John Deere 317 Garden Tractor Review & Specs

Let’s face it! Some of us have mangled our fingers more than we can admit, all in attempts to figure out a garden tractor that’s guaranteed to make our gardening experience heavenly. If that describes you, here is some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m glad to introduce you John Deere 317 garden tractor, the sole solution to your gardening worries.

Personally, my ‘relationship’ with John Deere garden tractors dates back in December 2000 following an ad in our local dailies. Despite their price being a little high, I had some wiggle room.

Upon landing my eyes on John Deere 317, it looked wonderful for an 80’s garden tractor-a trait that hasn’t changed to date. The engine was a little dusty but no sign of oil leakage. The paint was original while the amazing machine boosted of a brand new battery.

To cut the long story short, two decades down the line, my John Deere 317 garden tractor still runs strong and mows like new. I just do minor maintenance such as oil change. Honestly, I haven’t regretted ever coughing out the couple of Benjamin’s.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my findings on what I believe to be one of the best John Deere garden tractors ever manufactured, but first.

ohn Deere 317 review

John Deere 317 Specs

ModelJohn Deere 317
TypeGarden tractor
ManufacturerJohn Deere
Engine17HP Kolher 691cc 2-cyl gasoline
Fuel4.5 gal
17.0 L
Chassis4x2 2WD
Brakesdifferential mechanical shoe
CabOpen operator station
Typeshaft-driven hydrostatic
GearsInfinite forward and reverse
Oil capacity5 qts
4.7 L
Power Take-off (PTO):
Front PTOindependent
Dimensions & Tires:
Wheelbase46 inches
116 cm
Weight700 lbs
317 kg
Front tire16x6.50-8
Rear tire23x10.50-12
John Deere 317 attachments:
46" mid-mount mower deck
48" mid-mount mower deck
50" mid-mount mower deck

John Deere 317 Features

Here is quick rundown of its features and specifications.

Engine (KT17)

Initially, its original Kohler engine had to threatened spoil the reputation of John Deere 317, no one is perfect!

The improved KT17 series 11 (Kohler 2-cylinder gasoline) engine has 17 horsepower and is air cooled.

The rated Replacement per Minute (RPM) is 3600 with a stroke of 3.125×2.750 inches and a displacement of 42.18 CI. These explain its high power and capability to work on vast tough gardens.


The John Deere 317 garden tractor comes with a hydrostatic transmission which has infinite reverse and forward speed.

It’s a 2-wheel drive only.

Features and Specifications of John Deere 317 Garden Tractor


It has differential braking system on the front wheels. This ensures it has negligible angular rates between the tractor and the trailer especially when braking.

Power Take-Off (PTO)

The clutch is electric with and independent front PTO.


It’s manual in an open operator station.

Tires and Various Dimensions

Rear Tire – 23×10.50-12

Front Tire – 16×6.5-8

The chassis is 4×2 2WD

Wheelbase – 46 inches

Weight – 700 lbs/ 317 kg

Common John Deere 317 Attachments

Mountable mower deck measuring 46, 48 and 50 inches each


It has one 12 volts battery.

Serial Numbers

These are usually found below the steering column. The final one is usually 285000.

  • The air exhaust is located at the front of the tractor
  • Comes with a tiller and a blade that can be changed.

John Deere 317 Attachments

Along with a powerful blade, the main attachments of John Deere 317 include different-sized mid-mount mower decks of 46 inches, 48 inches, and 50 inches. These garden tractors have the capacity to till, plow, or work in other ground-engaging attachments.

Birth of John Deere 317 Garden Tractor

This amazing garden tractor originated from the ‘deluxe series’ of 300 class hydro-static tractors that were built between the years 1979-1984.

The great mind behind their great upgrade was John Deere. He decided to add new designs that involved relocating the steering components to the left side of its chassis. He also put a 3 cylinder tractor into a 300 series tractor. Could be this is the secret behind their high dependability, who knows!

Initially, the 317 garden tractors were plagued with engine issues. Improper lubrication to the crankshaft’s rods often caused complete engine failure.

Evidently, their Pressure Spray technology lubrication system at 5 psi didn’t produce the required lubrication for proper operation. The engine was later redesigned with full pressure lubrication. The improved engine was called KT17 Series 11. It used a much higher lubrication pressure of 30-50 PSI. Undoubtedly, this was a better and more durable engine.

That’s all about its history. However, the old 317 is still on sale in some private vendors. So, whenever shopping for a John Deere 317 garden tractor, be keen to identify the new KT17 efficient via its specification number at 24300 or above.

Birth of John Deere 317 Garden Tractor

Why Go For The John Deere 317 Garden Tractor?

From my personal experience, John Deere 317 is not only dependable but also rugged and heavy duty. Does that sound a good reason why you would wish to purchase one? Maybe, maybe not. Here are its other unrivaled traits.

  • Requires minimal maintenance.
  • There are loads of official and custom attachments available for them.
  • You have large garden in your home. If so, John Deere 317 garden tractor is the most perfect for you.
  • They’re the best tractors for residential setting. Evidently, they’re built with the consumer in mind.
  • It’s appropriate for all field cutting.
  • It’s equipped with many skid steer quick hitch. This allows for addition of varied skid steer attachments to its loader. Buckets, rakes, pallet forks among others are the most commonly used on John Deere skid steer loaders.

In a nutshell, John Deere 317 is an all-round unmatched garden tractor.

Why Go For The John Deere 317 Garden Tractor

How the John Deere 317 Garden Tractor Operates?

This amazing tractor is powered hydraulically by a driveshaft inside its Kohler engine. The movement of hydraulic pump drives the rear wheels.

It has a tiller that’s driven by two belts in the rear Power Take-off (PTO). A longer belt on the front Power Take-off drives the mower deck. All its attachments are raised and lowered hydraulically.

Pros of the John Deere 317 Tractor Garden

  • It’s very adaptable.
  • It has independent rear brakes.
  • It’s reliable. Its re-powered engine makes it live up to its green paint.
  • It burns a little oil. It kind of understands the tough economic times. However, that can be fixed.
  • It’s a John Deere. The fact that reputation is everything doesn’t lie when it comes to John Deere.
  • Nice power to blow the snow. Not all of them are enough for this
  • Old school construction but still good looking and tough. Its mower cuts through 18”-24” heavy grass easily. Quite a great investment, right?
How the John Deere 317 Garden Tractor Operates

Cons of the John Deere 317 Tractor Garden

  • Not 4×4.
  • Connecting the deck is quite hard.
  • No seat switches and foot controls.
  • New replacement parts are a bit expensive. However, it’s friendly compared to others in the market.
  • No power steering. After loading it, it can result to some undesired work out-go Deere go!

How Much Do John Deere 317 Garden Tractor Cost?

I wish I was able to disclose this with certainty. Undoubtedly, the price will depend on its age and the prevailing market conditions. Here are details on where you can buy one and what you ought to look for.

Thanks to today’s tech., I recommend you first do an online research via forums and reviews to know all you wish about John Deere 317. Do your offline research to understand what you’re getting into.

By exploring both avenues you’ll have an idea of your exact wants from the tractor, its potential issues especially if its second hand, and make your decision, thank me later.

How Much Do John Deere 317 Garden Tractor Cost

Operators’ or Technical Manual for John Deere 317

In case you buy a second hand 317 garden tractor and it unfortunately doesn’t come with an operator’s manual, simply buy one directly from John Deere.

You may need to visit their book store for any manual not available online.

Wrapping It Up…

Fellow gardeners, John Deere 317 is worth your money without question, I can bet on that. They say seeing is believing, I’m now a believer. Overall, John Deere 317 garden tractor is a fantastic tractor for use in the garden.

When it’s all said and done, I think it’s fair to let others know if you managed to get one recently, from where and at how much. Undoubtedly, the world will cherish your story about your garden tractor, I just shared my thoughts, and it’s your turn.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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