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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm the recent recipient of what I think is an early 2000's Deere Trail Gator, 4x2 model with dump bed. It's got plenty of cosmetic rust, but the engine, transmission and general drive train is in good shape. I've been trying to decode the details on this unit for awhile, but the manufacturer's tag on the rear of the unit is long gone. The Kawasaki engine carries a model number of FE290D-ES26, which appears to be a hard to come by engine model for manuals. Additionally the transmission has a stamped serial number of 048737.

Owners and operators, with this info what can you tell me about this unit, or additional resources that might be out there to assist in determining the model number, serial number, and model year? Are there areas on this unit that are stamped with the serial number that are out of sight?

Thanks in advance
 

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Find out what carb brand it is to go to the Kawasaki motor if it a 2 barrel or one the plate should be on by side and a second one usually under front hood or somewhere under bed if you find Numbers on parts write them down JD is good to have oem parts nothing can be remanufactured Parts match easy part numbers to the model you have. And you'll find year man tag should be on side not in the back
 

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Hello,

I'm the recent recipient of what I think is an early 2000's Deere Trail Gator, 4x2 model with dump bed. It's got plenty of cosmetic rust, but the engine, transmission and general drive train is in good shape. I've been trying to decode the details on this unit for awhile, but the manufacturer's tag on the rear of the unit is long gone. The Kawasaki engine carries a model number of FE290D-ES26, which appears to be a hard to come by engine model for manuals. Additionally the transmission has a stamped serial number of 048737.

Owners and operators, with this info what can you tell me about this unit, or additional resources that might be out there to assist in determining the model number, serial number, and model year? Are there areas on this unit that are stamped with the serial number that are out of sight?

Thanks in advance
Check on the rear of frame near the hitch plate for a placard or under the passenger seat for the PIN ( product identification number ) which will help with the Date of Manufacture. In regard to the model number your Gator is known as simply a 4x2 Trail.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had the opportunity to take a few photos today. Not a sticker to be seen on this thing. I did find a stamped serial number (I think) under the passenger seat, but can only gather a partial number because of surface damage.
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If you call your dealership with the transmission serial number, they should be able to give you the Date of Manufacture of the Gator.

Additionally if you go to eparts.shop you can purchase a set of new direct fit seats for $140.00 delivered. When you contact eparts ask for Brandon Neal and mention that you want the Gator Forums discount.
 

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Thank you for the idea about the transmission serial. Armed with that info I called my local dealer and had a great conversation with them. They were able to tell me everything from the purchase date (10/20/1998) to the manufactured serial number, and the fact that this model has had a replacement engine installed at some point, as the engine serial number does not match the dealer's purchase records. My engine is the fe290d-es26, rather than the more common -a series i see on a lot of 4x2 models.

Next up, get some penetrating oil to set in over several days and applications to help get the rear drive wheels off. There's about 1000 yards of baling twine bound around the axle on either side. Plenty of rust on the wheels and bolts has me concerned, but we'll cross that bridge in a few days.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Some fresh photos to show you from today. I was able to remove the rear wheels without breaking any bolts. Upon removal, I discovered the following bound around the axles. On the passenger side, there was a long piece of woven wire fence also bound in the baling twine. An hour of removal labor and the passenger side is now clean. On to the driver's side tomorrow sometime. Fingers crossed that the wheel bearings survive this maintenance disaster. Anyone with much experience on wheel bearing replacement? Any tips or tricks to it?
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Thanks for posting the pictures to gain a better understanding of how much twine and wire were wrapped around the wheel hub.

Good luck with the rest of the repair.
 

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All of the twine is finally unwound, but I've discovered that the rear passenger side wheel bearing is bad, as in, only has three ball bearings in it bad. The driver's side looks and feels intact. I found the part number for the replacement bearing, AM116934 -any advice on replacing the wheel bearings on a 4x2?
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If both sides share a common lube source, I'd change out both bearings. I'll also assume you'll be replacing any lip seals during the process.

Sometime a small amount (50-100F) of temperature differential between parts can make assembly go much easier.
 

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The Trail Gator is back in business four wheel bearings later. During the replacement process I ended up with four distinctly different bearing removal situations. One full bearing stuck on an axle, an inner race stuck on the other axle, an outer race stuck inside the passenger side wheel casing, and a full bearing stuck inside the driver's side wheel casing. Some wood blocks, some heat, diamond-tipped Dremel cutting discs, a hammer, and a long cold chisel and all of the bearings and bearing pieces came off cleanly.

New bearings are in place, the rear tires are mounted on new wheels, and I'm now a transmission and oil change away from hitting the road again.

The dump bed is a different situation. The floor of the bed is rusted through (due to many years of hauling fertilizer) but the frame is solid. I'm on the hunt for a replacement bed or a way to get this one welded.
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All of the twine is finally unwound, but I've discovered that the rear passenger side wheel bearing is bad, as in, only has three ball bearings in it bad. The driver's side looks and feels intact. I found the part number for the replacement bearing, AM116934 -any advice on replacing the wheel bearings on a 4x2? View attachment 13558
Do these models have no brakes on the rear?
 

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New headlight lenses, lights, and a toggle button are installed in the Trail Gator, as well as a new badge on the front end. The hood and fenders are pretty UV damaged, but they polished up fairly well.

Still on the lookout for new seats. Brandon at eparts.shop indicated his seats would be in stock in mid-July.

I found a taker on the dump bed. The welding students at the local community college are going to take in on as a project this fall. I'm excited to see how it turns out. In the meantime, I think I'm going to engineer a wooden covering for the engine using the specifications of the dump bed.
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This is my final post to this thread, providing a closeout of the work performed to this point and a couple of before and after photos. I replaced a lot of parts on this Trail Gator, but was lucky to have received it in good mechanical condition. The drive train remains in good working order and was only in need of an engine oil and transmission oil flush and fill.

There are still some deep rust issues with the frame, so in part I feel blessed to have gotten this one cheap so as to 'practice' on one before I purchase another one in the future. I know feel like I know what to look out for and be aware of.

I purchased new headlights and bulbs, new wheels for the rear, changed the oil filter, spark plug, and air filter with the oil change, and of course the wheel bearings. For those looking to replace your headlight lenses, I learned that new lenses come shipped with a headlight bulb already populated--no need to purchase a bulb separately. The lower bolts that hold the wheel casings to the frame were rusted so badly I also needed to replace them--two on each side for a total of four. The ignition was zip-tied in place, but only needed the knurled nut to secure it in place. I bought a new badge for the front and a new badge for the indicator panel, along with new bulbs for the panel and a new switch for the headlights. And of course new seats. I purchased a pair of seats from Northern Tool for a total of $169.38 including tax and shipping. All of my OEM parts came courtesy of Green Farm Parts - John Deere OEM Parts & Accessories Online Store.

I manufactured the bed shown below from some scrap 1x lumber on the farm while I await the results of the community college metal fab/welding project on the VERY rusted bed.

This is a great online community. Enjoy your time outdoors!
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