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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long time lurker, first time posting. LOL
I've had Deere L&G equipment my whole life. My folks bought a 212 (I still have it) new in the early 80's.
Over the years I've graduated up, 212, 314, 317 and now a 318 that I literally saved from the scrap pile.

The B43G had a dead cylinder. I brought it home, did a decarb on it and it was great for 2 years. I sold my 314, kept the accessories and was happy.
Then it started burning oil....badly. Like a quart an hour bad. So... I did a bunch of research and found that any "flat" Onan could work, but the cranks are the difference.
I got lucky and found one that was used to drive a hydraulic pump at a Dana Gear quenching plant. It was a back up for when the power went out. Hour meter said 237 hours. The P220 followed me home

I found another P218 with low compression and picked it up for $100. I was hoping for another decarb motor, but this one had broken rings. The crank was good, so I pulled it out. I ordered a rebuild kit and rings for the P220, pulled it down, did a light hone, installed the P218 crank (after double checking measurements) and dropped it in my 318. WOW what a difference! TONS more power! That ole 18hp must have been down to about 14 (or less). This thing is incredible!

Now I have traction issues! My entire yard is a hill. Before I'd ease into the hydro lever and it would go nice and easy. Now with the additional power it likes to spin. Right now I leave my chains and weights on for traction, so I don't rip up the grass, but since the swap I'm still ripping it up. (future plans are for the radial turf tires on the 1025)

So, I was doing some digging, and it seems that many folks have installed the 400 series rear into the 318/open frame tractors to gain the diff lock function and 2 speed. BUT it seems every post I find all the pictures are gone, which makes it really hard to follow the post.

If I pull this rig apart, I don't have another tractor to use, so I'll have to be able to complete it in about a week. What I've been able to find, the swap is pretty simple, it's the rods and levers for the 2 speed and lock actuation. I also read that a 400 seat pan fits?

My last question, has anyone taken a hand based hydraulic control and swapped it to a foot control? I have a bad shoulder and it would be really nice to be able switch to a foot control.
 

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1989 318
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My last question, has anyone taken a hand based hydraulic control and swapped it to a foot control? I have a bad shoulder and it would be really nice to be able switch to a foot control.
There's a great thread on here about a custom foot control hydro. Do a search for it, it was quite recent.
 
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Long time lurker, first time posting. LOL
I've had Deere L&G equipment my whole life. My folks bought a 212 (I still have it) new in the early 80's.
Over the years I've graduated up, 212, 314, 317 and now a 318 that I literally saved from the scrap pile.

The B43G had a dead cylinder. I brought it home, did a decarb on it and it was great for 2 years. I sold my 314, kept the accessories and was happy.
Then it started burning oil....badly. Like a quart an hour bad. So... I did a bunch of research and found that any "flat" Onan could work, but the cranks are the difference.
I got lucky and found one that was used to drive a hydraulic pump at a Dana Gear quenching plant. It was a back up for when the power went out. Hour meter said 237 hours. The P220 followed me home

I found another P218 with low compression and picked it up for $100. I was hoping for another decarb motor, but this one had broken rings. The crank was good, so I pulled it out. I ordered a rebuild kit and rings for the P220, pulled it down, did a light hone, installed the P218 crank (after double checking measurements) and dropped it in my 318. WOW what a difference! TONS more power! That ole 18hp must have been down to about 14 (or less). This thing is incredible!

Now I have traction issues! My entire yard is a hill. Before I'd ease into the hydro lever and it would go nice and easy. Now with the additional power it likes to spin. Right now I leave my chains and weights on for traction, so I don't rip up the grass, but since the swap I'm still ripping it up. (future plans are for the radial turf tires on the 1025)

So, I was doing some digging, and it seems that many folks have installed the 400 series rear into the 318/open frame tractors to gain the diff lock function and 2 speed. BUT it seems every post I find all the pictures are gone, which makes it really hard to follow the post.

If I pull this rig apart, I don't have another tractor to use, so I'll have to be able to complete it in about a week. What I've been able to find, the swap is pretty simple, it's the rods and levers for the 2 speed and lock actuation. I also read that a 400 seat pan fits?

My last question, has anyone taken a hand based hydraulic control and swapped it to a foot control? I have a bad shoulder and it would be really nice to be able switch to a foot control.
For traction I’d give r1/bar tires a try (such as Carlisle Tru Powers or Firestone Hi Floatation) or HDAP’s or get a set of rims from a 400 series or newer and a set of Carlisle Versa Turfs and see how it does then. As Tom said there’s a recent thread of one guys conversion. Something else to look at would be a GX3x5, 4x5, or newer GT that comes with a diff lock and pedals factory to replace your 318.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For traction I’d give r1/bar tires a try (such as Carlisle Tru Powers or Firestone Hi Floatation) or HDAP’s or get a set of rims from a 400 series or newer and a set of Carlisle Versa Turfs and see how it does then. As Tom said there’s a recent thread of one guys conversion. Something else to look at would be a GX3x5, 4x5, or newer GT that comes with a diff lock and pedals factory to replace your 318.
I'd have to go with a 1025 to replace the 318. I just can't afford that right now. One of the smaller newer units would be a huge step down. My dad has one and it sucks in comparison. I'm in MN and I use this tractor for moving snow in the winter. I'd love to get a Cab, FEL, rear PTO, 3 point and Tiller for it. But those will come later. Right now, the Mower gets used weekly, and Blower all winter long.

The Versa Turf is the tire I couldn't remember the name of. I do plan to invest in a set of those in the future as well
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What is your idle speed? How much slop is in the hydro lever/linkage?...should be tight for smooth acceleration through its range without barking the tires.
I haven't physically checked my idle speed, but when I'm mowing, it's not at low idle, high idle I did check and that is right at 3550/3600.
The hydro lever and linkage is tight. The control shock is even still good, which I thought was kind of crazy for an old tractor.

Before, it just didn't have the power/torque when I eased it to change direction on a hill. Now it has the power and if I'm patient enough, I can get it to go, but it's MUCH less travel to keep it from spinning. I think low range would help in that situation. I don't need speed, I need control.


Honestly I think if I get the Versa Turf tires, that will help quite a bit in the grass. I think the diff lock would help a ton though too, Especially when we get a pile of snow. There was a number of times I've had to wiggle the tractor with my hips and tap the spinning tire brake to get it to go. It would be much easier to just hit the diff lock and walk through the snow.
 

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DD, for future reference the rear swap is a 420-430 rear, the 400 is a different animal altogether. With normal usage it’s not going to help with wheel spin unless your mashing the diff lock. I have it but have not needed it. Try more weight, better tires and using the split brakes to direct power to uphill tire. It’s a cool conversion for sure, not sure how good it works.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
DD, for future reference the rear swap is a 420-430 rear, the 400 is a different animal altogether. With normal usage it’s not going to help with wheel spin unless your mashing the diff lock. I have it but have not needed it. Try more weight, better tires and using the split brakes to direct power to uphill tire. It’s a cool conversion for sure, not sure how good it works.
True... I didn't think of that! I'll fix my post so people aren't confused.

More weight... I could fill the tires, and that's about it really. Even with JUST the bagger on the back, I have areas of my yard that the front end gets REALLY light.... like I turn and it doesn't. I'd be afraid to hang more off the back.

The split brakes I've messed with, usually that just causes the other side to spin on the grass too, then I'm hopping back and forth from brake to brake.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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38 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Obviously front weight bracket with suitcases and front tires filled will help. It really is amazing how much just a cam will make with power difference!!
It really is! I'm sure there was some power loss from the B43 being worn out, but it's incredible the power difference! Smoother, faster, and it doesn't lug down at all on my yard. Before that poor B43 (or Kohler) would be crying for help and lugging down. Now it just powers right up the hill, 3 blade deck and powerflow all going at the same time.

When the B43 started burning oil I was going to grab a 1025 and just take solid care of that, and pass it down to my kids when I die. The same week I had planned to walk into the Dealer and make my down payment I got notified my Child Support was going up $450 a month. Well... there goes my tractor payment! So then I started locating stuff to keep my 318 go for another 20+ years!
 

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The rear swap is straightforward for the most part. The lever for the 2 speed control has to be shortened, and the diff lock is tricky to get reliable while clearing the deck lift straps. Again, very well worth it though. The 420 tire size upgrade is also super effective.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 46" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nope. They didn’t hit my 50” deck! Plenty of clearance actually
Did you bump up the front tire size too?
As long as I'm looking at Versa Turf's... I'm sure the price difference from the 318 to the 420 size won't be much.
 
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