John Deere 317 with a new Vanguard engine

John Deere 317

Some quick answers to small questions about small engines and garden tractors.

Q: Can you help me with balancer timing on a Kohler K341 engine? There must be a better way than counting crank and balance teeth clock or counter clockwise rotation. Any help would be great.

A: Kohler makes a tool for timing those 2 balance gears. Check with a Kohler dealer and they should be able to help you out in getting one.

Q: How fast is a 18 horsepower engine?

A: This engine runs at 3600 RPM’s at full no load high idle.

Q: What size battery will my John Deere 317 garden tractor need in order to try to get it working again?

A: The correct battery size is a MT 26.

Q: My John Deere tractor has an 18 horsepower Onan engine and it will not recharge the battery. What part do I need? Is it a starter/alternator combination?

A: No, it is not a starter alternator combination. Sounds like you might have a bad rectifier.

Q: I have a Cub Cadet 1440 with a 14 hp V-Tech Vanguard engine.  Yesterday I noticed an oil leak at the front crankshaft seal and a noise I assume is from the front bearing.  From the diagrams, it looks like the bearing is in the front cover directly behind the seal.  Can this bearing be replaced with the engine in place without breaking it down and or pulling the front cover?

A: Yes, you can put the seal in without removing the cover, but it is a hard job. 1-800-618-8738

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Dixon 4421 Mower

Dixon 4421 Mower

The Dixon lawn mowers are good quality machines that are very popular with lawn care companies. We don’t receive a lot of e-mail and calls about the Dixon mowers, maybe they hardly break down? This year our summer has been hot and dry, so there hasn’t been a lot of mowing going on. A couple of successes with helping figure out what was wrong with Dixons:

Q: I have taken a blown 13 HP Briggs and Stratton engine off my Dixon mower, model 4421 and a good, running donor engine which is a 15.5 HP Briggs and Stratton engine. I have made the wire connections match exactly has they were on the 13 HP that I removed. When I attempt to start the engine, I get what feels like not enough power to the starter. The starter engages the fly wheel and stays engaged even after I let off the key switch. I don’t even get a single rotation of the flywheel. I checked the battery and I am getting right at 13 volts. I can manually hand rotate the top of the motor where the plastic grille is with no problem. Is there something I am missing on this swap? Maybe the solenoid needs to be swapped out as well? The one thing on this swap that is different between the 2 engines, besides the horsepower, is the 15.5 had a fuel solenoid switch screwed in to the bottom of the carburetor assembly. The 13 did not. I unscrewed the switch out of the 15.5 and installed the screw that was in the 13. Everything fit perfectly. Surely this would not keep the motor from at least turning. Please give me your best thoughts on this scenario.

A: Yes, it sounds like you are telling me that both engines have starter solenoids. If this is true that is your problem, are you trying to start your engine without a solenoid hooked between your starter switch and starter motor?

Follow up: Just wanted you to know what the problem was with the engine swap that I emailed and called you about the other day. When my engine blew while mowing, I immediately turned off the ignition switch key and started looking to see what happened. Here is the kicker: I did not turn off the switch for the electric clutch, only the ignition switch. When I saw the hole in the side of the engine, I forgot about everything else and just started thinking about where to get a donor engine. So tonight while I am still troubleshooting everything, I am using that jumper wire again that you told me about, going from the battery positive post to the side of the starter post and I look down and notice the blade belts are turning as well. I look at the switch on the panel and sure enough, the clutch switch was still engaged. I switched it off and tried again and she kicked over like it was brand new. I guess the battery did not have enough juice to run the blades as well as start the engine. What a headache about nothing but yet what relief to know I had found the problem. So there you go. You were so helpful the other day and since I found the problem, just wanted to let you know that using the jumper wire I think is what saved me and you suggested it, so thanks.

Q: I’ve had this Dixon rider with a Onan p220 engine for 15 years. It always ran ok, until now, I lost spark on it so I replaced the trigger module under the flywheel, put it back together, it ran okay for three weeks. It ran it out of gas one day so I put gas in it. Now all it will do is backfire, sometimes from the muffler and sometimes the carburetor. Sometimes when it fires it will stop the engine cold? and if you choke it a lot then take it off of choke it will try to run backwards for a lick or two. HELP anything come to your mind?

A: You might have burned out that new module you put in because you did not put in a new ignition coil at the same time.

Follow up: Replacing the coil did the trick. Thanks! I’m mowing with my rider not pushing with a walking mower! 1-800-618-8738

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