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Garden Tractors Discussion Forum

1973 110 JD Variable drive troubles how to get at

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Chuck McDonald

09-04-2003 11:25:48

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Hey gang,
I bought a 8 h.p., 4spd, 1973 110 JD not too long ago and i have some questions
1. When mowing or driving and already moving with the clutch relaeased I will have the variator lever pulled to the rear. I begin to move it forward and the mower will SLOWLY pick up the speed (acts like weak spring pressure). AT times also it will be about midway and the tractor will start up a little hill and then stop moving. If the lever is moved forward slightly more it takes off like a shot! How do you adjust it? In addition, if the clutch is pushed down quickly sometimes it sounds as if a pully is rubbing the underside of the floor. What could that be? Does anyone have a copy of the manual talking about its adjustment they could email me or send me? 2.) how hard is it to take off the fenders/floorboard (one piece) on this tractor. Are the peddles hard to get off?
3.) what wieight of oil is used in the transaxle and how much to fill it? Also, what about the motor, oil weight and ammount.

Thanks a bunch guys. You will make a poor college students day!
Chuck McDonald

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09-04-2003 21:36:45

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 Re: 1973 110 JD Variable drive troubles how to ge in reply to Chuck McDonald, 09-04-2003 11:25:48  
chuck i dunno bout the variable speed adjustin but i did scarf all this offn the internet so i hope it will help ya so copy paste it fer yaself .i too have a 1973 110 with a 10hp kohler,use 90 weight john deere oil in the take the fender assembly off is a bit of a pain so here goes.
i dont have the manual.

remove seat n bolts
take clutch pedal off
on the brake pedal crawl under with a set of circlip pliers an on its shaft inside the frame remove the circlip an washer,pull the spring on it to the brake linkage and its pin n cotter pin
take the forward bolts off the floor tin
now slide the pedal off,its a bit tricky manueverin it but can be done.

anyhow i been savin all i can find on it so here ya go from what i found on them.hope it helps some with whatever else ya have to do withit.


The earlier Model 110's had rounded fenders and 7 and 8 HP Kohler engines. They were manufactured, beginning in the middle 1960's, at the John Deere Works in Horicon, Wisconsin. Mine are the later 10 HP models, the square-fendered type, usually referred to as having serial numbers "over 250,000."

I didn't have an easy checklist to follow when doing a tune-up. Rather than just write one, I thought I'd make a webpage out of it for any 110 owners to use.

My three tractors have serial numbers 263517, 263540, and 263632. They are all from the early part of the 1972 model year. Horicon made about 50 of these a day, so the first two may have been made the same day, and the third one a couple of days later.

Their 10HP Kohler K241AS engines were all 1971's. The first alphanumeric character of the Kohler Serial number tells the year of manufacture: A=1965, B=1966, C=1967, D=1968, E or 1=1969, 2=1970, 3=1971 (mine are all 3's), 4=1972, 5=1973, 6=1974. The Kohler Model number gives a general description of the engine. A K241AS, for example is: K=Kohler, 24=cubic inches displacement, 1=number of cylinders, A=modified oil pan, S=electric start.

Tractor number 263,632 was purchased from a local dealer in 1997 as a parts machine, but actually only needed an engine overhaul and some paint to be put back into service. The overhaul necessitated removal of the engine from the chassis, however, and that made it much easier to clean and paint the rest of the machine. The 110 can be tipped onto either side, with a little care, to grease the 13 zerks underneath, or to paint the frame and wheels, but before you tip yours over remind yourself that it weighs as much as a grand piano! It now has a 47-inch mower deck and does the mowing every summer.

Number 263,517, which we had purchased at an auction in 1985, then got the same treatment except that the engine was fine. It was fitted with a 36-inch snowthrower and retired to the back of the barn for the rest of the summer. It does the winter chores, keeping the driveway open.

Number 263,540 was found on eBay and had an ignition problem that grew worse as it warmed up. I guessed wrong that it would need a new coil, and eventually found that the fault lay only with the condenser. It has a 39-inch mower and a Lambert Apollo leaf sweeper and will have a snow blade in the off season.

After a problem with one of the fuel pumps, all of my tractors have had their fuel systems modified to by-pass the fuel pumps. Like the Model-T Ford, their gas tanks are high enough that gravity is sufficient to deliver the fuel to the carburetors. Whether you want to do this or not, this is where the check list starts.


1. Either disconnect the battery, or at least remove the ignition key and put it in your pocket. (The correct battery group for the 110 is 22F.)

2. Tilt the hood all the way up. Spring it enough to pull one hinge pin free at a time and remove the hood. Set the hood aside.

3. Remove the drive-pulley cover from the side of the tractor. You will need to reach the inner pulley to turn the crankshaft by hand.

4. Remove the front screen. Be careful of its sharp edges. If it needs paint, use some satin black spray enamel.

5. Remove the arch that joins the two vertical side panels.

6. Remove the two side panels.

7. Remove the muffler shroud. There is one bolt at the bottom - below the condenser, and it's threaded into the frame (don't bother looking for a nut underneath), one on the front of the engine, and a nut on top of the cylinder head.

8. Spray WD-40 on the muffler joint and muffler clamp nuts.

9. Now is your chance to clean the cooling fins of the engine. Bend a 1/4-inch hook on the end of a piece of clothes hanger wire and scrape between the fins to loosen up anything that's in there. The first time you start the engine it will blow right out, just loosen it for now.

10. Remove the gas tank. Loosen the two bands that hold the gas tank and slide them toward the center of the tank. Lift the tank, close the shut-off valve, and remove the fuel line from the shut-off valve. This frees the gas tank from the tractor.

11. Using about 4 feet of vinyl tubing, siphon the gasoline from the tank into a clear container. Swish the tank as you are doing this and try to draw the gasoline from the lowest part of the tank so as to suck out any rust, debris, or water with it. Decant most of the gas for reuse.

12. Remove the shut-off valve from the tank by unscrewing it carefully and inspect the strainer screen. If you need a new shut-off valve and screen, you can get it from John Deere for about $7. Replace the valve using some teflon tape on the threads.

13. Obtain a three-and-a-half foot length of new 1/4 inch ID fuel line, and attach one end of it to the shut-off valve with a clamp.

14. Replace the fuel tank. Slide the bands back into place. Center the tank. Clamp the bands again.

15. You'll have more room to work if you remove the air cleaner now.

16. Dress the fuel line across the side of the engine just above the leaf screen, down past the spark coil, and up to the carburetor inlet. Seen from the front of the tractor, this makes a big "J" shape in the fuel line. Cut the fuel line and attach it to the carburetor inlet with a clamp. The fuel line will be fastened with plastic cable-ties after you are finished with the electrical system.

17. Use some of the remaining fuel line to connect the outlet of the fuel pump to the inlet of the fuel pump. This will be an upside down "U" shape and clamps are not required. The purpose of this length of fuel line is to keep debris out of the fuel pump. The fuel pump will not be harmed but it will no longer be in use. ELECTRICAL SYSTEM 18. Loosen the muffler clamp. Gently but firmly make sure you can swivel the muffler a few degrees in both directions. You do not need to remove it.

19. Remove the cover from the ignition breaker points (2-screws) and slip the rubber grommet and wire free of the lower left corner of the cover. Wire brush or sand the cover and paint it.

20. Inspect the breaker points to see if they are burned or irregular. Replace if necessary. My last set of points was OK, but the rubber grommet was badly deteriorated, the cover gasket was missing, and the wire had lost all of its insulation because of the heat from the muffler. I installed the gasket (a little grease on the back of it will hold it up there temporarily, but you might use one of the cover screws in the top hole anyway), and I bought a new grommet from John Deere for $2. I replaced the wire with a piece that I salvaged from a junked coffee percolator. This stiff solid wire has woven fiberglass insulation, just the ticket for high temperature applications! It only needs to be long enough to reach the condenser terminal. I soldered a hook terminal on the left end, but left the right end bare. (Mail me a dollar if you want one of these.)

21. Don't put the cover back on the points yet, but do make sure the gasket is still on the side of the engine, and the grommet is on the new wire. Dress the wire over to the condenser, and make a loop in the end of it. I slipped a length of clear plastic tubing over the wire to prevent chafing, but I don't expect it to last very many years without melting off.

22. Replace the condenser. The new one from John Deere cost me about $7 and has the required screw terminal, not a pigtail as most automotive applications use.

23. There isn't much heat when you get past the muffler shroud so I fashioned a wire from the capacitor to the negative terminal of the ignition coil using ordinary stranded copper automotive hookup wire, but I slipped clear plastic tubing over it to prevent chafing. Leave a bit of slack in this wire to allow repositioning of the coil if necessary, and feed it across right next to the engine, behind the fuel line and choke and throttle cables.

24. Remove the spark plug to make the crank easier to turn. Discard it if it is burned or fouled - otherwise gap it .025 inches.

25. The bottom of the coil may be covering the hole in the engine housing that lets you to see the flywheel. There are marks stamped into the flywheel that allow you to time the ignition if you have a timing light. You may need to reposition the coil to see the flywheel. I did this by re-hanging the coil - putting the left mounting-clamp bolt in the right hole, and sliding to coil upwards in the clamp a bit. A little white paint on the flywheel mark really helps too.

26. Turn the crank until the breaker-point push rod pushes out. Adjust the point gap to .020 inches. Snug-up the screw on the points. The cover is still off and the gasket is still hanging up there.

27. Install a new Champion H10C (Stock #844) spark plug if you discarded the old one, otherwise reinstall the old one.

28. Put some gasoline in the tank (Kohler says to use 90 octane or higher). Open the gasoline shut-off valve.

29. Reconnect the battery cables. Replace the drive-pulley cover.

30. Start the engine and, using a very long screwdriver, adjust the point clearance to either get the smoothest, fastest idle, or to locate the mark on the flywheel with the timing light. Tighten the screw on the points. Stop the engine.

31. Put the coil clamp back where it was. If you are installing a new coil, now is the time. The negative terminal of the coil gets the wire from the condenser.

32. Replace the air cleaner. Use a Fram CA77 if you need a new one.

33. At this point I drove around the yard to warm up the engine, and made the three carburetor adjustments: Main Mixture (with screwdriver pointing straight down) seemed best at about 2 turns, Idle Mixture (with screwdriver angling down toward the right front tire) at about 1-1/2 turns, and Idle Speed - - what a sweet-running engine! Kohler says to use about 1200 RPM for idling, in case you have any way to measure it. (I set my old engine analyzer on "4-cylinder" and adjusted the idle to indicate 300 RPM - that's the way to set 1200 RPM for a 1-cylinder engine.) Don't idle an air-cooled engine slowly, it needs the fan for cooling.

34. Fasten the fuel line to the coil with a plastic cable tie (right up close to the fan housing), and at any other convenient spot below the carburetor with another plastic tie.

35. After the muffler cools, replace the points cover making sure the grommet is correctly centered in the cover slot. Dress the wires as far away from the muffler heat as you can get them.

36. Re-center the muffler, and tighten the muffler clamp.

37. Reattach the muffler shroud using the 2 machine screws and one nut.

38. Replace the sides and the arch that goes between them. Tighten the arch bolts, but not the bolts at the base of the sides - leave them a little loose.

39. Clip the fiberglass hood back on and close it. The spring latch and the instrument panel correctly center it at the rear and in doing this they position the front frame also.

40. Now tighten the four bolts at the bases of the sides.

41. Re-install the front screen.

42. If you are ready for an oil change (every 25 hours of operation) use a 3/4" wrench to remove the drain plug. Replace the oil with 1-1/2 quarts of a good automotive SAE-30 detergent oil.

Send me an email if you have anything to add to this list.

Send $3 if you would like a 2-sided, laminated chart for routine servicing. Address it to: Gordon Speer, 3304 Woodlawn Road, Sterling, IL 61081

*Note* JD110 model # was not intended to reflect engine hp, the JD110 model # was instead chosen to coincide with the "New Generation" 1010, 2010, 3010, and 4010 Ag tractors.
1963 - John Deere enters the L&G market with the 110

* Variable speed "Variator" drive clutch (standard on all models) * "Quick Attach" mower deck and front implement mounting system * JD’s rear lift system, "Integral Hitch", accepts Brinly-Hardy style hitch implements

1963 JD110 7hp K-161 Kohler, round fenders (fiberglass), 3 speed Peerless transmission
1964 JD110 8hp K-181 Kohler, round fenders (steel), 3 speed Peerless transmission
1965-1967 JD110 8hp K-181 Kohler, round fenders, 4 speed Peerless trans., hydraulic lift optional beginning in ‘66
1966 - JD60 John Deere's first lawn tractor
1966-1967 JD112 10hp HH-100 Tecumseh, round fenders, 4 speed Peerless trans. , hydraulic lift optional
1968 - New "Wide frame" design (new generation 110,112 share same basic frame attachment points as new 140).

* John Deere carries this basic frame design up through 1982 into the 300 series tractors and 1987 on 200 series tractors * "QA" implement mount system front and rear, Electric front PTO clutch standard on 140. * New frame incorporates integral deck pan & fenders, headlights mount in black panel above grille

1968-1974 JD110 8hp K-181 Kohler, 4 speed Peerless trans, variator drive, hydraulic lift optional ’68-‘71

* 10hp K-241 Kohler optional in (’72-’74), hydraulic lift optional in ’72, electric lift optional (’73-’74)

1968-1974 JD112 10hp HH100 Tecumseh (thru ’71) , Variator drive

* 10hp K-241 Kohler optional (’69-’71) * 12hp K-301 Kohler (’72-’74) * electric lift standard (’72-’74) * electric PTO clutch standard (’72-’73), manual standard all other years * Hydraulic lift optional (’68-‘71) * 4 speed Peerless transmission, variator drive

1968 JD140 12hp K-301 JD’s first hydrostat, direct shaft drive, electric front PTO

* H1 & H3 had single & triple hydraulic spools respectively * Shaft driven rear PTO (driven off back of hydrostat) for #33 tiller * Disk brakes on each rear wheel

1970-1971 JD120 12hp K-301 hydro, single hydraulic lift (H-1)
1969-1974 JD140 14hp K-321 hydro, Cat-0 3pt hitch optional, (new style hydro with drum brakes ’71-’74)
1975 - Marks the beginning of John Deere’s "Quietline" series (new hood, engine side panels).

* The 200 Series tractor marked the demise of the 110/112 while retaining many features. * The 300 Series of hydrostatic drive tractors carried on where the venerable 140 left off. * Headlights are now inset to a full width "light bar".

1975-1987 JD210, 212, 214 (10-14 hp) Vari-speed gear drive, manual lift standard, electric & hydraulic lift optional (replaced 110 & 112)
1975 JD200 8hp K-181, had engine side panels, no hydraulic lift option
1977-1978 JD 208 8hp K-181, no engine side panels, no vari-speed drive, no hydraulic lift option
1979-1987 JD 216 16hp K-341, Vari-speed gear drive, electric & hydraulic lift optional
1975-1977 JD300 - 16hp K-341 dual spool hydraulics standard
1975-1982 JD400 - 20hp K-532QS (the first "Super" Garden Tractor…and it had Power Steering!)
1977-1978 JD312 - 12hp K-301, single hydraulics, no engine side panels
1978-(1 yr) JD316 - 16hp K-341 (replaced the 300) dual spool hydraulics standard
1979-1983 JD314 - 14hp K-321 (replaced the 312), singe hydraulics
1979-1982 JD317 - 17hp KT-17 dual spool hydraulics standard
1983 JD318 - 18hp Onan, power steering, totally different rear frame design, Some would say the best L&G ever built.
John Deere produces its 1 millionth L&G

The model 110 was John Deere’s first Lawn & Garden tractor. In 1962 a design was laid forth to build a lawn and garden tractor that would offer many of the same features and wide range of implements that the bigger John Deere tractors offered. It would offer small rural and urban landowners alike the chance to own an affordable Small Tractor with a Big Farmer feel. The new tractor was designated the John Deere Model 110 in keeping with the current Ten Series Waterloo and Dubuque tractors. Ergonomically designed, with new features way ahead of its time, its exclusive Variable Speed Drive allowed for high speed mowing and super low end tilling. Its stout, and dependable Cast Iron 7 hp K-161 Kohler engine gave the tractor plenty of power to utilize the integral worktools. It was a great design, and was quick to become a big seller with 1000 models built for 1963. Features included:

* Seven horsepower, air cooled, Kohler model K161 cast iron engine with electric start

* Peerless three speed transmission with speed variator that allowed slowing the tractor without interrupting power to the driven equipment

* Rear tires and drive belts enclosed and shielded for operator protection. A full hood and grille protecting the engine, battery, starter, etc.

* Quick -Tach style mounting of attachments

* Scratch resistant fiberglass hood and fenders

* Triple safe starting

* Heavily built frame and front axle to handle heavy loads.
* Adjustable tread rear wheels, important for mowing on hillsides.

Introduced as a seven horse model in 1963, for 1964 an eight horse Kohler K181S was utilized and the fiberglass fenders were replaced with steel. For 1965 the transmission was changed from three speed to four speed, and in 1966 Hydraulic Lift was offered as a factory only option. In 1966 a new 110 with Manual Lift cost $719 and the standard 38" deck was $148.

Triple safe starting was a feature from the start. The PTO needed to be disengaged, the transmission in neutral and the key used before the tractor could be started. This feature was advertised by showing children playing and climbing on the tractor. Deere considered the safety feature to be a key selling point on the tractors.

The most obvious design change was in 1968 when the separate "round fenders" were replaced by a one-piece "fender deck" that was rubber mounted to the frame. The next significant change occurred in 1972 with a larger, heavier frame, choice of the 8 hp Kohler K181S or a 10 hp Kohler K241S engine. Electric lift became an option in 1973.

The model 110 initially weighed approximately 500# with the later versions adding weight to a total of 775#. The 110 was designed as a garden tractor and Deere offered many integral attachments to suit the homeowner, as well as the commercial user :

* Model 20 Compressor * Model 38, 39 and 46 (for 10hp) mower deck * Model 36, 37, and 37A snowthrowers * Model 30, 31, and 31A rear rotary tiller * Model 42 and 43 blade * Model 80 dump cart * Model 7, 5a, and 5b sprayer * Front and rear slab weights and rear wheel weights * Tire chains, hub caps, cigarette lighter, and headlights * An integral hitch
* Tire equipment options

Serial number breaks are as follows:
Year Serial Number Engine
1963 2,550 - 3,550 Kohler K161 (7hp)
1964 3,551 - 15,000 Kohler K181 (8hp)
1965 15,001 - 40,000 Kohler K181
1966 40,001 - 65,000 Kohler K181
1967 65,001 - 100,000 Kohler K181
1968 100,001 - 130,000 Kohler K181
1969 130,001 - 160,000 Kohler K181
1970 160,000 - 185,000 Kohler K181
1971 185,001 - 250,000 Kohler K181
1972 250,001 - 260,000 Kohler K181
1972 260.001 - 272,000 Kohler K241 (10hp)
1973 272,001 - 285,000 Kohler K181
1973 285,001 - 310,000 Kohler K241
1974 310,001 - 320,000 Kohler K181
1974 320,001 - Kohler K241

John Deere Garden Tractor Year/Serial #'s For 60, 70, 110, 112, 120, & 140 Tractors Engine Codes
# is the horsepower of engine
T is Tecumseh
K is Kohler 110 Garden Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1963 7K 2,551-3,550
1964 8K 3,551-15,000
1965 8K 15,001-40,000
1966 8K 40,001-65,000
1967 8K 65,001-100,000
1968 8K 100,001-130,000
1969 8K 130,001-150,000
1970 8K 160,001-185,000
1971 8K 185,001-250,000
1972 8K 250,001-260,000
1972 10K 260,001-272,000
1973 8K 272,001-285,000
1973 10K 285,001-310,000
1974 8K 310,001-320,000
1974 10K 320,001-?

112 Garden Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1966 10T 2,551-3,550
1967 10T 3,551-100,000
1968 10T 100,001-130,000
1969 10T 130,001-150,000
1969 10K 150,001-160,000
1970 10T 160,001-180,000
1970 10K 180,001-225,000
1971 10T 185,001-250,000
1971 10K 225,001-250,000
1972 12K 250,001-260,000
1973 12K 260,001-300,000
1974 12K 300,001-? 120 Garden Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1970 12K 1,001-7,500
1971 12K 7,501-? 140 Garden Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1968 12K 1,001-10,000
1969 14K 10,001-22,400
1970 14K 22,401-30,000
1971 14K 30,001-38,000
1972 14K 38,001-46,500
1973 14K 46,501-56,500
1974 14K 56,501-? 60 Lawn Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1966 6T ?,???-8,000
1967 6T 8,001-15,000
1968 6T 15,001-20,000
1969 6T 20,001-25,000 70 Lawn Tractor

Year Engine Serial Number
1970 7T 25,001-35,000
1971 7T 35,001-45,000
1972 7T 45,001-50,000
1973 7T 50,001-56,000
1974 7T 56,001-65,000

Model Description Tractors used on or years #39 Mower 38" mower deck All
#38 Mower 38", backfit from older tractor, requires adapting parts All
#47 Mower 46" mower deck All 112's, 10hp 110's
#46 Mower 46", backfit from older tractor, requires adapting parts All 112's, 10hp 110's
#37 Snowthrower 38", made early, drive belt is crossed All
#37A Snowthrower 38", made later, straight drive belt All
#36 Snowthrower 36", backfit from older tractor, requires adapting parts All
#43 Blade 42" front blade All
#42 Blade 42", backfit from older tractor, requires adapting parts All
#42C Blade 42" center mount blade All
#31 Tiller 22", 30", 38" working widths All
#30 Tiller Backfit from older tractors, requires adapting parts from 31tiller SN 118,000 and below for these tractors All
#541 PTO Front mount 540 RPM PTO drive, crossed drive belt, PTO shaft faces left side of tractor, made early All
#541A PTO Front mounted 540 RPM PTO drive, straight drive belt, PTO shaft faces right side of tractor, made later All
#5A Sprayer Trailer sprayer All, made up to 1970
#5B Sprayer Trailer sprayer All, made 1971 & up
#80 Cart Yard cart All
#50 Cart Yard cart All
Intregral hitch For "sleeve" hitch implements All
Helper spring Availible for manual & electric lift tractors All
Frame weights Front mounted, bracket & slab weights All
Wheel weights Front wheel weights All
Wheel weights Rear, 2 valve stem notches All
Ajustable wheels Rear, for 23x8.50-12 tires All
Wheel covers Plain for 4.00/4.80-8 front wheels All
Wheel covers Embrossed, for all other wheels All
Tire chains 6-12, 23x8.50-12, 23x10x50-12 rear tires All
Light kit Front headlight panel and tail lights All
Lighter All
Foot tread kit Non-skid foot rest decals All
Hour meter Electric All
Charger 110 volt battery charger All
Air Cleaner Heavy-duty dry, cartridge style air cleaner 110 Sn 260,001 & up 112 Sn 250,001 & up

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steven kuder

10-06-2004 14:06:26

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 Re: Re: 1973 110 JD Variable drive troubles how t in reply to lars, 09-04-2003 21:36:45  
can any one tell me how to find the year made of my john deere 111 with a kawasaki engine? thank you for time and care.

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09-05-2003 16:43:13

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 Re: Re: 1973 110 JD Variable drive troubles how t in reply to lars, 09-04-2003 21:36:45  
i took mine apart today to do some much needed cleanin an maintanance,if you follow your shaft outwards towards the front on the right side you can adjust that rod via the nut on the end,what this does is to create tension on the belt increasing the friction adding more power to it.when the handles backed off it slips along until increased then the tension applied will grab the least this is my take on this.

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