Top 4 Most Common John Deere 5400 Problems And Troubleshooting Guide

John Deere is a pretty common name for anyone who is involved in the landscaping industry in any capacity. Even if you are a homeowner who likes to occasionally use a riding mower to mow his front lawn, you have probably heard of the brand.

The fame and goodwill that the brand has earned with its years of excellence in its field are quite unbeatable. Whether you are looking for an expensive, top-of-the-line utility tractor, or a simple and affordable riding mower for your backyard, John Deere has something that fits the bill.

Now, the John Deere 5400 is on the pricier side of things. It’s a heavy-duty utility tractor that offers an unprecedented level of versatility and performance. But people who bought this unit often complain about certain issues that they face with this tractor.

In this article, I will address these problems that people have with the John Deere 5400 and help you understand how you can fix these issues. So, let’s get started.

Common Issues With The John Deere 5400 And How To Fix Them

The first step to fixing the problems that crop up in your John Deere 5400 is to figure out the component that’s responsible. Once you understand which component is the culprit, you should be able to come up with a solution and restore your mower to its peak condition.

So here is a quick rundown of the common issues in the John Deere 5400 and the things you can do to fix them.

1. Engine Issues

Engine trouble with your John Deere 5400 will become a common occurrence if you don’t take care of your vehicle. In fact, this is true for any lawnmower out there. Due to poor maintenance, one of the first components that start to perform poorly or not at all in a lawnmower is the engine.

However, unless you are extremely unlucky, you should be able to fix the problem without too much hassle. There are a couple of areas you need to check in the engine, starting with the fuel. As weird as it may sound, fuel trouble is the likely cause of engine troubles in most lawnmowers.

First off, make sure the fuel present in the fuel tank is not stale. Old fuel can turn into a thick paste which can clog up the fuel delivery system and hinder engine performance. If the fuel in the tank is stale, you need to drain the tank, clean it, and pour a fresh batch.

While replacing the fuel, I would strongly suggest going with high-quality diesel. Cheap gas can seem tempting if you are on a budget, but because of the alcohol additives they come with, it can drastically reduce your engine’s lifespan.

So, it’s always better to go with high-quality fuel even if it costs more. After checking the fuel line, if the issue is still there, you need to take a look at the filters in the engine system.

A blocked air or fuel filter can also cause poor performance and cleaning up the clog can fix the problem. You also need to check the spark plug and replace it if needed. If the plug seems fine, then resetting the gap should fix the problem.

2. Too Much Or Too Little Slack On The Steering Wheel

Another problem that many people report with their John Deere 5400 lawn tractor is that their steering wheel doesn’t sit right. It either has too much slack or feels too stiff, both of which are not ideal for your lawnmower.

And if you are facing this sort of problem, there’s likely something wrong with your steering system hydraulics. Let’s talk about how to fix a loose steering wheel first.

A loose steering wheel implies that there’s an issue with the steering cylinder. Chances are, the steering cylinder is worn down from years of use, and the bearings are damaged. So, open up the system and inspect the components.

If the components look damaged or worn down, replacing them should fix the slack on the steering wheel. Another likely suspect here is the power steering pump. So, if the components look fine, then you probably need to replace the steering pump to get rid of the problem.

On the other hand, if the steering wheel feels extremely stiff, then that indicates the presence of air inside the steering system. You need to bleed out the air to fix the problem. Consulting your instruction manual should tell you how you can do this. Another possibility here is that the steering fluid level is low.

So, you should next check the level of fluids and top it off if it’s not at an optimal level. With any luck, you should now be able to move your steering wheel without too much trouble. But if the problem persists, then you need to replace the hydraulic steering cylinder.

3. Engine Cranks But Won’t Start

If you notice that the engine in your mower starts up, but for some reason, you cannot start driving it, then the problem is related to the starter. This lawn tractor features an electric starter, and like any other electrical component, this switch can also fail.

But before you check the starter, I would recommend looking at the fuel pump. There’s a chance that the fuel inlet needle is sticking to the seat preventing the gears from engaging. If that’s the case, replacing or repairing the needle should fix things. Also, check for any faulty piston rings and replace them if needed.

If that doesn’t fix your problem, then you need to look at the wirings and connections around the starter. Loose connections might also cause the starter to malfunction. But if the wirings seem fine, then you probably need to replace the starter switch.

4. Battery Drains Too Fast

Another electrical issue that you might face in the John Deere 5400 is that the battery in the mower starts to drain without any reason. Now, a drained battery is a pretty common thing, especially if you are bringing out your vehicle from the shed after a long winter.

But after charging the battery, your mower should start to perform as expected. However, some people complain that once they recharge the battery to full, the charge drops down unexpectedly, causing the mower to shut down.

This usually means that the battery is dying, and you need an immediate replacement. You should look for corrosion in the battery terminals, as that is the easiest way to figure out if the battery is dead. If you don’t find any rust, then look for loose wirings around the terminals.

There’s, of course, a chance that the charger that you are using is defective. So, make sure you borrow a friend’s charger and try charging your battery with that. However, if that still doesn’t fix your problem, then replacing the battery should.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have looked at the common issues let me address some of the questions that people have asked me about this lawnmower in the past. This will help you make an informed decision if you are thinking about picking up this model in the near future.

1. Is the John Deere 5400 a reliable mower?

After reading through the complaints, it’s natural to question the credibility of this lawn tractor. But the truth is, the John Deere 5400 is an extremely reliable machine if you treat it well. However, if you don’t maintain it regularly, issues will start coming up quite frequently with the vehicle.

2. What type of engine does the John Deere 5400 have?

The John Deere 5400 features a powerful 52 HP turbocharged diesel engine. This engine offers up to 9 different speed levels and has a rated rotation of 2400 RPM. Needless to say, it’s truly a beast when it comes to heavy-duty landscaping projects.

Final Thoughts

The John Deere 5400 is a true powerhouse when it comes to utility tractors. It had an amazing five-year run when it first came out, and many people still consider it one of the finest lawn tractors ever created. And whatever bad reputation it gets these days mostly has to do with user error, more so than problems on the mower’s end.

If you treat this tractor with respect and care that it deserves, you will not have to face most of the issues I talked about here. Regular servicing and professional checkup every now and then are the best way to get the most performance out of this tractor.

I hope my article on the John Deere 5400 problems could help you figure out how to fix the issues that come up with this lawnmower. Good luck!

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