Spark Plug Maintenance

Spark Plug Maintenance

Regular maintenance keeps your John Deere equipment running quietly and efficiently. If your John Deere lawn mower, snow blower, or other outdoor power equipment won’t start, a damaged spark plug may be the problem. Worn or dirty spark plugs cause issues for your machine, so be on the lookout for these as well.

As a rule of thumb, you should check and/or replace the spark plug on your small engine machine every year. Also check the spark plug every season or every 25 hours of use to determine whether it should be replaced. If your John Deere equipment won’t start, check and/or replace your spark plug.

To check for a damaged spark plug:

  • Turn your John Deere machine off and allow the engine to cool to the touch. Disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting.
  • Blow or clean off the area around the plug with compressed air or a brush, making sure the area is clean. This will prevent debris from getting in the combustion chamber when removing the spark plug.
  • Remove the spark plug with a spark plug socket and clean any deposits from the plug.
  • Use a wire brush or spray-on plug cleaner to remove the deposits, or a sturdy knife to scrape off tougher deposits.
  • Check the spark plug for cracked porcelain, electrodes that have been burned away, or stubborn deposits. If you find any of these issues, change the spark plug.
  • Check the spark plug gap and adjust if necessary. Many manufacturers package new spark plugs with the cap pre-set, but it is still a good idea to double-check the gap and torque according to your John Deere owner’s manual.
  • If the spark plug is in good shape, re-attach. Make sure you don’t over-tighten the plug when replacing it.
  • Reconnect the spark plug wire and start your machine’s engine.

To replace spark plugs:

  • Disconnect the spark plug wire and clean the area around the spark plug.
  • Use a spark plug socket to remove the spark plug.
  • Check the gap on the new spark plug and replace it.
  • Tighten the spark plug but don’t over-tighten it.
  • Reconnect the spark plug wire.

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Fuel Tips for Your John Deere Equipment

Fuel Tips for John Deere Equipment

Your John Deere outdoor power equipment needs fuel to operate properly. That goes without saying, but not just any old fuel will do. Ensure that you know the right type of fuel to use in your machine and when to replace it. Our experts explain how to reduce fuel system issues with your John Deere equipment.

Only buy the amount of fuel that will be used 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.

As fuel sits and grows older, it evaporates and forms brown sticky deposits that eventually turn into a hard varnish. Deposits and varnish can plug fuel lines and passages in the carburetor, preventing the engine from running properly.

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 fuel stabilizers are added to fuel they separate and create a thin film on top of the fuel to keep out air and moisture. They also reduce the rate at which the fuel’s volatile compounds evaporate.

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

Don’t use gasoline with more than 10% ethanol

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 John Deere Equipment Manual for information on the proper fuel to use in your machine.

Use ethanol-free gasoline

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.

Purchase mid-grade 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.

Again, read your owner’s manual for information on the proper fuel to use in your John Deere outdoor power equipment.

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Convert Your John Deere Tractor Into a Snow Blower

Convert Your Tractor Into a Snow Blower

Many of us dread clearing snow during the winter. We know that maneuvering your shovel or snow blower through heavy, wet snow during the winter can be exhausting. If you own a John Deere tractor, you may not dread clearing snow as much. Your John Deere tractor provides you with an alternative way to remove snow this year.  If you convert your tractor into a snow blower, you can avoid the need to shovel or purchase a snow blower. Here’s what you need to convert your John Deere tractor into a snow blower.

John Deere attachments and accessories vary by model. Refer to your owner’s manual for information on attachment and accessory compatibility.

Snow blower attachment

To convert your John Deere tractor into a snow blower, you need a snow blower attachment to remove the snow from your drive and walkways. These attachments have the capacity to handle big snow removal jobs and work well in all snow conditions.

Plow blade attachment

If you prefer to push snow instead of throw it, there is an assortment of John Deere tractor mounted plows to help clear snow from your driveway. Plow blades get closer to the pavement than blowers, leaving you with little to no snow on your pathways.

Snow cab

You can add a snow cab to your John Deere tractor for extra protection from freezing temps and harsh winds.

Tire chains

When using your John Deere tractor in the snow, your tractor tires may not have the stability and traction needed to remove snow. When the pavement is covered by snow or is icy, you can increase the traction by using tractor tire chains.

Tire chains are also beneficial when working on steep terrain and narrow roads. To maintain traction, make sure you have tire chains on your tires. They will make your snow removal tasks safer and more productive.

Wheel weights

Like tire chains, wheel weights provide extra traction when working on snowy or icy terrain. Weight wheels are recommended when adding attachments to the front of your John Deere tractor. Apply these weights to the rear tires to help weigh down the back end of your machine and press down so the tires grip better.

Cast-iron weights

Cast-iron weights are great attachments for the front end of your John Deere tractor. These counterbalance heavy attachments and provide better traction and stability.

Some tractors have built-in front and/or rear weight brackets to hang the cast-iron weights on. Other tractors require a weight bracket. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine what your John Deere tractor has and/or needs.

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Fuel Recommendations for Snow Blowers

Fuel Recommendations for Snow Blowers

If you take the time to properly care for your snow blower now, you should have little to no problems with starting your machine next winter. One of the most important things to do when caring for your snow blower is taking care of the fuel that goes inside the blower. If you’re not mindful of the fuel in your machine you may encounter starting or running problems and even damage to the fuel system. Use this guide to avoid fuel-related problems in your snow blower.

Store fuel properly

Store your fuel in a clean, plastic, sealed container approved for fuel storage to help prevent rust and metallic contaminants from entering the fuel system. Close the vent when not in use and store the container away from direct sunlight. Fuel will deteriorate faster when exposed to air and sunlight.

If it takes longer than 30 days to use the fuel in the container, add a fuel stabilizer when you fill the container.

If you do not use your snow blower much during the winter, add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel storage container

Gas left in your snow blower can deteriorate quickly, causing problems for your machine and the fuel system. If you make sure the fuel in your snow blower is stabilized, you will minimize the chances of deterioration and damage.

Do not use gasoline with more than 10% ethanol

Gasoline containing higher levels of ethanol is corrosive and attracts water, which can cause starting or running problems and damage to your snow blower’s fuel system. Engines produced for use in outdoor power equipment are not designed for gasoline with more than 10% ethanol.

Read your owner’s manual for information on the proper fuel to use in your snow blower.

Remove fuel for summer storage                      

Before storing your snow blower, drain the fuel out of your machine. There may still be fuel in the fuel line and carburetor so start your blower and allow it to run until no fuel is left in the machine.

Make sure there is no old fuel resting in your snow blower. Old fuel left in your snow blower during the off-season will deteriorate and cause problems for your machine. Your blower may not start or run properly and, in some cases, there will be damage to the fuel system.

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When to Sharpen or Replace Your John Deere Lawn Mower Blade

When to Sharpen or Replace Your John Deere Lawn Mower Blade

To achieve a great cut and a healthy lawn, it is essential to regularly sharpen or replace your John Deere lawn mower blade. While many people only need to sharpen their lawn mower blades once every couple of months, people who mow more than once a week will need to increase maintenance to once each month. The exact timing depends on workload, but if you’re not sure how often to perform blade maintenance, there are a few tell-tale signs that will help you stay on schedule. With the following tricks, you can develop a trained eye and keep your John Deere lawn mower blade up to par all season.

The first and most obvious thing to look for is unevenness in your lawn. When your John Deere lawn mower blade is sharp, your grass should be cut at the same height every time with just one pass of the mower. If you find yourself making multiple passes to compensate for missed patches of grass, a dull blade may be the culprit.

Another way to tell if your John Deere lawn mower blade needs sharpening is by closely inspecting the grass. If you notice that the tip of each grass blade is torn and not cleanly-sliced, it may be time to switch out your blade. Torn tips may also decrease grass health, causing grass to lose its lush, green color to an unhealthy shade of brown.

Lastly—and perhaps most obviously—you can inspect the blade itself. While your John Deere lawn mower blade can usually be salvaged with routine sharpening, it is important to look for large chips or dents in the cutting edge that cannot be smoothed out. Inconsistencies in the blade are likely to tear grass rather than delivering the clean cut that’s important for your lawn. Also pay attention to the thickness of your John Deere lawn mower blade. Over time, sand, dirt, and other yard debris can erode the blade, causing the metal to weaken and become paper-thin. If you notice this, replace the blade immediately to avoid breakage during mowing, which can cause pieces of metal to fly apart and possibly injure you or other bystanders.

Overall, paying close attention to your lawn and your mower will help greatly in determining when to sharpen or your replace your John Deere lawn mower blade. Remember the signs, perform maintenance regularly, and your John Deere lawn mower blade should cut beautifully every time you mow.

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The History of John Deere

The History of John Deere

How Charles Deere Transformed His Father’s Legacy into a Household Name

We know you’ve heard of John Deere, the name behind the famous brand many have come to know and love. However, there was another Deere who was responsible for the company’s successful growth before and during the turn of the 20th century. That man, referred to as John Deere’s son, was better known as Charles Deere.

John Deere’s second son, Charles Deere, was born in 1837, the same year that John Deere created his trademark self-cleaning plow from an old steel saw blade. Despite this coincidence, the Deere family did not initially plan for Charles to take a management role. It was John Deere’s eldest son, Francis Albert, who planned to take over the family business.

However, that changed when Francis passed away during a flu outbreak at age 18. Charles Deere assumed his older brother’s role and attended business school. In 1854, he began working at his father’s company. He advanced quickly in managing the company’s finances and moved on to become head of sales.

After years of success under Charles’ direction, the Deere business hit a rough patch during the “Panic of 1857.” Struggling with overspending in production and manufacturing costs, John Deere turned leadership of the company over to Charles, who guided finances in the right direction, which included reorganizing the business into a partnership called John Deere & Company. John Deere and Charles Deere shared this equally with colleagues Luke Hemenway and David Bugbee. This partnership allowed the Deeres to manage more money within the family, avoiding personal bankruptcy in the event that something should happen to the business.

To ensure future success of John Deere & Company, Charles maintained his leadership role. Under Charles’ management the company continued to prosper, giving birth to new branch houses across the country. Through his father’s death in 1886 until his own passing in 1907, Charles Deere helped expand a product line that included over 300 models of plows and a variety of farm equipment. Today, Deere & Company continues to serve customers and deliver quality products to agricultural and landscaping professions.

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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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