READER: I have a John Deere 3032E tractor that has a leak from the pan gasket to the block. I have studied this leak for a while, and finally decided to fix it myself. I have worked on a lot of old tractors but not so many newer compact tractors. I thought I could just drop the pan and replace the gasket, but I found out that this tractor is not made that way. I realized I had to remove the front-wheel drive and drive shaft, and then remove the frame that the front-wheel drive is attached to. This includes all of the pieces up front -- radiator, hydraulic oil cooler, battery cables, wiring -- a lot of stuff. Next, the 20 or so cap screws that secure the frame to the oil pan. Then, a basket of oil pan bolts. Finally, don't forget the two long studs that have nuts on them that go through the center casting into the bottom of the oil pan. Is there a better way to fix this leak? Maybe a spray can of front wheel drive?
STEVE: Yes sir, it is almost like Deere uses the oil pan on this tractor as part of the structural design of this little beast of a compact tractor. You did everything exactly right to fix your oil pan leak. Without the proper stands, it is not a safe fix. I hope you have a big shop to scatter the tractor and all the different-sized metric bolts and nuts.
One tip on this fix: I have found it's a good idea to tighten the bottom two studded nuts first. This allows the back of the oil pan to seal the area around the rear engine oil seal and the oil pan. At least you did not have to spend a lot of money on parts -- one tube of gasket maker will do.
-- Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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