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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Dell Rapids SD
    Tractor
    1969 JD 2020 Gas

    Default 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    This tractor is giving me fits! When she first starts she sounds like a "one lunger" putt.....putt.....putt...putt...putt..putt.puttput tputt slowly increasing rpm's for about 10 seconds until up to full running speed. This is a list of things that have been done:
    1.new fuel solenoid (no fuel blockage she will run forever never miss a beat once she's going)
    2. new coil (stock from dealer)
    3. new plugs (champion)
    4. starter rebuilt ( she has plenty of spin )
    5. new battery
    6. last fall took to JD dealer to fix lack of power problem. they "set" the carb. and gave tractor "tune up" this problem was before that and continued after they worked on it.
    7. pointless ignition
    Coil is wired correctly, + to starter solenoid , - to distrb.

    This condition makes it impossible to start in the winter (South Dakota) unless the tank heater is plugged in and a knipco is running under a tarp. She will barely start when the temps are in the low 40's.

    Any ideas? Bad plug wires? Bad new coil?
    I will mention that the previous owner put a GM type alternator with the internal regulator on it so the original wires from the voltage regulator are cut near the alt. and just sitting there.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    277
    Location
    Sunbury, Ohio, U.S.A.
    Tractor
    2006 John Deere 2305

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    More info is needed. Have plug wires been tested, has timing been checked?. Has compression been tested?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Dell Rapids SD
    Tractor
    1969 JD 2020 Gas

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    Plug wires have not been tested
    I would assume the timing was checked during tune up at dealership last fall will have to check work order but, she runs fine once she starts and never backfires, misses, or doesn't lack power under load. She will run all day and never skip a beat. After running her until she's up to operating temp then shutting her off & restarting the starting problem becomes much less noticeable. I'm trying to get a list of things to check this weekend, I'm leaning at electrical but like I said a list of things to check and rule out to narrow down the possiblities where we are at right now. I think taking it to a dealer would result in them just going thru a list and ruling out things also so am trying to avoid that at this point.
    Compression has not been checked. Would poor compression cause such a goofy start up problem? Once started the tractor shows no signs of reduced power under load?
    What else do you want to know?
    Just trying to get a list of things to check this weekend. Trying to rule things out. This is my brother's tractor and he's ready to send it to the dealer but I told him they will just go thru a list and rule things out just like we will so I think I can hold him off if I can come up with a list of things to try with a ligitimate reason as to why we are trying the things on the list

  4. #4
    Silver Member bam747's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    200
    Location
    Palmer Divide in El Paso County, Colorado
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720 (2007)

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    I have a 1973 gas 1020 in Colorado.

    If I understand your posts, your 2020 only has a problem when you first try to start it up cold, but runs just fine after it has warmed up.

    It looks like you've already covered most of the electrical, ignition, and fuel system possibilities.

    One other thing I can think of...

    I know that my 1020 requires liberal use of the manual choke to get it started first thing in the cold. Are you using the choke? If so, are you sure it is working?

    Just something to check.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    901
    Location
    Maryland

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    I would start with a new set of autolite spark plugs. I have had nothing but problems with champions in these John deere engines for the past several years. The number to use is 64 or AP64. If the plug wires are not solid copper core, I would replace those also. Automotive style carbon core wires don't work well either. While you have the plugs out, I would go ahead and check compression so you can rule that out. Also be sure the gasoline is fresh. Stale gas is a big problem with cold starts also. I would also check timing with a light. It should be 26 degrees advaned at wide open throttle and TDC at idle.
    Another thing occurred to me. Are you sure the stock coil is compatible with the pointless ignition? I would check with the ignition manufacturer to see what coil they recommend. The stock coil has a built in resistor that could cause problems with an aftermarket ignition system.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Dell Rapids SD
    Tractor
    1969 JD 2020 Gas

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    I'll answer both posts. Yea we gotta use the choke to help her start when it's cold and once she starts we have to push it in a ways otherwise it'll choke out and die.

    We talked about getting a new set of wires so we'll try that.
    It amazes me that champion stays in the spark plug business cause I never hear anything good about them, especially if you own a Ford 8N like I used to. I'll have to checkon the coil issue, another guy I talked to also thought that the coil seems to be the cause of a weak spark at startup. Can a guy put a volt meter on the + side of the coil with a voltmeter and see what volts are there with the switch on & then while its cranking? I would assume you would want around 12 volts at crank time, if it doesn't read around 12 could a guy use a jump wire from the + battery post directly to the + coil post and see if that helps? ( unhook the wires currently hooked up to the + coil post to prevent some other problems ) If that helped that would mean a problem in the wiring between the starter solenoid, the switch and the coil, right?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    check the voltage at your new ignition.the orginal key switch had a resistor to drop the voltage to 6 volts .there was a wire that ran from the starter solenode to charge the 6 volt coil with 12 volts during cranking.you need a 12 volt coil with the new sytem.Has the fuel pump been changed ( the orginal had a glass bowl built into it)? if the pump has been changed in the last 5 or 6 year it has to high fuel pressure.this works ok if you are working the tractor hard but most people do not some the needle in the carb can't hold the pressure back and it over fuels and fowels the plugs.you can get a fuel regulato from napa . Be sure to give the old girl a hot supper every once and a while (work the engine under full load ) this will do a lot of good

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Dell Rapids SD
    Tractor
    1969 JD 2020 Gas

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    Just wanted to fill you guys in with what I found on the tractor this weekend. Compression was great!, I did find 2 plug wires that show very high resistance so I swapped them out with 2 wires from a car ( i know wrong kind, but just to try it) timing was good. Still started the same way. This is what we will try:
    1. new plug wires ( copper core)
    2. new plugs
    3. new fuel filter ( the one that the dealer put on is soo small I can't believe it, it's about as big around as my pinky finger and not quite as long) something bigger
    4. Move the ground off of the battery box tin down to the starter bolt.
    The coil had 12 volts going to it when the key switch was turned on the new switch is OEM part for that tractor I've got a parts book so give them the exact number.
    I did notice that the carb was set at a very high idle when the accelerator lever was all the way "up", the tach on the tractor read about 1200 rpm.s I know my idles, at about 600 rpm, could that be a reason she starts poorly? I hate messing with carbs but we have had it apart and cleaned everything, we have not messed with any settings, this is what it was set at from the dealer after we had lack of power problems last year.

  9. #9
    Silver Member bam747's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    200
    Location
    Palmer Divide in El Paso County, Colorado
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720 (2007)

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    I saw in one of your posts that you mentioned a lack of power problem. This is going to sound odd, but...

    Does your 2020 have a standard vertical muffler? If so, has it ever been replaced?

    A professional mechanic friend of mine suggested that I should replace the vertical muffler on my 1020 because over long periods of time the guts of the muffler rust and corrode and fall apart. Since the muffler is vertically oriented, all this sloughing material collects at the bottom of the muffler and can create huge amounts off back pressure.

    Since a new replacement muffler from JD was only about $55 (5 years ago or so), I thought it'd be cheap insurance regardless. And guess what? The mechanic was absolutely correct! The new muffler made a huge difference in the motor's performance.

    Note that in order to get the old muffler off, you'll need to have some way to get some serious heat onto the muffler where it joins the exhaust manifold so that the muffler flange/tube expands enough to get it off. This was the hardest part of the whole muffler exchange.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Dell Rapids SD
    Tractor
    1969 JD 2020 Gas

    Default Re: 1967 2020 gas tractor starting problems

    Never would have thought of that....BUT no such luck, got the horizontal type and it was replaced last year. Thanks for the reply though!

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