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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am pretty new to the JD scene and have made a few posts but I am still green as grass. I have a 300 right now that I will be selling very soon. I have a 317 with an Onan waiting in the wings as my next project. I do not have it in my possession. I want the current custodian of the machine to give me info from the engine. I assume the engine would be a p218g but where would the data tag be located? Thank you for any help-Bill
Here is my 300
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Oh don't sell the 300! That is one clean tractor and I love the K engines. K engines are simple, last forever, and easy to rebuild.
Personally I would pass on the 317. If you are going to get a tractor with an Onan I would go for a 318 with power steering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I must add to my story. The 300 was given to me by a friend with the understanding that I would use it until I didnt want it anymore. He started bugging me about selling it so I could take the 317 on as my next project. Selling the 300 will go to finance my keeping the 317 as my own tractor. Bill
 

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Bill, From CTM2, JD Onan Manual:

ENGINE SERIAL NUMBER PLATE
The engine serial number plate is located under the air
cleaner.

Hope this helps, Bob
 

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That's some friend...is he giving you the 317 as well? 317s are nice tractors. If you enjoyed the 300, you'll like the 317. Didn't know they came with Onan engines though. Thought they were stock with Kohler twins...another nice engine.
 

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That 300 pictured looks great.

Onan engine engine data (info) is usually located on the RH side, IF the engine is still installed in the tractor. And as Bob posted, is under the air cleaner housing, on the battery side.
Think the older ones were metal and newer were not so the data info could be distorted with solvents, etc.

JD 317 L&G tractors did not come with Onan engines originally. Weren't they later offered as replacement engines for troublesome original engines?

Members much more knowledgeable than I regarding all this can explain much better.
 

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Bill,

The 317 is a very sound tractor, and the Onan conversions done by the dealerships are a really good upgrade. Yes, it is basically the B218 engine, but has a few differences from the one fitted in the 318. It has a different style starter to make it compatible with the 317 frame rails, and you will find the parts breakdown for this particular configuration of Onan in the PC 1698 which I will attach after my signature, along with the re-power instructions. Also, here is the list of small parts used in this install and an illustration of same...

Font Number Pattern Parallel Screenshot


Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Automotive exterior


Enjoy the 317 -- a very enjoyable tractor!!

Chuck
 

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I agree with Chuck in that the 317 is one stout tractor. I currently have two, one with the original KT17 series one and still running great after all these years. The other has been repowered with a Kohler Command 20 and numerous other mods. I use it every day. I realize many folks are enamored with the 318 but it is not without its faults. IMHO. the 317 is a much stronger machine. I've had both. Yes, the series one has a bad reputation but for some strange reason, there are still thousands of them cutting grass 40 years later. (well maybe hundreds, who knows) The 317 does lack power steering but as long as you do your steering while the machine is in motion and keep it lubed, you really can't tell the difference. Keeping the front tires fully inflated also helps. It's like everything else, it takes some getting used to.

The issues with 318 and I now know later 400 series is the Peerless differential. Cracked cases, cracked mounts and frames are not uncommon with these machines. I'm currently rebuilding a 420 which has virtually the same case as the 318. In fact, I had to convert a 318 case to a 420 which has a two-speed differential and a locked axle. I couldn't find a good 420 case that wasn't damaged. During the hunt for the rear axle assembly, I learned very quickly what to look for with the 318/420 series Peerless axles. It's not uncommon. I have had numerous 317's, treated them poorly in regards to pulling objects and I have yet to have found or heard of a bad axle or a frame on a 317. I would never consider doing the same with a later machine.

Onan engines are also without fault. You can find a thousand replies telling you the series one KT17 engine was bad. You can also find as many posts of Onan rods breaking but it seems the Onan owners haven't yet caught on to that. Sooner or later any engine is capable of throwing a rod. Onan's are no exceptions. And they do. They are often found with broken feet on the engine mounts as John Deere decided rubber isolation mounts weren't needed on the 318. This often goes unnoticed until an oil leak develops or the engine is lifted out. But if you have the two, 317 and 318 side by side, (and I have) you will notice a very distinctive difference in the vibrations felt in the machine. Onan's are also known for intake manifold issues as they are made in two pieces and often separate and leak causing a very difficult problem to diagnose. Usually, hard starting and rough idle.

So, I wouldn't hesitate a second to purchase a decent 317. Just make sure you keep the engine and bottom screen clean and free of debris (if it's still there) as the engine compartment is very tightly cowled. A condition John Deere corrected in all of the following models. If you look at all of the perforations in the tower and side panels of later machines, that's why they are there.

And the best thing about the 317, its about half the cost of a 318. Mainly due to old wives tales we read here so often.

Good luck with whatever you end up with.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I should be getting the 317 next weekend. I know it doesnt have power steering but my buddy that is giving it to me has the remnants of a front deck JD commercial mower(dont know model #). He has told me I can have the steering cylinder and column so I might add PS to the 317. Below is the 317. Is the 3pt hitch worth anything separate from the tractor? Bill
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From the photo, that’s a great looking 317 and the 3 pt hitch is very desirable. Yes, it is worth money separate from the tractor but I would keep it with the tractor. The tractor and mower deck both look to have been very well cared for and in great cosmetic condition.
As for a power steering conversion, adding a power steering column is a major, major project. My son added a 318 style power steering column and H3 hydraulics to his 317 and documented it on this forum. It can be done and makes the tractor a unique machine that is a joy to operate but do not assume adding power steering will be a short weekend project. In addition to gutting the machine to add the steering column, there is some welding involved and hydraulic plumbing work. A hydraulic steering cylinder also needs to be added to move the steering linkage right and left as you steer.
Adding 400 tractor “Brantly” style power steering is another conversion option that is simpler but as others have said, power steering is not 100% necessary on these tractors.
I recommend acquiring the machine, go through the components and systems as needed and enjoy owning and operating a classic JD machine in original condition.
 

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Yes, keep it if the 317 will be more than a mower around your place. Put a spinner knob on the steering wheel, grease the front spindles and steering box and call it good. Enjoy that tractor.
 

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From the photo, that’s a great looking 317 and the 3 pt hitch is very desirable. Yes, it is worth money separate from the tractor but I would keep it with the tractor. The tractor and mower deck both look to have been very well cared for and in great cosmetic condition.
As for a power steering conversion, adding a power steering column is a major, major project. My son added a 318 style power steering column and H3 hydraulics to his 317 and documented it on this forum. It can be done and makes the tractor a unique machine that is a joy to operate but do not assume adding power steering will be a short weekend project. In addition to gutting the machine to add the steering column, there is some welding involved and hydraulic plumbing work. A hydraulic steering cylinder also needs to be added to move the steering linkage right and left as you steer.
Adding 400 tractor “Brantly” style power steering is another conversion option that is simpler but as others have said, power steering is not 100% necessary on these tractors.
I recommend acquiring the machine, go through the components and systems as needed and enjoy owning and operating a classic JD machine in original condition.
I agree with Mike. I installed a system from a 400 mostly because I wanted the third hydraulic lever in my 317. I usually tear thee things down to the frame so what I consider to be an easy mod might be totally unrealistic to others. The system itself is easier to install than other systems if you have all the 400 parts. (You may be able to tap into the H2 Hydraulics but I could verify that.) And, you want to upgrade the hydraulic system. But to do it just for the power steering, I wouldn't recommend it. It's not that much of an improvement. Just learn to do your steering while the tractor is in motion and do the maintenance. Unless of course you find yourself a cheap FEL and can't resist. Different story.
 

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I’d keep the 3pth and regarding the Onan powered 317’s, they are solid machines. I have one. I actually pulled the Onan it came with and replaced with a newer p218g. Had to cut out a notch in the frame for the starter. Plasma cutter made quick work of that. I have a Johnson 12 Workhorse FEL on mine and have way too often wished for power steering.
 

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Looks good to me. If that is original paint you could shine it up a bit with buffing compound followed by waxing it. Looks like a good candidate for the survivors thread.
 
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Here is the "new" 317. It will require painting. Bill
View attachment 270497
Agree with N2. Put the old Armstrong buffer to it, a little soap and water and she'll look like new. I wish folks would stop bending those hydro arms. I know why they do it. But to me that makes the whole tractor look shabby. Easy fix though. I wouldn't mind having that 3 point.
 
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