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John Deere Garden Tractor - John Deere 140

Questions and Answers - John Deere 140 Garden Tractor


General Q&A -Troubleshoot - Repower - Attachments- Hydros

The John Deere 140 Garden tractors have become a legend,  John Deere followers have started to collect them.  I work my old 140 H3 hard every day. It has a front end loader on it, it doesn't get babied. The JD 140 is a great little tractor. E-mails come in every day looking for troubleshooting help and advice. (just remember, sometimes I'm wrong)  If you would like to talk to Jim about your John Deere 140, fixing it up, repowering it, or getting some attachments for it, give us a call: 1-800-618-8738 or e-mail us: .

General Questions:

Q: I have a 1970 John Deere 140 that needs some work. Can i disengage the hydro-stat so I can push it around?

A: Yes, just turn that knob down between your legs and then it should freewheel. (For serial numbers 30,000 and over)

Q: Is there a trick to installing the steering column in this John Deere 140 garden tractor? I had an awful time getting to the lower bolt in the steering box to get it out and am not sure I can get to it to get it back in.

A: To get that last bolt out use a ¼” U joint socket, yes I know that is a hard one.

Q: Would there be any particular reason a person would choose an John Deere 140 H3 over an H1 140 other than the additional hydraulics? Is the transmission just as strong on one as the other, speaking of a 1973/1974 tractor?

A: The transmissions are identical. The rear tires are sometimes narrower on the John Deere 140 H1.

John Deere 140 garden tractor Troubleshooting:

Q: I have a John Deere 140 that ran great until about 2 years ago, then it died. It would not crank over with the key. I am needing a tractor to mow the yard with so im trying to get it running. I ran jumpers to the starter and it cranks and has spark but will do nothing with the key, what should i check for?

A: It sounds like you are having problems with your neutral safety switch.

Q: I noticed in the picture of you and your JD 140 on your website, you have a gas tank mounted on the outside of the hood on the right. Is this extra capacity and you are in series with the other tank? I have a 140 that at times seems like it is not getting fuel. There is no fuel pump on mine and was wondering if fuel flow could be an issue. When I take the hose off at carb, I do get a fuel stream.

A: No, I have just one tank. I just put it out there so I did not have to raise the hood to fill it. For the John Deere 140 factory fuel system I usually put on a longer hose coming straight down from the gas tank, then make a big circle and head upward bound into the carburetor. That will take care of your problem.

Q: I recently replaced the throttle cable on my John Deere 140 H1 with a Kohler 321 engine. Prior to that, the tractor turned over and ran fine. I started up the tractor and it was running great. I drove it around and had no problem. Then out of the blue, the tractor stalled out and died. What was odd is that the motor would not turn over, and the lights would not turn on. I’m thinking maybe the actual key ignition switch could be the problem, but thought I would try your opinion first. I don’t believe the throttle cable is even related to the stalling. I would think otherwise, but with the starter is not even engaging and the lights are failing to come on, I’m wondering about the key ignition.

A: It sounds to me when you replaced the throttle cable you have it routed incorrectly and it is shorting out the circuit breaker under the battery floor.

Q: My John Deere 140 has no spark. I replaced the points and the coil. It turns over great, but with spark plug laying on engine no spark. What's next?

A: What did you gap the point at? It should be about .016 Check with your ignition key on, your test light should light up when touching the small post on the plus side of the ignition coil.

Q: Jim we our legion baseball team uses the John Deere 140 to maintain our ball field. I have installed a new coil, plug, and plug wire. It was running great until last week when it died . I took the plug out, left it attached to plug wire, turned over the engine, no spark. It is a Kohler engine. Does it have points and condenser? If so where are they located? I am a backyard mechanic is installing those parts something I could do?

A: The points are located on the lower left front side of the engine. Some John Deere 140’s did not have points.

Q: It seems like you are versed in the John Deere 140 which I have had for over 25 years. Anyway, the 48 inch mower deck failed at the center drive pulley where the water collects. The deck is otherwise in perfect shape. I was wondering if anyone made a stamped reinforcement plate that would give this deck another 50 years of life?

A: I have a special patch plate you can weld onto your old deck.

Q: I have no fire. I replaced the solenoid and the key switch and tractor will turn over but no fire what do you suggest?

A: I would suggest you replace the points and the ignition coil and it should run fine.

Q: I currently own a 1974 John Deere 140 with a 48" deck. I really like this tractor and rebuilt the motor 4 years ago. I really like this tractor but when I mow it always (since I've owned it), leaves a Mohawk strip of uncut grass causing me to have to overlap each cutting path. I have the correct blades installed and have been told that this was a known problem on the 140 decks. Is there a different deck available or do you know of any possible options available to correct this problem? I'd like to keep this tractor forever but I have 2.5 acres to cut and the overlapping is getting overwhelming. Also, I have found a 1984 John Deere 400 with a 60" shaft driven deck. It has been completely rebuilt and painted and looks brand new. What is your recommendation? Try and find a fix for my 140 or sell it and purchase the 400 with the intention of keeping it a lifetime? My main use will be cutting my yard. I'd like to get a tiller, and possibly maybe a loader that would see light use.

A: I think your John Deere 140 mower deck must be bent and one of the blades is arcing at an angle and one blade is not reaching to the other blade, therefore leaving a Mohawk. If you really want to get a roto tiller someday do not get the John Deere 400 because it is nearly impossible to come up with the 3 point hitch, the PTO box, and also the roto-tiller. It is much easier to get a roto tiller for your late John Deere 140. It would sure be neat if you could also get the 400 Deere and keep your 140 for roto-tilling. That 400 would get you mowing done a lot faster. The 400 Deere is not a 1984 unless you mean it is a 420 Deere. The 400 John Deere was made from 1975 through 1982. The 420 Deere is made from 1983 through 1992.

Q: I need your help. I took the engine out of my John Deere 140 to have it rebuilt. A couple of months have gone by and I don't know which wires go where! I have the condenser wire going to the coil side that goes to the points...I don't even know if that’s right.

A: You are correct, the condenser wire and the ignition point wire should both be hooked to the - side of the coil. The ignition switch + wire goes to the + side of the ignition coil.

Q: We have a John Deere 140 garden tractor with 12HP Kohler engine that was rebuilt about 20 years ago and ran strong. 5 years ago we bought a used snow thrower and found that the machine refuses to start when the temperature is below about 40 degrees in the garage. Warm it up and things are fine. The stator and trigger have been replaced because of a short circuit. The original "triangular" shaped coil has been replaced with aftermarket. We suspected weak spark and replaced with another aftermarket. Still cold blooded. Are we missing something?

A: I think you should convert your current ignition system over to the point ignition as there was trouble with that solid state ignition system and the parts are very costly.

Q: I have a John Deere 140, H1 with a Kohler 321 engine. This tractor had a rear PTO in it, which I removed. My question is, do I have to replace the fan with a different type, as it is a little loose, or can it be tightened?

A: You should buy a new hub and roll pin so you do not damage the output shaft on the transmission.

Q: I am working on a John Deere 140 project with my father. If I am not mistaken, the rear axle was made by Dana. We were wondering if there was any way to lock it or make it a limited slip? I would guess that Dana would not make a special carrier for John Deere; is there any way to identify the Dana part numbers? Is there a limited slip or a locker that would fit in the housing? I am not afraid to do some machine work. I would guess that some of the tractor pullers have already made this modification. No need to re-invent the wheel.

A: Yes, I took the rear end apart and wedged some washers in the ends of the axle and came up with a limited slip differential.

Q: I'm in the process of rebuilding a 1973 John Deere 140. While researching this model, I've discovered that some have an engine disconnect clutch in addition to a neutral return connected to the clutch pedal and other only have the neutral return and no engine disconnect. Mine is the latter. Do you know why Deere included this feature on some tractors and not others and what are the advantages or disadvantages of having or not having this clutch?

A: The advantage to having that clutch was if you had a rototiller on it and hit a rock you could immediately release the complete power train. Without this clutch you have to reach behind and release the rototiller lever clutch.

Q: I'm interested in one of the mule drive covers for my 140. Are they all interchangeable and does the decal come with them?

A: Yes the mule drive covers are interchangeable. They are neatly decaled.

Q: The carburetor on my 140 John Deere is way out of adjustment. Can you tell me the correct adjustment for the screws on the carburetor to get it running right. It was not adjusted properly and I tried changing the screw settings and all I did was screw it up.

A: The rough adjustment is out two turns.

Q: I have an original operating John Deere 140 tractor with a snow blade, snow blower and three point hitch with several CAT 0 attachments. Everything works but the tractor seems to be made for flat ground. I live on a hill. I have chains and weights but can only plow going down hill. My question is, can the front tires/ rims and tires be increased in size? Can the driving tire be changed to be both back wheels instead of one forward and the other backwards? When it is stuck only one wheel spins.

A: Yes, I can get you set up with most any wheels and or tires you want. I'm not sure what you mean by the rear tires, one going forward and one backward? It might look like one tire is going forward and one is going backward when you are stuck, what is really happening is one is not moving and the other one does.

Q: Can you tell me if the sleeve hitch that fits the John Deere 300, 316, would fit the John Deere 140?

A: Yes, the sleeve hitch will interchange with all those tractors.
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John Deere 140 garden tractor Repower:

Q: I'm interested in repowering my 140 with the Vanguard engine. I have a couple of questions on this conversion. What horse power would be used? Also how is the electrical clutch mounted on the front of this engine? With the kit is the throttle and choke cables supplied?

A: We normally repower the John Deere 140 with the 18 hp Vanguard engine that is underrated and actually puts out a short 20 hp. You will have much more power than with your old engine. The electric clutch is bolted onto the new engine the same way it was bolted onto your old engine. Yes the choke cable and for throttle cables are supplied with my installation kit and more.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 H3 with a Kohler K321 engine that the rod broke and cracked the side of crank case. What does it take to repower with an 18 HP Vanguard engine? Are any modifications to frame and or hood needed?

A: No you do not do any frame cutting or hood cutting to get my Vanguard engine to fit.

Q: Do your re-power kits include an oil filter? I noticed some other's on the internet sell engines that will fit, but they don't have an oil filter. I assume this is an issue with space in the engine compartment. I know some engines just don't have oil filters, but it seems like a twin cylinder should, and most of the new tractors you see now a days do. I noticed that your re-power kit has some adaptor to include the oil filter. Is that the case with all of the applications you make these kits for? I have an old John Deere 140 and would be considering the 14 hp Briggs twin with re-power kit, so I was wondering if it would have the oil filter included. I think the filtering of oil is critical considering the investment a person is making.

A: Yes, my special oil filter auxiliary kit is on every engine to get the job done correctly. A little extra money on the kit is a wise investment when going through the effort to repower your John Deere 140. I have a Vanguard and my own installation kit in my own John Deere 140 and no more problems since 1988.

Q: I am interested in a new motor for a John Deere 140 garden tractor. My motor seized up finally after 30+ years and I am trying to decide whether to rebuild it or purchase a new motor. Can you tell me a little bit about the Vanguard motor and why it would be a better choice? Is this a motor that bolts right in or do I have to do a bunch of fabrication. I don't really have the resources to do a lot of fabrication.

A: There is no such thing as a bolt in engine other than your original Kohler 12 HP or 14 HP that John Deere used. There are many reasons why the Vanguard engine is the best choice. The Vanguard engine has an oil pump and oil filter. It is a V configuration, not a single cylinder or opposed pancake engine. It has the overhead valve not the L type head. Also with this type of set up you are in for better fuel economy. Another thing, after you get this engine in and go to test driving it, you will think you also added power steering to the tractor. When you drop 40 to 60 pounds your steering has to feel different.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 H3. The connecting rod has apparently broken so I am considering a repower with the 18 hp Vanguard engine. I have a problem removing the K321 engine. I have removed the four bolts from the bottom of the engine, yet it will not slide forward and disengage from the drive shaft. Must I remove the 6 or 8 bolts around the clutch housing? Or might the drive shaft spline be rusted in place? I don't want to force the engine away from the drive shaft.

A: It sounds like you will have to remove all those bolts to split the clutch in half.

Q: I purchased a John Deere 140 garden tractor from a neighbor, it sat for nearly 20 years. After a new piston and rings, it runs well. Reading about repowering, are there any structural changes that have to be made to repower with a Vanguard 16-23 HP engine?

A: There aren't any structural changes that would have to be made, I would have to check on the air cleaner subject on a 23 HP if you were serious, just to make sure.
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John Deere 140 garden tractor Attachments:
Q: Hi I have a John Deere 140 h3 that Im planning on fabricating a front loader for. My question is, are the factory Hydraulics going to work or will I have to use a separate pump for this application?

A: The factory hydraulics will work but will go up and down very slow.

Q: Does a John Deere 31 tiller fit on a 1973 John Deere 140 H3?

A: No, the 31 rototiller will not fit on the John Deere 140 garden tractor.

Q: I just bought a John Deere 140 garden tractor and it has some leaks in the loader's hydraulics lines at the ends. Not sure what these ends are called, but are they easy to buy and replace?

A: Yes you can go to a farm store and buy those high pressure hoses.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 complete with 48" mower, snowblower, blade, roto tiller, and trailer. Its starting to look used but runs well. I mow about 1/2 acre, till a small garden, and usually plough snow as it seems better than snow blowing because it clears the snow better and we get a lot of it. Anyway my mower is starting to rust through and I am scalping some lawn much to my wife's disgust. One of the blades requires a new spindle or whatever its called. Am I better off to try repairing this or get a new unit. A mower deck for this tractor seems difficult to find. Can another model fit? Or should I consider a new tractor with mower, but then would my other attachments fit?

A: If you wanted to stay you with the same quality of tractor that you already have with your John Deere 140, you would have to get one of the X700 models for a price of $9,000 plus. Your least expensive and best thing to do is to get a new John Deere 48 inch mower deck that is the new style with grease zerks and 4 wheels instead of 2 wheels. It is a wider cut than your old one. This deck is specially made so it can fit on a John Deere 140.

Q: Is there a Bercomac Snow Blower for a John Deere 140?

A: Yes, I have a new Berco 2 stage Deluxe model 44" snowblower or I have the same model in a 40".

Q: I have a John Deere 140 and am wondering if a John Deere 37A snowblower will work on this tractor?

A: No, the 37A is the incorrect snowblower for the John Deere 140. I do have a new 2 stage snowblower in stock for your tractor.

Q: Is the 140 able to handle the Bercomac 2 stage blower?

A: The John Deere 140 will handle the Berco but when you order out from me you should request the 40" cut.

Q: I am the proud owner of a 1969 John Deere 140 lawn tractor. The tractor belonged to my wife’s grandfather, then her father and now her/me. It has been impeccably maintained by my engineer father-in-law. My question concerns the weight bracket you sell. Will that weight bracket fit this tractor? If it does fit, do I have to buy the suitcase weights or is there an alternative (cheaper) option? I am looking for a way to get more weight on the back for plowing in the winter. I have wheel weights, but could use some more weight back there.

A: Yes, our weight bracket is made for the John Deere 140's. Our bracket is manufactured to fit the John Deere weights but I guess if you can dream something else up to fit on there, as you know, weight is weight. Our package is nice and neat.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 tractor that I would like to try and tie into the hydraulics to run a log splitter, would this be possible and how much flow and pressure would I have? I have auxiliary ports on the front of the tractor but the lines are so small I don’t see how I would get enough flow.

A: John Deere made a log splitter at one time that hooked right onto the front hydraulic lines. The flow must have worked fine because they did not change anything on the tractor.

Q: I'm looking for a blade or scoop for a JD 140. I saw on your web site a 54" blade/scoop. Is there one available for the 140?

A: Yes, this will work fine on your John Deere 140 as long as you have the H3 hydraulic system. I can ship you a scoop or a 54" blade and a scoop.

Q: I have a JD 140 H3 (3 levers). Would the power broom be appropriate for this model and would I need any other attachments/parts for hookup?

A: Yes, we have put many brooms on John Deere 140's and they do a very nice job.

Q: I just recently came across a John Deere 140, I never realized they made a fully functioning tractor in such a small size. You mention in your web page that the 140 is capable of supporting a front end loader attachment, you wouldn't by chance have a photo of this. Also what is the availability of such an attachment if it does exist? My other question is whether the front end loader is able to be used on an H1 140, or does it require the H3?

A: There is a picture of me sitting on my John Deere 140 with the front end loader attached in the upper left-hand corner of every page on our website. You do not need to have an H3 to make a loader work, as I have them with a pump, reservoir and hydraulic valves all built into the loader.
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John Deere 140 garden tractor Hydrostatic Transmission:
Q: I have an older 140/H3 and was wondering if there is an adjustment for the transmission lever? When you put it in forward drive, the lever continues to advance. One minute you will be going slow, then the next it will jump forward and be running full speed! We figure there has to be something to adjust somewhere, but where?

A: Yes this tractor has an adjustable hydrostatic linkage brake can be adjusted to the exact amount of drag you want. There is a self locking nut right below the hydro lever. Tighten it one half turn and you will make a big improvement, or whatever adjustment it takes.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 H3 (1971) and it can't seem to stay in neutral. No mater how I adjust the linkage while in neutral it creeps forward or backwards. It appears that the Cam and it's associated parts are worn causing a lot of play in the linkage.

A: First check if that roll pin that goes through the arm and hydro shaft is worn in the least amount, that will cause big trouble.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 H3 that has sat for several years and now forward is okay but reverse jumps in and out and surges. I checked the fluid and added it as needed from john Deere while sitting not running is this the right way of adding? It ran fine before parking. Every thing else is still fine.

A: If this is a John Deere 140 with the serial number 30,000 and above you will need to replace the implement control valve.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 with a hydrostatic transmission and I have no forward or reverse. I was told that it was only the pump. Is that so? If that is the problem can you repair it? Could you tell me what you think the problem is and tell me what I need to send to you, just the pump or the whole rear end?

A: If your serial number is below 30,000 we cannot get parts for that transmission anymore. For above 30,000 I have all the parts in stock for that hydro transmission. Yes, just send the transmission, I do not need the rear end.

Q: I have a John Deere 140 tractor with a bleeding check valve on the hydro transmission. Will this be a simple o ring replacement or does the valve need replacing? It leaks from the button on top while the engine is running.

A: Sorry, there is no overhauling your valve, it is junk.

Q: I have questioned the integrity of my hydro for some time now and have already changed the check valves. It just doesn't seem to be developing much hydraulic pressure. Last week we got some sleet and about 6 inches of snow. The next morning the 54 front blade was stuck to the ground. The hydro wouldn't lift it/break it loose. So I grabbed the blade and lifted it and broke it free. So - the hydro that is in the tractor is from 1974, which I have only owned for a few years, or a unit from a 1983 (I think) 317 which I read is basically the same. Question is, how much the same. I really don't know previous history on either of these units. If I am going to tear down and go through one of them, which would you choose and why?

A: The 1974 John Deere 140 has the same hydro as the John Deere 317 tractor. The parts for your Sundstrand transmissions are still available.

Q: My 1973 John Deere 140 H3 has been sitting for a year. I did a head gasket today, new carburetor, new coil, and new points. I got it running great. I push the stick forward and have nothing! I have full power backwards, the deck lift works fine, but no forward. It has fluid in it, and it's not whining, and the linkage looks okay underneath. How can I have everything else, but no forward? We have had no issues in 33 years with this tranny.

A: It sounds like one of your control valves are stuck open on top of your hydro transmission. To check this you would have to remove your rear fenders and check the 2 valves.

History of my JD 140:

The JD 140 modified as a tractor puller:

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