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Buying JD 318 Used - Red flags?


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#1 rallyroo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2016 - 07:33 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I'm looking at a used 318 for sale in my area and have a few questions before I pull the trigger. I previously had (well, still have) a 317 with a blown series 2 KT17 (hot day, side hill, tall grass... oops!), and want something that will be a little more reliable for general use; mowing ~1.5 acres, plowing/blowing snow, etc. The 318 I'm after has ~1200 hours on the original Onan, spec # 1710462B; the owner says he has done regular cleaning, oil changes, and other preventative maintenance, but never any major refurbishing or rebuilding.

 

The tractor has some starter issue; it takes a couple cycles of the key to get the relay to close properly and turn the engine over; the owner says he has replaced the relay and ignition coil chasing the problem, but hasn't solved it yet. Once it starts, there's a little initial smoke but it seems to run fine after that. The hydro engagement is pretty jerky; much more so than the 317 I'm used to; I've read there can be linkage or driveshaft issues that can cause this problem, and is likely not an issue with the transmission itself. Hydro system otherwise looks good and works properly, although I only tested the one circuit to lift the deck. 

 

The tractor comes with the 50" deck with high lift mulcher blades and a bagger system. The manual-tilt 54" (I think?) plow and single-stage blower from the 317 that should swap right over, correct?

 

Overall, the tractor seems like it's in decent shape for the age and hours. I know the common wisdom on the P218 is to expect a rebuild after 1000 hours or so; am I pushing my luck buying a non-rebuilt engine with this many hours? Are there any major faults to watch for on these units, or other unexpected maintenance items I should be aware of before jumping in?

 

The seller is asking $1300 and I may be able to bring it down from there; does this seem reasonable for a tractor of this age? Again, I'm looking for something dead-reliable and capable enough to handle my needs; fitting my existing attachments is a bonus! The 318s have a good reputation so hopefully it'll last longer than the poor 317!

 

Thanks in advance!

D



#2 KEYBEAR OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2016 - 08:51 AM

1200 hours is about the life of air cooled engines and it will need work .   I bought a 318 new years ago nice mower but they did have some problems .     The original owner is getting out of it at the right time .



#3 rallyroo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2016 - 10:37 AM

1200 hours is about the life of air cooled engines and it will need work .   I bought a 318 new years ago nice mower but they did have some problems .     The original owner is getting out of it at the right time .

 

That's what I was afraid of. No use in having another tractor that needs engine work on my hands this winter; for similar money I could get a fresh motor for the 317 and start at 0 hours!


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#4 Trav1s ONLINE  

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Posted September 19, 2016 - 11:10 AM

Dad has a 1992 318 that he had owned since the mid 90's. Currently has shy of 1900 hours. Other than maintenance he has replaced deck spindles, mule drive, and a coil. From his experience and many others I would go for it and work on a lower price.

I have a 1200 hour 318 that I picked up without an engine to repower. Onans are great engines but I think the new ohv engines make great machine better. I can't wait to get this done soon.

Edited by Trav1s, September 19, 2016 - 11:11 AM.

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#5 rallyroo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2016 - 06:58 AM

Well, I did wind up getting the 318. No pictures yet, I'm picking up tomorrow! I talked the guy down to $1000 based on the hours and jerky hydro. Time to start reading the service manual!


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#6 Trav1s ONLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2016 - 07:27 AM

There were several revisions on the hydro linkage and I believe there is a replacement damper available from Deere.


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#7 hdg4400 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 21, 2016 - 07:51 AM

rallyroo:

 

I've been following this topic with interest. Congrats on the JD 318! I have one I bought almost exactly 5 years ago, replacing a JD 140 I had for over 20 years. Loved the 140 and even more the 318.

 

I see you have the service manual. Do you have the Operator's Manual? I have it and some of the attachment manuals scanned in as PDFs. including the 50" deck, 54 plow, some manuals on bagger systems, and a couple of snow blower operator's manuals. Not sure the sow blower manuals would help. They are for ones that mount on the 120/140 and the 318/322/332/420/430. Send me  PM if you want any of them.

 

And good luck with the 318. Can't wait for the pictures.

 

Harlan


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#8 rallyroo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2016 - 09:04 AM

Well, it turns out it didn't want to fit on my motorcycle trailer, so I had to pick up a rental. Still had to take the bagger chute off to get it in there!

 

29792040771_219fdde25e_c.jpg

 

Yay, she's home! 

29248392673_dd03c6575d_c.jpg

 

Now to dig into the starting issue. I have to cycle the key a number of times before the starter engages and spins the motor. I thought at first it must be an intermittent connectivity issue with the key cylinder, but I can hear the relay and solenoid clunking when I flip the key, so power is getting through. My next step is to inspect the circuit- could be a loose ground somewhere. Is this a common issue?


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#9 JD318420 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2016 - 10:07 AM

Yes, It could be the key switch (corrosion/age/heat), to the solenoid (older series onan with bendix style starter), to the starter (p-series onan style starter) and (bendix style starter). Check the fuses/holders, the in-line style were also a known issue, if need to fix use the flat auto type. Deere has them with clips to hang on the pedestal frame.

 

You haven't mention which onan you have the B43 or P218G

 

The tractor looks to be great cosmetic shape, now you just have to get the mechanicals work out!

Nice grab!


Edited by JD318420, September 23, 2016 - 10:09 AM.

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#10 rallyroo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2016 - 10:42 AM

Yes, It could be the key switch (corrosion/age/heat), to the solenoid (older series onan with bendix style starter), to the starter (p-series onan style starter) and (bendix style starter). Check the fuses/holders, the in-line style were also a known issue, if need to fix use the flat auto type. Deere has them with clips to hang on the pedestal frame.

 

You haven't mention which onan you have the B43 or P218G

 

The tractor looks to be great cosmetic shape, now you just have to get the mechanicals work out!

Nice grab!

 

It's a 1988 P218G, spec 1710462B. The PO did install a relay and may have done fuses as well, I think I saw some up by the battery box. I'll have it apart this weekend to take a look. In the meantime, it does start but just needs the key cycled a few times before it fires. 



#11 JD318420 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 23, 2016 - 10:46 AM

Replace the key switch, use the correct JD part


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