John Deere 445 garden tractor

John Deere 445 garden tractor

I think everyone knows I really like John Deere lawn and garden equipment. If you have a good quality machine it’s worth fixing her up! Yes, I know there are other brands that are good quality, but these questions are just about John Deere’s.

Q: I was wondering how I would know if I have a bad cam or bad intake valves on a John Deere 445 garden with a 22HP Kawasaki engine.

A: We do not get bad camshafts on the 425-445 garden tractors but what happens on the camshafts is that the cam gear is made from nylon and typically at about 800 hours the gear teeth will break of. When that happens the engine will shut down and will not start again until a new camshaft is installed as the gear is casted to the camshaft. The replacement camshaft is all iron, therefore no more problems.

Q: I have a John Deere 111 Lawn Tractor which won’t start. I suspect a fuel problem. When I take the hose off the fuel pump (Autopulse) and crank the engine, I don’t get any fuel but if I take the feedline off and lower it towards the ground it drips gas.

My questions are:

Does this suggest the fuel pump (or does the hose have to be connected to the carb to

If so, are there any other options for a replacement given that we don’t have a John Deere dealer at the moment?

A: It does sound like you have a bad fuel pump. When you lowered the hose coming from the tank, the gas should have been coming out at a slow flo. If it was just dripping you might have a partly plugged gas line or gas tank problem. If you want to buy a fuel pump I have them in stock.

Q: I have a John Deere 318 garden tractor and I believe the starter went out of it. How do I remove the Starter, as it appears that there is no room or easy access to do it. I enjoy your site as you explain it in layman terms.

A: You have to remove the engine before you can take the starter out. On some of those Onan engines you will also have to remove the engine fan shroud to get at one of the starter bolts. It gets to be a fair sized job to get it all done. Glad you like our site, thanks. 1-800-618-8738

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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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Gravely garden tractor

We mow with this Gravely

It’s summer and time to mow the grass. This old Gravely is what our neighbors use to mow all 3 of our country lawns.   It just got repowered with a Vanguard engine.  It’s ready to mow for another lifetime.  It has a 72 inch mower deck.  Yes, the neighbors mow our yard for us too.

Starting up the mower decks sometimes uncovers needed repairs.

Q: I just bought a used John Deere LX176 mower, The blades will not engage. When I brought it home today everything was working fine, however, when I turned off the blades to move to another area to mow, NOTHING. I called the mower shop where I purchased it and was told to replace all fuses, so I did, still NOTHING. I even replaced the PTO switch with a new one, still NOTHING, all wires are still connected.

A: Check your safety switch in the seat. Check your safety switch on the brake pedal (if it has one there). Check the wiring into the ignition switch for corrosion. If all of that is not a problem hot wire to the PTO clutch itself and see if that works O.K.

Q: Mowing season is here and after servicing my mower I now find that the mower on my Simplicity garden tractor 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.

Q: Is there an in line fuse for the PTO Switch in my John Deere LX176 lawn tractor? I have replaced the seat switch, the PTO switch, and the two fuses from behind the panel (steering)and the blades still will not engage. No wires were found disconnected. Does this leave the clutch to be replaced next?

A: The first thing to do is temporarily hot wire your PTO clutch and if your clutch works O.K., then start checking into your tractor circuits and wiring.

Q: I have a 455 John Deere Power shift which had a snow blade on front. I intend to cut grass with it and have removed the blade and hydraulics. The mowing deck was not with the tractor so I planned to fit one to a 3 point hitch and operate it off the PTO. Problem is, I cannot get the pto to engage. I pulled out the button on the dash and the dash lights up, but the shaft doesn’t spin. Do I need the mower fitted to the shaft before it will work? There is a handle at tbe rear beside the lift arms that has 3 settings, I am unsure as to its function. There is also a front driven PTO shaft, how does this engage?

A: At one of the settings, it runs the front PTO only, at the next setting it runs the rear PTO only, at the 3rd setting it runs both PTO’s at the same time. Because the light comes on it sounds like there is an electrical magnetic switch problem in the rear end.

Q: I have a John Deere 185 hydro. When I engage the blades they do not work. No noise, no nothing. What can the trouble be? Sounds like a switch to me. Any suggestions?

A: First clean the wires that plug into the backside of your PTO switch, then check out the PTO switch itself. You can also run a hot wire to your PTO clutch and see if the clutch clicks in and out.

Q: I have a John Deere F525 front mount mower and the blades suddenly decided not to work. The mower starts and runs fine, belts are ok, mower moves forward and reverse. Problem is when I pull the mower on switch, nothing. The belts don’t move, the blades no longer want to play. Everything works when moved by hand. I checked the fuses, and all are ok. Any suggestions as to where I might start to identify the problem?

A: You need to check out your PTO switch, brake switch, and other safety switches. Also check for corroded or dirty wiring and connections. Check to see if electricity is getting down to the electric clutch.

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Repower a Case Ingersoll garden tractor

Repowering a Case Ingersall garden tractor - Case 446

The Case and Ingersoll garden tractors are good quality, solidly built, vintage tractors. At our shop they are one of the most popular selling repowers we do. Many have had their tractors since they were new, some have inherited them from family or with some property they’ve purchased. There is a Case Garden Tractor Yahoo group where owners share their tips and ideas. We have a Case – Ingersoll Repower web page on our web site with questions and answers about repowering (replacing the engine) the Case-Ingersoll garden tractors. Here are some of the questions and answers about the
Case – Ingersoll models we’ve gotten in our e-mails:

Q: I need to replace the fuel pump on my Case 446 garden tractor. The pump is defective – the tractor will not fire when cranked unless I pour a little gas in the carburetor. Then it will run fine until the gas is gone. Do you have the parts to replace / or rebuild the unit? If not would you recommend using another 12 dc pump on the gas line that would be activated when the key is turned on?

A: Yes, just install an electric fuel pump in series with the current fuel pump and carburetor.

Q: I have a case 446 garden tractor built in 1974. The starters drive gear will spin but will not go forward to engage the flywheel. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is the front shield. My brothers solution is to cut the shield to gain access the area to remove the starter. I would like to avoid this at all costs.

A: You need to remove the engine, and remove the fan shroud, and then unbolt the starter.

Q: I just bought a Case 444 garden tractor and I am having problems getting it to run. When I bypass the solenoid it will just go clunck, clunk. It acts as if it is not getting any fire. I changed the coil, sparkplug, and wire. I just bought a new solenoid. It’s getting gas b/c it is running out of the air filter. What do you suggest?

A: By going clunk, clunk, are you telling me the starter and engine are not turning over? If that is so, it sounds like you have a shorted starter, or a starter with an open circuit.

Q: I have an Ingersoll 448 garden tractor. I was reading about the repowering you’ve done and am quite impressed. I think I will do it later during winter season. I think the price is great and it sounds very easy.

I do have a question for you. I’ve tinkered with this mower for years now and it’s been very reliable. Recently the battery light has been staying on, lights are dim and the battery eventually runs down and needs to be charged to start it. I just replaced the rectifier/regulator and it still stays on. There’s a little metal capacitor looking device with 3 wires (1 going to the starter relay, 1 going to the battery light and 1 going to the negative battery terminal). Do you think this part is bad? I guess the key switch may be involved too as I look at the wiring diagram. What do you suggest?

Also, this mower surges when running. It’s a steady constant rev and decline. when I mow, I don’t notice it at full throttle but when i slow the engine it begins again… hot or cold. I noticed that when it pulls itself under a slight load, it quits too. The only other remedy is to pull the choke half way out and it idles smooth. I changed the fuel and air filter and it still does it.

A: I think you need to check if the center wire on your rectifier is hot with the ignition on. If it is not hot, that is your problem. The second test you need to have an AC voltmeter and check the two stator wires with the engine running and they should be putting out 24 to 36 AC volts. If it is not the stator is junk and I would not fix that as it also sounds like you are having Onan governor problems.

Q: I am getting ready to purchase a gently used (290 hours!) Ingersoll 3014 with a Vanguard V-Twin 14hp engine. Does this tractor still have the mechanical PTO clutch like the old Case 22x / 44x series?

A: No it will already have the new electric clutch on it.

Q: I have a 446 Case garden tractor with a B43M Onan Engine. I have replaced the coil, but I am still not getting any spark across the points. Is there a kit or a way to wire up two coils ?

A: No, there is no reason to hook up 2 coils, you should check out your primary side bracket first.


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John Deere 425 garden tractor

John Deere 425

If you are contemplating which garden tractor to buy, there are quite a few options to consider. You not only need to plan on what you want the tractor to do now but have some insight into what you might want to do with later. Will you ever want to use a front end loader or a 2 stage snowblower? Then you might want to consider a heavier duty machine. You will also want to know if the attachments you want now or in the future will be available. That is when it is helpful to have a better known brand of garden tractor, later when you want to buy accessories and parts. With so much information on the internet it’s pretty easy to find information on all the new machines and what they have to offer, it’s a little harder to find information on the “good” older machines. Some want a new shiny machine but you might want to consider something you may already have, getting attachments for it, or repowering and getting it running again. We hear from quite a few of you that have had someone give them their old tractor, or they have inherited one. My knowledge is best in the John Deere line of used garden tractors but we have been repowering all the brands since 1988 and have repaired and repowered some great older Cub Cadets, Simplicitys, Cases, Grasshoppers,Craftsmans, Alles Chalmers, Kubotas, Snappers, Great Danes, Toro Groundsmaster, Ransomes, and Ariens. A few e-mails asking – Which model?:

Q: I’m looking for a used John Deere riding mower but I am unsure of the model size that would work best for me. For physical size/storage I’m looking to stay between 100-300 series with turf tires and 38″ mower deck.

I have a little less than 1 1/2 acre of lawn to mow, but I am also looking to use it during the winter to plow snow from sidewalks/driveways.

The features I’m looking for are automatic transmission, power steering, hydraulics up front for a snow plow/snow thrower (preferably 2 stage), rear hydraulics for tiller, a snow cab, and a model that came with good front lights for night visibility. Can you tell me what year and model you would suggest so I can begin my search?

A: Your 100-30 series will not cover your demands. It sounds to me like you should check into the X700 models if you are wanting something new. Otherwise, a John Deere 318 will do everything you asked for and so would a lot of the other older John Deere garden tractors.

Q: I’d like your opinion. Which is better, the John Deere 318 or a newer John Deere 425? It seems they are both comparable in features and price. The JD 425 may be a couple hundred more for a machine with like hours. I know they have some different features, but it seems to me they are similar with both being 20 H.P. and having the hydraulic quick connects. The biggest difference I see is the differential lock and elimination of the two separate brake pedals on the JD 425, and the engine. Which would YOU rather have for the same money?

I would like to do some landscape type grading for leveling up people’s yards and renewing lawns ( stripping off the root mat, grading, spreading blended topsoil, and reseeding, as well as providing mowing service). Do these tractors do a good job loosening up sod with a small disk harrow, or would it be better to get one of the John Deere rear mount roto tillers? I know I need a three point hitch and rear PTO for the tiller, but I also feel pretty sure you will have all the parts I need to make that work. If the answer is the roto tiller, then a front blade would be in order. If the disc harrow would work, a back blade wouldn’t be too hard to switch with the harrow, and I have experience with back blades and box scrapers. I have a gut feeling that the John Deere 425 would be a better machine for this type of work mostly because of the newer water cooled Kawasaki V-twin engine and the longevity and reliability it would provide. But, I also know the JD 318 is one of your favorite models. What’s your opinion on this?

A: You are correct, I would much rather have a John Deere 425 with a water cooled engine. A tractor rototiller works much better than a walk behind rototiller.

Q: I have a chance to buy a John Deere 425 garden tractor with a little over 700 hours on it. I tested it and all looks and sounds good. A friend knows the back ground of the tractor and all sounds good. It is a one owner and cut about three acres. Is this as good a tractor as the 318? Are there any short comings about the  JD 425 that you know of or things I should look for?

A: This tractor is rated with the John Deere 318 and John Deere 332 tractors. The only problem we have the 425, 445 is that the plastic camshaft teeth would break off from heat and then a new camshaft needs to be put in. It is not that big of a deal.

The John Deere 318 garden tractors were built from 1983 to 1992. The John Deere 425 was built from 1993 to 2001. I am not necessarily saying newer is better. The 318 has a flat head, air cooled engine in it. The 425 has a V-Twin overhead valve, water cooled engine, 20 horsepower. All of this is much better than an air cooled engine and of course has 2 more horsepower than the 318. The 425 is smoother and quieter than the 318. The 425 has a posi lock rear end and no individual brakes. The 318 has individual brakes but no posi lock rear end. The 318 travels at 7.2 MPH and the 425 travels at 8.4 MPH. 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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Agco Allis garden Tractor

Agco Allis garden tractor

Around here we call all the annoying things that go wrong with your machine when you try to use it first time out the “Wintertime Blues”. Why does it not work when it worked fine when we put it away? We don’t know, sorry. But we fix all kinds of machinery here at our shop and answer lots of questions about it. Here are a few:

Q: Jim, I have not used my tractor in about 6 months. I tried starting it but the tractor backfires during a higher speed and eventually will stop. I already replaced the gas filter, cleaned the air filter, and replaced the spark plug. What could it be?

A: Make sure your valves are not sticking in the valve quires from sitting too long.

Q: I have a question regarding my John Deere 316 garden tractor and a problem with the hydraulic blade sticking in position. The blade functionally is not the problem. we have switched the hoses around to verify that it is not the blade, also the handle linkage is not stuck. One of the four hookups does not allow the blade to return. We can make the blade go up, but cannot return it back down (also we can do the same with left to right if we switch our hook ups around). We have been putting the blade down and lifting the tractor off the ground and having the stuck hookup be the return that would lift the blade. We leave the handle in the down position and over about a 3 hour period, it will slowly release and set the tractor back on the ground. Any thoughts on how to release this sticking? The fluid used is the transmission fluid of the tractor, would a transmission cleaner additive work?

A: It sounds to me like you will need to replace the double hydraulic control valve and see if that takes care of your problem.

Q: Jim my problem with my John Deere 425 garden tractor is driving me nuts, The dealer says the switch is good, but seat switch was bad. Now it dies when you take the brake off, The PTO still does not work. Got any good ideas on this problem?

A: Check your fuses, make sure the seat switch is okay, then remove the rear fenders and check out the wiring going from the seat up to under the dash. 1-800-618-8738

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