6 Common Maintenance Issues With the John Deere LA145

The John Deere LA145 is a lawn tractor belonging to the 100 Series of lawn mowers, produced between 2008 to 2010, with a Briggs & Stratton 22HP engine and a cutting width of 48 inches, offering utility for residential lawn maintenance.

Common problems associated with LA145 include engine surging at idle, long cranking time before starting, and popping sounds through the carburetor, as well as issues with leaving lines of unmown grass, backfiring on shutdown, excessive noise, and inadequate heat shielding near the operator’s feet. Addressing these problems is crucial whether you are considering purchasing this model or already own one and are facing issues, ensuring that your mower operates efficiently and your lawn remains well-tended.

Exploring the common problems, their causes, and troubleshooting steps is key to enhancing its performance and longevity. This post is a guide to the 6 most challenges with this truck.

With years of experience as mechanics and a close interaction with customers, we at Igra-World have gathered a wealth of insights into the challenges and solutions associated with this lawn tractor. Our journey into providing a robust troubleshooting guide is inspired by real-world experiences, customer feedback, and a thorough analysis of online discussions among users. One customer notably shared, “I never knew the full potential of my LA145 until I addressed the engine surging issue, now it runs like a dream.”

How to troubleshoot common issues:

1. Engine Surging at Idle (Severity: High) – Check and clean the carburetor, adjust the valves and governor, and ensure the spark plugs are in good condition.

2: Long Cranking Time Before Starting (Severity: Medium) – Ensure a clean fuel system, check for spark, and inspect the starter and battery for proper function.

3. Popping Sounds Through Carburetor (Severity: Low) – Inspect and clean the carburetor, check for vacuum leaks, and ensure the ignition system is functioning properly.

4. Lines of Unmown Grass* (Severity: Medium) – Check and adjust the cutting deck alignment, replace or sharpen dull blades, and ensure the engine is running at full throttle while mowing.

5. Backfiring on Shutdown (Severity: Low) – Avoid shutting down the engine at high throttle settings, let it idle down before turning it off.

6. Excessive Noise* (Severity: Medium) – Inspect the muffler for damage or leaks, check for loose or vibrating parts, and consider using ear protection if necessary.

john deere  LA145
Image Source: tractordata.com

1. Engine Surging at Idle

The most common culprits causing engine surging issues are an inconsistent combustion process due to clogged or restricted fuel delivery system, dirty air filter, and a malfunctioning carburetor.

Engine surging at idle in the lawn tractor can be quite the bother, especially when you’re all set for a mowing routine. This mower, powered by a Briggs & Stratton 22 HP engine, is likely to face surging issues if there’s inconsistent fuel or oxygen delivery to the combustion chamber. The surging is often due to clogged or restricted parts of the fuel delivery system, including gas caps, filters, fuel lines, or the carburetor. A clogged air filter is another frequent offender, impeding the clean air delivery to the engine, thus affecting the combustion process and causing power output inconsistencies.

The story from many users reveals that even after replacing spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter, and an oil change, the surging at idle persists, indicating a more in-depth issue possibly within the carburetor or fuel delivery system. Moreover, a damaged carburetor needle or a choke not fully engaged are also known to cause surging issues.

How to Fix Engine Surging at Idle:

  1. Inspect the Air Filter. Check the air filter for any dirt or debris. Clean it if it’s a foam filter or replace it if it’s a paper filter.
  2. Check the Fuel Delivery System: Start with inspecting the gas cap for any blockages, then move on to the fuel lines and fuel filter. Replace if necessary.
  3. Examine the Carburetor: A thorough examination of the carburetor is essential. Clean out any dirt or debris, and ensure it’s tightly attached to prevent air and vacuum leaks.
  4. Regular Service and Maintenance: Engage in regular service and maintenance as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, including oil changes, and sparkplug replacements. This proactive approach can nip many issues in the bud before they escalate into severe problems.
  5. Carburetor Adjustment: If necessary, have the carburetor adjusted by a professional to ensure the fuel and air mixture is correct, aiding in smoother idle operations.
  6. Consult a Professional: If the problem persists, it’s a wise decision to consult a professional mechanic familiar with John Deere’s models to diagnose and fix the issue.

2. Long Cranking Time Before Starting

The common issues causing the long cranking time before starting are related to the fuel delivery system, ignition, or the battery. The fuel system, spark, and battery functionality are critical for quick and successful starting of the mower.

In the case of the John Deere LA145, encountering a long cranking time before starting might be due to various mechanical components or systems malfunctioning. When the engine cranks for an extended period before starting, it’s usually indicative of a fuel delivery issue, a spark issue, or a battery problem. For instance, an obstruction in the fuel line or a clogged fuel filter can hinder the fuel from reaching the carburetor, thus extending the cranking time. Similarly, issues such as a bad spark plug or ignition switch faults can also cause delayed engine ignition.

The specifications for the John Deere LA145, like its engine type (Briggs & Stratton 446677), power (22 hp [16.4 kW]), and number of cylinders (2), underscore the importance of regular maintenance to prevent or resolve long cranking time issues. The mower’s fuel capacity of 4.0 gal [15.1 L] is a noteworthy specification, as ensuring a clean fuel system is crucial for preventing long cranking times. A malfunctioning starter or a weak battery may also contribute to the problem, making the cranking process longer as the starter motor struggles to turn the engine over.

How to Fix Long Cranking Time Before Starting:

  1. Inspect Fuel System:Ensure there’s gas in the fuel tank. Check for blockages in the fuel line and clean or replace the fuel filter if necessary.
  2. Check for Spark: Inspect the spark plug for dirt or damage and replace if necessary. Check the ignition system for any faults.
  3. Inspect Battery and Starter: Ensure the battery is charged and the connections are tight. Check the starter motor for proper operation, replacing it if it’s faulty.
  4. Maintain Regularly: Regular maintenance, including changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and checking the spark plug, will help prevent starting issues.

3. Popping Sounds Through Carburetor

The most common culprits causing popping sounds through the carburetor are a clogged carburetor, fuel starvation, and the carburetor being prone to corrosion.

This truck, a lawn tractor with a 22 horsepower Briggs & Stratton 655cc 2-cyl gasoline engine, can exhibit popping sounds through the carburetor due to several mechanical malfunctions. A clogged carburetor is a common issue—dirt or debris can obstruct the fuel/air mixture flow, resulting in popping sounds. Besides, fuel starvation, where the carburetor isn’t receiving enough fuel, could also be at the root of this issue. The environment also plays a role—the carburetor can corrode when exposed to high levels of moisture, salt, or other contaminants, which may lead to the popping sounds. These issues can impact the performance and longevity of your mower, demonstrating the importance of timely troubleshooting and repair.

How to Fix Popping Sounds Through Carburetor:

  1. Inspect and Clean the Carburetor:Remove the air cleaner assembly to access the carburetor. If the carburetor is heavily clogged, consider removing it for a thorough cleaning or replacing it if necessary!
  2. Check for Fuel Starvation. Inspect the fuel line for any blockages and ensure it’s properly connected. Clean or replace the fuel filter to ensure a steady fuel supply to the carburetor.
  3. Addressing Carburetor Corrosion: Utilize a carburetor cleaner to remove any corrosion. Apply a protective coating to prevent future corrosion.
  4. Check for Vacuum Leaks: Inspect all vacuum lines and connections for cracks or damages. Replace any damaged lines or connections to ensure a proper seal.
  5. Ensure Ignition System Functionality: Check the spark plugs for any wear or fouling and replace if necessary. Inspect the ignition coil and other ignition components for proper operation.

4. Lines of Unmown Grass

The most common issues causing lines of unmown grass lawn tractor are misaligned cutting deck, dull or uneven blades, and improper engine throttle.

The problem of lines of unmown grass, often observed in the lawn tractor, can be attributed to a few mechanical components and settings. A misaligned cutting deck is a common culprit—when the deck is not level, the blades cannot cut the grass evenly across the entire width of the deck.

The specifications, like its 48-inch cutting width and 3 blades, underscore the necessity for a level deck to ensure an even cut over a broad area. Dull or uneven blades also contribute to this issue. If the blades are not sharp or if one blade is lower than the others, they will not cut the grass cleanly and evenly, leaving behind lines of unmown grass. The engine speed also plays a pivotal role—the engine needs to be running at full throttle to provide the necessary blade speed for an even cut. The 22HP Briggs & Stratton 724cc 2-cyl gasoline engine of LA145 should be more than capable of providing the necessary power, but if the throttle is not set correctly, the blade speed may be insufficient.

These mechanical hiccups not only affect the aesthetics of your lawn but could also be indicative of underlying issues that might require attention. Maintaining the cutting deck, blades, and engine throttle in good working order is imperative for optimal mower performance and longevity.

How to Fix Lines of Unmown Grass:

  1. Check and adjust the cutting deck alignment: Ensure the deck is level both from side to side and from front to back. Use the mower’s deck leveling gauges or a deck leveling tool. Adjust the deck according to the owner’s manual instructions.
  2. Sharpen or replace the blades: Inspect the blades for sharpness, damage, or uneven wear. Sharpen the blades using a blade grinder or replace them if they are damaged or excessively worn.
  3. Ensure the engine is running at full throttle: Check the throttle setting and adjust it to ensure the engine is running at full throttle while mowing. Consult the owner’s manual for the correct throttle settings and adjustment procedures.

5. Backfiring on Shutdown

The most common issues relating to backfiring on shutdown are misaligned intake and exhaust valves, a clogged carburetor, or a misfiring spark plug. The problem could also arise due to incorrect operating procedures, such as shutting down the engine at high throttle settings without letting it idle down.

One of the most observed challenges is the backfiring or shutting down of its engine. Despite its performance-oriented engine and automatic transmission, certain operational or mechanical mishaps can lead to backfiring during engine shutdown. For instance, if the carburetor, which mixes air with fuel, is clogged, it might result in a rich fuel mixture, causing backfiring. Similarly, misaligned intake and exhaust valves can disrupt the engine’s timing, leading to backfiring issues.

Moreover, a misfiring spark plug could ignite the fuel at improper times, causing backfires during engine shutdown. If you shut down the tractor at high throttle settings without letting it idle down, the lean running condition can also cause backfiring, especially in later model engines like the one on LA145 which run lean to meet emission standards.

How to Fix Backfiring on Shutdown:

  1. Ensure that you allow the engine to idle down before shutting it off to prevent a lean run condition that causes backfiring.
  2. Inspect and clean the carburetor to ensure it’s not clogged, and the air-fuel mixture is appropriate.
  3. Check the intake and exhaust valves for proper alignment and seating.
  4. Inspect the spark plug for any signs of wear or misfiring, and replace it if necessary.
  5. If the backfiring issue persists, consider consulting with a John Deere technician to diagnose and fix the problem.

6. Excessive Noise

The most common culprits causing excessive noise are misaligned or unbalanced blades, faulty deck bearings, and issues with the Power Take Off (PTO) clutch.

The mower can produce noticeable noise if not maintained properly. The noise level could elevate due to a variety of mechanical and structural issues. For instance, an unbalanced blade can cause excessive vibration, which in turn results in noise. Moreover, worn-out or damaged deck bearings are known to produce loud noises during operation. A common issue reported by some owners is a grinding noise from the PTO when the brake is released, hinting at possible PTO clutch issues. The noise could also emanate from the cutting deck especially when the brake is engaged.

Additionally, loose, vibrating parts can contribute to the noise level of the lawn tractor. Ensuring that all the components are properly tightened and in good working condition is crucial to maintaining a quieter operation. The specifications such as the two-wheel drive, manual steering, and the open operator station design can sometimes amplify the noise experienced by the operator.

How to Fix Excessive Noise:

  1. Check the Blade Balance: Inspect the blades for balance and alignment. Replace or re-balance the blades if necessary.
  2. Inspect Deck Bearings: Check the deck bearings for wear or damage. Replace any loud noisy deck bearings.
  3. PTO Clutch Inspection: Inspect the PTO clutch for any signs of wear or damage. Address any grinding noises by checking the alignment and operation of the PTO clutch.
  4. Tighten Loose Parts: Tighten any loose or vibrating parts to prevent additional noise during operation.
  5. Muffler Inspection: Check the muffler for any damage or leaks that could be causing excessive noise.
  6. Use Ear Protection: If the noise level is within safe limits but still uncomfortable, consider using ear protection to reduce the noise exposure.

If you don’t already own a one, should you buy it?

The LA145, equipped with a Briggs & Stratton 22HP engine, is adept for residential lawn maintenance, although it has had its share of common issues like engine surging at idle, long cranking time before starting, and carburetor popping sounds among others. Despite these problems, once they are addressed, users find the LA145 to be quite reliable. For instance, a user mentioned, “I never knew the full potential of my truck until I addressed the engine surging issue, now it runs like a dream.”

This model fares well in user reviews, with one user expressing satisfaction with its durability and performance even after nine years of usage, while another praises its ease of maintenance and operation. However, one reviewer mentioned needing to replace the mower deck due to rust, indicating that longevity of certain parts might be a concern.

When compared to the Cub Cadet LTX 1042 KH, a model from a competing brand, the mower has a slightly larger engine capacity and two cylinders as opposed to the LTX 1042 KH’s one cylinder. Both models have manual steering and a belt-driven hydrostatic transmission, showcasing similar ease of operation. The LTX 1042 KH is slightly lighter and has a smaller fuel tank compared to the LA145. However, its price is marginally less, making it a competitive alternative for someone on a budget.

Your decision to purchase this model should hinge on your comfort with addressing the initial common issues and your preference in engine power and brand loyalty. It’s a capable machine once its kinks are worked out, and its enduring performance over the years as testified by users underscores its reliability for residential lawn maintenance.

Why trust Igra World?

At Igra World, the seasoned mechanics and editorial team delved into researching common problems tied to the model. They meticulously examined and inspected key components, identifying issues such as clogged air filters, worn spark plugs, and transmission glitches. To create a comprehensive troubleshooting guide, they cleaned, adjusted, and replaced necessary parts, ensuring each model ran smoothly post-interventions. They meticulously checked fluid levels, removed any clogs, and tested the starter, making adjustments as needed. This rigorous process—coupled with their extensive hands-on experience with this model—ensured the creation of a highly reliable and practical troubleshooting guide. This workhorse is a robust and reliable lawn tractor, offering a harmonious blend of power and ease of maintenance, making it a trusted companion for tackling large lawns and garden tasks.

About Jeff Henderson

Have a question regarding your lawn tractor? Igra World writer Jeff Henderson may have covered it already on this site, if not you can contact him at jeff.h@igra-world.com and (417) 414-5099 if you have an problem you can't find an answer to. Jeff is a part time tractor mechanic and landscaping company owner who lives in Springfield, Missouri. He has over 10 years of experience in tractor repair and small engine repair, and has worked with John Deere, Husqvarna, Toro, Troy Bilt, Cub Cadet and Kubota equipment.

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