People have been plowing the soil for centuries. It’s one of the most efficient ways to break up the ground to prepare it for growing crops. It’s also embedded into John Deere’s heritage as it was John Deere’s plow that paved the way for the mega corporation that we know of today as Deere & Company.
What I want to do here, in this first segment, is break down the types of plows available and what is needed to get started. For this article I will only be addressing the plows and options available in the garden tractor class. But some of the principles and terminology will apply to the larger tractor classes.
First, what we need to find is the appropriate garden tractor. Using the John Deere models as an example, here are some of the garden tractors available: 110, 112, 120, 140, 200 series, 300 closed frame series, 300 open frame series, 400, 420, 430, 4X5 series, GT series, 3X5 and GX series, X4X5/X5X5 series, the newer X500 and X700 series tractors. That’s not the complete list but it gives you an idea. What we want is a “Garden Tractor”. Refer back to a previous article, “When is a Lawn Mower a Lawn Mower” to help identify what is considered a garden tractor.
Next we need a hitch. There are two basic type of hitches available, the integral hitch (John Deere’s terminology for sleeve hitch), and the 3 point hitch. Most garden tractors will have the Category 0 in the 3 point hitch type, but some of the newer John Deere garden tractors like the X4X5/X5X5 and the X700 series use a modified Category 1 type 3 point hitch.
The integral hitch would be used for the gear drive John Deere garden tractors, like the 110/112 and the 200 series tractors, and also can be used on the 120/140 and the 300 closed frame tractors and the newer 3X5/GT/GX series as well as the current X500 series tractors. Most of these used the tractors lift system and some may even have an electric actuator as an option to lift the hitch. The integral hitches are usually more economical and simpler in design and are readily available. They used a single point for attaching and lifting the implement, i.e. the plow, and used a standard across the board 5/8 inch pin for attaching the implements.
Below is an example of an integral hitch on a round fender John Deere.
Here is an example of an integral hitch on a closed frame John Deere (140 shown).
The 3 point hitches are found in the 120/140, and 300 closed frame tractors and for these tractors, it uses an auxiliary mounted hydraulic cylinder and is plumbed to the tractors hydraulics. These hitches are more expensive and harder to find than the integral hitch, which can also be used for these tractors. These 3 point hitches are category 0 hitches, which mean they used 20 inch width spacing for the lower arms and 5/8 inch pins. Below is an example of a 3 point on a closed frame John Deere (shown with an A-frame adapter).
3 point hitches are also used on the 300 open frame series tractors, like the 318, 332, etc., the 400/420/430 tractors and the 4X5 series. These will be category 0 same as the above hitches. The newer X4X5/X5X5 and the X700 series used the modified category 1 hitches which means they used a 3/4 inch pins. Some after market manufactures make a combination category 0/1 hitch which will interchange between a category 0 and category 1. I’ve seen some people change out their category 1 implements by just changing out the pins to a 5/8 inch pins. Below is an example of an open frame 3 point hitch.
The plows we’re discussing here is the single moldboard type plow. There are also other types of plows, with multiple moldboard shares, but those aren’t that common in the garden tractor class. Most garden tractors can only handle a single moldboard plow, though the larger garden tractors like the 420/430 can handle a two bottom plow. Single moldboard plows are usually in 8 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch sizes. Manufacturers of the plows include Brinly,Agri-Fab,OhioSteel, and Simplicity, among others. John Deere also has their brand of plows, but they are usually made by manufacturers like Brinly and are painted in John Deere green with John Deere decals on them. Below is an example of a Brinly Sleeve Hitch Plow:
Below is an example of a 3 point Brinly plow:
A “new” John Deere plow (possibly made by Brinly) 12 inch Cat 1 Limited:
A John Deere 15 Plow (12 inch plow):
A John Deere 20 Plow (12 inch Plow)
Depending on what type of hitch you have, i.e. integral or 3 point, determines what type of plow you need. The integral hitches can only used the sleeve hitch type plow, while the 3 point hitches can be used on both sleeve hitch plows and 3 point plows. You can buy an A-frame adapter to adapt your 3 point to a sleeve hitch to use on a sleeve hitch plow. Also you can buy or fabricate a 3 point adapter to use with another adapter to change out the hitch on the sleeve hitch plow to adapt to a 3 point hitch. Below is an A-Frame Adapter:
Brinly type 3 Point Adapter shown below:
Both the sleeve hitch plow and the 3 point plow will be offset to allow for the plow share to be vertical when the tractor’s right tires are in the furrow when plowing. There are a lot of adjustments to be made before you can plow and during your plow, but we will cover those in the next article. Below is a 3 point plow showing how it’s offset from the tractor.
Now that I have given you the basic information on finding a plow and locating the proper garden tractor, it’s time to go out and find the setup that you can afford and locate. Stay tune for the next article: Plowing 101, Part II.
With Ebay and Craigslist, its very easy to find used tractors and equipment for sale at great price. But that great deal you found can quickly turn into a nightmare of problems leading to the possible loss of the purchase without the return of your cash. We can blame it on the economy or on what people have to do to survive these days, but its a fact, people are selling these non-titled tractors, gators, implements, or equipment that have liens against them to pay on their home or car. It is against the law for them to sell property with a lien and according to the paperwork signed at the original purchase when new, if the loan is not paid on, the lien holder can come get the equipment, no matter who has supposedly purchased it.
Many people will argue this, but if you buy something with a lien on it and the lien holder wants the equipment, there is little you can do to stop them from getting it. Its also very expensive to retain a lawyer to fight to keep what you purchased. Rather than going that route, lets look at what we can do to prevent ourselves from getting in that situation in the first place. This is not meant to be a legal how to, its simply guidelines that have been suggested to me from dealers and lawyers. Each state has different laws, so please check with people in the know in your state.
What I have learned from buying John Deere equipment is that liens are not always filed in the county they were purchased. JD Finance will file paperwork with the state and that will not always be found with a lien search. When looking for used equipment, do some research and ask some key questions before you purchase.
Where did you buy the equipment from? Dealer name is very important in lien search!
Was it new when you purchased it?
Do you know about when you purchased it? Helps the dealer look up paperwork.
Did or does this equipment have a lien against it? If its been paid off, can they provide proof?
Write down the VIN, or ask for the VIN number.
What is the sellers first and last name.
Take this information and call the original selling dealer. If you can get to the general manager or a good salesman, tell then that you are looking to buy this equipment with the VIN and that you were told it was purchased there by (sellers name). They should be able to look up the equipment to see if there was a lien on this when sold and also look with JD Finance to see if it currently has a lien. The original dealer also has a responsibility to help collect on the loan when done through JD Finance.
While this will tell you a lot about smaller tractors and equipment. Larger agricultural equipment might have had a loan through Greenstone or other government subsidised company and you might have to ask your bank to also do a search for you. If you are going to get a loan on the equipment, you can rely on your bank to do much of this for you.
When you get face to face with the seller, ask a lot of questions. If the person is selling something because they need cash for their home or to stop an item from being repo’ed, (run) or you could ask them to see the original bill of sale or paperwork showing they do not have a loan on the equipment. If you buy it, on the bill of sale, have the seller write out that they can legally sell this equipment and it does not have any liens on it. Have them print their name, address, phone number, date and then sign it. Keep that with a copy of the cancelled check. If something happened and it did have a lien, that is your only defense.
What if you are buying equipment from someone who did not buy the machine new? There might not be a direct way to trace it back to a dealer, or for your dealer to check for liens. In this case, there is little chance they are with a national finance company unless it was purchased from a dealer, so a county lien search done at your bank would be your main option. Running it by your dealer is also a very good idea.
While you will pay more to buy used from a dealer, you also have the protection that a lien cannot be pursued past them. In Michigan, my understanding is, if a dealer sells something with a lien on it, they are responsible. Dealers will have to pay the lien holder rather than the lien holder coming after the current owner.
Can we protect our-self in every situation? Probably not, but a little caution and research can save a lot of headaches later. If you have anything to ad to this, please comment or contact us.
If you are looking for help in buying or researching used equipment, stop by GreenTractor Talk and ask any questions you have.
The new 1 series tractors from John Deere have taken the sub compact tractor market by storm. These machines are incredibly capable of many tasks and chores that many large suburbia home owners will have on their to-do list. In fact, once the new owner finds out how serious his new 1 series really is, he’ll be looking for more to do with it.
As popular as the new 1023E and 1026R have become, they do have some minor issues. As John Deere sells so many of these tractors, most, if not all issues have been corrected under warranty and on the assembly line. One of these issues happens to be a floppy hood. The original hood design has no side to side reinforcement and can flop around when open or trying to close it. The problem is more annoying than anything else. Once the hood is closed, there is no problem and one would never know there was an issue. Since the hood is mainly comprised of plastic, it would require a whole new design to strengthen and fix the issue. Instead, the smart engineers at John Deere came up with a clever solution. To my knowledge, they are also including this new part on the assembly line in Augusta GA. The solution is a metal reinforcement bar that spans across the hood and connects to both hinges. John Deere part number LVU26049 looks like this installed.
#2 in this diagram
If your dealer doesn’t know of this new part, give them John Deere solution number 90947.
Another issue with the new 1 series hood is the hood latch itself. Some owners are having problems with the hood not latching closed. Others have a rattling hood which is traced back to the hood not fully closed when it seems as though it is. When the hood isn’t fully closed, the loose fit allows the hood to vibrate on both sides of the radiator screen. Unfortunately there is no adjustment available to correct the poor fitting latch.
Once again the engineers at John Deere have come to the rescue and solved this problem with a newly designed part. The new hood latch striker part number is LVA18316. Installation couldn’t be any easier with only two bolts. It should be available at your purchasing dealer at no charge for the part or installation under a warranty claim.
Once these new parts are installed on your new 1026R or 1023E, the floppy, loose fitting, and noisy hood issues are a thing of the past.
Here you are searching Craig’s List once again for that great deal on a John Deere garden tractor.
Then you see this ad “John Deere Garden Tractor For Sale – $XXX”. With great anticipation you
click on the ad expecting to see a 140, or a 318, or perhaps a 430, and there it is a RX75 rear engine
rider. Or perhaps you’re clearing off your drive way with your John Deere X748 when your
neighbor asks about your “lawn mower”. Annoying, yes, and perhaps nitpicking, but when will the
populace learn that your garden tractor isn’t just a lawn mower.
Riding mower, lawn tractor, garden tractor, the names get tossed around and can get intermingled
and confused. So with this in mind, this little article will help explained what is what and what
nomenclature we should be using to avoid confusion and our own annoyance.
First off, there are several different categories, rear engine rider to a super garden tractor. Knowing
what constitutes a machine in each category will help you explain to your wife that your “garden
tractor” is not a “lawn mower”.
First what is a lawn mower? This term can be used for a walk behind mower to a ride on mower.
It isn’t really a category, but more or less a generalization or a cross of several categories. I would
categorize a walk behind, a rear engine rider, and a lawn tractor as a lawn mower. These machines
usually have just one function or just one function it does well, and that is cut grass. For this article
sake, a lawn mower is not a category, but a blend of several machines that only functions well
when it’s mowing grass.
Since we all know what a walk behind, or push mower, is we will skip that category. Sufficient to
say, they only have one function and that is to mow grass and it’s pretty oblivious to all that this is
what we will call a lawn mower.
Our first category we will discuss is the rear engine rider. The category name pretty much
describes this category. It’s a ride on lawn mower and will have the engine in the rear of the
machine, either behind the operator or slightly underneath the operator. They normally have small
tires and rims, have small decks as small as 24 inches, but can have decks up to 38 inches. They’re
fairly light machines, usually under 350 lbs and may even have a bicycle type handle bars instead
of a steering wheel. Some manufacturers even offered a small snow blade for these, but they’re not
heavy enough to be efficient enough to push snow. They’re pretty popular for small, postage size
yards, but are not suited for larger yards.
Next category we will discuss is what is known as the lawn tractor. Keep in mind that some will
call a rear engine rider a lawn tractor, but in theory a rear engine rider is not a lawn tractor for it’s
not a tractor at all.
A lawn tractor will usually have slightly larger tires than a rear engine rider, have the engine in the
front of the machine or at least in front of the operator. They’re excellent at mowing the lawn, but
can handle attachments like a small snow blade or a small snow thrower on a small scale. They can
pull a small yard cart, an aerator, a spreader and other non-ground engaging implements. Deck
sizes can range anywhere from 24 inches up to 54 inches. Even though they can handle a snow
blade or a snow thrower, their transmission isn’t rated for heavy implements or for ground
engaging implements. Some in this category will have updated, expensive features like power
steering, liquid cooling, bolt on rear rims, upgraded, high back seats, front bumper guards, etc.
They are mainly designed for mowing grass and are best suited for small to mid-size yards. We
must understand their main function is to mow grass and were first designed to do that task. Snow
blades and snow blowers were options to appeal to homeowners who didn’t want to spend more
money on a garden tractor.
Next category is what I would call a cross over – a yard tractor. They are usually a lawn tractor
with bigger rear tires. They may be able to handle some ground engaging equipment, like a tiller
with its own engine. They will usually have a larger engine and a more robust transmission than a
lawn tractor, but not always. Decks are usually from the 42 inch range to 54 inch range. Some
manufacturers will just put larger tires on their lawn tractor and call it a yard tractor. Unless you
want a smoother ride the larger tires provide, I wouldn’t really look at a yard tractor over a lawn
tractor as their capabilities aren’t that much more than a lawn tractor. If you think you need a
garden tractor, then I would overlook this category and go straight to a garden tractor. If you want
to mow the lawn, then buy a lawn tractor unless your yard is rough and the larger tires are
The last category is the garden tractor. I will place the super garden tractor in this category as well
as a garden tractor will do as much work as a super garden tractor and have almost as much
A garden tractor will have at least 23 inch rear tires and 16 inch front tires, minimum. They are
usually bought originally to mow the lawn, but with an eye for other implements. A garden tractor
will have decks ranging from 38 inch to 60-62 inch. They are excellent mowing machines and are
best suited for mid-size to very large yards. Most only see mowing duties, but their real value lies
in their ability to handle several implements and attachments, and can handle them very well. The
garden tractor were designed for home owners, estate owner, etc., who wants their machines to do
more than mow grass. Garden tractors can handle snow blades up to 54 inches or more, 2 stage
snow blowers, mechanical as well as hydraulic tillers, center (mid) dozer blades, back blades, box
blades, mold board plows, disk harrows, cultivators, etc. 3 point hitches, including category 0 or
category 1, are offered for the garden tractors, as well as integral (sleeve) hitches. Features can be
hydraulic lift, even up to 3 spools of hydraulics, power steering, rear and front PTOs, liquid cooling,
diesel engines, tilt wheels, 4 wheel drive, differential locks, turning brakes, etc. If you want your
lawn mower to do more than mow a lawn, then you want a garden tractor.
One other category I guess we should mention is the zero turn. If you want to cut grass and get it
done very quickly and have no need to move snow or plow a field, and have a fairly large area to
mow, then you might want a zero turn. They’re good for one thing, and one thing only, to cut
grass. Some zero turns are best suited for hilly or sloping yards, but are great for mowing large
areas. Some may have dual steering levers, some may have a steering wheel. Engines are usually
in the rear behind the operator and some may have casters as front wheels. Decks can range upto
72 inches. Some zero turns are designed for commercial use and will have more robust frames,
heavier built decks, roll over protection (rops), commercial grade engines and separate, dual hydro
pumps and motors. Some are made for residential use and will be more economical to buy, but will
have less expensive engines, lighter decks, some may have single hydro pumps and motors, and
overall aren’t as robust or durable.
The next category I guess we should mentioned here and that is the front mower. Front mowers
are meant to cut grass, but some can handle a front snow blade or snow blowers. Engines are
usually in the rear and deck sizes range up to 72 inches and are in the front, hence the name front
mowers. They can have dual steering levers are a steering wheel and usually have hydraulic lifts.
Some may have a single tire on the back.
The last category is the SCUT or sub-compact utility tractor. These machines will come equipped with diesel engines, 4 wheel drive, a mid and rear PTO, and a limited category 1 three point hitch. These tractors are designed considerably more heavy duty and are just the smallest version of the big boys on the farm. They will easily handle heavier loads on the optional front end loader and rear 3 point hitch. The best way to explain a SCUT is it’s a tractor that can mow, not a mower that can do limited tractor chores. With one of these machines, you can quickly find your list of chores get shorter much quicker. In fact you’ll look for a lot more to do other than just “cut the lawn.”
So the next time someone calls your John Deere 430 a lawn mower, remind them of what it can do!