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Service Engine

Avoid Fumes

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Engine exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide and can cause serious illness or death.

Do not run an engine in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even with doors or windows opened.

Move the machine to an outside area before running the engine.

Engine Oil

Use oil viscosity based on the expected air temperature range during the period between oil changes.

The following John Deere oils are preferred:


• PLUS- 4™

Other oils may be used if above John Deere oils are not available, provided they meet the following specification:

• API Service Classification SG or higher

Checking Engine Oil Level

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Failure to check the oil level regularly could lead to serious engine problems if oil level is low:

• Check oil level before operating.

• Check oil level when the engine is cold and not running.

• Keep level between the FULL and the ADD marks.

• Shut off engine before adding oil.

NOTE: Check oil twice a day if you run engine over 4 hours in a day.

Make sure engine is cold when checking engine oil level.

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

2. Lift hood.

3. Clean area around dipstick to prevent debris from falling into crankcase.


4. Remove dipstick (A). Wipe with clean cloth.

5. Install dipstick in tube but do not tighten. Allow dipstick threads to rest on top of tube and rotate cap counterclockwise until it “clicks” or drops into place.

6. Remove dipstick.

7. Check oil level on dipstick. Oil must be between ADD and FULL marks.

8. If oil level is low, add oil to bring oil level no higher than FULL mark on dipstick. Do not overfill.

9. Install and tighten dipstick. Lower hood.

Changing Engine Oil and Filter

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Operating in extreme conditions may require more frequent service intervals:

• Engine components may become dirty or plugged when operating in extreme heat, dust or other severe conditions.

• Engine oil can degrade if machine is operated constantly at slow or low engine speeds or for frequent short periods of time.

1. Run engine to warm oil.

2. Park machine safely on level surface. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

3. Lift hood.


4. Put drain pan under drain valve (A).

5. Remove drain cap (B) and drain oil into drain pan. Allow oil to drain completely.

6. Remove dipstick (C).

7. Wipe dirt from around oil filter (D).

8. Place a drain pan or funnel under oil filter tray.

9. Remove old filter and wipe off filter tray.

10. Put a light coat of fresh, clean oil on the filter gasket.

11. Install replacement oil filter by turning oil filter to the right (clockwise) until the rubber gasket contacts filter base. Tighten filter an additional one-half turn.

12. Install and tighten drain cap (B).

13. Add oil no higher than FULL mark on dipstick. Do not overfill. Begin with approximately 1.7 L (1.8 qt) (57 oz).

14. Install dipstick.

15. Start and run engine at idle to check for leaks. Stop engine. Fix any leaks before operating.

16. Check oil level. Add oil if necessary.

Cleaning Air Intake Screen and Engine Fins

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Compressed air can cause debris to fly a long distance.

• Clear work area of bystanders.

• Wear eye protection when using compressed air for cleaning purposes.

• Reduce compressed air pressure to 210 kPa (30 psi).

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! An obstructed air intake screen can cause engine damage due to overheating. Keep air intake screen and other external surfaces of the engine, including cooling fins, clean at all times to allow adequate air intake.

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

2. Lift hood.

3. Clean air intake screen on top of engine and external surfaces with rag, brush, vacuum or compressed air.

4. Lower hood.

Checking and Cleaning Air Cleaner Elements

1. Park machine safely (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section).

2. Lift hood.


3. Push down on clips (A) on both sides of air cleaner cover and remove cover.


4. Remove paper element (C) and inspect foam precleaner (D) in cover (E).

5. If the foam precleaner is dirty:

• Remove the filter carefully.

• Wash precleaner in a solution of warm water and liquid detergent.

NOTE: Do not put engine oil on precleaner. Engine oil on precleaner can result in poor engine performance.

• Rinse precleaner thoroughly. Squeeze out excess water in a dry cloth until precleaner is completely dry.

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Dirt and debris can enter the engine through a damaged filter element:

• Do not wash paper element.

• Do not attempt to clean paper element by tapping against another object.

• Do not use pressurized air to clean element.

• Replace element only if it is very dirty, damaged or the seal is cracked.

6. Inspect paper element (C).

7. If the paper filter element is damaged or dirty, replace filter.

8. Clean air cleaner base very carefully, preventing any dirt from falling into carburetor.

9. Install foam precleaner (D) into cover (E). Install paper element (C) into cover, and install cover onto carburetor base, making sure clips (A) are holding cover in place.

Checking Spark Plug

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Touching hot surfaces can burn skin. The engine, components, and fluids will be hot if the engine has been running. Allow the engine to cool before servicing or working near the engine and components.

1. Park machine safely (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section).

2. Lift hood.


3. Disconnect spark plug wire (A), one on each side of engine.

4. Remove each spark plug.

5. Clean spark plug carefully with a wire brush.

6. Inspect spark plug for:

• Cracked porcelain.

• Pitted or damaged electrodes.

• Other wear or damage.

NOTE: In Canada, replace spark plug with resistor plug only.

7. Replace spark plugs as necessary.


8. Check plug gap (B) with a wire feeler gauge. To change gap, move the outer electrode. Gap must be 0.75 mm (0.030 in.).

9. Install and tighten spark plugs to 15 N•m (133 lb-in.).

10. Connect spark plug wires and lower hood.

Adjusting Carburetor

NOTE: Carburetor is calibrated by the engine manufacturer and is not adjustable.

If engine is operated at altitudes above 1006 m (3,300 ft), some carburetors may require a special high altitude main jet. See your authorized dealer.

If engine is hard to start or runs rough, check the TROUBLESHOOTING section of this manual.

Possible engine surging will occur at high throttle with transmission in “N” neutral and mower engagement lever disengaged. This is a normal condition due to the emission control system.

After performing the checks in the troubleshooting section and your engine is still not performing correctly, contact your authorized dealer.

Replacing Fuel Filter

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Fuel vapors are explosive and flammable:

• Do not smoke while handling fuel.

• Keep fuel away from flames or sparks.

• Shut off engine before servicing.

• Cool engine before servicing.

• Work in a well-ventilated area.

• Clean up spilled fuel immediately.

NOTE: Change filter when fuel is low.

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section).

2. Lift hood.

3. Let engine cool.

4. Put a drain pan under fuel filter.


5. Slide hose clamps (A) away from fuel filter (B) using pliers.

6. Disconnect hoses from filter.

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Incorrect installation of fuel filter may cause engine damage. Install the filter with the arrow pointing in the direction of fuel flow for proper operation.

7. Connect hoses to new filter making sure the filter arrow is pointing in the direction of the fuel flow.

8. Install clamps and check for leaks.

9. Lower hood.