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newbie looking for a 318


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#1 coopduc OFFLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2011 - 10:10 PM

Hi Guys - First post, and looking for some guidelines on what to look for when shopping for a 318. I'm not looking for a project, but one in good shape with reasonably low hours with a good mower deck. Basically something reliable that I can use right away. The problem is I don't know how many house are considered low, or reasonable, or high. Or what is a reasonable price for a good functioning unit. Any guidance is appreciated.

Charlie

#2 dstaggs OFFLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2011 - 10:13 PM

Welcome to GTtalk. Not good on price.

#3 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2011 - 11:43 PM

Welcome to the site.

Average hours put on a lgt per year is approximately 40-60 IMO...

318's were made from 1983 to 1991

The Onan engines have some what of a reputation for breaking connecting rods prematurely .... but IMO it usually happens as a result of a lack of proper maintenance on the engine.

I know a man who had 2200 hours on his Onan 318 before needing a major overhaul. Some make it to 1800 and then some need overhauled at 1200 hours .... again maintenance is a factor

The 332 diesel is just a 318 tractor but powered with a Yanmar diesel..... I have known of these tractors being used commercially and having 4000 hours with no problems .... the drive train is tough !!!

The going price for a decent one has been about $1800 for years but lately it is taking an exceptional one to bring that.

You can find them with 700-800 hours if you are patient .... and pay under $2000 .... and IMO these are the best buy !

Decent running tractors with 1200-1500 hrs. are a gamble and worth maybe $ 1000-1200

You can find them needing tlc for less

....and if you can live with a 316 you can really fine a deal. The manual steering is exceptionally easy to steer even with a snow blower in front.

Also beware there are many over-priced ones on the market.... as if a 318 is a 318 is a 318 ... and they are all the same.... but .... they are not all the same so look them over good.

Hope this helps

Edited by MF14 plowday special, July 04, 2011 - 11:52 PM.


#4 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 05:23 AM

Welcome to GTtalk coopduc . Can't add any more to what was just said but good luck and maybe take a friend with you when you look , Al

#5 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 05:50 AM

Welcome to GTtalk coopduc . Can't add any more to what was just said but good luck and maybe take a friend with you when you look , Al


This is great advice !

#6 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 06:03 AM

For the record.... I know of a great vintage gt site which forbids asking a "whats it worth" question. I know they have good reasons for making that rule.... and one is that there are lots of collectors there with expensive tractors and they would not want them publicly appraised in a forum without their permission.

But to ask generally "whats it worth" ... is a fair question .... and you need to know that before you go buy a used tractor.

Good luck with your purchase.

Edited by MF14 plowday special, July 05, 2011 - 06:04 AM.
punctuation


#7 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 07:14 AM

:welcometogttalk: Glad to have you! Good luck with your quest.

#8 coopduc OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 08:33 AM

Thanks guys! It seems many on ebay are optimistically priced. I looked at a 316 that was for sale locally for $1700. Tractor looked good, engine ran well. No hour meter. The deck had rust holes through the top and was painted over. When the mower was engaged it instantly shredded the drive belt and tossed it out the side. The owner was shocked and clearly embarassed, but wasn't able to explain why it happened or what could have caused it except maybe too high belt tension. Needless to say I passed on the tractor, but am wondering if this was simply was poor belt maintenance, or if there is something more significantly wrong. Also, I'm leery about old tractors without hour meters.

#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 10:12 AM

Welcome, and happy hunting finding a 318. It is always a gamble buying an older machine. Ideally, access to the maintenance history would be nice, but is very rarely available. There are bound to be parts that are worn out on a 25-30yr. old tractor so build some money into your budget to fix any problems when you first get the tractor rather than waiting for it to break down.

#10 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 10:21 AM

Over the weekend I noticed a 316 Onan on Cleveland Craigslist for I believe $600 and looked decent.

Some indicators of wear:

Check the rollers under the deck for tightness and try to assess if they are the originals.

Check the side of the hydostatic control lever for wear .... see if there is a flat spot worn on the side from friction as the lever slides through the slot. If there is a significant amount of "flat" on the side .... could be a sign of having many hours. But not always true .... If you mow a huge rectangular long lawn .... you may seldom need to move the hydro lever. As you inspect tractors with hour meters ..... check the wear on the side of the control lever and then compare with the hour meter... there can be a correlation between wear and hours and after inspecting numerous tractors you can get a "feel" for whether or not has high or low hours .... but not always .... but use this along with other factors to consider such as deck roller wear, looking at the tires to see if they have original tread and also look at the wear on the front spindles and look to see if tie rods have been replaced etc.

Also if you are buying from an original owner and he has always lived at present location .... check out the size of his yard and then ask how old the tractor is. Or if owner has moved ask him how big his previous yard was.

Edited by MF14 plowday special, July 05, 2011 - 10:29 AM.


#11 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 11:24 AM

Also .... check the mule drive for tightness .... worn idlers possibly the cause for that 316 you looked at..

There 316-318 series are getting aged and there is lots of worn out ones.

And .... maintenance ..... keeping oil level up and oil changed is important obviously .... but a good way to fry an Onan is to let the cooling fins get stopped up with debris. When the tractor is running put you hand in front of the side covers and "feel" the airflow .... sould be even on both sides of the engine and if not then one side is getting plugged. My nephew has a 316 I gave him and left side plugs sooner than right. Also winter is a good time for mice to make nests.

#12 MF14 plowday special OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 11:32 AM

Thanks guys! It seems many on ebay are optimistically priced.


Well yes .... you said it politely .... but many are way overpriced !

Also if you search craigslist ..... do it frequently .... the best buys are soon grabbed and the posting soon deleted .... and you never knew it was listed (this is a free tip)

#13 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2011 - 12:25 PM

It seems region and timing has a lot to do with pricing as well. I bought a good 88 318 December 23rd of last year for $1000 from a small engine shop.
With Snowblower 48" mower and powerflow bagger and he delivered it to my new home.

I'm not going to say those deals come around everyday and I expected to pay $1500. So there are deals out there, you just have to look.
When I went to look at it he had a barn full of machines at the time, and they normally don't sell many that time of year.
Now the guy may have been hungry, needed money for Christmas etc, but he was good enough to deal with That I go to him when I need parts for any thing I have. He has a good mechanic and the machines he sells are a good value. I bought a used fuel solinoid and wiring harness for my Murray Rail Frame Wednesday for $20(normally sells new for $50).

So While you may find a deal on Craigs List, Don't fail to check out the local small engine shops, you may find a good solid machine at a reasonable price. And they normally will be honest if they want the repeat business.
Word get out on the dishonest ones pretty darn fast!

On a side note; The Hour Meter may not be believed or believable? Does it work(mine does not), Has it been replaced(many have).
Has it been unhooked sometime during it's life? A lot can happen in 25 yrs so who knows?
I think the condition of the machine is more reliable than the hours on the meter.

Edited by JD DANNELS, July 05, 2011 - 12:38 PM.





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