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Engine in my 317?

943 Views 16 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  rustyknuckles
I have an early 317 with the series 1 KT17 engine. My tractor has a little over 900 hours on her now and during the first 20-30 seconds of the first start up it smokes then stops and only smokes when she's under a load like mowing tall grass. My question is.. Is it worth rebuilding the series 1 KT17 engine or should I look for a different engine all together? I don't mow on any hills my land is fairly flat. I would save more money just rebuilding the one in the tractor right? Any help would be great!!
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When my Series 1 reached the end of it's life, it spewed major smoke constantly and sprayed oil out of the crankcase breather. I'd just keep yours going for now.

As far as replacing vs. rebuilding, it all comes down to $$. You got 25 years (so far) out of the Series 1, so with a good rebuild it should last you another 25. If the rebuild is going to cost you less than a new engine, go for it!

On the other hand, a retrofit with a 24 HP Honda seems like it would be awful nice...

The honda does sound nice!! The only down fall to it is you can't use the side plates, This is what small engine warehouse says and I'm not going to give up my side covers. They say the valve covers wont clear them

The engine in the tractor still runs great always starts and starts easy but I don't want to let it get to the point where it can't be rebuilt.
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Hi Mike,
How much oil is your KT17 using? A compression check would help in making a judgement about the condition. It sounds like you could run the tractor for maybe another season, but check the oil frequently and keep it at the top of the dipstick mark.

You will probably hear a wide range of opinions about rebuilding a KT17. Those who had a new one fail in 1980 will have a different view than those of us who have had good luck rebuilding both series I and II. My view is that it is probably not cost effective to have a shop do a rebuild--the KT17 work is just too labor intensive. Buy a new something engine instead. On the other hand, if you have an engine not previously rebuilt and in reasonable condition, and you have the skills to do most of the work, go for a rebuild. In my experience a rebuilt series I will last as long as a rebuilt series II. A series II would have better resale value, and that is the main reason for preferring to do a series II. By the way, there is an urban legend about series I failure and mowing on hills. Both engines have the same oil pick-up and the same oil pump. The difference comes after the oil leaves the pump, and has nothing to do with engine angle.
Harold Goff
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I was given a 317 with two blown up motors. First engine is a series 1, rod journal seized and broke the rod, rod section hit and cracked case, crank journal is trashed. This engine lubricates the rod journals by dripping oil on them from ports drilled in the camshaft which is probably why it is sensitive to oil level and engine position . Second engine is a series 2, looks like governor gear broke over revving the engine and one rod grenaded smashing up inside of case, this engine lubricates rod journals with pressurized oil from the main bearings via passages drilled in the crankshaft. Even after the blow up the rod journals on the series 2 crank look ok. The series 2 pressure lubrication of the rod journals looks like a better system to me. Thanks to wfm member Dan I got a good series 2 case so this is the engine I plan to rebuild. It looks like the parts will cost between $400 and $600, pistons, rings, rods, gaskets, etc. My next step is to have the crank, cam and cylinders checked by a machine shop before ordering anything. Replacement crank, cam and cylinders are real expensive so if these have to be replaced it will probably be cheaper to buy a repower Honda engine.
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Vinnie--I hate to disagree with you on repairing th K-17's. I gave my Son a 317 about 7-8 years ago. At that time, it used a little oil but he ran it (watching the oil closely) up until last year, and he has a hilly 2 acre lawn. One night as he was finishing up his lawn, knowing the oil had gotten low, he blew the engine. He did some pretty major damage, and asked me if it was worth rebuilding, as he really didn't have the money to replace an engine. He took the engine to a machinist who told him that it was rebuildable for less than a repower, so needless to say, he rebuilt it. After the machine work, he did all the reassembly by himself, and is really happy with it. To make a long story short, he is real happy with the way it turned out. Don't know what all was damaged, but he redid it for around $1000 or maybe a little more. So, my final thought is, if you like the engine, and it just uses a little oil, I'd strongly consider rebuilding it, rather than a repower. Just my opinion! WILL in Lakota
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Series 1 - Repower
Series 2 - Rebuild

'My opinion 'n I'm stickin' to it.

Happy Holidays to all!

I think I'm going to start to look for a series 2 engine and try and get another season out of my current engine. As for as oil consumption of the current engine I can mow my entire lawn and it may be down about 1/4 quart of oil, not a whole lot. Will the series 2 engine bolt right in? Any changes that would have to be made? And the magic question does anyone know any one selling a used series 2 engine? Thank you all for your help I love this site!!

I was faced with the same situation in my 318. 1255 hours, bad starter, governor needed work, and needed a valve job. Also, it was using oil. Instead of spending $1000 to rebuild it, I spent $1319 for a new Honda OHV twin cyl. 18hp shipped to my door from SEW. My mechanic told me even with a valve job, it could still use oil. My point is for another $300, I got a new starter, new carb, new PTO clutch and the benefit of OHV. If a rebuild is $1000 as you said, I would definitely go the new motor route.
I'm with Stephen on this, but repower with a new series 2 that you can still get, bolt right in.

Series 1 - Repower http://www.farmex.now.tc/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1234
Series 2 - Rebuild

'My opinion 'and I'm sticking to it.


(Message edited by waynebrown on December 23, 2005)

(Message edited by waynebrown on December 23, 2005)

My Dad gave me his 317 last year with a series 1. It wasn't blown, but was smoking and finally was running so badly something had to be done. He chose to just give it to me instead of fixing or having it fixed. At the time I didn't know about this website and decided to rebuild it. Come to find out water had gotten in the fuel tank, fuel pump and carb and that was the reason it wouldn't run. Anyway, he bought it new and got ~22 years of good service. I figure I'll get another ~20 years out the rebuild and it cost me less than $500. I'm also in the process of rebuilding another KT17 series 1. This one was blown and it will cost me close to $1000 in the end to rebuild it. Honestly, if I knew it would cost close to $1000 to rebuild when I started I may not have rebuilt.

As for the series 1 versus series 2, I am an Engineer for an automotive supplier and my opinion is that the series 2 oiling system is superior to the series 1. "Dripping" oil on the rods cannot be as good as the pressurized delivery to the journals the series 2 has. That being said, many series 1 have lasted over 20 years and I believe if they are rebuilt well, and you keep them off hills for extended periods they will last another 20. I believe the hill thing is not related to the oil delivery. On a hill there is more of a tendency to have oil blow out the breather. If enough oil blows out either engine could blow. Check the oil level often!

A repower is very nice if money is no concern. But my opinion is you could rebuild the series 1 before it blows for a fraction of the cost to repower. After it blows it may cost more to rebuild than to repower.

Just my 2 cents,
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Wayne last time I looked a Series 2 repower was about $1900 for the engine plus having it shipped. I worked as a JD tech when these were new tractors. We sold 5 of them in 1979 and by the Fall of 1980 had put 6 new engines into four of them. The one I didn't replace I believe is still running. I still myself have Series One in an another brand of tractor of tractor and it is still a sweet running motor but if it dies it will be replaced with some thing else not a KT17. Roger
After the post above I looked in the Northern online catalog for the current price of a spec. #24301 JD KT17 engine. Current price is $1999.00 plus shipping vs a Honda kit in the $1400 range. Roger
I think you need more research. I remember somewhere where the sidecover problem was minor and only involved reshaping of the lifting lugs.
I would look into that problem and go for the Honda.
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I replaced my Series 1 with a Series 2 about 5 years ago, when the Series 2 was only about $1200 from Northern. It was a very easy swap, as you'd expect, and it keeps the tractor close to original, which is nice. However, today I'd go with a Honda. $2000 for the replacement engine seems wacky when you can get a good-running 318 + deck for not too much more.

I have a 425 that I put a 3 point hitch on. I have a 2-bag bagger than came with the tractor, before I installed the 3 point hitch, that I would like to use occasionally. The bag post for that unit fit into the hole in the hitch plate at the bottom, and then also attached to two plates which fasten at the sides of the rear frame where the rockshaft goes through. The two plates were removed as part of installing the 3 point hitch rockshaft. This bag post does not fit with the 3 point hitch rockshaft in place - runs into the arms on the hitch.

Is there a bag post arrangement which DOES fit on a 425, when the 3 point hitch is installed? I could not find anything helpful in JD parts. Indeed, I couldn't even find the bag post that I do have, the one that no longer fits.

I have an MCS cart I can use with the 3 point to catch clippings, but it would be nice to be able to use the cloth bags as well.
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