If you click the link above the picture to the left there is a short video of Jim in a tractor pull in 1992 with his garden tractor puller called the Geo.  It had a 3 cylinder Geo engine in it.

Garden tractor pulling is not the same as garden tractor racing. Pulling is not about the speed of the tractor but about the power and traction it has. Over the years I have won and lost with quite an assortment of garden tractors of just about every brand. I lost most of my pullers in a fire a few years back but I have a few built up again. I am definitely not an expert about tractor pulling but I’ve done a lot of it. I started with pulling my dad’s farm tractor a few times in North Dakota. Later I tried my hand at pulling with my “classic” John Deere’s, a John Deere 830 and John Deere 820. I switched to garden tractor pulling in the 70′s. I have a garden tractor pulling page on our web site, you can check out some pictures there if you are interested. Check out our “Geo Story” page too, I put a 3 cylinder Chevy Geo engine in a John Deere 140 for tractor pulling, later I put the same engine in a John Deere 317. .The most common e-mailed question I get is:

Q: I would like to build my own garden tractor puller, I have a garden tractor, what do I do next?

My answer always is:

A: You need to check with the people or association that you are going to pull with, find out the different weight classes they will be having pulls in, and get their list of rules. That will tell you what kind of garden tractors, engines, tires, weights, and safety equipment you can use.

Q: My daughter has pulled lawn and garden tractors for the past two years in 1100 lb and 1400 lb stock classes with good success, but this year we are looking to step it up considerably. Our first year we used a Wheel Horse with a single cylinder 12HP – 8 speed and ran mid pack. Last year we used a Wheel Horse 416-8 with a twin 16HPp engine and finished in the money with every pull. This year I was looking to go with a Wheel Horse 520H, but a friend of mine who used to pull successfully in the past told me that the 520H was a great tractor, but would not pull as well as a gear driven because the hydro has no low range and just didn’t pull well. I then found a rare 520-8, but the same friend told me that this would be more power than I would need and would spin out. He suggested sticking to the 416-8. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much power in pulling and that although they do weigh more, and you can’t put much weight on for the 1100lb class, a hydro might do well and the more horses the better, right?

A: Yes, your correct, the hydro will do better with more horses. I would say you need at least 2 extra horsepower to stay with the stick transmission. You are also correct in saying there is no such thing as too much horsepower, if it had too much power that meant you should have been in a higher gear.

Q: I have recently become interested in garden tractor pulling and have found a good buy on a John Deere 300. It will need a new engine, but my concern was more with the transmission and differential. Will the hydrostatic and rear end hold up good for a puller, or should I keep shopping?

A: Do not worry about that transmission and rear end. I have already put a Chevrolet engine ahead of that package and didn’t even hurt it at 6000 RPM’s.

http://www.jimsrepairjimstractors.com 1-800-618-8738

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Super Cub Cadet

Super Cub Cadet

Are you trying to fix your lawn mower or garden tractor? I hope you can find a little help either here on our blog or on our web site. I don’t know about you, but when I’m having trouble with something, the best answers I get to my problems usually come after a quick Google search of the problem. These are diagnosing and troubleshooting questions and answers about Cub Cadets. One of our web site pages also deals with Cub Cadet garden tractors and lawn mowers.

Q: What can cause the PTO belt to break on a series 2000 Cub Cadet riding mower? Mine has broken three times and I don’t want to replace until I can repair it. After replacing, I am able to get about half the yard mowed before it breaks again. All the pulleys seem to be moving freely. Can you help?

A: Check if you may have a faulty belt tightener that is getting the belt so tight that you are breaking the belt. Also check when you raise the mower up, if that and see if that makes the belt much too tight.

Q: I have a Cub Cadet 1440 Garden Tractor that I purchased new in 1995.

Yesterday, I noticed the amp indicator light flickered at idle speed. It was a slight flicker for just a split second and then would flicker again in several seconds. The light never came on at full speed when mowing. With the tractor was running and I turned the headlights on, at idle speed the amp light is bright red and as I increase the engine speed the amp light gradually dims but never goes fully off. At no time did the tractor ever run differently from before or ever act like the engine was going to cut off.

A: Check your charging voltage at the time the light is flickering. The charging voltage should be around 13 volts. If it is lower you could have a faulty voltage rectifier or maybe a bad cell in the battery.

Q: I have a 2150 Cub Cadet garden tractor. The PTO occasionally will not engage, usually after its been running for awhile. If I switch it off and attempt to re-engage it just will not work and I can’t finish the lawn. Is it the clutch or the switch and what’s a good way to test?

A: Check out your amperage draw on your PTO clutch coil after you have run it long enough, until it will not restart. Then check it and your amp draw should be about 2 amps maximum. If it is more, then you should replace the PTO clutch or PTO clutch coil.

http://www.jimsrepairjimstractors.com 1-800-618-8738

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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.

http://www.jimsrepairjimstractors.com 1-800-618-8738

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