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Garden Tractors and Mowers Vintage lawn and garden tractors, mowers, snow blowers, snowmobiles and other old machinery that is driven by small air cooled engines.

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Help With John Deere 317 Starter...


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  #1  
Old 10-30-2011, 05:02:31 PM
KenS999 KenS999 is offline
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Default Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Hello,

When I turn the key on my friends JD 317, the starter motor spins, but the solenoid doesnt appear to engage. Im guessing bad starter solenoid? Havent peeked at it yet, not sure on what side of motor it is even on?

Is there any way to verify if the solenoid is the culprit? Is the starter Only available from a JD dealer and is it an easy job like a car starter?

thanks much,
Ken
West Dundee, IL

---------- Post added at 04:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:38 PM ----------

Hello,

I guess I left out the most important question....is the solenoid attached to the starter or is it a seperate component ?

thanks,
Ken
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2011, 06:34:24 PM
sprkplug sprkplug is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

If the engine is still original, and that's a big IF with this engine, then it's a Kohler KT17. It does not use a solenoid shift starter, rather a separate solenoid and a bendix drive starter.

Make sure the battery cables are hooked up correctly, or the starter will spin backwards and never engage. The bendix drive on this type of starter is known to stick, and not spin out. Sometimes, a disassembly and cleaning will help it out, but you may have to replace the drive. Be prepared - the last Kohler drive I priced was only $30.00 less than a complete starter!

Any shop should be able to get you a starter, or starter parts. They are readily available from Kohler, and aftermarket sources.
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:45:28 PM
KenS999 KenS999 is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Does the fact that the starter motor spins when key is turned rule out the solenoid as the issue ?

Thanks,
Ken


Quote:
Originally Posted by sprkplug View Post
If the engine is still original, and that's a big IF with this engine, then it's a Kohler KT17. It does not use a solenoid shift starter, rather a separate solenoid and a bendix drive starter.

Make sure the battery cables are hooked up correctly, or the starter will spin backwards and never engage. The bendix drive on this type of starter is known to stick, and not spin out. Sometimes, a disassembly and cleaning will help it out, but you may have to replace the drive. Be prepared - the last Kohler drive I priced was only $30.00 less than a complete starter!

Any shop should be able to get you a starter, or starter parts. They are readily available from Kohler, and aftermarket sources.
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:59:02 PM
sprkplug sprkplug is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

It should.. I suppose it could be a case of the solenoid not delivering enough current to the starter to engage the drive, due to some internal problem, but I doubt it. If the starter spins, then the solenoid is probably not at fault.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:08:04 PM
KenS999 KenS999 is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Thanks for the quick reply. I have read that the motor needs to be unbolted and lifted to get the starter out. Sounds like a handful.

Thanks,
Ken
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:35:58 PM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

The starter on a Kohler KT-17 engine DOES NOT have a solenoid that shift the gear on the starter drive into the flywheel. The gear on later model starters is plastic. The early starters have a heavier metal gear which works better but both can stick. The gear climbs the spiral on the drive when power is switch to the starter. The battery MUST be well charged to cause this to happen. You may need to lube the spiral with WD-40 but to do this you must pull the engine to either remove the flywheel shroud or to remove the starter.
I have worked on several 317 as Dad collect them.

Kent
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:04:46 PM
KenS999 KenS999 is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Thanks Kent, I ran across a parts catalog online for the 317 and it showed a solenoid. Is it possible that JD manufactured the 317 with more than one motor option, maybe an Onan?

thanks,
Ken
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:02:03 AM
sprkplug sprkplug is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

That's exactly what I meant when I said IF the engine is still original.
So many of those KT17's went south, that JD replaced them with an Onan, usually a P218, which very well could've had a solenoid shift starter.

In my opinion, you will be better off if you discover it's an Onan.....
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:59:09 AM
KenS999 KenS999 is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Thanks, and I will report my findings just as soon as I can get back over there and take a closer look.

Ken
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:59:15 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

The John Deere Lawn Tractor with the Onan is Model 318.

Kent
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Old 10-31-2011, 09:58:32 AM
sprkplug sprkplug is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Well, sort of.

Some of the 316's had Onans, all of the 318's had Onans, and all of the 420's had Onans.

The 317 came from Deere with a Kohler KT17. They had a terrible habit of shucking rods, due to a sub-optimal oiling system. So bad in fact, that Deere put together a kit to repower with an Onan. This was a Deere kit, not an aftermarket, and I remember doing one UNDER WARRANTY. That's how bad the problem was.

I was a service manager for a JD dealership for years, before I opened my own shop. I can probably scrounge up the memo from Deere regarding this swap, I remember it came with templates, and grinding was involved.

The Deere part # for the kit was HE541-0209. Which is actually an Onan number, if you drop the HE prefix. It may no longer be a good JD number, but you should be able to google it and come up with something.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:18:01 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

The last KT-17 I did for Dad was a plain KT-17 with the splash lubed rods. It was a very tried engine. One of the things I notice when I tore the engine down was a strip in the middle of each rod throw that look as if the bearing in that area was on the edge of galling. What I did when I rebuilt the engine was to drill oiling holes into the center line of the 10 under rod and the rod cap. ANYTHING that could increase the ability of oil to get into the rod HAS to be a plus.
On a earlier KT-17 I built for Dad, he has five JD 317 I took a KT-17 plain case and converted it to a series II case. It took a couple of tries as I had a problem of overloading the PTO seal with oil from the oil pressure relief valve. I could not locate the relief valve in the same location as the series II block. The castings are not the same.

Kent
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:44:47 AM
sprkplug sprkplug is offline
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Default Re: Help With John Deere 317 Starter...

Every time my Kohler rep stops by to show me their latest and greatest creation, I always begin with the line: "Is it on par with the KT series, and the K361?"

He usually gets a sheepish grin on his face and mumbles something about that being a long time ago.
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