Simplicity Garden Tractor

Simplicity Garden Tractor

We offer free “technical support” about most outdoor power equipment. Jim doesn’t know all the answers but helps when he can. Disclaimer: He isn’t always right! We have quite a few of the questions asked on our web site and according to the calls and e-mails we get, you like reading them! Here’s more:

Q: I have a Yard Machine (Gold Series) 17.5 hp engine. Because of work I do not get to cut the grass until late evening, so I install a couple spot lights to allow cutting at night.
Unfortunately the lights are draining the battery. What are my options? I am thinking of installing an alternator. is it very difficult?

A: You should be able to order out a bigger amperage output alternator and rectifier and come up with enough power to stay ahead of your added lights.

Q: I have an early 1970′s Jacobsen Super Chief, Hydro 1200 tractor, with a Rand
Hydro-Transmissions unit in it, number 90-4029. I would like to know which transmission oil to use. I have been told by one dealer to use Dextron automatic transmission oil and be another dealer to use regular hydraulic fluid. I would certainly appreciate knowing for sure which type of oil to use.

A: I would use the red Dextron III transmission oil.

Q: Is there a way for me to test the alternator on my Toro Wheel Horse 520-H garden tractor? To be honest, I can’t even locate an alternator. According to owners manual the alternator is 12 Volt, 20 amp. Regulated. When the battery is fully charged the voltmeter reads 12 volts. As it discharges there is no voltage reading. The 30-amp fuse tests good. If you can help me locate the alternator I can check electrical connections. Apparently this is some kind of pulse alternator since I can’t locate it. The engine is an Onan P-220-G I/10955D.

A: I think if you would install a new rectifier you would be working fine again. First make sure you have power to the center wire on the regulator with the ignition key on.

Q: I have a Scotts 2554 and the electric clutch makes a squealing sound when the mower is not engaged. When the mower is engaged the sound goes away. I understand that the clutch has a brake adjustment. How do I adjust it? The mower has a Kohler 25 hp motor with serial number 3034903061. If the bearing in the clutch is bad how much trouble is it to take it off and where is the best place to get a replacement part?

A: You adjust those self locking nuts until you have about .010 clearance in the brake. It sounds to me like you have a bad bearing and on that clutch I do not think the bearing can be replaced. That would make you have to replace the complete clutch.

Q: Help… mowing season is here and after servicing my Simplicity mower I now find that the mower starts and runs fine. However…when I engage the PTO the engine stalls. I replaced the PTO dash switch and unfortunately this did not help. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts that might assist me with my troubleshooting?

A: Yes, check out the wiring or the seat switch for an open circuit. Check out the hydrostatic switch and the switch on the brakes. 1-800-618-8738

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11 Responses to “Questions about your garden tractors”

  1. I have a JD 420. When the engine is hot (30 minutes) and the mower deck is engaged the 20am fuse under the hood blows. If I replace the fuse and engage the mower (engine still hot) the fuse blows again. I suspect it is related to the electric clutch. Possibly the 3 adjusment nuts are not tightend properly. I don’t know how to verify this. I don’t have a manual that specifies how to adjust/tighten these nuts. Am I on the right path? Please help. Thanks.

  2. Q I have an old garden tractor that I do not know what it really is. It is red, came with a 16hp single briggs with starter/gen setup, is 2 range hydro with the long control bar on the right, large 3 blade shaft drive hyd lift deck, and a small 3pt hitch on the back.
    I was told it might be a massey or fmc. I have since transplanted a 20hp Honda engine into it but where would I look for a model or serial number to identify this beast?

  3. Responding to the question about the John Deere 420: Yes, you are correct in saying the 3 nuts need to be correctly adjusted but still that has nothing to do with blowing fuses. Your problem blowing 20 amp fuses when you turn on the mower deck after running for 1/2 hour indicates you have a short in the PTO clutch. You should check the amperage draw at the PTO clutch and if it is over 3 amps, replace your PTO clutch coil and or the complete PTO clutch.

  4. Response to the question about the red tractor: Some tractors have the model and serial number on the right or left side frame rails. They also can be on the lower rear end of the tractor. Check below the steering post on the lower part of the dash too.

  5. I am looking to purchase a used JD 425/445/455. I would like to know what optional equipment was available on these models so I know what I’m paying for when I find one in good shape. I realize the deck size was one option. Is the rear PTO an option or standard? What about other hydro options? The ones I’ve been looking at are between 1995 and 1999. Please advise. Thanks.

  6. The main options are a rear 540 RPM PTO, a category 0 3 point hitch, and optional mowing decks in the 48″, 54″, and 60″ size.


  7. I have a John deer 175 lawn tractor with a minor tranny problem. I have disassembled the rear end into hydro pump three times now and it works fine except for the forward motion on the throttle lever is now reverse with the forward motion speed. this is the same for the reverse. Now I thought I could just get used to it but driving forward is slow going. I have the hydro pump open and am looking at the, what it looks like the forward and reverse “plugs”. These plugs are steel with an o ring seal. I assume I put these plugs in incorrectly the previous tear down. Could this be my problem and how can I remove these plugs?

  8. I think you might have put the swash plate in backwards.


  9. I have a JD 445 with a 22hp watercooled kawaski and recently it started smoking for no reason and upon inpsection I found that oil was coming up a hose on top of the crank case and getting dumped into the throttle body. I just replaced the reed valve this weekend and it still smokes. Any suggestions as to what else could be wrong?


  10. There has been trouble with the wing cover air cleaner bolts coming loose and bringing in dirty air. This sounds to me like the rings and cylinder walls are damaged and therefore burning oil.


  11. I have a Ingersoll model number 3012 – 1991 yr with a 12 hp Kohler engine. I would like to find a replacement engine. It is a vertical.. short block. Does anyone know of a engine that would fit? reconditioned or new. thank you.