John Deere E120 Problems

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The John Deere E120 lawn tractor is a powerful tractor with outstanding features such as a 42-inch edge cutting system, comfortable operator station high back seat and ReadyStart technology. 

However, there are some problems users may experience while operating the lawn tractor.

In this article, I share 6 common John Deere E120 problems, their causes, and possible fixes to help you identify and solve the problems.

John Deere E120 Problems, Causes, and Possible Solutions

Before I go into details, let’s look at some common John Deere E120 problems and their possible solutions:

Problems

Possible Solutions

1. John Deere E120 Mower Deck Problems

  • Clean the mower deck.
  • Adjust the level of the mower deck properly.
  • Sharpen your dull mower blades
  • Ensure that you inflate the tires as required
  • Repair or replace the loose or faulty spindle.
  • Install the drive belt properly.
  • Open the choke fully.
  • Use a slower speed.
  • Sharpen the blades.
  • Remove grass from the bagger
  • Use the correct height setting.

2. Transmission Problems

  • Install new shaft seals
  • Change the gaskets or seals
  • Change the case or transmission assembly
  • Reduce the load of the transmission.
  • Pour fresh transmission oil or add oil to the proper level.
  • Adjust or change the linkage properly.
  • Install a new sheave.
  • Add fluid to the transmission housing.
  • Adjust or change the shifting linkage
  • Adjust or repair speed control linkage

3. Steering Problems

  • Replace the loose bolt.
  • Replace the worn bushings

4. John Deere E120 Belt Problem

  • Clean or replace your pulley.
  • Check and adjust the belt tension.
  • Replace the damaged belt.

5. Engine Problems

  • Change the clogged fuel filter
  • Change or adjust the cable correctly.
  • Replace the faulty spark plug
  • Fill the fuel tank with fuel
  • Bleed the system.
  • Check the oil level and add oil as required.
  • Clean the cooling fins
  • Set the valves properly.
  • Set the ignition timing properly.

6. John Deere Electrical System Problems

  • Charge the battery
  • Connect the wiring properly or install new terminals.
  • Recharge the battery or change it if it is bad.
  • Charge the battery.
  • Replace the starter motor or solenoid.
  • Inspect cables and connect them properly
  • Replace battery terminal clamps
  • Service or tighten connections.

1. John Deere E120 Mower Deck Problems

This is one of the problems of the John Deere E120 lawn tractor. If your mower cuts unevenly or the discharge chute gets clogged, it may indicate that the mower deck is dysfunctional. Here is an overview of mower deck problems:

Uneven Cuts

The lawn tractor can cut unevenly due to factors such as dull blades, clogged mower deck, faulty or loose spindle deck and unleveled mower deck.

Causes

  • Clogged mower deck
  • Mower deck is not leveled properly
  • Dull mower blades
  • Tires not correctly inflated
  • Loose or faulty spindle.

Fix

  • Clean the mower deck.
  • Adjust the level of the mower deck properly.
  • Sharpen your dull mower blades
  • Ensure that you inflate the tires as required
  • Repair or replace the loose or faulty spindle.

Clogged Discharge Chute

The discharge chute of the John Deere E120 lawn tractor can get clogged due to dirt and debris in the discharge system. 

In this case, it can cause a restriction of airflow, preventing the lawn tractor from discharging grass clippings properly.

Causes

  • Incorrect installation of the drive belt
  • Engine runs at low revs
  • Mower speed is too high

Fix

  • Install the drive belt properly.
  • Open the choke fully.
  • Use a slower speed.

Uncut Grass When Mowing

The lawn tractor can leave uncut grass if the mower deck is set to a low setting or it is clogged. You can also check the blades and bagger to fix the issue.

Causes

  • Clogged mower deck
  • Blades are not sharp
  • Bagger is full
  • Deck is set to a low setting

Fix

  • Clean the mower deck
  • Sharpen the blades.
  • Remove grass from the bagger
  • Use the correct height setting.

2. Transmission Problems

The John Deere E120 comes with a hydrostatic transmission which transfers the power from the main engine to other parts such as blades and wheels. 

If it is faulty, it can affect the performance of the lawn tractor. Some transmission problems include:

Transmission is Leaking

This transmission problem is common in several John Deere lawn tractors. Likely reasons for this issue include broken seals or gaskets, a leaked final drive shaft and a cracked transmission case.

Causes

  • Leaked final drive shaft
  • Broken seals or gaskets
  • Cracked transmission case

Fix

  • Install new shaft seals
  • Change the gaskets or seals
  • Change the case or transmission assembly

Hydrostatic Transmission Noise

If your hydrostatic makes some strange noises, you need to check the speed control pedal linkage and also examine the oil or oil level of the transmission to troubleshoot the issue.

Causes

  • Transmission is overloaded
  • Transmission oil is contaminated or the oil level is insufficient
  • Faulty or unadjusted speed control pedal linkage

Fix

  • Reduce the load of the transmission.
  • Pour fresh transmission oil or add oil to the proper level.
  • Adjust the linkage properly or change it if it is in a bad condition.

Loss of Power

Loss of power is one of the John Deere E120 transmission problems. It is important to inspect parts such as sheave, shifting leakage or speed control linkage for defects.

Causes

  • Damaged or worn drive sheave
  • Insufficient transmission fluid
  • Misadjusted or broken shifting linkage
  • Worn or unadjusted speed control linkage.

Fix

  • Install a new sheave.
  • Add fluid to the transmission housing.
  • Adjust the shifting linkage properly or change it if it is defective
  • Adjust or repair speed control linkage

3. Steering Problems

The steering of your John Deere E120 lawn tractor may become difficult to steer. The likely reasons are loose bolts or worn bushings.

Whether your steering is too tight or loose, it can be solved by identifying the cause and replacing the faulty mower parts.

Causes

  • Loose bolts
  • Worn bushing

Fix

  • Replace the loose bolt.
  • Replace the worn bushings with new ones.

4. John Deere E130 Belt Problem

If your mower belt slips off, it can be frustrating because it will disrupt the mowing process. This can be a result of a bad belt or improper belt tension.

Causes

  • Dirty pulley
  • Improper belt tension.
  • Defective tractor belt

Fix

  • Clean or replace your pulley.
  • Check and adjust the belt tension.
  • Replace the damaged belt with a new one.

5. Engine Problems

Here are some problems associated with the lawn tractor’s engine:

Engine Will Not Start or is Difficult to Start

Your John Deere lawn tractor may have starting problems due to a clogged fuel filter, inadequate fuel in the fuel tank or a defective spark plug. 

This will hinder the performance of your lawn tractor.

Causes

  • Clogged fuel filter
  • Damaged or unadjusted choke cable
  • Defective spark plug
  • No fuel in the fuel tank
  • Air in the fuel system.

Fix

  • Change the clogged fuel filter for a new one.
  • Change or adjust the cable correctly.
  • Replace the faulty spark plug
  • Fill the fuel tank with fuel
  • Bleed the system.

Engine Overheats

This engine problem is very common in John Deere lawn tractor models. In this case, you need to check components such as the oil level, valve setting, and cooling fins to troubleshoot the problem.

Causes

  • Low engine oil level
  • Clogged cooling fins
  • The valve setting is incorrect
  • Wrong ignition timing

Fix

  • Check the oil level and add oil as required.
  • Clean the cooling fins
  • Set the valves properly.
  • Set the ignition timing properly.

6. John Deere Electrical System Problems

The John Deere E120 model can also develop a fault as a result of faulty parts in the lawn tractor’s electrical system. Here is an overview of its electrical system problems:

Starter Turns Slowly

If you notice that your starter turns slowly, it may be that the lawn tractor’s battery is drained or the battery terminals are corroded.

Causes

  • Low battery capacity
  • Disconnected wires or corroded battery terminals.

Fix

  • Charge the battery
  • Connect the wiring properly or install new terminals.

The Starter is Not Working

This is another problem that can occur in the lawn tractor’s electrical system. The starter may not work due to a defective starter motor or issues with the battery or cables.

Causes

  • The battery is defective or discharged.
  • Low battery voltage
  • Faulty starter motor or solenoid
  • Battery cables are disconnected or improperly connected

Fix

  • Recharge the battery or change it if it is bad.
  • Charge the battery.
  • Replace the starter motor or solenoid.
  • Inspect cables and connect them properly

Battery Does Not Charge

Your John Deere E120 battery may not charge due to defective battery terminal clamps or corroded connections. This can hinder the performance of the lawn tractor.

Causes

  • Defective battery terminal clamps
  • Corroded or loose cable connections

Fix

  • Replace battery terminal clamps
  • Service or tighten connections.

John Deere E120 Maintenance Tips

  • Change engine oil every 50 hours.
  • Check the air filter element every 50 hours.
  • Clean the mower deck every 50 hours.
  • Check the transmission fluid every 25 hours.
  • Change transmission fluid every 200 hours.
  • Replace the spark plug every 100 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How fast does a John Deere E120 go?

A: The lawn tractor has a forward speed of 5.5 mph and a reverse speed of 3.2 mph.

How often should you change the oil on a John Deere E120?

A: You should change the oil on your John Deere E120 every 50 hours or once a season.

How many quarts of oil does a John Deere E120 take?

A: It has an oil capacity of 2.8 qts (2.6L)

Conclusion

If you notice that your John Deere E120 lawn tractor is giving you problems, the first thing to do is to identify the causes.

Some of the problems include engine problems, mower deck issues, transmission problems, and steering problems.

Follow our recommended fixes to solve the problem and get your lawn tractor working again. It’s best to seek a technician’s help if the problem persists.