I have a 1983 John Deere 318 that I restored late last Fall. My son in law fell in love with my John Deere 318 and has wanted one lie it but he is on a Budget and the one's that come up for sale in our area average $2100.00 a Bit too much for him to spend on one. I located him a Nice Older 1992 Cub Cadet a few year's ago with a Kohler Magnum 18 Horsepower twin in it and it was vintage enough that it had the heavy duty frame, Sundstrand 90 Pump and a solid drive shaft, but he wanted to move up to a John Deere so I have been watching for one for him. I noticed an add on our Local Craig's list about Three weeks ago that advertised a John Deere 316, Not running that needed spark plug wires to run with a 50", Power flow attachment, Extra set of rear wheel's & tires and a spare floor pan for $200.00 so I contacted the owner by E-mail sending him my phone number asking for him to Please call me and that I would take it. He called within a Half hour and we set up a meeting later in the day. I hooked up my truck and Trailer and we made the 120 Mile trip to look at it. He called my wife before I got back home that day and explained to her that he had fogot that he had sold the extra rear tirtes and wheel's so he dropped the price to $150.00. When we got there it was a Tough Looking Tractor with a Lot of Rust and corrosion on it. it had it's side engine shields pulled off of it and was Missing most of it's Internal air breather assembly parts as well as the right side steering pedasil cover. The seat cushion was destroyed and off Brand. One thing I did see was that it was a later made 316 that had the open frame design and an Onan P-218 engine in it rather then the earlier style closed frame and Kohler single cylinder engine.
I asked him if I could check out the engine ? He said sure, so I Pulled both spark plugs and placed my Jumper cables on it I had Planned to check the Tractor compression. I noticed when I opened the hood that it hour meter read 349.2 Hours. it had no battery so when I hooked up my Jumper cables the dash light's came on but the starter would not work to turn the engine over. I reached down in and Turned the engine fly wheel by hand it was not froze up, but it did have some issues. The 50" mowing deck that it came with was off the Tractor. it had been hit hard in the front bending it in and causing it to crack all the way to the top of the deck and the mule drive was bent and cracked at the welds. He had Part of the Power flow unit but was missing the twin Hopper that goes on the back of the Tractor. I did notice that the Onan engine did not have any apparent oil leak's so that made me wonder if this was perhaps' a true 349.2 Hour Tractor. he told me that it had lived most of it's life in Florida close to the coat line so that would explain the rust and corrosion due to the salt air. I told him that what I was seeing was a bunch of part's here so what was his best price for all of it. he said he understood and just wanted it out of his Yard then offered it to me for $75.00. I countered with an offer of $50.00 Knowing that it may very well be a Just a part's Tractor here since the engine would not even turn over I had no idea of what I was buying. he accepted my offer so we loaded it up and brought it all home.
The following day I had my son in law help me push it in the garage. I reached up under the right rear fender pan and took it's hydro lever to neutral so that we could move it. I had Noticed where it's previous owner had Pushed it around in his Yard without Unhooking the Hydro unit and it left behind skid marks in his grass. it was Very Lucky that he did not destroy The Hydro rear end as these are Not supposed to be pushed without Taking the Hydro lever out of run position. We removed the hood, Grill grill support and Floor pan so that we could work on the engine easier. I started checking it's safety switches and running down the wiring harness connections and all of them checked out good so I Pulled the key Ignition switch from the dash. We found a Purple wire laying close to the starter so we placed it back on it's spade lug of the solenoid Once I had the wore back on the starter and the Ignition switch out of the dash I crossed the S-1 & S-2 Terminal's to hot wire the switch and the starter Turned the engine over.We stopped there and went and got a Can of Gas for it as I did not want to suck Trash from it's gas Tank, so I ran a rubber gas line down to the gas can eliminating it's gas Tank line. I squirted a little either into it's Carburetor and the engine came to life when I corssed the lug's on the back of the key switch. We Let it run for about Ten Minute's and it did not smoke or Knock so I knew that we had a good engine but I could se it was struggling to run so I knew that it needed it's Carburetor cleaned, so we shut it down. Both of us were very happy as the engine proved to be a good one. I knew that it was Not uncommon for these tractor's to eventually Take out the ignition switch as the electrical current has to go through the wiring harness twice before supplying the solenoid starter with electrical current to start the engine and this one was acting funny as when you wiggled the switch connector it would Turn the dash light's on & off Intermittantly. I went to our Local john Deere dealer the next day and picked up a new ignition switch for the Tractor.
When I returned I Placed the new switch but it still would not turn the engine over with the Key switch. I knew we had to have another wiring issue so I started running the wiring harness again and noticed where the previous owner had cut The large Red wire that ran down to the Hot terminal of the starter which hooked to the Tractor's 25 AMP circuit breaker and had shoved it into the Hot side battery cable. I ran a wire from the cut end to the hot terminal of the starter and the Key switch then turned the Tractor over. I Pulled the Plastic gas Tank and flushed all of the Old gas out of it and there was some corrosion as well in it. I replaced all of it's old rubber gas lines with new one's and Placed two clear gas filter's close to the fire wall one in the Incoming fuel Line, The other in the line that feeds the Carburetor. I then primed the Carburetor and tried to start it up. it started then died from lack of Gas. I took the Onan fuel pump off and took it apart. it had some Trash in it so I flushed it good with Gum-Out Carburetor cleaner and put it back together and Placed it back on the engine. That did the trick as it now was Pumping gas. I took the top off of the Carburetor and cleaned the Idle Jet that was Plugged and Placed the top back on the Carburetor. it now started up and Ran good. I let it run for Ten minutes and adjusted the Idle mixture screw until it Ran as smooth as silk. I checked the Hydro lift feature and it worked fine as well as the Hydro lever for movement but it had a Bit of Creep to it which is not uncommon on these Tractors. I then backed it into my shop to work on it some more.
The Tractor was missing some part's so I reached out to some guy's for part's that we needed to build this Tractor. I ordered all of the Internal air breather part's as well as a set of spark plug wire's and a replacement muffler as this one was rusted out on the bottom from Robert Kummer who goes by Boomer. He has ton's of good used Onan part's on hand that he sells and I have dealt with him before ordering part's for my 318 and the part's have always' been like new and were reasonable in price. I Located almost all of the rear tail light assembly part's for it only lacking the actual light's and one left hand black Plastic bezel. Keith Bouchard offered up most of the Tail Light part's for the cost of shipping so I took him up on his offer. The 50" deck that came with this Tractor was very rough and bent badly so I knew my Lawn mower Bone yard buddy had a John Deere 317 that had a decent looking deck on it, so I called him and asked what he would have to get for the complete Tractor as I felt that it had many other Part's on it that we lacked to build this Tractor. We got it for $100.00 but I have to Pull out it's Blown up Kohler K-17 blown engine to return to him as part of the price considered on the Tractor. I got the deck off of it and found that it had Two bad spindle bearings so we harvested the spindle bearings off of the 50" deck that Were good and Placed in the 317 Deck which was a 48" deck. I only had to buy a new Idler pulley as both decks that had them were bad. I used my Gas Torch to heat up the spindle Bearing flange carriage bolt's and all of them came apart for me so we used them over again when we mounted the spindles in the 48' deck. I straightened the bent Mule drive with my Torch and welded up the cracks in it. I then Placed the deck on the tractor for a test fit and function. I adjusted the mule drive rod's and leveled the deck then test ran it and it was fine so I Pulled it back off of the Tractor for sanding down and Paint.
I ran the tractor engine some more as I had a slight hydraulic fluid leak at both Charge pump valves. By running the engine some they cured them selves and quit leaking. I then began to Place all of the missing part's on the Tractor that I harvested off the Part's Tractor 317 that we bought as the parking brake knob, Throttle knob, headlight switch, Foot brake rubber and support, and Belly screen. The Only part we lacked was the right side steering pedestal screen cover of which we found on Evil-Bay for a Price of $15.00 shipped to us. We Then dropped the engine oil and filter and placed Shell Rotunda Diesel engine oil. The engine ran much quieter once it's oil was changed I greased all of the Grease fitting's on the Tractor and it now steered very easy. I corrected all of the mechanical issues that it had preparing the rolling Chassis for it's John Deere Blitz Black paint job. I will now jack it up, remove it's wheel's and tires and paint the entire chassis after I remove it's engine. Once the engine is out of it that will allow me to paint the entire engine compartment area and I want to Pull The engine starter to check it's Brushes and clean it's drive as you can Not get the starter off of these engine's while the engine is in the frame and I do not want issues after we are done Painting all of it. Tomorrow I am going to start the disassembly to paint the rolling Chassis. I will be Taking the Pedestal screen's off of it as well as the Key switch panel so that we can sand them down to be painted John Deere Green. Here is how this Tractor Looked the day we brought it home as well as the Progress that we have made on building it. I figure all in and done we will have about $450.00 in it totally restored. I now feel that this Tractor is a True 349.2 Hour Machine it Look's so rusty due to the fact that these Tractor's had a failed Power coat paint job that flaked off and with it living in Stuart, Florida most of it's Life the Salt air took it's total on the metal of this Tractor. Regards, Hammerdown
Here is how the 1991 John Deere 316 Looked the day we got it home about Three weeks ago
Here it is stripped down for a Good pressure wash cleaning
Here is the 48" mowing deck that we took from the John Deere 317
Here is the 1982 John Deere 317 Tractor that we bought for $100.00 and used it's Mowing deck on our 316 Build as well as some other Parts. it's too bad that the Kohler K-17 Engine's Blew up so early on these Tractor's as this one only has 650 Hour's on it. There are too many difference's between the two tractor's so we were not able to swap body part's but many of the other Part's that we lacked interchanged
Edited by Hammerdown, March 04, 2014 - 08:04 AM.