At first glance, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the 2305 from John Deere is a children’s toy. Its frame and chassis are among the smallest offered in the JD tractor lineup.
However, this incredibly compact tractor packs a lot of punch for its more diminutive stature and price tag. Combined with the vast array of available attachments, this little machine can handle any home garden or farmland job you throw at it.
But even though the machine is more than capable, users have reported experiencing some issues you may wish to consider before making a purchase.
So in this article, we’ll cover all the main problems that commonly crop up with the 2305 and how to address them.
The most common problems with the John Deere 2305
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So let’s get this out of the way immediately; its smaller size is a non-factor regarding this tractor’s problems. It still boasts a hefty 24hp engine and John Deere’s incredibly well-refined, low-maintenance hydrostatic transmission. It’s a fully functional and feature-complete tractor.
It is also compatible with every attachment you would want: a mower deck, backhoe, rotary cutter, and John Deere’s 200CX front loader.
The main areas this machine runs into issues are with the engine, the hydraulic system, and the hydrostatic transmission. We’ll discuss those problems and how to solve them.
1. Hydrostatic transmission issues
The hydrostatic transmission utilizes pressure from the hydraulic system to transmit energy from the engine to the drive system. These are very commonly used on compact tractors because they’re easier to maintain thanks to not using traditional gears, which require upkeep.
The hydraulic system also facilitates a range of other attachments, such as the loader, so it’s an integral part of the tractor’s system.
However, some users have reported that their hydraulic system loses power and feels ‘weak’ over time. The first thing to check here is the transmission oil level; if this is too low, the hydraulic system won’t be able to build enough pressure to function. So check this level and refill accordingly.
You may also find that the relief valve has become stuck or broken, which should be replaced. And finally, you should inspect the speed control linkage to ensure it is set correctly.
Sometimes the transmission oil becomes too hot due to excess pressure or load, which can also adversely affect the hydraulic system. Here you should check the cooling components and ensure they are not blocked or clogged. Likewise, the transmission fluid filter should be inspected and cleaned out if it’s dirty.
Finally, you may find signs of the transmission oil leaking out of the system; this leak will also reduce the pressure the hydraulic system can produce. The system should be checked for things like failed seals or gaskets, or the oil drain line isn’t clogged, causing fluid to back up.
2. Steering issues
You may find that the steering wheel either becomes too easy to move and has too much ‘play’ or oppositely becomes exceptionally hard to turn, making navigation difficult or potentially dangerous when you need to turn through tight areas with heavy loads.
If you are encountering a ‘loose’ steering system, the first thing to check here is the steering column shaft and coupling to ensure they are not worn out and the steering linkage assembly. Repair or replace any worn components as needed.
You should also inspect the steering pump to ensure it produces enough pressure; if this fails, it should also be replaced.
If, on the other hand, you are running into stiff steering, it usually indicates some problem with the hydraulic system not being able to build up enough pressure. Unfortunately, there’s a high number of potential causes of this problem, so here’s a list of what should be inspected:
- Check there is no air in the hydraulic steering system; bleed the system as needed to remove excess air.
- Check there is adequate steering oil; if it’s low, top it up.
- The power steering valve control may have become worn out and needs replacing.
- The steering pump may be failing and require replacing.
- Finally, check the steering column as it may become misaligned or damaged and need resetting or replacing if it’s damaged.
Another steering-related issue you might encounter is that the wheels seem to wander or the whole unit pulls to one side. This is commonly caused by uneven pressure between the tires. If one corner is flatter than the others, the chassis will lean down on that side, causing the tractor to pull over.
Ensure all tired have even pressure. You may also wish to check the wheel bearing to ensure they are in good working order, as faulty ones might cause the wheels to ‘wander.’
3. The engine is not able to start
The primary cause of an engine not starting can be traced back to a lack of fuel or air making its way into the engine to start the combustion process.
So the first thing to check here is that the injection nozzles aren’t clogged, as if these cannot correctly atomize the fuel and introduce it to the engine, then it won’t be able to function.
You should also check the fuel and air filters; these are responsible for removing any dust, dirt, or debris from entering the engine and causing problems. Inevitably these can become clogged up over time to the point where it restricts the amount of fuel and air it’s letting into the engine.
Most of the time, these can be cleaned out. However, if they are worn, we recommend simply replacing them as if they start letting unwanted material into the engine; it will manifest with even more severe and potentially expensive problems.
Air may have made its way into the fuel system. So check for any fuel leaks, broken pipes, or connections and fix these up accordingly. Once the leak’s culprit has been addressed, you will need to bleed the system to remove the old air.
Finally, and this is particularly important if the machine has been in storage for a long time, you may find the oil quality has degraded to the point where it’s not good anymore. In this case, discard the old fuel and refill it with new, high-quality fuel.
4. The engine shuts off suddenly
Great! The engine is now able to start. But now you’re finding it seems to shut off for no apparent reason while driving.
The most common contributor to this issue is that the fuel injection nozzle timing has been set incorrectly. This results in an inadequate amount of fuel making its way into the engine, so it cannot maintain the combustion process, so the engine ends up shutting down.
So inspect the fuel injection nozzles and ensure they are set correctly and not clogged up, and replace any broken ones.
Another thing to consider is the engine’s temperature; if it’s an exceptionally cold day, it might need time to warm up before it can be put under a heavy load. So idle the tractor for 5-10 minutes to let everything warm up.
Finally, double-check that the fuel filter is not too clogged up, so there is no fuel restriction.
5. Hydraulic system problems
In addition to the hydrostatic transmission utilizing the hydraulic pump, many attachments such as the loader use this system too.
A number of potential issues can crop up with the hydraulic system, including overheating of the hydraulic oil, a lack of fluid pressure, and unusual operation of the hitch as a result of a hydraulic problem.
Here’s a troubleshooting list to work through; if you rectify all the hydraulic system problems listed here, there’s a good chance it will fix whatever hydraulic-related problem you are encountering:
- Check the hydraulic oil has not been contaminated with water or air. Check for any breaches in the system and repair them accordingly. Then replace the contaminated oil with fresh hydraulic oil.
- Bleed the hydraulic system to remove any air that’s become trapped, resulting in less power production potential.
- Check that the oil level is high enough; if there’s not enough hydraulic oil, it won’t produce enough power. Top up as needed.
- The hydraulic cylinder may have failed and required replacing.
Finally, you should inspect the hydraulic pump and control valve if you are experiencing issues with the hitch, such as it raising or lowering too slowly or if its movement isn’t smooth and is too ‘jerky.’
If the hydraulic pump fails, replace it with a new, working one.
6. Battery and electrical issues
Of course, another common issue is the battery not producing an output.
The first thing to do here, which is especially important if the tractor has been in storage for some time as the battery will drain by itself, is simply to make sure it’s charged up.
In addition, all the connections to the battery should be inspected in case anything has come loose or there is any damage/corrosion on the terminals. Clean these up and repair them as needed.
Suppose you find that it still seems to drain too fast, even after cleaning, reconnecting, and charging the battery. In that case, it may indicate that the battery’s cells are dying, in which case the battery should be replaced with a new, working one, as this is not something a user can service.
John Deere 2305 problems: Are they a deal-breaker?
When deciding if the 2305 and the problems it can encounter make this a poor purchasing decision, we need to factor in the kind of user this is intended for.
As a smaller machine, it’s geared much more towards the homeowner or may be used in smaller commercial applications. And as such, it’s essential that it requires as little upkeep as possible and doesn’t encounter too many issues that need constant visits to the John Deere dealer.
We believe that all the problems the 2305 encounters are pretty common issues that you will encounter on most tractors and are all relatively easy for any user service and repair.
Therefore, we have no hesitation in recommending the 2305 as a fantastic budget-friendly tractor option to anyone with a smaller plot of land needing a machine that can do it all.