7 Most Common John Deere x320 Problems & Troubleshooting

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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The x320 by John Deere is a fantastic budget-orientated tractor designed for those who need to mow large plots of land as efficiently as possible. 

As one of the most popular and well-respected distributors, John Deere is considered a safe brand and is usually a top contender on peoples purchasing lists.

That said, the x320 mower runs into some problems that users consistently report online.

So in this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at those problems and provide some suggested solutions to fix them.

The most common problems with the John Deere x320

While considered one of the lower-end models in the x3 series, it still packs a ton of value, and users have rated this tractor very highly.

It still includes a 22-horsepower V-twin engine that the x360 has, so if you’re dealing with uneven terrain and a large workload, you can be sure this machine will handle it.
However, the 320 doesn’t have a hydraulic lift system which can make certain operations more challenging. But the silver lining is that you don’t have to worry about maintaining a hydraulic system.

The primary issues the John Deere x320 runs into concern the engine, electrical systems, and the battery. So let’s take a look at what these problems are.

1. The engine overheats

One of the more common issues we see reported with the x320. The engine overheating can present several problems. Firstly, it may require you to lighten the load and slow the mowing speed down to create less strain on the engine.

This slows progress and working speed when a faster operation is why most users invest in a machine like this.

Additionally, it can exponentially speed up component wear, costing you more money long-term. 

One of the primary contributors to overheating is that the air intake screen has become blocked. This prevents fresh air from entering the machine, which is required for the old, hot air to be pushed out. So clean the air intake screen to ensure new air can be taken in.

The other leading cause of this is the type of fuel that’s being used. The first thing to check is that the oil level is high enough; a low oil will produce more friction, and therefore, more heat is generated. 

Secondly, you should check the viscosity of the oil. In colder weather and when oil becomes old, it degrades, affecting viscosity. So if that is off, you should discard the old engine oil and replace it with a new, high-quality oil.

The last thing to check is the carburetor, as the idle speed may be set too high, which ends up unnecessarily working the engine. Adjust it to a more reasonable speed.

2. The engine will not start

One of the main issues with engine problems is that there is an array of potential causes. This can make it challenging to narrow down the problem and get it fixed. So let’s go over all the main things you should look at troubleshooting if your engine does not start.

Many of these listed problems should also be part of your regular care and maintenance routine on the tractor. Keep up with these, and you will exponentially reduce your chance of encountering engine problems.

  • The first thing to check is if the gas tank is empty. Of course, if not enough gas is present, the engine cannot start the combustion process. Fill up as needed.
  • You should also check you are using high-grade fuel if possible. Your engine will thank you for it! Additionally, if the mower has been in storage for a while, the fuel quality will degrade, so if the mower’s been sitting, you may want to discard the old oil and refill it.
  • You should check the fuel system for blockages. As the fuel viscosity changes or degrades, it can leave behind deposits that slowly build up and prevent a solid fuel flow to the engine. Unclog the fuel system and clean it as needed.
  • Similarly, you should check and clean out the fuel filter, as if it becomes too blocked, it will restrict fuel flow.
  • Faulty spark plug – the spark plug is, as the name suggests, responsible for creating a small spark that ignites the atomized fuel from the injection nozzles. These are standard components to fail but are luckily also cheap to replace, so discard the broken spark plug and replace it with a new one.

3. The engine is inconsistent and runs evenly

Sometimes even when you’ve got the engine running, you may feel that it’s just not running its best. Often responding in an uneven way like something is wrong.

It’s not your imagination. There are a few things that may contribute to your engine not being able to run consistently that you should check and correct to ensure smooth operation.

The first thing to look at is the cooling fins. Over time, these can gather up dirt, preventing adequate heat removal from the engine. This inconsistent heat dissipation can result in temperature changes within the engine.

As the engine’s performance can often fall under higher temperatures, those blocked fins can directly contribute to uneven engine performance. So unblock the fins and remove all dirt built up in them.

You should also check all the electrical connections for anything that’s become damaged, corroded, or worked its way loose. Repair accordingly.

You may also find the air filter element has become clogged. Much like the cooling fins, this is responsible for filtering out the air as it makes its way to the engine. So if this becomes too blocked, restricted airflow to the engine will fluctuate its performance. So clean this out as needed, or if it’s already too old, replace it with a new one.

4. Battery problems

Another common issue people run into is that the battery either does not work or stops working too soon after it’s just been charged.

The battery will drain if the mower has been in storage for a long time. So, before you fire up the machine after a long period of inactivity, charge it before trying it out.

Once you are sure the battery is charged, two other potential issues might cause problems here.

Firstly, a battery cable or connection terminal has become dirty or corroded. In this scenario, you should clean the connection and reattach any connections that have become loose.

If you find that the battery seems to drain too fast even though you are sure the connections are ok, it may indicate that the cells within the battery have died and it’s no longer able to retain a charge for any time. The only solution here is to remove the old battery and replace it with a new working one.

5. Steering and driving problems

If you are experiencing trouble with driving, such as unresponsive steering or uneven acceleration, it may be due to the drive belt slipping.

The drive belt connects the engine’s main crankshaft to the transmission pulley, allowing the wheel to turn.

You should inspect the drive belt for wear, such as frayed sides or apparent cracks. If there are signs of wear, replace it with a new one as this component is too essential not to function effectively.

If the belt looks in good order, it may simply be too loose and, as a result, is slipping on the crankshaft, creating driving problems. In this case, you can tighten the belt to restore it to working order.

In some rarer cases, you may find that some dirt has worked its way into the pulley sheaves. Clean these out as needed.

6. Excessive vibration

For most tractors, a certain degree of vibration is to be expected. But if you are experiencing excessive vibration to the point where it’s feeling uncomfortable, it may indicate there is a particular component that isn’t set correctly. 

This is especially important as excessive vibration may loosen other components or damage the machine.

The first thing to check is once again if debris has made itself into the sheaves preventing them from moving smoothly. Clean both the pulley and mower deck and remove all debris to ensure they are not being restricted.

You may also find that the drive belt or pulleys are not aligned and should be set correctly to ensure they don’t create an unnecessary force on the mower.

The last thing to check is the mower blades. As these rotate at a fast speed, if they are uneven or unbalanced, it will create heavy accessible forces on the mower resulting in high vibrations. Check how the blades are mounted onto the bearing and ensure they are adequately balanced.

7. Poor and uneven cutting results

The cut quality of a mower degrading over time is a certainty any user will have to face regardless of what mower model they are using. This is a normal thing, and troubleshooting it is not too difficult.

The primary cause of poor cutting quality is the blades becoming dull over time. These blades will need to be resharpened every once in a while. Many manufacturers recommend resharpening mower blades every 25 hours of continuous use, but this may vary depending on your use case.

You will also encounter this problem if your mower deck is too low. This can result in the mower blades’ bending’ the grass on the tougher base instead of cutting in on the shaft. Consider raising the mower deck slightly, which may significantly improve cut quality.

You may also simply be operating the mower too fast. Try slowing the running speed down and giving the blades just that little bit more time to cut – you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes!

Finally, if the blades are defective, they will need to be replaced. Check the blades for obvious visual defects, such as large gouges caused by being hit with rocks. If they look worn, replace them.

John Deere x320 Problems: Are they a deal-breaker?

After reviewing all of the common problems users have reported encountering with the John Deere x320, we have found that all of these are very common problems that any user will encounter regardless of what model and brand of mower they purchase.

So the problems themselves certainly should not deter you from considering this mower as your next purchase. The main thing to consider is that this sits on the lower end of the X3 series, and there are several models above this if you are looking for something more premium and robust.

We believe this is ideal for homeowners with large plots of land or small formal commercial work. But if you want to do bigger jobs on larger parcels of land, you may wish to consider one of the more premium models within the John Deere range.

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