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Hello, new member here. My buddy recently got a 1969 JD140 for 150$ and then found a snow thrower for 50$. Overall the tractor reminds me of my 1984 JD backhoe, simple but solid with great functions. Nice thick all steel deck on the 140. I've always been a fan of older stuff, I prefer actual steel over plastic. He absolutely stole the thing for what it is...

Usage - I'm looking for a cast iron lined motor that lasts, and I'd be mowing and snow blowing a couple 100 foot long drives, wouldn't mind a small front bucket as well ( I can fab that stuff up myself).

My question is, what are some of the most dependable and reliable JD lawn tractors to watch for?? What models are underpowered or have inherent issues? I found a 1968 110 here locally but realized it doesn't have hydraulics and that's a big thing for me. I'm not sure if that started in 1969 or sooner on the 140's as it seems the 110's had an electric lift mechanism.

In my head I figure that early models up to the mid 80's would be the best years to buy before things turned plastic and cheapened up parts. To me, older is normally better.

Or, if anyone could recommend a website that compares JD tractors thru the years that would be great also, thanks for any help...
 

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The 140 is a classic and has a large following...some of the original attachments like the loaders are rare and very expensive now. If you want diesel, the 332 and 430 tractors are good bets -- still heavy frames and limited plastic (like the 140, the hoods are fiberglass...) All of these tractors are 1992 or older, but so many were made that parts are still quite available. I have had a couple of the 322 tractors, which has a gas version of the little water cooled 3 cylinder Yanmar that is much like the diesel in the 332. If you want to stay with an air cooled engine, the 318 is probbly the most popular tractor in this series. The Onan twin is a real heavy duty motor, but prts re getting expensive for rebuilds. All of these little machines have dual spool hydraulics or three spool like some of the 140 models and all of the 430 tractors. All front attachments interchange, but the rear attachments are different for the closed frame models like the 140, 312, 317 and the open frame units like the 318,322,332,420 and 430.

Lots of good information over at Weekend Freedom Machines

Chuck
 

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The 140 is a classic and has a large following...some of the original attachments like the loaders are rare and very expensive now. If you want diesel, the 332 and 430 tractors are good bets -- still heavy frames and limited plastic (like the 140, the hoods are fiberglass...) All of these tractors are 1992 or older, but so many were made that parts are still quite available. I have had a couple of the 322 tractors, which has a gas version of the little water cooled 3 cylinder Yanmar that is much like the diesel in the 332. If you want to stay with an air cooled engine, the 318 is probbly the most popular tractor in this series. The Onan twin is a real heavy duty motor, but prts re getting expensive for rebuilds. All of these little machines have dual spool hydraulics or three spool like some of the 140 models and all of the 430 tractors. All front attachments interchange, but the rear attachments are different for the closed frame models like the 140, 312, 317 and the open frame units like the 318,322,332,420 and 430.

Lots of good information over at Weekend Freedom Machines

Chuck
Thanks for replying Chuck, I will check out that website. It always takes a long time to research new things but if you don't you may make a big mistake with the wrong purchase. I was ready to grab a nice110 that is local until I read there is no hydraulic pump, rather an electric motor that raises things (that's the stuff I don't know much about, the journey begins) I guess I'm a bit spoiled after seeing how well this kids 1969 tractor works. I know it was far too inexpensive, but it does everything I would be looking for one to do; I won't be rototilling crops, just want to mow my lawn and clear the driveways of snow. I'd build a bucklet just to move light amounts of material around. I have a 1984 JD500C BHL for bigger jobs and have no desire for another diesel machine and stinky clothes. Once I started looking at JD tractors I realized that JD made an insane amount of different models, I'm trying to keep things simple. I can usually figure things out with a given manufacturer fairly easy, but with all these different models I feel a bit overwhelmed. I don't care for most of the newer models but I'm not sure when JD tractors peaked before things got cheapened up ruining the JD name. JD was always known for quality machines, but expensive parts, that was the trade off but it was worth it IMO. But, at some point it seems they made a bunch of junk, tractors called a JD but with a B+S motor, no thanks!! My BHL rarely needs an "expensive part" It was designed to be tough and work well and it does. I'm looking for that same thing out of an old tractor. Some of the Cub Cadets seem to fit my needs as well but I have always loved Deere machines...
 

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There are some 110/112 models with hydraulic lift. I have one. Keep in mind that these old machines are not fast mowers, not designed with ergonomics in mind and have a turning radius of an aircraft carrier. Also, the “newest” of the 300 and 400 series with the hand control hydro are 30+ years old and 100 series about 50 years old. You will need to be able to do repairs and troubleshoot problems as they come up. Good news is most of the parts are available from Deere still today.
 

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If you want hydraulics in the 68-92 range you have to go fo a hydrostatic model.

Single hydraulics, 120, 140, 300(some) 312, 314 (some did not have front ports) 316 onan, 330

Dual hydraulics: 300 (northeast option), 316 kohler, 317

Dual hydraulics with power steering, 318, 322,332

H3 triple hydraulics, 140 h3
With power steering 400, 420, 430

The 110/112 and 200 series are gear drive that had optional hydraulic lift but they don’t have the ability to use hydraulic attachments, the entire system only has about 1qt capacity. Anything hydraulic that was used on these had its own pump and reservoir that was pto driven.


If you want a front bucket of any type I highly recommend power steering. If you find a tractor above with a full size loader be aware it will be a full day project to mount or dismount it. When I used a loader from those years I had a dedicated tractor, and a second for everything else.
 
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I agree with the above breakdown, and for a dedicated mower with light snow removal duties (either front blade or blower...) the 318 and 322 would be my choice.

As noted previously, the 330, 332 and 430 are diesels.

I had two 322 tractors in my herd, and they were awesome -- strong, smooth and quiet.
non-identical twins 2.jpg


Chuck
 

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Dirtcrasher,

There are small engine suppliers that offer re-power packages that are tried and tested for some of the old garden tractors but not all, for example a 1966 110H has no repower engine available. There are several good old JD garden tractors, my 322 (1988) is a good example. Happy hunting. I strongly recommend the WFM site as well as this one.
 

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Rydplrs gives an excellent break down of the Pre-1992 tractors. My recommendation is get one with full hydraulics and power steering. Don't discount new generations, they are some times more capable than the older iron. Yes, you get a lot of composites, electronics, and the occasional plastic cam gear, but you also get better ergonomics, true quick attach/detach loaders, mower decks, blowers etc. I loved my 400, owned it 10 years, but I let it go due to constant maintenance issues and lack of time to work on it.
 
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