Tips to Store Small Engine Equipment for Winter

Tips to Store Small Engine Equipment for Winter

Summertime has drawn to a close, so your outdoor power equipment needs have changed with the fall season. That means it’s time to put away the summer equipment, and break out the cold-weather equipment. By taking care of cleaning and maintenance tasks before the winter season, you can build a regular routine that will help you extend the life of your small engine equipment. Here’s what you should do to prepare your equipment for winter storage.

Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Storage

Store your equipment in a clean and dry area, such as a garage or shed. For additional protection, try covering your machine with a tarp to block out possible moisture and use moth balls to help protect against pests.

Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Spark Plugs

Spark plugs should be replaced after 100 hours of use. Use a spark plug wrench to carefully turn the metal base so as not to break the plug. Once you remove the spark plug, put a few drops of oil into the open cylinder, and then gently start the engine a few times to coat the cylinder walls and valves.

Make sure you replace the used plug with a new one that has the same part number. Spark plugs vary among different machines.

Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Fuel

Empty all fuel from your four-cycle and two-cycle equipment. Most gasoline contains ethanol, which breaks down over time and loosens deposits that have formed inside the engine. This causes gum-like material to move around inside the fuel system and can clog the carburetor.

Before storing equipment, let the engine run until it stalls out and there is no longer any gas in the tank. Try to start the engine again to get rid of any fuel that escaped during the previous run.

If you want to keep your equipment filled with gas, you should use a fuel stabilizer. Run your machine for a few minutes to circulate the mixture throughout the carburetor, and then turn the machine off. This process allows you to store a gas-filled tank for up to six months, and should allow you to easily start your machine in the spring.

Store Small Engine Equipment Tip – Oil and Filters

Change the oil and oil filters to keep moving parts lubricated. Changing these also removes particles from the engine, increasing its lifespan of your small engine equipment. Cleaning or replacing air filters helps keep grass and other elements out of the engine, increasing power and fuel efficiency.

Paper filters should be replaced after use, while foam filters can be washed and reused.  Rinse your foam filter with hot water and dish detergent, lay it out to dry, and coat it in oil before re-inserting.

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Fuel Tips for Outdoor Power Equipment

Fuel Tips for Outdoor Power Equipment

Your outdoor power equipment needs fuel to operate properly, that goes without saying. However, you need to make sure you know the right type of fuel to use in your machine and when to replace it. Our experts explain facts about fuel and how to reduce issues with your outdoor power equipment.

Tip #1 – Use gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher

Standard 87 octane gasoline is perfect for small engines like the ones found on lawn mowers. However, mid-grade or premium gas with an octane rating of 89 or higher can be used for engines that require the higher octane.

Read your owner’s manual for information on the proper fuel to use in your outdoor power equipment. Using the correct fuel in your outdoor power equipment is very important. If you do not use the proper fuel, your machine will suffer.

Tip #2 – Use fuel stabilizer

Many of us use fuel stabilizers in our machines when we store them for the off-season to have an easier time starting them when the time comes. This is a good practice. When these stabilizers are added to fuel they separate and create a thin film on top of the fuel to keep out air and moisture.

Try adding fuel stabilizer to your fuel the day it is purchased. This way, the fuel will stay fresh longer.

When purchasing fuel stabilizer, make sure to purchase the right one for your needs. There are specific stabilizers for gas that does and does not contain ethanol.

Tip #3 – Use ethanol –free gasoline (E0)

Gasoline without ethanol will reduce the amount of moisture the gasoline can absorb from the atmosphere. Many areas carry ethanol-free gas. Visit https://www.pure-gas.org/ to locate ethanol-free gas stations near you.

Tip #4 – Don’t use gasoline with more than 10% ethanol (E10)

Engines produced for use in outdoor power equipment are not designed for gasoline with more than 10% ethanol. Using higher ethanol fuel blends can lead to engine damage and performance issues. Read your Equipment Manual for information on the proper fuel to use in your machine.

Tip #5 –Purchase fuel and use it in 30 days

Fuel starts to go bad after 30 days so do not let it sit in your machine for longer than that. After 30 days, the volatile compounds in the fuel start evaporating, and this occurs whether the gas is in your outdoor power equipment or in the gas can.

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How to Level a John Deere Riding Lawn Mower Deck

How to Level a John Deere Riding Lawn Mower Deck

When mowing around your home and businesses, pay attention to the recently mowed lawn. If you notice ridges forming where you recently mowed, the deck on your lawn mower may not be leveled. Luckily, leveling your mower deck is not a time consuming task, allowing you to get back to cutting the grass in no time.

Before performing any maintenance on your riding lawn mower, refer to your owner’s manual for maintenance and safety information. Maintenance instructions vary by model. Depending on your riding lawn mower model, our instructions may vary slightly so refer to your owner’s manual for more specific instructions.

Before you begin leveling your lawn mower deck follow these safety instructions. Park your mower on a hard, flat surface and shut the engine off. Set the parking brake to prevent your machine from rolling back, injuring you or others. Remove the ignition key to prevent accidental starting and wear heavy leather gloves since you’re working near mower blades.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Exact Adjust wrench
  • 18 mm wrench
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Mower gauge

Here’s what to do:

Before starting, make sure the tires on your John Deere mower are inflated. Check your owner’s manual for information on tire pressure numbers.

John Deere Tractors

Raise the mower and place the mower cutting height knob at the position specified for deck leveling. Lower the mower and check that the mower wheels are not making contact with the ground and raise if necessary. Place the mower gauge under the mower at the adjustment point near the left rear corner. If your tractor does not make contact with the gauge, adjust the deck accordingly.

Check the mower front to back level at the front adjustment point on the front left deck hanger bracket. If necessary, use the 18 mm wrench to loosen the rear nuts on each of the front lift rods. Turn the nuts on each side until the gauge slips under the front adjustment point.

Fully raise the tractor and adjust the height control knob to the desired height, then lower the machine. Adjust the wheels so they’re at least 1/4 inch off the ground. The wheels will carry the mower deck over higher areas in the lawn to give it an even cut.

John Deere Zero Turns

Make sure the mower is parked and then mount the mower. Raise the deck into the transport position. Make sure the anti-scalp wheels are not making contact with the ground.

Lower the deck to 76 mm (3 inches). Position the right mower blade on the discharge side in the front to rear position. Once the blades are in the correct position, measure the distance between the front blade tip to the ground. Use the mower gauge to check the mower blade level. The front blade tip should be 76 mm, with a tolerance of +/- 2 mm.

Move to the other side of your zero turn and position the mower blade in the front to rear position. Measure the blade’s tip to make sure it is 76 mm as well.

If one side is lower than the other, loosen the jam nut on the adjustment rod and turn the rod tube as needed to bring the tip into the proper position. When satisfied, lock the jam nut to secure the setting. Re-check both sides of the deck after the adjustment has been made to ensure it is within specification.

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Maintenance Tips for John Deere Zero Turn Riders

Maintenance Tips for John Deere Zero Turn Riders

Your John Deere zero turn rider takes care of your lawn all summer long, and you need to take care of your machine in return. Over time, normal wear and tear occurs and things don’t run or function like they used to. Regular maintenance is the key. With regular maintenance, your John Deere will have a long, healthy life so use these tips to keep your zero turn rider running like new.

Before performing any maintenance on your zero turn, refer to your operator’s manual as it lists the required maintenance, safety information, and instructions for your machine. Maintenance instructions vary by model, so depending on your zero turn rider model number our instructions may vary slightly.

Make sure you engage the parking brake, stop the engine and allow the engine to cool before performing any maintenance on your John Deere zero turn rider.

Air filter maintenance

Wipe away any debris from around the air cleaner area and open the cover. Remove the air filter and gently tap it to dislodge any dirt and debris. Never use compressed air to blow an air filter out because it will open the pours of the paper and let dirt into the engine.

Inspect the air filter and if dirt is deeply embedded in the pleats or there is obvious wear and tear, it’s time to replace the filter. Before reinstalling or replacing the air filter, clean the area around the air cleaner base.

Engine oil maintenance

Change the oil in your John Deere zero turn rider after the first 5 hours of mowing, and then every year or 100 mowing hours after that. To drain the oil, run your engine for 5 minutes or more to warm the oil. Warm oil drains easier. Park your mower so the drain side is slightly lower than the other side to help make sure the oil drains completely.  Drain the oil into a drain pan.

Wipe around the dipstick to get rid of any dirt that may fall into the filler hole. Remove the dipstick and add oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper oil to put in your machine. Pour about 80% of the oil into the filler tube and check the oil level with the dipstick, and then add more oil as necessary.

Oil filter maintenance

Change the oil filter in your John Deere zero turn rider every time you change your oil. Remove the old filter by hand or with a filter wrench. Use a drain pan to catch oil spilling from the old filter. Wipe excess oil off the engine opening with a rag.

Apply a thin layer of clean oil to the new oil filter’s gasket and screw the filter on. Turn the filter until the gasket contacts the engine and then tighten it an additional three-quarters of a turn. Be sure not to over tighten it.

Spark plug maintenance

Clean around the base of the plug before removing the spark plug to prevent dirt and debris from contaminating the engine. To replace the spark plug, remove the ignition wire and use a deep well socket to remove the plug and metal washer.

Inspect the condition of the spark plug and the washer. If you see light brown or gray on the insulator, the engine is working properly. Check the gap between the center and side electrodes with a feeler gauge. If there is a black coating on the insulator the air cleaner is dirty and the spark plug needs to be replaced. Install and tighten the new spark plug with the socket wrench and reconnect the ignition wire.

Perform maintenance on your John Deere zero turn rider regularly to improve performance and keep the machine running smoothly.

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How to Change the Deck Belt on a John Deere Riding Lawn Mower

How to Change the Deck Belt on a John Deere Riding Lawn Mower

When the deck belt on your John Deere riding lawn mower begins to make noise, slip, or snap, it’s time to replace it. It’s a good idea to stay on top of maintenance and repairs to extend the life of your mower. Though changing the deck belt on your lawn mower may seem overwhelming, it’s a relatively easy task. Here’s how to change the deck belt on a John Deere riding lawn mower.

Before performing any maintenance on your John Deere lawn mower, refer to your operator’s manual for maintenance, safety information, and instructions for your machine. Maintenance instructions vary by model, so depending on your riding lawn mower model our instructions may vary slightly.

Before changing the deck belt, make sure your lawn mower is parked on a flat, level surface. Shut off the engine, remove the key from the ignition, and disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting.

Once this is done, raise the deck height lever to the highest setting. Place wooden blocks under each side of the mower deck to prepare for deck removal. Lower the deck height lever to its lowest position so the mower deck rests on the blocks.

Disconnect the deck lift linkages by removing the pins and washers. Remove the linkages from the deck, disconnect the rear draft arm, and disconnect the mower deck belt to remove the deck from the mower. Remove the wooden blocks and allow the deck wheels to touch the ground. Slide the deck from underneath the mower.

Remove the belt covers by removing the screws that hold it in place. Loosen the sheaves and remove the old deck belt. Replace it with a new John Deere deck belt.

Route the deck belt around the sheaves and pulleys, following the same path as the belt you removed. Replace the belt covers and screw them into place, and re-tighten the sheaves with the belt in position.

Place the deck height lever in the transport position to reattach the mower deck. Slide the deck back under the machine. Reinstall the pins and washers to reattach the linkage to the deck, and reattach the rear draft arm to the deck.

Lastly, reconnect the spark plug ignition wire and start the mower.

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How to Install a Mulch Kit on a John Deere Tractor

How to Install a Mulch Kit on a John Deere Tractor

Mulch kits can give your John Deere tractor more value when mowing. Mulch kits generally include mulching blades and a mulching plug, along with necessary hardware for installation. The mulch blades chop grass clippings into smaller pieces than the standard blades, and those smaller pieces decompose faster and help return nutrients back into the soil, keeping your grass healthy. Continue reading to learn how to install a mulch kit on your John Deere tractor.

Before performing any maintenance on your John Deere tractor, refer to your owner’s manual for maintenance and safety information. Maintenance instructions vary by model. Depending on your model number, these instructions may vary.  Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

To install a mulch kit on a John Deere tractor, begin by removing the mower blades. Use a Jungle Jack or other form of jack to lift the front of your mower to create space under the mower deck. Raise the deck to the highest setting. Remove the center holding nut from the mower blade with a wrench. Use a gloved hand to keep the blade from turning while removing the nut. Save the nut for installing the mulching blade. Repeat this blade removal step for the mower blade on the other side of the deck.

Now that the old blades have been removed, it’s time to replace them with the new blades included in the mulch kit. Place the center hole of the mulching blade over the mounting stud on the underside of the mower deck. Make sure the cutting end of the blade faces forward when spinning in a clockwise direction. Use your gloved hand to hold the blade in place while tightening the holding nut with your wrench. Repeat this step to install the mulching blade on the other side of the deck as well.

To install the mulch plug on your John Deere tractor, lift the discharge chute up. Place the mulch plug into the deck discharge chute opening with the carriage bolt threads facing upward.  Fit the mulch plug onto the mower deck lip and remove the tape from the metal deflector and discharge chute so that it falls into place. Insert the carriage bolt into the mounting hole on the lower left side of the mower deck. Tighten the locking wing nut.

You are now ready to use your John Deere tractor as a mulcher. In the future, if you want to mow without mulching, remove the mulch plug, and you will not need to change the blades.

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The History of John Deere Lawn Mowers

The History of John Deere Lawn Mowers

John Deere Lawn Mowers

John Deere has been producing lawn mowers for homeowners and landscapers for over 50 years. Hundreds of new models have been introduced throughout this period and that has played a huge role in the evolution of John Deere equipment today. Read more to understand the history behind John Deere lawn mowers.

John Deere Lawn Mowers – 1960s

John Deere broke into the lawn tractor market in 1963, introducing the model 110, with a 4-stroke petrol-fueled engine with 7 horsepower. Due to its ergonomic design and futuristic features, like Variable Speed Drive, the 110 became a big seller.

During the 1960s, lawn mowing was becoming a more popular leisure activity so John Deere was prompted to dive into the marketplace by offering similar features and implements that the bigger farming tractors incorporated.

After the 100 lawn mower proved successful, the John Deere 60 model was introduced shortly after. This mower was designed for operators in urban areas who had less land and didn’t need the larger 110 model. The 60 was designed for lawn work and not heavy workloads like the 110. The 60 model offered a variety of attachments, making it a versatile machine for its time. The attachments included pull a behind sprayer, model 80 dump cart, snow blade, and snow thrower.

Continuing on the success of the 110, John Deere introduced the 112 model, a larger model that carried a similar style as the 110 but with a bigger motor and wider deck. The 112 was designed for those who needed a machine for larger jobs than the 110 and 60 were capable of.

John Deere also introduced the John Deere 140 shortly after. This model was known for having a lot of power for such a small machine. With a 14 hp Kohler engine and hydrostatic transmission, the 140 was ahead of its time, and capable of accomplishing all kinds of yard work.

John Deere Lawn Mowers – 1970s

While a few existing models that were introduced in the 1960s were upgraded in the early 1970s, John Deere took on major advancements in 1975 when the 200, 300 and 400 Series riding lawn mowers were produced. These machines provided customers with new and exciting features including engine options between 8-16 horsepower, new style hood and grill, integral headlights, engine side panels, and power steering.

John Deere Lawn Mowers – 1980s

In 1984, John Deere introduced the 430, the first tractor to combine a diesel engine with hydrostatic drive and power steering.  This model made quite the impression in the tractor industry, featuring a powerful Yanmar 3-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine instead. The 430 weighed 1,170 lbs, making it the heaviest and strongest John Deere machine of its time.

During the 1980s, the 300 Series was redesigned and many new features were added from the rear-frame redesign from “closed” to “open” configuration and square-shaped fender deck to the reserve fuel tank for increased productivity.

During this time, John Deere manufactured its millionth lawn and garden tractor and introduced the R Series and S Series, designed for customers working both small and large pieces of land.

The R Series was a good fit for those handling smaller areas and included features like a 5-speed gear-drive transmission and tight turning radius of 27 inches. The S Series, for those with bigger areas to cover, incorporated an electric start, 30-inch cutting width and 8 horsepower engines.

John Deere Lawn Mowers – 1990s

In the 1990s John Deere manufactured its 2 millionth lawn tractor with the LX188 model and its 3 millionth tractor with the LT133. The LT Series, LX Series, and GT and GX Series were crucial to the history of John Deere lawn mowers.

The LT Series became one of the most popular John Deere mowers ever. Operators were given wider cuts and a greater amount of fuel. John Deere placed more emphasis on comfort with the adjustable operator seat for those who spent long hours on their equipment.

The LX Series was known for its versatility, allowing owners to use a variety of attachments to handle a variety of projects around the yard. The GT and GX Series were the perfect fit for those who needed more power and size to complete yard tasks. These machines could hook up to other implements like snow blowers and baggers, and a variety of rear attachments like aerators and utility carts.

John Deere Lawn Mowers – 2000s

Some of the biggest product announcements made in the 2000s were the LA Series and the X Series. The LA Series models catered to medium and large lawns. Key features included the full-length steel welded frame, headlights, comfortable operator station, and Edge Cutting system. This series also incorporates John Deere’s trademarked CargO Mount system, which allows users to easily attach large baggers or other heavy rear-mounted equipment.

The technology is what sets the X Series models apart. These machines transfer power to the wheels through the hydrostatic transmission to save time during operation and eliminate unnecessary gear-changing to speed up or slow down.

Take a look at all the John Deere lawn mowers that were introduced throughout the years.

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The Difference Between High-Lift Blades and Mulching Blades

The Difference Between High-Lift Blades and Mulching Blades

It goes without saying that the most important function of your lawn mower is to cut your grass.  The biggest factor in getting the results you want is which type of lawn mower blade you choose to work with. We understand that lawn mower blade terminology can be confusing at times, but there are two styles of blades you should be aware of – high-lift blades, mulching blades.

High-lift blades

High-lift blades are also referred to as 2-in-1 – discharging & bagging – blades. High-lift blades are designed for to create higher-lifting airflow. They assist in cutting grass and discharging the grass clippings out from the deck to fall back onto your lawn. These blades can be identified by a drastic upward angle on the back end of the blade. This helps to propel the clippings through the discharge chute to the back of the bag, which reduces clogging and frustration.

Mulching blades

Mulching blades cut the grass into extremely small particles, eliminating the need to unload heavy bags or pick up clumps of clippings. This method of cutting has a positive effect on the health of your lawn because the mulching blades provide a fine layer of clippings that can become a natural fertilizer. That fertilizer replenishes the soil with nutrients that your grass has absorbed over the season.

Mulching blades are designed with a more curved style surface. They are also referred to as 3-in-1 – mulching, discharging & bagging – blades. These blades are used with mulch kits, for dedicated mulching. Mulch kits generally consist of mulching blades, a mulching plug which closes off the discharge opening to keep grass clippings contained under the deck for re-cutting, and any necessary hardware for installation.

Ultimately, there is not one lawn mower blade that can do it all as well as the lawn mower blade specifically designed for the method you wish to use. You can search our Parts by Type to purchase your lawn mower blade.

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How to Use John Deere Maintenance Kits

How to Use John Deere Maintenance Kits

Staying on top of maintenance is essential to maximizing the performance and life of your outdoor power equipment. John Deere makes it easy to tune-up your tractor all on your own. They also make it easy to match a kit to your specific tractor model by listing the model on the box so you’ll never have to worry about missing parts necessary for maintenance.

Most John Deere Maintenance Kits include:

2 quarts oil

1 oil filter

1 air filter

1 fuel filter

Air precleaner

Spark plugs(s)

Additional tools (not included in Maintenance Kits):

Oil filter wrench

Drain pan

Towels/rags

Pliers

Socket wrench

Spark plug gap gauge

 

Here’s how to perform maintenance on your John Deere tractor using a John Deere Maintenance Kit.

Change the oil and oil filter

Drain the old oil by running your tractor’s engine for a couple minutes so that the oil flows better. Set your drain pan on the ground to catch the old oil. Remove the drain cap and allow the oil to drain completely. Once the oil has been drained, remove the dipstick and use a towel/rag to wipe off old oil.

Before replacing the oil filter, use your towel or rag to clean the area around the filter and then place the drain pan under the filter tray. Remove the old filter and gasket and make sure to dispose of it properly. Rub a light coat of fresh oil on the new filter gasket and screw on the new filter by hand, until the rubber gasket makes contact with the filter base. Then tighten the filter another half turn to make sure it’s secure.

Next, install the drain cap and pour in the new oil, but make sure not to fill it past the full mark. Run the engine again to make sure you don’t have any leaks, and ensure proper fill by checking the dipstick.

Change the air filter

Before replacing the air filter, make sure the engine is cool. You should also brush away any debris covering the air intake screen. Take off the air filter cover then remove the air filter and the precleaner. If your maintenance kit comes with a replacement precleaner, use the new one (to make sure, check your operator’s manual). Put in the new air filter and reinstall the cover.

Change the fuel filter

First, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and that the engine on your tractor is cool. Check the fuel lines to see if they look worn or cracked. If so, have them replaced. Look at the arrow on the old fuel filter – it shows the gas flow. Make sure the arrow on the new filter goes the same direction as the arrow on the old filter.

Use your pliers to move the clamps away from the filter. Pull off the hoses, gas tank side first, and quickly attach the hoses to the new filter, gas tank side first. Use the pliers again to put the hose clamps back in their original place. Run the engine for a couple minutes and check for leaks.

Change the spark plugs

Pull off the plug wires and use the wrench to loosen the plugs. Remove the plugs and use the spark plug gauge to set the right gap (your operator’s manual will show you the proper gap size). Install the new spark plugs finger tight and then use the wrench to fully tighten the spark plugs. Lastly, reinstall the plug wires.

Sharpen/Replace Blades

Blades are not included in John Deere Maintenance Kits but whenever you perform regular maintenance you should sharpen your blades or replace them if they’re worn. You can sharpen your blades on your own or bring them to a professional.

John Deere Maintenance Kits will keep your equipment running like new year after year. They come with everything you need to service you lawn equipment so stay on top of maintenance to see the best results with your equipment and your lawn.

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