My John Deere won’t climb hills after it’s been running for about 15 minutes. It happens slowly and eventually, it just stops climbing; a few years back, the hill wasn’t a big problem but now I have to let it rest for 30 minutes and then finish mowing. My wife suggested I stop eating and that the extra weight was putting undue wear and tear on my riding lawn mower…

The problem didn’t start with the steep hills of the house I’m in now, it started with the previous yard which was a small, flat lawn less than half an acre. After about a year, I started to notice a loss in power; not enough to prevent mowing but enough that it was noticeable. Once I moved and started mowing the hills, it became progressively worse.

I have an extremely steep hill, so steep that I have to bend down when riding so that my center of gravity is lower. I realize that such an incline will wear down a tractor, but I have a John Deere and was under the impression that these riding mowers are the toughest in the business. (and I must add that this started before I started mowing that big hill and guessing that the big hill just made the defect stand out sooner than later!)

Note: Check out my tip for when your John Deere Mower Stalls if you are not having problems losing power.

I started reading the John Deere tractor forum and found a few suggestions on how to fix the problem.

Option #1, Replace Fluid on K46 – Worthless
One suggestion was removing hydrostatic transmission and replacing the fluid. This is not an easy task and some users claim that by the time the fluid is bad, the transmission may be shot – yet others claim that they have seen a major improvement in performance after the change.

From what I understand, there is no way to replace the transmission fluid in a John Deere L120 (applies to L130 and a few others) without first removing the transmission – not an easy task!

Option #2, Have John Deere repair my transaxle – Same Problem!The second option is to bring it in and have it repaired; however, when I called my local dealer, he stated that they just chuck the old transmission and stick in a replacement. He said that he can not install the transmission of another rider and that it has to be an exact replacement (original parts). The cost for that original hydrostatic transmission is $669.33 ($100 labor included), unfortunately, I would end up with the same problem over time.

Option #3, Buy a better model John Deere – Not Fair!
The third option is to buy the closest model riding mower that has the ability to change fluid and filter. That model is the John Deere X360 and runs $4,895. Not only is that too much, but my bagging attachments and snow plow from the L120 will not fit the X360, so I’m looking at another $2,000 bringing the total to almost $7,000!

Option #4, Install a K66 Transaxle upgrade kit – Worked like a charm, wow!
The fourth option in dealing with my John Deere that won’t climb hills is to buy a transmission upgrade kit and I am NOT mechanically inclined! This is the option I ran with and I’ll explain that in detail shortly. The kit costs almost $1,000 and greatly increases the power of your lawn mower giving you the same ability to change fluid as does the X360.

UPDATE! Skip the Upgrade Kit (now about $1,800) and buy a Husqvarna GT

You can read the rest of this page which I wrote when the upgrade kit was in the $800 range, which made sense, but for the price it costs now (around $1,800) and the fact you’ll be putting the new transmission on an old machine, makes buying a new (or used) Husqvarna GT the better option. Here are some models to choose from right now, with free shipping – and eBay guarantees the purchase!. Most GT Models will have the K66 transaxle, such as the GT54LS, GT48XLSi and the GT52XLSi. If in doubt, just ask to make sure it’s has the K66.

K66 Transaxle Upgrade Kit Cost (Now $1,800)

I did a lot of research and there are manuals you can buy to do it yourself; you’ll save some money buying the transmission separately, but you have to run around and get all the parts. For me, spending $700 for a transmission that will break down again or $300 more ($1,000) for a transmission that will turn my L120 into a beast was a no-brainer.

The upgrade kit I purchased comes with a brand new Tuff Torq K66 Hydrostatic transmission, bigger back wheels (which you need), all the parts and a very easy to understand color manual. I mention transmission a lot, but technically, it’s a K66 Transaxle Upgrade kit.

It took two of us 5 hours (seemed like half that) to remove and install the new Hydrostatic transmission and what a feeling of accomplishment! The John Deere transmission upgrade kit and the documentation was one of the most complete and easy to understand I’ve ever read – the pictures basically walked us through the entire project step by step.

I was, and still am, blown away by the power of my upgraded L120! It actually brings the front end quite a ways up when starting off at full speed :) As for the hills, no problem at all and in fact, I can stop in the middle of the hill and continue without any problems. No more groaning sounds like the old transmission made (perhaps it is my imagination, but now I hear it growl).

I have a new love for my John Deere and knowing that I have a tricked out tractor makes it all that better. As for winter, no problem – I’m confident that the bigger tires (big knobbies) and super powered Tuff Torq K66 Transaxle will not only handle the worst of snow, but provide hours of entertainment as well :)

I did a lot of research and found a John Deere transmission upgrade kit. I could see from forum posts and eBay status that it was safe not to mention that eBay guaranteed the purchase; the fact that I had a phone number to call made me feel that much better.

I can tell you that Roger is serious about his customer service. Not only did he keep in constant communication, but I had tracking numbers, status updates and tips from other owners that he passed along to make things easier. I called him a few times to ask questions and each time, he was there for me. Who does that?!

I want to let you know that I have never met Roger (who sells the kit) and never communicated with him before I made my purchase. I took a chance buying this kit and was thrilled to have a smooth purchase and above the bar support! I did this review because in a world where integrity is so hard to find, it was nice to deal with someone that stuck by his word!

At the time I purchased the upgrade kit (years ago now), the cost was fairly cheap and here is what I paid:

John Deere Transmission Upgrade Kit L130, L120 & others
$879.00 Upgrade Kit *
$99 Shipping *
*see note below as to price changes

You would have received:

Tuff Torq K66 hydrostatic transmission / transaxle that will replace your weak or worn-out K46 with a K66 which applies to John Deere L130, L120 & others

This is a Do-It-Yourself kit and provides all the parts that you will need, including the required larger wheels. For a person with average skills, about five hours is required.

K66 Transaxle Upgrade Kit Included:

  • A brand new Tuff Torq K66 Hydrostatic transmission.
  • A new set of 23″ x 10.50″ – 12″ wheels and new U. S. Made Carlisle “Turf Tamer” tires. (Pictured in listing)
  • All the required various Genuine John Deere transaxle installation parts. All the parts, even the nuts and bolts are neatly bagged and identified.
  • A 28-page detailed, pictorial, installation manual that anyone can follow. (See photos for view of the Index and a sample page.)
  • Free technical telephone or email support to help you out if you have an unexpected problem, email Roger.

Additional things you will need:

  • Two auto-type jack stands.
  • Basic hand tools and a basic set of metric box end wrenches and a 5/8″ US box end wrench.
  • A safe place to work.
  • A “Helper-Outer.” (i.e., friend or spouse)

I got lucky finding this kit and excited that everything worked out as promised and service was as good as promised making my John Deere transmission upgrade easy.

Note: Since I originally posted this review, demand for the K66 transaxles increased such that the surplus of 500 have been depleted. Although arrangements were made with Tuff Torq to make new K66’s for Roger’s kits, the low cost I received is no longer available and the new price is such that for a little more, you can buy a new tractor, something other than a Deere! John Deere has also raised some of their prices, so

the kit I bought for $978 is now about $1,618!

It’s obvious from the number of comments and page visits that this is a very serious problem, so I’m collecting names to start a class action lawsuit for those of us that own a John Deere “L’ series Lawn Tractor. To date, we have around 1,400 visitors from around the United States that have added their name to the lawsuit. We are working on finding a lawyer to handle the lawsuit and will update as we have more information. Once I have the attorney, I will likely close this form, so get your name on the list if you feel you’ve been mislead / ripped off / sold a lemon.

The fact is, John Deere installed a completely “non-serviceable” transmission in their “L” series Lawn Tractors, know that their transmission will break down under normal conditions, and worse, charge you $1,800 for the K66.

If your L-Series experiences one of the following, please express your interest in being compensated:

  • Tractor slows down and/or has power lose while going up a hill.
  • Tractor moves very slow or not at all in reverse.
  • A loud whining noise can be heard from the back of the tractor when in use.
  • Your tractor does not have a method for checking or changing the fluid level of the hydrostatic transmission.

2/11/2015 Update: The John Deere transmission upgrade kit is sold on eBay and now $1,798. If I were you, I’d check out the product on eBay and ask Roger to explain why it has increased in value and what you could buy for that amount. I’m not sure if it’s the entire tractor that’s been upgraded, or the transmission, but I can tell you this… That k66 transaxle is still kicking butt and no change in performance! I’ve got the steepest hills around (I’m going to video take myself going up and down the hill so you can see for yourself) and the monster tires I received with my kit make snow plowing a snap!

The fact that Roger has a good number of eBay reviews since I purchase my kit years ago and 100% positive feedback over the last year is a sign he’s still living up to his word and on top of that, eBay backs up the purchase.

I need to point out one last thing! What John Deere put out on the market, and what I ended up buying, was completely wrong! I trusted that name, regardless of the price. I figured I’d get the same product farmers get, not some poorly made version that required me to make it right! So, I’ve put together a class action lawsuit form and collecting names – if you’re in the same boat as me, take a minute and sign the form.

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605 replies
  1. robert johnson says:

    I have a D170 and it started slipping a few year ago when the bagger started getting full….but seemed fine with out the extra weight, this year with no extra weight the tractor is slowing down…..I used to do about 4 mph…now its about 2 to 3 mph and uphills it almost stops…

  2. John Alvarado says:

    I have a d170 and the transmission went the first year also. I have a steep hill and it just started to make a noise. 2 mows later and it died. Had to replace the transmission. Over $900 to fix. Now a year later and it is dead again… I am retired military, and my whole career I was told by my solders, “John Deere was the best”. Boy were we wrong…

  3. Jason says:

    John Deere L130 23 h.p. Kohler motor I really have no complaints,Transmission same old story loss of power & forget about mowing uphill.

  4. roy sadler says:

    I got a L120 john deere that cuts fine as long as you don’t go up hill . Go up hill slow but engage the blades it stop right there. No power to pull the hill.Someone told me the rear end is like the transmission ,so I spent about 2 hours getting to the fill plug , and guess what? It was full to the top.Now what? HELP

  5. Larry Cauchi Amherstburg On. Canada. says:

    I have this same problem with my L130. I would like to be added to his list. Very disappointed with this mower and John Deer don’t care reaction

  6. Robert Chen says:

    Robert Chen

    Bought the D170 in May 2017. Worked great until about 90 hours. Now it
    will barely get up a very slight incline.

    Let sue em!

  7. Glen Kennedy says:

    I bought my la 130 in 05 and haven’t had any problems until 2 yrs ago. It started whining and loosing power. I would love to upgrade it but the cost is high. Is it really worth the money to upgrade it? I don’t understand why anyone would put something like this in knowing it can’t be serviced. I do all of my service myself cause I’ve worked at mower shops before and would rather do myself. Let me know about the law suit

  8. Raymond says:

    My D 170 is sitting down in the back yard. 4 good years and no problem, this year junk.

  9. david r dyke says:

    hi im randy i bought a l 130 last fall about 650 hrs on it and i have barely used it so far and i have found out that it wont hardly back up after it runs about 15 minutes even on the smallest hill and foward dosent work so good eiither but it does stiill move, i just have to try not to back up, ive always liked john deere and my parents liked them also, but i have to say its not worth it to spend this kind of money to buy a mower thats suposed to be a good mower then something big like this goes bad on it and its going to cost me more than i paid for the mower to fix it, it seems that john deere is letting thier product go downhill, i guess its because it cant climb the hill right?

  10. Hiram Coffey Ohio says:

    I have a John Deere D170 54 inch tractor. Ran good for about 5 years and now I have to mow my 2 acres in stages. I have about a 15 percent grade on the side of my home and it won’t go up it after about 30 minutes of mowing. I’m so upset that it is like this. Now I’m torn. Do I go buy another mower, not John Deere or use the tuff torque.
    Almost 5000.00 for this mower and it’s junk. I wrote several letters to John Deere and have heard nothing in return.
    I’m in for the lawsuit.

  11. Brian says:

    5/16/18- I also have the same thing wrong with my John Deere L130 mower with the K-46 tuff torque transmission ..I mow for about 15 minutes and it stops pulling completely. I bought it new and thought I was getting a good quality mower. Very disappointing .. I live in a sub that is flat on a 1/4 acre are you kidding me? ..$3000.00 total wasted with a bagger and plow attachment and the good 23hp Kohler V twin engine …

    I have been thinking of ordering the upgrade K66 From reading all the previous posts ..nope, not going to happen .. I’m sure the kit is a great product and would fix all my problems.. but after this investment not only will I never buy a JD product .. I will tell this story to many others .. BTW I have been loyal JD owner in the past .. Nice corporate cost savings decision buy JD top brass .. Also, I don’t care if it was in other brand tractors, JD should have had a higher quality tranny as they have in my other 20+ year old JD’s that still work fine .. Do the right thing and announce a recall JD! Prove you are top quality again and stick to your heritage .. we challenge you! Let me guess .. that wont happen because it will effect your bonus and stock options for a year or two correct? Don’t you hate when the consumer is right? And they back them selfs up with facts and data to cut through the bs .. I can bore the non technical crowd with FMEA analysis, 5-Y’s and root cause analysis done on the front end of the product launch that exposed this issue. But, enough of our time has been wasted.



  12. Brian peltier says:

    John deere d170 2015. Has not gone uphill in a year. Please add me. Brian Peltier leechburg pa

  13. Cal Washispack says:

    I have a very nice JD X300. No transmission. What a shame to have such a nice piece of equipment with a faulty K46 Hydrostatic Transmission.

  14. Rob Kreiner says:

    Had an LT150 for 13 years with no issues, got a used LT160 with around 200 operating hrs and it started having that problem after the first month. Now it sits.

  15. Greg S says:

    I just purchased an E170 and now have come across this site. I have read every post (took a while) and of course I am wondering if my E170 is destined to suffer the same problems as everyone else here has experienced. I have been doing much research on the subject and noticed that a lot of the 100 series models do not use the K46. The lower end 100 series models use a T40 which is also manufactured by Tuff Torque and from what I can tell has the same specs as the K46. The interesting thing about the T40 is that it seems to be a special part made for JD. JD uses these on the lower model 100 series and the higher models gets the K46. I am wondering if JD is having Tuff Torque make a cheaper\lower quality part in the T40 and that is what is causing the majority of the failures. If the T40 was equal to the K46 then JD would use it in all of their tractors that rely on the lower end transaxle. Thoughts?

  16. Thad Perry says:

    I have a L 145 that will not pull after a few minutes of mowing. It has been this way after about 60hrs . Replaced the pump and motor it worked better but only lasted about 20 hrs. I always thought John Deere was a good product but not now. I know the transmissions are made by tuff torq. . Its mows good on flat land but there’s not flat land in tn.

  17. David Pettis says:

    Have the same problem and I even paid a John Deere dealer to install a new transmission and no one said squat about a better stronger transmission and now I am in the same boat again.

  18. Terence says:

    I have a John Deere LT160 with 180 hours and it has begun the crawl of death on hills. Tranny overheats and tractor comes to stop after 10 minutes of mowing until you let it cool for several hours. The price of the K66 kit is prohibitive. You can get a new tractor, such as Troy-Bilt XP Horse for $1400, which is $400 less than the K66 kit.

  19. Pat Carosone says:

    Interested in finding out if their are readers who have successfully drained fluid from their tractor and changed fluid.

  20. George Lampkin says:

    I too have the same problem with my JD L120. I read about drilling a drain hole in the transaxle and refilling. I am seriously considering this option. Buying the $1800 replacement is not an option as the cost is no longer warranted. I have purchased another mower but would like to salvage the JD for some work here. I am truly disappointed in the JD line as many of the others have posted here. I too am willing to be a part of the Class-Action suit.

    Where do I sign?

    George Lampkin
    Suffolk, Va

  21. Chris Shaw says:

    March 6, 2018
    I have a 2003 LT 160 that no longer will back up and now is slipping going forward. I thought I was buying the best of the best and went in debt to do so only to be very disappointed and the brand name not being as it per claimed to be. I am mechanically inclined and thought I could correct this issue with a little expense until I discovered your website and it is very heartbreaking to learn the news. If we can no longer trust the brand name where the hell do we go from here? Not all of us can afford the lawn services. I could only hope that this can make them honor their reputation that was once outstanding.

  22. William Rainsberger says:

    I have a LA 145 with few hours on it<70 and it has issues. If the grass is tall it will only crawl through it and chops it very rough in the highest setting, wants to stall out. My yard is very flat yet feels as if it wants to stall out completely, and will come to a stop then go again. Extremely rough idle and will backfire when idle with blades not engaged at standard throttle. I have to throttle up to get it to run efficiently. I have clean the carburetor out and replaced the fuel filter. Oil change is performed twice per year even though the hours are very low. My lot is 1/3 acre so it doesn’t get much use. Blades have been replaced at least three times, yet it seems to only lay over tough grass. Very frustrated and now to find out i5 may be the transmission and have to shell out as much as the initial purchase, unacceptable. Include me as a participant in the class action suit, please.

  23. Rodney Yowe says:

    My John Deere D140 has the same problem. Won’t climb slopes, and goes verrry slow. Add me to the class action.

  24. Scott D Morgan says:

    I have a LA-145 it has no power on hills and goes at a crawl or not at all after in runs for a short while.

  25. Robert says:

    Just an observation from a guy looking to by a tractor. My research has led me here about the poor quality TuffTork K46 Transaxle.

    Q: Has this Class Action Lawsuit included people that have tractors with the K46 ? If not, it should be expanded to include all of them as well. Power in numbers. Right ?

    That said, it appears the K46s main issue is an extremely weak clutch inside. WHY in God’s name is TuffTork still producing this toy of a Transaxle anyways ? So many failures should not be considered as normal wear and tear. Someone is making a butt load of CASH here !

    I’ll be looking for a Tractor that has a transaxle with a clutch that is stronger than that K46 POS !

  26. john says:

    I hate my John Deere D170. I maintain this vehicle according to its recommended schedule (although they seem to recommend a LOT of maintenance).

    The first 2 years were reasonable. We use the vehicle on the weekends to mow the lawn and pull a small harrow to manage horse manure. We have a 5 horses on flat land. In the beginning, I thought I might have purchased “too much” vehicle.
    Now — after 220 hrs of use — I have very little power after 20 minutes of operation. I end up pulling the harrow myself back top the shed, and the vehicle can barely get back to the garage with NO LOAD. No mower, no harrow. I weigh about 200 lbs.
    I haven’t abused or overworked this vehicle. What a disappointment. Welcome any thoughts.

  27. Steven Robertson says:

    Problem with automatic hydrostatic transmissions.
    I have worked on a craftsman and John Deere xmsns, both would not move at all, the main problem with them was old dirty oil, never been changed, but the old oil clogs the internal oil filter so no oil can get to pump and motor. I have actually taken the xmsns apart and cleaned the filters with degreaser, reassembled with fresh oil and they worked fine. Unless you change the oil yearly, somehow it gets sludgy and clogs the internal filter, Internal filter design and poor access to easy oil change is the main problems with these xmsns. People never think about the xmsn oil change until it no longer works, then blames the mfr.

  28. Tom says:

    Well guys this is the same song every one else is singing. My L110A started do the same things everyone else is complaining about. I’m going to drain the oil flush the transaxle (or maybe not) then put new oil in. I found a guy who has 3 used trannys at $150 each so if the oil change doesn’t work I will probably get one of the used trannys and hope I get a few more years service out of it.

  29. Gary Bradley says:

    My john deere lt150 starts slipping after about 20 minutes of mowing……let it set for a couple of hours and it will run for 15 to 20 minutes and not pull again……what a bummer….

  30. James Oscar McMillen says:

    My john deere D 150 with a 48 cut will not climb even the smallest hill I bought the mower in April of 2011 and I paid a good price for apparently junk I’m very upset

  31. Brian Howard says:

    I have a John Deere SST16 transmission is bad and barely move ,I have about 35 others dating from early 60’s to late 70.s. that don’t have any problems with the transmission, it’s kind of like a mtd, ( the sst16) ,please put me on the list.

  32. Frank says:

    I bought a used L120 for $650 with about 400 hours on it. It wasn’t long before I began to notice the same issues listed in the comments regarding the transmission. It lasted one season after having to give it a few rest periods during each mow.

    My answer was to replace it with a vintage JD 212, 38″ with snow blade from the 70’s for $450 and since I love that old beast and it gets the job done, I just added a vintage JD 216 with the pulley for a snowblower for here in PA, it cost $550. Since the guy I bought the 216 lived about 50 miles away, I offered him the L120 with the worn out tranny and steering for free in exchange for delivery.

    Now I sleep better at night knowing I have two John Deere products over 30+ years that will get the lawn mowed and the snow plowed when I need it.

    In the process, I met two guys that love to work on and refurbish 200 series John Deere lawn tractors. Attachments for these can be got for usually less that a couple hundred bucks.

    To get the John Deere quality that is legendary, I had to go back to the past.

  33. Steve Plante says:

    JD L120 400 hours, same issue. Debating whether to rebuild the K46 tuff toro transmission for $300.

    What are people replacing when shopping around for new tractors? Everything I read JD still the industry leader. Other brands use tuff torq transmission as well. Let me know.

  34. Jim says:

    I have owned an LT-155 for 16 years. I am having the same issues regarding inclines. I went to the dealer and they recommended I purchase a new transaxle- $1100 not including labor. I have had to replace idler springs, belts & tires. I found that the drive belt jumped the idler and it was running and glazing the belt. The result was loss of power and transmission overheating. The hood and body parts do crack easily. However the Kohler engine has operated with flawless continuity. I am frustrated having to replace parts DIY; rates here are $80/hr. The ability to work on the mower is difficult as accessing and replacing components are often buried behind something very tight/close or large.
    Deere needs to know that their design and quality assurance has suffered while the prices continue to climb. The average consumer can not afford commercial grade equipment. Too many short-cuts and inferior quality.
    Remember who makes the money in a class action suit …. the lawyers !!!! …. I’ll be too old to cut my grass and likely be a resident in an independent living facility if /when it settles. It appears that legislation cutting consumer protection rights will be challenged or greatly reduced soon.
    Jim…Akron, Ohio

  35. Robert says:

    I have a John Deere LT160. 250 hours- after 15 minutes cannot go up any type of hill. Replaced the belt, didn’t make a difference. Have quite a few hills in yard, don’t know what to do……probably have to buy a Simplicity.

  36. Santos says:

    I changed the transmission fluid in my LA120 (which has a T40 transaxle) after debating for a long time if it was time to ditch JD. Thought I would take a chance and replace the fluid. Based on Tuff Torq’s recommendation used 5W50 Full Synthetic oil. 7

    It definitely improved the performance but did not fix the problem fully. Instead of climbing up my hill only once and failing on the second attempt, I can climb up seven to eight times.

    TT also recommends changing the Trans fluid after first 50 hrs and thereafter every 200 hrs of use.

    Apparently TT supplies the transmissions to JD without the transmission fluid. Then to apparently JD fills it with fluid.

  37. Victor Hernandez says:

    I have a three or four year John Deere z425 mower with the hydro tranny. it jerks when turning. It is a sealed trans, the cost is over $700 for each trans. It is junk

  38. Linda Bowen says:

    I have a D140 JD and felt like most of you, JD has always stood for quality so can still be trusted to provide a quality product, apparently no more. My JD does not even have 90 hours on it and can no longer go up hills, which I have many of at 20-30 degrees. I brought it from a local dealer after having had Craftsman mowers for over 35 years. The salesman never asked me what type of acreage or terrain I mowed. He only answered my questions as I walked the line of tractors. The information I got was what I asked, where was the REAL knowledge that I needed? Is it all my fault for not asking the right questions or should I expect someone selling me a product to ask ME the questions I need to be asked to get the right product for the right job? I am not only disappointed in JD but my local dealer. I now have a $2000 lawn ornament. If you are still putting a class action suit together, sign me up.

  39. Bill says:

    Backed my L110 out of the shed today as it was in the way. When ready to put it away had to climb back into the shed, up a small grade, would not climb while sounding like a blender. Totally depressed now that I may have to spend $1700 to fix it.

  40. Terry Bish says:

    Terry, Kissimmee fla. I’ve got the D105 model. Only 88 hours on the unit. Transmission very weak, unit is slow even with the pedal to the floor. I figure it’s only a matter of time before I have to push it in order to mow my yard. Thought I was buying the best name brand.

  41. don steck says:

    I have an L120 at around 200 hours and it has lost power on hills and is very slow on flat ground. Please add me to the list.

  42. Anonymous says:

    There is a reason why the warranty has a limit on it. As a former JD Technician I can tell you this from fact. They can’t supervise the operation of each and every machine they sell. It is the customers responsibility to make sure the transmission does not have a buildup of grass on the cooling fins, or that any fluid leaks are noticed and tended to as soon as they start. They are not bulldozers and can’t take a lot of abuse. Not taking up for them but they can’t replace every transmission that is out of warranty for free. Nobody can. Most of the L/D series lawnmowers make it to about 350-400 hours and usually the engine blows up around then due to poor maintenance. The designed lifespan is 6-8 years on the L series and 15-18 years on the premium line X series mowers. Seals and o rings go bad, causing internal pressure leaks causing the loud hum noise and eventual performance loss and failure.

    The official test is to chain the mower from the rearend to a pole or beam with all 4 wheels on concrete/asphalt and see if the wheels will break traction when pulling forward. If one wheel spins during this test the transmission is good. If it will not break traction then it is bad.

    By the way, the K46 is also used in AYP/Craftsman, Cub, MTD, and other manufacturers so it is not just John Deere who uses them.

    Hate to burst the bubble…

  43. david moore says:

    I have a 155C 25 HP, with the k46 Hydrostatic Transmission. It just stops climbing hills after about 15 minutes. how do you get on the list or is there anything I can do? Thank you.

  44. George says:

    Got a D160 that is experiencing the same issues of not being able to climb the hill. Only have 39 hours on it. Based on my research the transmission is toast. Past warranty, so stuck with a lemon, basically. Let me know if you proceed with the class action. I’ll be aboard that train!

  45. Greg says:

    My LX178 is a major power house. Will go up any hill. It’s getting old and puffing smoke so I found a used X300 with only 450 hrs. Won’t even make it the driveway let alone my back hill. So disappointed in this JD.

  46. John Miller says:

    I’m having the same problem, no power on the hills just a slipping noise. Direct drive could have been better. Not a Happy camper.

  47. Bill Linn says:

    Same problems, won’t go uphill after running for awhile. Loss of pulling power and whine from trans. Add me to your list. JD LT150 owner.

  48. Tommy Somers says:

    I have an LT190. It has slowed to a crawl and I am not happy at this point. I will look into the upgrade you talk about thanks for the help and add me if still possible.

  49. Robert Morris says:

    I have this same issue. I bought my L130 because it said heavy duty. Now I can’t even mow my entire yard which is relatively flat.

  50. Nicholas S. matela says:

    June 28, 2017
    My John Deere L120 tractor slows down and has a power failure while going up a small incline.
    The L120 moves very slow or not at all in reverse, about 15 to 20 minutes into the cut.
    A whining noise can be heard from the back of the tractor mostly when losing power while in use.
    My John Deere does not have a method for checking or changing the fluid level of the hydrostatic transmission.

    Thanks, Nick
    (Frankfort, IL)

  51. Lynn Samson says:

    Have a Hydro 185 with same problem. John Deere is allegedly “the best?” Ummm NO. Put me on the list!!

  52. Don Benner says:

    I have the X300. It is now doing the crawl of death. I first broke an axle on left side and JD service said you need to replace the transmission as there are no replacement parts . Found an axle kit on ebay $150.00 and replaced the axle (found the step by step instructions on the internet). I put synthetic oil in and ran it for a few months and now it is doing the death crawl. I hope the lawsuit extends north of the border as a Deere is a Deere. Will never buy green again. By the way.. the filler cap is under the plastic fan and the other is a breather I believe. Takes synthetic 5w50

  53. Dennis Powell says:

    our church has a la175 it’s having the same problem a lot of other tractors is slowing down and stops moving all together i feel John Deere needs to make this right and have a recall

  54. Don Putvain says:

    I to have a John Deere Lt190 same problem,My understanding it’s the hyd.pump that’s the problem.How is this law suit coming ? Add me to the list.

  55. Steve Martin says:

    I purchased a X304 with a plow, weights and chains in May 2011 at a cost of $4325.00, when it had about 75 hours on it it started to get very noisy and started slowing down climbing hills, at 125 hours it couldnt climb hills after about 30 to 40 minutes of use, it also stalled a lot so I had the dealer check it out, he cleaned the carburetor and said he changed the transmission oil, also charged me $225.00 for service. After I got it home it seemed to be better for a while but as time went on it slowed again and could not climb hills when warmed up, it now has 250 hours on it and is out of warrenty and the dealer will do nothing about it. I had always heard that John Deere had a good reputation for tough equipment, NOT. I will never buy John Deere again it is nothing but JUNK for a lot of money. What I want to know is doesn’t anyone at John Deere have a conscience. I have since found out that the transmission is a Tufftorque K46 and are not serviceable, why does John Deere use this transmission in there high priced tractors, this is not the Home Depot special.

  56. Ken Duncan says:

    I have an L120 at around 200 hours and it has lost power on hills. Please add me to the list.

  57. Michael Kane says:

    I am also having this problem with my LA 140. Add me to the list. I am disappointed with this problem. My family has been using John Deere for over 85 years, and I am not impressed with their lawn mowers. I hope this could be resolved.
    Michael Kane

  58. Everette Graves says:

    I have a LT150 that has been babied all it’s life.
    I have never pulled anything behind it and my yard is about as flat a billiard table and the it just quit pulling. it’s the nearest nothing of a mower that I have ever owned in my ( 69 ) years.
    I sure don’t need anyone trying to tell me about how good John Deere products are.
    Their Hydrostatic Drive mowers are a piece of JUNK !

  59. Jim says:


    I’m guessing you are a big John Deere fan and that you are saying we are the fools for buying a $2,500 Deere?

    $2,500 was a lot for me to shell out for a tractor, and I figured that by going with a name that has been around forever I couldn’t go wrong. I was soo wrong!

    It is John Deere that is selling these tractors to the public – they advertise them. John Deere is stamping their name on those $2,500 machines.

    I trusted John Deere, I felt that no matter what the price, I could count on it lasting forever. NOT IN MY CASE, and not in the case of all those that expressed their disappointment by leaving comments or signing the form.

    I will NEVER buy a John Deere again!

  60. Eric C says:

    I have a LA165 about 8 yrs old and it sucks for blowing snow no power in forward reverse is ok. No whining noise however when.trying to go forward it sounds like a grinding noise(not a real grinding) just sounds like it wants to move but no it won’t

  61. Dave McDonnell says:

    A REAL JD lawn mower costs about $6000.00
    Cars are $30,000 pickups $35,000….what are you gonna get with a $2,500 dollar lawn mower purchase? JUNK!

  62. Dennis Maynard says:

    g100 won’t go up a slight grade after it’s been mowing for 1/2 hour. J/D snuck one by me. Hope they made a ton of cash on people who believed in their product. Good thing I kept my lx176 to mow my grass with. Please sign me up.

  63. Kevin Cardille says:

    I have an X300 about 300 hours on it. Since day one I have been telling the dealer that the reverse is poor. Last summer I found out you could adjust the peddles to get a little more spread. Not much. I put a plow on it so my wife could push some snow. I pushed one time about 6 inches of powder. Reverse does not work any more. Forward works fine. It is ridiculous to think that I would have to pay $2250 for a transmission on a $2800 tractor. My family has owned John Deere for 70 years. How sad to see that they would put worthless parts on their equipment. Not sure what this country has become. We have a house that is 13 years old. We have replaced the fridge and replaced the circuit board, dishwasher 2 times, cooktop, and repaired the washing machine. Prices go up, quality goes down, quality is none existent, and accountability is not in the manufacturing industry.

  64. steve says:

    155C owner. Machine losing power. Cannot afford these problems right now! I though i was good buying a Deer. Unserviceable tranny? If they want to install an unserviceable tranny, at least put one in that lasts under normal operating conditions. Crazy.

  65. Bob Maslanka says:

    I also have a John Deere LT150 andLT155! Both transmissions are acting as if they’re 90 years old. Slow or no movement came on slowly and changing transmission oil made no difference. I’d like to put my name on your list if possible. Can’t believe how poorly engineered the John Deere equipment currently is! My 110 & 112 from the 70’s still run great! I guess built in obsolesence is the key word for John Deere equipment!!!

  66. Stan Middleton says:

    They have been installing those transmissions since the days that they built the 115. We had a number of similar problems with ours. One of the first problems we saw, was that the reverse lost power. I have spent countless dollars on trying to make it pull like it should. Sure would be nice if a class action suit would include that series mower.

  67. David caswell says:

    I have the same problem on my JD LA145 with the Tuff Torq transmission. I’ve had it out twice and still a no go. Add me to the suit.

  68. william halvorson says:

    Having the same problem as everyone else. My JD L118 won’t go up hills with the K46 transmission unless you give the trans. a rest for at least an hour so you can mow for another half hour. No more John Deere’s for me. Good luck on the class action.

  69. william halvorson says:

    did not realize what a scam that john deere was putting out on the market with this k46 transmission. same as all of the others, no go on hills with this five year old l118. go get em.

  70. Lietha Wards says:

    I have a D170, same issue with the K46 transmission. Less than 300 hours on it, and always looked after really well….how do I know? My husband is a John Deere Mechanic!!!! Yes, you read that right. The tranny whines and complains on any type of hill or even a flat surface if it hits a bump. I also own a JD lawn tractor from the early 80’s. That thing runs circles around this critter that I paid over $4000 for it, for a lawn ornament, a very expensive one. That was my husband’s price at his place of work.

  71. Terry Gintz says:

    Same issue here. I’ve replaced the internal parts in my G-100 transmission and got all the power back. Now, two years down the road I’m back in the same situation again, losing power on hills and barely moving in reverse. The fact that you cant change the oil and John Deere’s policy of not filling them with the fluid Tuff Torque recommends really hack me off. Feel free to add my name to the petition if this is still in progress.

  72. Trejo says:

    I bought a JD LA120!!!! Used, didn’t know that transmition was messed up, can’t return because it was used when I bought , motor still good , but no way I’m going to spend $600 or more on new transaxle , When I’ve already paid 550 for it. I wish I could do a search on this mower before buying. If any intrest on buying the motor let me know. It has 400 hrs work. Thank you for this page that open my eyes .l

  73. james irwin says:

    My LA140 tractor with 600 hours on it has started slowing down and losing power. If it is shut down and left set for 30 minutes it will go again for a short time. I am told by the dealer I bought it from that the only fix is a 700 dollar transmission replacement. I have a hard time believing that a John Deere is no better than the other tractors on the market.

    James Irwin

  74. Tony says:

    My JD LA 130 will no longer climbs small hills after about 15-30 mins. Sign me up for the class action lawsuit. No longer a JD buyer.

  75. Larry W. Bralley says:

    I have the same problem. My wife bought me a brand new LT155 in 2000 for my 40th birthday after a few years of normal use, it would no longer back up on any incline, but will go forward if the hill is not steep, although it’s very slow going. I’ve hardly used it since. The hood also just cracks and breaks off in pieces when you open it. sign me up or let me know how to sign up for the lawsuit!
    Larry Bralley

  76. Scott Brothers says:

    I have an L120 with 410 hours and the transmission will not pull on up inclines. Should have done more research before buying. Sure is a sad day when you can’t trust a name brand.

  77. jerrold loring says:

    i have a 2007 J/D LA 140 its doing the same thing .i read about changing fluid but when i called local j/d dealer told me welcome to the 90s .really !!!. .I bought this tractor hoping to get manny years out of it also dealer told me its a waste of time to try changing fluid .

  78. Jim says:

    I have an L130. Was fine for the first few years. As it accrued a couple of hundred hours, it did exactly
    what everyone else describes. Doesn’t pull the slightest grades after about 15 minutes of operation.
    A new rear tranny now goes for the bargain price of $816. (Plus tax) However, I am told that for about
    twice the cost of the new axle, I can buy a new and improved tractor. No thanks. I told the guy right
    up front, I wanted a good piece of equipment, not a toy. But they are new and improved. Uh huh.
    My next mower will be a zero turn style. (And not a JD – they are way too much money. About $8000
    for heavier duty machine) It’s a shame that JD was so worried about profits that they compromised
    everything about their product, including their reputation, just to compete with “cheap” tractors such
    as Craftsman and other such lawn tractors. In fact one friend loaned me a Craftsmen and it worked
    better that the L130 and is significantly older. Maybe the JD large farm tractors are still a good machine
    but they are also very expensive. I will never own another small JD lawn tractor.

  79. Joseph Taylor says:

    I have a L130 with the same problems as everyone else…No power after 15-20 minutes of mowing. Please add me to the list for compensation. Im in the process of getting a New Transmission for the L130. A payback would be nice.

  80. William D. Hines says:

    I have a John Deere D140 with less than 300 hours on it . It is doing the same thing that everyone else is complaining about . Loud whining and no power on my backyard hill . I wish I would have read these comments before I bought this sucker . John Deere has always been a good name but that has changed . I will never own another one…….

  81. Charles Miller says:

    Charles Miller
    I have a John Deer L120 with a defective trans. You can only mow for about 15 min and it stops pulling. Have to wait about 30 min to mow again. I would like to have my name put on the class action petition. It’s so sad that John Deer made such a piece of crap trans.

  82. DON LANGLEY says:

    I Have a JD 212 tractor which I bought new in1972 , it still runs very well , I’ve used the roto tiler, snow blade , mower , pull cart , spray trailer ! That;s 44 years now with no problems with anything not tractor , or accessories !! Now in 2014 I buy a JD La 135 , I have repaired the Trans 3 time in 2 years,This trans is junk all these are the same failure { JD does not put the factory recommended oil them ) I’m disgusted and will not trust JD again ! !

  83. Dana Dobbs says:

    LT 160
    330 hours
    Spent a lot on annual maintenance and repairs from a licensed dealer.
    My mower has same problems as mentioned above.
    Please send me link to sign petition for class action law suit.

  84. Kevin Grant says:

    Same issues as then rest of you with my 2003 L130. Please add me to the class action suit!!!

  85. randy pelham says:

    i have a 2005 lt190 with 650 hrs. i bought it new and always service it every year now the transaxle is making a snapping noise and jumping , any one else with this?

  86. Warren Coolidge says:

    My La110 is very slow uphill and whines all the time. Hasn’t completely died yet, but definitely has lost power and speed.

    Include me please!

    Thanks, Warren

  87. Perry Kesner says:

    My LA145 Moved 100 yards yesterday and stopped. Just over 200 hours. Always babied and well taken care of. Used it on a flat wooded 2 acre lot so really no excuse. I understand that JD put lighter cheaper oil then what is recommended by the manufacturer. That on it’s face suggests culpability on their part at our expense! Yes, Please add me!

  88. Zee says:

    I’m sure you guys realize that the needs from Lowe’s, home depot, tractor supply ext. Even thought they are branded John deer, cub cadet various others are just that a re-branded MTD mower in my opinion. As for the John deer they are not even the same quality as a real John deer. It’s just a way to get their name out there more at a lower price. Same goes for snap-on tools ever seen some at softcore or Sam’s club branded snap-on but not an actual snap-on tool. Easy just go the the web site or the tool truck and give them the part number and they will tell you the exact same thing it’s branded snap-on but made in China not the USA. Just some info. I also have a 155c automatic model that I got from a co worker. Funny thing he always had problems with the steering and tire out quick. Well I found out today that the front axle was installed backwards where ever it was assembled once corrected alignment is spot on I am happy. As for the tranny I have never been a fan of hydrostatic. Transmissions but will be looking into a upgrade or a way to ad service ports to it!

  89. Bill Jones. 6/22/16 says:

    Thanks for your notes on the transmission issue. I have the 125 automatic model with 24 hp Koehler . The motor will outlast three of the rear ends. I have had it about six years replaced belts several times, but belt is not problem, last time I used it put it in park with the brake lock now it will not engage in foward or reverse I have checked linkage on drive pedals also on Brake pedal to make sure cam did not lock in foward position still transmission acts like it is in neutral I talked to man on service desk at local dealer and he acted like I had no idea what I was talking about and small engine repair shops will not work on John Deere lawn tractors it all has to go to dealer shop. I think I will start looking for red or orange machine tomorrow that my local shop will work on., I grew up on farm with nothing but John Deere green but I am more interested in machines that Work! I am sure it is the k44 transmission but again no way to change hydraulic fluid??

  90. Shannon Popp says:

    I also have a John Deere. Model # LA175 with the K46 Transmission. VERY frustrating to mow ok on flat surfaces and then when tyring to return up the driveway, to the garage, it barely makes it. Have to let it cool down. Transmission deffinately under sized for this 54″ deck model. Like many others, JD offers Zero fix or repair, only the $800.00 replacement with original K46 transmission. I will not allow my 16 year old son mow because of the uncertainty of timing when the transmission will become hot and experience extreme to complete power loss while on a slight incline.

  91. Don says:

    Have an L120 with the same issue . Started running slow in reverse then eventually stopped moving at all , in forward or reverse. John Deere quoted transmission at $815.00 plus labor estimated at $300.00 so an $1100.00 repair on a $2200.00 dollar lawn mower . So you can add me to the list .

  92. richard eyster says:

    I must be included with all the above …..I have have a 2006, 155c Automatic. with about 600 hours . Started to lose the ability to climb . Dealer thought it was the belt . They changed the belt. It wasn’t the belt….He quoted me all the high prices you have been mentioning. So here I sit with a great machine , if everything is flat ……???

  93. Pam Sawyer says:

    I bought myself and my parents the john deere la130 lawn tractors. Both tractors are experiencing the same issues… class action???? Indeed we are in!!!! I spent thousands of dollars on what I thought were the best mowers available… what a dissappointed t john deere!!!! Where do we sign up?????

  94. Colin Tanner says:

    I have a 2004 Deere L118 and it stopped climbing the hills in my yard. Apparently my yard was to hilly for the tractor to begin with, but they didn’t tell me that when I bought it and I described my yard, of when they delivered it to my house and saw the yard. I have around 400 hours on mine and until now I have only been doing basic maintenance without any problems. I guess I got lucky. Anyway, I calculated the hours on my L118 times the hourly cost of mowing in my neck of the woods, and I’m up about $14k! I could wash my hands of the situation and get a new bigger stronger tractor for my needs, but by the time you add a collection system, better tires, weights, etc. we’re talking at least $8k. I used my L118 to do much more than I should have, and if I want a replacement I’m going to need a serious garden tractor. I had hoped this tractor would last 20 years.

  95. Stoney Finley says:

    I bought a john Deere D 140 at Lowe;s and a set of chains for it because i am old and live on a hill in Sept. of 2011. I bought the Lowe:s extended warranty. I started using it in spring of 2012. In 2012 or 2013 rear wheel axle seal needed to be replaced, so they replaced it under the john Deere warranty. In 2014 when I had used it about 15 minutes it would not climb the hill until it cooled. I call them to fix it, by this time it was under the
    Lowe’s extended warranty. They called and said they would not fix it because my hill was to steep and i had abused it by using chains on it while mowing. I told them i had used sears craftman mowers for 30 years with chains and with out chains for 30 years with no problem on this hill. I just though it be safer for me at age to use chains on it. When they returned the mower they parked at the bottom of my drive way and rode the mower up the hill to my back yard. Got off the mower and ran back down the hill with saying a word to me. That was James river repair shop was suppose it fix for me under the Lowe’s warranty. My son wanted to buy the John Deere, he said should be the last mower i would need. They were supposed to be the best No more John Deere mowers or Lowe’s extended warranty’s for me..

  96. Louis J Szabo says:

    L-130 John Deere. Does not move after 20-30 minutes of use. I have to let the mower cool down and then I am able to move for another 20-30 minutes. Was told by local JD dealer that the drive belt was bad on the tractor. Not the case, after two hours changing out the old with the new belt , same circumstance; cut 20-30 minutes and no movement. Please add my name to the list of customers who have purchased this riding mower and are looking for some compensation. Never again will I trust the John Deere brand of yard equipment. Never!

  97. RD Lawson says:

    L120 JUNK Tranny, plus I’ve spent a small fortune on this mower for various other repairs! ?

  98. Sean Buchanan says:

    Same problem on my 2005 LT190. Will drive ok on level ground for a short time then eventually slow to a no go. Forget about the slight inclines, its not going up those. Count me in.

  99. Ron Franck says:

    I purchased a used L120 for $650 from my neighbor. 880 hours on the hour meter and the hydrostatic transmission is having the same issues everyone else is experiencing. The front wheel bushings are worn out and the deck needs a new set of blades. I guess I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of my purchase but I hate to give up on it as the B&S motor is going strong. What to do, what to do?
    I mow a lot of hills over some pretty rough terrain so the next mower had better be rugged. The wife uses a Cub Cadet which now has 550 hours on it. The Cub’s hydro grunts and groans (loud!) but still pulls strong up the hills. A little slow backing up but…….
    I had a Murrey mower with a B&S opposed twin 14 hp engine that ran and ran and ran. Man, I loved that tractor. It had a manual transmission that was a pain to shift but that tractor kept mowing year after year after year. I wish I could buy another.

  100. Scott Rhode says:

    I now have the same issues as everyone else. I have a L130 that I purchased about 9 years ago. I have 148 hours and use it for my small acreage. My entire back yard is a fairly steep hill that I mow. I purchased the mower fight from a John Deer dealership thinking that I got a good product. Now I realize it is just painted green and made from crap parts. I changed out the drive belt last week thinking that it might be worn and slipping. Not the issue. After 15 minutes of driving, I can’t climb the hill. Doesn’t spin or anything. Just stands still and whines. Not a happy customer.

  101. Jo Ann Dalton says:

    I have the same problem with my john deere, as everyone else, dies when climbing a hill and if i leave it set for an hour it may work but not always, so sorry in trusted the name.

  102. ken reynolds says:

    my john deere L130 mower is sitting in my storage building for the past three years. it’s too darn heavy to push around.

  103. John Beatty says:

    I have an LA175. I replaced the transmission with 170 hours. Now at 330 hours, the transmission is starting to lose power on the hills.

  104. Keith Zimmerman says:

    I read the comments above and can’t believe that John Deere manufactures this equipment that continues to fail!! I have the same problems with a JOHN Deere L118!!! Thats what I get for going green!!! Go red, my friend. IH/Case is the only answer!!!!

  105. Ron wood says:

    I too have a k46 in a huskquvarna I bought from Lowe’s ,I put a new belt on it and that didn’t work,took it to the dealer and they told me the belt was stretched and sold me a new belt(145.00),still under warranty,only 50 hours on it,3 rd time my wife came up our small hill it wouldn’t make it,so I called Lowe’s and had someone drop it off,have to see if they do anything about it,the dealer told me huskquvarna wouldn’t warranty if I ever pressure washed it,sounds like they are trying to wait until the warranty runs out within a month

  106. Bob Maeglin says:

    In 2006 I spent over $2000 for an L120 John Deere. Until 2014 it worked wonderfully well, but then it started the same slow down and refusal to go up hill. When my repair man said that replacing the tranny would be $1000 I began rethinking the situation. Now I came to your blog and decided to join your class action.

  107. Dale Mitchell says:

    Thanks for maintaining this site.

    My LA140 is in the process of losing its 2nd transmission. First one failed at under 100 hours, second at 220 hours. When I repaired (Myself) the first one the people at Tuff-Torq were very helpful with directions and sold me the parts for about $330 US.

    I am not inclined to repair it a second time as the machine is now 8 years old and other parts have just about had it.

    Thanks for the tip on the Husqvarna with the K66. I am going to follow up on that one. Too bad, because I will probably lose the use of my JD snowplow attachment.

    Like so many others on this page, these mowers have done a lot to damage John Deere’s reputation. Now I look differently at every piece of equipment with green and yellow paint.

    Dale Mitchell
    Vernon, BC Canada

  108. Chili says:

    Count me in.
    I’ve rebuilt my LT-160 Tuff Torq transmission twice.
    Each repair lasting only a year.
    The rest of the tractor is in perfect shape, except for the transmission.

  109. Casey Laws says:

    Ihave a 2005 ztrak 757 doing this exact thing!! Terrible news! Looks like ill be buyting anew mower…

  110. truman libby says:

    I have an L111 with just 68 hours on it, and today for the first time it got slower very quickly in reverse, and within 5 minutes I could barely back it into the garage. Can someone help?

  111. Barry Swink says:

    Add me to the list. Got a D 170 with less than 100 hours. Transmission popped out. Local shop wants 1100.00 to replace transmission. JD will not get one more cent of my money. It’s time for them to do the right thing. Man up John Deere. You got a crappy product and you’re shucking lots of trusting consumers by continuing to sell the product, knowing the transmission will poop out after about three years, and the consumer has to bring it back for a 1100.00 replacement. You’re making money at both ends…from the sale of the product, and the impending repair of its transmission. Shame on you John Deere. Man up.

  112. Bob steele says:

    Same issue, tractor bout 5 yrs old- transmission jams. Don’t want to put good money to bad. Last John deer for me.

  113. Ike Walker says:

    I purchase jd130 2yrs ago . I have 127hrs, have been excellent maintain. I am have problem pulling 25%hill only 1/3 of lawn. I am shock to read so many complaints over 6yrs.No jd representative are company take any responsibility knowing their is transmission problem. Their should have been a fix or upgrade. I shouldn’t have pay again so soon.

  114. Mike says:

    I have a L118 John Deere, it does the same thing, loss of power, spend money to service it and still loses power. Now I have to upgrade the Tranny to K66, but I fill John Deere should pay for some prorated costs considering going it only lasts 1 to 3 years before you have to spend another 1000 dollars.

  115. Tim Johnson says:

    i have a L120 with the same tranny problem as all the others.It will not pull itself up a hill so please add me to your lawsuit so maybe we can get a settlement or at least let the world know not to buy John Deere because they make such a worthless riding mower.

  116. Scott Hartman says:

    I really wish I would have looked at this website first I have a D 170 which I bought brand new from Lowe’s back in 2014 and I started to have the same problems won’t go up hills at the time I bought it I was torn between the John Deere and the Husqvarna and of course I went with the John Deere because of there name boy was I wrong I am stuck with a piece of metal in which I paid over 2 grand for I will never buy a John Deere tractor again

  117. Tony Sanger says:

    John Deere LT160 523 hours and same problem ya’ll are having, transmission is nuked and the damn thing won’t move an inch. Add me to the list please. I will never buy another JD mower. Thank you James!

  118. Mark (Rochester NY) says:

    My LA140 with 200 hours won’t go up a small hill after 10 minutes mowing. Was told I needed to buy a new transmission from my John Deere dealer as this one is not serviceable. Count me in on class action suit.

  119. Bryan Addis says:

    Same problem with my 2007 JD LA-150 and my sons L120.

    John Deere (and many other brands) and the Big Box Stores both own the responsibility to let people know about the lower quality that is being sold mainly at the Big Box Stores. The products at the Dealerships are significantly better and much higher priced. I researched mine and the transmission manufacturer actually recommends maintenance schedule yet the JD Owners manual doesn’t. It is noted there are no drain plugs, or fill locations for fluid changes.

    I did the work around fix of removing the complete transmission/trans-axle and draining fluid through breather cap and adding replacement fluid. Worked better for short period of time but did not last. People should be careful if buying a new or used mower from this category unless proof of new transmission, and full disclaimer of limitations.

    I make a point when I’m in stores to ask sells personnel to explain the torque and transmission performance and all they ever know is that it is hydrostatic and has no maintenance required. I recently also read a blog concerning the overpowering of the Lawn Tractors with higher horse power motors to compensate for bigger decks and transmission issues. The other thing they keep doing is changing the model numbers to mislead people in thinking that the previous models have been discontinued and lead you to believe you are getting an all new improved model. This does not appear to be the case.

    Thanks for posting opportunity to participate. Now off to make the decision of spending more money on my LA 150 which may only cause the next weakest link/part to fail or shell out serious case for a new “Garden Tractor” vs. Riding Mower.

  120. Charlie Walker says:

    L130 with 200+ hours won’t pull itself on flat ground after running for 20 minutes. Shut off for 1-2 hours and cools off then will run again for 20 minutes and stop. Loud whining in rear end. Can’t believe a realativly new mower can’t pull itself. I’m disappointed and won’t buy another JD product. Somerset KY

  121. Joe lindtner Harrington,De says:

    Thought John Deere tractors were the best, yea, the older ones, but like everyone else, I have the same problem with my L120. Looks like I be doing the upgrade soon, but not right now. Please add my name to the list for the Class action suite. May be dead by the time anything will be done, but maybe the young fellows will get a chance at it

    Lots of good info on here. Going to try the oil change for now. Good luck everyone

  122. Brad Jackson says:

    I cut grass on my 115 automatic JD and parked it for a few min. When i got back on it would not go forward it went backward a little then stopped. The next day i tried it again it went forward a little but same thing it STOPPED. Need help!

  123. Paul D says:

    Well, my x300 is less than a year old, only 16 hours on it, and it would not move in reverse. I was just snow blowing, and it crapped out. The axle design is very poor from an industrial millwright point of view… I cannot believe they put crap like this out.

  124. Tom McCartney says:

    Let’s face it, this is not a problem from an economy standpoint. Thousands of Sears, Ranch Kings, Yard Man and the like are sold at similar price points and run forever with no maintenance on the hydro transaxle. The real problem here is the basic design of the unit used on these mowers. The differential gears run in the same oil as the hydraulic pump and drive unit. Those gears are made of substandard material, some sort of pressed metal looks like. When these gears start failing due to extreme stress and poor lubrication the metal filings destroy the hydraulics. No real cure for this except to separate the units and run proper oil/lube in each unit. As a minimum use real steel for those gears, but that would increase production costs obviously. Hard to believe John Deere would produce – or allow their name on – such a poorly built machine.

  125. kirk Obst says:

    I have an LA 1435 with 200 hours and the tranny goes slow in reverse and now leaked tranny fluid out everywhere. will not pull a 20 degree slope…JUNK sign me up too.

  126. Rich Shimp says:

    I have a 2006 155C with the same exact problem, it will not climb even a slight hill after several minutes of use. It has been serviced by John Deere every year I have owned it (which by now I could have a nice Zero Turn for the cost of the oil changes/services). What I noticed first was that the mower was going slower than usual.

    Since it was bought at Lowes some years ago I will try to sell it for parts and buy a new or new to me riding mower.

  127. David Martin says:

    Bought my L111 20 hp from a friend that was moving and found that on flat yard would hardly move let set for half hour ran good till warm up slow again,I really thought John Deere was the best until now.

  128. John Whitten says:

    Interesting reading everyone. I have two JD mowers both running well ( but remember Yellow and Green is expensive to maintain).

    My 1986 JD STX 38 (yellow deck not the black deck model) is a manual trans machine. IT STILL DOES WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO DO when new — Cuts the grass and gives a smooth ride. It’s headed for a new home at the cottage, where I’ll still enjoy it’s smooth cut. It’s price then was almost $3200.

    My newest JD is a 2008 X300. It’s a Hydro-trans machine. (Still selected the 38 inch cut for our home landscaping pathways etc. but it is a smooth ride too. It’s cost was about the same (almost $3300.00)

    JD has changed it’s approach to sales, but a tractor needs to be researched well to get the best model for your situation.

    The Saber, the Home Depot and The Lowes models are their lower standard units, aimed at the under $2500 market.

    I’m not defending shoddy workmanship, but JD is in business to make money, and it appears that they are doing so at the lower ended consumer.

    Best wishes to all who read this.

  129. wayne frost says:

    My mower does the same exact thing – won’t go up hills and makes a lout trans. noise and backs up very slowly. I want my new transmission .

  130. Bill Harrison says:

    I have an old Scott’s John Deere s1642 with a hydrostatic transmission. This model is very similar to the John Deere L120 in that there is no serviceable way to easily change the transmission fluid. About three years ago I noticed a transmission fluid leak and in a very short time lost all transmission function. After pricing new transmissions I decided to try and repair this since I had little to lose other then some time. I disconnected the transmission and pulled it out. I opened the fill hole and dumped out the remaining old fluid. I then very carefully removed all the bolts and opened it up. I carefully scrapped off all the old gasket between the two halfs and thoroughly cleaned and polished both surfaces. I also used a lot of paper towels to clean any remaining fluid and grit, being careful not to dislodge any parts. I looked for any obviously warn parts but didn’t see anything. I then used a high strength liquid gasket from an auto parts store, following the curves of the transmission edge and carefully laid down an even bead before rejoining the two halfs and bolting it together again. I let it sit overnight and then refilled it using a synthetic 5W50 oil (which is a tip I read on the transmission manufacturer’s web site). I was very careful when topping it off to get all the bubbles out; gentling rotating and just patiently filling it to the brim. I re installed it on my tractor, crossed my fingers and fired it up. Low and behold, transmission problem solved. It’s been three years and “old Betsy” it still going strong. This whole procedure took me several hours over a weekend but it saved me the cost of a new transmission ($650ish parts only) or buying a new tractor altogether. If you’re thinking about scraping your tractor because of a hydrostatic transmission problem it may be worth your time and effort to do a similar oil and gasket change.

  131. Michael Ray says:

    I, too, have the same problem that most of the above owners have stated. I live in the Mississippi Delta region. The yard is flat…..and I mean flat…. The is a small incline in the front yard that leads to the road. maybe 2 feet. I first noticed that the tractor will not climb that hill. But, I soon found that the tractor was moving extremely slow in the yard too. Now, it will not even go in forward or reverse. Count me in.

  132. Harvey Glazer says:

    I have a D125 mower with the similar issue it seems after sitting for a week, when I go to start and move it out of the shed, the transmission jams. I have been lucky enough to release the locking lever, push it out and that motion seems to free this up. Can use it for a couple hours without issue but expect next week when I go to use it again will have same problem.

  133. Christine Lowery says:

    We have an L110 – it is also whining and can’t climb the hills. It is slowly dying. We have to allow it to rest before continuing again. Such in pain the you know what. Not to mention, getting the battery out to replace it was simply the worst experience of my life. It was wedged in so tight we had to use a crow bar to remove it.

  134. Dale Schrank says:

    I have the same problem as everyone else that I mow for a while and then there is no power
    and it will on pull hills

  135. GS Thomson says:

    I’m having the same problem on a small hill in my backyard and I’ve even had regular dealer “Ready to Mow” service.

  136. Christ Rasmussen says:

    I have the same problem, and looking into it further, as a oil change, and checking the filters and adding the square key to the other side that was missing. Let me know any further information to the K 46 tansmission.

    Thank you.


  137. Jason Smith says:

    I have a John Deere L120. Exact same issue as everyone else on this page. Please add me to the petition. Thank you.

  138. shawn west says:

    I’m so tired of messing with my lx176. I bought a cub cadet and spent over 4 grand. Couldn’t get anything done on the John Deere but the service department telling me need transmission. No servicing. BS is what I say. I shouldn’t have had to spend that kind of money to get a good mower. I thought I had already purchased one

  139. STAN D. says:

    Bought a used JD L130 with 450 hours last Fall and didn’t get to test it properly. In the Spring , the transmission could barely move the tractor. I removed the transmission and replaced the oil with 20W 50 full synthetic. Now it works like new. Have used it multiple times to mow 3+ acres, and it shows no sign of being weak.

  140. Andrew says:

    Hi; I have a 2004 John Deere L-120 and every week when I go out to start mowing, it starts right up. But; it will not move, no matter how many times I press the forward or reverse foot pedal. I have to shut it down and push it –in gear out the garage and by doing that it seems to allow the transmission to engaged somehow because when I start it up and push the foot pedals, it begins to move. After I cut for a while, I can stop and there is no problem after it warms up. Does anyone else have this problem? Do I need to change the tranny fluid. Tractor well maintained and cleaned after 2 hours of cutting every weekend in the summer.

    In sad JD spirits,
    (Swoyersville PA)

  141. Richard Lewellen says:

    Add me to john Deere d140 bad trans at 146 hours its my dads mower he is in bad health so Iwill hhandle this problem’s he also took it to grissom s to get repaired they put belt and pulley on it charged 536 dollers to fix it knowing that is a bad transmission and is a known problem !! Happened at Grissoms in Okla.

  142. charles d. roberts says:

    i could not find the place to sign in for the law suit. it’s a shame a product like john deere green puts out a mower knowing it has a problem. add me to the lawsuit, or send me the link. thank you

  143. Jason K. says:

    Internally, what make the K66 so much better than the K46? Is there a kit for a Sabre 1538 or will a K66 fit this tractor. I think it has a K51 with classic week hill climbing syndrome. Oil changed help for about 20 minutes.

  144. Wes Hunt says:

    I have a Saber by John Deere that is starting to have problems going up hill. After reading the posts on this site, it is clear I have a big problem. I am not happy about the options either; all seem very expensive. I guess I can use it as a boat anchor.

    Wes Hunt
    Eagle, Idaho

  145. Trevor Abell says:

    Same problem. just over 100 hours and it can’t climb hills! The John Deere dealer told me that it is a “Lowes” John Deere and not a real John Deere claiming that it’s cheap and why I am having problems. Didn’t seem cheap when i bought it. It was quite expensive by my means.

  146. Todd Karman- Connoquenessing, PA says:

    It’s just another example of a company who wants to be revered as exceptional by relying on its past. Like so many companies, John Deere has shifted its view of “customers” to “targets” in their sales and marketing schemes. Yes, I understand that a LA 175 bought from Home Depot isn’t the same as John Deere’s agricultural line, but I bought this tractor used from someone who obviously caught wind of the K46 failures and wanted to dump it before it died. I thought I got an amazing deal from a great family-owned local John Deere dealer, but what I got was what you all know- a rip-roaring 26 hp Briggs and Stratton engine hooked up to a faulty, low-powered, low-grade transmission. Not unlike most of the people who are upgrading to the K66, I will have to throw it on a credit card and deal with the consequences later because I don’t have the money to buy something new with a proper transmission. I am disappointed but not completely surprised- we live in an era of selfishness and greed. John Deere should be held responsible at some point for this deceptive effort to make money, but who has the cash- a bunch of potential class-action lawsuit plaintiffs or a billion dollar corporation? James, I applaud your effort to inform and education, but I don’t see a check coming my way from JD. . .ever. Keep on fighting though. . .

  147. william jones says:

    have a JD LT180 rated 2and a half acres only have 1 and 3/4 now it wont climb my 4ft septic hill MY last john deere

  148. pradeep Asok says:

    My L111 quit moving yesterday. The engine is running fine and the mower deck was working great but it wouldn’t pull itself. Had to push it back to the garage. With only 200 hrs., its hard to believe. John Deere dealer Gabe me a quote to change the tranny for $1000.

  149. Darin says:

    Same problem, I brought my My John Deere L120 into the shop thinking it needed a tune up because it wouldn’t climb small inclines. Nope that wasn’t it. It runs good but has no power to go up small inclines. What a shame, I will be looking for another brand if John Deere can’t repair my problem for free. I paid a lot of money for this lawn tractor and it just pisses me off.

  150. Craig Upshaw says:

    too have lost power and cannot climb a small hill without whining and losing power. I have a la165 and am now trying to find transmission replacement. motor seems to be fine starts without issue.

  151. Al Trask says:

    Same problem. I dropped the tranny, drilled the bottom, put in a threaded drain plug, made a filler tube and refilled with fluid. I now get 25 minutes instead of 15 before it quits. Works good on a downhill run but have to use the ATV to bring it back home!

  152. waylan says:

    What’s disappointing is a company like John Deere won’t address a design problem with their L120 and L130 lawn mower transmissions. So hide your responsibility JD, but it will cost you future sales as the internet word travels. Bye JD !

  153. Lew Hubbert says:

    Sign me up for the class action lawsuit. I purchased a LA165 john deere lawn tractor 1n 2010. Mowed great for 2 yrs. and has gradually lost power each season since. Works ok on flat surfaces, but will not mow uphill, even mild grades. Has just 300 hrs on the unit, and just had complete servicing done, but still no better performance. Certainly not worth the price paid. Their motto should be “nothing runs like a deere, but nothing cuts grass like just about any other mower other than john deere”. Needless to say I have not been very happy with this purchase, and will never buy another john deere product.

  154. Phil Smith says:

    I have a John Deere G100 garden tractor that I purchased new in 2005 for almost $5,000. I had John Deere replace the K66 transaxle on it for over $2,000. It went out on me 2 more times since then. I have rebuilt it myself the last 2 times by ordering the parts online from Tuff Torq in Tennessee. Great customer service and advice. The K66 is considered a light duty transaxle however for a L series lawn tractor it is a significant upgrade.

  155. Dan Jones says:

    Same problem as everyone else on my LA140. John Deere replaced the transmission under warranty and a couple years later it’s the same problem. I appreciate the information listed here, particularly about the husqvarna. I have several husqvarna products, including a sewing machine, and have no problems with any of them. I was fearful that they used the same transmission and I’d be in the same boat. I’m pretty confident that by this weekend I’ll be riding on orange.
    Thank You

  156. Tony Stewart says:

    My L118 STOP pulling up hill in 2013 , so I change the drive belt , spindles and the deck belt to no avail. It’s not the engine the transmision is not leaking.

  157. Sheldon Rybowski says:

    James – the K46 transmission failure crosses manufacturers and borders. I bought a Husqvarna LGT2654 at Lowes in Buffalo and had the same K46 failure. Suggest that lawyers go after Lowes, HD and Tuff Torq since they are all pointing fingers at one another. They should all be defendants! Before I understood the problem with the K46 I bought a used JD L120, 20 minutes of use and I realized I now had two useless machines. I upgraded my Husky with a K66 and the tractor works great.

    Happy to join a US law suit, but suggest that a Canadian class action should also be filed!

  158. Jagmeet Grewal says:

    i bought LA 125 model John deer and after one year LA 125 model start these problems to me :- Tractor slows down and/or has power lose while going up a hill,
    -Tractor moves very slow or not at all in reverse,
    -A loud whining noise can be heard from the back of the tractor when in use,
    -Your tractor does not have a method for checking or changing the fluid level of the hydrostatic transmission,

    Know finally tractor stop moving.

    Please, hit them hard in the court, i am with you and keep in touch.


  159. Russ Christensen says:

    I’ve got an LA130 that is about 5 years old that only has 124 hours on it and it appears the transaxle is shot. It’s never been abused, towed anything, pushed anything, or mowed hils. Mowed fine for 2 hours yesterday, 5 minutes after starting today it suddenly stopped on a straightaway and will no longer move. Drive belt intact and on the pulley, no indication of oil leakage. Sounds like the infamous K46 failure. 124 hours! That’s like $15/hour operating cost for this mower not counting consumables like gas, oil, filters, and blades. Count me in if there is a class action suit.

  160. Keith says:

    Will never, ever consider John Deere for anything in future. 107 hours on the LA175 when I called Ritchie Tractor in Knoxville. Machine had been getting increasingly slower on hills over the past couple of seasons. The JD dealer basically laughed at me for being so stupid to buy a John Deere product citing that, “someone did not do a good job assessing my needs in a mower”, citing that it was not made for a hill! I think that this is one of the largest ones made (26HP and 54″ deck). Hill is not that steep… fact my old 1989 vintage Murray 18HP will pull the John Deere up the hill faster that the JD will travel on its own power! How do they get by with this? As you can tell from the reviews herein, JD is clearly putting out a defective piece of equipment. Also, guess what – you can no longer buy a manual transmission mower. I’ll invest money in the 26 year old Murray (mechanics good – sheet metal getting rough) rather than spend a penny with John Deere. As far as I am concerned, they may as well get out of the business. Ritchie Tractor also refuses to repair the transmission, stating that repair will cost MORE than a new one, and whatever I put in will only last a couple of years anyway! Again, it was almost as if I was being scolded for even buying the piece of crap!

  161. Don McGinnis says:

    Please add me to the Law suit My L120 trans. went out so I bought another K46 only to have the same problem now 2 years later, disgusted with John Deere!!!

  162. Ted Nelson says:

    Include me on this lawsuit, I bought a John Deere because that is all we owned growing up but my La140 is loosing power going up and down hill, there is no way I am going to put a 1700.00 transmission in it. But if we take them to court COUNT ME IN. This is upsetting.

  163. Alvin L says:

    I bought my John Deere LA135 Limited Edition lawn tractor in 2010. In 2012, it couldn’t climb slight inclines and sometimes couldn’t move forward or backwards on the flattest part of my lawn. Like some of the others who had similar experiences, i was absolutely dumbfounded when I took it a John Deere dealer to have them look at and was told the transmission was shot and it would cost (at the time) at least $800 to fix it. i told him no way, that their must be a better answer. The serviceman said the only option would be to give me $75 (seventy-five dollars) for the tractor. Long story short, the tractor is sitting in my back yard behind (not in) the shed.

    Lastly, whatever happen regarding the lawsuit. John Deere should not be allowed to get away with what are apparently a number of defective products. When a couple of folks complain about a similar experience, you can reasonably assume they just happen to get a couple of lemons. But when the number of comments I’m seeing, and having experience the exact same problem, you can only conclude the products are defective. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  164. Paris Stone says:

    Please add me to the lawsuit, I haven an L120 that groans constantly and after about an hour of mowing simply stops going up hills.

  165. Randy W. Wagner says:

    I posted a comment about my L130 J. Deer trans. The John Deer dealer offer $200.00 trade in for a 5 year old mower, on much more heavy duty JD mower, for more $$$$$$$$. So I have come to the place where I am ready for a better and more reliable and lasting transmission. Thank you all for this information, too bad know this sooner. …..Randy Wagner

  166. Randy W. Wagner says:

    I have owned 3 john deer mowers all used, most reliable machines ever. Then I went Home Depot and bought what I thought was a real john deer product. What a mistake, later I found this mower to be a Saber product covered up in green paint as a John Deer want to be mower. At 300 hours on the product, the transmission quit pulling on the hills in my yard. I went to my local J.Deer dealer and was informed what I had was not a true J.Deer but a cheaper low end mower called Saber Mower company. I asked about repairs up dating the transmission, no can do was the reply. You can buy real John Deer product, for they offer $ 200.00

  167. Bryan Hudson says:

    I have a similar problem with the mower not liking hills after warming up 15 minutes or so. However, I bought a Lawn Tractor 10 years or so ago that should not have this problem, the LX277AWS. I have been “babying it” but, last time i tried to use it, it drove about 20 feet and the pedal went to the floor and the tractor won’t move. It has fluid in it but has been leaking this last year. Is this the same issue as all these others above that I read about? Or is this repairable? Thanks!

  168. Michael Meggs says:

    I have JD LA120 with transmission problems also it has less than 100 hrs. and will not move in either direction. It is currently sitting in ditch as I contemplate what to do.

  169. Robert B says:

    I wanted to let the last poster, Mike Know that it is also used (k46) in the x300 model that I bought at a John Deere dealer not the big box “homeowner” edition with the same results. John Deere knows they have a subpar transmission and this is a way to get you to either A. upgrade the upfront cost or B. repair and pay later. This is unacceptable from a supposed industry leader. 500 hours i would be happy with ,i’m at 156 hours and my tractor is awaiting service.

  170. Dan Cassidy says:

    I have (2) “John Chicken” lawn tractors with the same worthless transmission problems as so many others have described. My mother purchased them before I came to help her care for her country property. She is 91 years old and needs help and advice for managing the work. I would never recommend or purchase another John Deere lawn tractor as these both have low hours and useless transmissions. I always associated John Deere with quality and sturdiness and well engineered for it’s purpose.
    I have had to change my opinion about John Deere and now regard their product as poorly built and inferior quality compared to similar products.

  171. mike says:


    Keep in mind that just like many other tractor/mower companies, John Deere produces some lower grade “homeowner” models that do not quite live up to the quality that has become associated with the John Deere name. These homeowner models that are sold at Home Depot and the like may be cheaper, but you will be lucky to get 500 hours out of it on flat terrain. Forget trying to use it on hills. Some of the parts may be proprietary and the manufacturers tend to stop supplying parts for them after 10 years. You are much better off buying a good commercial model, like a Scag or a Kubota. My father in law still uses his 1977 Kubota B6000. After almost 40 years of plowing, tilling, mowing and pulling fallen trees up a hill, it finally needed a transmission repair, but that old diesel motor is still going strong.

  172. Thomas says:

    Sorry to hear all the bad issue’s everyone seams to be having with their JD, I purchased (new) a L110 in 2001 , it now has over 1200 hrs, and is just now starting to have transmission issue’s. I have 2 acres of all grass and mow a commercial location and all of our subdivision with it. It has been used HARD, looking to buy another one.

  173. Jerry says:

    All smaller lawn mowers use the K46 transaxle. The brand doesn’t matter. They are not designed for hills and will not last.

  174. David Bridges says:

    Let me join the crowd LA145 won’t pull a hill. Changed all belts still won’t work after it gets hot. Piece of junk as far as I am concerned

  175. Joel T. says:

    I bought a L 130 JD off my neighbor he told me the transmission was going bad and yes of coarse it want even come out of my ditch and the mower is slowing down bad so its time to purchase a K66 transmission. Thanks for the help

  176. Tom says:

    All my life I knew JD was the machine I would buy for myself. I had always stated that I would buy a home that would be suited for a JD lawn tractor. I have a 1/2 acre place, pretty flat. I move snow in the winter time, haul fire wood a couple times per year, mow once per week. I purchased this 135 from a dealer , not home depot….I don’t think it matters, it’s the same machine….am I correct on that? I am sad to read and learn of all these complaint…….Having that LA 135 was a Topper for me and my property, now my transmission is in the shop. My shop. I could not pay $700.00 for a new transmission… Didn’t make sense. So I contacted Tuff Torque and ordered all the replacement parts….I following the diagram and carefully putting all the parts back in place….am I going to regret spending so much on this project..I have 200 hours on the machine, since 2008. Man oh man, a replacement kit, $1,700 really!!!! I paid $2.200 for the entire machine?? who is benefiting from my situation and many like mine. Grass is coming up in one month. As of today, I don’t have a working mower….////sad and frustrated in Oregon.

  177. charles workman says:

    I purchased my L111 with 5 hours on it. A neighbor had purchased it from Lowe’s and a couple weeks later he was notified his reserve unit was being deployed. I have owned the mower for probable 8 years now and it has about 180 hours on it. Like every one else I thought JD produced a good reliable product. To repair the transmission will run about a grand. What a disappointment.

  178. Tom Wallace says:

    On June 14, 2014 I purchased a new John Deere riding mower, model D170, with a Tuff Torq K46 transmission, from the Home Depot in Blairsville, GA. Purchase price was $2,799 with a 24 month 120 hour warranty. John Deere and Home Depot both advertise this mower for use on Flat/Hilly lawns and up to 3 acres. Today January 22, 2015, the mower has only 76.3 hours on it and the transmission is failing.

    According to Tuff Torq’s company website this transmission is rated and designed for mowers with a maximum tire size of 20 inches. My mower has 22 inch tires. The K46 transmission is a sealed unit, NOT serviceable or repairable. If the transmission fails it is a “remove-and-replace” part…a throw-a-way. Home Depot only gives a customer the option of repairing the mower, no refund or replacement. Even if Home Depot had a new K46 transmission installed the problem will still exist…the mower is a “lemon” because the K46 transmission is too weak for that particular model.

    There are no provisions for an optional transmission with the necessary torque to handle this mower. January 22, 2015 I took the mower back to Home Depot. I showed my receipt, attempted to explain the problem, but the manager emphatically refused to refund my money. He stated that my only option was to send it out for repair….which would take approximately two months.

    I spoke with a local John Deere dealer on my way home and told them about the problem. They said they can replace the transmission, at no cost, however there is nothing they can do to solve the underlying problem. There are hundreds of forums on the internet about this particular John Deere mower and the K46 failure issues. Customers who bought these mowers are paying over $1,500 (for a K66 transmission) out of their own pocket, to solve the problem because the mower cannot be returned.

    The JD dealer stated that even if I were to pay the difference in price for the K66, which is a permanent fix for the problem, they cannot upgrade the transmission because of warranty and safety issues. John Deere and Home Depot are misrepresenting this product because it does not perform as advertised, and unsuspecting customers who have faith in the John Deere brand are left holding the bag with a product that will consistently fail…with no recourse.

    So. Is this a JD “L” series only?

  179. Bob Paschall says:

    Looks like I’m about three years and $3000 late/short finding this site. I have a 190C and for the most part it has been a good machine. Started experiencing a problem last fall with both the engine and the transmission after having it in the JD shop for some tweaking. Transmission began to be a problem and the engine would not start when warm after I got it back. What I thought was the drive belt slipping prompted me to ask Deere to look at it again and the result was “Needs a new engine and transmission – cost about $2400-$3000. Seriously! Took it to a local mower/power sports shop and he had it running like a top for $87. Later in the year the transmission was obviously slipping and/or not able to climb a hill. Cost to repair the transmission was $1800. (Have priced the parts and that is the real cost – lunacy).
    Not to say the dealership would lie or try to con me, but they were not only NOT helpful, they really didn’t seem to care since I apparently had no where else to go as far as they knew.

    Would like to find a fix or replacement (for a reasonable price) transmission and keep it as a second machine to pull a trailer (dirt/firewood/mulch) and save the wear and tear on the new mower. Suggestions? I mow almost ten acres with a few hills and am sure the trailer loads were the killer even though the 54” deck is quite heavy.

    Not sure the class action would work for me as I have put a lot of hours and use on the 190.

    Would appreciate any suggestions.


  180. Greg Patterson says:

    I have an an l130, that is well maintained, but gets a lot of use. Mowing and bagging, in the summer…….mulching and baging leaves, in the fall. ……42″ lightning sno-blower, in the winter. The tractor has over 1000 hours, and although I’m always replacing or upgrading something, my only complaint is the the rear end is “built to fail” and is doing so, on my tractor, as we speak………Not only is it built to fail, it’s done in a manner that doesn’t allow any degree of preventive maintenence.

  181. Steven says:

    Just changed the transaxle fluid my 2007 LA 120 with 155 hours as it was starting to slow up steep grades. I used 2 and 1/2 quarts of Royal Purple 10w/40. Pulls up my driveway , a 30 degree slope, like brand new. It took maybe 1 + hour. You need a flat blade screwdriver, channel locks, 2 jack stands, a floor jack, 10 and 13 millimeter sockets and wrenches and a 5/8 open end wrench. If you are not mechanically inclined, pay someone to do it. I have massive hills here and also haul a JD 10 trailer, usually loaded with oak so I have not babied this thing For my money it’s a great lawn and garden tractor. On a side note , Tuff Torq , who makes the axle, recommends changing the transaxle fluid at 50 hours!

  182. Rick says:

    I have experienced the exact same issue with my JD D160 when climbing any grade of hill. It’s now to the point that it will not even move w/ 60 hrs on the meter. Dealer said they would put heavier oil in. When I picked it up it still was having issues climbing hills unless you are giving it full pedal. I said this is not acceptable and I’m not taking it home unless there is a new transmission installed in it. Say what you want about Murray lawn tractors, but I’ve owned two of them with over 25 years of use between the both of them and have never had one issue with the hydro, motors, etc. and I’m also running a snow blower on a rather steep driveway.

  183. Bill Beagen says:

    I thought it was the traction belt slipping on my JD LA110. Little did I know that the problem was actually the transmission. I bought this mower in 2006 and used it about 50 hours a summer for the first 6 years, this equates to about 300 hours. I then moved to another home and we had a larger area to mow and I figured I used it about 90 hours a year for 2 years which equals another 180 hours. So my total usage was about 500 hours(benefit of the doubt), the stated life is supposed to be around 1,600 hours, so I should have about 6 more years to go. This mower is a piece of junk! i bought a John Deere based on them being a good product, boy was I surprised.

  184. Phil says:

    Wow, what a piece of junk! I bought it with 50 hours on it and ran it to just over 100 and it’s messed up beyond affordable repair- I mean, who wants to dump more money into these tractors? I hope you guys can make something happen with this mess, JD should own up to their name fix this junk.

  185. Jim says:

    Hi Rusty,

    I do blame John Deere and Tuff Torq, as I had a small yard (less than half an acre) that was flat and noticed a performance degradation before I ever started mowing a lawn with hills. The hills only made it progressively worse, but that mower should have NEVER had any problems with that small, flat lawn. That’s a lot of money I spent on name I thought I could count on!


  186. Rusty says:

    I see a lot of people here blaming Tuff Torq, dont, this all falls on JD.
    The K46 is not a bad transmission if used for its intended purpose, it is a very light duty unit, Tuff Torq builds very heavy duty units also. JD specs the parts, manufactures and suppliers have no control over who puts what in what. Believe me, Tuff Torq, Hydro Gear, Sunstrand, etc. would love to sell OEMs higher spec. units.

  187. Mark Dickerson says:

    I bought the L130 with snow blower because I figured a 23HP 2 cylinder lawn tractor could cut circles around my old 10HP craftsman. 1 year it took to do the first of 3 trannys in. Snowblowing with that inept K46 tranny JD elected to put into this lawn machine was ridiculous. It ruined the tranny almost immediately. I rebuilt it with the factory rebuild kit 2 more times, and both other times the tranny ended up doing exactly the same thing. Sure all the JD dealers say “the Lx series” is junk to compete with MTD Craftsman, or the other lower cost mower machines. They also say just buy the car priced compact JD Garden tractor. Ha ha. I need a new car, not another JD junk mower.

    They are right about the word junk. They do not compete at all with any of the other machines. I still mow my lawn with a 45 year old (yes 1970) variable drive 10HP craftsman lawn tractor. The JD sits under a tarp because I am sick and tired of trying to keep it working. I am not going to put another penny into the JD junk ever again, but I will try to adapt that 1200$ snow blower attachment to my Craftsman so I don’t have to toss out another JD piece of junk.

    Again “nothing drives like a Deere” – that is for sure.

  188. Marshall Huffman says:

    I had the chance to buy for almost the same money, two other mowers. Since owning a John Deere was ‘the mower’ to own I went with it. Not my best move. It is slow, won’t go up hills for squat and reverse is like a turtle. Over all I would change in a heart beat. A Cub Cadet is a better mower. I tried my neighbors and it is faster and more powerful than the Deere in the headlights.

  189. Jim says:

    Hi Kelly, I’ve updated the page as to where we stand. Still taking names of those that feel they’ve been ripped of and would like to add their name to the list for a class action lawsuit in hopes of getting reimbursed or partial payoff.

  190. Kelly says:

    Where do things stand with this law suite? I just started having these problems but notice that the original post is very old. Looking for an update.

  191. John H says:

    I have a John Deere LA 175 which I bought a little over 3 years ago and now has just under 300 hours on it. I was excited to get it and after spending that much money I thought it would be the last tractor I would need for a while. I mow approximately 5 acres with it and have some steep hills (in excess of 30 degrees) traction is an issue while mowing so I mow year round with v-bar chains on the rear tires.

    Once the grass cutting season starts I mow some part of the yard almost every day of every week. After speaking with one of the guys at the dealer who admits to the problem John Deere is having with the transmissions he says that the chains are probably the only reason I have gotten so much more time out of the transmission since I spend less time spinning the wheels and generating heat in the transmission. This is where this seemingly positive review comes to an end.

    In those short three years the tractor is on its third front axle, the steering gear at the end of the steering shaft (including the crescent shaped toothed plate which connects to the steering arms) has been replaced twice because it has stripped the teeth off the gears, the blade belt tensioner pulley bracket has broken twice, one blade spindle has been replaced (despite routine greasing) At least it has grease fittings!

    The seat mounting points have ripped out of the body, the front left wheel rim is falling apart. Yes, to my surprise, it is made up of pieces. The hub has separated from the center plate and had to be welded back in and now the whole center plate is separating from the outer rim and needs to be welded also.

    The transmission has been declining steadily since last summer but is now at the point where I have to get creative to mow even the flatter points of the yard in a way so I mow on the down hill taking even more time and to add insult to injury most of the yellow paint on the deck is gone.

    I had been hoping that this tractor would last me another two years until the last kid was out of college but now I doubt it will. After the kids were done school I was planning on buying a John Deere full sized tractor like the 2720 or even a 3000 series with a cab and a 60″ front mount snow blower since I have a 1100′ driveway with a bad hill and a sharp curve in it so plowing snow in the winter with an old Bronco is a challenge without getting stuck. After the luck I have been having with this tractor and the lack of service I have been reading about at this site I have given up on John Deere and have now been looking at Kubota.

    The Kubota dealer around has gotten great reviews from people I know for standing behind their product and service. I’m sorry John Deere, I tried, but I will have to go where the service and quality is. Maybe it’s a good thing that nothing else runs like a Deere.

  192. William Hopson says:

    Glad to hear I’m not alone with the Blind Faith I placed in John Deere when I bought a G-100 that delivered less that 300 hours of service. Sorry to say we live in Florida so Hills are are something you have to drive to go see.

    I cut the front yard and started to cut the back yard and the piece of junk quit pulling in forward and reverse.
    Changed the fluid didn’t help a bit. Called a couple of places that rebuild trannys and both said the same thing if the fluid change didn’t help rebuild it!

    Has Deere been selling consumers defective goods for years? Looks like it or this website would not exist as well as the places that sell upgrades and know the price of a rebuild by heart.

    I opted in on a Class Action suit regarding the engine and got it rebuilt after years of fighting to which Deere would only tell me to take it to the dealer and they can correct the problem. After receiving the out come of the lawsuit I still had to fight the dealer on how they wanted to rebuild the engine using old parts after they told me they had excessive wear. Where in the world do they come off with that.. Is that how they build them?

    With the number of comments I read on here it would appear Deere is not what they claim to be. The cost of this unit was not cheap but that all I’ve gotten from Deere, is cheap talk and no action. Should be companies like this wonder why they get sued on a regular basis after turning out defective products. My suggestion to Deere is quit all your advertising and bring your products up to par with the advertising budget. Then come out and let people know we spent $$$ to correct defective products and we are back in the game with better products.

  193. Norm says:

    Like most others, I wish I had found a site like this BEFORE I spent big money on a John Deere. I always wanted one, and so when we moved to the country 8 years ago, my first purchase was a JD 145 lawn tractor. Didn’t think it really cut that great right from the start, but figured my 2 1/2 acres is kind of bumpy, so…But then it started. First the anti-backfire mechanism broke on the carb. Then the deck adjustment stopped adjusting! Even though I would adjust the level, I could still only cut on the 3 1/2 and 4 settings. Then the paint on the plastic hood began to oxidize (the tractor is garaged during the winter). Then the steering went and I could only turn to the right. Then the vinyl on the seat cracked in several places. Then the parking brake ceased to work. Now this year the paint is peeling off the foot area in sheets. I actually watched out the kitchen window on a windy day as a 7″ piece of green paint literally flew off the tractor! Now the spindle bearings are shot and until I can get to them I’m getting quite a rough ride with all the vibration. When they say “Nothing runs like a Deere”, they’re not kidding! My son’s old second-hand Craftsman ran circles around my JD and did a superior job of cutting to boot. Very disappointed to find out that so many others have had similar experiences with a company that built it’s reputation on its name and supposed quality. I will NEVER buy a JD product again.

  194. Steve G says:

    All this discussion of upgrades, retrofits, etc. is, in my mind, not the ultimate solution. It is extremely sad to be that things have to come to this but John Deere it seems, doesn’t listen to the thousands of complaints about their ridiculous transmission design and haven’t for 20 years.

    In my view, we’re going to have to send messages that can’t be ignored with our dollars. I don’t know yet what else I’m going to buy but it won’t be another John Deere. I’m as strong a “buy made in the USA” guy as there is anywhere and I’ll look for another USA machine if possible but if JD management thinks their customers aren’t worth keeping then we should send our message loud and clear. Is there a JD message board where we can post what mowers we buy to replace our JD’s with faulty transmissions?

    I’ve owned 2 John Deere riding mowers since 1985. My first one, purchased from a John Deere dealer, not the Home Depot or Lowe’s downgrades, lasted me 9 years on a 1 acre yard that was as flat as a skillet. In the last year, it wouldn’t climb the one very small incline in my yard. I gave it away to a friend because I was moving to an apartment during a job relocation. He took it for service and was told the transmission would have to be replaced for over $500. and this was in 1995.

    Then in 2000 I moved again to my current home with maybe 1/2 acre but on a slope. I naively thought, surely John Deere has fixed that transmission problem by now, so I bought my LT155, again from a dealer. This mower with it’s 15hp engine worked fine for several years but began the whining and chugging on the hills after only a few years. For the last several years I have been cutting my yard in patterns such that I’m going downhill on most cutting passes and going back up hill on the pathway with the least amount of slope. This has been very time consuming but I didn’t want to shell out another $2K for something new because, well, I just shouldn’t have to!
    Last weekend my mower finally stopped climbing even my flattest path, it’s done in it’s present condition.

    It’s either now go pay $1000 plus for some upgrade/retrofit transmission but then drive a mower with hundreds of hours on it that could otherwise die at anytime; or go buy a new mower. I’m not inclined to spend one more dime on anything associated with John Deere at this point. They don’t deserve my money.

    I realize having a riding mower last 10 years, maybe the industry thinks that’s enough and if it breaks down at that point I should consider myself well served. That’s garbage! JD has had the same “weakest link” in their movers since at least 1985 based on my evidence, they’ve known it exists, they’ve let it continue, and they think consumers are naive enough to keep buying good ole’ American made John Deere. I say NO MORE!

    We should make this message thread a comparative shopping guide for alternative mower brands to John Deere. I want quality design, plenty of power, good cutting performance, long lasting, competitive pricing, a bagger that doesn’t clog so much, and if it can be made in America all the better.

    What are your suggestions?

  195. David Rodkey says:

    I bought a D170 Mower 1-1/2 years ago, have NEVER used it to pull anything but a very small trailer with grass clippings. At 91 hours it started the DEATH CRAWL ! I have to cut a small amount and give it about two hours to cool then repeat. As most others here I bough John Deere because it is “AMERICAN made” and the “best on the market”… BOY WAS I WRONG !!!!!

    My brother in law was in a market for a rider he was seriously thinking John Deere, that changed when I left him cut some grass, it stopped moving, he said “What the heck?” ?!?!?!? He bought a Cub Cadet two weeks ago.

    I called about a broken crossbar lift lever, they said it would be two months to replace a 10 minute piece !!! I had it welded and did it myself, 25 minutes TOTAL. The K46 transmission is a TERRIBLE DESIGN and should be replaced with the K66 BY John Deere and Tuff Torque at THEIR cost as BOTH knew they were bad. You call and ask a question and get a “we haven’t heard of that problem, must be specific to YOUR mower” we can pick it up and look at it for $60.00 or you can bring it in (to sit for two months).

    This entire JD/TT stuff is frustrating! My lawn is about 1-1/2 acre of very gradual NOT STEEP slop, I bought a very expensive, “AMERICAN made” machine that can’t hack it after a year and a half! John Deere and Tuff Torque…………. STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND SAVE YOUR NAME and company! N-E-V-E-R will I buy another John Deere OR Tuff Torque equipped machine. I will tell everyone I meet about the problems!!!!!!!!!! The “warranty” (JOKE) just replaces JUNK with JUNK!

    Today, a girl two houses down asked me where I bought my Deere, I said Home Depot, she WAS going to order/get the same tractor next week. Key word, after explaining why I had to stop cutting every half hour for an hour or two……….. WAS! I am DISGUSTED with my expensive, AMERICAN made John Deere!

  196. Harry Deloach says:

    My oh my how I wish I had stumbled upon this website prior to my L130 purchase. Bought mine used with only 200 hours about 2 months ago. Thought I stole it for $550. I mean, come on, a john deere 48″ riding mower for $550???? Count me in!! Well, as you can probably guess, it won’t go uphill!! Test drive went great, even drove right up on trailer with no problems. Got it home and started cutting. After mowing for about 20 minutes, it’s starts slowing down whenever I turn sharply. Don’t think much about it, 10 minutes later, I’m done. I CANT GET UP MY CONCRETE DRIVEWAY. My driveway is NOT steep, maybe 10-15 degrees. I decided to take to john deere dealer, $1000 to fix. Needs tranny. Now, I mow for 15 minutes then let it rest for hour (or two). Then mow for 15 minutes, then rest it..

    What am I supposed to do?

    I can’t afford to fix, if I had $1000 to spend on a mower, I would’ve bought a new troy built.

    I only have half an acre.

    Buyer beware! I’m certain now the guy I bought it from knew what was wrong with it. So he sold it to some idiot that didn’t know any better….

  197. Keith Cook says:

    Well I’m glad to see I’m not alone. Bought a La 175 with the bagger system a few years ago after owning a troy built that would hardly bag, had no issues loved the tractor rode great. I felt like a king on my green machine after all my neighbor had bought a new cub cadet the year before and I thought I got the better machine, boy was I wrong! He mows 2 times the grass I do and he’s still mowing and I’m not. Yes, you guessed it, transmission gone. Just got a estimate yesterday for $1,100 to fix! Wow I can’t believe this crap, everything you buy these days is junk. I sure hope we can get a recall and some peace of mind, after all this is the good old USA right. OOPS I FORGOT THOSE DAYS ARE GONE AS WELL!!

  198. Howard Conaway says:

    Just another PA senior citizen with another JD horror story – purchased an LA150 used, worked for a year, now won’t go up hills. Hope joining this group will give me some voice, as the product is obviously defective!

  199. Glenn C. Dolbeer (Corry) says:

    Thinking that John Deere was “THE” name in tractors, I find this site and learned “much’ more! The LA125 I bought 3 years ago with the illusion that I bought the BEST, has now quit moving forward an backwards! With no way to change the fluid, or access to the drive unit at all, I’m basically screwed! I will never buy another Deere product as long as I live!! I have a Cub Cadet of similar size an power, it gets used on my 5 acre parcel in Michigan regularly without ANY issues. So guess what I’m going to replace that P.O.S. Deere with?!

    Thanks for reading my rants, Corry

  200. Joe says:

    My L130 has had three axles snap and now the transmission is shot. This mower has serious design flaws with the front axel and transmission. The dealer trys to tell me they have had no other customers with these problems. Talked my brother out of a new john deere from that dealer (he bought cub cadet). Will talk to as many people as i can about how bad John Deere has been for me and how they dont provide any accountability for their product.

  201. R Blacklock says:

    It’s obvious that John Deere does not give a darn about repeat customers. The reliability of the J.D. has really been hurt and you would think they would go out of their way to appease those that buy their machines. They must really have their collective heads in the sand if they think no one reads the different forums that are available to those that have computers and nowadays who doesn’t have internet access. J.D. should read some of the comments posted by the minions and learn from the people that spend their hard earned monies on such a shabby excuse for a JON DEERE product.

    Has anyone also complained about the paint that they put on the machines as well? Did they really prep and prime them before painting? What ever happened to quality control? Or maybe they have lost track of the meaning of the phrase. Surely their apparent lack of public care for the products they push out the door will come back and bite them one day. Maybe we need to get a member of our governments to collectively look into a mandatory recall of these transmissions before someone is injured such as in a roll over on a hill because of a maneuver to avoid rolling back such as in the case of the original writer.

    After all they do recall cars, kids toys, appliances etc. for lesser reasons. I am toying with the idea of replacing my transmission with one from a better machine. If I do I’ll let you know. MY SUGGESTION: SAVE YOUR BUCKS. PROTEST BY BUYING A DIFFERENT MACHINE. HIT THEM IN THE POCKETS AND MAYBE, MAYBE THEN THEY WILL SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE. IF ONLY.

  202. Scott says:

    I have a JD lx176 and it has a bullet proof tuff torq trans in it, k61 i believe. To purchase a comparable jd tractor newer I would have to spend close to $5k. With the research I’ve done it looks like my next tractor will be a GT series Husky for $3300k or less. Twin kawi motor, fabricated deck, metal hood, tuff torq k72. Sorry JD you no longer make a realistically priced tractor for the homeowner that wants a tractor to last longer than 3 years.

  203. Russell McChesney says:

    I am very mad about this tractor. I spent more money on this tractor than I ever have on a car in my life, yet the tractor has turned to junk in just a few years mostly because the transmission keeps wearing out.

  204. Michael Lebiedzinski says:

    I read this entire thread with interest over the weekend. I own a L120 that I purchased from a reputable repair outlet a few years ago. It has 180 hours on it. The tractor has no problem climbing hills (I have a walkout basement, so there is a about 14′ or so between the front and rear of the property. No problems in reverse either. However, when the brake is released, a noticeable “whirring” can be heard from the area of the fan on the transmission. It has been doing this since the day I bought it. I cannot tell if the sound is coming from the fan itself, the bearing it sits in, or somewhere else, but other than the noise it does not appear to affect the running operation. When the brake is applied the sound goes away, presumable because the belt is disengaged.

    Should I be concerned about the noise?
    Does it signal the transmission is going bad?
    Anything I can do to investigate further on the cause?

  205. David Rose says:

    My L130 quit moving yesterday. The engine is running fine and the mower deck was working great but it wouldn’t pull itself. Had to push it back to the garage. I notice while pushing it that oil was leaking from underneath. I knew then the trans axle was gone. With only 212.4 hrs., its hard to believe. I have a Cub Cadet 3 speed that can pull a house, (though its only about 35 yrs old) but need some TLC. I have had this John Deere for about 7 yrs and cut a small yard for most of its life. Now it cuts almost 2 acres and couldn’t do it. Looked up Tuff Torq and found the right trans axle. 682.55 for a new one. That’s still less than JD wants.Can’t afford a new one. Kubota will be my next choice…

  206. John says:

    I take umbrage with the dealer (True Statement) who chastised owners for not being as knowledgeable as John Deere salespeople.

    In 2005 I bought my LT190 at a John Deere tractor supply store. After fully disclosing the shape of my lawn, the size, etc. the salesman recommended a LT180. I went for the larger, more expensive model because I wanted no problems. I also purchased the snow blade and mulcher retrofit.

    Approximately 400 hours and the transmission no longer goes up the incline in the front yard. I had to buy a walk behind snow thrower because it will no longer push snow. It was unstoppable when I first bought it; It would break traction at the wheels, now it just stops turning the wheels.

    I contacted Tuff Torq via email to ask about upgrade possibilities. I wasn’t interested in a lawsuit until Tuff Torq refused to give me any information, such as which K66 directly replaces the K46HD, (before you start I know it’s a larger axle) other than to send me to Roger Daisley. Almost $2000.00 for his kit. And buy it on faith.

    I’ve just serviced the unserviceable K46HD, and it helped a little. It still is not as strong as it was originally.

    I’ve read several forums concerning the disappointing K46 transaxle on the web. I still haven’t located anything that lists the components necessary to retrofit. No slam on Roger Daisley, but on the face of it it looks like he’s doubling his money. I’m all for capitalism, but I do not like being taken advantage of.

    The lawsuit should be directed at Tuff Torq. They engineered, manufactured and sold a substandard part. I too bought a John Deere due to it’s reputation. Tuff Torq has ruined John Deere’s reputation in my opinion. I will never buy another John Deere. I will, in the future, ask the salesperson what transmission comes in any tractor I purchase. Tuff Torq? I’ll pass.

  207. Scott J says:

    I’m with you all! I’m a John Deere fan my self for relibilaty. i have a 425 jd love it so i bought my wife a la50 john deere thinking she would not have any problems. boy was i wrong hydrostatic transmission started slipping and had to take trany out pulled sealed plug and dump oil out. Changed did not help.

  208. Danny Reed says:

    I am in the process of rebuilding my K46AC in my John Deere L130. Tuff Torq offers all the parts along with an upgrade kit. Cost about $250 plus 2 liters of 5w50 full synthetic oil. It’s too nice of a mower to junk and I will not spend $500-$800 for a new K46 transmission or a K61 or K66 for $1,000 plus.

    Tuff Torq made a lemon and they know it. Same as the Peerless in a lot of the MTD’s and Craftsman mowers. Disposable junk that’s not meant to last.

  209. John Scott says:

    Well at least i am not alone in this. i bought my L130 used, and of course it was from someone who buys, cleans and resells tractors so I’m sure he knew to have me test drive on a nice flat surface. I got home and started mowing my lawn, mind you i have a slight berm out by the road that has a decent slope but its about a 40 degree incline for about 2 feet and i take it at speed and it refuses to get more then half way up, my father has a Scott’s model 2554 and i have used it on my lawn towing a yard vacuum and not had an issue with the same hills.

    What’s even worse is its refusal to back up any sort of incline once its warm, and i mean a slope of about one foot high over 8-10 feet. I changed the fluid as per the local JD service center, as they told me they would change the transmission as doing the rebuild kit isn’t much cheaper. I found it amusing that they said “The L130 isn’t made for mowing hills.” I told them i have no such hills, my yard has a grade of about six feet of elevation over about 80 feet of length, and that’s my front yard and that’s the biggest “hill” i have.

    So to be told i need to replace a transmission on a used tractor i paid $1200 for doesn’t sit well. My dad has owned JD tractors my whole life with way more hours then this one has and not had any issue on lawns with much more grade. And the fact when i was getting transmission fluid from the dealer and i couldn’t even get an answer on how much fluid the tranny holds, just a “Whatever you pour out, put in”

  210. Gerald Thomas says:

    I just signed the petition and agree 100% this is not right to have to spend the money that we have to purchase a machine that is supposed to be the “top dog” but instead is a dog when it comes to performance. my X300 that I purchased in 2009 has a little over 100 hours on it and can hardly cut grass over 4 inches! And it also ticks me off that I can’t change the transmission fluid.

    I’m glad that I stumbled back onto your blog. Hopefully by us banding together we can make a difference!

  211. Fred Baker says:

    I just changed the steering gear GX20052 on my Scotts mower two weeks ago. Now it seems I won’t be steering anything as the L17.542 mower isn’t moving anymore. It is a shame, as the Kohler 17.5 HP engine has a lot of life left in it as I’ve not experienced any power loss. I am disappointed in the John Deere name at this point. I did expect many more hours of use from this mower. I’m sure I will not spend the dollars for a new John Deere with this same type transmission. I will do a little research on other brands for the next purchase. Thanks for the forum and posts.

  212. Al Neumann says:

    To James Maurer:

    I tried to contact your website at the local library but because I do not have a internet address it would not take my information. One third of Americans do have the internet, cable or cell phones that may be a shock to some people. If I had an address I could mail you this. Being I don’t I am using my daughter’s access to let you know something very important concerning the failure of the John Deere lawnmowers. I purchased an LA 120 in October 2007 from Home Depot and the warranty ran out in October 2009. The tires started going flat in 2008 and I wasn’t driving 50 miles to the dealer so I put fix a flat in them much cheaper then gas or my time. In 2010 the front deck rod came off twice costing me $25. In 2011 the cutting deck welds broke causing the deck to crack and a deck wheel to brake off completely. I called a dealer cost was over $400 which did not include any part on existing deck so I called JD headquarters a Patty Sue answered and said to bad I should have purchased an extended warranty and I could go to any dealer not just the one on the sticker. Being somewhat mechanically knowledgeable I told her it was poor welds and cheap metal so what she said in essence was to bad. I had a friend that is a welder fix the deck and reinforce it.

    In May of 2013 I was using the mower after doing all the required maintenance and it stopped moving 146 hours, motor was running belt ok found out it was transaxle failure. Called JD again they said call any dealer, cost was around $800. Called JD again they were very rude and said it was my fault for cutting more than one acre. So I took the axle apart and saw the dirty black fluid knowing that was a major factor in failure. Called JD again and asked why there was no way to regularly change the fluid I given the run around after asking for an inside schematic of the transaxle. I then went on line at the local library and found a picture and the comments on your website. I cleaned out the axle took it to a machine shop for $100, I had the cracked steel casted brake disk replaced with hard rolled steel, the aluminum clutch plate re-smoothed from the steel engaging pistons. The machinist said steel on aluminum bad idea; they could have inserted steel plates into the aluminum. It ran for about 20 minutes and failed again, took it apart again the new oil was dirty. I came to the conclusion that the aluminum fluid conducting system was plugged due to a poor filtering system.

    So I contacted the State of Michigan Attorney General’s office of Consumer Affairs. They told me to send them all my information notarized and I sent them the costs, your website, some of the complaints and all my other information. They sent Home Depot and John Deere letters to respond to them within 15 days or they would take action. Home Depot called me within a week and they knew nothing of the one-acre cutting rule told to me by John Deere. The only thing they were required to tell me is the warranty would be void if I used it commercially. Because they did not inform me of this, and their reputation to please the customer, they eventually settled with me for part of the cost. Their executive Ellen gave our records that they received from the Michigan A.G. to their legal department to no avail. John Deere sent out their rep. ( a Mr. Smith) who called twice (NO NAME/NO NUMBER) came out to look and take pictures of our lawn mower. I had it dismantled so he could see the inside of the transaxle, the cracked deck and the dirty bucket of trans. fluid. He said if I could get you a new transaxle would you be satisfied? I agreed. Several days later we received a letter from J.D. legal that they were not going to do anything. They twisted my words, made me look like I was a fool and didn’t know where the dealer sticker was. What difference did it make? It was out of warranty anyway and they never addressed the transaxle issue! So the A.G. office of Michigan said I could sue because they had no jurisdiction over a company based in Illinois.

    Therefore, if you want to win and get something (in my opinion) then you will have to do what I’m going to do and that is send all my information (NOTORIZED) to the Illinois Attorney General. They have to many lawyers to beat them in court and a class action will last years but the A.G., if you have enough people (at least well over 1,ooo) sending in their notarized complaints about John Deere then he can order a recall or reimbursement or file charges against them. I believe it’s the smartest way to go. You can also contact your local media newspaper, television ect. and voice your complaints to them. I’m sure John Deere will get the message.

    Albert Neumann Jr.

    Attorney General Illinois 1-217-782-1090

  213. Mike Bower says:

    WOW .. after reading about alot of the tranny problems on L120s hydro tractors .. I am glad I bought my 1979 JD214 3 yrs ago and its been use almost weekly, mowing 2 plus acres. I never hardly have any problems other than a spark plug coil burnt out while mowing. During the off season .. I replaced the bearings in the axle housing and seals – change the transmission oil and also last season I replaced the bearings on the mowing deck. I can tell you that I do love my old tractor and it runs like the way the DEERE RUNS.

  214. Gary Adams says:

    I bought a John Deere cuz I thought the JD was the best,,,well,,,After this transmission problem and see this is normal after 300 Hrs. and so costly to repair I dont have a thousand dollars to fix something that shuld have never hapend,,,I see this hydramatic transmission is a lemen. Myne is a LA130 Automatic. I will NEVER buy another JD.

  215. robert wells says:

    I bought a LA 145 2008 had 147 hrs. started going slower and slower up hills as time went on. Engine was wide open and purring like a kitten. So i changed the drive belt. To no avail. Finally took it to the dealer here in Maryville, TN. took it on a Monday and dropped it off. Wed. I called and left a message on there answering machine,( they claim they never got) to tell them don’t fix it, That I’m coming to get it. From the time I dropped it off I never heard from them. 3 hours after leaving a message that I’m coming to get it. I show up at the dealer. I said I’m here to pickup my mower. ( becuase i did some calling around to other shops about my problem and was told how much it will probably cost to fix my transaxle). WHOLLY MOLLEY I thought. Its not worth it. It was half the cost of the mower. So I’m at the dealer to get my mower. The person asked my name and left the office and was gone for about 5 long minutes. So long that 2 other employees noticed and asked if I was being helped. The women comes back finally and says that will be $87.60. I said “for what”? She claimed they diagnosed it yesterday. I said “How convienent”. (I had already thought they might do that). Boy was my intuition right. So I threw a $100 bill on the counter and said, ” Heres your money I want out of here as fast as possible”. I told the Manager JD’s were over priced and over rated. NO MORE “JOHN DEERE” FOR THIS OLD BOY. Buyer beware. JD’s Transmissions are not built to last and are over priced. John deere you owe me $87.60

  216. Jay says:

    I bought an L130 with 360 hours thinking I got a good deal. But after mowing for more than 30 minutes with a few hills the K46 is out of power. You can barely pull the tractor into the garage. The sounds the K46 makes are horrible. The people that had the tractor before take care of their equipment. The only reason they never noticed the issue is their short mowing time and flat yard. Forget saving John Deere’s name, what about Tuff Torque’s?

  217. Kent Mathews says:

    Nothing runs Like a Deere? well Iv’e seen deer run better when they are shot, To bad. I thought an american company could produce a residential mower that lasts longer that 314 hours….

  218. Bruce says:

    I took mower to dealership to have oil changed. When I took it in, I told them about losing power when I go uphill. They “claimed” it just needed stronger spring which I knew it wasn’t.. I used to own MTD mower which I have experience replacing the transmission on the machine. I fired up John Deer after 4 years, Still has same problem after 20 min or so of mowing. I parked mower and check the underneath, sure enough, hydro fluid leaking. My tractor only has 36 hours after 4 years. Hydro problem started after 2nd season from the purchase. I decided to purchase compact tractor. John Deere was left dark in the garage for almost 5 years. I changed the battery and decided to use it while my other tractor is in shop. What a disappointment, it is even worse than ever before….

  219. Joe T. says:

    the L series arenthe only tractor models. I have a G100. $5200.00 25 horse , 54″ cut. Only 400 hrs and they want $2400 to fix. Bought heavy duty and only use is cutting grass. John Deere response is ” sorry you’re disappointed. What a crock. My father has the 340 and after 400hrs guess what? he put in new trans for $500. Diesel or older models,otherwise stay away!

  220. Robert Davidson/Marshall, NC says:

    I have an L-118…I bought it new a couple of years back. This tractor sucks. I have had it to a private person a couple of times because of the hydrostatic transmission. He has been able to open it up and add fluid a couple of time now. This last time which was a couple of weeks ago obviously didn’t work as it did not want to pull up hill yesterday. After spending this much money, one would think that we should not have these kind of problems. Come on John Deere, your name use to mean quality and craftsmanship.

  221. Randall Hunt says:

    Have a L120 with 325 hours. (seems to be the magic number). Does exactly whats describe in this article. If I could pick up the transmission upgrade for 50% of the cost now, I would go for it. But will Buy something else when I can afford it, which will be on February 30th. Yes I’m aware it doesn’t exist.

  222. MARILYN says:

    I’m very dissapointed in my mower and they make it so hard for you to fix them yourself. I’m on a fixed income and to have it fixed is out of my range. I’ll think twice before i buy another one.

  223. george english says:

    I have 2 tractors a LA 105 with manual transmission and a L111 automatic the L111 has 360 hours on it will not pull any kind of hill just flat surface but the briggs and straten big 2 cylinder engine is still running strong with no issues no smoke or nothing wish the trans was same way but nooooooo I am hoping the la 105 will out perform the L111 I have 135 hours on la 105 The L111 is much easier to use I hope john deere will help us out of this problem Thanks and keep inform of any remedies

  224. Frank says:

    My mower is losing power, even on small hills, changed transmission belt thinking this would alleviate the problem. Still the same.
    Tried to sign form for class action but will not accept my signature or

  225. Joe Decker Bloomfield NY says:

    .. I am experiancing the same transmission problem with my L120. No gutts from the start and it slowly looses the ability to maintain a good reliable ground speed. Small hills become a challange and it slows to a crawl…with the peddle to the floor!

    What to do, rebuild or replace the tranny? This is my first hydrostatic transmission tractor and unfortunatly my first JD, I’m bummin! I thought I was buying the best there was and now I’m back to square 1. ..fixing mowers to get the lawn looking good.


  226. Frank Goodpaster says:

    Sorry, had a hard time with signature. I see they no longer make the LA serier. I think they call it a D series. Same old crap. Would love to be part of a class action suit.

  227. Mike Patrick says:

    My JD L 120 will not go up any hill. After it gets warm/hot, it will just barely move on level ground. I do wish that the customers had a way to get some relief from John Deere. Apparently they just don’t care about their customers. I don’t see anything changing. They have a faulty product and the public is stuck with it. I had always thought John Deere was a class company & had the best product on the market. I found a replacement transmission from the Mississippi Engine Company for $509.00 with free shipping. I don’t know how long the replacement transmission will last, but I can’t afford a $1,700.00 replacement transmission. I will try the replacement transmission if it has any decent kind of warranty on it. If they say that they will guarantee it for 1 hour, then I’ll just scrap out the mower. What a piece of junk.

  228. Doug says:

    Had L 120 for 2 years before I started having problems with tranny. It’s been a nightmare since then, won’t pull small hills reverse barley works. Only cutting about an acre of grass. Will never buy a John Deere again. To costly to replace tranny. Will buy a different tractor this time, one that I can change all fluids on.

  229. david mcdaniel says:

    What a piece of junk I have. I am totally against whatever john deere has out on the market.I bought this l130 thinking it would be the last time that i would have to buy a mower. I have used it two seasons and now the tranny is out. John Deere should have to replace the transmission with one that will work under regular mowing. Count me in on a class action lawsuit. They will fix it if everyone bitches enough…please sign on.

  230. Nigel says:

    I have a 1974 12hp massey hydrostatic tranny Im the 2nd owner never touched the tranny but the tucumceh turned it into a guy tractor got the wife L130 410hrs new drive belt still noise lacks power not impressed Im a hd mechanic in the forrest ind. love jd product but the L130 is not up to having a jd sticker they should make it right for all the loyal jd consumers

  231. Charlie H. says:

    Let me preface this posting first:
    MODEL: LA 175 Tractor id: GXA 175A208870 DOM: 052009

    SNOW BLOWER: 44″ 2 STAGE S/N: M044SBH030499 M/N: MX37425

    I too have been a “victim” of John Deere’s shenanigans. Purchased the thing because i thought JD was quality stuff. Apparently they used to be concerned about quality and their reputation, but like many mfg’rs nowadays its more “Chuck you Farley”. I live up here in the Northeast in New Hampshire, and we love quality stuff.. things have gotta do what its supposed to do. When i got this thingy it ran great.. 54″ deck on it and the deck never had an issue. I got the Snow blower for it so i can do my driveways… what a POJ it turned out to be! First indication things ain’t right in the House O’Deere… Auger was blowing shear pins like a kid eats M&M’s at a birthday party.. On light snow loads no less) then that thing blew the 2nd stage main impeller (plastic) slipped/spun the hub, on a chunk of ice it shoulda crunched up and spit out easily… blower impeller was unrepairable in the field, but available. Then shortly the following month blew the main auger gearbox, ( ok JD got me another one but it was shipped dry and wasn’t told about it being shipped dry and needing lube first. that “fix” lasted 5 minutes, flat out ground out the gears. 3rd gearbox in it now/ no issues except more shear pins.. lol) and several plastic chutes since new due to shattering when cold. 3rd chute on it now since new. And now the Hydrostatic wants to give me problems? When i do driveways for xtra gas money and have a few contracts who ALREADY PAID ME FOR THE SEASON??? I don’t think so Bubba…. i think ill find me an old Pennsylvania Panzer with the 8 3/4 ” Dana, from those old Dodge’s… (those i know are near bullet proof at 600hp plus.. worked for them.. lol

    Yeah, add me to the lawsuit too… JD SHOULD pick up the tab for the recall/ upgrade/repair bill on the ENTIRE Series of machines that have these apparently cheap-shit axles. No wonder Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, Dixie Chopper, and others are doing so well.

    i DEPENDED on this thing almost daily… cutting grass in spring/summer/Fall, snow work in winter…. moving my boat/flatbed/utility trailer when needed, hauling stuff around yard.. this thing has and did earn it’s keep and it did it very well (up to now). I’m just gonna pull the engine (B&S Vanguard)/ cut off the front clip keep the rear tires and rims, and scrap everything else. I MIGHT keep the snow-blower/plow tools in case i can stitch the JD clip onto a NON HYDRO Murray/Husq/Other back end.. I will NOT be buying any john deere product any time soon. Going to see what Craftsman has to offer…and see if they’ll haul off the JD JUNK.
    Charlie….. NHBare603 at aol dot com.

  232. Larry Hart says:

    Regardless of there being a better older machine or an upgrade, the point still stands that John Deere concealed a problematic design on a unit that retailed for over $2300.00. Compared to the vastly expensive units that they sell for commercial use, there is none. However, John Deere put their name on a machine that has a major operational failure that costs nearly 40% of the retail price to repair and more to upgrade in less than 200 hours of residential operation. I have maintained my L120 by the book, only to be stuck with a machine that does not “Run Like A Deere.” I was looped into believing that the reputation of John Deere would allow me to use my L120 for a reasonable amount of time before enduring a major repair. Thank you John Deere… my next purchase most likely will be a commercial product that costs much more, but you can bet that it will not be green and yellow.

  233. Raymond Boyd says:

    I have an L120 with a bad tranny. It runs for about 20 minutes, then stops. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because I got over 400 hours before mine went. I would like to know two things: Where can I find out more about the upgrade (where it is available, price, how to purchase, etc.) ? How can I sign up for the Class Action suit? I filled out the form above, but every time I try to submit, it keeps kicking back that I need to sign. I sign, submit again, kicks back. Sign, submit……etc.

  234. Scott Gaskill says:

    Bought an L 120 about 7 years ago. It has 314 hrs. Experiencing exactly the same trannie problems as most above have described. It has always been useless going backward, but now even worse, especially with snow blower attachment. K66 transmission way too much to spend on a tractor that is worse significantly less than that. So I am DEFINATELY interested in class action suit.

  235. Jason says:

    Im a little behind, but i just saw this article. I clearly didn’t read all the comments, but if im repeating anyone, sorry.

    This seems to be a problem with the newer John Deeres (like everything else actually) Newer items don’t last as long as older models. Currently i’ve managed to put back together an old JD 111 (one with not the best reputation) and it is working great. Please understand, by “put together” i really mean, get the motor running again (original 11hp briggs/straton) and the shell (did some body work). I haven’t touched the transmission and that thing just keeps giving..

    not that anyone needs these type of stories… but perhaps buying older models is the better choice…

    food for thought..

  236. Roger says:

    If you are considering buying a new tractor to replace your malfunctioning JD, please keep this in mind:

    >In my opinion, virtually all the current tractors on the market in the “under $3000” price range are still using the TT K46 (or close variant) transaxle. This includes John Deere, Husqvarna and Craftsman.
    > It is likely any “model specific” attachments, such as snow equipment will also need to be replaced.
    > The trade-in, or sale value for your used, crippled tractor will be very low.

    In this current economic situation, fixing what you have makes sense.

  237. Frank Goodpaster says:

    I also bought a LA175. Needless to say after 220 hours the transmission is shot. When I contacted John Deere they said they were not aware of any problems with the transmission. I asked if they lived in a shell. Told them about this sight and suggested they take a look. I’m sure they won’t. Being a senior citizen (69) I thought I had bought a mower that with good care would last me the rest of my life. All we hear is buy American and John Deere has proved to me that is a bad idea. I would also be glad to join any class action suits that may arise. K66 replacement is now $1600.00. I will never own a John Deere again. I write several articles for the paper and you can bet this is one I will have published. Pure Junk John Deer. Thanks for nothing.

  238. Bob says:

    If your tractor is old like mine then you’ll end up replacing other items soon. In the end, it depends on the cost of the upgrade kit and the price of a mower that will do the job correctly, which is not a John Deere! If you have to spend over $1500 on an upgrade, how much more would it be for a new tractor?

  239. wes decker says:

    I was given a JD l120 with 435 hours on it with the issue of not climbing hills after about 30 minutes of running. i pulled the trans out and changed the fluid and now with 497 hours i’m starting to have the same issue i use it about 5 hours a day. I’m not sure if i should rebuild the k46 or save and buy a new k66 for it. i use this machine daily and it was free everything else is good on it

  240. Joe says:

    Just like Thursty I only operate my L130 with throttle full open. I have been noticing a small loss in power and was getting ready to get a new drive belt. Went out side to pull tractor out of my garage so my son could do my field. Moved 5 feet and then nothing. Started to research to find the problem and noticed all of the tranny problems. I am glad I found this. I was just getting ready to go and buy a secound JD so son and I could mow at the same time. Now knowing the price of the fix, going to get a differant tractor. Neighbor has Club Cadet and has had it as long as I have had my JD. He has no problems with his. Looks like JD has lost another customer.

  241. John Morgan says:

    Fellows, in my opinion John Deere has some great products, but they have sold as much or a higher percent “junk” than any other manufacturer! In my opinion John Deere dealers through their Dealer Councils should be able to put pressure on John Deere to correct these transmission problems, at no cost, to John Deere customers. John Deere does, what I consider, “sneaky” advertising. Take a look in Walmart for example, John Deere clothing, John Deere toy tractors, etc., etc. The kids see this and when they grow up what do they want, at any price I might add, a John Deere. Hook the kids and when they grow up that is the product they buy. McDonalds is also a good example of this!

  242. wayne says:

    I have an l110 green piece of you know what also, the k46 trans. has gone out completly it just free wheels will never buy a john deere again

  243. John says:

    I have the same problem with my JD – it won’t pull a hill after about 15 minutes of running. It’s a PIECE OF CRAP. Please add me to the class action suit.

  244. Tetrakis says:

    I have an L130 purchased from Home Depot about 2003 or 2004 I can’t remember. Just this year I noticed the slow back up and now it wont go up the steeper slopes in my yard. I am obviously well beyond any warranties.

    Generally I think the tractor is a piece of crapola, except maybe the Kohler engine itself. I have replaced all of the bearings on the deck. I had to replace the little steering gear assembly as the teeth wore out like they were made of soft metal. The plastic fins that cool the tranny a literally nonexistent – I have no idea when they may have snapped off or disappeared – I didn’t even know they were there until I started to reserach this power problem.

    I replaced the tranny belt with no improvement. I expect I will be looking to replace the tranny with the tuff torq k46 for a 1:1 exchange – it looks like all of the replacements you can buy from the website have tranny oil tanks on top which I presume means refillable elements.

    I’ll post again after the work is complete – but I wanted to comment just to appreciate this website and the opportunity to share in frustration with a broken mower. I guess 8 years is a long time compared to other posts, and I have several hundred hours on my machine. A 600 dollar part is infinitely cheaper than the option of an upgraded K66 and/or a new tractor.


    Center Valley, PA

  245. Jeff says:

    I must have a good L130, It’s a 2003 w/196hr. But now it’s slipping . Tried to change transmission from other mower,they all must be different. All of this talk about the K66 to fix my $200 mower,thats too expensive. I disassembled it all down to see if anything could be replaced. Found somethings with wear, but most were made of aluminum. It looks like a hydraulic pump,but with no more wear than I found, should still work. Replaced the fluid with new hydraulic fluid from Walmart. It took 5min. for the first movement but after that it was back to it’s old self, but with more noise. Don’t know how long this will work,need a cheaper fix than the K66.


    Jeff (TN)

  246. Kevin says:

    I too was deceived by a crafty sales rep that my new John Deere would be the last mower I’d buy. Numerous failures, mower deck cracked thru the drive spindle bolt holes, spindle bearings failed, belt idler pulley locked up, Carburetor cracked, paint all peeled off. All before 3 years old and 120 hours on the clock. Dealer made excuses why nothing is covered by warranty.

    Bought all my parts from JD dealer then the transmission failed. Dealer offered no help just wanted me to buy a $14,000 mower to replace mine. Wouldn’t discuss warranty issues. I went across the street and purchased a Z-Force Cub Cadet zero turn mower, WOW what a machine! Never been more satisfied with a purchase. YES it mows my hilly yard in 1/3 the time and 1/4 the gasoline used. Later took 2 mowers including the JD and built my boys a go-cart. They want to enter it in the county fair lawn mower race this year. At least I’m not mowing around it.

  247. Joe Wolfe says:

    I too have the John Deere L120 and also have spent money for both of the belts because I can not pull the hills in my yard after the mower gets hot I have to let it cool down about 30 minutes or so. I will not buy another John Deere mower that is for sure. You spend extra money to buy what you think is a quality product and find out that the Murray mower you had before the Deere was the better mower!! This is the first and last deer for us and nothing runs like a deer is a joke!

  248. Tonya Crandall says:

    I, too, have the same transmission problem you all are describing with my LA120. Just got off the phone (800-537-8233) with Raven at John Deere. He checked in their system and report there are no recalls or any reported problems like what we are all describing with the tranny on these tractors. He told me to call the dealership I purchased it from and get service from them. Problem is, the dealership refused to talk to me the minute I said I had an LA120 with tranny problems. John Deere gave an alternate dealership but it’s 2 hours away. No thanks!

    I think everyone needs to start reporting this problem to the phone # above so they recognize it’s a problem or they won’t do anything about it.

    Never again will I buy John Deere. Poor customer service from the dealership and refusal to recognize a problem at Corporate.

  249. Rick says:

    After reading all the comments on John Deere products, I would agree a law suit is in order. I have a L120 and the trani was starting to slip so I figured I could just drain the hydraulic fluid out and add new fluid. Guess John Deere did not make the transmission to do that. NOT GOOD! I am all for a class action suit for the faulty manufacturing of the hydraulic transmission on the units. Did not plan on only being able to use the unit for three years and have it go to WASTE!

  250. Charles Klute says:

    I purchased a new JD D140 mower in April 2012. The first hydrostatic transmission failed in 10 hours. JD dealership put in a new transmission. That unit failed in 2 hours. I thought it might last 10 years, if properly maintained. I asked a mechanic at the dealership about this and he said, “NO WAY!” “Four years, maybe six, but definitely not 10. Too many made in China parts.” I was led to believe I was the only one with this problem, until I happened upon this website. Deere is ruining their name with this Junk. My next mower won’t be green. My previous mower lasted 41 YEARS (it was not a Deere)

  251. Jumbo1114 says:

    Thanks mainly to the comments I’ve read on this page… I’ve successfully prevented my JD L120 from having Hydrostatic transmission problems for a total cost of $25. And I can now check my trans fluid and add oil as required. Thx to those that birthed the idea.

    Here’s the fix:

    • Remove trans and vent plug… turn upside-down and drain oil for 5 hours.
    • Re-install trans. but leave R.H. wheel off.
    • Using about a 14″ length of 5/8″ O.D. (3/8″ I.D.) Rubber Hose and a little Gorilla Glue… insert one end of the hose down the back of the machine between gas tank and back frame… until you can reach it with your hand from the R.H. wheel side. Spread a SMALL amount of the glue around the end of the hose… wait a couple of minutes.
    • Insert end of hose into the vent-plug hole and make note of its routing to top frame of machine behind gas tank… mark with magic marker.
    • Drill 5/8 dia. hole where you’ve made the mark; drill from under-side of machine to prevent accidentally hitting the gas tank.
    • Insert top portion of hose thru the hole you just drilled and secure with a wire tie.
      (around hose only) Hose clamp would probably work just as well.
    • Cut top of hose so that approx. 1-1/2″ protrudes above cowl.
    • Fill trans with 2 qts. oil of choice… I used 15w-50 Mobil 1. (Fill cycle takes a VERY LONG TIME due to the small 3/8″ I.D. of hose.)
    • You’ll have to come up with a vent plug now… I was going to use a short 3/8 bolt and drill a 1/16 vent hole thru it… then just screw it into the hose. However, I got lucky and found an old style push-down door lock… happened to be 3/8 in dia. – so I drilled my 1/16 dia. hole and pushed it into the hose… snug fit nicely.
    • Start the machine and depress the pedal for “Forward motion” very slowly… you’ll probably hear some growling from the trans… let up on the pedal and do the same for reverse motion. Keep doing that until the “growling” dissipates. Took my machine about 4 or 5 back-and-forth pedal pushes before it was completely quiet.
    • Shut the machine down and wait about 5 minutes. Remove your vent-plug cap and insert a thin copper wire down the newly-installed fill tube… until it won’t go down any further… bend top end of wire over the hose. Remove wire and make note of how far from the bottom end of the wire the oil shows on it. Bend the bottom end of the wire over for that length and solder tip to wire… that is your “Full” mark.
    • Since I used that door-lock button, it was easy for me to simply cut the top of the wire to proper length and “hot-glue” it to the button… that is my new “dip-stick. The measurement from the bend to where it attaches to the vent cap is very important because however you attach it to your cap… you must compensate for any distance from the bend to the spot on your cap it attaches.

    O.K. now you’re done… Great job. You can now check your trans oil and fill as required.
    In the next few weeks I intend to try to exchange my 5/8′ rubber hose with 5/8″ thin-wall copper tubing… hoping the fill process would be shortened by doing so.

  252. Michael Moriarty says:

    Same problem here. 142 hours on an LT160 and slipping in forward and reverse. Goes great downhill! Spent money on belt, idler pulleys and other unrelated transmission parts to no avail. I won’t be buying John Deere again. Class action would be great but you would probably get back $.05.

  253. Jack Dye says:

    My JD L-120 does the same thing, it quicks pulling when it gets hot. I was never happen with it even when it was brand new as it won’t pull in reverse. This is a poor design sold my JD and it need a recall but if we don’t file suit they will only keep selling this product. If someone files suit let me know!

    Jack Dye
    Houston, Texas

  254. bernie c. pellegrin says:

    I have a john deere 130 with the same problem . Changing the oil did not help. That what would have to happen to help people pay to fix it …….a law suit!

  255. Jumbo1114 says:

    O.K., O.K., O.K., I’ve read all I care to read about the poor service from the JD “L” line of Lawn Tractors. I have the same issue. 148 hours of use and after 30 minutes it will not move in reverse and the forward speed is about half.
    I’m ready to confront JD with my experiences with their L120 piece of crap (well tranny only…. otherwise great machine)
    For all of you who are sick and tired of having to shell out hard-earned bucks to repair/replace their K46 on an otherwise good machine… let me know by replying to this post.
    If sufficient replies are obtained, I will spend the money to open a class-action lawsuit against JD… hoping they will be forced to replace the K46’s with the K66 trans. – or pop for the funds for us owners to have it done ourselves.

  256. Jason says:

    Great! :-/
    I just bought this mower on Craigslist, cost me $900 for a LA120. Thought it was a great deal cause it was never touched. All original an running. I got it home and it wouldn’t move. It was around 100 degrees that day and the mower had been sitting in a trailer for 30 mins. After cooling down I cut my yard and was pleased. The next day I drove it down te street to my mother in laws house and started cutting her grass. Well going up a steep incline the trans gives out and I start rolling backwards into trafic. I was pissed that there was no safety brake or anything. Now I can’t return it and it’s sitting I’m my garage useless.

    My first mower and am having the worst time with this.
    Definitly with everyone on a lawsuite.

  257. Charles Perry says:

    Re: Lawsuit against John Deere because of K46 transmission–I’m a willing candidate, Lost power (hydro-static power) when blowing snow during third winter. Transmission so hot that snow sizzled when touching. Then it started slipping cogs in the differential. Then I bought a snow plow for my truck and didn’t use L130 for 2 years. Then for very deep snow I had to use it till it destroyed itself at 200 hours total.
    charlieperry “at” symbol g mail dot com

  258. Thursty says:

    I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the L130. My L130 has had a lot of problems but the transmission isn’t one of them. On another forum one of the posters mentioned that if you use the throttle to control the speed then the transmission will overheat. I’ve always operated mine as the operators manual says; always with the throttle full open. I’m wondering if that is why I’ve never had a transmission problem and if some of these transmission problems are due to operating without full throttle.

    john deere fixThe thing that has me replacing mine is that the front axle has broken in half twice now. Last year the little metal arm that holds the PTO clutch failed (click the image to the left and you’ll see the full image). The PTO clutch was damaged by the free spinning and it ripped out the wiring.

    The new PTO clutch and wire harness cost almost $300. All that for a part that should have cost less than $10 failing (a new one came in the box with the new PTO clutch, like they know why you’re replacing the PTO clutch). I did the work myself each time and I decided that I just don’t have the time to devote to repairing it every year. For those of you still using the lower end JD lawn tractors, even if you’ve done the transmission replacement, I’d suggest you replace that little metal arm once in a while before it fails.

  259. William Hill says:

    I thought I was buying a top of the line product when I bought a 125 riding mower 6 years ago. I don’t use it much.
    It has 115 hrs on it. However the paint is peeling really bad. It started 4 years ago when the machine was 4 years old.
    It’s really bad now and will need to be repainted. Local dealer won’t return my phone calls, and corporate throws it back to the local dealer. No more John Deere products for me. I realize this post is a little off topic, but I just had to vent.
    Anybody want to start a class action law suit?

  260. Greg says:

    I wish I had known of this forum two days ago. I just purchased a used LT 120 with 300 hours on it. The guy had other mowers for less than half what the JD was selling for. I hadn’t intended to spend 1200 bucks, but JDs last forever right? I splurged and got the JD over a Craftsman and an old Simplicity. What a disappointment! The LT 120 made it up the side of the ditch once, and then couldn’t climb to the top again. I am not buying a transmission for more than what I paid for the mower. I could have bought 2 Murrays or Craftsman and been money ahead. Sign me up if anyone decides to sue these b*st*rds.

  261. Charlie says:

    I bought JD L130, it was the most expessive tractor in the store, and I wanted to go all out and buy the best. The piece of you know what, lasted only 70 hours and the Hoydropstatic transmission gone which will cost $1000 to fix, is someone joking? This junk was breaking down even before that, tires losing air, the deck had a weak point that broke, the fuse will burn out constantly. I call this product a fraud, lets get the word out so other people don’t fall into this trap.

  262. larry tacy says:

    heat of the transmission is the problem. i installed a plastic gallon jug on the back of the seat and ran a copper tube so it discharges right over the fins of the transmission but below the fan. i installed a valve so that i could control the flow. now i can mow all day.

  263. Christopher Clarke says:

    We have a fairly steep block and a John Deere representative came out to take a look before making his recommendation. He suggested a used LX 279 which we subsequently purchased.

    Since that time, we have spent at least $3000 on the machine due to various mechanical failures. Recently, another local John Deere representative visited our property and advised that a hydrostatic transmission machine like our LX 279 was not ideal for our property, which we had found to our cost when the hydrostatic started failing within 18-months of purchase – a timeframe the current rep thought was about right given the terrain. We were then advised to sell our machine for parts and purchase a replacement non-hydrostatic machine; it didn’t matter which brand – the transmission was categorically not to be fluid driven like the LX 279.

    After this visit, I contacted customer services and we were advised that the territory manager would be in touch by phone within 14 days. Despite repeated requests on our part, it never happened. Following several exchanges, we were told via email that the matter rested with the Forest Glen , Qld dealership and that the manager there would call us. Again, there was no contact and we were asked via email again that if no contact had been made by the manager to call him ourselves.

    Following an exchange of emails we managed to arrange a meeting at the Forest Glen dealership; however, upon arrival we were told that the manager did not wish to attend and we were left with the two reps who had given conflicting advice in respect of the transmission suitable for our property. In a less-than-amicable meeting, we were offered a “final deal” – in reality the ONLY deal – a discount on a new X500 they felt was robust enough for the task; however, that is another $7000 or so on top of the $7000 we have spent on purchasing and repairing the LX 279.

    Highlighting to John Deere Australia the contradiction from the two reps was support for our case yet it seemed at the meeting that divulging that most recent honest advice by one of the reps had created problems (something we hadn’t even considered at the time) and the recently-held steadfast view as to the unsuitability of a hydrostatic transmission was completely revised at the meeting as the reps presented a unified front.

    Aside from the swift response of the online service, the customer support from John Deere has truly been abysmal with many of our emails not even including a salutation. However, despite everything, we do sympathise to some extent with the current rep and, to a lesser extent, the manager, as neither were in place at the time of the purchase and subsequent repair issues. Irrespective, our issue is not with the Forest Glen dealership as it is now but if that is the only offer John Deere is prepared to make then we will explore other avenues even if only to make others aware of the problems we have experienced.

    We have a supposed commercial-grade mower in the shed that won’t even move with John Deere having abdicated responsibility. Abysmal.

    CG Clarke
    (Qld, Australia)

  264. Glen says:

    I have a model L118 and it just quit moving but I’m hoping its just the belt. I removed the deck and the belt isn’t moving at all. When I put a little pressure on the belt it does start to turn. I had my son add a lttle pedal while I push on the belt and it actually moved forward so I’m hoping its just a loose belt. I would buy a new belt but it looks like you need to drop the steering to get the belt on ???

  265. James carter says:

    Pure junk! I have John Deere la175 80hrs. Runs great, transmission already gave out! Do not buy! I use mine on flat ground and it won’t even move!

  266. steve says:

    i wondered when john deere started showing up in the big box stores if they were going to start turning out junk i wish i found this page before i bought this lemon.

  267. steve says:

    the cheapest i found akit was on ebay .for about 1500 you tack shipping on to that your going to be pretty near the 1600 mark as i said im going to put a new factory trans in it and give it a new home with a new trans it should last the new owner a while. my next mower will be some other color then green.

  268. Chris says:

    NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE??? My L120 quit running. No warning signs at all, the engine runs fine, But in Mid-mow it just stopped going forward or backward. After checking I have discovered that the hydrostatic transmission is a piece of throw away junk that cannot be serviced, and a replacement will be $1,000. Like I have an extra grand to just toss at my mower!!!

    I bought this because it is a John Deere and reading comments in here from some dealers saying that we should realize there are john deere mowers not designed to mow anything rougher that a tennis court make me incensed. Most of us are average have average conditions and lawns to manage. Apparently the L120 was either designed to mow nothing more difficult than what I could do with a good pair of scissors or else they are designed to crap out unexpectedly so that we will for some apparent reason run out and buy another one in order to pad the John Deere Sales sheet for the year. NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE – My next mower won’t be green I can promise you that!

  269. steve says:

    i thought about putting the upgrade kit in my l118 until i found out it was 1600 dollars im going to put a new stock unit in for around 600 sell it and back slowly away from the green junk pile .

  270. phillips61 says:

    I have a scottsL2048 made by john deere and has ran fairly well for about 6 years with regular maintenance. Starting this summer when me or my son(both of us about 250lbs) are driving the mower it will not pull us uphill. Its never had this problem before and we assumed the drive belt was bad or loose but after being replaced it did the same thing. Does this mean the transmission is bad? We thought it could have been the amount of weight on the mower but thinking back we have weighed the same since we bought the thing. Just wondering if yall thinks its the transmission or something else. thanks

  271. dbux says:

    For the most part, this is all good information. I own three Simplicity tractors, the oldest being 1967, the newest 2007. I had the oppurtunity to buy a deere 165 from an inlaw that would not start without turning the fly wheel by hand. Well after new tires, battery, carb clean, and cleaning grounds, it starts. To my surprise, it has power but no speed. Thus here I am trying to determine the issue with the hydro. I have to much invested in time to give up, so I will continue to treat this as my green investment/hobby. I will continue to use my old Simplicity and find a solution for this 165/fb460
    So, if I find a K66 with wheels, my problems will go away. Very interesting.

  272. Lee Strzelecki says:

    I have a LA 175 with 80 hrs. on it. The trans is burned up and has been at JD 4 times now. Been without a mower for about a month. Fortunately its under warranty but only until June. I would LOVE to be on that law suit if it ever happens! For those that keep saying I shoulda bought a better mower, hindsight is 20/20. I’m stuck with this piece of crap now and I am VERY disappointed. I bought it because it was a JD and because it was made, or should I say assembled in my home state of TN. Maybe if enough of us keep complaining they will find a permanent fix.

    Lee S

  273. john says:

    I had a 2003 l130 for 7 years for the last 2 years the rear end was going out. It would run good for a half hour then it wouldn’t go up a grade. you probably could cook an egg on the transaxle it got so hot. The only thing nice it did was striping the yard. It took me 4 hours to mow my yard with the l130 .I finally had enough and upgraded to a used 2003 x495. the best thing i ever did, mowing time cut down to 1 hour. fuel savings was worth the money . Now the problem is keeping my wife oof the mower.

  274. Roger says:

    Regarding the quality and durability of the JD L/LA/LT/X/D series mowers:

    In my opinion, these mowers are basically a good value in this price range IF used for what they were designed for. Like others have pointed out, they don’t last long if used for mowing more than a reasonably sized, level, residential lawn … regardless what the salesman told you.

    If your mower’s transaxle failed because of heavy use, buying an X300 or another company’s mower in the same price range is not a good decision. If you check closely, most are using the same K46 (or close variant) transaxle and therefore you can expect the same experience. I have looked at other brands in the same price range and personally feel most are basically “cut out of the same cookie cutter,” with some variations. In fact, your JD is better quality!

    In my experience providing K66 Upgrade Kits for failed K46’s, no one ever complains about failed engines or other serious problems … only the transaxles seems to be the weak spot. With hundreds of upgraded tractors, we have received nothing but rave reports.

    Generally, my guidance is this: If your tractor did what you expected it to do, WHEN NEW, then replacing a failed K46 with the much more substantial K66 makes good dollars and sense. On the other hand, if it never was good enough, then spend the money and buy an X500, or similar. If you buy another “under $5000” tractor, you will soon find yourself in the same fix.

    Roger Daisley

  275. Robert Ross says:

    My L118 limited edition performs horrible. It won’t pull the hill in the back yard. Its in the shop again.

  276. bill says:

    After reading all this stuff, as much as I could stomach, pros and cons. I would like to say that I have an L120 that has been a piece of crap ever since I bought it. I have worn out a Murray and and a MTD on the same piece of property that I bought the DEERE to cut. I thought that by buying the DEERE I would never need another mower. Wrong!!!! As I have already stated “IT IS A PIECE OF CRAP” and so is the dealer I bought it from. I will “NEVER” recommend any John Deere product to anyone and I hope they and their, CHINESE PARTNERS, all go bankrupt.

  277. Robert Johnson says:

    Does anyone have any Corporate contacts at John Deere to complain about the LA140 unit?

  278. Bill says:

    I have a 125 that I bought in 2006 (before the LA’s came out). When I push my hand lever all the way forward the engine dies and I have to wait about an hour before it will start (sometime longer). Any ideas? It’s notht he carb, I changed that for a different reason but still does it. Thanks

  279. Harry Stromock says:

    Guestion What is the success rate duribelty of rebuilding a k46 hydrostatic trammy Thank you Harry

  280. Jim says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’m sending you his email address. There is no quick fix that I’m aware of with the l130, but Roger is the expert and if one is out there, he’ll know.

    I’ve watched my neighbor store their Cub Cadet outside unprotected in the winter for years (and they don’t winterize it) and that things keeps going! There is no way a mower should be able to survive the abuse they give it, and yet, it still handles the hills and plugs away. Amazing. I wish I had purchased one of these instead of my John Deere L series!

  281. Bill Hughlett says:

    I have a JD L130 and it would quit pulling after about 15 or 20 minutes. I was hoping to find a quick fix or a cheep fix but I guess there are none. It also is parked in my garage and is no help to me. I finally bought a Cub Cadet, so far it runs and cuts great.

    I took the JD back to the dealer and they picked it up probably three times, worked on it and each time said it was fixed. All this cost over $400.00. They finally said it was probably the tranny and the cost to replace it was way too much, so here it sits growing older and not working.

    I would like Rogers E-mail address so I could talk more directly with him.
    Maybe something can be done after all.
    Thanks, Bill

  282. Carlos Hernandez says:

    I was able to significantly improve the poor performance of my L130 transmission by :
    1- Removing the caked on dirt and dust that accumulates on the cooling fins of the transmission.This allows the cooling fan to do it’s job.
    In order to do this you will need good access to the bottom of the tractor. I parked it on top of a set of ramps

    2- Increase the rpm’s by adjusting the speed lever cable coming from the dash board console, next to the choke lever. You will find an adjusting screw on the engine, next to the cooling fan enclosure. Do not use this increased rpms continuously. Only use ot when actually climbing hills.

    Hope this helps. I was ready to buy anew transmission but so far, this quick fix is working really well.

  283. standard_output says:

    My L120 is going on 12 years of abuse now and still runs quite well. It only has two issues: 1) the hour-meter no longer works (excessive heat on the LCD, I think). 2) Slight coaxing is needed to start it, especially if it has sat for a few weeks. I have primarily used it to mow acres of 6-8 foot weeds and sparse weeds in high-dust areas. It has worked well for me in the sluggish humid air of Florida, the mountains of Colorado, and the dustbowl of California. I’ve used it to move snow, and the occasional hayride thing as well. I have accidentally mowed bricks, concrete, baling wire, baling twine, towells, and possibly a few unlucky rodents. I do all the prescribed maintenance, and have never had any functional issues pulling/mowing/climbing. Ever.

  284. Allen Crislip says:

    I bought this jd 130 in 2007. Bevelieving it would do the job that was required of it by what the salesman had told me.
    I explained what my property was like, he said it would do the job . Maybe he didnt know what a piece of junk this thing realy is. Bought it when I retired was expecting it to last the rest of my life. Yea thats right, think I should have got a sears .Dont have much good to say about jd equipment. Would consider suite against jd cant afford to fix my self. Thanks for reading , Allen

  285. Truer Statement says:

    Spoken like a true John Deere salesman, one who assumes that people know the difference between models; or, as you infer, that everyone is lying about the hill they have to mow and that all salesmen are honest and have been mislead. No, a True Statement would be that a person looking for a quality mower thinks of John Deere, assumes that they make quality products, explains his needs to a salesman and is told the L will do just fine.

    In my case, it wasn’t even a hill, it was a flat lawn and the mower lost its power after only a few years of service.

    Hill or no hill, the L is junk, and the very fact that they made this mower shows the true quality behind their product, sad really!

  286. True Statement says:

    You people need to stop buying cheap mowers. If your dealer told you that an L or a D was a good mower for hilly arias then you should be pissed. But you need to have at least a X300 to mow in that kind of condition. A D mower is great for flat land and in town mowing. You are buying an investment not a cheap toy. I hate when people start throwing around Class Action Lawsuit. I had a customer through that at me once. But when you tell me you mow flat land and then try and mow an incline more than 20 degrease you have no sympathy from me. I am sick of customers buying a D and expecting a X. If you don’t have the money for a big boy save for another year. You wouldn’t buy a compact car to haul a U-Haul all day every day so why would you buy a D to go in areas it shouldn’t.

  287. Mike Yurgec says:

    How about we get a class action lawsuit going to replace the transmissions on these JD Junkers? It seems when they hit the 200 hour mark, they start dying.

    Anyone interested?

    Mike Yurgec
    Sherman, Illinois

  288. Mark D Simpson says:

    Last week I upgraded my JD 155C from the overheating, unserviceable K46 transaxle to the “twice the torque” K66. I’m very please with the result as well as my interfaces with Roger. He was quick to repond to my questions and very helpful in making the final adjustments. I did the conversion alone and it took me about 4 hours including mounting new 23×10.5×12 tires on the new rims supplied in the kit. The instruction manual was very thorough and I too recommend that anyone who has a K46 hydrostatic transaxle on a John Deere lawn mower/tractor

  289. John Deere 175 Hydro says:

    Just wanted to say that I have a 1987 JD 175 and it was used (22 years) when I bought it. I’ve put a battery and a couple of belts on it and some tubes in the tires a well as a fuel pump, cleaned out the carb, replaced the plug, changed the oil and filter, new gas filter and had to blow the fuel line out from the tank to the filter. JD local folks told me I had one of the best mowers they made. Take care of these and service them regularly and they’ll last forever. Also, although some of the paint is coming off, it still looks good to be that old and truth is, the paint is probably thicker on this model than the metal is that the new ones are made of. Just saying……..!! Thnx!!! ;)

  290. Dennie says:

    I have an 04 LX277 bought from john deere dealer new. The mower runs great until the blades are engaged and then it boggs down so much it can’t even pull itself, let alone mow. When disengaged it picks back up to normal running speed. I’ve changed spark plugs, fuel filter, and breather but nothing helps. Is there a simple solution to this problem?

  291. Richard says:

    For those ho said not to buy the L-series from Lowe’s or Home depot,I bought my L-120 from a dealership (PLatte Valley, Wahoo,Ne.) and I’ve gone through my second tranny. Plus the dealer didn’t tell me about how long the trany would last when he saw my very hilly property. Not just hilly, but a 60 foot drop from the back of my 2 acres to the front of my two acres. I am highly disappointed in John Deere. The only saving grace for me is I have done my own work on the L-120. I installed the new tranny 2years ago and it’s going out now. Then the service center told me they never see problems with the L-series hydro,s. What malarkey. I am going to try and find a dealer that will sell me the k66 tranny and wheels. Help, my grass is growing too high.

    OK, I’m done ranting. I did replace my deck spindles 2years ago with the newer ones equiped with grease zerks. That was a huge improvement after 2 of the non-zerked spindles locked up. The motor has been flawless and I have replaced the steering gear assembly. Any suggestions what to do with the 2 trannies sitting in my shed?

  292. Roger says:

    Just a quick update:

    With over 500 K66 Upgrade Kits sold, we have nothing but rave reports. We now have kits for several tractors, including X300/X320, LT’s, Scotts and Husqvarna. Currently in development: Super 500 and X300R.
    If your tractor did what you wanted it to do, when new, then it makes good sense to install the K66 Upgrade Kit … it will be even better than new.

    We sincerely appreciate your business!

  293. John says:

    Stop buying cheap junk at Home Depot and Lowes! You get what you pay for, buy a real commercial duty machine from a dealer and actually know how to run/maintain the equipment. I got 3 commercial JD zero turns for a business and not a single problem. I know it’s unfair that JD puts their name on this junk, but they need to compete and this is the only way they know how. It just might be better to hire someone to mow your lawn. Husqvarna will steamroll JD’s top of the line machines!

  294. John says:

    I have an old LX 176, I replaced the transmission with a new one, it cost $1800, but the local dealer quote was $2500, almost the cost of a new mower. So I guess I got lucky! I have had it for around 3-4 years with no issues, it is a K60 or K61 not sure which. It came with oil in the the box and I have not replaced it, only added the bottle on top, reservoir and topped it up.
    Should I change this oil for new stuff, and do I have to worry about this transmission failing again?
    I think what tore the old one up, I bought it second hand, it must of had a trailer attatched and this heavy load did it.
    So my word of warning, do not make it do the work of a tractor

  295. paul donnelly says:

    save money is dump the oil out put ATF 4 automactic trans fliud red color on my k 46 trans. it work good should last long time that what i did on my tractor i use it for pulling heavy loads all year long i even pull over 1000 pounds of wood up hills no problems several times.

  296. Not Happy says:

    Hey Don,

    The dealers push these mowers as perfect for the home, yet they burn out fast. Why would John Deere make these models in the first place? I’ll tell you why, so they can compete with other mowers in the average home owner market but in making such a poor product, they just give themselves a bad name. And why, when you replace the Deere hydrostat with a model not from Deere, it works fine?

    Fact is, the lower end John Deere’s mentioned here just don’t stand up to the competition. They need to make it right or not make it at all!

  297. Don says:

    The reason you all are having trouble is you are useing a pony to do draft horse work. The bigger DEERES have oil coolers on them. Hydrostats make heat, lots of it. If the cooling fins on the tranny is covered in grass they dont cool. Hot oil gets thinner and with excessive clearance around the pump gears , and the drive motor pistons it just cavitates causing more heat. Buy your mower from a deere dealer and you will be a lot more satisified. He will help you select a mower for your terrain.

  298. darlene says:

    I can buy an LX277 2000 model with 320 hours on the clock. looks and runs great. Is it a good machine for the 2000 dollars. It’s my daughter’s from her divorce.

  299. Solo says:

    Bottom line for all this is that anyone who would buy a garden tractor with a hydrostatic (or any type automatic) transmission is making a big mistake. Nothing but problems. Go with the manual and you won’t have these problems!

  300. George says:

    you can go to Ebay or craigslist and buy a 20 or 25 year old JD 318 for around $2000 and have a real tractor with an indestructable mower deck and drive train. This is by far the best lawn tractor JD ever built. Don’t mess around with any of this “home” version of anyone’s mower. short life, poor build quality and expensive to fix. There are thousands of 318’s still on the job and attachments are readily available for them.

  301. Dennis says:

    I have had the same problem with the John Deere L130 tractor as so many others have noted. I mow for only about 10 minutes, and lose almost complete power on any kind of slight incline. The mower has just over 200 hours is all.

    I have never used the mower other than for cutting the yard, which is right at about 1.5 acres, with only very slight inclines. I checked with the local JD service center, and they said it is a faulty transmission, which will cost nearly $1000 to replace.

    I definitely wouldn’t recommend the lower end JD mowers at this point. I have had an MTD riding mower for 15 years, with no repair issues. I paid half the price for it. Everyone always told me JD was the best, and that was why it cost more. I think this forum proves that wrong, and that you are paying for a name that is not worthy, at least on the lower end mowers.

  302. Dennis says:

    I have the same problem with my 2002 Sabre. No power,..I went to the JD dealer and he said it wasn’t worth fixing. If I were to by one with a standard type tranny would that be better or is there a problem with this also?
    thanks for any advice, Dennis

  303. Cuck says:

    I’m selling Hydrostatic Transmission parts for the 90 series Sundstrand Hydrostatic, a bit expensive, but I think my parts are shipped with more care than others.

  304. Roger of Idaho says:

    Sat., Aug 13th: L120 John Deere, with a K46 automatic transmission: I removed the trans. assy, could then see where the fluid leak was coming, from a “Rubber Cap,” that was WX checked ! With a small screwdriver & a pocket knife, I removed both caps, the larger cap, to the LEFT front, on the top & the Rubber cap, on the LEFT rear, top. Under the front cap, I found a GROOVED WASHER, holding a one inch diameter, by 3/16 inch thick MAGNET ! Using needle-nose pliers, I removed the two, detail cleaned them, rolled the trans over, top down, drained 24 oz’s of BLACK, thin oil, flushed the trans-out with diesel oil, letting it drip-dry for 3 days. I refilled the fluid, using 32 oz’s of AMSOIL, “ATH,” “TRACTOR & HYD OIL, SAE 5-30, # ATHQT-EA. Replaced both Rubber caps, with NEW caps, I used same oil to lube both O-rings. Now, it will ONLY SLOWLY, back-up, forward is fine ! Doe’s anyone know, what is the proper AMOUNT of fluid is ?

  305. Roger of Idaho says:

    Jul 29, 11: I have made an error ! I removed the B & S, 20 HP engine, number 406777-139 E-1, to replace the leaking seals & gaskets. I tipped the mower over, on it’s rear tires & fenders, to allow access, for a detail cleaning of the under-carriage ! I had read, from within the “Operator’s Manual, that the transmission was a “SEALED UNIT !” It stood there for 2 days, the trans lube leaked out,,, from where, I haven’t found ! What is the proper transmission lube, for a John Deere, L-120 A mower, with an automatic transmission, operated in HOT WX, up to 100 degree’s ? From where, can I drain ALL THE LUBE ? And where, do I give it drink of lube ? 230 Hrs, are on the unit. Also, what about using either Mobil 1 or other synthetic oil’s in the Engine or Trans. ?

  306. Ricksfaith says:

    I have an old Scotts L2048..with over 600 hrs on it. I live in central Louisiana and have about 4 acres to mow weekly and it gets hot here in the summer. I use SAE 85-140 gear oil with about 1/4 of that being the stock hydo fluid in the tranny and the thing still is running. I’ve always used 30w-40 Pennziol in the engine and it to this day does not use any oil and runs great. I do pull a yard trailer with it too but I suppose that with what you guys do up North is quite different and maybe that make the difference. It still basically has all the origional stuff on it. The spindle bearings are greasable and I believe in the grease gun. Does it have the k46 or the k 66 trans? Just out of curosity. When the thing does finally die I will definitely give it a proper burial!!! Been some good info here to relay to my neighbors. Thanks

  307. Larry says:

    My friend has a j.d. L.x .176 some times the the trans. works fine but some times won’t move the machine and the free wheel lever doesn’t seem to allow correct movement too. The oil level is ok.

  308. brandon says:

    well fellas. i have a jd l110 that i have pushed very hard for several years running it anywhere from 5 to 6 days a week mowing semi commercially with. i never replaced more than normal maintaince items, my mower has more than 700 hrs on it, still runs great, but the transaxil just now started slowing down. was told to change the oil and will work great again. removing the transaxil is litterally 4 bolts. i believe that when jd makes millions of machines to sell, there are bound to be some defective ones. i think yall got the defective ones. cause i love my jd L110 and it has always been my back up, most dependable mower to get me out of a bind while running commercial zero turns that seem to break. lol

  309. Eddie Hopkins says:

    I read all the above comments and they seem to describe my problem. I have a 2001 John Deere LT 150 that has only mowed 1/4 acre, but on a hill. It started getting slower going up hill, moaning and requiring more pressure on the pedal. I assume it has the K46 transmission as noted in the blogs. Since only 1/4 acre, mower doesn’t have a lot of hours on it and looks new with nothing else wrong with it. What is my best solution to repair this and what is the cost?

  310. brian says:

    My first k66c went out at 125 hours. I got another one now its fixing to go out and it has 155 hours on it. All i do is mow I dont pull anything. I personally think they are junk and a wate of time. Tuff Torq claims these shoul last a long time under normal use.

  311. MarkM says:

    Is Roger still selling the transmission replacement for the john deere? If so, how much is it now?

    Update:2015, he is still selling the upgrade kit but the price has doubled.

  312. Barry from BC says:

    Well my new K66 is in and what a transformation,absolutly the best kit I have ever installed on any thing. nothing is missed, easy to do, and the power is there,

    and Alan from Ont. count me in! If we could get a law suit against JD it would be great

    Great job Roger

  313. Tom says:

    I have just located this blog. I am the owner of a LX176 lawn tractor that has the transmission very weak these days. I had Dealer pick up the tractor after I replaced the drive belt (no better result). They told me $2400 to replace the transmission. I was not happy with that and started my search. Came across this blog and am wondering if the Tuff Torq kit will work on the LX176 tractor I have.

    I love the tractor and snow thrower, dethatcher, etc accessories and cannot affort to buy a whole new mower and accessories. Any help is appreciated.

  314. doug says:

    i have 212 built in 1977 my neighbor has an x300 less than 140 hours built in 2007 bad k46 wants to trade me no waaaay law suit the lawers make all the money set a day everybody that has a bad k46 or what ever like june 1 2011 everbody take them to there nerest dealer and stay for two or three days

  315. Alan from Ontario says:

    All I can say is WOW!! I have a John Deere LA175 with the K46 transaxle. SHAME ON JOHN DEERE for utilizing such a weak trans on an otherwise reasonable machine. I have 300 hours on my unit… count them….300, and have had 2 transaxles in this unit and am now preparing for number 3! I have up to this point, endorsed the brand but as of today will steer anyone clear of purchasing ANYTHING with J.D. written on it.

    The “Box Stores” boasted a 4 year warranty I guess I didn’t read the fine print…4 year/120 hour warranty. Go figure! That is like 3 weeks working a full time job!! Wth?? I too after the first transaxle replacement was told I needed a bigger unit! Again wth?? I was also told…”That unit was made to cut grass only”, no kidding…that’s why I bought it!!!!! Well, now what to do, I have read many posts here and in other forums and when funds become available, install the upgrade kit.

    In my opinion J.D. should had thed K66 trans in this machine in the first place! I would’ve gladly paid the couple of hundred extra when I bought the machine. That being said, I can count on a mower having the trans replaced every 100 hours! Maybe I should only use it as a lawn ornament!???

    At this time I want to thank all for their input into this issue, I would even consider a class-action lawsuit against the Manufacturer…John Deere if need be! Anyone?



  316. Gary B. King says:

    I would love to purchase the K66 upgrade, but considering I paid $2,500 for the thing 4 years ago and have over 500 hours on the unit it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend another $1,200 on it. Compounding this is the fact that I have spent quite a bit replacing parts (2 sets of spindles, front axle, PTO clutch, pulleys, idlers, etc.). I’d like to throttle the guy at the JD dealership who sold me this thing and told me it would mow my three acres for 10 years, no problem.

  317. Roger says:

    Hi Joe: I’m sure you could put a K66 in your 185, but it would be an extensive project beyond what we could offer in a kit. You mower uses an Eaton transmission. I would suggest you scour Google for a suitable replacement.
    Best regards, roger

  318. Joe Margevicius says:

    My problem may be a little different. I have a John Deere 185 Hydro that is probably 20 years old ( I bought it used in 2005). There now appears to be the transmission problems of loss of power going up steep hills, (the shift handle seems to wnat to push itself into neutral and has to be held in forward gear, esp moving up hills, and when hot.) Is this the same type of transmillion problem I have been reading about on this website? Will an upgrade work on this mower, or is that old of a transmission worthy of rebuilding or replacement?

  319. Roger says:

    We sure understand how you feel about the cost of an upgrade. Consider this:

    If your original K46 failed, spending $650 for anther K46 will result in the same experience. (The K46a is the same mechanics.)

    Not one person that has done the K66 upgrade is unhappy. Their “new” tractor is now more powerful than it ever was … and saved them a whole bunch of money by giving them the tractor they always wanted without junking their current tractor and accessories.

    You would have to spend over $5000 to get a better tractor. An upgrade just makes sense …ask any of our 300+ upgrade customers.

  320. GBKing says:

    I just saw a K46A transaxle with a fluid reservoir and drain valves advertised on a JD parts supplier web site for $650. My L130 still makes it up the small hills in my 3 acre+ yard but I hate all the squealing and I hold my breath every time it slips a bit. Is the K46A a viable replacement for the orignal K46? …and is it any better? I have just over 500 hours on my K46 and I hate to spend $1,200+ on a 5 year old $2,500 unit. Thanks.

  321. Roger says:

    JS, you make a good point, however if you look at the X300 line, you bought the top model, but guess what if you bought an X300 for around $3000+? You get a A K46 … in a nice looking wrapper … sold only by JD dealers.

  322. JS says:

    You guy’s crack me up. You buy the L100 series threw a big box store that are made cheaper to compete. with the likes of craftsman and other low end products ,then you complain about john deere when they don’t hold up to your kind of mowing. Your all really cheap or you didn’t do your homework before you bought or both.
    The X series is where the real John Deere line starts.

    You know the old saying you get what you paid for. MY first John Deere lasted 20 years without any major problems because I bought the right tractor for the job. I now have an X360 which is a very well built top of the line tractor in it’s class. So If I get another 20 years out of this one which I feel sure I will then my $4,900 was well spent.

  323. Roger says:

    Jan: I really don’t agree with your comment, “…but intentionally built this poor quality K46.” Yes, Tuff Torq did intentionally build the K46. Did they intentionally build a poor quality unit or did they intentionally build the best unit they could for the price JD and others were willing to pay? You decide.

    Tuff Torq, like most businesses, build their products to SUIT THEIR CUSTOMERS. The tractor companies design their products to a certain price point. Next, they find the parts that will meet that price. For example, if there is $200 allocated for a transaxle, they ask the manufacturer, say for example Tuff Torq, to build a unit for that price, which they do. Is it intentionally poor quality or is it intentionally low price? Again, you decide.

    Who’s the guilty party here? Is it the tractor company that sells a very low priced tractor or the transaxle company that manufacturers an inexpensive unit to meet the tractor company’s request or the sales force that perhaps misleads the buyer … or the buyer who really does not understand what his/her actual requirements are and buys a tractor without matching requirements with capability?

    Maybe every one has a bit part in this play.

    Yes, Tuff Torq can – and does – build quality transaxles. That is the reason the K66 Upgrade business is so good. We’re correcting everyone’s errors and saving the customers investment … It’s Win-Win!

    Could JD have put a K66 in their lower priced models? Sure, but it would have narrowed the difference between the lower end and the higher priced (X500, for example) and the more profitable models. Is JD any different from their competitors? No … just green and yellow paint.

  324. Jan Williams says:

    I too have a defective transaxle on my John Deere L110. This mower has had many other problems prior to the failure of the K46. I met face to face with the JD reps at the Osh Kosh air show. They promised to get back to me regarding some of the problems I was having. I never heard another word. It’s ovious from the many comments, and my own experience, that they have no intention of standing behind their products. Tuff Torq is just as guilty. They can build a good transaxle, but intentionally built this poor quality K46.

  325. R.W. says:

    Good stuff here. Going to pull my K46 today on that DYS4500. Did the oil and bleed thing but to no avail. But Derrick at Tuff Torq has been awesome today!

  326. Roger says:

    Check out your potential Cub Cadet very carefully before you pull your credit card. You may discover it’s the same animal with a different coat.

  327. Don Saunders says:

    Whats up with John Deere? there should be a recall on these automatic trannies, I have a L130 just like the rest of you the which won’t go forward up a hill of any type it is 6 years old with 154 hours,my granddaughter got more hours out of her Barbie Car we got her for Christmas!

    Anyway, I have made sure I tell everyone I talk to about the new John Deere junk. I was at home depot and a guy was looking at a new john deere and I had to stop and tell him about my problems with mine and told him these tractors are nowhere near as good as their farm tractors so don’t be fooled. I told him I was going to buy a new Cub Cadet, he asked me where the dealer was HA HA John Deere people are catching on to your junk.

    Don from NE TN.

  328. Roger says:

    Hi Tom:

    All of the inexpensive, surplus, K66’s are gone. We are now buying brand new K66’s directly from Tuff Torq and are continuing to produce and sell the popular K66 Upgrade Kits. The price is about $500 higher.

    The kits are available on eBay

    Best Regards, Roger

  329. TomS says:


    I read Jim’s article last spring when my tranny started to act up and wouldn’t pull me up the driveway anymore. I have an LA140.

    Decided to save up and purchase the K66 this fall before the snow flies.

    Had no idea of all the happenings with the supply and demand.

    What is my next move?

    As I read throught the blogs am I to understand that no tranny’s are available?


  330. Bob says:

    How do we satrt a Law Siut against JD There has to be an attorney who bought this crap and would want to get justice for all us non legal types! If someone what post a place to start a class action suit it would be great!!!!

  331. Roger says:

    Steve: I looked at a couple Husqvarna’s today and all had K46’s. The ones I looked at were not as expensive as you mentioned (21K46) and were in the $1700 range.

    The K47 & K57 transaxles are pretty much identical, with 3/4″ axles.

    The K58 has 1″ axles, as does the K66 and has somewhat similar specs as the K66, except it does not have the external oil reservoir.

    If you are checking out tractors, look for 1″ axles, then look for the clear plastic external oil reservoir. While not a perfect check, it should give you a starting place.

    Best regards, Roger

    Ps: When considering the cost of a new tractor, don’t forget any accessories you would need to replace.

  332. Steve K says:

    I purchased an L120 from the person I bought my house from because he said that is how he mowed the yard. I have about 1 and 1/3 acres about half of which is a very steep incline. I mowed about 1/5 of the yard and the mower turned into a piece of sculpture. I put it in the shop and they told me the tranny was shot and I needed a new one. They piddled around with it for so long that I finally told them to forget it. After reading this thread, I’m glad I did. I’m not sure what they meant by the tranny was no good, but it sounds like Roger’s “upgrade” will take care of the problem. I am so glad I found this thread.

    I did have one question: I can buy a Husqvarna 24 hp 54″ mower from Lowe’s for about $2,300 and get a three year extendede service/repair warranty for about $300 or so. I am looking at a cost benefit issue, but the issue is decided if the tranny in the Husqvarna is the same as the L120. Any input?

  333. Roger says:

    For Ron: Tony was the only customer that actually completed the K66 Upgrade in his LT, after much custom work on his part.. In another case we ended up doing a refund.

    At this point, we decided to not recommend the kit for the LT’s. But that wasn’t the end of the story: When the surplus K66’s ran out and Tuff Torq initially told us they were not planning on making more, we decided to build our kits around the TT K72 (used in the JD X500) and call it the Super 500. We discovered the Super 500 would be a good fit for the X300 and LT series … and we’re working on the, but like many development projects, we’re way behind on the project. (We WILL have it available by the end of THIS month!)

    We have also discovered a way to install the very capable, but less expensive K66 in both the X300 and LT series. Again, this should be available this month.

    Bottom line: A K66 upgrade for the Lxxx, LTxxx and X300 for around the current price. (Maybe $100-200 more for the LT’s and X300’s) The Super 500 will come in under $2900, but WOW … what a ride!

    For Chet: We are not a JD dealer. You can find the parts you need at jdparts. com.

    Regarding your JD tractor problems: Good Luck finding anything better in the consumer price range. I’ve looked at many tractors in the under $3000 range and find them basically all about the same, except for paint.


  334. Chet says:

    I just found this site tonight and spent about an hour reading everyone’s posts. I also have the same thing wrong with my “Junk Deere” L130 mower. I mow for about 10 minutes and it stops pulling completely. I bought it new in 2005 and thought I was getting a good quality mower. Boy was I wrong. It has 270 hours on it and has never pulled any weight other than my 200 pounds and I have no hills on my 1 acre yard.

    I have been thinking of ordering the upgrade K66 kit but it’s hard to spend $1,500.00 on the kit when I paid $2,100.00 for the mower new. From reading all the previous posts I’m sure the kit is a great product and would fix all my problems but I just don’t have that kind of disposable money.

    This was my first riding mower and I know it’s going to be my last John Deere.

    I have already had to replace the belts and the front axle and the wire going to the pto clutch. The hood is broke on the front and I no longer have the mounting brackets to fix it if I buy a new hood. The hood was my fault but everything else is from John Deere selling a piece of garbage mower.

    You think John Deere would have a recall or do something to make this right with customers since there are so many complaints. I guess they are not the same company they used to be.

    I have had my Junk Deere in the garage broke down for almost 2 years now hoping something affordable would come out to fix the problem but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

    Roger, do you sell the mounting hardware for the hood? Thanks.

  335. Ron H says:

    Hi – this is directed to Roger and Tony from Australia (if you still check this forum). Roger, I sent you a question via e-bay last night re: the upgrade kit for a JD with manual PTO. It’s only now reading this site that I see that in May you advised that this kit is not a good fit for the LTxxx series. Mines an LT160, and I do see at least one user (Tony from Australia) apparently made the upgrade successfully back in March. I really hate the thought of having to completely ditch a machine that I’ve been pretty happy with except for the wholly inadequate K46 that has now completely failed from use on what I think of as a pretty moderate hill (of course, even when I could get it to run the hill it was painfully slow…). Roger/Tony – was/is the fit-up to an LT that much more involved. I definitely don’t mind doing extra work and am fully qualified as long as there’s not a lot of special fabrication or anything. Not a machinist and don’t want to pay too much if I have to get anything fabricated. Thanks!

  336. Roger says:

    FYI: I’m considering setting up a “Refurbishing and Upgrade” service. A customer would ship his tractor to our facility and we would go completely through it and replace or upgrade anything that was worn out or needed upgrading. It would be completely disassembled and everything inspected. For example, the obvious would to upgrade the tractor with a K66 or K72 transaxle. Another frustrating item is the steering. Over time it gets pretty sloppy and hard to steer. It is not expensive to upgrade the steering and replace the wheel bushings with ball bearings

    We would furnish the shipping platform and arrange trucking. Your tractor would be returned BETTER than new … MUCH better!

    Any comments?


  337. Mike B. says:

    Roger and Terry,
    I really appreciate the input. Roger- you’re right- the LT180 is otherwise a good machine. Just because now I’m interested, this winter I’l at least remove the trashed transmission to investigate. That alone will probably test my mechanical abilities, but I have friends with more know-how who can help. I’m leaning towards a rebuild or new K46, but I’ll make it “game time decision”. Terry, your point is well-taken. If I don’t upgrade to the K66 , I’m hoping that with minimal use (I’m hoping I can push snow with the bucket on my subcompact tractor) it will take me a heck of a lot longer to get to 150 hours. Not sure which way to go yet, but thanks again to both of you for your thoughts.

  338. Terry5153 says:

    Hi, Mike B. I know your question was to Roger but may I put in my $.02 worth? I bought a new LT150 in ’03. I have never, no never towed anything with it. I made that a point when I got it because I did abuse and fry the transaxle in my previous mower, an ’83 L111H. Tough lesson learned. However, by the time my LT150 had about 150 hours, the transaxle was losing power. I have very little in the way of inclines and when I do, it’s just for a few feet at a time. The K46 just isn’t made to cut it. Kind of like having a 1-Ton Dually pickup with a Volkswagen transmission. You can replace it with another transmission of the same and yes, it will move the truck for a while but not for long. Hope this helps.

  339. Roger says:

    Mike: You have a very interesting situation. The bottom line is: Should I pay JD to replace the K46 (I’m guessing at around $500-$700, or but a K66 Upgrade for around $1500? There is also a third possibility, which is to buy a rebuild kit for K46.

    The LT180 is a substantial machine (except for the bottom-of-the-line transaxle) and worth keeping. If you are going to use it for snow blowing, etc., your K46 will continue to be stressed to the limit. It’s just a question of how often do you want to replace or rebuild it.

    If funds are not a problem, I’d recommend the K66 Upgrade … or even better the K72 based “Super 500” Upgrade!

  340. Mike B. says:

    Roger et al.,

    This thread has been incredibly informative. I bought an LT180 (and snowblower attachment) about 6 years ago. I mow over 2 acres (a little hilly). I have a long dirt driveway and have towed a DR grader behind the LT-180 often- so maybe I stressed the mower more than it could handle. The transmission problem started last summer. The dealer picked it up and said nothing was wrong (I wish I discovered this site last year!). It mows great for 20 minutes and then won’t go up the slightest incline.

    For this and lots of other reasons, I bought a subcompact tractor that has a 60 inch mowing deck, so my problems are solved for the most part. But, for mowing around the house and many trees, the LT-180 maneuvers better, so I wouldn’t mind having it work (not to mention for the snowblower).

    My main question is: For a situation like mine, where the LT-180 does no more hilly mowing or heavy lifting, would it make more sense for me to go the cheaper route of replacing the K46 transmission rather than upgrading to the K66? It will be like the car that granny only drives to church on Sundays.

    Interesting– my local mower/tractor store was recently dropped as a JD dealer. They were more interested in getting me into a new mower rather than fixing what I have.

    Thanks for any input.

  341. Roger says:

    Rex: You can find parts info at tufftorq. com
    Another good resource is Derrick Dalton, TT Customer Service (866) 572-3441

  342. Rex M. Greene says:

    Looking for help on finding parts for a Tuff Torq K51A-SBR, S/N 087910 transaxle on a JD Sabre, JDPP P/N AM880202. The top pulley has stripped the spline teeth off the shaft. It appears I will need the shaft and pulley for replacement. I live in Northeast TN and not sure where to get parts for the Tuff Torq transaxle. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. A shop manual would help also. Thanks for any help.

  343. Roger says:

    1) Why did this happen?
    >>>> No clue
    2) Can I easily replace the fan?
    >>>> Not “easily,” but do-able. (Contact Derrick Dalton at Tuff Torq Customer service)
    3) Can I run the mower with out the fan for a limited time?
    >>>> Absolutely not. The fan is vital for cooling.

  344. okmred says:

    Ok, so I’m new to this whole thing and since this is pretty active, feel free to point me to a different thread.

    I have an LT160 drive belt blew, replaced it and noticed the fan above the trans was folding under the belt. By the time we noticed this about 5 blades of the fan had been cut off.

    1) Why did this happen?
    2) Can I easily replace the fan?
    3) Can I run the mower with out the fan for a limited time?

    Thanks. O

  345. Roger says:

    Hi Everett: It sounds like you were able to restore the power back into your tractor. I have several reports on similar results as a result of changing oil to a heavier viscosity. Sometimes that seems to work for awhile … sometimes it doesn’t.

    Unfortunately, virtually all of the “under $4000” tractors brands use a K46 or a variation. For a modest level home lawn, things work OK. Add in hills, or large areas, or other heavy loads like snow blowing and trouble is not far away. JD is no different from all the others.

    Now that you have a tractor that may not be up to your task, you have three possible choices: You can trade in your tractor on a $6000 model, or do a $1500 “K66 Upgrade” or rebuild your K46 every hundred hours, or so.

    I know how you feel … I went through the same choices with my own L130.

    Best regards, Roger

  346. Everett Rasso says:

    I too have a K46 Transaxle on a John Deere 155 C. It stopped going uphill, To be honest I have quite the hill behind my house, but I was told when I bought it “It was no problem”. It has 74.8 hours on it…….

    I removed it from the tractor, after reading these blogs, and drained the oil through the top plastic vent. I Removed all the bolts from the underside of the transaxle and did a inside inspection. I cleaned the magnet off ( no metal filings, but a buildup of a sludge substance). I cleaned that off and reinserted it back into the grooved slots it came from. Checked the screen filter, clean as a whistle, I mean no dirt at all. There was really nothing more I could do, all the gears seamed sloppy, but in this case it doesn’t mean anything, the gears are all their and looking like new.

    I put it back together and put straight 30 detergent oil in it, about 2 1/2 qts. Put it back in the tractor and it seemed to work just fine. It went up and down the hill behind the house with no problem. I’ll see how it holds up the next time I mow the whole lawn…..I must say you all had me convinced I would have to spend $1000 or more, which I wouldn’t and couldn’t.

    The machine cost me $2373.14 at Lowe’s. But I will never recommend A John Deere to anyone……and I will never purchase another one….

  347. Roger says:

    Re: Upgrade kits: We’re adding to the possibilities. Soon you will have several choices for virtually all tractor models:

    1) K66 Upgrade, which will be the right choice for most people.
    2) K72 “Super 500” Upgrade for exceptional power.
    3) K72 “Super 500” Upgrade with Differential Lock and “Power Traction” wheels. (12″ Bolt-on rims with 24.00″ x 12″ -12″ HDAP Tires)

  348. Karl P says:

    I have a Scotts 2554 wich has been great until the transaxle failed. Can I use the Super 500 upgrade kit. I hope so because it sounds great, I especially like the idea of having a diff. lock. Thanks for everything!

  349. Roger says:

    Regarding the K66 Upgrade Kit.

    We’ve got a SALE on: For a limited time we’re offering FREE SHIPPING to the US lower 48.

  350. Shawn Bush says:

    Hi Jim, I just forwarded my email to Roger. I am curious to see what he has to see and offer. If you want to send me an email I will send you the quote I was given. For that much money I am willing to take it apart myself, change out the fluid and put it back together to see if it works or not. Thanks again.


  351. Shawn Bush says:

    Hey Roger, like the others I googled the X300 transmission to see why the heck my 300 is dead. Its sitting at the dealership right now torn apart.

    I was told today that everything is fine and the only thing left is the transmission. I was given a quote and told them to hold onto until I can figure out what I want to do. I see you have a kit for the Lts but I see the Super 500 is up and running.

    Can I get some more details on this set up please? You can email me direct if you would like.

    Thanks in advance…..from another disgruntled John Deere owner!!! My Grandpa’s mids 60s is still up and running!

  352. Roger says:

    To Ken G: Thanks for the very nice report. Much appreciated!

    Ps: The Super 500 is up and running. VERY strong and VERY fast. It’s a real fun unit!

  353. Kevin Tompson says:

    I searched Google for John Deere Transmission and this site popped up first. I was considering buying a used model, but after reading the problems, I think I’ll pass on that idea!

  354. KenG says:

    I am now approaching a year of use with Roger’s upgrade, so I thought I would report in. Everything is working great! The transaxle has worked perfectly, with plenty of torque and power. In fact, even with the bigger tires (ag tires at that), the torque will overwhelm the load and dig into the ground (happens when I’m dragging heavy logs from the woods). I’ve added a “Johnny Bucket and Johnny Blade” too, and I’ve had no problems using those tools to their maximum capability. As winter approaches I’m looking forward to plowing the snow with my new “Johnny Plow” – to give the K66 a real good test! Roger, great job! I’m looking forward to reading about your “Super 500” upgrade too! Thanks again!

    Ken G.
    Northern Michigan

  355. d r scaife says:

    hi this from dr scaife. i took transmission apart in the pump i put small washers under the springs. put it all back and now CLIMBS UP THE HILLS. the washers are less than a dollar. an hour to take out 1halfs to put back .dennis

  356. Adam Schmidt 8/22/10 says:

    I have a John Deere L120 and had very little warning when my transmission went out. I noticed a humming noise as I was mowing, and the mower just kept getting slower. My leg started to hurt pushing on the pedal so I set the cruise control which is a joke and the mower was just creeping along. Then i went up a slight hill and it just stopped cold. No forward, no reverse.

    I pushed it back to the barn. Got on the 16 year old Yardman and finished the yard. Got back on the JD and it did run for 15 min’s then nothing. Pushed it back to the barn. That evening went out and backed it out of the barn, running about 15 feet, could not get it back in the barn. I paid $2300.00 for this mower 6 years ago. It has 209 hrs. 48 ich deck.

    I will never by a John Deere again. I am buying a gravely zt hd 60 zero turn mower. The dealer said he would sell me a transmission at cost for the JD just to get it running. I will use this mower for the crap jobs around the farm, since it is no secret that JD does not care about its customers any more. Just in this forum there are problems with L120, L130, La120 , L145, LT180, L111, and LT190. I sure there are more that I missed. Tuff torq and JD ought to be ashamed for producing a very poor product.

  357. d r scaife says:

    hi.i have lt150 hydrostatic has done 700 hrs has just started not going up hills .i changed oil made no diffence .i think i sell as is

  358. Roger says:

    Joe: ABSOLUTELY! Our K66/L111 Upgrade Kits work great in your tractor. You will have about TWICE the torque pulling power than you had when new. plus a quality transaxle that is built to automotive standards and is completely serviceable.

    Since your tractor has a MANUAL PTO, be sure to check that part out.
    Write me if you have any questions or concerns.

  359. JOE PYLEST says:

    Hello, do they have any kits to fix my L111 John Deere Tractor The transmission is still working barely wont climb hills runs great on flat ground Let me know It is Hydrostatic drive

  360. Adrian L says:

    I have a JD 125 and I had the same problems as everyone else on this site. I contacted Roger Daisley and bought his K-66 Upgrade kit. The kit arrived very quickly and the instrcutions he sends with the kit are excellent. I had the new transaxle installed in about 6 hours. There was 1 part missing from his shipment, but he over-nighted it to me as soon as I spotted it was missing. I am very pleased with the kit and I can now mow my whole yard without stopping. With the old transaxle, I needed to stop 3 or 4 times to let the it cool down.

    Roger’s excellent customer service is something pretty rare these days and it is very much appreciated.

  361. Richard F says:

    I own a Scotts 2554 that has 480 hrs and my manual tells me it’s equiped with a K66C transaxle and it’s now shot. I cannot get 10 minutes of mowing with it now. Most of these comments I’ve read are upgrading a K46 to a K66 and most seem to be very pleased, but don’t think your getting a bulletproof transaxle because your not. At least, mine is not. Or hopefully the upgrade is a better unit than what came on my Scotts. I now own a JD X540 and am very pleased with it but still have my 2554 and know not what to do with it. Everything works great but the trans. Sounds like this super500upgrade may be an option?

  362. KevinD says:

    Hey Roger,

    I own a Craftsman DYS4500 that has the Tuff Torq K46 Transaxle in it that is experiencing the same heat related “slippage” issues as others on this forum. Is your upgrade kit only for JD products or is there a K66 upgrade for my 2004 Craftsman available?

    Thanks for your expertise!


  363. Roger says:

    Another thought:

    The K66 Upgrade Kit is NOT a “repair kit” for broken/failed K46’s. It is a kit designed to bring your tractor up to a level of preformance greater than it ever was originally.

    You can buy a repair kit from Tuff Torq and basically make your K46 whole again. What you will then have is the same thing you had before … and you can expect the same results again.

    The K66 Upgrade Kit is based upon the concept that you will have Upgraded your tractor to a higher level of performance with virtually TWICE the torque it had when new. In addition, you will have a fully serviceable transaxle built to automotive standards. It will NOT require repairing/rebuilding every 200 hours.

    Instead of an otherwise perfectly good tractor with a bottom-of-the-line marginal transaxle, you will now have a tractor that will perform as you expected when you bought it and can handle the heavy-duty jobs that caused the K46 to fail.

  364. Roger says:

    “Why has the price nearly doubled in less than a years time?”

    Very reasonable question.

    When the K66 upgrades first started, about eighteen months ago, there were about 500 surplus K66 transaxles available on the market for around $200. It is believed they were surplus JD inventory. These surplus transaxles were all gone a few months ago.

    We thought the “K66 Upgrade” business was over when the surplus transaxles were all gone, however there was still a very strong demand for Upgrades because of all the failed K46’s. We made arrangements with Tuff Torq to make new K66’s for our kits. The new transaxles cost about $900 more than the surplus one’s.

    For whatever reason, the price JD charged for the wheel rims used in the kits went from about $50 to over $80 – each! Other JD parts have also dramatically gone up.

    The price of the kits have gone up in direct response to the price of the parts.

    The question is: Is it still worth doing an upgrade? We think the answer is “Yes, of course.” After the K66 Upgrade, you will have a tractor with a great engine and a strong robust transaxle that is fully serviceable and built to automotive standards.

    The Upgrade will give you a tractor much stronger than it was when new. In order to buy a better tractor you would have to spend well over $5000. Another advantage is you can continue to use any accessories you now have. Look on eBay for “John Deere K66”

    Should you consider doing the K66 Upgrade? Look at what others have said!

  365. Tom says:

    hi i have a john Deere 235GT and the hydrostatic drive unit broke took it to my local dealer in Grand Ledge, MI had it a week and didn’t fix it, they were to busy setting on there bottoms so I took it home, ordered parts and rebuilt it myself.

    Now it works but not right go s faster back wards than forwards asked for help john Deere dealers here unwilling to give info. I just need to know how to put linkage on and adjust so it works right. John Deere won’t provide me with the info. I will never ever do business with such a greedy money hungry no answer business again! Please, help if you can, I need to fix so i can sell this mower.

  366. Travis S says:

    I am experiencing the same issue with my L145 JD with only about 112 hours. Luckily only a portion of my 2 acres is hilly, but I have had to stop mowing the hill because I can not make the hill.

    I may eventually do the upgrade, but as with everybody the investment to upgrade my mower is not cheap, but cheap compared to my other options. I am thinking of purchasing myself a good push mower and giving my own transmission (my legs) a new workout, cleated shoes will be required.

    So my question is and I unfortunately think I know the answer is; will I continue to have further issues on the flat ground or minimal slope ground if I do not fix my issue? or will the problem continue until I have an expensive ‘green yard ornament’ in the middle of my flat yard?

  367. Roger says:


    From your description, can I assume that your LA120 was running OK prior to changing the mower belt? If this is true, doesn’t it seem strange that the tractor all of a sudden it won’t go? “Sudden” failures of the K46 are probably rare, if not non-existent. (At least, I have never heard of that happening.)

    The first thing I would look at is the “free wheeling rod.” (A small push/pull rod extending from the back hitch plate of the tractor) If this rod was inadvertently pulled out, the tractor will not move. To correct the problem … push it back in.

    If this is not the problem, then I would review the routing of the drive belt. Maybe it somehow came of the engine drive sheave. Another area I would look at is the routing of the belts through the clutch pulleys.

    If all this does not correct the problem and the Transaxle has suddenly failed, then give me a call or email regarding a K66 transaxle upgrade. I would NOT suggesting replacing the transaxle with the same unit.

    Best Regards, Roger

  368. Nora says:

    I’ve been having my JD LA120 for about 3 yrs and I have a problem. It started smoking when we would engage the blades so my grandfather changed the deck belt and drive belt. He put it all back together, started it and now it won’t go into gear.

    He thinks it’s something with the transmission and of course the manual says contact your local John Deere dealer when dealing with transmission issues and reading the comments I see that doing your own repairs on the transmission is possible. My grandfather is very experienced with mechanics; he’s been doing that sort of thing all his life and has worked on transmissions in the past.

    Any feedback on what the problem may be and how to resolve it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!! Nora

  369. Roger says:

    Looking for someone with a JD X300 and/or LTxxx that wants to do a “Super 500” upgrade and is willing to do “Beta” development. Applicant needs to be reasonably handy with tools and mechanics.

  370. Russ Rickett says:

    I Googled for tranny info and this was the first website I logged onto. What a wealth of information.

    I am having the same problem as everyone else but I read clear to the end and concluded I must have the only LX188 tractor in existence. I bought it used in 1999 (I think it was manufactured in 92 or 93) and it just started slipping this spring.

    I have completely rebuilt the engine, welded, replaced wheel bearings, split the transmission to install axle seals and have been able to keep this old thing running. I had the same experience as a lot of you by replacing the oil and it didn’t seem to help a bit. I replaced the oil with JD’s hydraulic oil and used the heavier grade.

    In reading this forum I see that there is a lot of mention of using a 5W-50W motor oil. Could I replace the hydraulic oil with a motor oil without getting into trouble. I have do the hilly mowing while the tranny is cool but have about six hours of mowing and usually run out of tranny before I am through.

    Will appreciate any comments from anyone who is more of an expert than I.

  371. Robert P Esposito says:

    IN 2008 I bought a John Deere Mod# LA-140. with all the attachments (snow blower, chains,weights and snow cover. My drive way is at a 30% slope. It would not work! In the spring I used it to cut my lawn. After about 1 hour it would not got up the hill. I was told that the new model would not do that. The 145 is a better machine. John Deere can go to HELL! I will never by another product from them. My friends Cub Cadet works just fine. I paid over $4,000.00 for this piece of junk. John Deere will not help. I will badmouth them every chance I get. Drop dead Sam Allen, the prez of John Deere. Robert P. Esposito 236 Cutts Road, Newport, NH 03773 or call 603-863-6666

  372. Donna L. says:

    Roger, I have an LT180, changed the belt and pulley, and adjusted tensioner. Minimal improvement. After reading this awesome blog, it is obvious I need to replace transmission. Do you have a kit available for the LT180 (2003)? What is the cost? I really would love to successfully install it and dump all the old parts
    on the service desk at John Deere and tell the techs to “blankity blank”!

  373. Roger says:

    Hi Terry5153: Regarding your question … not likely. We have tried and it has not been “pretty.” In the last case, we had to give the customer a refund. That is why we are developing the K72 based “Super 500.” It will be more expensive than the K66 Upgrade, but will be considerably more powerful and will include the differential lock. Basically the performance of a JD 500 series, at less than half the cost.

  374. Roger says:

    GOOD NEWS: Help is on the way.: Tuff Torq is building more K66’s for us. We hope to have our K66 Upgrade Kits ready for sale again by mid-July. No change in price. Now taking reservations.

  375. Bob says:

    I spoke to a JD dealer and told him about the substandard transaxle in my L120.He said JD answers any complaints by saying it was abused and was not designed for rough use.How can mowing on a hill be abuse? I think they should be more truthful in their advertising.I feel misled.

  376. Jason Gray says:

    i have a L 130 and been having transmission slippage took hydro out and replaced filter and old oil helped a lot, not 100% still but a 100% IMPROVEMENT over what it was. any questions i would be willing to help, just send me an email [email protected]

    I think i going to sell it and buy a new x 320 or something from kubota

  377. Bob says:

    I am now the happy owner of a tricked out L120. I got the next to the last upgrade kit Roger had and could not be more pleased. Not only did it make my mower a stronger machine but Roger is a great person to deal with. Included in the kit was even a drill bit for a hole needed in the frame and new valve stems for the new rims. I wish all people we deal with were as concerned as Roger. Thanks.

  378. Bob Cavicchioni says:

    OK Can anyone tell me WHY there isn’t anyone who would start a class action? Sue as JD = “junk of the devil” We there isn’t enough power in the people to move on this and MAKE JD be held responsible instead of holding us captive with they crappy design

  379. Will Irby says:

    Don– My tranny does not have the relief valves, so I am no help there, but if that is the problem, it would certainly be worth the effort to try cleaning them first.

    I can get to the fulcrum on mine from below, although access is definitely tight!

  380. Don says:

    Hello again Will,
    I think I may have found my problem on that John Deere 312 that won’t reverse. The relief valves on the hydrastat are rusty and sticking. I’m trying to clean them and get them working free. I understand they are expensive to purchase so hope this works. Any comments?


  381. Don says:

    Thanks a lot will. That was fast info. Sounds somewhat complicated but I will give this a try. I have removed the deck and seat but I guess everything needs to come off in order to expose the fulcrum. If I hadn’t spent so time and money on the engine I would be tempted to junk the whole thing. And thanks for the reference site also.

  382. Will Irby says:

    Don–I am not sure what transmission you have, so this is just a guess based on the one I just rebuilt. Mine has a shaft with an eccentric cam lobe on it that is used to adjust the transition from forward to reverse; I believe the TuffTorq catalog calls this the fulcrum. There is a procedure for adjusting this during rebuild of the transaxle, but since you have not opened yours up nothing should have changed. However, TuffTorq does publish a procedure for adjusting this with the tractor running on jack stands listed below:

    1. Complete air bleeding on the Transaxle.
    2. Place the tractor’s rear axle on a jack stands with wheels off the floor.
    3. Remove necessary components from vehicle to access (brass colored) Fulcrum on Transaxle for adjustment.
    4. Start engine and adjust the throttle for high idle speed (full throttle).
    5. Turn the Fulcrum Shaft clockwise until the Axle Shafts rotate in reverse.
    6. Mark the top of the Fulcrum.
    7. Turn the Fulcrum Shaft counterclockwise slowly until the Axle Shafts stop rotating in reverse. Mark the Transaxle Case.
    8. Turn the Fulcrum Shaft counterclockwise slowly until the Axle Shafts rotate forward.
    9. Turn the Fulcrum Shaft clockwise slowly until the Axle Shaft stops and mark the Transaxle Case.
    10. Rotate mark on the Fulcrum clockwise to a position one third (1/3) distance from the forward stop point.
    11. Hold the Fulcrum Shaft with a (8 mm) wrench, and tighten the (17 mm) Lock Nut.
    12. Confirm no rotation of the Axle Shaft in neutral by slowly returning the Control Lever to neutral from forward to reverse.

    The procedure is probably similar for many models. The service manual is available online (see page 41) (with the pictures referenced) at https ://

  383. Don says:

    Have a 25 year old Jon Deere 312 rider with a Koler 301 engine. The tractor has a hydrastatic transmission. With help from others, I recently overhauled the Koler and everything is OK there. However, once I got everything back together I have no reverse. The tractor goes forward just fine and sometimes it will faintly try to back up when the control is moved rearward but it fails go into reverse. I have tried to adjust the clevis on the controlrod linkage but but it has no effect. As far as I know nothing was done to cause this by me and it was working OK before the overhaul. I’m stumped. Can you advise please. PS. I put a new hydrastatic filter on and added fluid but it had no effect.

  384. Roger says:

    Kyle: At least you have a new drive belt.

    Seriously, when the tranny starts to go on a John Deere, the first thing almost everyone does is change the belt because the symptoms seem very much like a slipping belt. (I did the same thing!) Like you discovered, it usually isn’t the belt.

    The next thing many people do is change the oil. That sometimes gives a few more hours.

    Unfortunately, about the only sure cure is a transaxle replacement with either a new K46, a K66 Upgrade or even a K72 “Super 500” Upgrade.

  385. Kyle says:

    I guess buying a replacement drive belt for my L130 was a bad idea? I am having the same issue… 145 hours

  386. Roger says:

    HURRAY! I just learned today that Tuff Torq will build us a limited number of new K66’r!

    I expect to have them here in August. Since there seems to be a pretty substantial demand for these kits, we are now taking reservations. The kits will be delivered in order of reservations made.

    I have not learned the price of the new transaxles, however I am hoping they will be the same price as the last batch. If that is true, then the kit price will remain unchanged.

    Ps: The K72, “Super 500” upgrade is still progressing nicely. This probably means we will have two different upgrade kits available.

  387. Tom Wachunas says:

    Just found this forum. I too just started having problems with my L120, only 7 years old. At the time i bought my john Deere, had a 13 year old Wards Tractor that I thought would not last much longer; its still running. I bought my wards tractor when I was a new home owner and couldn’t afford a John Deere. I paid about two and a half times the price for the John Deere and thought I was getting a premium product. Like everyone else, I believed JD stood for quality, reliability, dependability, and service.

    The last seven years I have used both tractors to mow my 2 plus acres, so in essence my JD has only mowed about one acre for the last seven years.
    The dealer now says not enough tractor (never mentioned this when I bought), and only about $150 for trade in!

    John Deere never responded to my email. I then called and though the customer service rep was very nice, basically told me not to expect any follow up.
    I then requested a supervisor call me and her response was that JD was not obligated to do anything.

    I too will never buy another JD product and will paint it a different color if I keep it!

    I would love to be able to send this whole forum to John Deere repeatedly!!

    I did look on ebay and did not see any kits left.

    Roger, if you can let me know the status i would appreciate.

    P.S. My 20 year old $1200 Wards Tractor still run, still mows, and occasionally tows my JD up the hill!

  388. Mark Schwab says:

    Just got done dropping trans out of mower. Took about 45 minutes only because I had just replaced traction belt and wasted no time unbolting everything. New 46BE should be here Monday. Thank you John Deere, I won’t be able to sit down for a week.

  389. Mark Schwab says:

    Have a 145,bought in June 2006. Mow 4 acres hilly ground. Trans went out last week at 388 hours. Ordered new K46BE trans from TuffTorq, $665 includes shipping. I am going to cut out about an acre of the steepest yard and let it go back to field. Hope to change my mowing pattern to avoid some of the pulling slopes. For the $665 I hope I can get 5 or 6 years out of this tranny. In the meantime will keep an eye out for an old Farmall with belly mower and use it on the majority of acreage.

    Like everyone else I did not realize what I was buying. Had a Scotts 18 hp 48″ cut when I bought the property and got 9 years out of it before the Tecumseh tranny gave out.Like everything else these days “keep the price down and cheapen up the quality.”Wish it was the 60’s again when quality mattered.

  390. Will Irby says:

    Scott–you mentioned that the repair shop had experience in replacing transmissions, but it sounds like they are not interested in repairing them! Their statement that some K-46’s can be serviced doesn’t make sense to me; I think the correct statement would be that some shops can (or will) service K-46’s.

    See my post a few days ago on rebuilding my K-46; it is certainly possible, although I agree that it does take some time and is not inexpensive! My total cash outlay was about $550, but I replaced every component that I judged to be worn just because I don’t want to pull it out again for a few years! I think a new K-46 is going for around $750 to $800, so I can certainly understand the cost tradeoff for a shop–the time they would have in disassembly, cleaining, and reassembly would probably more than offset the difference in the cost of the new transaxle vs. the rebuild parts–IF you replace everything like I did!

    Having said that, the rebuild process educated me on how these things are designed and put together, and I just might design one of my own! (Disclosure: I am a mechanical engineer, so I am just enough of a gearhead that this is somewhat like fun to me..)

    You might try just changing the oil (and using a 5-50W synthetic for the refill) as some have done with varying degrees of success; the only pain here is that you still have to take the transaxle out to do this, since there is no drain plug and the fill port/plug is not accessible without dropping the tranny–and even if you could get to it, the cooling fan is just above the plug, so you have to remove the drive pulley and fan to refill–more excellent engineering by John Deere!

  391. Scott Cottrill says:

    I just got a call from the repair shop (Non Deere) that has had a lot of expereince replacing transmissions on LT’s. I had asked them to try changing the fluid and clean the filter. They agreed becasue they said some of the K-46’s could be serviced. Well, mine is not one of them! I have 258 hours. That’s not a lot for a 5 year old machine. Their advice to me – keep running it as it is until it does not run any longer and then replace the transmission — with another K-46? No way! Roger, please hurry, and please try to keep it relatively inexpensive. Thanks.

  392. Don Fox says:

    I to am disappointed in the John Deere 130 tractor that I bought 3 yrs. ago. All I ever heard was nothing runs like a Deere, so when my wife and I went to buy a new mower that’s all she wanted me to buy. Now 3 yrs. later the repair shop calls and tells me the transmission is bad!

    We spent $2300 on this mower and now I have nothing to show for it. I am not a rich person so when I spend this much money on a mower I expect it to last for more than 3 yrs. When I bought this mower from Lowes that’s all the salesperson kept saying what a good mower I was getting.

    I like many of you think John Deere should have some kind of lawsuit brought against them. They shouldn’t be allowed to sell a product for this much money if it’s basically trash. I know my wife is blaming herself for convincing me to buy this mower, but if you hear the same phrase all your life that nothing beats a Deere, you have to think there’s something to it.

    I think that phrase should be banned so the next generation doesn’t grow up believing it. I live in Ohio and am wondering what I’m going to do about this situation.

  393. Roger says:

    KC: I am not a part of any suit against JD. All I do is develop great K66/K72 Upgrade kits for owners that have failed transaxles.

  394. KC Linder says:

    I am having very similar transmission issues with a 2008 John Deere L155 series. Does the 155 series have the same transmissions as the L120 and 130 you are talking about ?
    I have spoken to John Deere and they will give me a price break on the cost of a new transmission but it only has a 90 day warranty. I am tied between giving them 650 and getting the new transmission and hoping it lasts, or getting another non John Deere mower.
    Awful frustrating for a mower with only 120 hours on it
    Thanks in advance.
    PS- Sign me up for the class action suit!

  395. Bill Molzon says:

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread!

    I have a 2007 John Deere X300 with about 200 hours on it. It will no longer pull the slight slope it used to.

    Is the K46 transaxle in the X300 the same version as the Tuff Torq K46 in the LTs and the LAs?

    If it’s not the same version, which version is it and what are the differences?

    I’m having the John Deere dealership who sold me the X300 remove the transaxle and change the oil and internal filter.

    Is there a brand-of-choice for the 5w50 synthetic transmission fluid?

    I’d like to have a cock valve installed in the lower half of the transaxle case so it’s easier to change the fluid. Does anyone know if cock valves have been installed in the K46?


  396. Jeff says:

    Everybody says you can’t change the fluid in a JD L111 but I did, only about a quart of fluid was in the transmission. I replaced the fluid with 20w-40 synthetic oil. It held almost 2 quarts and now it will climb hills again like it use to. I live in the south and its hot. Trust me it wasn’t easy removing all the fluid but it was a whole easer than putting down a few grand for a new mower.

  397. Roger says:

    Regarding Terry’s question about fitment of the K72 in various JD models, such as the LT series.

    I cannot give you a positive answer about that issue right now, but I am about 98% sure it will work just fine in most, if not all, of the JD Lxxx; LAxxx; LTxxx and Xxxx tractors. In most cases it will take some relative simple mods, but very “do able.”

    “The best is yet to come”

  398. Will Irby says:

    Scott, I agree with you–and I am definitely not a sue-happy person; I believe in people taking responsibility for their own actions, not hiring lawyers who will find a way to make it someone else’s fault! However, in this case, it does seem that John Deere has misrepresented, or allowed the big box stores to misrepresent, the capabilities of these machines. I try to avoid lawyers whenever possible, but in this case I would be happy to act as a witness..

    Oh well, it certainly isn’t worth the time to pursue it myself, so I will hopefully get a few more years out of it and sell it to someone with a flat yard–it should be fine for that!

  399. Scott Cottrill says:

    Will, I totally agree with you about the class action lawsuit. I brought it up a few days before you did and I see that no one on this forum had mentioned it before us. I’m not a sue happy person, but if the K-46 transmision has gone out in as little as 50 hours, and JD put it not only in the L series but continued it in the LT series, teh box store LA’s the Sabres and Scotts, it seems that a very good case could be made for a lawsuit. Anyone out there have any ideas about this? It would be great just to get our transmissions replaced. Mine is 5 years old but only has 258 hours on it. It’s been weak since at least 155 hours; I just did not know there was a problem. Who would? Afterall we all bought John Deeres, the tractor that lasts forever, right? In cars, even a 10 year, 100,000 mile drive train warranty is becoming standard.

  400. Mike says:

    Interesting find, this website. I see I’m not alone with my poorly performing L130.

    I don’t feel too bad though, I found this lawn mower at the Pawn Shop and didn’t feel like I got anything other than a pretty good deal. What I got was a 2000 hour machine needing all the basic, and not so basic maintenance done. The motor is fine, nice clean oil, newish plug and the air filter was even pretty clean.

    The deck howled like a banshee, cuts real nice though, and the blades on it weren’t bad at all. Someone did do -some- maintenance in it’s life. Getting the deck kit (with the aforementioned grease fittings) seems pricey, but it’s worth it. Actually sounds pleasant now – nice whooshing noises now. Still cuts nice, that wasn’t an issue before, just my painful ears.

    Now I discover I have a more serious issue, and just like y’all, can’t do the hilly parts and not much of anything after a bit of use.

    And a Question has come to mind: What about transmissions from other years, other models? Any chance of them be made to work?

    I ask because in a former life, I had a brand new “265” – Garden tractor that I used mostly daily over about 10 years. Mowed two of my own acres, did the old woman next door’s little patch of lawn after her husband passed – and the neighbor across the street – who actually paid me to do their 1/2 an acre. I never paid for gas or parts for looong time. :-)

    It’s transmission (the 265) was a tough beast, nice hyrdostatic – (if you pulled off the gear lever opening plastic bit, it went way faster.)

    Am I way off base on this one?


  401. Will Irby says:

    I just finished rebuilding the K46 in my “Lame Deere” L130 with about 350 hours on it. Like most of the others on this thread, it had gotten to the point where it would not handle my 1-1/2 to 2 acres of hilly yard. I considered the K66 upgrade, and talked with Roger (who was very helpful), but just couldn’t bring myself to part with the cash–I am cheap! I replaced all of the internal components except for the final drive gear, which did not show any evidence of wear (and it costs $40–remember, I am cheap).

    The little spider gears looked really bad–big chunks missing from every tooth! It is my understanding that these are made from powdered metal rather than a good heat-treated material (John Deere is also cheap!) My oil really did not look bad, but I think the 350 hours of heat had probably ruined the viscosity to the extent that, coupled with the worn components, I had no pulling power. Anyway, all of the parts cost me a little over $500, directly from Tuff Torq.

    The new thrust bearing kit is upgraded over the stock components, and the new center case includes a slightly different internal dampening system that uses a small screen/filter instead of the balls used at the end of the springs in the stock dampening valves. I had hoped that the replacement differential gears would be made from a better material, but that does not appear to be the case. The other thing that really surprised me was the amount of clearance (slop) in this gear set. When I removed the old ones, I was actually surprised that the thing was still able to move, due to the slack in the gears. However, the new components seem to have the same amount of slop–amazing for this type of assembly!

    I was helped tremendously by Derrick Dalton at Tuff Torq, who answered every question I had–and I had a lot of them! Unfortunately, there is no service manual available with instructions on assembly of the components, so I worked from the exploded parts diagram on the Tuff Torq website, along with much help from Derrick, who never ran out of patience with my numerous questions.

    I used the 5/50 synthetic oil from Tuff Torq, and I think I have significantly more pulling power than when the tractor was new. I cut about an acre two days ago (ran out of daylight), and finished the rest yesterday. I do have one problem–the new left axle seal is blowing oil like a BP oil rig in the Gulf. I almost left the old axle seals in, but figured I might as well replace them since I had the axles out anyway–go figure!

    I am going to try replacing the seal from the outside rather than tearing into the transaxle again to pull the axle, but I have ordered two new seals just in case :( I have seen someone mention that oil can be added without removing the transaxle by removing the gas tank, but I don’t see that this will work on my L130–can anyone clear this up for me?

    I hope to get a few more years out of this machine, and then look for something else. I have already spent about half as much in repairs as I paid for it–broken front axle, blade clutch, 3 new blade spindles (got the good ones with grease fittings–one of the original ones literally caught on fire!), 2 blade belts, 2 drive belts (didn’t really need to replace the second one, but since I had the transaxle out anyway, I just needed to have a little more fun), 3 blade engagement switches, 1 battery–and new blade set every year.

    The Kohler engine is still strong and cranks great, although it smokes like a freight train for a few seconds every time it is started, just like it has from day one–and it still has the always-entertaining gunshot-decibel-level backfire upon shutoff.

    With all the poor starving lawyers out there, someone is missing the chance of a lifetime for a class-action lawsuit against John Deere.

  402. Terry5153 says:

    Roger, I have a question about the upcoming S500 upgrade, although I’m aware it’s still in the developmental stages. I’ll post here for the benefit of everyone including you since you can answer the question one time for everybody. Question is, from observing the pics of the K46, K66 and K72, the K72 is much larger. Is there a chance of it not fitting under some of the tractors, such as between the frame rails on the LT???

  403. stan bowers says:

    I have a 25hp ..54inch cut mower. Do you think this super 500 upgrade
    will handle it? It’s a Scott .

  404. Roger says:

    Scott: I am keeping the LT’s in mind for the Super 500. I feel certain it will be a great conversion.

    “TemptedToUpdate”: Me too … I’m excited about it!

    When I get a little farther along, I will probably start a reservation list.

  405. Scott Cottrill says:

    Roger, Will the Super 500 work on LT’s? There are many of us out here who need something that will.

  406. Roger says:

    Bob, thanks so much for the nice write-up. As the Upgrade Kit seller, we work very hard to provide a quality product at the lowest cost possible.

    The K66 Upgrade Kits have worked well. but unfortunately, has ended due to the lack of K66r’s. For folks that have Upgraded, I think they will get years of excellent service. It is both serviceable and repairable. For most, this will be just what was needed.

    To continue the “Upgrade Kit” program, we are in the development of the “Super 500.” kit. It is being built around the TT K72 (Used in the JD 500).and will include the useful things, like the differential lock, but not the price raising non-performance “frills.” The underlying concept: If you need a stronger tractor (or one that just runs!) why not build on the tractor you already have … and paid for. For a little more investment, you can have a tractor that otherwise will cost well above $6000!

    The Super 500 Upgrade Kit will be put together like the K66 kit, which means easy to install and affordable. The prototype is up and running now. I expect to be able to offer the kit sometime in July, or soon thereafter. Price not yet determined, but is looking to be less than I originally thought.

    “Quality and Service Better Than You Expect.”

  407. Bob says:

    I just installed the upgrade transmission in my L120 this week. It took about 5 1/2 to 6 hours to install. The kit is very well put togather. The instructions were fantastic. Today I mowed for the first time with my upgraded L120 and WOW! This transmission gives it all kinds of tourq. If you can keep the front wheels on the ground it will climb anything I have in my yard. There is no more growning when trying to pull hills. It climbs like a mountain goat. I really feels like I’m in more control with the new transmission installed. Going down the steep embankments it just crawls every so gently. With the old transmission you actually had to try to use the brake as the transmission wouldn’t really slow you down going down a steep embankment. I really love my new, referbished, tractor. I’d highly recommend this upgrade to anyone who need to fix their mower. It is still way cheaper then buying a new mower. Thanks Roger for putting togather a great upgrade package.


  408. RoadRunner_Zero says:

    I was trying to decide if the JD LA145 was enough tractor for the farm when I happened on this message board.. I wondered if the TT/K46 axle would be able to handle my 2 acres we mow and pulling around a trailer full of firewood, gravel or dirt.. I’m guessing not.. Is the next size up hydrostatic unit a K72??

    I used to service Gould screw type hydro pumps on offshore rigs and they would last forever even though they were beaten like a red headed step child.. I am wondering if the regular 10/30 oil and poor cooling are dooming these units..

    The Tough Torque factory says 5W50 synthetic oil and I would seriously think of changing the original oil after the first 10 hours of use.. Keeping them cool enough to keep the checkball springs from softening and loosing their tension thus loosing internal pressure regulation is important.. All pumps have a max pressure pop off point and the “runs fine till it gets hot” symptom seems to point to a weak spring.. Don’t think I would want to run the 90w or 140w as it would crush those poor bypass check ball/spring regulators.. An add on oil cooling system like they have for auto trannys or external water jacket would make these things last forever..

    My Whites geared axle stripped after 16 years and I am getting a new one for $350 to fix it so I can have more time to either find a better new auto/hydro tractor or save more money to buy a high dollar unit with a heavy duty drive unit..

    What about Eaton hydro drives are they big bucks or just more of the same??



  409. Terry5153 says:

    I have an ’03 LT150 with the failing K46 and just finished changing fluid and cleaning the filter. I have about 200 hours on the tractor but the K46 has been going bad for some time, maybe around 150 hours. I removed the K46, turned it upside down and drained the oil. I then pulled off the bottom plate and removed the filter. It was quite black with sludge, etc. I cleaned it thoroughly with gasoline and an old toothbrush, then blew it out with air, repeating this about 3 times. I then allowed the filter to set overnight to evaporate any residue of the gasoline. Then I added 3.5 oz. of “Restore”, an additive for worn engines that is available at auto parts or Wal-Mart. Then, about 2+ quarts of Castrol Syntec 5w50 synthetic motor oil. I think maybe the guys who have drained and replaced the oil without removing and cleaning the filter may have missed an essential step. But, the jury is still out on this whole deal. If the filter is clogged, it can’t properly pump the oil through it, in theory.

    I have taken a couple of “joy rides” on it so far and it surely seems to be doing better. It still “groans” more than I believe it did when new. After the first joy ride, it pushed out a little bit of fluid on the floor, as one other guy said happened on his oil change. Possibly today or tomorrow I will try an actual mowing job and will be able to accurately compare the “before” and “after” performance. I will post the results here. For long term, I’m considering one of Roger’s upgrades when he gets it developed for the LT’s. That would turn my LT into a bullet-proof machine for sure.

  410. Bob Miller says:

    I bought a JD L120 almost 4 years ago.This spring I started having the infamous transaxle problem that many of you have. I will join a class action suit against JD if approached. Today I sent Roger my money for the upgrade. Sounds like it is the way to go according to the posts I have read. Maybe JD stands for junk dealer. LOL

  411. Scott Cottrill says:

    Okay, after spending over an hour reading through all of the previous posts, I have learned that I am a member of an elite fraternity – people who bought a Deere thinking they were buying quality, and we all got hoodwinked.

    I have the same problem, after 20 minutes of mowing, my 2005 LT190 will not go up an incline. It makes a whining sound and has to cool off. Now that I came to the table late I need to get my machine fixed, only the upgrade that I’ve been reading about does not work on the LT series.

    Soooo, does anyone know what upgrade will work on an LT mower? And if so, how much it will cost? Can the fluid be emptied and filled with the higher viscosity 90 weight oil with any expectation of at least some improvement or should I use the 5W30 synthetic? Please help.

    Has anyone thought of a class action suit against Deere for this obvious stonewalling conspiracy on their part to sell junk to the consumer and not stand behind it? The LT is not a low end box store knockoff. It is a real Deere with a Kawasaki engine so I don’t want to hear any nonsense from JOHN or others saying that you get what you pay for.

    If I could unload this puppy right now, I would. A Husqvarna looks like a much better value for the money. But I can’t and want this one fixed. BTW, I only had 185 hours on it when it started to go bad. It now has 258 hours.

  412. Mike Yurgec says:

    I have a L118 that is losing power. After reading the blogs, I think I am a candidate for a replacement transmission.

    What tranny should I get and how much are they? I want the thing to last as the only problem is no power. Engine and everything else are in like new shape.

  413. Larry Smith says:

    I have a L120 and have had the same problems as many others have had. I will never buy another john deer anything they are 100% junk.

  414. BoB says:

    hello everyone, after reading all of these posts i have came to a conclustion.
    i have been thinking about buying a new JD tractor this year and i think im just going to try to find a good used rider without the yellow and green colloring.

    this is a shame, for years i worked on a farm and was constantly around JD Equipment, and never ran into this sort of poor quality and workmanship.

    *so ok thats the end of my rant*

    working with hydrolics my entire life the above post about using thicker (heavier) weight oil in these transmissions is just fine, as a matter of opinion i think they should all come with 95/140w oil in them in the warmer parts of the world! would be cheaper on our end b/c the transmissions would last 6-8 or more years before having these issues b/c the oil sheer-ing would not happen as soon and cause the wear on the pump parts that cause this issue. (refill it! it will be fine with thicker oil)

    these transaxle/transmissions get quite hot, thats the purpose of the fan. They “should” be under presure and have a filter and a cooler, would not cost much more to make or build or fit into the chasis for that matter. but hey its only a riding mower right? not a garden tractor like most of them used to be.

    have a good summer fellas, heres to sharp blades n frosty beverages!

  415. TemptedToUpgrade says:

    James you are a wealth of information that gives me a bit more hope for my current k46 transaxle. Although I have admit I will most definitely sign up for Roger’s K72 when he has it finished. I spoke to another guy in town who simply raves about his customer service and dedication. In the mean time, I wish more good folks like James can chime in and give us more experiences on how best to salvage our k46’s in case it begins to give out.

    After having read Jame’s May 25h post, has anyone had the urge to try filling their k46 transaxle to see if it works as he has described. I am tickled to hear of this bit of good news and would really want to be pleasantly surprised by someone else’s attempt to do this.

  416. James Redden says:

    The problem with the K46 is the hydraulic pump wears and with the large clearance it cannot create enough pressure with the hot thine oil, it bypasses through the ware clearance. I have removed the transaxle,and the drain plug in the top as shone above, drained the oil,and replaced it with #70 weight racing oil that cane be found at some auto parts stores, It will climb a hill as well as when new for 2 to 3 years.When it wears down again change it to #90 weight oil.After 2 to3 more years change to #140 oil,after that you could thicken it up a little more by pumping in some chases lube.I have gained several years of service on several of the k46 axles by using up to #90 weight. By the time the 90 weight got week the rest of the little JD was pretty well worn. I learned this by repairing under ground coal mining machines.Many of them have hydraulic tram built much like the K46 but weighs thousands of pounds and costs many thousands of dollars.

  417. Jim says:

    Hi John,

    You’re kidding right? I was just into a John Deere dealer to buy some new blades and overheard a salesman pushing this junk. Every part of me wanted to tell those potential buyers to steer clear!

    I, like so many others, bought my John Deere tractor because of the name, it was a big deal for me and it was a lot of money I was spending (this was my first riding mower (L120)).

    Are you trying to tell me that I should have known that there is a low end and it’s my fault for buying it? Come on! I suppose the salesman I heard should have been saying:

    “Hi, welcome to John Deere! My name is Mr. Honesty and I just wanted to point out that the tractors you are looking at right now are low end and have reported problems! However, if you spend a few grand more, we can look at these units in the high end section.”

    It just doesn’t work that way John.

    It’s like a truck… You might not have enough to buy a top of the line model, but you still expect your truck to last, right? Just because it’s a lower end model doesn’t mean that it should have a ton of problems…

    Trust me, had I known how much problem I would have had with a John Deere, I would have stayed with my push mower or bought a HIGH QUALITY mower in my price range.

  418. JOHN says:

    I think all of you saying you are dissapointed in you johndeere should be ashamed. you did not buy a johndeere you baught a green mtd. those l series tractors were built to compete with the craftsmans and mtd’s. and if its sold in a big box store it is not of the same quality that a premium machine would be. and i know they are sold in deere dealers to but they also have the premium line whitch is 100 times better than a l series. yeah you will pay more but you get what you pay for!!!!

  419. Roger says:

    The FINAL five (5) K66 Upgrade Kits are now listed on eBay. (Look for “John Deere K66”)

  420. Roger says:

    Our K66 Upgrade Kits are not recommended for the JD LTxxx series because of significant differences.

  421. Chris Schuler says:

    I have a 2003 LT 150 that has a tranmission that is starting to whine going up hill. It really complains if the bags are loaded and I have to let off the forward peddle and repress it to get it going again. It still does OK when not bagging. I have just stumbled on the blog and I’m wondering if a replacement kit may be availible but I’m not sure which transmission it has and I’m not sure where to find this out.
    We had to put in a short block 2 years ago ($600) after the piston rod gave out and put a fist size hole in the case. It runs well now and has otherwise been a good mower that has had a lot of use on our 1 acre of slightly hilly grass.
    If it can’t be fixed I’ll need to find another mower, GT or ZT. I’m already shoping and checking for models with transmissions with replaceable fluid and filters.
    Anyhow, thanks for all the interesting information. I have learned a lot in a short time. Chris

  422. randy says:

    LT160 john deere pulley on top of trans stripped out at 150 hours and now at 370 hours transaxle is bad took it apart and the gears are flaking apart at damaged the pump john deere said they wont help. when i grew up on a farm in the 70s JD was the thing to have but its funny how things change with time. i wont be buying anymore John-Deere. so here is there deer john letter.

  423. Roger says:

    “Super 500” Upgrade: Tuff Torq K72B with Differential Lock, (Same as X500!) 24×12-12 HDAP tires and updated steering. This will transform your L130 or L120 into a “Super 500,” and except for a few non-performance frills, will equal a $6000+ tractor.

    … and the nice part, you already have a perfectly good frame and “500” engine, plus you don’t need to buy all new accessories.

    Probably be out of the “prototype” development and ready for sale mid-to-late summer. Price? Don’t know yet, but like the K66 Upgrade, definitely will be a lotta bang for the buck!

    The “Super 500” won’t be for everyone. The K66 upgrade is a great upgrade for 75% of users. But if you really, really need a strong tractor and have been considering junking your L1xx and writing a check for $6000+ … Don’t!

  424. EagerBeaver says:

    Roger –

    What TuffTorque Transaxle model or manufacturer would you put on to acheive the “Super 500” upgrade?

  425. Roger says:

    Re: Craig.
    If your K66 eventually wears out. rebuild kits are available. There probably would be no need to replace the entire unit.

    A look ahead: How about a “Super 500” upgrade?

  426. Mark in Iowa says:

    I just got done upgrading my L130…. I bought the mower in 2004 and in 2006 had my first transaxle changed out…. same deal they only charged me $250. In 2008 I had my second one done, this time it cost me $350, and JD said this is it, buy a bigger tractor.
    Well I am VERY please with Roger’s kit, I had my L130 OFF ROAD yesterday mowing the field, and I was tearing it up!!!!!!!

    Thank you Roger, I am a happy JD owner again.


  427. Craig says:

    So, if you have a tractor that originally came out with a K-66 and it goes bad, you are screwed?

  428. Roger says:

    All of the new/surplus K66’s are sold. Last week, we purchased Tuff Torq’s complete inventory of K66’s. They had 14 on-hand with no plans to make any more.

    We expect to have the new transaxles delivered in about two weeks. We are now taking reservations for these remaining kits.

  429. n.h joe says:

    why isn’t consumer protection doing anything for john deere customers with problems I’m having issues with a la 125 mower only a year and a half into it blowing oil out fuel pump gotta be some type of class law suit if need be john deere can kiss it goodbye from here on out id never buy another seeing they have had mine for over two weeks and haven’t looked at it under warranty

  430. Roger says:


    There are NO MORE new/surplus K66r transaxles available anywhere in the world. At this moment, we have four remaining upgrade kits and two of those are listed on eBay in the auction format. (Look for “John Deere K66”) So far, both have bids at the initial listing price of $1295. On Sunday, 5/9/2010, the two remaining kits will be listed.

    We have contacted Tuff Torq and agreed to purchased ALL of their remaining new K66’s. The cost to us is virtually double the cost for surplus units, which is not surprising. Tuff Torq said, they have NO PLANS on manufacturing any more.

    We have have taken a hard look at the Upgrade Kit pricing and have determined that we can sell the kits for $1695. We understand that is a high price, but from our personal experience and the feedback from prior customers, by installing the K66 Upgrade, you basically get the same as the JD G110 Garden Tractor. To get the same level of performance, you would have to spend well over $5000. As one customer pointed out, you would also need to buy new attachments, such as snow blades and snow blowers. Even at $1695, it just makes good sense.

    When our remaining four kits are sold, we will take reservations for the this new batch. Needless to say, if you want a kit, take a hard look at the current one’s on eBay. You will not see these prices again.

    Now the “Bad News” … Tuff Torq has only fourteen (14) K66r’s available, with no current plans to manufacture any more.

  431. Roger says:

    Regarding “TemptedToUpgrade;” Both the K66 oil reservoir cap and the gear case oil cap can be serviced without cutting any holes or removing the transaxle. In my Installation Manual, I detail how to do it. Basically, you use a small “pump-type” oil can, fitted with about 12″ of neoprene tubing. Working from the left side, you can remove and replace both caps and add oil, as necessary.

    I actually find it easiest to raise the right rear wheel off the ground, then remove the retainer clip and slide the wheel off. This give more working room. It’s not hard. (Be careful not to lose the 1/4″ axle key. The tractor won’t move without it.)

    FYI: There are two drain plugs in the bottom of the K66 for draining the oil. They are not easily identified, as they look similar to the other bolts. The key is to look for the bolts with the fiber gasket under the head. (If you send me an email, I will return a picture of the drain plug locations.)

  432. TemptedToUpgrade says:

    In the picture of the new K66, it seems there is a cap to fill transmission oil near the top of the unit. How easy is it to change the oil on the new K66?

    Perhaps someone already mentioned this already but, did anyone have to cut out an access hole on the body of the tractor to access the fill hole underneath? If not then does the whole thing need to taken off to drain and refill oil?

  433. TemptedToUpgrade says:

    I to want to know any responses to joey mccarthy’s question regarding anyone who has already put a considerable amount of hours on the new K66.

    Also be interested to know if someone bought a kit and wanted to sell for the price they paid for it (installed or uninstalled).

  434. Casey says:

    Does anybody have a good but inexpensive source for the 23×10.50×12 lug tires to go on the new rims in Roger’s kit?

  435. joey mccarthy says:

    my dad has one of these wonderful problem filled tractors, i feel bad . he didnt want to spend that kind of money on a tractor and i kind of talked him into it sayin,” its a john deere- they wouldnt sell it if it wasnt a good tractor.” and eating my words every day. im wondering if anyone has ran there k66 for 250- to 300 hours and if it still performs as good as new?

  436. Roger says:

    ONE K66 Upgrade Kit available for “Buy It Now,” on eBay. The remaining four kits will be placed on eBay for auction. Then … “That’s All Folks!”

  437. Jens Laur says:

    Just a heads-up for those who have received and are operating a Roger Daisley conversion kit with new rims and tires.
    I learned the “hard way” that after some hours of operation, the wheel lug nuts need to be torqued again. My dumb mistake that I lost some bolts and didn’t notice anything until the tractor started to wobble(!) This has NOTHING to do with the performance or quality of Roger’s conversion kit.

  438. james says:

    Hi. My hydrostatic transmission started leaking over the winter from the O ring at the brake assembly connected to the transmission; I lost approximately a quart and a half of oil. I replaced the o ring and the leak is resolved, but now I really dont want to pull out the tranny to add fluid. I have heard that you can drill a hole through the battery tray to get to a fill plug. Just curious if anybody has done this, and if so what is the best place to drill the hole. Thanks for any info.

  439. Roger says:

    Regarding “legit:” With a phone call, I will be glad to give a bank reference and a John Deere dealer reference.

    Regarding the LTxxx series: There are too many substantial differences between the LTxxx and the Lxxx series, which the kits were designed for, to make the kit impractical to install.

    (Eleven kits left … selling at a rate of 1-3 per day.)

  440. Casey says:

    I’m interested in a kit but my wife is skeptical that Roger’s operation is legit. Does the new transaxle come with some kind of warranty?

  441. David Rowe says:

    I have a 2004 LT 160 lawn tractor with 214 hours on it. It will not move anymore. I replaced drive belt no help. Can your Tuff Torq kit work and cost? real disappointment that JD does not make a good product anymore.

  442. Roger says:

    Roger here … Sunday morning:
    I believe the Tuff Torq K46 is a good transaxle for the DESIGNED PURPOSES. While most folks on this page are having difficulties, it must be remembered there are thousands operating satisfactorily.

    In my opinion, problems should have been foreseen when JD sold their L-series through “Big Box” stores. At those stores, product knowledge was minimal and pressure to sell was very high. JD complicated the problem by selling accessories, such as snow plows and snow blowers, that were not appropriate for a “lawn mower.” The results were inevitable. Adding to the problem was the new owner never realized the Lxxx was not approroprite to mow 2-3 acres of hilly lawns.

    Today, we have 12 kits left. more or less. “If” we decide to market more kits, it will require buying K66 transaxles directly from Tuff Torq. I have no idea, at this time, what the kit prices might be, but my guess is around $2000. This begs the question: Which is best, upgrade to a “G110 clone” for that price or buy a new X500/X700 series for another $5000-$7000.

    Your comments regarding this will determine what direction we take.

    Ps: Yes, the kits work just fine in the L111.

  443. Edward O says:

    hello everyone ,this has been very helpfull to me to read your experiances,il have to call the jd in homerglenn ill circle ,i have a jd L118 and today sat
    5-1 10 can any one help me the tractor starts ,mower can engage and run
    but the tractor will not move i have smoke and reading manual is there a seperate belt to drive the tractor ,or is this the transmission. thank you by the way i know circle jd dealer wont do anything ps are murray tractors a better
    choice in the future thankyou everyone

  444. Dave says:

    Everyone is jumping on John Deere and their poor quality. The fact is that John Deere does not make the transmission TuffTorq does. TuffTorq are the ones with quality issues the only parts that are made by John Deere are the accessories (decks, plows etc), frame and body for the most part. Everything else is manufactured by someone else bought, assembled by John Deere. Not trying to take from the main problem of the K46 barely adequate to handle light duty work and failure just stating the fact that it’s the manufacture from which John Deere purchases their transmission from.

  445. Anderson says:

    Would anyone recommand purchasing a secondhand K46 Hydrostatic unit ?

    I have an offer on hand requesting an initial sales price of $200 for a secondhand unit.
    The unit is known to show some slippage at full speed setting.


  446. EagerBeaver says:

    I don’t know if anyone answered Bill’s question on September 13th, 2009 regarding whether these kits would fit the JD L111.

    I too have an L111 and would like to purchase one of these kits.

    According to JD documentation, the L111 has a Tough-Torque K46 transmission while the L120/L130 has the K46HD transmission. Other differences are L111 has manual PTO while L120/130 Electric PTO.

    Has anyone upgraded their L111 transmission to the K66 or know if this can be done with the kit? Thanks.

  447. Roger says:

    Parts are arriving faster than expected. I think by the end of next week we will be back to a normal shipping schedule. Just a reminder: If you want a kit, you better get your order in ASAP, as there are less than 20 kits available.

  448. ralph williams says:

    I have a jd l110 with a bad transaxle,nothing sold in this country is as poor quality as my lawn tractor,

  449. Roger says:

    I received the comment, below, from Dennis F, Alabama. I want to share his comments:

    “Greetings from a very ECSTATIC customer! Before I decided to purchase the upgrade kit, I had resigned myself to spending around $4000 on a new lawn tractor and attachments. But, I saw all those glowing comments from previous purchasers of your upgrade kit and decided to go with it and it has completely exceeded my expectations!!! You know, one comment I kept seeing repeated was that after the upgrade many felt like they had a new lawn tractor again. But, that sounds like they are saying their lawn tractor is back to what is was when they first got it. No way!!! My L120 is much, much more powerful going up my lawn’s steep grade now than it EVER was when I first got it. No comparison at ALL!!! The performance is absolutely amazing.
    It IS like having a new lawn tractor, but a MUCH more powerful one!!

    The installation was a breeze. The ONLY problem I had was getting several of the old nuts loose. That was the most time consuming part of the upgrade.
    When I finished the upgrade I immediately mowed my lawn and when I was done…..believe it or not…..I was sad that I was DONE!!!!! I was thinking “Give me another yard to mow!……Now!!” I am going to mow my yard again this afternoon and I kid you not, I cannot wait! I know it will get old again real soon, but for now I am like a kid with a brand new….much more powerful….toy! Mowing had become such a pain for me, requiring mowing in 10 to 15 minute shifts with an hour or so in between shifts for the transaxle to cool down.

    I am so glad that I found that article in the website that mentioned your upgrade kit. I just wish I had found out about it sooner.
    Dennis …”

    FYI: We have 20 kits left, however we are on a temporary shipping hold, waiting for two brackets from JD. When the brackets are in-hand, we will start shipping again in the order we have paid orders.

  450. Roger says:

    Joe: Not good news – We only have complete JD kits, using the Tuff Torq K66r. I do not think it would be a recommended replacement.
    Best Regards, Roger

  451. Dennis Coppage says:

    Hello all, after my third week with the new K66 I feel like I have a new mower. I can’t say enough about Roger’s kit, easy to install, all parts in kit, just follow instructions. I operate heavy equipment for a living (32 years) and I can feel the torque and power it has. In equipment terms I went from a D3 to a D6 (cat) If you have a mower that the kit will fix GET IT !!!!! Unless you can find someone to give you a $1000.00 for a mower that won’t move. I upgraded to new tractor tread tires, think I will make a cart out of the old axle, that’s the only way it would move any way, had to pull it. Thanks again Roger.

  452. Jens Laur says:


    Maybe Brian lives in China :) where you possibly can buy a tractor for $1,300.- but a new equivalent JD matching an L120/130 with your K66 conversion kit would cost between $3,500-5,500.-
    Therefore, your upgrade kit is well worth the investment! I was very fortunate to buy the kit shy under $900.- after my K46 died!

  453. Roger Daisley says:

    Sorry about the current $1295 for the upgrade kit. I wish I could lower it, but we had to pay more than twice as much for the last 48 new/surplus K66’s. (There are no more, that I know of!)

    Compared to buying a new tractor with the same capability as a K66 upgraded tractor, the kit is a real bargain. You will end up with a much more powerful and reliable tractor.

    Don’t wait … less than thirty left. Look on eBay: “John Deere K66?

  454. Jim says:

    Hi Brian,

    Sure, you can pick up a new John Deere lawn mover Model LA125 for $1,799 from Home Depot right now, but… When I bought my L120, it was around the same price. It lasted for two years and then started losing power. The transmission / Transaxle needed to be replaced – there is no way to change the transmission oil.

    I could either buy another John Deere that would last 2 years, or get a mower that has the right transmission (like a k66 transaxle); such a mower would run a few thousand at least, so, the best option for someone that owns a John Deere L120 or similar (l120, l130, la100, la110, la120,la130…) with a transmission that can’t be changed and losing power, is to buy an upgrade kit.

    If I could have bought another mower with a transmission like the k66 for under $3,000, I would have jumped on it. The upgrade was the least expensive option.

    I can tell you I will NEVER buy another John Deere in my lifetime! And, when I get time, I’m painting my John Deere another color – why? I love the tractor now that is has a new transmission (not from John Deere), but riding around in this power house leaving people with the impression that it’s a John Deere is wrong :)

  455. Brian says:

    Dude, that kit is now $1300 and it doesn’t come with the freaking tires. You can buy a brand new tractor for that much, one that has a better reputation then the John Deere 120.

  456. Jens Laur says:

    Sorry, I’m only responding now to your March 4th message. I haven’t logged on to this forum in a long time, because I’m happy as pig in sh.. with my new K66 tranny.

    No, I never dissected my K46 transmission any further. I removed the inner 3 bolts (shown in the above picture dated Sept 14), but it appears you need special tools to remove some “pins” holding the clutch together with the shaft and some kind of lever. I’m not a mechanic and never got around to ask for help or advice how to do the final steps. I guess Troy’s message from the 10th says it all and it’s not worth the time an money to replace anything on the worn K46. If you have a boat, use it as an anchor……it might catch on?

    Sorry I couldn’t help you! Jens

  457. Roger Daisley says:

    by Roger Daisley

    The FINAL 48 K66 transaxles arrived this morning. We will start shipping Lxxx Upgrade Kits again, starting Thursday.

    As far as I can tell, at this point, there are no more K66’s available in the NEW/SURPLUS market. When these 48 kits are sold, we expect to be permanently out of the Upgrade business.

    If you think you might want an Upgrade Kit for your JD Lxxx/LAxxx tractor, please don’t wait until they are all gone. Honestly … If you have one of these models and use it for ANYTHING more than mowing a small residential lawn on level ground, you either need one NOW or will need one later.

  458. Ken says:

    Well mowing season is with us again and my L120 JD is working great with the upgrade installed last year.
    However now I have another problem; My mower is a lot easier to turn over when mowing sideways on grades. I believe I need to add wheel wieghts to the rear tires to make it safer to mow.
    Does anyone know where I could purchase the wheel weights ? My JD Dealer doesn’t have the right size weights.
    Regards, ken

  459. Emil says:

    I am interested in replacing the K46 in my JD L130, but the K66 choices are numerous. There is an A, AA, AC, AD, etc. How do I determine which K66 to buy. My local JD dealer said he would install it if I bought it.
    Thanks for your help.

  460. Barry Anderson says:

    I bought my L130 from a big box store in 4/04 after reading in a leading consumer magazine that John Deere tractors were recommended. The tranny in mine went 8/06; just after warranty expired. JD was willing to pay part of replacement transmission(cost me $284). It just went again in fall of ‘09. I just spoke to my local dealer and of course they want to sell me a new one; they were willing to give me $200 for my L130 as a trade in but after finding this site I’m hoping to get the upgrade kit. I’m going to contact the consumer magazine and ask them to look into the problems everyone seems to be having with John Deere products. Maybe people will start to think twice about buying JD.

  461. Ernie gafford says:

    I too have a JD L120 which is 5yrs old. Started having problems after about 3 yrs of use. It has 280 hrs and will not go forward or back. This is my first and last JD product. JD is really not interested. Maybe down the road when sales fall off JD will build a better product. I think I am going to buy a different mower and stay away from JD.

    Thonotosassa, FL

  462. Joe Kaler says:

    O.K. so i was completely wrong on which trans i had. I have removed my trans and it is a Hydro Gear 618-0379 320-3000.

  463. Roger Daisley says:

    April 1st, 2010

    by Roger Daisley

    We have sold out of all our initial supply of 150 K66 transaxle kits. We have the FINAL 48 transaxles being shipped in, with an ETA of about April 8-9. With sales of about 1-2 per day, I expect the whole upgrade program will be done in a month, or less. If you want to do an upgrade – Don’t wait.

    Thanks to everyone for your business and wonderful feedback. A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to you, Jim. for your effort to help out.

  464. Joe Kaler says:

    This has been the best forum yet. Sounds like Y’all are the JD experts, Can you point me in the right direction for my upgrade wishes? Roger, Do you have any upgrades for a Cub Cadet GT1554? I believe it has a Sundstran Trans? I have all the same symptons as everyone else. If I can purchase only parts and upgrade from that, it would be a big bonus rather than an entire trans/axle assembly.

  465. Roger Daisley says:

    Response to Ron: The K66 conversion fixes the problems people are having with the K46 transaxle. What you will see is much more torque and pulling power. The ground speed, in both FORWARD and REVERSE will be slightly faster.

    Since the mower is driven directly from the engine, there will be no change in this regard.

  466. Keith V Stracchino says:

    Thank you to every one who has contributed to this discussion, you have just saved me from spending US $2700 on a John Deere 1332PE snow blower. I live in the inland area of Washington State on the side of a mountain, we get real snowfalls! From looking at published specifications the JD 1332 PE looked like a suitable buy for our very large driveway, after reading the descriptions of your problems and the response from JD I’ll be looking for an alternative.

  467. Ron Atchley says:

    I too am very disappointed in my John Deere L120. It has always taken 30 to 35 rounds to crank if it sets for 1 week. Even when new and taking back for service several times, still takes at least 30 rounds to crank.

    My mower has never had enough power seems to me.

    Now, I also have apparently the same problem with the L120 transmission, runs about 15 minutes fine and then will not pull up even slight hills. I will go on flat ground just fine.

    I have read the post about the K66 transmission giving the tractor a lot more power, does this include power to the blades or just to move faster on the ground.

  468. Dennis Coppage says:

    Hello all,

    I have had hydrostat problems for 3 years on my L130. My yard is not very hilly about 1/3 acre. Cutting time for me was about 25 min. Great!!! Problem started 2 yrs after purchase, after starting i would let mower warm up for 2 or 3 min. take off on level ground it was fine. Upon going down a slight grade and turning to go back up it would make a grinding noise and slow down. It would catch up and pull the grade, the warmer it got the better it ran. It’s so bad now it won’t run on level ground. If it’s not broke don’t fix it, or in my case “RUN IT TIL IT BLOWS” I just started looking on the net for a fix today 3/21/10 . Hope Roger hasn’t run out of kits yet!!!!!!

    Thank you James for this site!!


  469. Roger Daisley says:

    Email Change:

    John Deere (Deere & Co.) has requested that we not use the name “John Deere” in our websites or email addresses.


    Roger Daisley
    John Deere K66 Upgrade Kits

  470. Tony says:

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly thanks to all who have participated in these discussions as it convinced me to have a go at upgrading my LT150.

    I found Roger great to deal with and very helpful.

    Unfortunately there were major differences between the LT series frames and that of the L120 – 130 that were unknown to both of us so the upgrade was not as straight forward as that for the L series mowers but is well worth the effort.

    I completed mine last weekend and now have the mower that JD should have sold in the first place!!

    I am in Australia but would be willing to try and help anyone thinking of upgrading an LT series mower, just leave a comment.



  471. Roger Daisley says:

    Greetings, Roger here:

    i’m the guy that has put together the John Deere K66 Upgrade Kits for the JD L130/L120 and several other models.

    We are nearing the end of our K66 supply. At the current rate of sales, we expect to sell the last kit not later than the end of the month. If you are wanting an Upgrade Kit, don’t wait too long. Hint: Get a kit while you still can.

    We don’t know if we can obtain a few more transaxles, or not, but if we can, it looks like any additional kits will be priced around $1500, due to the much higher price being asked for the K66’s.

    Best Regards.

    Roger Daisley

    Ps: There is NO certainty that ANY additional K66’s will be available.

  472. Jerry Allgood says:

    I got into a battle with John Deere in September of 2009. Wrote a letter to the CEO, asking why they would bother putting a green and yellow jacket on a product that performs more poorly than a Murray or similar tractor. My JD is an L118, which was described as an “entry level model”, insinuating that I should not expect it to last. I only got three and one half seasons from my JD.

    After many conversations with a customer service rep, I was offered $200 toward the $700 tuff torq replacement job. I have concluded that the only thing their offer will buy is a lifetime of me, and obviously some of you, expressing their less than adequate product.

    Today, I decided to remove the hydrostat to see if oil could be added. I found the rubber plug described above and removed it, and then came to my computer to see if I could determine what type of oil to add to the trans. this is the first site I found, and it seems, by the above comments and experiences that it will be a total waste of time.

    I plan to look into the upgrade kit. It DOES sound like a no brainer to me. I have some mechanical experience, so removing the trans was not really difficult, but it did take about 2 hours. My JD started making a noise when the trans was engaged during the second season. When I called the service facility, at that time, I was told that it was out of warranty and they could offer no help.

    During August of 2009, it started having difficulty on the hills, and finally just stopped moving altogether. After it sat all winter I started it, and it moved! Knowing that eventually it would stop, I just started tearing it apart. Wish me luck; John Deere doesn’t have any sympathy for any of us! Their sales and profits are in the B B B Billions, annually, but they won’t do the simple things to improve a product or satisfy a customer.

    Thanks for the forum to speak out.


  473. jerry potter says:

    I just tore my lx266 apart because my tractor would not go. I suppose it is the transmission. I changed the oil and still would not go. I rotate the wheels on back. It is jacked up. but still will not rotate wheels when I move the belt . Can a belt be the problem? Or should I take the transmission apart. I thought it would be something simple. I found a wire wrapped around on off the parts one the left side of the transmission but couldn’t tell if it caused any problem. I would think the loose belt might be a problem but am not sure how this transmission work with the motor. I know pressing on the forward or back pedal gives me nothing. I have looked it over and can only conclude it is the transmission. I would appreciate any help I can get.
    Thanks ahead

  474. Troy Bany says:

    Dave and Warren:
    Last fall I purchased the K46 rebuild kit directly from Tuff Torq. Once the kit arrived I excitedly rebuilt my transaxle and bragged to my wife that I was able to repair our JD LT160 and save a ton of money. I thought the $360 spent was going to solve all my mower issues. Boy was I wrong. My mower is every bit as useless now as it was $360 dollars ago. I considered buying a new K46, but I know I will be out $600 plus and have all these same issues by summertime. In my opinion the only options are buy a new $5,000-$6000 garden tractor or spend the $1,100 on the up grade kit. This kind of math is easy for me and I will be ordering a new upgrade kit.


  475. Warren Greenlee says:

    I have a JD lt 155 with the slipping transmission. I have been searching the net for a illustrated repair procedure to rebuild the transmission.

  476. David E says:

    I have no interest in upgrading my John Deere Transmission but would like to replace the clutch if possible. Was told it couldn’t be done. I don’t believe that. If the parts are available, it can be done. Does anyone know where to get parts? Still waiting on Jens to post about pulling the clutch out of his old tranny. let me know.

  477. Terry says:

    I have just pulled apart and serviced my failing K46 transaxle to no avail. Looks like I am up for new pump and drive motor parts. Has anyone done this work before with any success? The parts all look to be readily available from Tuff Torq and it appears that they even have kits made up…

  478. Roger Daisley says:

    Shipped out eight kits today. Less than 40 kits (K66’s) left!
    If you want one …do not wait.

    If we can find more K66’s, which is very doubtful, the pricing will be at least $500 higher.

  479. KenG says:

    Well, I’ve had the updated K-66 running since September now. I’ve cut grass, plowed snow, hauled logs for firewood, and generally used the tractor and trailer for everything. It has worked flawlessly! The power has been great, and I have not problems at all with the transaxle now. The tractor is now the tool I thought I had bought from the John Deere dealer.

    Commenting on Barry’s question about whether or not John Deere is reading these comments – I sent a personal letter (not an email) to the President of John Deere outlining my disappointment with the product. I told what I had expected of the tractor, what the dealer told me, and how it had failed me.

    I told him what I had to do correct the problem and how the dealer had been of no help. I completely explained the problem, and how the K-66 transaxle had been the solution.

    What I got in return was stunning! Some PR person sent me a form letter telling me how great their product was, that they had complete confidence in it, and how sorry they were that I was disappointed in it. They included a coupon for a 35% discount on my NEXT purchase – which, by the way, expired less than 30 days from the day I received it! Unbelievable… Thank you Roger for making this kit available!

    Ken G.

  480. Brian Mazzone says:

    The install of the K-66 Kit into my S2548 was great. It Seems that John Deere does not provide the pre-cut Axle Keys for some of their axles installed in JD, or Scotts tractors.

    I spoke with my local John Deere dealership and they have steel stock available to make Keys for the various sized axles. This install was fun and would love to install others. Anyone out there that does not have the Mechanical ability or just does not want to fool with the install I would be willing for a few $100 bucks or so. I am South of Washington D.C. in the local Maryland/Virginia/ D.C. area. Drop me an e-mail at [email protected]

  481. Roger Daisley says:

    Our K66 Upgrade Kits are starting to fly out the door. “The Word” is getting out worldwide. We have shipped several kits to Australia, many to Canada, one to Prague, Czech Republic and one to Croatia!

    If you are reading this, my guess is you are having a problem with your K46 equipped tractor, therefore I want you to be aware of the situation:

    The reason this upgrade makes sense is because there is a very small – and quickly diminishing – supply of brand-new surplus K66 transaxles available. When these K66’s are all sold, this great upgrade is finished … unless, of course, you are willing to pay about $3000 for a kit!

    On this day, we have only forty (40) K46 transaxles left for sale. We are currently selling about five kits per week … and that rate is getting faster as the supply gets lower and the grass gets greener.

    Other factor to consider: For one reason or the other, JD has decided to dramatically raise the price on some of the required parts used in the kit. For example, the required 1″ axle rims have gone from $52 each to $83 each. Almost every time we buy parts, the price is higher! Hmmm … I wonder why? As you can understand, the price we have to ask for the kits keep going up.

    Best Regards,
    Roger Daisley

    Ps: Always happy to answer any questions.

  482. Ken says:

    From Roger:

    I have received many emails inquiring about tires for our upgrade kits. I have poked around on the Internet and discovered that “Bizrate” might be the best place to start looking.

    The tires pictured in the eBay ad are 23×10.50-12 NANCO N440 and are listed in Bizrate. I find them to be a good tire at a good price.

    On the link I have provided, below, you will find those tires, along with many others of this size.×10.50-12-tires

    Best Regards, Roger

    Ps: Anyone ready for a Fully Electric, Solar rechargeable, conversion? It’s coming!

  483. Barry Taggart says:

    I to have a JD L130 with only 190 hrs on it.Mowing grass is not a problem YET, but I do have a 48″ blower on it I live in the BC rockies so I need a blower,and as all you other guys have said,the trany whines now,so I thought it was the belt ,so I changed it out, waste of time and money.I guess an upgrade kit is due. I sure hope the folks from JD read these comments, because if anyone asks, I’ll tell them straight out!I also have A 82′ Jacobsen and it will run circles around JD but the blower was a enginering night mare.
    Thanks for all the great info.

  484. Todd E says:

    A quick note on the K66 Upgrade. We received approximately 24 inches of snow in Late December and with the upgrade, I was able to plow my driveway 20’x140′ without much effort. Phew! I would have hated to have to shovel that…

  485. Tim says:

    I too have a L130 and just finished installing the K66 upgrade, and I am very happy I did! I also put lug tires on the new bigger rims and have more torque and traction than ever before. I understand Roger will only be selling a limited amount of these upgrades in the future do to JD pricing. So, if anyone is considering this upgrade, give him a call.

    I completed this install by myself and it took about 4 1/2 hours and can be done by the average homeowner quite easily. It’s way cheaper than JD’s answer, which is to buy a bigger tractor which they are happy to sell you :-) Mine is 5 years old and I will hold on to it for many years to come now and I won’t have to replace all of the attachments that I bought specifically for my 130.

  486. Roger Daisley says:

    I wanted to share with the group the following comments:

    Duane V, of South Dakota, wrote: “Roger, I gave my k66 the ultimate test today. We got 15 inches of snow here in South Dakota with blizzard conditions for 2 days. My JD (LA120) with the k66 kit and a snow blower was able to handle it extremely well. I was able to go right through the deep snow. Sometimes it was so deep I had to first go through with the blower lifted, then back up to go again with it down. It was going well in snow as deep as the blower. It had plenty of power for the extreme conditions. I believe I would not have been able to do it without the k66 upgrade.”

  487. Phil says:

    After doing a lot of reading and finding that there were a lot of other people having the same problem with their K46 tranaxles as I was having, I noticed a posting from Roger. Roger has the same tractor as I have (JD L130) and he said that he had the same trouble and was going to install the K66 transaxel. Shortly after, he posted that it was a success and that he was going to make kits available to help all those others that had the same trouble. To make a long story short I installed the upgrade kit from Roger in August and was amazed at the difference.

    Like others have said I actually popped a wheelie going up a slight incline! Rogers customer service was excellent as I did call him on a couple of things that I wasn’t quite sure about. Roger was right there and I am very happy now with this L130 as it truly has transformed into the machine I expected to be for longer than just 4 years!

    I definitely recommend this kit! It was neatly packaged and numbered and came with a manual that had step by step instructions much better than anything you would get from JD!

  488. Roger Daisley says:

    We are back in business with the upgrade kits. JD had been a little stubborn, but we’re beyond that now.

    We also have worked out the problem with the X300 “reverse logic” situation. Kits for this tractor ready for sale.

  489. George Cooper says:

    Low reverse power fixed!!!!

    I had installed an adapter to the mower deck which came with large knurled knobs to attach it. One stuck up high enough to block the reverse pedal and it made low reverse power. With deck down, had almost enough power, with deck up it almost would not move at all. Sure an easier fix than pulling the tranny :-)

  490. George Cooper says:

    I have an L110 that is fine in forward, but lacks power in reverse. Sometimes has enough to go slowly backward, other times won’t move at all.

    Is this the same problem with the transmission. Will an upgrade kit fix it?


  491. Wayne says:

    I have an L110 with only 85hrs on it I checked the fluid level good and even changed it to 5-50 synth but still slow moving with a whine. It has a great motor but has the K46 trans and 20″ wheels . Would this upgrade kit work for me? If so I could get a plow kit then I think.?

  492. Jens Laur says:


    I was waiting for others to respond to your question regarding “the speed demon” and you wanting to “pop wheelies’. I experienced the same as you after completing my conversion, but was not concerned. I do admit however, after reading comments from other “conversionists”, I was planing on installing a seatbelt before I “took off”, but it wasn’t necessary. I made all the adjustments I could think of and also installed the new drive belt, but the tractor didn’t turn out to be a “beast” as some others called it. The way things turned out, I’m totally satisfied with the performance the way it is.

  493. Todd E says:

    I too am a Lucky owner of a L120 with 260 hours and a dying transaxle. I contacted Roger some time ago regarding the upgrade kit and unfortunately, he did not have any kits available.

    I purchased the manual that he put together and sourced all of my own parts.(which took longer to do than installing the K66) I did the install myself and it took about 5-6 hours in total. Once completed, I took it out for a spin to ensure all was working well.

    It seems to run fine. No more Groaning as we have become to expect form the K46. It move along fairly well. I was somewhat disappointed in that I wanted to pop wheelies but, it did not. Just went along nice and smooth. Seeing that it was not a speed demon, it made me question if something was wrong.

    I checked over the install and all look correct, tension on the belt was fine, fairly new belt (new belt last year on the L120) I noticed that the brake control had very little movement in either direction. The brakes seems to work ok. However, I wonder if the control is holding back all of that snappy torque as expected? I also wanted to know what the procedure is to purge any air in the K66 as I would imagine that would cause it to not perform.

    Hopefully I am on the right track and just need to make a few adjustments and purge the air. Any help would be appreciated.

  494. Alvan says:

    Roger. I have the same trouble, as I note that many others have had, with a Scotts L2048 transaxle.
    Can you give me the information that I may order the K66 upgrade kit?

  495. Jim says:

    Note from Roger:


    After about the first two hours of use, check the oil level in the K66 gear box (Thumb screw lid) and in the plastic reservoir.

    After the first ten hours, repeat.

    At the end of Summer and, if you use your tractor for Winter plowing, again in the Spring, drain and refill the transaxle. This will insure a good long life.

    To drain the transaxle, there are two drains on the bottom of the transaxle. Drain both chambers.

    Refill with 5W-50 Synthetic oil. (I suggest using the same Castrol Syntec oil as supplied in the kit)


    You will need a metal rod, about 18″-24″ long. I use a straightened out metal coat-hanger. On one end, bend down, about 90-degrees, about 3″ of the rod. On the other end, form a little handle to hold on to.

    Buy about 2-feet of small neoprene hose. (Most hardware stores have this.) Get a size that fits the oil can, described below.

    Acquire a small “pump-type” oil can, one that has a flexible snout about 3/8″ in diameter. Match up the oil can with the tubing. (See above)

    Push the tubing on the end of oil can snout, so it fits sung and doesn’t leak or slide off.

    1) Remove the left wheel.
    2) Reach in and remove the two oil caps from the transaxle – wipe dirt away first. (Small hand needed!)
    3) Using the coat-hanger as a “dip stick” check the levels of the oil tank and gear box. You may have to dip a
    couple of times, wiping it off after each “dip,” until you get a clear picture of the oil level. While it may seem easy to observe the oil level while there are low hours on the machine, after it gets dirty, the dip-stick is required.
    4) Fill the oil can with the proper oil, snake the neoprene tubing into the transaxle and pump oil into the transaxle, as required. Pump a little, then dip again. The only problem with overfilling is it will overflow when hot and make a mess.
    5) The proper oil level for both chambers is about 1-1/2″ below the top of the filler hole. (The oil level will measure about 1-1/2″ below the bend in the rod.)
    5) Replace oil filler caps.


    This is a good time to change engine oil, since you’re into the project. Like the transaxle, I change oil twice a year, at least.

    Best Regards,


  496. Roger says:

    My K46 to K66 Upgrade Kits are currently on-hold, awaiting parts from JD. I have started a Priority Upgrade List and will be filling orders, in turn, from that list first, before relisting on eBay. JD has not provided me yet with a delivery time. It may be awhile, as I know a few of the parts are totally out of stock and must be ordered from JD’s suppliers.

    If you are wanting a kit, please send me an email with your name and I’ll add you to the list. currently (10/5/09) there are less than ten on the list.

  497. Ron says:

    I just wanted to thank all of you who took the time to share some of your challenges and frustrations concerning the lower end JD purchased from box stores. You have given me a lot of hope that JD might be willing to work with me on the transmission that has gone bad two months after the warranty expired.

  498. Dan Lewandrowski says:

    I am having the same problem as everyone else and would like to buy the upgrade but it says it has ended on ebay in July, How do I get one?

  499. Dwight Carroll says:

    I upgraded my JD l130 to the k66 but there is one thing that has not been said is how do you put oil in the trans axle if it ever needs it without taken off the wheel on the right side

  500. KenG says:

    Well, I got the upgrade kit from Roger and installed it over the weekend. It went in without a problem and what a difference! I actually popped a “wheelie” the first time I pressed the accelerator down!

    This thing’s a “beast” now! I will be putting it to further testing next weekend with some trail mowing, up and down hills… I have a feeling it will perform just fine! I’ll keep you informed on the testing. So far, I highly recommend the upgrade!

  501. Jens Laur says:

    Hello Al,

    I’ll give it a try this weekend to remove the clutch assembly and see what I find, if the weather is not too nice, otherwise I’ll have to do other slavery “honey-do” jobs around the house. I’ll take some pictures. Even if the clutch can be replaced, I bet a spare will cost almost as much as a new K46 transmission?

    Does anyone know why the filter turned “foggy” and “blind” after washing it with gas? I held it up against the light, but could no longer see through it compared to before I washed it? It looks and feels like a paper type material and did not disintegrate after washing with gasoline. Just curious what caused it to fog up?
    Probably a replacement filter would also cost umpteen-billion bucks!


  502. Al says:

    Hi Jens,

    I think your on to something there. To me it makes sense that the clutch is worn therefore slippage happens to the point where it will not engage. The hotter the unit gets the worse performance will be noticed.

    So Jens how difficult is it to remove that clutch and perhaps replace it, if in fact a replacement can be purchased.

    Thanks for your time and effort on this, it does give me more options.