I don't mind an oil leak on an old machine, but not on a brand new E110 with 3 hours on it. I mind very much when the leak is from the valve covers and the oil drips directly onto the muffler, causing a very smoky condition and the potential for a fire soon after you start it.
I was curious about a small puddle of oil under my brand new mower. Oil was seeping from the valve cover, which is directly above the muffler.
It seems that the geniuses who manufactured the 19HP engine on this mower did not use a gasket on the valve cover. They just applied some compound. On examination I saw some was squeezed out when the screws holding the cover were tightened.
I say "tightened" sarcastically. There were no locking washers on the screws, and no evidence of any thread locking compound. One of the screws was only finger tight. So, they saved maybe 5 cents on not having a gasket, and ditto on the lock washers, caring not that an oil leak onto the muffler could start a nasty and unexpected fire.
Just wanted you guys to know that the bean counters at John Deere are finding ways to make these things cheaper and cheaper, without regard to safety, longevity or quality.