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Author Topic: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?  (Read 1126 times)

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Offline tjjackson17

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1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« on: September 18, 2020, 06:30:18 PM »
Hello, hopefully somebody out there can give me a direction to look on what we have going on here exactly. We've got a '71 440A that, although not the tightest, cleanest, or prettiest machine out there, was the most dependable skidder I believe was around in my area.
That being said, code word being 'was', let's give you some insight to our problem we've currently got going on.
My father in law was running it out in the woods here just a few months back and he later noted to me that he noticed that the transmission wasn't quite shifting like it should but otherwise, all was well. He's plugging along and just pushing around brush because at almost 70 years old, he just really likes to play more than get any work done. But as he was mozing about really just wasting everyone's time, it just came to a dead, screeching stop. Nothing.
Engine is locked up tighter than anything we've ever seen before. Initially, we had thought maybe he had got it hot and had ran it out of water. But that thought was quickly nipped in the butt because upon my husband tearing into this machine, coolant ran out of the water pump and radiator. So no, not out of water.
I made a call to Craig Andoe (Wonderful, wonderful, very helpful guy, by the way) who is the service manager down at Warrior Tractor in Alabama. With absolutely next to zero insight into anything characteristic of my day, he proceeds to start jumping into troubleshooting with "Has it rained in the last 24 hours?" upon which I just had to pause for a long moment before telling him that it was currently torrential downpour outside. And the exhaust is nowhere near sealed up nice and tight and spews diesel exhaust in your face the entire time you run the machine.
He makes the call that he believes water was sitting on top of the pistons and had it hydro-locked. I thanked him and relayed the message to my husband.
My husband does not buy into this because he tells me that not even with a four foot steel pipe on a wrench can you manage to budge this engine even a fraction of an inch.
This machine was perfect on its oil level and was not out or even low on water.
My husband pulled the injectors and tried to go Craig's way of troubleshooting and that didn't lead us anywhere at all whatsoever.
My husband pulled the oil pan and he did recover this though we have no clue what it is exactly nor do we have a clue where it came from or where it really should be. It simply reads .25 Fe .25 on both sides of it.
So if anybody could give me a clue or a direction or a freaking sign, it would be very much appreciated.  


Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 07:37:04 PM »
Donít know what your piece is you found but thereís lots that needs to be covered. Is clutch free? Hydraulic pump free? Pull the injectors? What makes you think itís the engine internals? Will it rock back and forth with the pry bar? 

Offline tjjackson17

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2020, 09:08:28 PM »
not too sure about the clutch being free but yes, we've pulled the injectors and the front pump has been disconnected from the engine entirely. My husband said it doesn't budge not even an inch in either direction, not even with a four foot long pipe prying on it. 

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2020, 10:45:41 PM »
 When he dropped the pan did he look in the bottom end ? Pop the valve cover off and see if anything looks out of place or a higher... or missing.... 🤔 if everything else is disconnected you can rule this out pretty quick, my bets you've broken a gear and jammed pieces in the front cover or worst case mated a piston to a dropped valve.. Barring on it with FORCE without checking isnt helping you now and may only make it worse. What engine does an A have ? 4-239 ?

Offline mike_belben

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2020, 11:03:31 PM »
Make sure it isnt in two gears at once, that will lock it as you say.  I assume its a manual trans and i hope you can pull the top cover without pulling trans out.  My guess is the shifter has slid out of a worn fork notch. This will allow more than one sliding clutch to mate with its partner gear, so the one shaft will be in two ratios at once which cant be done.  It'll bind or shatter.



Push clutch and try to roll the engine over.  If it turns your problem is in the trans.  If not pull driveshafts and turn the yokes on the trans with the clutch depressed.  If it turns, pull the engine.  

Psalm 37:16

Offline tjjackson17

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2020, 01:22:28 AM »
It's not the original engine in the skidder. I believe it is a 4219D because of having decoded the serial number on the little plate on the side of the motor years ago. But now the serial number has done been plumb worn off of the plate. I do know that my husband said that when they swapped the motor out, it was the upgraded, beefed up 440 motor that has somewhere in the 100HP range. 
It is a powershift transmission. And I do know from having ran the machine myself frequently up until it quit, it was not getting all 8 forward gears. I believe it was only getting between 4-6 of the gears when you were shifting. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2020, 06:59:57 AM »
A powershift can also apply pressure to two planetaries at the same time when the shift selector valve pins, detents and links gets very worn.  It needs the shift spool to be in forward or reverse.  Worn control parts will sort of let it drift over to the "both" position and a huge bang and massive jerk will result when the freewheeling planet inside get engage pressure while the other is also engaged. My dozer did it when i got it.    

Now, with engine off this should all unlock.  If he experienced what i described, something in the trans may have shattered. Its a very violent jerk, like a small car accident you dont see coming.


I suspect trans over engine because there really isnt much in a motor you can break where it wont roll a little in atleast one direction.  Pretty often you can still run with broken rods and even crankshafts, if they dont punch through the block, it just sounds terrible.  Guy i knew won his pulling class with a mushed piston by pulling plug and valvesprings and tacking the stems up.  A really stuck motor like that i just dont see.  But fragging a shaft inside a bearing or spewing trash into a planet, yes. Lockup.
Psalm 37:16

Offline snowstorm

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2020, 07:59:06 AM »
the first thing to do would have been push the clutch and see if the motor is free. rear planetary if that breaks that will lock it up. same thing with some parts failure in the trans. that 4219 motor came in the 440 a and b. b was turbo nothing high hp about it. 70 hp. 440 c had a 276 same 70 hp unless it was in a 540 then it was more. with clutch pushed try baring the motor over if it turns its in the trans or rears.  

Offline snowstorm

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2020, 08:10:31 AM »
now that i see its power shift 440. just junk it. i owned a 440 for 40 yrs and worked on many. and there were a lot of 440's up here i have only seen a couple that were power shift. that trans may have been used in a back hoe. parts have been extinct for 45 yrs. the syncro range trans was much better. on the power shift that should have a hand clutch to release the engine clutch. clutch petal releases clutch packs in trans

Offline teakwood

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2020, 11:01:02 AM »
If it's a powershift there should be a big hand lever for disconnecting the engine from the rest, left side of the steering wheel , at least in my 540A it's like that
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Offline tjjackson17

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2020, 02:53:06 PM »
Now that you mention the planetary, we did change the entire rear end out of it about two years ago and put one in out of a 1969 440 Syncro that we have sitting around for parts. But that could be a good starting point as well to look because I know that at the beginning of this year, we did have some problems with the rear end again. 
We have also got a 540B/D mutant that we purchased four years ago and only got to run for 6 months. We have no idea what to even call that machine. It has a 4045T in it that did run great but ran away from us one day and we ended up having to completely rebuild the motor and it has only had maybe 10 hours ran on it since that was even done. The hydraulics just started to quit. Got super slow and sluggish no matter how high you had the engine revved up. I tore into it one day while the hubby was asleep. I've since completely rebuilt just about all of the hydraulics on it. I took the cab off and pulled just about every single valve off and rebuilt them. Still no hydraulics on it now that it is back together. Engine starts right up and runs like a top but don't get a single bit of movement from anything hydraulic in it and that's even after we've put a brand new, larger charge pump in the tranni and all. 
My husband is going to try and see if the engine is free with the clutch pushed in whenever he gets home. And the clutch disconnect level hasn't been hooked up for probably 20 years. 

Offline Solo33

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2021, 02:54:12 PM »
What was the verdict? Ever get it figured out?
I know I was born and I know I will die, the in between is mine, I am mine

Offline Rooney43

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Re: 1971 John Deere 440A Locked Up while Running?!?!?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2021, 07:27:49 PM »
To anybody wondering that FE 25 picture is an adhesive wheel weight to balance tires.


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