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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edit: I see this got moved to the lt forum, after reading what I wrote it makes more sense here anyway. Thank you moderators.

So here it is, my 1979 John Deere 111
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I know its just a lawn tractor, sure ain't a 110 or a 112, but it's a neat little machine to just drive around on. Being a 1979 model, its a first year production and has a red plastic gas tank mounted above the engine, which looks "odd" but is factory, and the tank even has a "JD" logo molded into the top of it.
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At some point in its past life the original 11hp Briggs was swapped over to a 12hp Briggs. Not exactly a perfect swap, seeing as they had to remove the correct oil dipstick since it was too tall, but its a solid engine so I can't complain. Muffler setup is original too.

I have had my fair share of issues with it, 2 years ago it started to vibrate excessively, to the point where the wire connector would vibrate off the key switch. I eventually determined that this issue was being caused by the mechanical PTO. Since I don't have a mower deck, the obvious fix was to remove the whole PTO from the machine. Not the easiest task but I got there eventually:

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The whole assembly including the lever came out without too much trouble. Notice that electrical box actually broke somehow, which didn't help my case. The machine would no longer shut off or start up with the key. Since it is now removed all wiring issues have been fixed. Now, if you look in the first picture, of the PTO pulley and body itself, notice the smaller pulley at the top. That's the drive pulley for the wheels. It is permanently part of the PTO assembly. This actually opened up a great opportunity, the opportunity for more speed out of it. TractorData lists the 111 having a staggering 4.9 MPH top speed. So what did I replace it with? This:
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This was the largest 1" shaft diameter drive pulley I could buy at the local Tractorless Supply. The pulley on the transaxle is still the stock one. My goal with this was to make it an ideal transportation machine, something too scoot around on. So I wanted it to be faster than it was, but not too fast. I did pretty well, if I had to guess top speed is probably somewhere around 10-12 MPH. Fast for a lawn mower but still very manageable. I should also mention that I used the same belt that was on before, I got the extra length by swapping the 2 idler pulleys on the drive clutch for smaller ones.

The real motivation behind getting her running again was the annual show, which it will be going to this Saturday (two days from now). It went 2 years ago at the last one they had (2020 didn't happen because covid and whatnot). I'm glad to be taking it back there, especially since it'll be a lot quicker to scoot around the show with the speed upgrades.
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Here's the little plaque I got for bringing it to the last show. Should be able to mount another one right below it for this year.

So, there's my 1979 111 back up and going again. I know the lawn tractors aren't nearly as collectible as the GTs but they still are neat little machines, and seem to be pretty well built for lawn tractors.
 

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Nice! I have one of those 111's but it needs a gas tank, an electric clutch and the fenderpan sandblasted. The engine isn't original either. Has a replacement 11 HP B&S. Runs great one day and like crap the next time. Deck is really good though. Very stout little machine over all too. Transaxle seems bullet proof. Fixing it up is on my "If I Live Long Enough" to-do list.
 

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Nice little machine! I have a '66 WH Ranger that is in process for doing the same thing as you....just scooting around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice! I have one of those 111's but it needs a gas tank, an electric clutch and the fenderpan sandblasted. The engine isn't original either. Has a replacement 11 HP B&S. Runs great one day and like crap the next time. Deck is really good though. Very stout little machine over all too. Transaxle seems bullet proof. Fixing it up is on my "If I Live Long Enough" to-do list.
Sounds like a good little project. Based on the fact that you need an electric clutch I'd say you've got a later one. And I'd guess engine swaps probably weren't too uncommon on these machines either. Transaxle is a Peerless 501, a really well built transmission. Actually a very common base for a stock puller.

I forgot to mention that I did a fair bit of paint work to it, it's probably quite visible in the photos above. I completely repainted all the engine tins, as well as the frame around the engine. The black paint was faded and didn't looks so great compared to how nice the green paint was. I did all that work before the 2019 show, but didn't completely finish until last winter when I pulled the PTO. I ended up pulling the engine over the winter, which gave me access to remove and paint the last 2 engine tins I couldn't get to before. I also painted the starter to match. The muffler and pipe got painted in a high-heat exhaust/header paint.

That was most of the work, I also touched up the wheel rims in yellow and touched up the fenderpan in a couple small spots. The hood has some new scratches in it and could use some touch up as well but eh I'll leave it be. I should also mention that this is the machine that broke its starter at the show 2 years ago, and I wandered through the flea market to buy a new one. The starter I had on it, the bendix assembly was held in place by a little circle clip (not the best design) and that little clip decided to come off as I tried to start it up, after unloading it at the show. We just barely managed to get it to start with a paper clip and some vice grips, and for the next 2 hours I drove it around because I couldn't shut it off! Of course eventually I bought the replacement and was fine. That same replacement starter remains on it to this day, repainted and everything, but this year I'm bringing a spare starter with me just in case!

Sorry I keep going on and on, just too many odd stories about it. Couple final notes, those ag tires came off another machine, we mounted them. They look cool and get better traction, but the ride sure is bumpy! And, after all this, I can't forget the original purchase price we bought it for, a whole $10! At most I probably have about $100 into it now with paint, fuel system parts, oil, and that new drive pulley which was surprisingly expensive. Not bad for a little lawn tractor!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice little machine! I have a '66 WH Ranger that is in process for doing the same thing as you....just scooting around.
Sounds like a neat little project. Always fun to own enough machines that each one can have its own specific task!
 

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Yes, they are neat little machines. Top of the line in their day for that size.
The original engine in our 1980 JD 111 was replaced in 1994 with a newer 12 HP and a front grille from a JD 170 was added.
The tractor runs & operates just fine still. Here's a couple photos of it from 4-5 yrs. ago when it was in storage during winter -

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I had one of these 1979 units. It was my first JD. I bought mine used in the 90's. I discovered the mechanical clutch was only on the first year. That 38 deck I had on it mowed as good as any mower I have had. I had to replace the bearings in my clutch when I bought it.
Dan
 
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