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!