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Dutch

Interesting Engine Story

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Dutch
Last spring I bought a nice clean 7013 that didn’t run for $200. The owner had just bought a 7117 from a local John Deere dealer for $2500. The dealer had offered $50 for the 7013 as a trade-in. When I told the owner I had an identical 7117 and really liked it, he asked me if mine ran for more than 30 minutes at a time. He claimed the dealer told him the KT engines had to cool off while being used. I examined his engine, thought I knew what the problem may be, and suggested he take it back to the dealer for specific work. Last week the owner called and asked me if I wanted to buy the 7117. It wouldn’t start and the dealer told him the engine had seized. He claimed the dealer said the KT engines were such junk that Deere wouldn’t even use them anymore. The dealer offered him $100 for the 7117 on a new Deere. I asked the owner to describe the engine condition and symptoms as exactly as he could (he is not mechanically inclined). He said the engine quitting after 30 minutes of mowing had never been cured. The dealer had tuned the engine twice this past summer with new plugs, points, filters, a coil, wires, and a carb overhaul. As for the seized engine, the owner claimed it ran fine the last time he parked it in his garage. When he tried to start it a few days later, all he got was a noise. He replaced the battery thinking it was bad, but still got just a noise. I remembered the owner said he liked to gamble, and offered him the following deal. I’d pay $200 for the tractor sight unseen and I’d pick it up. Bring the tractor to me (from Maryland) and I’d pay $350 as is. Leave the tractor with me and go visit a casino. If the engine is not seized, pay me for my time and take the tractor back home, or we can negotiate a price. The owner dropped the tractor off yesterday and went to a casino. I’m waiting for him to return today. Here’s a photo of the engine as received. I worked on it for less than 2 hours last night and now it starts right up and runs great. Anyone want to guess what the problem was? [img]/club2/attach/dutch/7117-eng-1.jpg[/img]

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HubbardRA
Dutch, I'll take a guess! Short running time caused by restricted fuel line or fuel filter. Non-starting with noise was probably a broken part on the starter bendix or something under the shroud that was jamming the bendix. Am I even close, or was it something much simpler.

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PGL
I'm off sick today, so this is a great way to pass the time and learn something. It would help if you could describe the "noise" a bit better, but if it is a clicking solenoid, it may just be a loose wire. The "seizing" could have been checked by taking out the plug() and seeing if it would turn by hand, and where the noise came from. If not mechanical, check the electrics. It did run before, so probably was getting spark - would have checked that right after it stopped, look for coil, regulator problems if no spark. You were able to fix it fairly quickly, including diagnosis, apparently in the evening without access to parts, so it likely the running problem was fuel related and you worked back through the system until you found what was blocking the flow after the heat got to it. Hard to tell without listening and looking, but it sounds like the dealer was more interested in selling a new machine than serving a customer well - unless the dealer's ability to repair is in question.

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UCD
It doesn't sound like the dealers ability to repair is in question but his honesty and integrity is. From the sounds of it he probably only gave $100 for the tractor and sold it to Dutch's friend for $2500 and was trying to pull off the same deal again. My simplicity dealer here will allow $400 - $500 for a tractor on trade in. not running.

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PatRarick
I'm going to guess corroded or loose connections on the ignition switch, circuit breaker or ammeter. Heat or vibration caused a loss of power after running for a certain period of time. After a cooling off period, the connection restored itself. Eventually, the connection got bad enough that it failed completely. Guessing because I ran into a very similar situation with a customer's 716 this past summer. Pat

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Dutch
I'm in for a late lunch, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the responses already. Some of you guys are very close. Since Peter is sick and has nothing better to do, here are some hints. The problem was not electrical or fuel, although those may have been affected as a result of the underlying problem. The owner could only try to replicate the noise to me vocally over the phone ("woooooo") (I had to suppress my desire to laugh). The "woooooo" was actually the starter whirring....... spinning without engaging. The engine was not seized. I was able to turn it completely over by hand turning the BGB pulley. The owner mentioned how well he takes care of his tractor, and washes it regularly (that's a big hint). No parts were used to correct the problem (I did change the oil & service the air cleaner just to be safe). I used the tractor this morning for two hours and it starts every time, has plenty of power, doesn't smoke, never quit, and never misfired. Okay, I'm going back to work. I'll give you the rest of the story after dinner. BTW..... The owner's wife called. They're going to stay another night at the casino. That could mean they're winning big or think they can get even.

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wrisleyk
I had a KT17 where the starter would do the same thing due to some corrosion on the starter gear/shaft area. I cleaned and polished it with steel wool and it worked perfect after that. Another idea could be mice are building a nest inside causing both the starter to not engage as well as a cooling/shutdown problem.

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Agricola
The picture has a a good shot of the air cleaner and coil. Thinking how Dutch would like to give us some clues to get us close. How about a small crack in the coil where water was getting in there and causing a problem, easy to cure with a touch of epoxy or moisture getting into the air cleaner and preventing air from getting into the air/fuel system. This might be caused by water standing in the recesses in the engine. I would think that problem would show up sooner however.

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Dutch
Notice you still can't even see the starter or drive. It's down there under that dried clay like dirt. The Bendix drive was moving less than 1/4". When I saw this tractor last spring, and the owner told me the problem he was having (quitting). I placed my hand in front of the shroud and couldn't feel much air movement. Suggested that he check for debris. I remembered he also said he was a "washer" and suspected what the problem may be after a summer's mowing and washing. Now....... what should I charge for the "repair"? [img]/club2/attach/dutch/7117-eng-4.jpg[/img]

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hufhouse
So, what is the moral of the story? How often should you remove the shrouds and clean? How do you clean the debris screen that is jammed between and under the battery/gas tank area? (I pick the crud out of each hole with my fingers, which takes forever!) Why is washing bad?

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Dutch
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
So, what is the moral of the story?
Don't know that there is a moral. I just thought it was interesting.
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
How often should you remove the shrouds and clean?
I guess as often as needed to keep an air cooled engine running cool. How often should one check/add coolant to a liquid cooled engine?
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
How do you clean the debris screen that is jammed between and under the battery/gas tank area?
I blow out the engine fins and behind the battery with compressed air and a special homemade extension tube after every use. It only takes a few minutes. If I suspect a buildup, I pull the engine and remove the shrouds.
quote:
Originally posted by hufhouse
Why is washing bad?
In this case, water washed dirt off the grass and deposited it in the bottom of the shroud. Then it dried into a very hard adobe like substance...... layer upon layer upon layer. In general, it amazes me when someone turns a hose or pressure washer (more powerful than a hurricane) on a tractor, deck, engine, behind the instrument panel, and then puts the tractor in a garage to keep it protected from the rain. Why bother?

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maxtorman1234
Our 917 has the same KT17 engine. These engines are great. Never done any work on it since '87 when we bought it new. Our starter would not engage also, but we replaced the battery with a bigger one, and it starts great all the time. :)

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hufhouse
Thanks, Dutch, it WAS interesting. Especially since I have this same tractor and engine. I've been watching this post all day. I think this was a great idea. I had trouble early this year with heavy oil use and found that "debris screen" thing was all fouled up. It seems that it should be more easily removeable for cleaning. Also, I had a minor oil leak around the fuel pump and removed the shroud. I didn't have nearly the amount of crud as your photo, but I did get quite a bit of soft grass clippings out from within the shroud. That shroud almost seems to be a debris catcher. Is it necessary?

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TomMaryland
Thanks Dutch, great story. Now, how much should you charge? Reminds me of the joke about the retired guru who was called back to fix a nightmore machine no one could fix. He looked at it for days then put a chalk X on a spot and said, "there is your problem, fix that and you're good". They did, it was, and the bill came. $ 1 for a chalk mark, $ 50,000 for knowing where to put it. Knowledge has much more value than we usually think!

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