Hello Forum Member's
Some of you may remember, I Picked up this 318 over Two years ago for $300.00 from a John Deere dealership as it was Traded in Not running. I got it running again and it has been a Great machine for the past Two season's not missing a beat. It has been a super busy summer for me. I continued to Mow 2-acre's of Grass per week but as I neared the end of our Mowing season I Noticed the Power was getting less in my Onan B-43, More on this later in this response.... Mid summer I came across a Decent 54" Four way dirt dozer blade for $100.00. It had some rust, but was not bent nor beat up, so I dragged it home. When I went to place it on my 318 and it was evident that I had bought a blade for a 400 series Tractor as the quick attachment was about 2" too wide for my Tractor Frame. Out Came the Old Airco Production torch and my 250 Amp AC-DC Welder. It took me the better share of a day but I narrowed the frame on the quick attachment and got it to fit my 318 fine. At a Measly $100.00 I had Nothing to loose and everything to gain by Modifing it's frame work. I then decided it needed to be restored so I took it completely apart, sanded it all down and Painted it with John Deere Yellow Paint. Here is the project as it unfolded.
About Three Months ago, Our Daughter asked me if I would be able to use my John Deere 318 for an Up-coming First Birthday Party for our Granddaughter ? She wanted me to use the Tractor and my Old Rarely seen Model # 30 Dump Cart to Pull Our Granddaughter into her First Birthday Party which will be the second week in December. I agreed to it, but told her that both the Tractor and Dump Trailer needed to be restored.
Being that I was still Using the John Deere 318 to Mow with, I started the Model 30 Dump Cart Project. We have had this Dump Cart for about 20 Years now, I bought it used, Rather well used from a John Deere dealer and paid $25.00 for it when I bought it. I went to Purchase a new decal kit for it, but hit a bump in the road. John Deere does not offer any decal's for this dump trailer Nor even show it in their Parts network. I Later Learned that the reason for this is because they only offered it a few years and it was made for John Deere by The Radio-Flyer Corporation out of Chicago, Illinois. I completely disassembled it and did "Much" Body work to it's wheelbarrow style tub. I then Laid on Four Heavy coat's of John Deere Green and wet sanded it with 1500 Grit 3-M sand Paper, and finished up with a nice final buff. I then ordered decal's for a model 80 dump cart and had to cut the "8" Portion of the 80 decal to give me the 30 Model dump cart decal Number that I needed and Placed it on the dump cart. Here are the pictures of that through it's many hours of restoration.
Near the end of my mowing season this year I noticed that my Onan B-43 Engine was getting some what tired. I decided that as long as I was Taking it down for a Restoration, I might as well have the engine Freshened at the same time. Being that I Love the sound, Power and durability of and Onan, a Re-power of any other brand engine in this John Deere 318 Never entered my mind. I started to research who I was going to have do the work on my Onan out there. There was really no one here in East Tennessee Interested in re-building my Onan other than the Local Cummin's Dealer, but they wanted a starting figure of "Two-Grand" with out even telling me what I got in return as far as machine work or part's went, their comment was "It depend's on what is out of Spec." I was Not at all comfortable with their comment so I spoke with Three or four other guy's who claimed to re-build these Onan's but when we got into the subject a little deeper, I quickly Learned that they all simply did a re-ring job on my existing engine, using a flex hone and to me that it Not a True full engine re-build. I then contacted "Kustom Small Engine's" out of Ohio and spoke with Carey Clark the owner. We had several lengthily conversations of what exactly he does to these Onan's and from what I learned short of spending Two Grand Or More with my Local Onan Cummin's dealership I was getting far more attention paid to my Re-build out of his engine shop, so I gave him the green light on it to start my Build.
Now, in all due respect here before someone supplies me with a Link to a recent thread where Kustom Small Engines/ Clark Racing
that had some Smack Talk about them Involving some $8.00 Exhaust gasket's, I have all ready read it completly and addressed it Fully with the owner of Kustom Engines being Carey Clark. As with every story, we Must first and foremost remember that There is Always' "Two side's" to a story
. Carey was very straight Forward & Man enough to address and bring up this recent issue with me, of which he really did not have to as I have been around engine's and engine re-building for most of my life involving several engine shop's, who supplied me in my Racing Drag's, Circle Track and Moto-cross in my younger years, so I felt very comfortable with His process of Onan engine rebuilding, as he was very detailed in explaining everything that he does to these engines, where as most shop's could not Even be Bothered to. After speaking with him it is in my own conclusion, that We all make Mistakes in life No one Human is Perfect but if we are man enough to own up to them and also willing to correct those Mistakes, this hold's a very High Regard in my book of a Person who Truly cares about his fellow man & his work's of accomplishment in life. I can tell you that this man, is a very Genuine down to Earth Person and has a sincere Deep Passion about his engine rebuilding Process, and about making Sure that the customer is totaly happy with his Engine shop's work. I also could sense by talking with him, that He is very upset about his Engine shop's credibility or Vast engine Knowledge being challenged or his long term reputation of being a very successful engine re builder questioned or Tarnished. Let's face it, you don't last well over 25 Years in Business in the same location doing shoddy slap shot engine work, and I don't think that you will find another small engine shop out there that will do the amount of work & Labor involved in re-building these Onan's than Carey Clark does to them and for a Price far, far less than my Local Cummin's-Onan dealer wanted, so let's give Credit where Credit is due, as I am sure there are far more happy Kustom Small Engine customer's out there running his Durable Proven engine re-build's than Not Out There.... "NUF-Said"
Mean while, I knew my engine would be set, and on it's way very soon so I pulled my 318 into the garage bay and started the Tear down Process. I Pressure washed the chassis, then I pushed it back into my shop.I then Pulled the body Panel's, wheel's & tires & Yanked the engine then I hand sanded the entire frame upper, lower and inner rails and washed it down with enamel reducer. I then masked off the steering tower and sprayed it with John Deere Blitz Black paint through my Binks # 7 spray gun, which is a very Old School Gun but she lay's out a nice smooth even Pattern. I Jacked it up high enough, Placing it on jack stand's so that I could get underneath it with my Creeper to spray the complete under side of the machine. Once I got the rolling Chassis Painted I sanded & painted all four wheels and Pushed it off to the side. I now will be working over the Outer body Panel's and will add more picture's as this project advances here.
Yesterday, I took my Onan apart. I removed all of the engine shroud's as well as the Oil Pan, Oil filter adaptor, Starter, Flywheel, electric clutch, Intake & Carb as well as the exhaust. Today I will be painting all of the metal shrouds with more John Deere Blitz Black paint. I got a call call from Carey yesterday telling me that he had my newly re-built Onan finished and that he was shipping it out to me. Previously, I have had an issue with the starter Not turning my engine over good, so I took that apart to see what might be ailing it ? Once I opened it up, I discovered it had about Four of the Internal field winding wires severed, and they had been in contact with the magnet's inside the starter housing, leaving behind a rut in the magnet. It was apparent to me, that my Starter was finished. I checked my options and found some cheap after market ones on Evil-Bay for less than $60.00, but I had my doubt's about their duability, and Let's face it who want's to pull and engine twice to change another starter ? so, I called Carey again at Kustom Small engines to see if he may have one there ? As it turned out, he had an OEM John Deere Onan starter that a customer had brought back with a cracked nose from over Tightening it, being just about Brand new so Carey changed out the nose with a good one and sold it to me for $55.00 shipped. Starter Problem solved, and a Good OEM John Deere Onan starter will be placed when I put the new re-built Onan in my frame, with no future starter issues.
The Start of my Restoration on my 318