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Lawn and Garden Equipment Q&A's

Go straight to the questions and answers

Of course your lawn or garden tractor (or riding lawn mower) is the heart of the machine but it's the attachments that really get the job done. If you bought your equipment new, with all the attachments you will ever need, you don't have to worry about finding one for your model.  But most of us didn't know exactly what we would need over the years, or could afford everything at one time. I find the front end loaders a must have, I use my garden tractors with the front end loaders for everything, snow, dirt, moving "stuff", unloading trucks, etc. Finding a loader is getting pretty hard and pretty expensive. I just bought a couple of new front end loaders but it cost me over $900 to get them shipped here. I'm talking to a new source closer to me so I might have found a solution. I just got in a couple of nice rear box scrapers too.

The Bercomac attachments have been a great resource for after market equipment made for quite a few different brands and sizes of lawn and garden tractors. We've dealt with them a long time and use their equipment ourselves. It's good stuff. They make a nice universal cab when the larger cab companies have abandoned the garden tractor lines.

Finding the used equipment at auctions, Ebay, classified ads, or just someone's yard is always exciting and sometimes a great deal. I like to find them that way too. A few times I've bought something on Ebay and the seller really didn't know the correct name for the part and I didn't get what I was expecting. Sometimes they think it works for a certain model garden tractor and they were wrong or misinformed, it happens. I don't get too worried about it in my case, I'm dealing with so many tractors I'll have something sometime that needs it. Of course there's always a difference of opinion of what is considered "good condition". It's all a little time consuming in my opinion.

I offer free equipment tech support. I'm not always right, correct me if you see something wrong.  Use all of my suggestions at your own risk.  Some of the questions are e-mailed to me and I try and put a few on the web site so others can read about it too. I put some on our blog too: I receive a lot of questions about the attachments and some are on the Attachments page, but here are more:

Q:  My early 80's Kohler powered John Deere 214 has a running problem I hope you can help with.

I rebuilt this Kohler engine over the winter. Bored .010 over, crank turned .010 under with new valves. It's former power has been restored and runs like a new one... for about 20 minutes !! The problem was
present before the rebuild; actually for about three seasons of mowing and I thought the rebuild might solve it.

All is fine for the first 20 minutes no matter what the throttle setting. After that time however it displays a rich running condition in the upper throttle positions. It misses and throws black smoke
until I ease back on the throttle to about a 3/4 of the travel. After that all is fine unless I try to advance the throttle when it once again misses and throws black smoke. It never does this from a cold
start- only when the operating temperature has been reached.

Sure would like to toss this gremlin out of my life. Could this be the coil breaking down?

A:  Yes, the first investment I would make would be a new ignition coil.  Also make sure your polarity is correct on your current coil.

Q: Jim, my John Deere 755 MFWD hydrostatic with loader and backhoe will not back up. When you depress the reverse pedal it sounds like gears stripping, small gears, not large. You can push a wall down going forward so I know the hydro is working. I hold the left brake and push the reverse pedal and it will torque
till the tire spins, I hold the right brake and push the reverse pedal and it strips almost instantly. I've removed the transaxle and opened it up and everything looks new, no stripped gears. Ring and pinion look good. I've removed both final drives and everything looks perfect. Any ideas?

A: It sounds to me like you have a left side broken axle. Only thing, if you can push a wall down going forward do you need to step on the left brake? If you do not have to step on the left brake pedal then I do not think you would have a broken axle.

Q: I have a John Deere 911 mower with a Kawasaki engine. It would not start. It turns over. I took the plugs out it gets spark. The fuel pump works. And the floats and the carb pins work. this engine has a fuel solenoid on the back of the carb. I took that out. And finally it started. My question is this how to I test the solenoid to tell if its working or to tell if I have a electrical problem. Then just what is the purpose of this on the carburetor?

A: This fuel solenoid is an anti backfire device. The best way to test it is to hook it up to the battery when you have it out of the carburetor. When you hook up electricity the needle should go in. When you break the circuit the spring loaded needle should travel out.

Q: I have a 2005 John Deere x595. I just noticed that if I stop on a grade and turn the engine off, the tractor will roll forward. I don’t think this is normal. It will not roll backwards unless I pull the release lever under the fender. Likewise, when parked in the garage, I can push the tractor forward, but not backwards. Any ideas as to what is going on?

A: That one release valve for forward travel might be bypassing hydraulic oil. You have to remove the fender section that goes over the top of the transmission.

Q: I have an Deere LT1045 bought in 2005 it won't start this year. New gas, good spark, good compression, plenty of fuel. Plug is wet after choking and cranking. Backfires through carb. You told another to check if the fly wheel key is sheared. How can this be checked at home?

A: Yes, remove the shroud and then remove the flywheel and check the condition of the key.

Q:  This summer I received a John Deere C300F with a front end shovel and rear rototiller.  I live in Colorado and for the first time yesterday I brought out the tractor to shovel the snow.  My right wheels move freely with acceleration.  My left wheels seem locked.  My right brake pedal goes up and down as it should, the left pedal is stuck to the floor.  The parking brake does not seem on and the latch that  locks both brakes together is not being used.  The tractor wants to spin in a circle!  Can you tell me how to free the left brake pedal?

A:  Yes, you need to take the wheel off and removed the brake drum.  I think you will find your brakes shoes and backing plate are broken and locked up.

Q: I'm having a problem with the power takeoff, it worked when I put it in the garage but it doesn't work now. I get two arrows on my indicator, everything else is working. I checked the fuses, they are okay. I have a LT 1046 that is 2 years old. What should I do?

A: You need to check all the safety switches for corrosion or corroded wiring.
You can also hotwire the PTO clutch to see if that clutch is in okay condition.

Q: I just bought a John Deere 316 mower. The blade will not engage when flipping the switch. I did not even pick it up yet so I am not sure which engine is in it( Kohler or Onan) or what year it is untill I can get the numbers off the motor. I Was hoping you may have some helpful info on a solution. From what I have researched it seems as if the air gap on the PTO clutch needs to be adjusted?

A: The air gap should be around .012.

Q: I have noticed that you have experience with using Category 1 implements on the John Deere 455 garden tractor. Can you advise how I could modify my tractor's Cat O to take advantage of the Cat 1 implements?

A: Just buy Cat 0 pins for your Cat 1 equipment and bolt them to the inside of the arms of your 3 point hitch equipment.

Q: I recently bought a John Deere 455 garden Tractor with a Blade. I did not Know that much about what fits what. Well, I tried to Install it the other day and the blade doesn't fit. Today I went to a dealer and I find the blade is for a John Deere 318 . What do I need to do to make this work? I know I will need longer hoses. I know it is about a half Inch too narrow.

A: You will have to put shimmed up plates on the side of the snoot of the tractor to make up for that 1/2 inch.

Q: I have a John Deere 316 garden tractor and would like to put a hitch on the back of it but I am unsure of which is the best option. Should I get a 3 point or a sleeve hitch? I would like to use a box scraper and a “ BRUSH HOG “ type of mower as well as other attachments.

A: You can not run a brush hog on the back of that tractor as it does not have the correct PTO speed.

Q: I have a older JD 214 with PTO and was wondering if it is possible to install a front loader on this model? I will be just moving dirt and gravel with it and maybe snow in the winter. Is it possible?

A: Yes, we have already installed front end loaders on a John Deere 214, 216, 110, and 112 tractors and they all worked fine.

Q: I grew up with John Deeres on my parents farm and started driving them as soon as my feet could reach the peddles. First a 1973 140 H3 with all the goodies, and then a mid ’80’s 318. Both tractors had ag tread tires and weights passed from the 140 to the 318.

The thing I remember as the best feature on either was the individual brakes. With careful use, it was literally impossible to get stuck in the softest mud mowing around the spring house or going though the barnyard. We also had a ½ mile long driveway with a good sloped bank on one side that took about 6 swathes with the 48” mower deck to mow. You just dragged the up hill brake slightly if you ever lost traction around the drainage culverts etc.

Now I have a 1 acre lot which is somewhat hilly and has some uneven ground. I’m on a budget but I need to find a tractor to handle the job, and I’m thinking either individual brakes like the old Deere's or a locking differential for going across the hillsides. It seems like only the larger tractors in today’s recent used market have either of these features, but then I’m stuck with a 48 – 60” deck. A 38” – 40” deck would be best. Someone suggested an old Gravely rear engine would be the ticket, because of their low center of gravity. I could even get by with a “lawn tractor” if it had a locking differential. Did JD ever make one?

A: The John Deere 140 would be the smallest one out there with individual brakes. The 425 John Deere would be the smallest one with a differential lock. We have a 41" mower deck for the 140 Deere or a 38" deck can be put on a John Deere 318.

Follow up Q: For some reason I had thought you could swap deck between a 140 and 318 – just the front pulley bracket was different. Not so?

A: You are correct, you can swap most of the decks between the 140's and 318's, but you will also need to change the hanger brackets.

Q:  My wife wants a grass catcher for our John Deere STX38.  Can you help us find one?

A:  I checked and they no longer make a bagger for that lawn tractor.

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Lawn and garden equipment questions and answers