7 Most Common LS Tractor Problems & Troubleshooting

LS tractors offer a range of compact, sub-compact, and utility tractors that can be fully customized to your exact preferences. So whether you’re looking for something to handle the heaviest of workloads to some light yard work – LS Tractor’s will have you covered.

They also sell a range of attachments for their entire range, from diggers to movers and mowers. LS Tractors can offer the versatility you need without compromising on performance.

While these tractors are generally well reviewed, many users report high satisfaction with their LS tractors. There are specific problems you will run into as an owner of one of these machines that you should be aware of.

The most common problems with LS tractors

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There are many benefits to owning an LS Tractor. They offer fantastic prices for performance with no hidden costs. A hefty six-year warranty and dealers who are very open to finding you the suitable model for your intended application.

But, as with many tractors, they do suffer from engine and steering problems that any prospective owner should be aware of before purchasing one of these machines.

So in today’s article, we’ll take an in-depth look at those problems and how you can maintain them as an end user. And finally, we’ll share our thoughts on whether we think an LS tractor is worth investing in with all of these issues taken into account.

1. The engine struggles to start

A common issue to occur in almost any tractor. As a user, there is a specific maintenance routine you should keep up with to ensure that over time the engine doesn’t develop starting issues.

But if this is something you are running into, here are the primary reasons why it might be occurring:

  • The battery is not charged. If you’ve had the machine in storage for a while, the battery may have drained itself and require charging. However, if you are sure the battery has been charged and still doesn’t provide power, you should check all the electrical connections to the battery and tighten anything loose.
  • If you find that it’s still unable to hold a charge after fixing the battery connections, it may indicate that the battery is faulty and requires replacing it with a new, working one.
  • The next thing to check is the PTO switch which should be kept in the off position.
  • The starter solenoid may also fail and require replacing.

In addition to the abovementioned problems, an issue with the fuel system may contribute to the engine not starting.

Here the first thing to check is the fuel filter which is responsible for removing any debris from the fuel so it can make its way to the engine nice and clean. Over time, these can become clogged, which may restrict the amount of fuel that can make it to the engine, preventing it from starting.

This filter should be cleaned out if possible, or if it’s already too old, it should be replaced.

Likewise, it may also be an excess of air in the fuel system, and the system will need to be bled to remove it. You should also check all fuel lines and connection points for breaches that may have allowed air to enter the system.

Finally, you should be mindful of the quality and age of the fuel you are using. Over time oil can degrade and cause startup problems, so if the oil is already quite old or of poor quality, it’s best to discard it and exchange it for newer, higher-quality fuel.

2. The engine stalls mid-use

Even if you have already fixed the problem of the engine not starting, you may find that the engine will continue stalling mid-use, which is arguably even more frustrating.

This is once again most commonly linked to being a fuel issue. So the first thing to check is that the fuel tank is adequately filled as a low fuel tank starves the engine of fuel, causing it to stall. Likewise, you should recheck the fuel filter just in case it’s preventing fuel flow.

You should also check the fuel nozzles responsible for vaporizing the fuel for combustion in the engine. When these are performing inefficiently, the engine will not be able to receive enough oil to maintain the combustion process.

You should also check the engine’s lubrication points, as these can contribute to component deterioration and result in inefficient performance and unexpected engine stalling.

Finally, if you are experiencing the engine only shutting at low speeds, it may be due to an incorrect valve gap or a faulty injection pump. Both should be inspected and repaired accordingly.

3. The engine is overheating

Overheating is usually caused by a restriction in the tractor’s ability to dissipate heat.

So the first thing to check is that there is sufficient coolant. Ideally, this should be topped up as part of your regular maintenance routine to ensure the level doesn’t get so low it starts to cause problems.

You should also check the radiator screen, which is responsible for allowing heat to dissipate from the tractor. Over time this may become blocked up with dirt, and as a result, heat will not be able to escape from the machine correctly, leading to overheating. 

If it’s blocked up, then the radiator screen should be washed.

Similarly, the air filter is also responsible for taking in clean air that circulates the engine contributing to cooling. This can also become blocked over time as dust particulate builds up on the filter and should be washed or replaced accordingly.

The final thing to check is the fan belt. It should be replaced if it looks old, cracked, or frayed. The tension should also be checked. If it’s too loose, it will affect the fan’s ability to spin, resulting in heat buildup.

4. The engine is producing smoke

While indeed an alarming thing to experience, it’s usually not as serious as it seems. Generally speaking, smoke is excess oil that’s being burned off. However, checking the smoke being produced and what is causing it is crucial for the longevity of your tractor.

Black smoke indicated excess fuel being burned off, so you should check if the air filter is clogged up as this will create a fuel-heavy mixture with insufficient air (also referred to as running ‘rich’). So the air filter should be cleaned or replaced accordingly.

Likewise, this may be caused by oil that’s leaked onto the muffler and is burning off. So check the oil level and the fuel system for leaks. Fix as needed.

This may also be caused by very old or stale fuel, so mainly if the machine has been in storage for some time, you should discard the old fuel and replace it with good-quality new fuel.

On the other hand, if your tractor produces white smoke, it means the opposite: the fuel is not being burned off correctly. This smoke can irritate the eyes and skin, so it should be addressed immediately.

The first thing to check is the fuel injectors, as the fuel may be being dribbled out into the engine instead of being atomized, in which case it won’t be burned off correctly, resulting in white smoke.

A fault in the cooling system may also result in the fuel injector nozzles getting hot, so sometimes fixing the cooling will also improve the fuel injectors. Check that the air filter is clear of debris, that there is enough coolant, and that the radiator is not blocked and can dissipate heat.

5. The engine lacks power

If an engine struggles, it’s usually down to a poor fuel supply.

  • Make sure there is enough fuel in the fuel tank.
  • Check the injection nozzles are not blocked or faulty.
  • Check the oil filter to ensure the fuel flow is not restricted in any way.
  • Check the fuel lines for leaks or compromised connections and repair them accordingly.
  • Check the Fuel pump to ensure it’s correctly delivering fuel to the engine. If this is faulty, it will need to be replaced.

6. Problems steering the tractor

Steering issues can be very troublesome and potentially dangerous when carrying heavy loads. You need to be sure you control the machine and can operate it safely.

Some users have reported that the tractor is hard to turn. This can be due to a misalignment in the steering unit and column spline. These should be inspected and re-connected as needed.

You should also check the hydraulic pump, as the hydrostatic transmission relies on adequate pressure to produce the power needed to steer. So ensuring there is sufficient hydraulic oil, the pump is working, and that no air has made its way into the hydraulic system, reducing efficiency, is very important here.

7. Electrical issues

By and large, the electrical systems in LS Tractors are excellent. However, some users have reported problems with various switches, lights, and LEDs failing over the machine.

While this is not a consistently recurring problem, it may well be something you will need to contend with as an LS Tractor owner.

Fortunately, these are straightforward issues to fix and will usually require the faulty connection to be restored and are generally quite easily fixed by the user without needing professional repairs.

LS Tractor problems: Are they a deal-breaker?

Overall, LS Tractors are very well designed and don’t have many inherent flaws with them. Providing you keep up with regular general maintenance, we are confident that any LS Tractor you buy will serve as a robust companion for many years to come.

However, you may understandably have some reservations about using a smaller company instead of wanting to opt for a bigger and more established brand such as John Deere.

This will ultimately come down to whether you have access to an LS Tractor dealer/repair shop nearby for easy servicing/repair of the tractor. If this is not somewhat readily available for you, we would recommend going with a bigger brand just for that peace of mind.

But that is not a criticism of LS Tractors, and they should be commended for their excellent manufacturing and ability to keep customers happy.

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( Farming Equipment Expert )

Marvin is an expert in farming equipment with a strong background in agricultural engineering. He graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture, where he received a degree in Agricultural Engineering and specialized in farm equipment design and maintenance.