John Deere 322 garden tractor

John Deere 322 garden tractor

Questions and answers from my daily e-mails:

Q: What is the best oil to use in the transmission of a 322? Type F auto transmission fluid? Low viscosity Hy Gard? The tractor is used almost exclusively for mowing at this time.

A: I used Type F Ford transmission oil and then switched to Dextron III when that came out. That also covered Type F in the Dextron III. The main thing is not to use Dextron or Type F in the John Deere 425, 445, 455, and the current X models as they have wet PTO clutches and wet brakes.

Q: I have a Toro 38170/CCR Powerlite snowblower that starts alright, runs for about ten minutes, and then stalls out to where you can’t restart it. If you let it sit and cool for about ten minutes it will start and run for about ten minutes again before stalling. Any ideas of what this could be? Any input is greatly appreciated.

A: Yes, it sounds like you are having problems with an ignition coil that is breaking down as it warms up, then when they cool they will start working again.

Q: My 22 hp Kawasaki runs rough when engine is cold and even after it is warmed up it has a little surge and lacks some of it’s power. I have changed the oil, the plugs, and adjusted the valves to .010, changed the primary breather, and have had no improvement. Any suggestions? Also I would prefer the torque of a diesel…is there much to converting? Are the John Deere 445 and 455 basically the same GT.? The fellow I bought this from used, rebuilt the engine and it ran great for about the first 40 to50 hrs. Another question: regarding the 54″ deck, the belt has a lot of flop in it and occasionally jumps off when engaging. the belt is new. Thanks for any advice you might have.

A: I would suggest you take a compression check on the engine and see how even they are to each other. If the compression is high and even, then check the intake system to see if you have any vacuum leaks. If that is O.K. maybe you’ll have to check into you fuel injection system.

It would be much cheaper to trade in the John Deere 445 for a 455 than to make the conversion you asked about.

With the belt problem, it sounds like you might have a bent pulley. If this is bent in on one spot it will make the belt get longer and shorter each turn of the pulley, therefore causing belt whip.

Links to our web site Questions & Answers about:

Repowering Garden Tractors and other equipment
Parts and Service
Garden Tractor Attachments
Hydrostatic Transmission Rebuilding
Tractor Cabs
Garden Tractors in general
Repowering Case Garden Tractors

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Repower a John Deere 317 garden tractorWe receive quite a few questions about repowering the older John Deere garden tractors. One of the most common models asked about is the John Deere 317. These 1979 to 1982 era garden tractors are well built and worth repowering. They were originally powered with the Kohler KT17 engine that had some serious design flaws. This engine gave a good tractor a bad reputation.

The KT17 Series I engine had a poorly designed main bearing on the crankshaft. It had an oil pump, but the oil pump did not pump the oil to the most important place, the connecting rods. It used a splash system on the connecting rods and you were instructed not to drive the tractor on hills. This engine breaks a connecting rod and the piston stops up against the head. It will sit there and run with no knocks with one piston standing still.

A question from our e-mails:

Q: I have a John Deere 317 garden tractor with the original Kohler KT17 engine. This past mowing season I noticed oil draining from the blow by vent.

Is there much entailed to installing the Vanguard engine in the JD 317?

The tractor is in very good condition but I use it for tilling our small garden and mowing my 1 acre.

Does your repower kit require any sheet metal alterations to the side guards? Is the 18HP engine your recommendation or a larger HP engine? I run the power flow collection system when I mow and use the tiller. I was wondering if a larger engine would be less stress on the engine.

A: The 18 horsepower Vanguard engine would easily have more than enough power. The Vanguard 18 horsepower puts out a short 20 horsepower as this engine is a little under rated. You do not have to cut any sheet metal. When you get done it will be a nice neat job and you will almost think you have power steering.

We have installed many Vanguards engines in dozens of John Deere 317 garden tractors. That is the only way to go. 1-800-618-8738

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John Deere 140 garden tractor

John Deere 140 garden tractor

The John Deere 140, In 1968, was the first hydrostatic garden tractor born to John Deere. It had a 12HP Kohler engine. In 1969 John Deere changed the engine to a 14 HP Kohler. The John Deere 140′s were manufactured with the Sundstrand high gear hydrostatic transmissions up through the serial number 30,000 or 1970. The garden tractors with the serial number 30,001 and above and built in 1971 and newer had the new style Sundstrand transmission. This transmission was used up through all of the John Deere 140′s, ending in 1974. That style hydrostatic transmission was used in all of the John Deere garden tractors including the 120, 140, 300, 312, 314, 316, and 317 ending in 1982.

The John Deere 140 came standard with one hydraulic lever and 2 hydraulic couplers up front. On the 140 H1 John Deere you could special order individual brakes, headlights, and oversize 23×10.50×12 rear tires. Another special order option was the John Deere 140 H3. The H3 came standard with the whole works; triple hydraulics, headlights, individual brakes, and a cigarette lighter. Individual brakes came as a standard option on the 318, 322, 332, 420, and 430 garden tractors and ended as an option in 1992.

I bought my new John Deere 140 H3 garden tractor in November of 1972, making it a 1973 model from J&W Boat and Motor. We bought a JDX8 snowmobile at the same time. We made good use of the “H3” triple hydraulics, as I had the front 54″ blade mounted on the front and bought the optional hydraulic angling kit for it. At the same time I had a John Deere model 33 roto-tiller mounted on the rear, making use of all 3 hydraulic levers simultaneously if I wanted to. One lever is used to raise and lower the blade and has hydraulic down pressure on that same lever, it is built similar to the John Deere farm tractor design. The second lever was used to hydraulically angle the front 54″ push blade from left to right and right to left. The 3rd lever is used to raise and lower the John Deere model 33 roto-tiller. This was a good combination to have together for tearing up and leveling ground. Two hydraulic couplers mounted on the rear of the tractor could be ordered as an option to run a 3 point hitch to use even more attachments.

I personally had a roto-tiller, 49 snowblower, the 48″ mower deck, and a Johnson Workhorse front end loader. Other attachments I’ve had are a sickle bar mower, thatcher with engine mounted vacuum system and trailer, 54 inch front push blade, 54C center blade, 3 point hitch, and integral hitch.

I wish they had come out with an hour meter, it would be interesting to know the great amount of hours on this machine. We use this tractor commercially to run our business. It has gone through three of the 1 cylinder, 14 HP Kohler engines and then in 1988 the Briggs Vanguards came into being. We installed a 14 HP, V Twin, overhead valve, Vanguard engine with an oil filter and oil pump. The repower ended all the engine headaches and this engine is running steady today with many many hours on it. I’m afraid this engine and tractor is going to outlive me! This tractor has been used in tractor pulling since 1973 and basically knew nothing but 1st place for years. I’m proud to let friends and customers try out my 140 to get a feel for the great sturdy tractors and the power of the Vanguard engines. Once in a while I even show off and do some wheelies with it. The price of my 1973 John Deere 140 H3 was $1745. $10,000 today wouldn’t buy you those kinds of options in a new John Deere garden tractor.

I once installed a 3 cylinder Geo engine in a John Deere 140 for garden tractor pulling, if you would like to read about it check out this page: 1-800-618-8738

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Because I am a John Deere fan I check in on this Yahoo forum frequently: Stan is the main moderator for the group and is also a lawn and garden tractor mechanic. Joseph also moderates this forum as well as quite a few of the other garden tractor forums. Both guys are very helpful and knowledgeable. Another good John Deere forum with a huge amount a good information is WeekendFreedomMachines

The Case garden tractor Yahoo group: is a great resource. At the shop we have been combining two Case 446 garden tractors into one working tractor and repowering it. If you would like to check out the repower on the Case 446: I told the owner I would find him an operators manual for the roto-tiller that came with them. I searched for quite a while and then asked on the Case Garden Tractor Forum. Within an hour at least two replies led me to where I could buy one.

Links to other brands of garden tractor Yahoo groups:

Wheel Horse garden tractors:

Yanmar tractors:

International Cub Cadet: and

Gravely garden tractors:

Simplicity and Allis Chalmers:

Bolens garden tractors: and

Massey Ferguson garden tractors:

I check into quite a few other garden tractor groups that aren’t brand specific and some that host classified ads and wanted to buy ads. This is just a sample of my favorites. 1-800-618-8738

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I came across a listing of the new model John Deere Lawn and Garden Tractors. This list was posted by Stan in the JohnDeereGardenTracto Yahoo group. Stan is the group owner, one of the moderators, and a John Deere mechanic. There is some good natured bantering going on about which garden tractor model is, or was, the best. My (Bonnie’s) personal favorite was the John Deere 322, I loved the sound of that engine. Not too many of them were made. I’m pretty sure Jim would say the John Deere 140 because of all the features it had for such an early model.

All “L” series are now “100″ series
LT & LX series are now “X300″ series
GT & GX series are now the “X500 Multiterrain tractor” series
X400 & X500 series are the “X700 Ultimate tractor” series

102 – 17hp, 5spd, 42 inch deck
115 – 19hp, hydro, 42 inch deck
125 – 20hp, hydro, 42 inch deck
135 – 22hp, hydro, 42 inch deck
145 – 22hp, hydro, 48 inch deck
155C – 25hp, hydro, 48 inch deck
190C – 25hp, hydro, 54 inch deck

X300 – 17hp, hydro, 38 or 42 inch deck
X304 – 17hp, hydro, 42 inch deck, 4ws
X320 – 22hp, hydro, 48 inch deck
X324 – 22hp, hydro, 48 inch deck, 4ws
X340 – 25hp, hydro, 54 inch deck

X500 – 25hp, hydro, 48 inch deck
X520 – 26hp, hydro, 54 inch deck
X534 – 25hp, hydro, no deck, 4ws, PS
X540 – 26hp, hydro, 54 inch deck, PS

X700 – 23hp carb gas, hydro, PS – Comparable to the 425 then X475
X700 series have 48,54,or 62 in.decks
X720 – 27hp EFI gas, hydro, PS – Comparable to the 445 then the 485
X724 – 27hp EFI gas, hydro, PS, 4ws – Comparable to the 445 AWS then the X485 AWS
X728 – 27hp EFI gas, hydro, PS, 4wd – Comparable to the X585
X740 – 24hp diesel, hydro, PS – Comparable to the 455 then the X495
X744 – 24hp diesel, hydro, PS, 4ws – Comparable to the 455 AWS then the X495 AWS
X748 – 24hp diesel, hydro, PS, 4wd – Comparable to the X595
(comparables added by Jim)

The engines in the new X series are all Kawasaki or Yanmar and are exclusive to the John Deeres.

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Jim and his John Deere 140 H3

We have been expanding our web site and the information, services, and equipment we offer. It’s been an exciting change and a lot to learn. I (Bonnie) have been taking online classes and learning to make our web site,, more professional and easy to use.

New for Jim is offering free outdoor equipment technical support. While he has always helped people repair garden tractors and other equipment while talking to them on the telephone and with e-mails, he is doing a lot more of it now. He doesn’t know all of the answers but he knows quite a bit, and he loves those garden tractors! A few times we have looked to the Yahoo garden tractor forums to get more ideas from guys who also love working on garden tractors and the attachments. I will add some links here to the many forums, it’s a good resource.

Even though it may seem the blog will only be about garden tractors, we’ll talk about some of the questions Jim gets e-mailed to him every day about all kinds of outdoor equipment and small engines.

So check back soon! 1-800-618-8738

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