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fordeverpower said:
i just got a 1984 case 444 with the 321 kohler 14hp and it acts like 8hp imo. It barely mows grass at half speed of low range and people run tillers and snowblowers?
A properly running 444 has plenty of power to do all the tasks you have mentioned. Is the engine bogging down when you try to mow or are there other symptoms? If the engine is bogging down you should do a leakdown test to determine if you have good compression.
 

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If the Kohler K-321 engine was not up to the job, then Wheelhorse, Cub Cadet, Jacobsen, Case, John Deere and a whole lot of other manufacturers would have chosen a different motor for the millions of tractors they put out.


Please keep in mind that your 1984 tractor is now 27 years old You just bought it from someone who did not want it anymore. He sold you his "problems". You have no idea how many hours of use are on that engine so you should not judge it based on the condition it is in at this point in its life. As Bart already suggested, a leakdown test is in order. It will tell you if the engine is losing compression past the rings, past the valves or both. Even if you have to tear the engine down and totally rebuild it...that's not a big deal in the overall scheme of things. A new Ingersoll tractor that would replace the 444 will cost you over five grand just for the tractor.

If you are looking for a long-term tractor, then spend the money on the rebuild. Once you do that, you will have an engine that is good for 2000 hours minimum. At 100 hours per year cutting grass and blowing snow....that's 20 years of payback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
traveling doesn't seem terrible but when the pto for deck, is engaged with much speed at all the blades stall, I noticed the belt has a twist as it goes from the motor down to the deck? Is this normal on these? It does a decent job mowing at crawler speed and i might get some new blades also.

Do the hydraulic use or take extra horsepower to run?
 

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If the engine does not lose RPM but the blades stall, then you don't have an engine problem.

The PTO should be engaged at about 1/3 throttle and then the engine speed should be increased to full throttle. If the blades stall, then you either have a belt problem or a PTO clutch problem.

Yes, the belt is supposed to have a twist in it between the PTO pulley and the mule pulley that makes the belt turn 90 degrees to the pulley on the deck. It will have a 2nd twist in it after it leaves that mule pulley and two more twists on the return trip to the PTO pulley. This is why it is essential to use the correct type of belt and why we endorse the belts sold by Ingersoll dealers.

More likely than not, your PTO clutch is slipping badly. You must learn all about this clutch before you wreck it and have to pay more than $500.00 for a new one. On this site, we have an extensive Technical Libary.. Go to the Service Manuals section and find the PTO Clutch manuals. You probably have the newer EZ Adjust clutch and not the earlier SHIM CLUTCH. Read those manuals to determine which clutch you have and how to make an adjustment. If you are having a hard time making the adjustment, then perhaps the clutch disc is worn out or someone else has had the clutch apart and not put it back together properly. Only you can figure that stuff out by making use of the clutch manuals.


A properly adjusted clutch takes a fair bit of arm-push to engage it. If you can push the lever forward easily, then the clutch is in bad need of an adjustment in the very least.


If your Kohler engine is not blowing blue smoke out the exhaust, then it is likely OK. Focus on the clutch and drive belt situation first.
 

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fordeverpower said:
hydriv, i looked at the clutch and it is junk, the air gap is excessive and there is an old belt wedged between motor and clutch assembly.
You shouldn't jump to conclusions, I don't see anything about that clutch that suggests is it junk and if you treat it as junk you'll be shelling out a couple hundred dollars or more to make it right. Those mechanical clutches are very reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Most likely it needs nothing more than adjustment. The adjustment can seem complicated the first time you do it but it really is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Download the clutch adjustment manual from the tech section and read it carefully and follow the directions carefully. If you don't understand something ask. Most importantly don't put a big pair of channel locks on that big hex nut or you'll be buying a new one.
 

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I agree with Bart's assessment ... no obvious big problem with that clutch. Might want adjustment and sure the old belt shards could come out. Give her some attention and it will likely not take much to get in peak condition.

If the issue is only with the mower deck ... not the engine losing RPM ... then stay on track with the clutch and belt tension. That Kohler will cut 12" of grass and be happy doing it. And yes a good running 444 will handle a 48" snowblower quite nicely ... which really demands a lot of torque.

The symptom does, however, sound a bit like another condition if the engine is losing RPM. Improper point gap alone can make the Kohler K very weak.

Also, ensure the engine top speed is set to run at 3600 or a little below. I encounter tractors that are trying to run 4000+ ... which the Kohler seems happy doing (but a bit noisy). Problem is, the HP to run the hydraulic system goes up fast as the speed increases. At these RPM, you might be able to run the travel or the mower deck, but do them together and the engine seems weak because it can't keep up with the hydraulic demand at that engine speed.

Good luck with the next steps on diagnosis ... most new owner's learn to love these machines quickly ... to the point they begin to breed on the property.


Brian
 

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You have an EZ Adjust clutch that appears to be in very good condition. Some previous owner was apparently not very good at maintenance. Just remove what's left of the old drive belt and make an adjustment to the clutch to close up the air gap. The disc looks fairly new. If you get the adjustment done correctly, then the clutch slippage will be a thing of the past and the blades won't stop turning, as they do currently.

I want you to keep in mind that you likely own a machine that has not been properly maintained. It is going to have certain issues due to the neglect but if you stick with it...learn more about it.......work with the members here ......read the FAQ's ........make use of the TECH Library.....you will become another believer in these tractors just like the rest us. Don't blame the machine........blame the fools that failed to keep it in proper working order.
 

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Keep reading the clutch manual and tweak away. That's how you learn. You should be using a torque wrench to tighten the fan nut and you cannot allow the engine to rotate while you are doing this or you won't get the proper setting. If you get a small bit of clutch drag when the PTO lever is in the OFF position, that may correct itself. The most important thing is that the clutch does not slip because the heat ruins clutch parts. The good thing is that all those parts are available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
can't seem to stop messing with it, i adjusted it again and the pto was running when not engaged but i knew it wasnt slipping and took it to mow and still couldn't do 2 inches so i turned it off, engaged pto, and checked the belt and it has too much slack and when the deck is lowered. So i will get a new belt and try again.
 

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We have a BELT GUIDE in the Service Manual section. Be 100 percent sure that the belt you buy is Kevlar reinforced or it won't last long. Go to the Operator Manuals and find Rotary Mowers to learn how to set up your deck.
 

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It looked to me like the belt in your photo is not the OEM belt so I suggest you contact Brian and get a good, correct belt. While you're at it check to make sure the tension spring on the mule drive is not stretched out or otherwise damaged. With the right belt properly tensioned you should be good to go.
 

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In the last picture it kinda looks like the gap between cams is not consistent and allso looks to have set screws in the front cam. The gap issue (if there really is one) could be from bent fork arms or if set screws were needed for wore out cam bearing bore and the bearing is in correctly.

The gap between the cam faces wont be perfect all the way around and will tend to be larger at the top when in disengaged position (as your picture appears to be) but when the bearings, cams, and shaft are good shouldnt be very much.

Will say that your engining lugging issue most likely is caused by something in the engine side of things as a slipping clutch shouldnt lug the engine down (until it gets so hot is seizes!). Could be lots of things that keep your power down. Check the obvious stuff and also make sure your governor is working correctly (it the throttle to maintaing the 3600 rpm -or whatever setting you have it at- when load is applied to the engine). No governor = no power.
 

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Are you sure the clutch is slipping and not the belt under the deck cover? I noticed a similar problem with a deck I bought and the PO installed a belt that was slightly too long. I installed a correct belt and the deck works perfectly. Also, while under the cover check for proper idler spring tension as some PO owners replace that spring with anything laying around.

*edit* I just reread the thread and noticed that you found that the clutch to deck belt is indeed slipping so your obviously on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i did adjust the drive belt tension and the spring seems to be ideal, but 3 times after tightning it up the belt came off, I bought a belt 3 weeks back and got a 1/2 by about 41 long, i said it looks small. I was wondering if theres a belt under the deck that runs off that main cast iron pulley and that it may my shot. The adjust handle on the bigger 5/8? belt seems to work but i wonder if the other is causing it to ome off.
 
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