John Deere 314 Motor Problem

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by wilsonbh, May 11, 2007.

  1. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    Recently, during a grass mowing chore, my 314 John Deere mower's motor (14 HP Kohler) would function like it was under an extreme load but then come out of it and function normally. After a couple of lawn mowings, the problem kept recurring more frequently. I checked the oil and to my horror, I did not see any oil on the dipstick. Previously, there was oil there. No evidence of it being burned up or leaked out as the mower is kept in a garage and I would have noticed oil on the floor. I can only assume it burned up it's oil during operation.

    Now, the mower experiences this labored running soon after it heats up. It will generate a puff of white smoke then return to normal operations. After a few seconds, the labored running happens again, puff of white smoke (thinly white smoke) and it runs again ok. But these intervals are so frequent now that I can't use the mower anymore.

    My question is, "Is it worn out? and needing a rebuild?" Should I get rid of it and buy a new one? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm an average mechanic but with cars more than mowers. I'd try a rebuild if it's worthwhile and do-able. The local mower shop said the parts are hard to find for a mower this old. It's at least 15 years old, maybe a little older.


  2. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    Parts are not hard to find. Keep that mower as it's a real tractor. To replace that mower would cost thousands. Everything on it can be repaired. The engine's cylinder can be bored out. The crank ground down. Tons of after market and OEM parts where ever you look.
    Do you have a leak down tester or a compression gauge? Let's see if you need a rebuild or it's something simple. I would hate to have you check or replace some parts if you have a deeper issue of a worn out engine. But don't worry because for 100 to 300 dollars you can get the engine in shape if you do the work yourself. Post back you findings with the tests.
  3. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    This is encouraging to hear. I've always heard that this engine is easy to repair, I guess I'll be testing this fact. Problem is, I don't know where to start. Is there any written guidance I can reference on this?

    I agree that this is a well made machine. All the metal and accompanying hardware is of high quality. I hate to lose it. Even the mower deck is heavy grade steel.

  4. Bill Kapaun

    Bill Kapaun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 964

  5. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    I think I'm in over my head on this. I'd like to get the mower up and running again but I have no experience with lawn mower engines. Still, I hate to lose this mower. It's been great for many many years.

    The mower runs but as it begins to heat up, it will cycle in and out of engine strain or laborous effort (best I can describe it). It's like the engine comes under a load for a couple of seconds then it will generate a puff of white smoke and smooth out. These incidents happen more and more frequently as the engine heats up.

    Do you think it may not need a rebuild but something else? I admit I have not been good about changing the oil and this model has no oil filter. If the oil ran low, what would have been damaged? Maybe just those parts need replacement? I wish I had more experience in this.


  6. stu1

    stu1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi......I had a 314 with the same turned out to be a balancer in the engine. It was going to cost 850.00 so I traded it in on a used JD 425. Stu
  7. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    Are you confident in pulling the head off and cleaning the carbon out? Do you think you can perform a compression test? DO you think you can dismantle the carb and clean it? Do you feel you could replace the contact set (points)? These are just a few little things you could do for $50.00 or less. (includes a compression tester). If not you need to take it to a mechanic that knows what he's doing. The mechanic that told you that you can't get parts for you engine doesn't know anything.
  8. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    OK, not much to lose. I'll try these things. I think I can do them. It will take me a few days to get the time to do it. I'll post here what my results are.

  9. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    What could be wrong with the balancer? My ignorance is showing....

  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029


    Does this engine knock or rattle ?

    It sounds to me you could get by with some general maintenance.
    When was the points and condenser replaced and gapped properly ?

    Puffing white smoke every so often really doesn't mean the rings are bad, Blue smoke puffing/all the time would prove that.

    I would suggest replacing the points and condenser, If the problem persist then move to the carb, Tear it down cleaning with carb & choke spray cleaner and while the carb is off check the valve adjustment.
    Also go ahead and remove the head and de-carbon the piston/valves.

    All of the above maintenance is out-lined step by step in the service manual link Bill posted. Print out the pages for the work to be performed so you can have them sitting close by and give it a shot. At this point looks like you have nothing to loose by trying.

    If you happened to run into a snag just post away.

    BTW, FYI .....I have never seen balance gears cause a bad run situation, ONLY vibration/Rattling when the bearings go out.

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