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Discussion Starter #1
When I bought the 560, I was told that there had been some clutch / transmission issues with the 550. The 560 supposedly has the issues "worked out". Anyone know the particulars regarding the differences between the two models? They seem to be the same machine with the same engine, with perhaps some difference in the drive train. Appreciate any info on the subject.
 

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I would be surprised if the primary clutch issues have been resolved with this model.

JD certainly did not address the issues on the 590.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had not heard of issues with the 590! So as far as you know the entire drive train is the same on the 560 as the 550 was? I wonder what prompted the model# change?
 

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...So as far as you know the entire drive train is the same on the 560 as the 550 ...

I can’t say the “entire drive train” is the same.

What I said was “I would be surprised if the primary clutch issues have been resolved with this model“.

There are more components to the drive train, than simply a primary clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Understood. Bad choice of words on my part. Is there anyone out there who owns a gator that HASN'T had clutch issues? I am beginning to wonder if I made a mistake buying the Gator over another brand!
 

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...Anyone know the particulars regarding the differences between the two models? ...

Apparently the 560 has greater payload, towing capacity and perhaps a updated braking system?

There maybe other updates that I’m not aware of?
 

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Used 2012 550 JD gator

Looking at a used 2012 JD Gator 550 at my local JD dealer. 685 hours. Dealer said guy traded it in on a bigger model. They put on a new head and gaskets, said it went up on them after he traded it in. Put on new cables and shifting arms.

Educated myself on all the issues the 550 has had. Going to dig into it more when I try it out tomorrow.

Any other advise?
 

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My 590i has clutch issues. I've been told that running it more will help as I only use it between June and August. However, one solution is turning it off then switching gears does work. It's a pain, but a free fix for now.
 

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My 590i has clutch issues. I've been told that running it more will help as I only use it between June and August. However, one solution is turning it off then switching gears does work. It's a pain, but a free fix for now.


Sadly operating the Gator more will not help, actually there is a possibility of damaging the shift lever if use is continued.

Contact JD Clutch Doc for a proven long term solution for hard to shift into and out of gear issues.

[email protected] for more information
 

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Hey guys, listen to Brad. My 550 was having the dreaded shift problems too, but Brad and Doc got me squared away. My machine has been absolutely flawless since and shifts like butter. I absolutely love my little 550 now. It’s certainly not a racer, but it’s a simple and rugged little buggy that gets the job done for me. It’s an animal in 4WD; especially in Low Range & Locked. 👍👍👍

I bought it May 1st with 73 hrs on it and it now (Aug. 14th) has 133 hrs on it. So, as you can see, I’ve been using mine. Another thing I love about my 550 is it is easy on gas. Overall, I’m very happy with its performance and build quality. Makes me smile every time I get in it!

Bottom line if your 550/560/590 is giving you shifting issues, don’t hesitate to let Brad and Doc get you fixed up. Their price is very reasonable and you will love your machine afterwards! Also, don’t let it make you pass up a good deal or be afraid to purchase a Gator. It’s a pretty simple fix and they are great machines.
 

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@IrishRed @MBDiagMan Thanks for the shout-out!!!
Doc and I truly appreciate your kinds words!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, IrishRed, but the issue for some of us would be removing the clutch and reinstalling after the rebuild.
 

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Thanks, IrishRed, but the issue for some of us would be removing the clutch and reinstalling after the rebuild.
Flacco,

I understand your reluctance to dive into such a project. I had similar feelings. However, it wasn’t too complicated. It was a bit of a pain due to the tight fit, but definitely not rocket science. There is an excellent video on YouTube that shows the procedure step-by-step. The only thing out of the ordinary you’ll need is the clutch removal tool. I made mine for just a few bucks in bolts from Fastenal. Search the threads on this site and you’ll find all the information you’ll need. You can also purchase the John Deere tool online, but it’s definitely more expensive than making your own.

In summary, don’t be intimidated by this job. It just takes a little patience. Once done, you’ll have a newly found appreciation of your machine and it’s capabilities!
 

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The biggest part of the clutch project is simply gaining access. It's not a bad job if you just bite the bullet and remove the bed and chuck up a Torx bit in a cordless drill and pull off body panels until the Gator looks like a plucked chicken so you have easy access. After the body is out of the way I find it very handy to use a 1/4" drive socket set with a lot of extensions including a universal joint for removing the plastic clutch covers. Lastly, order the clutch removal tool. Do NOT try to pry, hammer or lever it off somehow as you risk bending the engine's crankshaft.
 

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The same old clutch problems still show up in the 590 and 560. They have been redesigned for better air flow, but the real problem remains.

BTW, Dane is offering REALLY solid advice when he recommends removing the clutch with the proper puller. We can fix a bad clutch, but we can’t recreate one that has been destroyed.
 

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My 590i has clutch issues. I've been told that running it more will help as I only use it between June and August. However, one solution is turning it off then switching gears does work. It's a pain, but a free fix for now.


Sadly operating the Gator more will not help, actually there is a possibility of damaging the shift lever if use is continued.

Contact JD Clutch Doc for a proven long term solution for hard to shift into and out of gear issues.

[email protected] for more information
In at least one instance I saw problems much more serious than a broken shift lever. If they are forcefully muscled into gear with the clutch not releasing, the transmission can be wrecked. The lever appears to be intentionally made to break in an effort to protect the transmission. If you buy a new transmission from JD, when writing the check, you’ll think your paying for a transmission replacement in your car or truck.

If it won’t go smoothly into gear, don’t continue to force and grind it into gear. The result will not be good.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the input! My 560 only has 9 hours at this point and I did buy the 5 year warranty, so maybe I will not have to worry about it for a bit.
 

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Thanks for all the input! My 560 only has 9 hours at this point and I did buy the 5 year warranty, so maybe I will not have to worry about it for a bit.
We certainly wish you the best and hopefully, you will never have any clutch issues. However, it is very common & just know that, if you do, your warranty won’t do much to really solve the problem long term.

Sure, John Deere will replace your faulty clutch. However, it will be replaced with another unit that will likely suffer from the same symptoms given enough time & use.

What @Bradhill & Doc offer is a permanent fix (IF you should need it) at a reasonable cost and just a little bit of elbow grease. You also avoid the aggravation of having to transport your machine & interacting with the dealership! Just some food for thought!
 
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