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 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro

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Crazy_Carl
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PostSubject: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:01 pm

Earlier this year in the spring my cousin gave to me his mother-in-law's LT160 with a deck where the spindle hit something and ripped the rusted sheet metal right from the deck and motor that hadn't ran in years and was almost seized up.  After turning the motor over with a ratchet handle and adding gas to the tank, it started up and ran great without a carb cleaning for once.  Although a hydro isn't anyone's first choice for a mud tractor, the tractor I thought was pretty well made with a strong front end, plated hardware, a factory double pulley clutch, factory steering stops on the spindles, effortless steering, a 16hp kohler motor and plenty of space around the factory 20" tires for bigger ones.  So I removed anything to do with the mower deck and went as far as to cut the part of the casting off the front axle that pulls the factory mower deck to gain ground clearance.  

My plan for this tractor ultimately is to be a mud tractor with a utility twist on it. I have future plans to build a front bumper with a 2" reciever and a custom hood that is also like an ATV rear rack turned 90 degrees to hold tools and materials for working on jobs at properties that I work on.

To get started I wanted to build a rear 2" receiver.  I had a 2" ATV receiver that I used to have on my Wheelhorse C-125.  I mounted it on the inferior factory hitch and realized I could re-purpose the now useless bagger bracket to weld to the reciever and bolt to the tractor's frame to make a very strong point to tow from.  I like the idea of using a reciever because it gives me the potential to switch between attachments like drawbars, five gallon bucket mount or winch.

In the town where I live I can get parts powder coated pretty cheap, so I sent my factory rims and rear receiver off to get rid of that yellow color.

When I received the rims back I mounted 22x12-8 Kenda K299 Bear Claws on the rear and 15x5-6 Carlisle Xtracs on the front.  This was one of the worst tire mounting struggles of my life.  My front rims were too wide and my rear rims were too narrow. So I pinched a front tube mounting the tire and had to do it again.  I also had to enlist my dad's help so I could stand on the sidewall of the rear tire while he worked the tire spoons.

I absolutely love these tires on this machine.  The great factory steering coupled with an open diff makes for amazing handling and manuvearability.  This tractor has gotten stuck only twice to date which really shows what a good investment the bear claws were.

I threw on a set of $15 LED lights from ebay.  They are very bright and make riding at night a blast.

I had to get rid of those yellow caps for the axles so I sourced black ones to match the rims.

I removed the factory engine pulley and put on a slightly larger engine pulley to gain a little more speed.  However, I have changed the oil in the hydro unit to full synthetic and it gets hot pretty quickly.  After one particularly long night of trail riding there was a lot of oil of the transaxle the next day that came out the vent the night before.

I did change the oil in that old engine and put on a brand new belt.

This is the only hydro I've ever had and yes I miss the dependability of gears, but you can just turn the key and drive this tractor one handed.  It's so easy to drive my four year old nephew drove it! This tractor was a hit at a memorial day party and a fourth of July party.  I was challenged to a drag race by a guy with a stock toro riding mower and I totally smoked him.  I've had great times driving this tractor through mud holes, up a switchback logging trail up to 2,200 ft elevation, romping around my yard, and moving trailers with ease with ease.




















That's one of my best friends riding my tractor.

I'm looking for anyone with experience with the tufftorque hydro unit that these john deeres come with.  I'm currently thinking that I need to put on a factory size engine pulley to keep the temperature down.

Also I think this Kohler needs a valve adjustment. Every other time I start it the starter can't turn it past the compression stroke, and when I shut the motor off I hear a funny tink that I think is coming from the top end.  I'm looking for advice on that.


Last edited by Crazy_Carl on Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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CraftsmanQuad19
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PostSubject: Re: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:19 pm

Well for starters, that is actually a LT166. I had a 133 and hated it. Had a foote 5 speed and a 13 horse kohler. Then there was a 155 in the same series that had a hydro and 15 horse briggs, then your 166. Not much difference that I am aware of other than the 133 is gear while the 155 and 166 are hydro, and engine size. Probably had a different hood on it when you got it since those bumper/hinges are known for breaking.
Good start on it though! A junkyard run for a gear driven transaxle would be a worthwhile investment
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PostSubject: Re: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:24 am

My Bad on the model number.  I never bothered taking the hood for this tractor because the plastic hinges were destroyed.  I also have a lot of pictures of model/serial number plates on my phone and got the model LT160 number tag for this tractor mixed up with my coworkers LT133 tag that I've worked on before.  Here's the correct model identification tag for my tractor



That aside,  I definitely need to keep eye out for a geared transaxle for this tractor.  It would make a awesome future upgrade.
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PostSubject: Re: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:39 am

Sounds like it does need the valves adjusted and that it has too much compression when you try to turn it over. I'm not sure if those engines has the compression release or not to help with starting it but I had a Kohler motor where it would do exactly what you're saying and the compression release was broken off. I'd also check to see if your engine turns over then hits the compression stroke, kind of slows down the spins fast the second half. If it's doing that I'd look at the starter making sure it's good and has a good connection and that your battery is good. (sorry for the long comment)
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Crazy_Carl
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PostSubject: Re: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:02 am

TN_Murray no need to apologize for the long comment because if you haven't noticed from my posts I love talking about tractors and I'm very passionate about them. I wish I knew about ATLTF years ago and wish I joined sooner.

This tractor has about 550 hours on it. The battery right now is brand new in it because I robbed the almost year old battery to put in my C-81 and put a new one in this.

Last night it turned over great when my girlfriend took it for a ride.

It's definitely on my winter project list to pull the valve cover off, inspect things and double check the starter connections as you suggest.
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PostSubject: Re: 1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro   Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:55 pm

If you have any more questions about it feel free to ask I'm not an expert but I try to answer most any bodys questions if I have the proper knowledge in it. Definitely a great base to build a monster of a mower out of
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1999 John Deere LT160 Hydro
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