5 Most Common John Deere Z950R Problems & Solutions

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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If you have a John Deere z950r, you will experience high levels of comfort. Also, this zero-turn mower provides efficient performance on different types of properties.

The mower has a pro deck and an ultimately comfortable seating option. This mower uses a top-notch Kawasaki gas engine with 27 horsepower. However, all these perks won’t make a perfect mower.

Some users complain about typical John Deere z950r problems. There are some power issues, starting difficulties, or PTO problems. So, if you are experiencing one or more of these issues, this blog post is for you.

We dive deeper into the issues and provide reliable solutions.

The Most Common Problems with John Deere Z950R

A few complaints about the John Deere z950r do not make it a bad mower. This model has been on the market for a while with ongoing success. The good news is that you can avoid most of these problems with simple maintenance.

1. Starting failure

This is not an exclusive issue for the John Deere z950r, as it happens with most zero-turn mowers. It would be best if you start by checking out your fuel tank. If there is enough fuel, it could be an issue with fuel quality. Bad fuel could lead to the mower’s constant breakdown and eventual inability to start.

In addition to starting failure, you can identify poor fuel quality when you see a blackish deposit. Such deposits accumulate inside the fuel tank and other fuel system parts.

In this case, you must empty your gasoline reservoir. Then, you should clean the parts containing any deposits.

Another main culprit in the starting failure issue is the battery. Loose cables inside the battery can impair its ability to function. You should check that all terminals and cables are tight and clean.

Then, it would help if you tried to charge the battery. If none of this works, then a new battery is needed.

2. Black Exhaust

You are not supposed to see any emission from your John Deere z950r, but you must pay attention to this warning sign when you do. Black exhaust is usually caused by burning more fuel than usual.

It can also signal that the airflow is not reaching the engine as it should. This issue could be a result of too much oil inside the engine. A clogged air filter can also cause it.

Well, let’s start with the easy part; the air filter. This filter could have a stubborn buildup of debris or mowed grass. This buildup can block sufficient air from flowing smoothly to the engine.

The cure for this situation is really simple. You have to get a brand-new filter.

The other place you should look into is the oil reservoir of your John Deere z950r. You can have inadequate levels of this vital fluid. Too much oil could leak into the crankcase.

This scenario will lead to a rapid and unnecessary fluid burn, which causes black smoke.

Typically, this affects the efficiency of the engine in the long run. To efficiently solve this issue, you should grab your user manual and check the appropriate levels.

Then, it would help if you readjusted your mower’s level accordingly.

3. PTO won’t engage

If the PTO switch doesn’t engage or work, you can start looking in many directions. This could be as simple as a defective fuse or something more tricky, like a loose PTO clutch. 

If you are familiar with PTO clutch inspection, you can easily open it up and detect any blown fuses. A bad fuse will look burned or appear darker than usual. In this case, you can use your skills to install a new one.

Additionally, you can check the fluid level in your transmission. Insufficient oil can stall the engagement of the clutch. And again, proper airflow is necessary for the ultimate performance of the PTO clutch. So, make sure the air filter remains clean.

Also, check the connection between the clutch and sub-harness. A burned connection could exist, or the sub-harness itself could be damaged.

In both cases, measuring the resistance of the wires can give you a clue as to the problem. Once you uncover the real reason, you can easily get a replacement.

4. Poor transmission

This issue is one of the most annoying John Deere Z950R problems. Poor transmission can be associated with various causes. Aside from the decreased levels of hydrostatic transmission oil, the other reasons could be:

  • Defective drive belt
  • Faulty pulleys
  • Cavitation
  • Malfunctioning driving axle

When you inspect the drive belt to uncover the presence of casual wear and tear, you should instantly change the bad belt. Otherwise, the mower’s hydraulic pump won’t function properly. Thus, your mower will lose power all of a sudden.

As for the pulleys, please pay extra attention to the idler pulley. If anything goes wrong with this pulley, the brand-new drive belt will fail to generate proper movement. 

To avoid all such escalations, you must get a new one. Please make sure to lubricate the tension arm of the mower.

Another problem that could prevent the hydraulic system from functioning is cavitation. This indicates the presence of air in the hydraulic drive components. In this case, there is no other solution than performing a purge process.

It is a challenging task, though. If you are uncertain about doing it, you can bring your John Deere z950r to a relevant repair shop or ask for referrals at your local dealer.

5. Uneven cuts

This is not a common problem in gasoline mowers, but it does occur in diesel mowers. However, it is one of the most straightforward issues to tackle. It can be a result of the wrong deck level. You can correct this situation by adjusting the deck position per the user’s manual instructions.

If this is not the problem, then it must be the blades. You can inspect them for rust buildup, broken points, or damaged bladesYou can try sharpening the blades, but you have to be careful not to hurt yourself.

John Deere Z950R Problems: Are they a deal breaker?

No, all these widely discussed issues with the John Deere z950r are not deal breakers. They are found in various models of zero-turn mowers. They can be efficiently dealt with if you know the basics of maintenance.

You can handle the starting failure and smoky exhaust issues if you keep an eye on the cleanliness of the filters. Also, it would be best to observe the oil and fuel levels to address these issues.

As for the PTO and transmission issues, you’ll need to check all the wires and connections inside the system. Also, please check the hydraulic fluid levels and ensure no air is in the cylinders or pumps. Checking the blades to ensure their sharpness is required to avoid uneven grass trimming.

With proper and regular maintenance and avoiding machine misuse, your John Deere z950r will last for decades. It can remain as good as new if you know how to look after its components properly.

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