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318 steering column leak

10862 Views 24 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  chuckv
My 89 318 developed a steering column leak today while mowing. It is coming from the forward face of the column and was wondering how serious of a repair this is going to be. The tractor has 1750 hrs and if it can go wrong with it, it will go wrong. I looked in my tech manual and they talk about a full rebuild, which I am capable of, but not real enthused about doing. Could this just be an exterior seal that blew and needs replaced, or does it have to be done complete from top to bottom?
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I would say: to be done complete from top to bottom.

I did a R&R of the power steering valve (as it's called) this spring. Mine started leaking suddenly as well. A few gave said on here that they have repaired theirs, but I decided that I was replacing mine with a new unit (valve).
I didn't want to do a repair and then have to do it again, maybe, so I went for the new valve from my JD dealer to the tune of $900.00! It's not an easy job, and you will learn some new words, or at least say a few before you are done.
There is a world of difference in the hydraulics with the new valve in place. If this one lasts another 22+ years as the old one did, it was worth the money.
There will be a few more people speaking up on this, some that are sold on a repair that worked for them. If I was going to repair it, I would have gone for a 100% repair. To each his own.

The Banjo Man.
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Wow!!! I just developed the same issue today on my newly aquired 318. After a good cleaning the leak showed up. Other options?
None! It's an R&R for either one, and the parts will run from over $100.00 to $500.00, depending on how intensive your rebuild is.

The R&R is a lesson in patience. The connections for the hydro lines are the worst. In my case, they have to be taken off in sequence, and put back on in the exact reverse sequence.

I wish I had better news, and maybe someone else will.

Another option may be to find another parted out tractor and use the column out of it, but you will always wonder when it is going to blow fluid.
you can rebuild the POWER STEERING ASSY
Its not to bad to do.
I rebuilt mine five years ago.

the kit from john deere is about $76.00

AM107078 KIT, SEAL

If you are interest in the rebuild email me and I will send the PDF file
(it to big for this site to be uploaded)for the power steering assy.
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John, I will take a copy of that too. I drove around a local dealer today to see what was sitting along the back fence in hopes he had a parts machine I could take a steering column from, but he didn't have anything like I needed. Besides, the wife said I don't need another tractor setting around, and I tend to agree with her. I will check out the kit and more than likely rebuild it myself.

You can download the Parker information on the power steering rebuild on the WFMfiles site at:

Trpshoot, try www.wfmfiles.com and scroll down to the link. There is lots of good info there.
The link wrapped because it is so long, try cutting and pasting the entire link (both lines) into your browser address line...

I believe I have a similar problem but there are no signs of external leaks. My 318 was having some steering issues so I purchased a parted out power steering control valve on ebay and had it installed. The "new" unit is not working any better. The steering is sporadic as it takes many revolutions of the steering wheel to get the front wheels to cut. Other times it seems to work much better.Could the ebay unit also be deficient? I also found that the rear hydraulic cylinder is not functioning? My JD dealer has advised me that this is all related to an internal leak of the power steering control valve? Could there be any other explanations for the steering deficiencies? (hydrostatic charge pump? etc) I would welcome any suggestions.
I was gifted this machine literally in a basket. The mower, plus three baskets full of parts. Idiot me, I won't back down from a challenge but I saw potential in the lack of structural rust or evident wear. New Gator blades, new tires. What the heck.

I got it all together over a weekend and found the following questions unanswered.

Firstly. How to adjust for neutral. Adjusting the rod-end ball and socket linkage gets you to neutral easily. But at neutral the top speed is limited. There seems no way to remedy this. The primary arm on the actuator shaft (the shaft that the shift lever rides on) has a bolt that allows for adjustment. But as long as it is within a range, it makes no difference in enabling top speed available from the Eaton hydraulic xmission to the wheels. Move this shift lever adjustment and you just have to re-compensate the neutral setting via the ball/socket connection rod. You're right back where you started.


The only way I've imagined enabling top useful speed out of the hydrostatic xmission, while being able to adjust neutral so that it's not creeping/surging forward, is to reposition the ball connection on the actuator shaft by about 1/4 to 1/2 inch farther out from the pivot point of the arm, or the same CLOSER to the pivot point on the xmission side actuator arm. Easily done with my tig welder.... but I wonder if I'm missing something. Did JD really make it impossible to adjust this setting?

A trashy jerry-rigged fix would be to dremel out the channel in the plastic fwd/neut/rev frame on the right rear fender so that he speed lever could go further forward. It really is that easy. That's all that's stopping it. There must be a more "elegant" way.

One other question.

What is the range of measured output from the two stator wires emerging from the engine behind the starter motor? 12.5hp B&S. Got the diode correctly situated. The A/C wire is just dead ended with a wire nut. I had to pull the flywheel to clean up the A/C to D/C wire via diode since it had been rubbing against the flywheel. Just discovered that tonight. Battery wasn't charging and the motor was running inconsistantly. There are sooooo many variables to a rough running little Briggs.

What I'd assumed was carburetion turned out to be a raw exposed copper wire intermittently grounding to the flywheel. Was losing so much spark that the battery stayed anemic and the rpm was always choppy. What a difference this little repair made. Soldered, heat shrunk, and insulated far from any moving parts. What should I get for reading from the all A/C side and from the ac/dc diode converted side? I've read it's from 20 to 30 volts to charge the battery.

I looked in all my files and did not see anything specific to the 111 hydro, but will send you some later adjustment info from the 172 which may or may not be similar.

I seem to recall that Terry Reed had some info in the 111 tractors, maybe he will see this thread.

You may find that the alternator is not putting out enough voltage OR current, depending on the condition of the coil and flywheel magnets. The flywheel magneto coil for the ignition is separate from the stator coil to charge the battery as I recall...

Good luck, and let us know more of what you find as you resurrect this "basket case" mower.

I had a lot of the drive information from the service manual in my album in the gallery, but the gallery isn't working now. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

I would recommend, though, purchasing the service manual. It's a wealth of information, including adjustments, repairs, electrical schematics, etc. You can get one from your dealer, JD Tech Pubs, or ebay. Pricey, but worth the money, in my opinion. What I had in the gallery came from my manual, but it went with the tractor when I sold it.
The LX172 was gear drive while the 111H was hydrostatic. The 165 and 175 would be closer as they used the same transmission as the 111H.
JD Technical Manual 1206.
Maybe a dealer would let you browse through one & could/would provide you copies of any pages from it that may help you. Worth a shot at least before attempting "jerry-rigging".
[A 12.5 HP B&S engine has to be a replacement - all original JD 111 & 111Hs were 11 HP.]
[A 12.5 HP B&S engine has to be a replacement - all original JD 111 & 111Hs were 11 HP.]

Quite right, and good call. The original 11hp had almost no compression. I was hoping for a stuck valve, but the bore was so deeply scored and the starter ring gear (flywheel) was missing half a dozen teeth. So I junked the original engine. Kept the standard parts like starter, coil, air cleaner, etc, etc.

Two days later I found a 12.5 B&S pull-off on Craigslist five miles away for 50 dollars. Great deal. Runs like a champ. Bolt-on base pattern.

I hope I don't put a twist in anyone's shorts by saying this, but the fact that JD has to meet quarterlies by charging 111H owners (for instance) to download manuals, even service manuals, is $#itty bad business in my book.

If I could... and I've looked... find the service manual for this mower on piratebay or usenet I'd download it in an INSTANT without the tiniest whiff of compunction. That's coming from one who would not dream of illegally downloading music or video.

$crew you John Deere for charging me, a loyal owner, hard won cash, to access information that with the cost of data storage in 2014 amounts to infinitesimal fractions of a penny for you to keep on your servers. Makes me fairly certain that when time comes to purchase a new unit at retail, John Deere will be much lower on my list.

It'd be nice to think that someone in charge is reading this.

Anyway. Rant over.

I've cleaned up the connections. Pulled the flywheel and resoldered the ac and dc (diode in-line) leads from the magneto coil, wrapped them in shrink wrap to insulated against bleed, and wire brushed and wd-40'd everything.

Again... running for half an hour and stopping. It struggles to restart.

Is my diode backwards? How to know?

What is the voltage measured from the DC output, diode corrected? I've read as high as 30vdc.

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