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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last year I have been restoring and reviving a 1980 John Deere 317 (Onan Re-power) that was scrapped due to numerous issues. One of which was this intermittent ignition issue where it would start and run for a bit but then die after a while. I replaced the ignition coil because of slightly high resistance but the issue persists. Here are the symptoms.

1) Happens after the engine starts to get hot or after 15-20min of operating.
2) Happens with and without the PTO engaged.
3) Happens at any power setting.
4) Still able to crank and all accessories work but no spark.
5) As mentioned it is a new coil and it is within spec.
6) New Spark plugs - Problem Persists.
7) Will quit some times and fire right back up after.
8) Starts first try every time after sitting for several hours.

Here is what I have been able to deduce from my findings:
1) Ignition/ electrical related.
2) Intermittent and seems to be directly related to heat.

I am not a mechanic but enjoy learning new things and have learned a bunch by doing this project so far. Reading these forums have helped me solve numerous problems that have come up during this project. This is my first time posting so I am interested to see if others have had any similar issues.

Thank you in advance.

Jonathan
 

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Jonathan,

:welcome:You have come to the right place to learn what the root cause is for your symptom above.

The Onan engine used in the re-power of the 317 tractors is a variant of the P218 engine that has the electronic ignition. This style ignition has a module under the stator behind the flywheel that is triggered by a magnetic ring that is rotating with the crankshaft. This module can fail in a way that it cuts out when the temperature gets elevated from 10 to 30 minutes of operation. When it cools back down to room temperature, it may work normally again.

Here are some pictures of where the module is located and of the ring. Always replace the ring when you replace the module.
Onan ingition module.JPG

old vs new rotor.jpg

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Russ & Chuck thank you for your quick response.

RussK: It is a P218G. Model Number P218G-I/10608C

Chuck: This is on my suspect list. Is there a way to trouble shoot and confirm this is the issue without replacing? I did test it on as outlined in the Onan service manual and it was within spec, but as mentioned it is interment which is hard to check once it fails. The reason it is one of the last things I am trying to replace is because of its cost and inaccessibility. Im in Canada and have been quoted $400.00 + for just the module without ring.
 

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Russ and Jon,

Here is a Deere document showing the installation of the Onan P218 variant into the 317 tractor. I have also included the section from the PC1698 which shows all the parts specific to the Onan as used in this tractor...

View attachment Onan in 317 re-power instructions.pdf

View attachment Onan repower kit section from 317 PC1698.pdf

I suspect other owner re-powers may have used the older Onan engines, but the modification done at any Deere dealer used the P218 like the 317 that I had in my herd once...

Chuck
 

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Jon,

One more thing -- the parts for the Onan are available from Cummins (who bought out ONAN some years ago...) and will generally be less costly than buying them through Deere. My Cummins dealer when I was living near Portland, Oregon was also open until midnight 6 days a week so access was a bet better too.... For the Onan part number, just drop the prefix "HE" from the part numbers shown in the PC1698. You can also find these parts on-line because they are common service parts. Let us know how things go when you replace the module and ring.

Chuck
 

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Jon,

Which attachment is giving you issues...they both open as PDF files on my computer. If you still have difficulties, PM me your email address and I will send attached files along with some too large to post here.

Chuck
 

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Jon and Rok55,

Not sure why that ignition parts illustration with parts number list did not post successfully -- it looked fine in preview. Let me try it again:

ignition parts for P218 to solve intermittent heat issues.jpg

...let's see if this is better.

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So John Deere has the parts for a total of $640.71 CDN. Local Cummins supplier is $361.65 CDN and onanparts.com is $330.66 CDN. For only $30.00 more I will shop local and let you know how I make out. Thanks for your help everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
After taking the engine out in preparation for the Ignition module and ring replacement I noticed two things.

1) When I was reassembling the engine there was no insulator (166-0786) installed behind the ignition module. Nor did I order one when I ordered the new parts (will be ordering today). This means that the module was flush against the gear case. I don't remember removing this when I was doing the rebuild but if it was missing or deteriorated could this have potentially caused the issue?

2) I had mistakenly attached the condenser to the negative terminal which I realized after reading Chuck's post on the "317 Onan rebuild oops" thread. So....Could this also have caused the issue. Looking back at pictures from when I first started the project it appears that the condenser was never attached, and after the rebuild foolishly attaching it to the wrong terminal would have the same effect. SO I ask... What is the purpose of the condenser and what affect would this have on the ignition of the engine? Also now that my condenser was attached to the wrong terminal could there be damage to it requiring replacement and is there a way to test its servicability?


"
 

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Jon,

Connecting the condenser to the wrong side of the coil for the electronic ignition will not cause any permanent damage, but it could make the engine run poorly at higher RPMs. It is unlikely to make the engine quit when hot, however...

The thin insulator is another matter -- you can try to replace the insulator to see if it cures all your ills. Might save you a bunch of money...the trade-off is you would need to pull the engine again if that module is really starting to get heat sensitive and having the known temperature intermittent failures. Your call...

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well good news! The new module, ring and insulator are in and seem to have resolved the issue. I have ran the tractor several times for over an hour collectively and hasn’t quit once.

On to the next issue... after I put things back together the Hydrostatic Pump started leaking. It appears to be coming from the Two valves at the top. I took them out and the O rings look in good shape. So I’m not sure why it is leaking.
 

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Jon, Those are the "free wheeling" valves. they can leak around the outside of the valve OR around the pin in the center. Put them back in, leave fender deck off, start tractor & warm for 5 minutes and then go wide open throttle. The pin sits in a little pocket on top of the valve, watch to see if this pocket fills with oil. If so, replace. Bob
 

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Jon,

Glad the ignition module fixed the issue when the engine is hot and was dying...this is a well-known issue with the aging modules. Heat tends to accelerate this type of solid state electronics failure, so going forward be sure to regularly check the belly screens and keep debris off the engine fins so it gets proper air flow and cooling performance.

Bob's comments above on the free wheeling relief valves is just what you should follow...let us know what you find. Be sure that the knob is fully turned to allow these valves to fully close (i.e. not in the bypass/free wheeling position) as a very slight pressure from this knob mechanism can induce a leak out the little stem without causing any noticeable issue in transmission performance...

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good day guys. Thanks for your help. Unfortunately it is leaking from the right free wheeling valve (the Centre post) AND from the rear seal that attaches to the fan. It is leaking from the outside where the seal meets the casing of the pump. It appears that the fan was rubbing on the seal.
 

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