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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Craftsman garden tractor

Another popular garden tractor - Craftsman

I get quite a few questions about Craftsman garden tractors and they have been a pretty popular brand over the years. We have repowered some and repaired some here at our shop. There is a Yahoo group/forum for Sears garden tractors. Joseph is the moderator and a pleasant, helful guy. If you check out their files and database sections there are some helpful guides for attachments. Following are a few Q&A’s we’ve answered about Craftsman garden tractors.

Q: We have a Craftsman Garden Tractor model # 917.257720. It stalls out after it warms up or is under load for a few minutes. We have given it a full tune up, replaced the gas filter, new carb, changed all the belts, changed oil and filter, adjusted carb.

A: You need to check out your ignition spark quality. I sounds to me like you have a bad ignition coil.

Q: Jim, I have a Craftsman tractor with a Kohler Command 20.5 hp twin engine. It runs fine cold and mows with no problem at all. When I am finished mowing (engine hot) and turn off the deck, the engine idle varies, like it is hunting for the proper speed when the load is released. It will run with this hunting idle until I turn it off. Once cool, it starts right up and idles smoothly again. Any idea of where to look to correct this problem?

A: Yes, that sounds to me like a carburetor air fuel ratio problem. In other words, the carburetor is running lean when hot. You can check this out by putting the choke partially on and then I would say your engine will smooth right out.

Q: I have an old Craftsman Lawn Wizard with a Kohler 20 hp engine. I have to replace the electric PTO, I guess it is the bolt in the center of the motor,however, everything spins when I try to remove the bolt, what is the trick to remove the pto?

A: To check your PTO clutch, put an ammeter in series with your PTO clutch and check your amp draw. It should be 3 amps or less. If it is more, you need to replace the PTO clutch.

The very easy way to get that front bolt loose is to use an impact wrench, it will come off without even holding onto the crankshaft. 1-800-618-8738

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John Deere 420 garden tractor

John Deere 420 garden tractor

These garden tractors all have something in common, they are powered with Onan engines. The Onans are decent engines but it is getting more difficult to find parts for any needed repairs.

Q: My John Deere 318 garden tractor with an Onan 18HP engine surges or pulsates under no load. When the PTO is engaged with any attachment the surge disappears? I bought it used last year and it is a great work horse.

A: It sounds to me like you have water or dirt in the carburetor. Take the top off and check for dirt or water. Take out the front jet toward the muffler, blow air through that orifice. Put it back together and adjust that air screw by the muffler and I would like to think everything now would be O.K.

Q: I have a Simplicity 9020 garden tractor with a tired Onan engine. I’m wondering about replacing the engine, or rebuilding it. Are parts still available for Onan?

A: Onan is slowly going out of business as they did not build an engine to pass our pollution standards. Our 23 horsepower Vanguard engine is by far the best way to go and is the best air cooled engine that money can buy.

Q: I have a 1987 John Deere 420 garden tractor with an Onan 20 HP engine and it surges. When I remove the air cleaner I can see the fuel being squirted into the carburetor when a surge comes. I have rebuilt most of the motor and installed a new carburetor and it is still doing it. Do you have any advice? Do you have a repower in a Vanguard?

A: It sounds to me like you have a leaking intake manifold. The way they have built the intake manifold is a bad design. Yes we have a Vanguard V-Twin overhead valve engine and made to order installation kit for your application.

Q: I have an Onan P218G with electronic ignition in my John Deere 317 garden tractor. It Runs great. I replaced the rings about 2 years ago and so the engine is clean inside.

When I start it, it often kicks back. Sometimes it locks up the starter. When it does this I have to take off the side cover and pry on the cooling fins to turn over the engine a small amount to get the starter to work again.

I took the engine out and checked to make sure the flywheel key was not broken off, it wasn’t. I replaced the spark plugs and this seemed to help some but now it is kicking back and locking up the starter again. It even unscrewed the nut on the starter twice and I had to take the engine out to put the nut back on.

Do I need a new electronic ignition?

A: When you had the engine out did you check the 2 holes in the block where the 2 starter bolts go through? You need to make sure one of those holes or both are not cracked or broken. You should replace that electronic module inside the flywheel. Also there is an electric ring slid on the crankshaft, that should be inspected and or replaced.

Q: I am the owner of a John Deere 420 garden tractor. I have been very happy with it since purchasing it used 6 years ago. Recently I have been having a problem with it losing power and shutting down after running for about 20 minutes. After checking it I discovered the spark is not there. What could be causing this situation? I think it is the Ignition coil or stator, can you confirm this for me? It is a P220G with an electronic ignition.

A: It would not be the stator because that has nothing to do with the ignition system, and yes it can be the ignition coil and or the ignition module located inside the flywheel. 1-800-618-8738

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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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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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New Holland garden tractor

New Holland garden tractor

Keeping your garden tractor purring like a kitten can sometimes be a challenge. Repairs most times aren’t all that hard, but knowing what’s wrong can be a little harder to figure out. Here’s some common types of questions written in:

Q: Jim, I have a John Deere model 425 garden tractor that has about 800 hours on it. I use it for mowing only. When I start it up it smokes a little and it will only stay running when the choke is half way up. Can you help me?

A: I would start with the basics and replace the spark plugs, but I think you should clean out and overhaul the carburetor. Don’t worry about the smoke when you start up, as long as you are not taking any oil.

Q: I am working with a New Holland garden tractor. It has new plugs, filters, and fuel at the engine. The 24 horsepower Kohler Model CH22S engine runs O.K. for about 30 minutes until it’s warm then spits, sputters, backfires, and flames out the exhaust, all of which results in a great loss of power. Then after cooling down, it acts the same way again.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

A: Starting with the basics, do you have 5-30 oil in it? This engine has hydraulic valve lifters and they can pump up and hold the valve part way open causing a back fire. Another possibility is you might have a loose valve seat in one of the heads. It could also be a bad hydraulic valve lifter.

Q: I have a 214 John Deere lawn tractor. I put all my snow removal attachments on and everything was working fine. I parked it, came home a week later, and it wouldn’t start. I can start it if I cross over the solenoid. I’ve checked all the wires and everything seems to be fine. So what do I do next?

A: Check the wiring to your PTO safety switch or check the switch. Check the wiring to your shift lever safety switch and also the switch itself. Check the wiring condition plugging into your ignition switch or maybe it could be a bad ignition switch. If none of this takes care of it give me a call. 1-800-618-8738

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Ford 120 Garden Tractor

Ford 120 Garden Tractor

Our shop offers free equipment troubleshooting advice by telephone or e-mail. I don’t know it all but I have a lot of experience and sometimes know where to find the answers. Sometimes I can’t help at all, but I try. I know the visitors to our web site enjoy reading the questions and answers that are included there, they e-mail and tell me. Now and again I will post some here.

Q: My 1978 John Deere 316 with a Kohler engine starts with a jump but the battery won’t charge. I dont know if it is a voltage regulator or if the starter has a generator built into it. I would appreciate any advice.

A: No, you do not have a generator built into your starter. Your engine has an alternator built into the engine under the flywheel. Take a test light, turn on the ignition switch, touch the center wire on the voltage regulator with the probe of your test light. The light should light, and if it does, then it would tell you that your voltage regulator needs to be replaced. If the light does not light that would mean that you have an open circuit in the ignition switch or the electrical circuit.

Q: I have a Ford 120 with a Kohler 321 engine with an electric clutch to operate the hydraulic pump. I think the bearing has gone bad and I don’t know how to remove the clutch. Is it threaded on or pressed on or…. Please Help. I need this tractor.

A: They are usually bolted on the front of the engine, meaning the crankshaft. Take off the other nuts if you see them on the clutch. Then part of the clutch assembly should slide off – but this very seldom happens. The hub is usually rusted to the crankshaft. If this happens use a lot of penetrating oil and pry back and forth until it starts to loosen and keep oiling it. After it is off, clean the crankshaft with some emery cloth.

Q: I recently bought a 1970 Simplicity 3212H tractor. I new it either had a rod knock or something so I took the engine out, replaced the piston, and put the engine back in. The tractor runs much better, but is there any way that you know of to adjust the hydrostatic rear end for a bit more speed?

A: You can check the hydro linkage if you are getting the maximum stroke on your linkage. I can also go through them and come up with a fair amount of a higher top speed. 1-800-618-8738

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