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John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum
Show Parts for Model:

John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change?

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stylemaster

02-18-2006 07:39:11
161.184.21.110



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Hello,
We own a JD 720 diesel with the unreliable pup engine, supposedly the 730 model went to a conventional starter to start the diesel engine...is it possible to convert it? Has anyone ever done this? If not, is there an aftermarket supplier for parts for the pony? An electronic ignition would probably help, but perhaps the coils are to blame? It seems to have poor/nonexistant spark (we have replaced the plug wires, maintained the points and plugs) plus the parts from JD are rediculously expensive, if available at all. Any info would be helpful, thank you in advance!
Jeff

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stylemaster J

02-20-2006 18:15:34
154.11.98.45



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
Thank you all for the excellent advice! After weighing all the options, I think we'll try and get that pony running on more than one or two cylinders...the sound of that tractor starting just takes me back to my childhood, makes a gearhead redneck farmer like me smile. I read through older forums here and one mentioned smoke coming from the coils-that's just what's happening. We've started her on 12V for years, then unhooked the battery...which obviously spins that little sucker over like hell-and probably baked the coils I'm thinking! Which leads me to this question for you smart gearheads-one mentioned adapting automotive coils? It's not that I'm too cheap for aftermarket but experience has taught me to avoid most aftermarket parts. Thanks again!!

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Chuck730D SE

02-19-2006 10:17:27
205.188.116.198



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
FIT and others made the point that I was offering as an option. By the time you do the conversion correctly, assuming you do all of the work, you can have a totally rebuilt pony that will last a long time, provided it is operated and cared for as per the JD Tech and Service manuals.
If you know some of the parts that you need for the pony, or need advice on how to set it up, email me and I will help.
You can cut corners and save some money on the ES conversion, but then look what happens to a true relic from the past.
One last thought, I rebuilt my pony about 4 years ago. I have the same coils that I put in then. It starts right up, will smoke just a little at first, depending on how much I choke it, but then runs clean.

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buickanddeere

02-18-2006 22:40:39
209.240.120.187



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
Un-reliable cranking engine??? The only problem I've ever seen with cranking engine are the people trying to operate them. Get the aftermarket coils with the snap in spring loaded plug wires. Then install F.I.T. 's coil protection circuit if you can'r remember to shut the igniiton off. Clean the 50+ years of dirt, crud, gum and rust from the fuel tank, lines, shut off valve & carb. Replace the 50+ year old gas line and all gaskets. Change the water pump seal if the crankcase oil is getting milky. Where are you going to find and electric cranking system that can make 14HP?

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WeirdDeere

02-18-2006 23:40:44
67.129.203.138



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to buickanddeere, 02-18-2006 22:40:39  
Buickanddeere took the words right out of my mouth. Do everything he said, and your pony should be running fine, without having to convert to electric start.

I'm curious to know what some people have spent to convert to a working electric start in either the JD 24V system or a modern 12 volt? Did you use a generator or alternator? Do you have a working fuel gauge? Same battery box and seat?

I've rebuilt one pony (and I'm working on another now). The first engine cost somewhere over $2000 to fix. But it was my first engine rebuild, I'm picky, and I went WAY overboard with new parts. Could have been alot less if I didn't get new pistons. And I had to get the crank welded, and connecting rods rebored larger, etc. Most ponys won't need all that.

And I LOUDLY agree that you need to check out the waterpump. That is what messed up my current pony. Coolant in oil made a chewed up crank, and busted a rod.

Brandon
My Industrial John Deere website
John Deere Diesels
The LaGrange Engine Club

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F-I-T

02-19-2006 05:40:38
71.49.17.173



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to WeirdDeere, 02-18-2006 23:40:44  
I see Kenmeth at Classic Generator is selling brand-new 12 or 24 Volt starters that you could use on a 70D for a conversion. They look great, but the cost is $500. I think it was Clyde Wilson was selling a repro starter bracket. I don't remember for sure, but the cost was around $500 again, I thought (thought it could have been $300). Ought to fire it up with two HO 12V Optima's, then a new VR and some generator work, say $200 for the batteries, $50 for the VR and $1-150 for genny work. Then you should buy a new fuel gauge ($100 or so from Nick Barbieri), change all of the lamps to 12 volts, then you pay someone to do all of this, but if you're handy, we won;t charge for that.

So, it looks like you're right $ 1500.00

Did I forget anything?

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WyoDave

02-19-2006 08:32:37
71.50.17.208



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to F-I-T, 02-19-2006 05:40:38  
My grandfather did our 70D standard about 8 years ago on a 24 volt system and he claimed it cost about $1000 so I'm sure its higher now. He only did it because the tractor was given to him with no pony. By the time he would have found a pony and fixed it right it would have been the same money. We did pick up a pony for it cheap later, but haven't really wanted to put it back. That 24 volt starter will pop that 70 off pretty good.
David

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Chuck730D SE

02-18-2006 16:17:50
205.188.116.198



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
Do you know what you need to rebuild your pony? I have some parts.
It cost way more than you think to convert to ES. Then, you are buying two high cranking amp batteries every time one goes bad. You also lose the advantage of the pony heating the coolant and intake air, so you may have to keep it inside and add a block heater to start in cold weather.
The 24/12 volt split system that the ES has is not for the faint at heart. When it acts up, you may wish you only had a weak pony motor. You have three separate circuits with the 24/12 split system. It can make you pull your hair out, and wish you had that pony back in there.
Just some thoughts.

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Spoker

02-18-2006 14:07:17
209.196.102.50



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
It can be converted, but very pricey to do it. Check on eBay under 720 John Deere and look for the bracket and starter. They were on there this morning. Then comes the rewire. Stiner Tractor supply and others have an aftermarket set of coils. They are some what cheeper than Deere. I rebuilt my pony on my 720 and have no regrets so far. Points are some what pricey for the Wico Distributor, like 25.00 a set. Aftermarket coils are around 50.00 or so. So it would be cheeped to get the pony running than convert it over.

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WyoDave

02-18-2006 08:48:02
71.50.17.208



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
We have a 720 diesel that is a factory electric start, so if you could find those pieces it'd be an easy conversion. We aslo have a 70D that my grandfather converted to electric start. It was an aftermarket kit, but I don't know for sure who made it. Definately can be done, but probably not very cheap.
David



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Mike M

02-18-2006 08:25:20
63.27.157.12



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
I have saw them convert those over to car coils or ones from an onan engine.



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garret

02-18-2006 08:05:33
69.63.12.149



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
Lets continue on the electronic ingition, just in case there is someone who has put something together. In my case don't use my 720 much and the pony is good,but that engine sure could start better. Converted a 30 cockshutt to electronic and boy does it start now.



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mcb563

02-18-2006 07:57:33
67.1.111.252



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to stylemaster, 02-18-2006 07:39:11  
Hello! I have converted a 70 diesel to electric start an was the best decision I have ever made!! There is a man that sells a conversion kit that includes a plate steel bracket,12 volt starter and alternater! He used to advertise in the Green Magazine! It is a bit of a project and kinda spendy but well worth it!! Good Luck!! MCB



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FOO

02-19-2006 11:44:59
205.158.96.165



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 Re: John Deere 720 diesel pony engine change? in reply to mcb563, 02-18-2006 07:57:33  
I HAVE INSTALLED 5 OF THOSE KITS THAT MCB563 WAS TALKING ABOUT AND I THINK THAT THE QUALITY OF THOSE KITS SUCK. 3 OF THE 5 THAT I INSTALLED BROKE WITH 10 USES. I WOULD JUST STICK WITH THAT DAMN PONY ENGINE. GOOD LUCK



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