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Believe it or not, oil in the fuel can be caused by many different components on a tractor’s engine. You will want to make sure you check every possible cause in order to properly trouble shoot the issue. If you are seeing oil in your fuel, here are some areas you will want to check first:

LT1551) Make sure you have no defective ignition components.
2) Check the spark plug: Do you have the correct one? Is the gap correct? Or maybe is it just time to replace it because it’s old or fouled.
3) Carburetor issues: Is it adjusted properly (you have it too lean), worn, plugged or have too much debris in it.
4) Does the air filter element have oil in it or is it clogged.
5) You may have worn or warped heads. If you have low compression, check the rings, valves and cylinder heads.
6) Is the choke, governor or throttle linkage worn out at all?
7) Make sure the carburetor is not set to rich.
8) Check on engine or valve seals. Make sure you don’t see any leaks at all!
9) Lastly, check the piston setup. Do you have broken or bent rings?

It will be best to first check what is easiest. If you see no glaring issues with the major engine components many times it’s a simple spark plug issue. So work your way through this list that way. Some things are just easier to check than others.

John Deere Mower BladeThere is more to a mower blade than most people realize. At first glance they seem overly simple, yet there is a lot going on here with that single blade of steel. I will not get into the engineering details of material selection, hardness, or other specifications here. But, what I will cover is some important basic details that one should know about in order to properly care for their blades. I am not going cover all the blade types, high lift, mulching, and such. If properly maintained you will have a smooth running and cutting blade. The blades and the deck need to act as one to lift the grass, cut it, and then discharge it.

Let’s first discuss a brand new blade and its cutting edge and length. Have you ever noticed when looking at a new blade the cutting edge is what would appear to most of us not sharp? This cutting edge and angle is actually at the perfect configuration for a clean and smooth cutting blade. Contrary to what most of us think, the cutting edge does not need to be razor sharp. In fact, a slight 1/32 blunt face will cut just fine and actually maintain its sharpness longer. The angle of the cutting edge is also important. If it is too steep the blade will not cut the grass, but tear it instead. If it is too shallow, it will dull quickly and not push the grass around to the deck discharge chute efficiently. This is why it is important to maintain the cutting angle when you sharpen your blades. Also, blades are measured diagonally from cutting tip through the mounting hole center to opposite cutting tip.

Now, let’s talk blade sharpening. The first thing I do after removal is to thoroughly clean the blade of all old dirt, grass, and grime. I then inspect the blade for wear and straightness. If bent, I straighten it if I can. If not, it is time for a new blade. I then clamp the blade in a vice and use a 4 inch angle grinder with a flap wheel. I have found this to be the easiest and fastest way to sharpen blades. As mentioned earlier, you must maintain the cutting angle and it does not need to be a razor sharp edge. Once both cutting edges are sharpened you need to check balance. This can be done with a very inexpensive balancer or something as simple as a nail in a vice. You of course will need to remove material from the heavier side to get good balance. If you ignore balancing, you’ll find you will have a very rough running deck. Not to mention you may experience prematurely replacing spindle bearings. Make note that each time you sharpen your blade you are also making it shorter.

One other thing you should be aware of when inspecting the blade. Make sure that the turned up wing behind the cutting edge is in good condition. If the undercut is excessive, you’ll have a very dangerous situation where the wing could become a flying projectile.

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John DeereThe following is brochures and literature are the original sale brochures from the older popular tractors.  This includes 2 cylinder M tractors, General Purpose tractors, Waterloo Works literature, a Modern Farming literature from 1961 showing the Deere’s New Generation tractors, A, AO, AW, B, etc.  I wasn’t sure where to place some of this so I just included it all here since a couple of these deals with the 2 cylinder models.

John Deere 61 Original Sales Brochure

John Deere General Purpose Original Sales Brochure

John Deere M Original Sales Brochure

Waterloo Works Literature

Modern Farming literature from 1961

John Deere A Original Sales Brochure

John Deere AO Original Sales Brochure

John Deere AW Original Sales Brochure

John Deere B Original Sales Brochure

CAUTION: Disabling any feature that is intended as a safety device can subject the operator of the modified equipment and those in the immediate vicinity to an increased risk of injury or death. Please use your own best judgment when performing any safety modification to your equipment.     Note: The photos shown here are of a John Deere 1026R with a serial number beyond 210000.
You will need the following tools:

  •         10mm open end wrench
  •         Socket wrench
  •         8mm socket
  •         10mm socket
  • Small allen wrench
  • #3 Phillips head screwdriver (#2 will work as well)

Remove the lower kick panel from the operator’s station

  •         Remove the deck height adjustment knob by pulling straight up on the knob. It is friction fit; there is no set screw.
  •         For 1026Rs, loosen the set screw on the rate of drop dial using an allen wrench and slide the knob off of the adjustment rod.
  • Remove the 10mm bolt and washer from both sides of the operator station kick panel. These are the top bolts located just below the seat on both sides. Be careful not to lose the metal spacers. When you pull the bolt out it should be sitting in the well where the bolt was just removed.
  • Remove #3 phillips head screws and washers from the bottom portion of the kick panel. You’ll find these in the recessed holes on both sides of the operator’s station.
  • At this point you should be able to wiggle the kick panel free. Note that the top of the panel is tabbed and rests underneath the plastic panels on each side of the operator’s seat. The middle of the kick panel rest underneath the seat mounting platform. Set the panel aside.
  •         Optional: Take a moment to note just how dirty your machine gets in the places you cant normally see or get too.


The Reverse Sensing Switch (RSS)
In the photos below, you’ll see the switch that lets the control circuits of the tractor understand when the reverse pedal has been pressed. The lever action is such that when neither pedal is being pressed, the RSS is depressed. When the forward pedal is pressed, the RSS is depressed. When the reverse pedal is pressed, the RSS is released and the switch is deactivated. I used a circuit tracer (hey, use what you got ) to run some traces on the contacts. This demonstrated to me that the two left terminals (from referencing the third photo below) are normally connected to complete a circuit. When the switch is depressed these terminals are opened and the two right terminals are closed completing a circuit. It is also worth noting that if you disconnect the switch and switch the ignition to START, the LCD will display REVERSE SENSOR ERROR. The tractor knows to look for that switch during POST!


How to override the RSS
In theory, you could just jumper the two mating terminals on the right (from reference in photo above and the red and blue wires in the second photo below) and call it a day. However, I wanted to be able to leave everything connected and make the switch stay depressed. Here is where you can get creative. Below is what I did to accomplish the task.
I had an old piece of angled aluminum from an old garage door sensor mount. I modified it by cutting off the excess and drilling two mount holes that matched the dimensions of the screws used to mount the RSS to the bracket. The screws are 8mm with 10mm nuts. Once everything was mounted back up, the angled bracket kept the switch depressed.

I jumped up on the seat, started the tractor, activated the mid-PTO, and pressed the reverse pedal. SUCCESS, the mower stayed running!
After a little more testing, I put the kick panel back on in the same manner in which it was removed. Looks factory original, and all I have to do to enable the “safety feature” of the RSS is remove my angled bracket.
I’d like to thank an anonymous contributor that helped point me in the right direction to look for this switch. PLEASE, be careful anytime you are using your tractors and be aware that disabling any safety feature puts the responsibility on you to perform in its stead.

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