John Deere 31 Rotary Tiller Information


A John Deere 31 rotary tiller is a machine designed to break up and cut soil, primarily in preparation for planting. The Deere 31 rotary tiller is no longer manufactured by John Deere, but owners and potential buyers of a used tiller should understand the basic information about the machine.


  • The John Deere 31 rotary tiller is designed to undermount on a John Deere tractor, models 110, 112, 200, 208, 210, 212, 214 and 216. In addition, the tractor needs to have the rear lift linkage that connects to attachments such as snowplows and the rotary tiller and a tiller mule drive belt. Contact your local John Deere dealership or another qualified agricultural equipment center for assistance.

Drive Chain

  • When the John Deere rotary tiller is used frequently, the drive chain may eventually develop excess slack due to wear. Check the side drive chain on a regular basis and tension the drive chain to help ensure proper tiller performance, but remember that this process should only be done by adults familiar with operating a tractor with the John Deere rotary tiller.

Adjusting the Drive Chain

  • Set the tiller on a hard surface and place the tiller on the support stand, keeping the tines away from the ground. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the jam nut, located on the right side of the tiller, and then turn the adjustment bolt by hand until the bolt is tight. The adjustment bolt is located to the rear of the jam nut. Tighten the PTO input shaft, located on the gear case, until the shaft does not turn. Then move the rotor tine shaft back and forth, keeping track of how far the tine moves in terms of inches. You may want to use a measuring tape for this process to ensure proper measurement. Once you have noted the slack distance, loosen the adjustment bolt the same number of inches that the tine moved, adding ¼-inch turn more in a counterclockwise motion. Release the PTO input shaft and turn the rotor shaft 180 degrees. Try to turn the rotor tine shaft again and tighten one more time slightly as needed. Once the rotor tine shaft does not move, hold the adjustment bolt in place with one hand and use the adjustable wrench to tighten the jam nut to 35 pounds per feet.


  • Along with the drive chain, other components on the John Deere rotary tiller may need to be inspected or replaced over time due to wear. This includes the bearings, gears, shafts, bearing caps and end caps. Always turn off the tractor and rotary tiller first before performing any inspection and allow the entire unit to cool. If any of the tiller parts seem to be worn, broken, cracked or chipped, contact John Deere or another qualified service center for replacement or repair.

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