John Deere SCV Problems And Troubleshooting Guide

If you like to dabble in the art of landscaping professionally, a high-end lawnmower and utility tractor should be the first thing you get. But with so many options these days, it can be pretty difficult to decide which tractor is best suited for all your needs.

The sad thing is there isn’t a single tractor out there that does it all. In an ideal world, you will have a couple of different tractors at your disposal for different purposes. But needless to say, not everyone can afford to spend thousands on multiple tractors.

Well, if you want a single tractor that can handle most of the projects that you might encounter, your best bet is to go with a John Deere SCV tractor. And there are quite a few different models to choose from if you decide to go this route. While these machines are pretty expensive, they offer fantastic value for your money.

However, though the SCV factor makes the tractor’s loader more versatile, it can also malfunction just like any other component. Of course, regular servicing and maintenance can delay any issues from popping up, but there is a high chance that you will face some issues once in a while.

In this article, I will talk about some of the issues that you might encounter with John Deere SCV tractors and help you troubleshoot the problems with minimal effort. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What Is SCV In John Deere Lawnmowers?

The term SCV stands for Selective Control Valve. It helps the tractor utilize the hydraulic pressure from the pumps to operate cylinders in components such as the loader in a lawnmower. Simply put, the valve gives you control over the pressure and helps you dictate where the pressure is flowing.

In most John Deere utility tractors that were made after the nineties, you would find a dual SCV in the form of a joystick control lever. This lever allows you to control the lifts and move the arms of the front-end loader attachments. While this might seem like a common idea these days, at the time, it was revolutionary.

Because of this design, you have a much easier and more intuitive way to control the front-end attachments of your utility tractor. And this innovation also gave the manufacturers more flexibility in producing future tractors and allowed them to produce machines that could lift heavier weights.

These days, you get the option of ordering different SCV configurations when you are buying a new John Deere lawn tractor. There are a couple of different SCV variants, along with different types of couplers and valve quantities.

Of course, there are quite a few differences between the different coupler and SCV types. For instance, the 200 series SCV models allow you to adjust the maximum hydraulic flow infinitely and let you switch between no detent and mechanical detent.

On the other hand, the deluxe coupler in your SCV allows you to uncouple or couple the hydraulics with pressure from the tractor and the implement side, whereas the standard one only supports coupling and uncoupling from the implement side.

So, I suggest you do some research on your own when buying a John Deere SCV tractor, as you will have a lot of options in your hands.

Common Problem In The John Deere SCV And How To Fix Them?

The Dual SCV design of John Deere lawnmowers lets you lift massive weights and utilize a variety of attachments with your vehicle. But since it’s a major part of the hydraulic system of the machine, most of the issues that come up in it are a result of a hydraulic malfunction.

So, you need to understand the different hydraulic problems that you will face with your mower. And once you can fix that, you will be able to get rid of any SCV issues as well.

Here are a couple of common problems in the John Deere SCV and their solutions.

1. Insufficient Fluid Pressure

The main purpose of the SCV design is to give you more control over the fluid pressure. And if there’s a sudden lack of fluid pressure in the system, the SCV will naturally become inefficient.

Typically, inefficient hydraulic pressure means the hydraulic fluid level in the lawnmower is low. And to fix that, all you have to do is fill it up with fresh hydraulic fluid.

However, more often than not, this doesn’t fix the problem. If you still notice the fluid pressure being too low, then that means the hydraulic fluid filter is clogged up, blocking off the flow of pressure. In that case, you need to clean the filter element or replace it.

Sometimes, leaks in the hydraulic pipes can also lead to low pressure. So, you need to inspect the lines and patch up any leaks you might find. You might also need to adjust the hydraulic control valve, and if the pump is faulty, you need to install a new one. This should get rid of the issue.

2. Three Point Hitch Won’t Raise Or Slow To Rise

Another common issue you might see in your lawnmower is that the three-point hitch in the system doesn’t rise. Or even if it lifts, the lifting speed becomes too slow, which naturally means your work efficiency gets affected. This is another common issue in John Deere SCV lawnmowers.

In most cases, this sort of issue means the hydraulic pump in your vehicle is malfunctioning. So, the first thing to do here is to check the hydraulic pump and replace it if needed. If you can’t diagnose the pump, though, I would recommend hiring an expert.

You also need to check the main relief valve and the hydraulic control valve, as a defective valve can also lead to this issue. After that, inspect that hydraulic cylinder. If it looks worn or is cracked, replace it right away.

Of course, other basic inspections, such as checking the fluid level and filter condition, should come as a given. Another possibility here is that you are simply putting too much load on the hitch. So, try lowering the load and see if that fixes the issue.

3. Three Point Hitch Won’t Lower Or Lowers Slow

Sometimes your hitch lifts just fine. But when you are trying to lower it under load, you will notice that it gets stuck or lowers very slowly. This is another common sign of an SCV problem, and you need to inspect the hydraulic system of your vehicle to fix it.

Similar to before, this can be a result of a broken hydraulic cylinder. So, you need to replace it with a new one if repairing the old one is not possible. With any luck, this should fix the problem right away.

However, if the problem persists, you need to make a more thorough diagnosis. Start by adjusting the hydraulic spool valve. Also, check the hitch rock shaft and make sure it’s not damaged. If it is, you need to install a new shaft.

Another possibility here is that the hitch is out of adjustment. So take the instruction manual and follow the guidelines to readjust the hitch.

4. Overheating Hydraulics

If you notice the hydraulics in your lawnmower is overheating, it’s imperative that you address it right away. Overheating is never a good sign and points to a deeper problem that can lead to component failures if you don’t take care of it.

Hydraulics overheating usually means you are using the wrong type of fluid in the system. Consulting the manual should give you an idea of the correct fluid type. So drain the old batch and refill it with the right type of fluid.

If the problem doesn’t get fixed, then there’s a chance that air got into the hydraulics system. In that case you need to bleed the system to purge the air out of it.

Finally, check the main relief valve in the system and make sure that it’s working properly. A malfunctioning relief valve might also be the root of this problem.

Final Thoughts

While the SCV technology was a major push forward for lawnmower and tractors in general, it is not without its flaws. It can lead to some inconsistencies in performance, but frankly, if you weigh the cons, they pale in comparison to the benefits that you get out of it.

You can of course, reduce the frequency of issues by regularly taking care of your lawnmower. It’s a good practice to service your mower once every month and take it to a professional garage every six months for deep maintenance. That way, you can make sure your mower is giving it’s best anytime you use it.

I hope my in-depth discussion on John Deere SCV problems could help you fix any issues you might be facing because of it. Good luck!

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