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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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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