John Deere 316 replacement engine

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John Deere 316 replacement engine

Jay Hello,

I own an old but quite beloved John Deere 316 with the Kohler cast iron engine. It burns oil at a prodigious rate – it might be the biggest polluter in my state. The technicians at the local Deere dealership tell me it needs a ring job, probably requiring reboring the cylinder, oversize rings, and other scary sounding things.

They don’t sound overly confident that this will certainly solve the problem and they say they won’t even know if it’ll work until they get the engine out and apart to see if the cylinder walls are too badly scored to allow a repair. Plus, it’ll take “six to eight weeks” and cost a bundle. But, I own a lot of accessories so the repair might be worth it.

Here are my questions:
1. Does the diagnosis I have been given sound right?
2. Does their proposed solution sound right?
3. Does anyone sell replacement engines for my tractor?
4. If so, any idea how much they cost and do they require a lot of modification or are they a drop-in?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Stevan Vigneaux

bontai Joe I own the same model Deere, built only in 1978. The old Kohlers are usually easy to rebuild, especially if nothing is broken or cracked. If you are the original owner and it has never been rebuilt before, they can remove up to .030" of metal from the bore. Usually .010" is all that is required.

1. Yes the diagnosis sounds right.
2. Solution would include boreing out the cylinder, new connecting rod, new oversize piston, new rings, new bearings, and adjusting the valves at a minimum if not regrinding the valve seats, plus a complete tuneup (plug, condenser, points).
3. Several companies sell replacement engines. Small Engine Warhouse, Tulsa Engine Warehouse, to name two.
4. The Koler replacement will essentially drop in, I suspect the Briggs & Stratten will require some kind of modifications. Carefully read the specs on their websites.

I haven't had to touch mine yet (thank GOODNESS!) but I would rebuild it. Parts are available and not outragiously expensive. But your dealer sounds like he won't guarantee his work on this, will he? If not, I'd shop around for a reputable small engine shop. I know of a couple depending on where you are.

Several replacement engines are available from Small Engine Warehouse, see:
for a cost between $1350 and $1395 PLUS shipping, PLUS installation unless you do it yourself. And you can do it yourself if you have basic mechanical skills and common tools and document the disassembly proccess to remember where the wires go. I recenly repowered a newer 316 with the Onan twin cylinder motor which is not nearly as easy or cheap to rebuild, spent around $1500 for the engine and adapters and did my own installation.

Tim Boisvert I would also shop around for price on the rebuild. John Deere is very quite pricy when you talk labor. There are many small engine repair shops that know Kohler. The biggest thing is a written guarentee. Most new engines come with a 1 to 2 year guarentee; rebuilt may only be 6 to 12 months.

For what john Deere wants for the rebuild, I'd buy new, even if it's $300 to $400 more. You may even be able to get a higher HP motor with a new motor plus you'll be getting a new starter, carb, etc. Some even come with a new electric PTO.


douglas gresens I've looked into new Onan engines for my JD 316 and they are pricey at around $1,500. If you chose to go that route, I need a starter/flywheel for my JD316. I would be interested in either parts or the whole engine from yours. It could help offset your cost.
please email me at

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