M-gator Restoration pics and a few tips.

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Rockford, illinois
My M-gator restoration!
things I learned:
1. its not as quick and easy of a restoration as I thought. lots of surface area to sand and paint, tubes are the hardest to follow the curves on. Kinda a pain. parts were all special order, no picking up locally. All in all, about 60 hours in. Now I get why these are not cheap toys.
2. parts are expensive. tires, seats, anything from john deere!
3. some parts just aren't available. The real military parts like the bed, were a big challenge to find. I ended up getting an M-gator A3 bed. It has the improved tailgate latch system, but also doesn't fit! The A3 has a different frame like a xuv825i, this has different mounting points for hinges and hoist. I had to cut off old points, and weld on new cross bracing, and hinge points.
4. Paint. John Deere does not sell Trail Olive in gallons, quarts, etc. Just spray cans. So, I had to buy about $175 worth of spray cans, turn them upside down, and release the pressure. then I poked holes in the can, to recover the paint. I then used the recovered paint to spray my gator. The finish came out like factory, but the paint still is not as hard as a automotive finish. I would have needed to get the appropriate hardener, and a flattening agent, but overall it was ok.
5. Clutch. I had to get a new clutch assy. the old p/n does not work crossed into new p/n. had to go through 2 to get one that fit. The whole belt/clutch system seems to be a weak link.
6. Many variations. John deere has about 4 styles of gator so far, and parts are different for each one. even the fire extinguisher and rifle mount are different. Know which gator you have before you start ordering parts!
7. Plastic--All plastic was bad. Cracked and hack paint job. I bought the Trail Olive Gator plastic kit on ebay. Was assured it was the kit for my gator. But in reality, it was a civilian kit. this includes rear bed fender you do not need, and the rear tire fenders must be cut off to fit the larger bed.
8. Hoses--along with changing the fluids, I really ended up changing most of the fuel hoses. After sitting for so long, the hoses that ran diesel, feed and clear return ended up to be leaking, they didn't look bad, but after driving started leaking.

Overall opinion of the Gator--6 tires look cool, but make it a bit more of a pain to drive up a trailer or sharp hills. Acts like a tank where it needs to "crest" the hill before coming down hard, and you loose steering when up. Bed--Solid very well designed, heavy duty, much better than my kubota RTV--best part of the gator! Now, I love the gator, because of its military history. However, my kubota RTV is like driving a purpose built F250 pickup rather than a ranger pickup. The gator drives like a golf cart. Just my opinion. they could really use a hydro-static transmission and hydraulic dump, basically build it as solid as the bed, and it would be an unstoppable force!




Steel Soldiers Supporter
SW Va, Roanoke County
Dang, that's a nice looking M-Gator, I cant tell you how many of those went to the junk pile in Iraq, I had a yard full of those and the Polaris in 2008.

Jim is MIL SURPLUS guy in or Near Fort Bragg, highly regarded in my book
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Steel Soldiers Supporter
Baltimore/ MD
Bought my M-Gator from Jim at the Aberdeen show. I love it. Jim is a first class guy and as straight a shooter as you will find.
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