John Deere 318 Tractor Review & Specs

A couple of years ago, at a friend’s party, we were having a tractor talk when some of my friends mentioned John Deere 318 as the best tractor they have ever used by a mile. I was taken aback at first; there must be something here to bring about this consensus among many gardeners. So I set up to investigate. 

In the last couple of years, I’ve borrowed JD 318 and tried it a couple of times. I’ve read countless JD 318 reviews and had longtime users answer my questions. And as you know, I cannot hoard information from you guys, especially one as important as this. 

Please do not believe me when I say John Deere 318 is the best tractor of its time; let me show you why even the fiercest of critics find it difficult to discredit this statement.

John Deere produced JD 318 for ten years between 1983 and 1992. John Deere 318 is a garden tractor manufactured in Horicon, Wisconsin, USA. It preceded JD 317 in the John Deere 300 series. It implemented so many upgrades that have made it so popular even to date. Why has this tractor continued to stay relevant for so many years? Let’s see why below.

jd 318 tractor

General Specifications

ModelJohn Deere 318
Engine18HP Onan 781cc 2-cyl gasoline
TransmissionHydrostatic
ClutchElectric
Fuel Capacity17.0 liters (4.5 US gal.; 3.7 Imp. gal)
Power Take-off (PTO)
Rear PTOindependent
Rear RPM2000
Front PTOindependent
Front RPM3600
Wheelbase1,170 mm (46.1 in)
Cabin TypeOpen operator station
John Deere 318 attachments38" mid-mount mower deck
46" mid-mount mower deck
50" mid-mount mower deck
snowblower
blade
front-end loader

John Deere 318 is a lawn and garden tractor that comes in an average tractor size. Its length is 68 inches with a height of 44.5 inches and a width of 43.3 inches, a tad bit smaller than some of the JD 400 series tractors like John Deere 420. Its 17 L fuel capacity gives you a long running time.

Features of John Deere 318

Engine 

John Deere 318 used two engines during its production year. It started with one then was replaced after a couple of years.

At inception, there was the Onan B43G engine model. This model sports an 18HP gasoline engine with an engine torque of 4.4 kg m. The fast idle engine speed without load is 3450 rpm, while the low idle engine speed without load is 1350 rpm.

john deere 318 review

Its two-cylinder engine has four strokes and is air-cooled, meaning you do not have to put the engine off to rest for a few minutes now and then. It has an electric starter that will keep you away from the struggles involved in starting a lawnmower with a bad starter. This was the engine model used in JD 318 from 1983 to 1987.

In 1987, John Deere saw the need for an engine upgrade, and they found one in Onan P218, another two-cylinder gasoline engine with 18 HP. This engine has a higher displacement and rpm rating at 781 ccs and 3600, respectively. They both have a starter volt of 12. 

Transmission 

It has a shaft-driven hydrostatic transmission type and Sundstrand series 15 model 90 transmission model. Its hydrostatic power steering type gives you ultimate control and comfort when using this tractor.

It has shoe and drum brakes located on the rear wheels like most John Deere tractors. It also sports infinite forward and reverses gears with a forward speed of 12.4 km h and reverse speed of 6.2 km h.

Tires 

Tires are essential in tractors because you want to leave a clean job after working in your field. Also, the weight of the tractor needs to be adequately supported. What kind of tires does John Deere 318 have?

The lawn/turf rating for the front tires is 16×6.50-8, while that of the rear tires is 23×10.50-12; 23×8.50-12.

john deere 318 specification

PTO (Power Take-off Shaft)

All the attachments in a tractor would be useless without the right power take-off shaft. It enables a smooth transmission of power to the attachments. What kind of PTO does JD 318 have? 

The front and rear PTOs are both independent with electric clutches. The electric clutch ensures your safety when using the tractor. The front PTO speed without any load is 3450 rpm, while the rear PTO speed without any load is 2000 rpm. 

Attachments

john deere 318 features 

John Deere 318 has a lot of attachments. It can even use JD 140 and JD 300 series attachments, which means if you’re looking to upgrade from the 140, you can still make use of your old extensions.

This tractor’s attachments include snow blowers, front end loaders, blades, 38′ 46′ and 50′ mower deck for any grass size you’re cutting. 

Pros of John Deere 318

It is not regarded as one of the best John Deere tractors ever for nothing. Its features and modification stand out among its peers. 

  • It is durable: this tractor fits in the most unusual of terrains without issues. It doesn’t matter the number of times you use it in a week; it’ll surely give you years of service beyond its price. 
  • It is rugged: talking about unusual terrains; whether you live in a hilly landscape or a landscape with uneven terrains, this tractor will work comfortably in those situations. 
  • Hydrostatic power steering: all the best features without a comfortable tractor will give you so much back pain and stress that you will no longer want to work in your garden anymore. The hydrostatic power steering feature allows for the smooth handling of this enormous machine.
  • Annunciator light: the annunciator light is located on the dashboard and aids your work in the night. The light helps you work at night, whether you’re using the snowblower to clear the heap of snow in your driveway or using the loaders to move heavy equipment.
  • Electromagnetic clutch: the electromagnetic clutches at the front and rear part of the PTO ensures your safety when using the machine.

Cons of John Deere 318

This tractor’s cons are less about its features and more about factors concerning its age and longevity.

  • Parts are difficult to find: this tractor’s age makes it challenging to find its parts and attachments.
  • The tractor is difficult to find: if you’re looking to buy this tractor, it may take you a while to find it because of its age and because owners are less likely to part with this beast of a tractor.

How Much Do They Cost?

john deere 318 tractor review

The original price as of 1989 was $5650, but today, you can get a decently used 318 from $10,000 and above. Don’t be put off by the price; its quality makes it a bargain at that price.

It will last you for a long while handling your garden needs in the most difficult of terrains.

Buying Tips

A tractor is something you want to use for decades so getting a good one is paramount. Here are buying tips to help you get the best deal and help you get a good tractor.

  • Check for general wear and tear
  • Inspect for leaks under the tractor
  • Check for broken tail lights
  • Inspect for dents to the hood or on the mower deck
  • Listen for unusual noises
  • Does it start quickly?
  • Check for rust around and under the tractor.

All these will give you a hint on how the owner handled the machine and its present condition. You can then make an informed decision from there.

When Was My John Deere 318 Made?

If you’re confused about the year the particular 318 tractors you want to buy was made, here’s an easy guide to follow. 

The serial number located under the steering column will tell you precisely what you need to know. Generally, all JD 318 start with serial numbers “M00318X,” then a group of six digits follows it. The six numbers indicate the year. 

Here’s a chart for quick reference

If The Year Is,Serial Number Begins With…
1983222001
1984285001
1985315001
1986360001
1987420001
1988475001
1989595001
1990010001
1991100001
1992110001
Final production120000

Parting Shot

John Deere 318 is the mother of them all, old but reliable. You can never go wrong with this machine. It may be more expensive than the others around its production years, but that stems from its undoubted quality.

Do you have a JD 318? I would love to know how it has served you. Tell me in the comment.

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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