Why Your John Deere Riding Mower Won’t Go Forward or Reverse?

John Deere riding mowers come with an average lifespan of ten years. But for the hydraulic fluid, faulty drive belt, carburetor failure, and so other problems reduce the age.

And one of the main issues that the customers have mentioned is that the John Deere riding mower won’t go forward or reverse. 

This can happen for the hydraulic fuel leak, brake issues, lack of regular tune-up and other faults can create this issue. 

Let’s check out the causes and solutions of these issues. 

What Are The Reasons Of john Deere’s Steering Problems And Their Solutions?

There are some significant causes by which you can easily identify when your John Deere steering parts need proper inspection and repairing or replacement.

So, let’s learn more about those causes and how to solve the issues-

Brake Issues

A customer complaints that his John Deere mower doesn’t move forward or reverse and whines and smells like the belt is heating up.

The wheels are spinning in opposite directions while picking up the back of the mower. 

This can happen for the brake getting stuck. It is on the side of the transmission. The pins on the brake can cause this problem. 

You need to take the brake off and clean everything up. It would be best if you did a light brass brushing and put it back. I hope the mower will go forward and reverse. 

Old Hydraulic Fluid

One of the main reasons why a hydrostatic lawn mower won’t move is that old hydraulic fluid.

Other causes are having air in the lines, or a worn drive belt. This fluid is used for driving the transmission.

When the fluid sits for a longer period like in winter, the transmission can fail.

So, when you encounter this issue, you need to flush the system. 

You can take the help of an expert to replace the old hydraulic oil.

Or you can do it yourself by draining the engine and again refilling with new oil. Go through the owner’s manual to get the right mixture. 

Faulty Drive Belt

The ground drive belt connects the engine crankshaft to the transaxle pulley to drive the rear wheels.

The drive belt is vital for moving the john deere riding mower forward. But how will you find out that your mower’s drive belt is working properly?

If the belt is worn, you will hear a squealing sound when you are driving the mower. It will move sluggishly as the belt slips on the pulley. And if it is broken, the mower won’t move. 

To solve this issue, you need to replace the belt –

  • Disconnect the spark plug – Lift the mower hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.
  • Remove the mower deck – Disengage the cutting blades, disconnect the right suspension arm and right rear deck bracket. Pull out the deck from under the frame. 
  • Detaching the ground drive belt – Remove the engine pulley bolt and then pull the engine pulley off the crankshaft. Release the drive belt from the idler pulleys and belt guides. 
  • Lifting the battery: Release the bolts that connect the cables to the batteries. And put the battery out of the battery box.
  • Removing the ground drive belt: Release the drive belt from the transaxle pulley and pull out the ground drive belt. 
  • Install the new ground drive belt: Loop the belt over the transaxle pulley, position all the bolts, connect all the cables, and install the engine pulley bolt and washer.
  • Reinstall the mower deck – Push the deck near and under the tractor frame. Reconnect all the connections, right suspension arm, and deck bracket. Check the belt moving on the mower deck, and adjust everything. And then, reconnect the spark plug wire and lower the tractor hood. 

Go through the manual to see how to remove the cutting deck and then the belt. You can also ask the help of an assistant to do things faster. 

Carburetor Failure 

The carburetor blends air and fuel to create a combustible mixture for the engine cylinder.

The customers of John Deere riding mower say that their mowers are hard to start for the failure of the carburetor.

If it has water damage or gets clogged with gummed-up gasoline, the engine is hard to move. 

To solve this issue, you need to replace the carburetor –

  • Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key
  • Let the engine cool.
  • Lift the seat and remove the bolt connecting the negative cable to the battery. And thus you disconnect the battery.
  • By lifting the hood, remove the air duct mounting screws, and pull off the air duct. And then pull off the air filter cover.
  • Remove the air filter and lift off the blower housing. 
  • Disconnect the fuel line and wipe up any spilled fuel. 
  • Remove the air intake mounting nuts, disconnect the wire from the fuel solenoid, and then the throttle spring.
  • Pull of the carburetor by disconnecting the choke rod.
  • Clean the gasket
  • Install the new carburetor and repeat all the previous processes. 
  • Connect the fuel line. 
  • Reinstall the engine blower housing 
  • Install the air filter and the air duct. 
  • Reconnect the battery. 

Lack of Regular Tune-Up

The engine suffers from a lack of regular tune-up maintenance. If the air filter is jammed with debris, the carburetor won’t get enough air to mix with the fuel for combustion. And thus the mower won’t move and may sputter

To enhance the efficiency of the engine, you need to –

  • Replace the engine oil
  • Replace the oil, air, and other filters

It is easy to replace an air filter as it won’t take more than 15 minutes. The steps are –

  • Disconnect the spark plug
  • Remove the old air filter by rotating the air filter cover’s retaining knobs counterclockwise.
  • Install the new one and its cover. Rotate the knobs clockwise to lock the cover in place. 
  • Reconnect the spark plug.

Hydraulic Fuel Leak

One of the customers mentioned that the lines were leaking oil and the mower weren’t moving. You will get to know whether the lines are leaked by observing the following symptoms –

  • Sluggish or jerky movements: If there is any leak in the line, there won’t be optimum pressure in the lines and the John Deere mower won’t run smoothly.
  • Oil spills and burning smell: This smell indicates a leak in the line.

To fix the leak, first, you need to identify the source of the leak. 

Gasket Seals – When the rubber parts get worn and cracked, and you see oil coming out from the seal, which means you should replace it.

Crankcase Gaskets – The crankcase can get eventually cracked or broken for the immense pressure. So, if the cap is broken, you have to replace it.

Final Verdict

If you have read the problems stated above, you know the John Deere riding mower problems and the solutions.

Now still if your John Deere riding mower won’t go forward or reverse, you can take the help of professionals.

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