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John Deere Lawn Tractors: Should You Choose Gas or Diesel?

John Deere Lawn Tractors: Should You Choose Gas or Diesel?

  • Why should I invest in a diesel garden tractor versus a gas-powered mower?
  • What benefits does a diesel lawn tractor have that a gasoline one doesn’t?
  • Can a really expect greater longevity/reliability with a diesel tractor?

We hear questions like these often. My personal choice is almost always diesel.

Why? Here are 3 top reasons:

1) John Deere diesel lawn tractors are robust, powerful machines.John Deere 430 for sale

If you have a larger area to mow, till, plow, etc., a diesel like the John Deere 430 can be a smart choice. These tend to embody the “Nothing runs like a Deere” slogan, with the muscle you need to get the job done.

Powerful and efficient, diesel lawn tractors are well-suited in applications where you’re cutting through high grassy and/or wet areas. Most people find that they’re able to accomplish the job more quickly and effectively than a gas-powered counterpart.

When you’re talking diesel engines, a discussion of torque and horsepower almost always pops up. For instance, a 16HP diesel engine will have more torque than a gas-powered lawn tractor that has a higher horsepower rating.

2) A diesel lawn tractor is fuel efficient…

…especially if you’re using the tractor on a regular basis. While gas and diesel are both petroleum products, diesel has up to 12% more energy by volume versus gas. John Deere 455

What does this mean for you? You get up to 12% more output from the engine for each gallon of diesel burned as compared to consuming a gallon of gas. For those of you using your lawn tractor with regularity, this can result in an appreciable difference in fuel usage over a period of time.

Adapted from a post on Weekend Freedom Machines, here are some numbers for you that show how a John Deere diesel lawn tractor uses up to half the fuel when compared to a gas machine.

Just remember that actual fuel consumption will depend upon the conditions you’re using the tractor in, as well as the tractor itself (transmission type, hours, how well it’s maintained, etc.):

John Deere Tractor ModelConsumption at Half LoadConsumption at Full Load
316 (Serial # -285001)0.9 GPH / 3.4 LPH1.4 GPH / 5.3 LPH
3180.9 GPH / 3.4 LPH1.4 GPH / 5.3 LPH
3220.9 GPH / 3.4 LPH1.5 GPH / 5.7 LPH
3250.75 GPH / 2.8 LPH1.25 GPH / 4.5 LPH
3300.4 GPH / 1.5 LPH0.8 GPH / 3 LPH
3320.4 GPH / 1.5 LPH0.8 GPH / 3 LPH
3450.8 GPH / 3 LPH1.3 GPH / 4.9 LPH
4201 GPH / 3.8 LPH2 GPH / 7.6 LPH
4300.4 GPH / 1.5 LPH0.9 GPH / 3.4 LPH
4250.94 GPH / 3.6 LPH1.57 GPH / 5.9 LPH
4450.98 GPH / 3.7 LPH1.64 GPH / 6.2 LPH
4550.79 GPH / 3 LPH1.32 GPH / 5 LPH

3) Diesel garden tractors are built to last.John Deere 430 for sale

Will a diesel really last longer than a gas garden tractor? That’s the question everyone wants to know. The short answer is yes, provided you perform appropriate maintenance activities.

Consider that a typical John Deere gas-powered garden tractor has parts that can (and do) go bad. These include:

  • Carburetor
  • Spark plugs
  • Points

A lawn tractor with a diesel powered engine does not have these parts to break down or require replacement. In many cases, you can store a diesel garden tractor for extended periods of time and start it right up – try doing that with a gas mower.

Another advantage is that many diesel engines can run for thousands of hours before needing an overhaul. Liquid cooled diesel engines, such as the Yanmar 3TNA72UJ 3-cylinder found in John Deere 430 garden tractors, give the engine a more consistent operating temperature which can increase engine longevity.

Want to learn more about classic John Deere diesel lawn tractors? You may find these articles helpful:

 

John Deere 318 – Your Top 5 Troubleshooting Questions Are Answered

John Deere 318 – Your Top 5 Troubleshooting Questions Are Answered

Below are the five most common questions we’re asked regarding John Deere 318 troubleshooting. As well as the 318, the answers to each of these questions should also apply to the following lawn and garden tractor models:

If you’re looking for more general resources, you may find the following links helpful:

1. My 1989 John Deere 318 runs great, but it stalls after mowing for about a 1/2 hour and won’t restart until it cools off.

A: 1987 and newer 318’s use a Onan p218g engine with electronic ignition. Normally, that problem is caused by the ignition module that is located behind the flywheel.

2. The engine on my John Deere 318 is surging and will only run smooth if I pull the choke.

A:There are a few things that will cause this issue. The most common is a dirty carburetor – normally dissembling and cleaning the carburetor will cure this.

Another cause for this is that air is being drawn in someplace, such as a split intake manifold. The Onan engines in the John Deere 318’s used a 2-piece manifold that can separate.

3. When my 318 gets hot, the mower deck will not engage.

A: Sounds like your PTO clutch is out of adjustment – the proper gap setting is .018. It is is set by tightening the 3 spring loaded nuts around the clutch. For a quick fix, you can tighten each nut equally about a 1/8 of a turn and see if that is enough to get it to engage. This also applies to other John Deere lawn and garden tractor models, including the 316, 318, 322, 330, 332 and 430. 

4. The starter on my 1990 318 doesn’t always engage. Sometimes I have to turn the key 3 or 4 times to get it to turn over. I already changed the starter but it still has the same problem.

A: The way 1986 and newer John Deere 316, 318 and 420’s were wired from the factory did not provide a full 12 volts to the solenoid when you turn the key. Many times, people will replace the starter thinking that is the problem.

The real cure for this problem is to add a relay to provide a full 12 volts to your starter. John Deere offers what they call a starting improvement relay kit – part number AM107421. This includes the relay and wiring harness needed.

5. My Deere 318 won’t start. I have spark, but no fuel. I’ve already replaced the fuel pump, but still no fuel. What would cause this? 

A: Many times this is caused by bad fuel lines – even if they look ok from the outside, they deteriorate on the inside. The main reason this happens is because today’s gasoline contains 10% or more ethanol. I recommend using non-ethanol fuel or treat your fuel with a product such as Startron.

If you enjoy tinkering with your John Deere – or you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem you’ve been having – I recommend getting a copy of a John Deere User’s Manual to reference. Try searching online if you don’t have one already. For instance, this comprehensive manual for the John Deere 318 also covers the 316 and 420 as well – it’s available here, at MANUALSDIR.com.

What about you? Did you ever encounter a tricky problem with your JD 318? How did you figure it out? Let us know and we may feature it in an upcoming blog post!

The Later Generation of John Deere Lawn Tractors: The 425, 445, 455

The Later Generation of John Deere Lawn Tractors: The 425, 445, 455

✪To see if we have a John Deere 425, 445 or 455 available, click here.

From 1993-2001, the John Deere 425, 445 and 455 Took Over as Kings of the Turf

The John Deere 420 (released in 1983), 430 (introduced 1984) and now infamous Deere 318 ruled the turf until the next generation of lawn and garden tractors were rolled out in 1993.

From 1993-2001, John Deere produced a new series of lawn and garden tractors: the 425, 445, and 455. While these are all solid tractors that enjoyed a long, successful sales run, they’re not nearly as well-remembered as some of John Deere’s more popular earlier models like the 318.

One of the key advantages to these later tractors is that they have a foot controlled hydrostatic transmission versus the earlier series such as the 318 that had a hand control on the dash. Many people appreciate the more “modern” conveniences offered on these tractors.

From a body perspective, John Deere got away from using as much metal on these later series versus the earlier models. Some body panels were actually plastic versus metal, so they don’t feel quite as heavy duty as previous models.

Want to know what year your 425, 445, or 455 was made?  Scroll to page 7 on this handy chart.

John Deere 425 Tractor Details425 John Deere

The John Deere 425 boasted a 20HP Kawasaki FD620D 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled V-twin engine. This was a 2WD tractor with power steering and a hydrostatic Tuff Torq K91 transmission.  Buyers could also opt for four-wheel steering.

Mower deck size options included 48”, 54”, and 60” widths, all 3-blade with hydraulic lift. Plenty of useful attachments were offered, including a 54” front mounted blade, 46” single-stage snow blower or 47” dual-stage blower, and a Model 40 loader.

Here’s a link covering the 425 and 445 on Deere.com that you may find useful.

Production on the successful John Deere 425 ended in 2001.

445 John Deere lawn tractor

Specs on the John Deere 445

Part of the successful 400 Series of lawn and garden tractors, the John Deere 445 was a step up from the 425. It offered owners a 22HP liquid-cooled V-twin 2-cyl Kawasaki engine with a shaft-driven hydrostatic transmission.

As with the 425 model, the 445 was a 2WD machine with power steering, though buyers could choose four-wheel steering if desired. 48”, 54”, and 60” width hydraulic lift mower decks were available on this model.

Other attachments included the 54” (front-mounted) hydraulic lift blade, a 46” (single-stage) or 47” (dual-stage) snow blower, and the Model 40 loader.

Here’s a link covering the 425 and 445 on Deere.com that you may find useful.

The last John Deere 445 rolled off the assembly line in 2001.

About the John Deere 455

Another member of the John Deere 400 family of lawn tractors, the 455 offered up a Yanmar 22HP 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled OHV diesel engine with a shaft-driven hydrostatic tranny. Like other members of the 400 series, the Deere 455 was a 2WD tractor with power steering (four-wheel steering was offered as an option).

The same 48”, 54” and 60” mower shaft-driven mower decks were also offered on the 455, as was the 54” blade and the 46” and 47” blowers (single- and dual-stage, respectively). Although the Model 40 loader was an available attachment, it was compatible with two-wheel steering models only.

This model isn’t as common as the 425 or 445, but it remains an excellent tractor that stays true to the John Deere legacy of quality lawn tractors.

As with the 425 and 445, manufacturing on the 455 took place at Deere’s Horicon WI plant and ceased in 2001.

History of John Deere lawn tractorsGoodbye 80s…Hello, Y2K!

By the time the first of these tractors were produced, people had long said goodbye to the “decade of decadence” as the 1980s is sometimes humorously referred to. The 90s were now in full swing, and in 1993, the first episode of the enormously popular TV show The X-Files aired on September 10th of that year.  Remember the famous tagline from that series?  The truth is out there.

And who can forget Whitney Houston famous hit song, “I Will Always Love You,” or “That’s the Way Love Goes,” by Janet Jackson. If the music wasn’t playing, tv was, and the most popular show in 1993 was 60 Minutes, followed by Home Improvement and Seinfeld.  Cheers aired its season finale while Hollywood super couple Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger tied the knot.

Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it?

To view any available tractors we may have in the 425, 445, and 455 series of John Deere garden tractors, click here.

John Deere 318 – One of the Most Popular Lawn Tractors Ever

John Deere 318 – One of the Most Popular Lawn Tractors Ever

✪Looking for a John Deere 318 for sale? Click here to see our latest offering. 

If you ask a group of John Deere enthusiasts what their favorite lawn and garden tractor model is, the 318 is likely to rank at the top of the list. Manufactured from 1983-1992, this perennial favorite has become a bonafide American classic.

At Green Ridge Restorations, the #1 model we buy, sell and restore is the John Deere 318. It’s not uncommon for us to purchase an old 318 from the original owner – still in excellent condition and well-cared for – even after all these years.

These powerhouses reigned supreme throughout the 1980s into the early 1990s, and continue to be found in service throughout the US – a quarter century after the last one rolled off the assembly line in Horicon, WI.

Restored Classic John Deere 318 Garden TractorJohn Deere 318 Basic Specs

During the years 1983 through 1987, John Deere used an 18HP Onan B43G 2-cylinder, air-cooled gas engine. From 1987 on, the B43G was replaced by Onan’s P218 18HP 2-cylinder, air cooled gas engine.

The 318 also featured a shaft-driven hydrostatic Sundstrand 90 transmission. Mower deck sizes were 38”, 46”, and 50”.

Many attachments were available for the 318, including the following:

  • 54” wide blade
  • 46” single-stage snow blower
  • 47” dual-stage snow blower
  • 48” shaft-driven tiller
  • 30” hydraulic tiller, with optional extension to 42”
  • Model 44 loader
  • Several bagger systems, ranging from a standard two-bag, 6.5 bushel to an impressively large, 13-bushel collection system.

Our restored John Deere 318’s with Power Flow baggers systems are some of the most popular models we sell.

When Was My John Deere 318 Made?

If you want to determine what year your 318 was manufactured, start by retrieving the serial number, which is located on a small plate beneath the steering column.

Basically, John Deere 318 serial numbers begin with “M00318X”. Following that, you’ll see a group of six digits, such as 285073. A whole serial number stamped on the plate will therefore look something like this: M00318X285073. Those last six digits identify the manufacturing year.

Below is a quick reference chart to help you figure out when your 318 was made:

If The Year Is,Serial Number Begins With…
1983222001
1984285001
1985315001
1986360001
1987420001
1988475001
1989595001
1990010001
1991100001
1992110001
Final production120000

 

318 John Deere

Similar Models to the JD 318

The John Deere 316 is a lower-end model that is similar to the 318, but without power steering. If you’re used to power steering on your lawn and garden tractor, operating the 316 can definitely feel awkward at first.

Additionally, some lesser known models also produced during that time included the Yanmar-powered 322, 330, and 332 Deere models.

Fun fact: John Deere was riding high in the 80s. In May 1984, its Horicon Works plant in WI produced its 1 millionth lawn tractor there, a 318. Not unlike our own experiences selling restored vintage models today, the 318 was a top seller during its production years.

Where to Find Parts for the Deere 318

If you need parts for your own 318, John Deere still offers many for sale. For engine parts, Onan Parts is a great source. You can also check to see if a farm and John Deere 318 garden tractorgarden store in your area has access to the parts you need.

If you’re looking for an obscure part or trying to get a deal, you can always check out eBay since the inventory and offerings are constantly changing.

Need a manual for your 318? Search Google to see what you find – sometimes whole manuals are available for free in PDF form or directly online. Or, try one of the resources already listed above.

If you want more detail on the John Deere 318 or any other model, we highly recommend TractorData.com and the Weekend Freedom Machines Forum.

Looking Back, Riding Ahead

1986 John Deere 318Like any classic piece of American history, the John Deere 318 has a devoted, almost cult-like following. For many, the memories of a beloved family member painstakingly manicuring the lawn with his 318 are even more valuable than the tractor itself.

We get to meet a lot of people – and we hear a lot of stories about granddad taking his grandkids for a ride on a 318, dad plowing the first winter’s snow…

People love reminiscing back to the days when they first purchased their 318’s…in  1983 when the very first 318 model was manufactured, Michael Jackson’s hit song, “Billie Jean” topped the charts.  That was followed with his second super hit of the year, “Beat It.”  But The Police took the number one spot in Billboard magazine’s Top Hot Songs of 1983 with “Every Breath You Take.”

Movie theaters enjoyed a resurgence of popularity.  Return of the Jedi and Scarface were box office hits. And of course – who could forget Flashdance?

1983 John DeereAnd “new” food items became household munchies, like the introduction of flavored popcorn, wine coolers, fruit roll ups and Steak-umms.

And how about cars?  Remember what Motor Trend’s Top Car for 1983 was?  The AMC/Renault Alliance!  Motor Trend admitted it was “certainly no lightning bolt” and its boxy shape looks awkward and out of place compared to today’s smoothly contoured cars.

That can’t be said for the John Deere!  It still is ‘in style’ even over 30 years later!  Reliable, nostalgic and dependable, it lives up to the old slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere.”

At Green Ridge Restorations, we’re helping the next generation of John Deere enthusiasts create new memories with the classic 318.

We often have a John Deere 318 for sale, but they don’t last long. Click here to see if we have any currently available. 

 

 

Restored John Deere Lawn & Garden Tractors for Sale

Restored John Deere Lawn & Garden Tractors for Sale

Here are our John Deere lawn and garden tractors currently for sale. General specs and actual tractor images are shown in the table, and you can click the link to learn more or purchase. 

John Deere Tractor ModelQuick SpecsPricing & Availability
John Deere 316
John Deere 316 for Sale
• 18HP Onan P218G twin cylinder engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• 50″- inch hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Includes original Operator's Manual!
• Year: 1990
• Does not have hour meter
SOLD
Price: $SOLD
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 318
• Onan p218g 18hp Twin Cylinder engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• 46″-inch hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Year: 1987
• Hours meter reads: 718
New listing!
Price: $2,900
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 322
• 18HP Yanmar gasoline three cylinder (3-CYL) liquid cooled engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• 50″- inch replacement hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Includes original Operator's Manual!
• Year: TBD
Upcoming
Price: $TBD
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 332
• 16HP Yanmar three cylinder (3-CYL) diesel engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• 50″-inch hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Year: 1990
• Hours meter reads: 1541
Ready Now
Price: $4,150
✪Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 420
John Deere 420
• 24HP Onan T260 twin cylinder repl engine
• 60″-inch hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Year: 1986
Coming Soon!
Price: $TBD
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 425
• 20HP Kawasaki 2-Cyl, Liquid-Cooled V-Twin Engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• Hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Includes original Operator's Manual
• Year: TBD
Upcoming
Price: $TBD
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 430
• 20HP Yanmar 3TNA72UJ three cylinder 3-CYL diesel engine
• 60"-inch shaft-driven hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new deck wheels, new mulching blades, and bearings
• Hydrostatic transmission
• Locking 2-speed differential
• Power steering
• New battery
• New Carlisle Tru Power rear tires
• Year: 1989
• Hours meter reads: 1944
Ready Now
Price: $5,300
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere 445
• 22HP Kawasaki 2-Cyl, Liquid-Cooled V-Twin Engine
• Hydrostatic transmission
• Hydraulic lift mower deck w/ new blades, bearings, belts, and deck wheels
• Power steering
• Includes original Operator's Manual
• Year: TBD
Upcoming
Price: $TBD
Learn more or purchase here. 
John Deere Hydraulic Tiller
• John Deere Model 30 hydraulic rototiller with extension and skid shoes
• Fits John Deere 316 (Onan), 318, 322, 330 and 332 garden tractors
• With extension, approx. 42" inch tilling width
• Tines are in good condition
• New hydraulic hoses
• Rear shield is missing
• Includes all mounting brackets, hardware, belt and mule drive
SOLD
Price: $SOLD
Learn more or purchase here. 

When you own a John Deere, you mow because you want to. Not because you have to.

When you own a John Deere, you mow because you want to. Not because you have to.

✪Want to see our John Deere garden tractors currently available for sale? Click here. 

When you own a John Deere, you mow because you want to. Not because you have to.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many a friendly conversation with customers. Most don’t simply arrive at the shop to pick up their restored John Deere and leave. Once they see the various John Deere’s here at Green Ridge Restorations, neatly lined up like attentive soldiers, some totally restored, others patiently waiting their turn at a new life, well…

The John Deere conversation often includes a confession of sorts.

…all that is fuel for the fire – the conversation fire, that is. A lot of reminiscing goes on, a lot of praise for the John Deere line, a lot of “I wouldn’t own anything but a John Deere,” and then…. a confession.

No, not that kind of confession, about something they’ve done that they shouldn’t have.

This is a simple, “let-me-tell-you-something kind of confession that I don’t let on to anyone.”

First time I heard something like this I was bracing for a humdinger of a story. Not sure what I was expecting to hear, I nonchalantly folded my arms over, leaned back against a John Deere 318 that was waiting to be restored, and waited for the real-life confession, whatever it may be.

If you’re a John Deere enthusiast, I know you can relate.

“You know, I don’t mow the lawn because I have to. I mow it because I want to.”

Then he got a big grin across his face.

“Yeah, that’s right. There’s some days I can’t wait to hop on my John Deere and mow the lawn. You know why?

Well, he had me hooked now. I had to know why.

When You Hop on Your Classic John Deere, it’s YOUR time…

John Deere 420 for sale

John Deere 420

“Because it’s my time.  For an hour or so, no one bothers me. No one. I can’t hear anyone talk, I can’t hear a cell phone, and I can’t hear anyone yell at me.  It’s like it’s my private time – away from the world – but enjoying my yard, admiring the work I put into it, seeing birds fly to the feeders, and giving myself a pat on the back for all the work I’ve accomplished.”

He went on to explain how it was ‘his’ time. Even if it was just an hour, it was his own thoughts, ideas, plans, and projects, his own reflections of life. Between work and family, he explained, he just needs that ‘breather,’ like taking a step away, and recharging his inner battery.

After that confession, there was a brief silence in the shop.

He quickly added: “Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like work or family or life. It’s nothin’ like that. It’s just that sometimes I feel like I need a break from the daily grind. So I head to the garage, hop on my John Deere, and out I go. Doesn’t matter if that grass doesn’t need mowing. I need to mow.

Classic John Deere lawn tractorsAnd sometimes, I purposely mow slower, so it takes longer.”

Then he was quiet.

I was, too. Because I understood what he was saying. I get it.

It’s About Taking a Step Back from Life.

He loaded up his restored 318 that he purchased, we shook hands, and he drove off.

In different words, many a customer has expressed the same feelings.

How many times have we heard the old phrase, “the world is too much with us?”  William Wordsworth wrote that over 200 years ago. Heck, I bet he’d say the same words today – and probably a lot more!

I’m guessing that when the John Deere’s were engineered decades ago, the inventor never imagined that not only would the tractor tend to the lawns, in its own way, it would tend the owners, too.

Faithful John Deere owners not only mow lawns, they mow back life, so to speak, for just a little bit.

For a half hour or hour or whatever length of time, they hop on their John Deere’s and take a step back from life.

If we only had a patent for that!

 

 

 

 

⚑ CLOSED FOR 2 WEEKS - NOT PROCESSING ORDERS. Dismiss