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There are a lot of posts out there of beautiful restorations and modifications but few want to post what it cost. I thought it would be helpful to list some of the costs of my most recently completed project.
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This was the 317 that I made some pretty major changes to but tried to keep the 317 look. Below is a list of approx. costs of each item after starting with what was pretty much a parts tractor. I have better descriptions on other posts if you interested in exactly what was done. The primary changes/additions were installing the used Kohler Command engine using the existing 317 engine mount system. That was important to me as these things vibrate enough with the engine mounted in rubber. Fabricating a new exhaust using the KT muffler. Installing a newer style PTO (OX Clutch) eliminating the troublesome Okura clutch, fabricating a stronger more serviceable driveshaft, modifying the tower area to allow more airflow to the engine (ala 318 - no cost), rewire to suit the new components and maintain all safeties, install JD 400 steering system, install JD400 H3 hydraulics. And the new seat. Here's a rounded off breakdown: (so far)

Basic tractor: $150 (Originally Purchased for parts only)
Used Kohler Command 20 engine $200
New PTO clutch $150 (Purchased on Ebay)
Wire and switches $ 65
Used pan and hood $100 (Trip to Minnesota not included)
Heavy duty custom drive shaft $ 70
JD 400 power steering and 3 spool hydro $300 (Purchased on Ebay)
Hoses and fittings $200
Brake repairs and mods $ 30
Replace and overhaul steering sect. $ 75
New seat and safety switch $200
Hardware $100
Paint $ 75
Engine and trans oil $60
Shop supplies $30

Total $1805

Labor?
Well my best estimate would be around 100 hrs. not counting the time spent researching, tracking down and fetching parts. But I think it's pretty obvious one would never consider doing this for profit. And, I have no intentions of trying to do so. This is a hobby and as most, it costs money. All that considered, I wouldn't trade this 317 for a new equal value John Deere or any other brand for that matter. It turned out that good! With approx. 60 hrs. on it already doing some pretty heavy tilling, blading (clay) and deep grass mowing no issues have cropped up.

I think the project compares favorably to a complete engine repower offered from several venders. Of course I don't have a new engine and I certainly lucked out finding a good used one. And lucky I was as it runs strong and burns no oil. But those kits don't come with power steering and H3 hydraulics either. The power steering turned out great after some early disappointments. But it now compares to any I've driven.

I can't speak to fuel consumption mainly because I could care less about that. I just put more in when needed. I never did this to gain additional power. And I can say I doubt if the extra three horsepower does anything more at the rear wheels. I can't tell the difference. It spins the tires just as the older KT/Magnums do. I do think the KT's/Magnums are smoother running engines than a V type Command.

So there ya go. It's not cheap but it is fun! If anybody else would like to post their experience with costs I'm sure it would be appreciated by those contemplating doing this. Making their decisions easier. Or more likely scaring them away! :)

But I hope the info helps.
 

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JetJoe I can agree with your restoration cost. The 216 I restored was about $1700. Add the deck and a 31 tiller ... about $2600.
 
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I’d call it a wash...parts plus time/labor is inconsequential if it’s done in your opinion and you’re satisfied with the result, whether it’s a trailer/show machine or a daily workhorse. I can’t put a value on the satisfaction part...kinda like asking me if it was worth it getting married 36 years ago...same ole gal all these years, so yeah I’d say so. And no doubt it’s worth more than the newest model, right?
 

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You damn sure can’t buy a machine of that quality and caliber for anywhere close to that. Plus the satisfaction that you did it yourself. Should supply you with many more years of service.
 

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That 317 makes me wish I'd kept mine Joe. Take a bow. You did a great job, both on the tractor and on the time and money info you posted. Very thorough.(y)
 

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You damn sure can’t buy a machine of that quality and caliber for anywhere close to that.
Amen brother. That's a really important point.
 

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I haven't decided if I am going to add up the costs or not on my recent 317 restoration. I am with you though...it was a fun project and most hobbies aren't free. For this project specifically, I thought of my Grandpa quite a bit throughout the restoration...and that is priceless to me.

Thanks for sharing!
 

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You damn sure can’t buy a machine of that quality and caliber for anywhere close to that. Plus the satisfaction that you did it yourself. Should supply you with many more years of service.
Agree totally! Would I do it again? Most likely. Since this is something like the tenth 300 series I've rehab'd. This one was a departure as I have until now always tried to keep them original. Guess I needed a new challenge. This post is to point out what can be done for a reasonable amount of money. Not everyone would want to do all the things I've done to this one. And 400's aren't that easy to find these days. But each change accomplished what I wanted to do. To improve on the shortcomings of this model.

Do I do this to sit and stare at them? No. I either sell them to open space for another or put them to work. If it gets scratched, so be it. There's always more paint and parts.
 

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Don't forget a battery. Almost all $100 tractors need a $100 battery. 😀
Minus the motor, I think my 140 will be close to yours.
Battery:$129
Tires: _$60
Paint:$75
Tractor:$120
Fluids and filters:$25
Hood:$150(guessing)
Labor:$free
I'm sure there will be other odds and ends that will push it to $1000 easy. I don't feel bad about it at all. My wife's a skier and spends way more than that in a winter. This kind of thing is my hobby.
 

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Joe,

Excellent work and the cost is much less than the function gained as mentioned above. Never cost out the labor...if it is not a hobby (labor of love) you won't do the best job. Here is a graphic that succinctly says it all.
hobby versus money.jpg


Enjoy your 317 !!!

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Don't forget a battery. Almost all $100 tractors need a $100 battery. 😀
Minus the motor, I think my 140 will be close to yours.
Battery:$129
Tires: _$60
Paint:$75
Tractor:$120
Fluids and filters:$25
Hood:$150(guessing)
Labor:$free
I'm sure there will be other odds and ends that will push it to $1000 easy. I don't feel bad about it at all. My wife's a skier and spends way more than that in a winter. This kind of thing is my hobby.
I intentionally left out items that I consider routine maintenance. To me batteries would fall into that category. I was even a bit reluctant to include the PTO clutch, shop supplies and hardware.

I mention the clutch as I thought the price quoted would attract some attention. In many cases the death of a 317 is due to the Ogura/Warner clutch dying as they're so finicky and expensive.

I was attracted to the OX clutch after working on my son's "X" series which uses the same type of PTO clutch. As do most mowers these days. And of course the price! Reading the endless posts on this and other sites about how to "gap" this or that, ohm'ing out the coil, (even repotting it), grounding the gadget properly and the real life continual playing around with those things to keep them working was on top of the list of things I wanted to improve. And these OX clutch/brakes do a great job of doing just that. (There are numerous other brands of this style clutch) Basically you buy one with the proper shaft size and pully O.D., fabricate an anti rotation pin, install one bolt in the crank, plug it in and your good to go. No adaptors, no gap settings, perhaps some spacers between the clutch and engine if required. It just works! In the case of the Command engine, the anti rotation pin couldn't be simpler. A bolt into an existing tapped hole in the case was all it took. So far its worked perfectly. And, when the day comes, as it does with everything that it craps out, the replacement cost shouldn't end the life of the tractor.

I guess the one thing I've learned with this project is that it's getting extremely difficult and not often wise to refurbish these to original condition. Especially if you want to use the tractor. I'll have to accept some changes in future projects. Looking for a maligned 400 series right now. Time to try something new!
 

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I intentionally left out items that I consider routine maintenance. To me batteries would fall into that category. I was even a bit reluctant to include the PTO clutch, shop supplies and hardware.

I mention the clutch as I thought the price quoted would attract some attention. In many cases the death of a 317 is due to the Ogura/Warner clutch dying as they're so finicky and expensive.

I was attracted to the OX clutch after working on my son's "X" series which uses the same type of PTO clutch. As do most mowers these days. And of course the price! Reading the endless posts on this and other sites about how to "gap" this or that, ohm'ing out the coil, (even repotting it), grounding the gadget properly and the real life continual playing around with those things to keep them working was on top of the list of things I wanted to improve. And these OX clutch/brakes do a great job of doing just that. (There are numerous other brands of this style clutch) Basically you buy one with the proper shaft size and pully O.D., fabricate an anti rotation pin, install one bolt in the crank, plug it in and your good to go. No adaptors, no gap settings, perhaps some spacers between the clutch and engine if required. It just works! In the case of the Command engine, the anti rotation pin couldn't be simpler. A bolt into an existing tapped hole in the case was all it took. So far its worked perfectly. And, when the day comes, as it does with everything that it craps out, the replacement cost shouldn't end the life of the tractor.

I guess the one thing I've learned with this project is that it's getting extremely difficult and not often wise to refurbish these to original condition. Especially if you want to use the tractor. I'll have to accept some changes in future projects. Looking for a maligned 400 series right now. Time to try something new!
I find myself suddenly wanting a 400 as my next project as well! I had the chance to purchase one for $500 about a decade ago. It had led a good life and was complete with a rebuilt mower deck. But, the Kohler was very tired and in desperate need of a rebuild. At the time I ended up settling for a ready to go 318 for $1,100 because the 400 was a bit too large for my house at the time. Now I am kicking myself that I just didn't buy it anyways because now they seem difficult to find! And, the few that I've come across have already had certain levels of restoration that fall below yours and my standards. I want to find an untouched example and build it my way...not fix someone else's interpretation.

Maybe we can have mutual 400 projects next winter? :)
 

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Did you post of some pix of the Ox clutch in your resto thread? Can't remember...I'll have to go back and look...if I can squeeze out some time from spring yard/honey-do chores.
 

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Alright OP, who made you write out the confession? Blink 3 times if you are being held against your will. :ROFLMAO:

I'm not keeping track of any of that...:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Did you post of some pix of the Ox clutch in your resto thread? Can't remember...I'll have to go back and look...if I can squeeze out some time from spring yard/honey-do chores.
I'm pretty sure I did.
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Sweet...thanks for the pix. Very clean install and easy access. Only one mounting bolt?
Well two, counting the anti rotation pin. Which is nothing more than a 3/8" (or metric) bolt turned down to fit into the slot. Since the photo was taken I did a better job with that. Turned the bolt down nice and pretty. On some engines one would need to fabricate an offset of some sort if none of the predrilled holes in the engine case lined up. But most newer engines I've been told do as this is the style almost exclusively used these days. I had to do this on the 318 Onan. And, I unfortunately have no photo's of that.

I should also mention that these clutches can be orientated in just in any position around the circle allowing you to place the electrical connector in the most convenient position. In my case, far away from the hot muffler and close to the starter harness to keep wires as short as possible. The electrical connector is available from OX and I'm sure the others.
 
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