Maintenance and repair can get involved


Keeping things as simple as possible rarely works when maintaining or repairing the latest outdoor equipment. Over the Fourth of July weekend we finally got around to what should have been a routine oil change on our John Deere tractor, a 3320 diesel, purchased brand-new two years ago. No problem, we figured. Yet a job that should have taken less than an hour stretched out over a couple of days!
None of our socket wrenches quite fit the drain plug, whose size seemed to lie between 5/8 and 11/16 of an inch. In an “aha” moment, we quickly figured out what we should have known from the beginning. The parts of the tractor and its implements that came from abroad were metric; the fill plug to oil the mower deck, apparently still a “made in the USA” product, took a 7/8 socket wrench, however. A trip to a hardware supplier added a bunch of big metric wrenches, including the 17 millimeter size required for the tractor’s oil plug. Out came the oil. Next, attack the filter!
The filter is ordinarily easy to change on old John Deeres, like the 2010 (1962 model) we owned until recently. A through bolt is removed, after which the housing and filter can be lifted off the flange. Not on the new 3320! Now the entire filter must be unscrewed from the side of the machine, which seems easy enough if you’re into weights and can crush tin cans with your bare hands. Back to the store, where we got a lesson in the use of “strap wrenches.” With a newly purchased tool and strength borne of desperation, we finally got enough torque on the filter to back it out and replace it with a new one. Now add fresh oil and we’re done