John Deere, as a brand, really requires no introduction. With over a century of experience in the landscaping industry, they have slowly managed to build an excellent reputation for themselves.
These days, any John Deere lawnmower is considered a fantastic investment. The thing I love the most about the brand, however, is its huge catalog of mowers. Now I like browsing when I am buying a new lawnmower, and with John Deere, the options seem endless.
Whether you are a homeowner who regularly mows his lawn or working as a professional contractor, you can find something that is right for you. Now, if you know your mowers, you would know that about the John Deere 970.
It is considered a hidden gem by many offering a nice blend of price and performance. Though it’s been discontinued for a while now, if you can manage to get your hands on one, it will offer a huge upgrade over a manual mower.
But like any riding mower out there, the John Deere 970 can fall victim to a host of problems because of poor maintenance. Issues such as engine failure, poor steering, or transmission issues will become extremely common if you don’t take care of your lawnmower.
In this article, I will talk about these common problems that you might face with your John Deere 970 lawnmower and offer my thoughts on how to fix these issues. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Common Issues With The John Deere 970 And How To Fix Them
Here are a couple of common issues that people face with their John Deere 970 lawnmowers, along with a complete troubleshooting guide to fix them.
1. Issues With The Engine
Engine trouble is the most typical problem that you will face with your John Deere 970 lawnmower because of poor maintenance. You might notice different symptoms based on which part of the engine is affected, and the troubleshooting steps will also vary depending on that. So, let’s go through them one by one.
· The Engine Won’t Start
If your lawnmower refuses to start or starts after much difficulty, then that means the fuel filter element is faulty. It might be clogged or damaged. So, inspect it, remove the blockage, or replace it if it’s damaged.
A defective injection nozzle might also be the culprit here, so you might need to replace that too. After trying these fixes, if the problem persists, then you might need to replace the fuel pump.
Engine Stalls While Running Or Idling
Another engine issue you might face is that the engine suddenly stalls when you are using it. This usually indicates that the fuel injection timing is off.
Readjusting the timing usually fixes the issue. If that doesn’t fix your problem, check the fuel filters, and clean them.
· Overheating Engine
Clogged cooling fins or radiator caps can result in a drastic increase in engine temperature and, if left unchecked, can lead to engine failures.
So, if you notice the engine running too hot, you need to inspect the cooling system. Replace the radiator cap and clean out the cooling fins. Make sure the engine oil level is optimal.
· Knocking Sound In The Engine
If you hear a weird knocking sound coming out of the engine, that means the engine is cold and the oil level is not optimal.
Refilling the engine oil and warming up the engine should fix the problem. Sometimes worn-out pistons can also lead to this problem. In that case, you need to replace the pistons.
2. Transmission Problems
The John Deere 970 is powered by a hydrostatic transmission system that is known to act up at times. You will face issues like excessive noise in the system, stiffness while shifting gears, and overall sluggish performance from the mower. Here are the ways to fix the different problems in the transmission system.
· Noisy Transmission
If the transmission seems too noisy, then that means the gears might be damaged, or the backlash is not set right. To fix the problem, you need to readjust the backlash. You also need to replace any damaged gears. Sometimes bent shift forks or shaft splines can also cause this issue, so you might need to replace those parts, too, depending on the situation.
· Gears Won’t Shift
Sometimes you might notice that the transmission gears in the lawnmower will not shift. This means the shift linkage is rusty or damaged. Installing a new linkage is the best approach here. Another possibility here is that the clutch is damaged. So, inspect the condition of the clutch and replace it if needed.
3. Electrical Issues
If you notice any problem in the battery or the starter of your lawnmower, this is a sign that you need to troubleshoot the electrical section of the vehicle. Again, you need to understand the different symptoms and take proper measures depending on the problem.
· Battery Will Not Charge
If the battery does not charge at all in your lawnmower, then the most likely possibility here is that the connections are loose. Check the wiring around the battery terminal and replace the clamps if they seem defective. You might also need to replace the belt if it seems damaged.
· Starter Will Not Crank
Sometimes, you will notice that the electrical starter in your lawnmower does not crank. This usually indicates an issue with the battery, so the first thing you should do is recharge it. If it still doesn’t crank, then check the starter motor. Replace it if it seems damaged.
· Starter Cranks Slowly
If the starter in your lawnmower is working but only after a lot of tries, that indicates low battery power. You need to recharge the battery. If the battery drains after recharging it, that means you need to replace the battery.
4. Problems In The Steering System
Steering issues in your lawnmower never feels good and can mess with your entire experience. It can present itself mainly in three ways. Don’t worry I have fixes for each of them.
· Too Much Free Play In The Steering
The most common problem that you will see is that the steering wheel feels extremely loose and moves on its own even when you don’t touch it.
This means the steering column coupling or shaft is damaged, and you need to replace it. You should also check the steering linkage and repair it if needed.
· Stiff Steering Wheel
If, on the other hand, the steering feels too stiff, then that indicates the presence of air in the steering system. In that case, you need to bleed the system to push the air out. Consult the operator’s manual for clear instructions if you don’t know how to do it.
· Tractor Dragging To A Side
Another issue you might see is that the tractor pulls to a side when you are driving. This usually means the steering gearbox is damaged and replacing it should get rid of the problem. Also, check the tire pressure in the wheels, as that might be the culprit here too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since the John Deere 970 is officially discontinued by the manufacturer, you won’t be able to find one new in the stores. But it does occasionally come up for sale in the second-hand market, and if you manage to find one, I would suggest picking it up. Let me address a couple of questions you might have about this lawnmower.
1. What type of engine does the John Deere 970 come with?
The John Deere 970 features a 33 HP Yanmar diesel engine. It has four cylinders and can hold up to 1.8 liters of fuel. So, you will be able to mow even a larger lawn without needing to refuel in the middle of the job.
2. Is the John Deere 970 reliable?
Dependability will never be an issue with the John Deere 970 lawnmower. It is extremely well-made, and you can safely rely on it to take on just about any task you throw at it. But like other lawnmowers, you also need to service it regularly and take it to an expert for a professional checkup.
Those who are involved in the industry or like to keep up with what goes on in the lawnmower world already know of the fantastic performance that the John Deere 970 delivers. When it got discontinued, many users were extremely disappointed, but those who managed to pick one up are making good use of it even to this day.
This just goes to show you how well-designed this lawnmower is. And if it’s acting up or showing weird issues, then that’s a clear sign that you are not taking care of it all that well.
You need to make sure you are servicing it regularly to get the most out of this lawnmower. I hope my in-depth look into the different John Deere 970 problems could help you troubleshoot any issues you might be having with this vehicle. Good luck!