The John Deere 317 tractor represents the "deluxe" series of 300 class hydrostatic tractors manufactured from 1979 to 1983-84. John Deere decided to add several new design additions, including moving much of the steering equipment to the left side of the chassis. for the first time, Deere put a 3 cylinder tractor into a 300 series tractor. The horizontally opposed 17 horsepower Kohler engine seemed like a great idea, but the 317 was plagued with engine problems. Improper lubrication to the connecting rod journals on the crankshaft often resulted in complete engine failure. The lubrication system used Pressure Spray technology which at 5psi did not provide the lubrication needed for proper operation.
Kohler was not quick to respond to this issue, but eventually redesigned the engine with full pressure lubrication and did away with the old Onan P218G. This new and improved engine known as the KT17 Series II used a much higher oil pressure of 25 to 50 PSI. In addition Kohler cross drilled the crankshaft, allowing pressurized lubrication to reach the crankshaft journals. These improvements resulted in a better quality engine with a longer life. When purchasing a John Deere 317 tractor, you can identify the new KT17 engine by finding the specification number at 24300 or higher. Late in its final year of production, the new Kohler KT17 came standard on the 317, bu this improvement may have come too late, as the reputation of the 317 had already been well in place.You can still find 317's for sale today among private sellers. Be sure to find one with the new Kohler Engine.
The improved KT17 is a Kohler 2-cylinder gasoline engine. It features 17 horsepower and is air cooled. The rated RPM is 3600. The bore / stroke is 3.125 x 2.750 inches and the displacement is 42.18 ci.
The John Deere 317 has a hydrostatic transmission with infinite forward/reverse speed.The 317 is 2-wheel drive only.