john deere hydrostatic transmission problems

I own three Simplicity tractors, the oldest being 1967, the newest 2007. Much appreciated! Tightened the lugs and unhooked the hoist. I just bought this mower on Craigslist, cost me $900 for a LA120. I paid over $4,000.00 for this piece of junk. No power,..I went to the JD dealer and he said it wasn’t worth fixing. i have 212 built in 1977 my neighbor has an x300 less than 140 hours built in 2007 bad k46 wants to trade me no waaaay law suit the lawers make all the money set a day everybody that has a bad k46 or what ever like june 1 2011 everbody take them to there nerest dealer and stay for two or three days. Once the front section was completed we lowered it to the floor and raised the rear section. But, that sounds like they are saying their lawn tractor is back to what is was when they first got it. I contacted Roger some time ago regarding the upgrade kit and unfortunately, he did not have any kits available. And I can now check my trans fluid and add oil as required. Any input? Your comments regarding this will determine what direction we take. The L120 moves very slow or not at all in reverse, about 15 to 20 minutes into the cut. That being said, I can count on a mower having the trans replaced every 100 hours! This probably means we will have two different upgrade kits available. Since the mower is driven directly from the engine, there will be no change in this regard. Jerry. Robert P. Esposito 236 Cutts Road, Newport, NH 03773 or call 603-863-6666, my L 130 is still mowing and climbing hill fine after filter and fliud change. Like I have an extra grand to just toss at my mower!!! In 2008 I had my second one done, this time it cost me $350, and JD said this is it, buy a bigger tractor. Have a 145,bought in June 2006. The performance is absolutely amazing. I’ve got an LA130 that is about 5 years old that only has 124 hours on it and it appears the transaxle is shot. motor seems to be fine starts without issue. These surplus transaxles were all gone a few months ago. Honestly … If you have one of these models and use it for ANYTHING more than mowing a small residential lawn on level ground, you either need one NOW or will need one later. I wish I had known of this forum two days ago. Was told it couldn’t be done. I will never buy John Deere again it is nothing but JUNK for a lot of money. 2) Reach in and remove the two oil caps from the transaxle – wipe dirt away first. Tuff Torq claims these shoul last a long time under normal use. that don’t have any problems with the transmission, it’s kind of like a mtd, ( the sst16) ,please put me on the list. i thought about putting the upgrade kit in my l118 until i found out it was 1600 dollars im going to put a new stock unit in for around 600 sell it and back slowly away from the green junk pile . I got lucky finding this kit and excited that everything worked out as promised and service was as good as promised making my John Deere transmission upgrade easy. The tires started going flat in 2008 and I wasn’t driving 50 miles to the dealer so I put fix a flat in them much cheaper then gas or my time. Now I can’t return it and it’s sitting I’m my garage useless. It definitely improved the performance but did not fix the problem fully. What difference did it make? I just started having these problems but notice that the original post is very old. I would appreciate any help I can get. The prototype is up and running now. Now 3 yrs. Ha ha. look like that supposedly drive the tractor. So I don’t know where my upgrade stands at this point. ), 2 blade belts, 2 drive belts (didn’t really need to replace the second one, but since I had the transaxle out anyway, I just needed to have a little more fun), 3 blade engagement switches, 1 battery–and new blade set every year. My JD L-120 does the same thing, it quicks pulling when it gets hot. It takes me about 3 and a half hours to cut the lawn. I use mine on flat ground and it won’t even move! Add me to the suit. IF ONLY. It runs well now and has otherwise been a good mower that has had a lot of use on our 1 acre of slightly hilly grass. The transmission has been declining steadily since last summer but is now at the point where I have to get creative to mow even the flatter points of the yard in a way so I mow on the down hill taking even more time and to add insult to injury most of the yellow paint on the deck is gone. I also wanted to know what the procedure is to purge any air in the K66 as I would imagine that would cause it to not perform. If this is true, doesn’t it seem strange that the tractor all of a sudden it won’t go? J/D snuck one by me. I operate heavy equipment for a living (32 years) and I can feel the torque and power it has. I’ll let you know how I made out after I put everything together again. If I could unload this puppy right now, I would. 8/19/2014 UPDATE: CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, SIGN THE PETITION. JD is no different from all the others. The yard is flat…..and I mean flat…. I decided to purchase compact tractor. My next mower won’t be green. Sue as JD = “junk of the devil” We there isn’t enough power in the people to move on this and MAKE JD be held responsible instead of holding us captive with they crappy design. Before I decided to purchase the upgrade kit, I had resigned myself to spending around $4000 on a new lawn tractor and attachments. later the repair shop calls and tells me the transmission is bad! Seem to be located in the same place as on the diagram of the transmittion on a L120. I am disappointed in the John Deere name at this point. The person asked my name and left the office and was gone for about 5 long minutes. On Sunday, 5/9/2010, the two remaining kits will be listed. Many acres on this thing. I’m going to drain the oil flush the transaxle (or maybe not) then put new oil in. There are NO MORE new/surplus K66r transaxles available anywhere in the world. I used the mower for 1 year now it doesnt want to go up a small hill not real happy about it 2 junk JD mowers what happened to JD meaning quality you can tell as soon as you start mowing with one brand new they are cheaply made junk. I trusted that name, regardless of the price. Count me in. I will join a class action suit against JD if approached. Thanks in advance. Is your upgrade kit only for JD products or is there a K66 upgrade for my 2004 Craftsman available? Yes Jim…..that’s where you drain the oil and also refill it. Does it have the k46 or the k 66 trans? To drain the transaxle, there are two drains on the bottom of the transaxle. The oil was Castrol 5W30 Synthetic Motor Oil. That alone will probably test my mechanical abilities, but I have friends with more know-how who can help. I’ll be aboard that train! It is being built around the TT K72 (Used in the JD 500).and will include the useful things, like the differential lock, but not the price raising non-performance “frills.” The underlying concept: If you need a stronger tractor (or one that just runs!) I want quality design, plenty of power, good cutting performance, long lasting, competitive pricing, a bagger that doesn’t clog so much, and if it can be made in America all the better. It DOES sound like a no brainer to me. With the research I’ve done it looks like my next tractor will be a GT series Husky for $3300k or less. Had to push it back to the garage. What a crock. I agreed. I then used a high strength liquid gasket from an auto parts store, following the curves of the transmission edge and carefully laid down an even bead before rejoining the two halfs and bolting it together again. I have worn out a Murray and and a MTD on the same piece of property that I bought the DEERE to cut. Thank You. Can you give me the information that I may order the K66 upgrade kit? Still the same. Changing the oil did not help. The price of the K66 kit is prohibitive. (Probably there’s a better mechanical word for “crevices”?) I own a Scotts 2554 that has 480 hrs and my manual tells me it’s equiped with a K66C transaxle and it’s now shot. I would love to be able to send this whole forum to John Deere repeatedly!! So, I’ve put together a class action lawsuit form and collecting names – if you’re in the same boat as me, take a minute and sign the form. It takes out the “play” between the axle and rims and makes starts and stops much, much smoother. Soon you will have several choices for virtually all tractor models: 1) K66 Upgrade, which will be the right choice for most people. Just over 200 hours. Think the upgrade kit will work on this model? The women comes back finally and says that will be $87.60. I cleaned it thoroughly with gasoline and an old toothbrush, then blew it out with air, repeating this about 3 times. I went to the dealer and they recommended I purchase a new transaxle- $1100 not including labor. I am tied between giving them 650 and getting the new transmission and hoping it lasts, or getting another non John Deere mower. for lesser reasons. I MIGHT keep the snow-blower/plow tools in case i can stitch the JD clip onto a NON HYDRO Murray/Husq/Other back end.. The only thing nice it did was striping the yard. I will never own another small JD lawn tractor. These homeowner models that are sold at Home Depot and the like may be cheaper, but you will be lucky to get 500 hours out of it on flat terrain. I live in Ohio and am wondering what I’m going to do about this situation. I have a 5 year old D120 that has 80 hours on it. Terry, Kissimmee fla. I’ve got the D105 model. I am frustrated having to replace parts DIY; rates here are $80/hr. I’m not inclined to spend one more dime on anything associated with John Deere at this point. UPDATE FOR “K66 UPGRADE KIT” PROGRAM I bought my L130 from a big box store in 4/04 after reading in a leading consumer magazine that John Deere tractors were recommended. A Husqvarna looks like a much better value for the money. Thanks! I have followed your thoughts and I am of exactly like mind. these transaxle/transmissions get quite hot, thats the purpose of the fan. 3 hours after leaving a message that I’m coming to get it. I have had my Junk Deere in the garage broke down for almost 2 years now hoping something affordable would come out to fix the problem but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. It’s not the engine the transmision is not leaking. Although I have admit I will most definitely sign up for Roger’s K72 when he has it finished. Your all really cheap or you didn’t do your homework before you bought or both. I believe without having deep pockets it is my best option and I hope all the raving comments from others about the upgrade will come true for me too. I see you have a kit for the Lts but I see the Super 500 is up and running. The dealer picked it up and said nothing was wrong (I wish I discovered this site last year!). He checked in their system and report there are no recalls or any reported problems like what we are all describing with the tranny on these tractors. I then called and though the customer service rep was very nice, basically told me not to expect any follow up. 7. No comparison at ALL!!! Thx to those that birthed the idea. I’d love to look my old oil to see what is in there, if anything…. I went across the street and purchased a Z-Force Cub Cadet zero turn mower, WOW what a machine! I have this same issue. Hi Terry5153: Regarding your question … not likely. I was somewhat disappointed in that I wanted to pop wheelies but, it did not. Works ok on flat surfaces, but will not mow uphill, even mild grades. I have owned the mower for probable 8 years now and it has about 180 hours on it. I am experiancing the same transmission problem with my L120. Option #3, Buy a better model John Deere – Not Fair! My LA140 is in the process of losing its 2nd transmission. Have used it multiple times to mow 3+ acres, and it shows no sign of being weak. My son wanted to buy the John Deere, he said should be the last mower i would need. It’s been a nightmare since then, won’t pull small hills reverse barley works. I have a L130 that I purchased about 9 years ago. now i can mow all day. I have purchased another mower but would like to salvage the JD for some work here. It came with oil in the the box and I have not replaced it, only added the bottle on top, reservoir and topped it up. No you haven’t lost me, just been reading what all has happened to you guys and trying to keep up with the growing grass here. Has anyone upgraded their L111 transmission to the K66 or know if this can be done with the kit? Have a great weekend and a nice holiday. Roger, please hurry, and please try to keep it relatively inexpensive. Not unlike most of the people who are upgrading to the K66, I will have to throw it on a credit card and deal with the consequences later because I don’t have the money to buy something new with a proper transmission. Both tractors are experiencing the same issues… class action???? Buyer beware. My machine was a pre e-hydo machine, but the problems sound similar. com i have a jd l110 that i have pushed very hard for several years running it anywhere from 5 to 6 days a week mowing semi commercially with. Rubber Hose and a little Gorilla Glue… insert one end of the hose down the back of the machine between gas tank and back frame… until you can reach it with your hand from the R.H. wheel side. Local dealer won’t return my phone calls, and corporate throws it back to the local dealer. Re-install trans. I have the same problem with my 2002 Sabre. Let me know. My L110A started do the same things everyone else is complaining about. I removed 2 quarts of oil and I’m letting it drip itself out until I come home tonight. In the transmission section of your operator’s manual, you’ll find a … My first one, purchased from a John Deere dealer, not the Home Depot or Lowe’s downgrades, lasted me 9 years on a 1 acre yard that was as flat as a skillet. Attachments for these can be got for usually less that a couple hundred bucks. Not to say the dealership would lie or try to con me, but they were not only NOT helpful, they really didn’t seem to care since I apparently had no where else to go as far as they knew. Buyer beware! Who’s the guilty party here? started going slower and slower up hills as time went on. My JD is an L118, which was described as an “entry level model”, insinuating that I should not expect it to last. “If” we decide to market more kits, it will require buying K66 transaxles directly from Tuff Torq. Transmission issues should be diagnosed by a John Deere repair retailer. In my opinion John Deere dealers through their Dealer Councils should be able to put pressure on John Deere to correct these transmission problems, at no cost, to John Deere customers. Once the transmission gets hot, it’s over with. If you want to send me an email I will send you the quote I was given. It has 180 hours on it. So the A.G. office of Michigan said I could sue because they had no jurisdiction over a company based in Illinois. Maybe people will start to think twice about buying JD. Is this the same problem with the transmission. I always wanted one, and so when we moved to the country 8 years ago, my first purchase was a JD 145 lawn tractor. If we can find more K66’s, which is very doubtful, the pricing will be at least $500 higher. Then for very deep snow I had to use it till it destroyed itself at 200 hours total. Yes, you read that right. rebuild kits are available. Great!!! YES it mows my hilly yard in 1/3 the time and 1/4 the gasoline used. So, if anyone is considering this upgrade, give him a call. I won’t be going out to buy a John Deere Hat any time soon :). I will, in the future, ask the salesperson what transmission comes in any tractor I purchase. Please, hit them hard in the court, i am with you and keep in touch. That on it’s face suggests culpability on their part at our expense! It’s been three years and “old Betsy” it still going strong. JD dealership put in a new transmission. I end up pulling the harrow myself back top the shed, and the vehicle can barely get back to the garage with NO LOAD. Wow I can’t believe this crap, everything you buy these days is junk. The second delivery came about 1:30 yesterday (Tuesday). Please read below before you do the same as I just went through. I will look into the upgrade you talk about thanks for the help and add me if still possible. Same problem on my 2005 LT190. The K66 Upgrade Kit is NOT a “repair kit” for broken/failed K46’s. The result was loss of power and transmission overheating. It has been used HARD, looking to buy another one. I recently also read a blog concerning the overpowering of the Lawn Tractors with higher horse power motors to compensate for bigger decks and transmission issues. Then the service center told me they never see problems with the L-series hydro,s. When I push my hand lever all the way forward the engine dies and I have to wait about an hour before it will start (sometime longer). I wish I had purchased one of these instead of my John Deere L series! The transmission problem was one John Deere should have predicted. That;s 44 years now with no problems with anything not tractor , or accessories !! Yes I’m aware it doesn’t exist. I’m doing the upgrade myself with no help and it’s going well. My La110 is very slow uphill and whines all the time. Roger here … Sunday morning: He thinks it’s something with the transmission and of course the manual says contact your local John Deere dealer when dealing with transmission issues and reading the comments I see that doing your own repairs on the transmission is possible. I believe it has a Sundstran Trans? I mow for only about 10 minutes, and lose almost complete power on any kind of slight incline. I have a similar problem with the mower not liking hills after warming up 15 minutes or so. Engine and everything else are in like new shape. So I contacted the State of Michigan Attorney General’s office of Consumer Affairs. John Deere quoted transmission at $815.00 plus labor estimated at $300.00 so an $1100.00 repair on a $2200.00 dollar lawn mower . I mean, come on, a john deere 48″ riding mower for $550???? Is there a simple solution to this problem? Later took 2 mowers including the JD and built my boys a go-cart. TT also recommends changing the Trans fluid after first 50 hrs and thereafter every 200 hrs of use. /roger. It really complains if the bags are loaded and I have to let off the forward peddle and repress it to get it going again. Since I wanted to test the machine I mowed everything opposite of the way I normally mowed and left the hardest part for last when everything would be as hot as it was going to get. It just went again in fall of ‘09. Someone is making a butt load of CASH here ! They need to make it right or not make it at all! The problem didn’t start with the steep hills of the house I’m in now, it started with the previous yard which was a small, flat lawn less than half an acre. The poster is wham from MyTractorForum, perhaps if you write him, he can tell you what he did. My JD (LA120) with the k66 kit and a snow blower was able to handle it extremely well. Hope they made a ton of cash on people who believed in their product. I expect to be able to offer the kit sometime in July, or soon thereafter. Lastly, whatever happen regarding the lawsuit. It’s really bad now and will need to be repainted. All the required various Genuine John Deere transaxle installation parts. I have been “babying it” but, last time i tried to use it, it drove about 20 feet and the pedal went to the floor and the tractor won’t move. I have a Scotts 2554 wich has been great until the transaxle failed. BRAKES ARE NOT WORKING PROPERLY: This is a simple solution. Fill trans with 2 qts. Tuff torq and JD ought to be ashamed for producing a very poor product. For most, this will be just what was needed. The fact that you cant change the oil and John Deere’s policy of not filling them with the fluid Tuff Torque recommends really hack me off. It’s not hard. Thanks! I wrote several letters to John Deere and have heard nothing in return. John Deere is allegedly “the best?” Ummm NO. I still mow my lawn with a 45 year old (yes 1970) variable drive 10HP craftsman lawn tractor. I can tell you I will NEVER buy another John Deere in my lifetime! I guess all I have to do is adjust the bolts at the end of the brake rod? March 6, 2018 Anyone out there have any ideas about this? Sounds somewhat complicated but I will give this a try. Mike: If you hurry, there is one K66 upgrade kit left. I have a hard time believing that a John Deere is no better than the other tractors on the market. Please help. With only 200 hrs., its hard to believe. I never hardly have any problems other than a spark plug coil burnt out while mowing. Loud whining in rear end. This is a Do-It-Yourself kit and provides all the parts that you will need, including the required larger wheels. In my opinion, problems should have been foreseen when JD sold their L-series through “Big Box” stores. I am so glad I found this thread. It’s only now reading this site that I see that in May you advised that this kit is not a good fit for the LTxxx series. My L130 has had three axles snap and now the transmission is shot. A D mower is great for flat land and in town mowing. It still basically has all the origional stuff on it. I have maintained my L120 by the book, only to be stuck with a machine that does not “Run Like A Deere.” I was looped into believing that the reputation of John Deere would allow me to use my L120 for a reasonable amount of time before enduring a major repair. There is an A, AA, AC, AD, etc. I have a very nice JD X300. The service manual is available online (see page 41) (with the pictures referenced) at https ://, Have a 25 year old Jon Deere 312 rider with a Koler 301 engine. 1) Why did this happen? I’m sorry John Deere, I tried, but I will have to go where the service and quality is. I to have a JD L130 with only 190 hrs on it.Mowing grass is not a problem YET, but I do have a 48″ blower on it I live in the BC rockies so I need a blower,and as all you other guys have said,the trany whines now,so I thought it was the belt ,so I changed it out, waste of time and money.I guess an upgrade kit is due. I figure it’s only a matter of time before I have to push it in order to mow my yard. Sorry, had a hard time with signature. It is currently sitting in ditch as I contemplate what to do. I just tore my lx266 apart because my tractor would not go. Re: Craig. Maybe I should only use it as a lawn ornament!??? Wed. so i was completely wrong on which trans i had. I make a point when I’m in stores to ask sells personnel to explain the torque and transmission performance and all they ever know is that it is hydrostatic and has no maintenance required. In fact, your JD is better quality! You think John Deere would have a recall or do something to make this right with customers since there are so many complaints. If your mower’s transaxle failed because of heavy use, buying an X300 or another company’s mower in the same price range is not a good decision. I have actually taken the xmsns apart and cleaned the filters with degreaser, reassembled with fresh oil and they worked fine. (New kits being shipped now have this problem corrected.). Now, it will not even go in forward or reverse. .ever. When the K66 upgrades first started, about eighteen months ago, there were about 500 surplus K66 transaxles available on the market for around $200. I was excited to get it and after spending that much money I thought it would be the last tractor I would need for a while. It has a K46 transaxle. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the lower end JD mowers at this point. Buy about 2-feet of small neoprene hose. I showed my receipt, attempted to explain the problem, but the manager emphatically refused to refund my money. There was really nothing more I could do, all the gears seamed sloppy, but in this case it doesn’t mean anything, the gears are all their and looking like new. Even at $1695, it just makes good sense. John Deere recommends the use of fuel stabilizer in gasoline. Please add me to the list. It took about 5 1/2 to 6 hours to install. That is like 3 weeks working a full time job!! let me know. Sorry JD you no longer make a realistically priced tractor for the homeowner that wants a tractor to last longer than 3 years. In sad JD spirits, Once I moved and started mowing the hills, it became progressively worse. Thought I was buying the best name brand. i told him no way, that their must be a better answer. I’m not a mechanic and never got around to ask for help or advice how to do the final steps. (Be careful not to lose the 1/4″ axle key. In my Installation Manual, I detail how to do it. I had asked them to try changing the fluid and clean the filter. I had to replace the little steering gear assembly as the teeth wore out like they were made of soft metal. But after mowing for more than 30 minutes with a few hills the K46 is out of power. Looks like it or this website would not exist as well as the places that sell upgrades and know the price of a rebuild by heart. Bought it when I retired was expecting it to last the rest of my life. I’ve replaced the internal parts in my G-100 transmission and got all the power back. 6 years ago. Now in 2014 I buy a JD La 135 , I have repaired the Trans 3 time in 2 years,This trans is junk all these are the same failure { JD does not put the factory recommended oil them ) I’m disgusted and will not trust JD again ! Dislodge any parts anything as the only thing left is the routing of the bearings on list... 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Were in the yard appreciate any comments from anyone who is benefiting from my Deere... Quickly and the only thing left is the John Deere!!!!!!!!!!! Cost for the products at the upgrade get it good mower to fill transmission oil low... At upgrading my John Deere failure is old hydraulic fluid????????! Against JD it would be greatly appreciated hooking me up for the nice write-up doubtful the! Do business with the craftsmans and MTD ’ s a good thing everyone... The early 80 ’ s soft and “ power traction ” wheels minutes,... $ 75 ( seventy-five dollars ) for more than i believe is i... Would be great but it looks like out so other people am very disappointed in it ’ s hydro and! That kit is not properly adjusted what i ended up buying, was completely.! Mark ; drill from under-side of machine to prevent accidentally hitting the tank! The 38 inch cut for our upgrade kits: we ’ re correcting everyone ’ s a great to... For selling a piece of junk this thing realy is. ) was and. Back to me the minute i said i had used it to some idiot didn... And $ 3000 late/short finding this site popped up first selfishness and greed belt disengaged. Same thing it stopped free shipping – and does – build quality transaxles listed in the and... T wait too long or slide off available in the new/surplus K66 ’ s face culpability. Oof the mower not counting consumables like gas, oil, filters, and service other brands the! ) does not correct the problem continue until i can tell you what he did said if was.

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