The 345 model is one of the most popular mowers from the well-recognized brand John Deere. Only a few mowers can match the versatility and affordability of the John Deere 345.
This popular tractor is ideal for large properties, lawns, and commercial sites like playing fields or golf courses.
However, despite the advanced features, this tractor has minor flaws like:
- Engine not starting
- Engine Stopping Suddenly
- Engine Hard Starting
- The Engine isn’t Running Smoothly
- Engine Overheating
- Engine emitting black smoke
- Damaged Coil
- Throttle Issues
- The Battery isn’t Charging
- Hard Shifting
- Starter failure
- Mower vibrating excessively, etc.
So, is the John Deere 345 mower worth buying?
This John Deere model has good review ratings, and even most of the customers have rated it as a durable and robust mower. In fact, the users who had to deal with some issues remarked that it’s a good product.
Common John Deere 345 Problems And How To Fix Them
The John Deere 345 model is a robust machine, exhibiting a V-twin style design and various attachments. It’s perfectly designed to tackle a wide range of applications. Apart from its exceptional mower functionality, you will appreciate the 345 mower’s snow-blowing, rolling, and brush-cutting abilities.
Unfortunately, you can face some problems with the engine, battery, mower attachments, and electrical system. However, you can avoid most of these common issues with proper and regular maintenance.
1. Engine Not Starting
The John Deere 345 is generally a durable and robust mower. But you will have to stay alert of certain things related to engine malfunctioning to keep your machine operating smoothly.
If the John Deere 345 engine is not taking a start, it can be due to many potential causes. The most common cause is inadequate fuel or an empty gas tank. Other possibilities include the following –
- Using poor-quality gasoline – can often influence the engine’s performance and, in the worst cases, won’t let the engine start.
- Old or stale fuel – Gasoline typically degrades over time, especially if left in storage for a long time, like during the fall and winter. If that’s the case, try to replace the old fuel with a fresh or new one.
- Dirty or clogged fuel system – If the fuel is old or dirty, it can prevent the engine from starting. Stale or dirty fuel can clog up the fuel system with debris, causing potential blockages and restricted fuel flow. Thus, look into your mower’s fuel system for any blockages. Clean or remove deposits, if any.
- Filthy fuel filter – The filter can catch any debris or dirt moving into the engine. And over time, it becomes more blocked, capturing debris and preventing airflow into the engine. So it’s necessary to clean the filters or replace old ones with new ones.
- Defective spark plugs – Spark plugs get damaged quickly and so need replacing. Thoroughly check the entire mower to ensure whether the spark plugs are damaged.
Another potential cause is a defective safety switch. It needs to be changed if damaged. Moreover, any carburetor problem can even be responsible for your engine not starting. So look into it and adjust as required.
2. Engine Stopping Suddenly
Another common issue many users complained about is that their John Deere 345 mower stops suddenly.
You can face this problem because of the damaged spark plug. So how to fix it? Firstly, clean the spark plug to see if the problem is solved. If not, replace it. Also, clean or replace the carburetor if it’s dirty or faulty.
The ignition coil can also be the key cause for the engine to stop suddenly. So it might need a replacement. Another key cause can be broken or loose valve springs that need to be replaced.
Finally, check the valves to see if they are stuck. Clean them if required.
3. Engine Hard Starting
A hard start is bothersome and indicates some internal issues you need to address immediately. Otherwise, they can give rise to new issues.
If a high amount of fuel enters the engine during the combustion process, it can cause a hard start. Again, you can trace this issue to the electrical or fuel system.
So you must first ensure the fuel isn’t of poor quality or old. If it is, discard it and fill it in with fresh fuel. Similarly, check and clean the fuel pipes. They should have no dirt or clogged deposits that hinder fuel blow.
Secondly, check all the spark plugs and starters. Replace them if damaged or not working. Also, look into the throttle cable and change it if required.
4. The Engine isn’t Running Smoothly
Is your John Deere 345 engine starting smoothly but running roughly?
The engine plays an important role in ensuring a John Deere mower’s smooth operation and durability. However, its engine can run roughly due to various reasons.
One of the significant factors is clogged cooling fins. If the cooling fins are clogged, the engine can’t disperse heat. But, eventually, it can capture grass cuttings and debris over time. So you will need to clean the fins intermittently.
After that, examine all electrical connections and repair or clean any damaged ones. After that, the electricity should reach the starter smoothly and on time.
You must also clean or replace the air filter element. Also, check the air cleaner, the ignition system, and the choke cable. Sometimes they might need repair or replacement.
Lastly, check if the fuel pump is dirty or defective. If it is so, change or clean it.
5. Engine Overheating
An engine gets naturally too hot if it runs consistently, and this can result in a reduced lifespan.
This will cost you more while repairing parts that get damaged fast. In addition, too much overheating may shut down the engine, and you will have to wait for it to cool to start running again. And this is troublesome while you are in the middle of a task.
An easy and quick solution to it is minimizing the load on your John Deere 345 machine. How to do it? Just turn down the blade speed and movement speed of the tractor. It’s necessary when in the middle of mowing uneven terrain or uphill.
To fix the engine overheating issue, check the following things –
The Cooling Fins Or Air Inlet
The air inlet or cooling fins can choke with debris and dirt over time. So clean them to let air enter and exit the mower flawlessly to disperse the heat.
You must ensure the oil level is correct for your mower to run smoothly. Too high or too low oil level can cause overheating of the engine.
Ensure your mower isn’t too old or left in storage for a long time. The engine won’t run appropriately with too thin or too thick oil, leading to overheating. Thus, your best bet is to dispose of the old oil and use a fresh one.
Apart from these things, you must also check the joining rod to the crankshaft bearing balance. Adjust the ignition timing if necessary, as incorrect ignition timing can result in an excessively hot cylinder head and spark plug.
6. Engine Emitting Black Smoke
Although black fumes are alarming, there is nothing to worry about. It can be easier to fix this issue. For example, an engine produces black fumes when it burns excess fuel. Such a condition is often termed a ‘running rich.’
Moreover, another key cause of black smoke is a restriction of air leading to the balance being off so that the fuel amount is correct. The one to be blamed is the air filter.
The air filter might be choked or blocked, restricting the air flowing to the engine. Thus, clean the air filter or replace it to fix the solutions.
Furthermore, if the throttle is partially engaged, it can lead to fuel buildup in the engine. So check it. Examine and adjust the carburetor floating level to ensure it’s appropriate.
7. Damaged Coil
One of the most common issues owners of John Deere mowers face is coil failure caused due to damaged coil.
Thus, look for the coil! While one side of the spark tester should be fastened to the cylinder head, the other should be attached to the ignition cord.
Spin the flywheel quickly to look for the spark in the tester screen. The ignition coil is properly functioning if you see the spark jumping the testing gap. If it’s not, replace it.
Follow the below steps to change the coil –
- Take off the batteries and disconnect the spark plug wire.
- Unhook the old screws for the coil or armature.
- After unplugging the coil, disconnect the stop button cable from the flywheel brake.
- Set a replacement coil with mounting screws.
- Secure one screw and pull away the armature or coil from the flywheel.
- The flywheel magnets should be on the opposite end of the coil.
- Now place the necessary shim in the middle of the ignition coil and the flywheel rims.
- Hold the shim after turning the flywheel till the magnets are closer to the coil.
- Loosen the screw a little bit and let the magnets attract the armature towards the shim and flywheel.
- After this, secure the mounting screws tightly and spin the flywheel to let the shim come loose.
8. Throttle Issues
Sometimes the throttle of John Deere 342 can be annoying too. Many users have observed that their mower starts with little or no choke when it is cold. As a result, it may shut down for a second after operating for some time.
Moreover, the tractor will make a noise when trying to choke up. So if the problem is due to the carburetor and throttle, you can fix it quickly. Follow the steps below –
Move the throttle handle forward or backward and see whether it’s driving the throttle wire down to the engine.
Take a screwdriver to remove the screws or push down the air filter cover. Remove the lid and the air filter to test the throttle choke arm.
Measure the length between the control lever pulled by the throttle wire and the spring-connected control choke arm. However, the length must be from 0 to 1 mm.
Now, slide the adjuster down or up after loosening the lock nut, and change the clearance.
To make the throttle wire firm, loosen the bolts and tighten them with pliers. Again, secure the nuts.
9. The Battery isn’t Charging
Machines usually show battery problems after staying in storage for a long time. For example, the electrical connections can get damaged or loose and requires repairing. Or the battery might boil down and need charging.
But is the battery draining unusually fast? In that case, the battery cells might have died. You will have to replace the entire battery unit. However, it is quite natural to happen over time.
10. Hard Shifting
Many users have faced the hassle of shifting gears on the John Deere 345. There are a lot of different reasons behind it.
For example, it can be due to the shift linkage, so check for it. You will need to lubricate or replace it if worn or corroded.
Secondly, look for the hydrostatic pump, which can be blocked or faulty. Repair or replace it if required. Finally, you may find the transmission shift parts misadjusted or damaged. So adjust or replace them as needed.
11. Starter Failure
The starter generates a small electrical current burning up the fuel. And the engine combustion process begins.
However, the problem arises if these components fail, which prevents the engine from starting. Nonetheless, you can easily replace the starter.
Besides replacing the starter, check for these things –
- Ensure that the main fuse hasn’t blown. If it had, change it.
- Check all connections and wiring to determine if any electrical points have come loose or are not working.
- Replace the ignition lock if needed.
- Ensure the terminals are cleaned and they can transfer the electrical current smoothly.
12. Mower Vibrating Excessively
Another common issue with the John Deere 345 is excessive vibration. The drive pulley of the mower deck can be dirty or damaged, resulting in the belt slipping. Eventually, the mower can start to vibrate excessively.
On the contrary, vibrations can happen due to a defective or loose drive belt. If this is the issue, change or clean the pulley. However, in that case, alter the belt tension or set up a new belt.
However, the problem might even lie in the mower blades – not bent or balanced. Replace or balance the mower blades as necessary.
13. Cutting Unevenly
The main cause of the John Deere 345 mower cutting unevenly is that its tires aren’t appropriately inflated. So make sure to maintain the air in all the tires.
Another reason can be that the deck isn’t leveled. So level the deck to fix it. Other possibilities include damaged or dull blades and broken or clogged deck housing.
To fix these issues, seek professional help from the company.
14. The Cut Quality isn’t Good
The cut quality of a mower minimizes without proper maintenance and care. Thus, users should maintain the cutting system for exceptional cut quality.
Mower blades can become dull or damaged naturally over time by picking up debris or rocks. So you should re-sharp the blades every 25 hours of consistent use. But if they are heavily chipped or damaged, replace them.
After that, check whether or not the cutting deck is clogged. Grass and mud can build up in the deck over time, restricting the blade movement. So you will naturally get a poor-quality cut.
Next, ensure that the grass bag is not full of debris. Empty it if required. Lastly, don’t try to mow very quickly; instead, slow the tractor down a little bit. This will give the blades sufficient time to cut, which can significantly refine the cut quality.
The John Deere 345 model can show several different issues. The ones mentioned above are among the most common ones.
Undoubtedly, these issues are troublesome, but they can be easily fixed. You can get your mower functioning smoothly again with a bit of troubleshooting without costing you much.
The John Deere 345 is an excellent mower, ideal for small-format commercial use and big homestead applications. Of course, you will need general maintenance to keep the machine running smoothly for many years. But it’s completely worth your money.