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Common JD 140 problems

Jim I just recently came across what I think is a '69 JD 140 in fairly good condition. I've been all over the internet searching for common problems with these tractors and haven't really found any. Does anyone here know of any recurring problems with these tractors and/or their engines? Anything in particular that I should closely inspect when I go look at it? I did read a post on here about a weak axle, seems like it had spun the teeth off the axle shafts, so I will be checking the serial number. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
bontai Joe The only common problem I asm aware of is that these tractors are close to 40 years old. The kohler "K" series motors in these is legendary in their strength and power. The hydrostat was also one of the best ever made. The early model 140s had 3/4" dia. front axle spindles, which was fine unless you wanted to use a front loader on them. These machines were originally designed by Deere to compete with the IH Cub LowBoy 4 cylinder tractors and the intended market was large estates, and small farms as a small utility tractor. You can go to and read up on all their history, and the MANY MANY attachments that were made for these both by Deere and several aftermarket companies. These tractors could be fitted with a front loader, rear back ho, post hole drill, wood chipper (I have one), moldboard plows, planters, and much more.

What to inspect? Check that it starts, doesn't smoke, runs smooth at or near full throttle ("K" series Kohlers don't like to idle and they shake. Since they are splash lubed it ain't good to idle them too much anyway), Make sure it goes forward and reverse, check the front wheels for any wobble (not too bad to fix, just bearings unless the axle spindles are badly worn, uncommon but does happen). Missing tin work, grill, seat, hood are all replaceable from Ebay. Check down low on the front frame to see if those "hooks" are straight so front attachments will still attach. Check the level of the hydro fluid, and it's color and smell. It can be either red or a light amber, should smell like fresh oil, not burnt, should not be brown or blue or any other color for that matter. Extra goodies to look for are the rear sleeve hitch that raises and lowers, or the optional 3 point hitch, the rear PTO, cast iron wheel weights, tire chains, attachments like a snowblower, tiller, etc. The "mule" drive is located at the very bottom of the front of the frame and has the pulleys for turning the mower beltunder the tractor. It's pulleys should turn freely by hand. The PTO clutch on the front of the tractor just behind the grill is electrically powered. It should activate when the switch is thrown on the dash as long as you are seated and thereby activating the seat safety switch. Extra bonus is if it has lights and they work. That's about all I can think of.

Jim Thanks Joe. I spent several hours yesterday surfing the web and did find weekendfreedommachines, spent an hour or two there looking at all the resto's. Wow there are some nice 140's there. As far as I know, only the mower deck comes with it. It has the three levers on the left of the hood with the two hookups on the front, so does that make it an H3? The owner, who I understand bought it new, used it to mow his yard and move boats around for his marine shop. He has a large steel tractor style bumper on the front that he told me he used to push metal boats around that apparently didn't have a trailer. So I'll definitely have to check those front hooks. I don't forsee me ever having a frontend loader, but since I have a welder and love to tinker, it's possible. I would love to have the front blade and tiller, but that will just have to come with time.

I've never owned a John Deere, but I'm pretty sure I will buy this one unless something is wrong with it. I'm building a house and the yard is much larger than what I've ever had, probably in the 3 acre range. Granted for what this 140 will cost me I could probably buy a fairly new MTD built mower, but dang those things are built cheaply! I just recently sold a White that I bought new in '97 as I knew it couldn't handle that yard, and currently I'm using an early 80's model Snapper LT-16 that does an okay job, but it's not hardly stout enough for my liking. I'm really excited at the thought of owning this 140 after seeing the large following it has.

Thank you for your help, I greatly appreciate it.

bontai Joe The 3 hydraulic levers make it an H3. It has 3 separate hydraulic circuits. Should have 2 pairs of hydraulic ports up front. A front blade in decent condition with both the lift cylinder and the angle cylinder can be had off Ebay for around $350 to $400 used with some patience. I bought my front blade new from the dealer in 1980 for about $450, so they were never cheap, but extremely well made.
Jim So I guess the two hookups are for the two cylinders on the blade? Can one of those be routed to the back to power a cylinder? How would you power a tiller or something like a seeder?
bontai Joe the rear sleeve hitch was operated from the same rockshaft that raises and lowers the mower deck via. a rod that connected to the rockshaft underneath the tractor out the back to the hitch.The rear tiller was powered by the optional rear PTO, which was like the front PTO but driven off the rear of the hydrostat thru another electric clutch. These are still available used on Ebay for around $350-400. Add another $400 for a decent tiller. Broadcast seeders are usually ground driven and simply attached to the hitch.
Jim Wow, I can see having more invested in the implements than what I'll pay for the tractor! I'm going to look at it tomorrow. If I do bring it home, I'm sure I'll be back with lots of questions. Thanks for all your help!
Jim Well, I looked at it this morning. This is what I found.....the engine starts very quickly and runs very well, no smoke and strong; the hydro seems to work very well with fairly precise control, however sometimes it did want to creep forward just a tad when in the neutral position; the bodywork is in average condition considering age; the battery isn't recharging; the steering wheel has a lot of play in it; the mower deck works well, including the lift, however the blades are absolutely shot; not much play in the front spindles; the hydro fluid looked and smelled fresh; the clutch doesn't work, it won't disengage; the brakes don't work and the pedals are somehow rusted together as they won't move independantly, one of the arms on the disk brakes is broken off; the fender deck left front mounted is broken; the frame has been welded under the left side floor board; and do you know if the front hydro's are working? I moved the levers, thinking there would be a drop in engine speed as the hydro pump tried to move the fluid, but nothing happened.

The serial number appeared to be a 12xxx. Is this a very early '69? The guy is asking $1,000 for it. Based on what I saw today, it is way overpriced. I was thinking around $600. No way in heck he'll come off that much now. I may just wait and see if he sells it or not. What do you think?

bontai joe $1000 seems high to me as well. Creep in the hydro is an adjustment, Engine speed won't change when using the hydro levers unless there is a l;arge load on them. The steering, the brakes and the pan mounts are all relatively easy to fix with an investment in parts. But the PTO clutch not disengaging bothers me, the frame being welded bothers me, and it not recharging really bothers me. Thes last problems may be easily fixed, but electrical stuff can also run into serious money. I agree that from your description, that this sounds like a $500-600 tractor.
Bob Handick Biggest problem I have is finding parts I need, like hood, grille, air cleaner, not just filter.
andrew pepper I have a nice jd 140 lawn mower, but lately it misses and loses power and finally stops after an hour of mowing? Why?
Pastor Lynn
Re: Common JD 140 problems

To the gentlemen who is looking for a JD 140 I have one completely restored. Mower, tiller, blower and many, many new is a NICE TRACTOR with a fresh Kohler...

Don When I engage the electric clutch it runs for a short time stops for a short time and starts again. Them circuit breaker opens and after a short time resets. I think this is what is causing the PTO clutch to cycle. The amp meter also pegs to the minus and stays there.

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