed.






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 04-24-2017, 11:59 Post: 196566
Trainpilot



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

I am still in the process of completing the installation of a Harbor Predator v-twin into a Kawi Mule 2610. The machine is now operational, but I still need to adjust belt tension (aka center length) and re-install the bed.

I replaced a very tired v-twin gas engine. The OE engine has a splined shaft, so I was not able to re-use original clutch. I purchased a new Comet 780 from Las Vegas Carts--easy to deal with.

I cannot yet speak to the charging output, but so far it seems more than adequate to keep battery charged for starting. I am going to have to lift the bed about 3-3/4" as I am using the new engine's factory air cleaner and the installed height is about that much higher.

A couple of notes: the HF motor has a 1" crank. there is a shoulder on the inboard side that keeps the new clutch farther away from the side case than necessary. I was tempted to free-machine (with grinder) this shoulder off, but elected instead to space the driven clutch out about the same amount to obtain belt alignment, as the driveshaft to front axle is very close to the other side of the engine.

My initial impression of the engine is positive. It came with two extra sets of jets for high altitude. I measured, with a wire drill, the original sea level jets, and drilled out the highest altitude jets one-size larger. It has been my experience that factory jetting on almost all new EPA/CARB engines is too lean.

The engine starts easily and is very responsive off-idle. I did not run it with stock jets, but saved them just in case. The muffler that came with the engine had exhaust pointing forward. I cut the stub off and welded that end shut. Then I drilled a hole in other side and welded a pipe, which I slotted with a cut-off wheel, into it. This seems to work very well, as the muffler is pretty symmetrical inside.

I used a piece of 1/2" plate as an engine mounting plate. I cut slots into it, but need still to extend them a bit farther forward to remove a bit of slack in the belt. I will try to post pictures, as the engine will have to come out again to lengthen the slots. If I had it all to do over again, I might purchase the high-performance single Honda clone from Las Vegas carts. 26hp and a higher safe redline, and a much smaller package. The HF engine is pretty big-a tight fit.

If one is replacing a diesel engine with a Honda clone, the cart people sell a pulley that mounts inside of the primary clutch that would drive an alternator. I will try to answer specific questions as they arise.






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 04-25-2017, 20:39 Post: 196593
Cheapsnake



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

Having to raise the bed is pretty extreme, but compactness is not one of the Predator's strong suits. From my rough calculations, it'll be a tight fit in the Gator, but should fit with a few mods and new mounting plate. Again, height is likely to be the critical dimension.






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 04-26-2017, 11:43 Post: 196603
Trainpilot



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

In the case of the Mule, raising the bed seemed easier than doing the extensive mods to the subframe that the engine and trans. mount to, or to fabricating a hookup to the Mule's excellent air filter system. Should also provide better breathing for cooling. If you need suggestions for wiring, let me know. I used a Bosch-type relay (common, inexpensive, and reliable) to switch the ground for the kill switch function. It's a simple circuit, and the relays are available at any NAPA store. This enables one to use a circuit that is powered, i.e. fuel pump, to keep a relay open. When the power is switched off, the relay closes and completes the grounding circuit to shut off engine ignition. I'll try to get some pics up today, as i picked up material for bed lift. I also relocated oil cooler to fan inlet, as there is not much clearance between that side of the engine and the transmission. I don't think the cooler will restrict air flow, as I had to remove the stock screen for additional clearance. I replaced the stock screen with hardware cloth to keep fingers, leaves, critters out of housing.






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 05-06-2017, 19:27 Post: 196669
Cheapsnake



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

Update, I pulled the heads and the cylinders look great, so unless I find a surprise when I break the cases open, it looks like a re-ring and bearing job. At this point, the HF engine looks less attractive. Now if I could only get that #%$*&^ clutch off.






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 05-07-2017, 18:24 Post: 196676
Trainpilot



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

I replaced the primary clutch on our diesel 6 x 4 gator. I had to take it off in little pieces it was impossible to get that thing off. While you are in the engine I would check to make sure that your camshaft has the metal gear on it. If it has a plastic gear, it's a time bomb. You might google water method for removing clutch. I watched a u-tube on it. Developed by sledders I think. Teflon tape, a bolt that fits big threads on clutch and water is all it takes. I think you have to lay engine on its side. Good luck!






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 05-07-2017, 18:52 Post: 196677
Cheapsnake



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

Train, you totally described the problem with my engine. When I finally got my clutch off (more on this later) and opened up the case, it jumped right out at me-the plastic cam gear has about a half dozen teeth missing. Hard to understand why a piece of plastic wouldn't hold up in those conditions??? Anyway, I'm going to roll the dice and assume the new (steel) gear will be my fix. The cylinders appear 100%, not a surefire indicator of good rings, but close enough for me.

As for the clutch removal, I did a search and found the link below. It's a very simple trick and requires a total investment of about a buck and a half for a 9/16" or M14 bolt (almost identical, bnelieve it or not) You really have to reef on the bolt, but just about the time you think it's not going to work the thing comes off with a bang. Good luck..






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 05-08-2017, 11:41 Post: 196679
Trainpilot



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

I think you're in luck. If yours went as mine did, you're going to need a few valve pushrods in addition to the new cam and gaskets. Mine ran for years after replacing the cam. I was able to replace mine without removing the engine. I'm guessing yours is out by now. If everything else inside is good, you might think about changing the crank seals on both sides, or just on the cover you have off. Quite a few of those engines have had head gasket problems--mostly because the cooling system hadn't been bled properly. (That's why I got my mule cheap) There's an old trick for resurfacing heads on your own: Use sandpaper sheets and a piece of glass or something very smooth and flat. I'd probably start with 320 and go up to maybe 600. Place the head on the sandpaper (sandpaper on the glass) and move the head around in a random swirling pattern. After doing this even briefly, you'll be able to see if the head is warped by looking at the sanding marks. Can't hurt, and a little more compression could be a side benefit. I'm guessing if the rest of your engine is as good as you say, you'll get years more out of it. I did.






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 05-08-2017, 20:13 Post: 196681
Cheapsnake



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 6x4 engine rebuild vsHarbor Freight 22HP

I've got a full gasket set coming, not sure if it includes the CS seals, but worth a check. The engine didn't appear to be leaking at the seals, but after mucking around with it, who knows what I did to screw them up. Thanks for the tip on the head resurfacing. It shall be done.






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