The X350 model from John Deere… Five common problems and solutions

The John Deere X350 lawn tractor, part of the acclaimed X300 series, has seen its fair share of issues since its inception in 2016. Owners and users have reported five primary problems: poor engine performance, engine starting issues, uneven mowing, steering difficulties, and engine noise.

In the spirit of British wit, let’s just say owning an X350 is akin to having a moody but beloved old dog; it’s fantastic when it works, but oh, the quirks you have to navigate! Fortunately for you, dear reader, Igra World has done the legwork, uncovering the gremlins that might lurk in your verdant paradise.

Whether you’re considering the purchase of an X350 lawn tractor or already own one, understanding its common problems is crucial. This guide aims to enlighten both prospective buyers and current owners about these issues, helping you make an informed decision or maintain your tractor effectively.

  • Poor Engine Performance Severity: Medium Perspective: Jack Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Austin, Texas, frequently encounters this issue. According to Jack, this truck often suffers from poor engine performance, primarily due to old or dirty fuel. How to fix: Replace old or dirty fuel with fresh stabilized fuel.
  • Engine Will Not Start – No Crank Severity: Low Perspective: Carlos Smith, a rancher from New Mexico, notes that his X350 occasionally refuses to start. This, he finds, is often because the brake pedal isn’t depressed, or the mower/PTO is engaged. How to fix: Ensure the brake pedal is depressed and the mower/PTO is disengaged, check for defective brake, mower engagement, or key switch.
  • Uneven MowingSeverity: Low Perspective: Luis Johnson, who runs a landscaping business in Florida, has shared that uneven mowing is a frequent headache with the mower .How to fix: Check and adjust the mower deck leveling, replace or sharpen dull blades.
  • Difficulty in Steering Severity: Low Perspective: Eric Gonzalez, a homeowner in California with a large yard, often grapples with steering issues on his truck.
    How to fix: Check for obstructions, ensure proper tire pressure, and lubricate steering components.
  • Noise from EngineSeverity: Low Perspective: Michael Rodriguez, an avid gardener and member of a local gardening club in Ohio, has noticed that his mower tends to be noisier than expected. How to fix: Inspect for loose or damaged parts, ensure proper engine operation.

1. Poor Engine Performance

The lawn tractor, equipped with an 18.5HP Kawasaki 603cc 2-cylinder gasoline engine, is known for its robust performance. However, like any machinery, it can face performance issues over time. Jack Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Austin, Texas, has frequently encountered these problems, particularly noting that old or dirty fuel is a common culprit for the poor engine performance of this model.

The technical aspects of this model include its carburetor, fuel system, spark plugs, and ignition system. Issues such as a clogged fuel filter or injectors, dirty air filters, and faulty spark plugs can significantly hamper the engine’s performance. Regular maintenance is crucial for optimal performance, involving checking and cleaning the air filter and spark plugs, and ensuring a clean fuel system.

Regarding the impact of these issues on local businesses, Gasser Hardware in Galena, Illinois, a store offering lawn and garden supplies among other hardware needs, might emphasize the importance of regular maintenance for lawn equipment like the X350. They understand that keeping such equipment in top condition is vital for efficient lawn maintenance and prolonging the lifespan of the machinery.

How to Fix Poor Engine Performance:

  1. Check and Replace Fuel: Ensure the fuel in the tank is fresh and not contaminated. Replace old or dirty fuel with fresh, stabilized fuel.
  2. Inspect and Clean/Replace Air Filter: Check the air filter for dirt and debris. Clean it or replace it if necessary.
  3. Check and Replace Spark Plugs: Inspect the spark plugs and replace them if they are worn out or faulty.
  4. Inspect and Clean/Replace Fuel Filter and Injectors: Check the fuel filter and injectors for clogs or dirt, and clean or replace them as needed.
  5. Inspect Ignition System: Check the ignition switch and ignition coil for functionality using a multimeter. Replace any faulty components.
  6. Clean Carburetor: Disassemble the carburetor, submerge it in a cleaning solution, scrub it completely to get rid of any clogged debris, and replace it if it’s in poor condition.

2. Engine Will Not Start – No Crank

The lawn tractor, a popular choice for mowing duties, can occasionally face a ‘no crank’ issue. Carlos Smith, a rancher from New Mexico, reports that sometimes his mower doesn’t start, often due to the brake pedal not being fully depressed or the mower/PTO being engaged. This highlights the importance of these components in the starting process.

Common factors contributing to this starting issue include defective safety switches, low or poor-quality gasoline, and problems with spark plug connections. The mower has a fuel tank capacity of 3.3 gallons, and using fresh, high-quality gasoline is essential. Additionally, the electrical system, especially the spark plug connections and safety switches, is crucial. A malfunction in these areas can prevent the engine from cranking. While the manual steering system and wet disc brakes are vital for the tractor’s operation, they are not directly related to the engine starting issue. The mid-PTO with its independent electric clutch also needs to be properly disengaged before starting.

In Lebanon, Kansas, a local John Deere service center such as LandMark Implement in Smith Center, Kansas, addresses such issues. They emphasize the impact of starting problems on productivity for farmers and homeowners. Their expertise in maintenance and repair makes them a valuable resource in the community for resolving engine starting challenges​.

How to Fix Engine Will Not Start – No Crank:

  1. Ensure the brake pedal is fully depressed, and the mower/PTO is disengaged before attempting to start the engine.
  2. Check for a full fuel tank—refill if necessary with fresh, high-quality gasoline.
  3. Inspect the spark plug wires for any damage or loose connections and fix any identified issues.
  4. Utilize the on-board diagnostic system on the LCD display of the operator panel to check the functionality of safety switches—follow instructions to enter the diagnostic mode and test each switch individually.
  5. If unable to resolve, contact your local John Deere dealer for further assistance.

3. Uneven Mowing

The lawn tractor, known for its substantial engine power and manual steering, can experience uneven mowing issues, a common frustration highlighted by Luis Johnson, a landscaping business owner in Florida. The main causes of this issue include worn or damaged blades, incorrect tire pressure, and an unlevel mower deck. Ensuring blades are sharp and undamaged, maintaining proper tire pressure, and keeping the mower deck level and clear of debris are crucial steps in addressing this problem.

Further, the mechanical aspects such as the condition of the spindle bearings, the deck belt, and pulleys play a significant role in the mower’s performance. Operating the mower at the correct engine and ground speeds is also essential to prevent uneven cuts.

For practical insights and solutions to lawn mower maintenance, businesses like The Home Depot in Elko, Nevada, and Spring Creek Ace Hardware in Spring Creek, Nevada offer valuable resources. These local businesses emphasize the importance of regular maintenance for lawn mowers like the X350, noting that uneven mowing can lead to increased wear and tear on the mower and impact lawn aesthetics.

How to Fix Uneven Mowing:

1. Adjust Tire Pressure: Ensure that the tire pressures are at the recommended levels to prevent the deck from tilting.

2 . Level the Mower Deck: Adjust the mower deck to ensure it is level from side-to-side and front-to-back.

3. Clean the Mower Deck: Remove any grass clippings or debris clogging the mower deck.

4. Inspect Spindle Bearings and Deck Belt/Pulleys: Check for damage or wear in the spindle bearings, deck belt, or pulleys and replace any worn or damaged parts.

5. Adjust Engine and Ground Speed: Run your mower at full throttle and mow at the correct speeds for your mowing conditions, as per the user manual.

4. Difficulty in Steering

Eric Gonzalez, a homeowner in California with a large yard, regularly faces steering difficulties with his lawn mower. This issue is attributed to several factors such as alignment problems, worn bushings, a dislodged bolt, or worn clutch components. These problems are particularly challenging due to the manual steering feature of this model, which can become more difficult to handle over time. Misalignment can lead to uneven cutting and premature wear on tires and other components, worsening the steering issues and affecting the mower’s overall performance.

From a technical standpoint, issues like a dislodged bolt or worn bushings have significant impacts on the mower’s gear engagement, essential for smooth steering. These mechanical problems, if not addressed, can result in uneven lawn cuts, decreased mower efficiency, and increased wear on various parts.

AgriVision Equipment in Winterset, Iowa, a recognized John Deere service center, highlights the importance of timely addressing these steering issues. They point out that steering problems in models like this truck can affect the quality of lawn care and lead to longer-term damage to the mower, underscoring the need for regular maintenance and repairs​​​​​​.

How to Fix Difficulty in Steering:

  1. Inspect for Obstructions: Check for any obstructions in the steering mechanism that might be causing the difficulty.
  2. Lubricate Steering Components: Lubricate all the movable parts of the steering mechanism to ensure smooth operation.
  3. Check Tire Pressure: Ensure that the tire pressure is adequate as uneven tire pressure can cause steering issues.
  4. Inspect Bushings and Bolts: Check if any bolt has become dislodged or if the bushings have worn down, and replace if necessary.
  5. Adjust Shift Linkage: Check and adjust the shift linkage if misadjusted.
  6. Inspect Clutch Components: Inspect and replace worn clutch components if necessary.
  7. Check Transmission Fluid Levels: Ensure proper transmission fluid levels to maintain smooth steering.
  8. Align the Mower: Ensure proper alignment of the mower to avoid steering difficulties and uneven cutting.
  9. Consult a Professional: If the problem persists or if you are unsure about any step, it’s advisable to consult with a professional mechanic specializing in John Deere lawn tractors.

5.Noise from Engine

John Deere X350 lawn tractors often encounter engine noise issues due to factors like low-octane fuel and insufficient engine oil levels. Using low-octane fuel can lead to premature ignition, resulting in a pinging sound, while inadequate oil levels can cause engine bearings to fail, creating a knocking noise. These issues are crucial to address for optimal performance of the tractor’s 18.5HP Kawasaki 603cc 2-cyl gasoline engine and its various attachments.

The technical specifics of these issues involve the tractor’s 18.5HP Kawasaki 603cc 2-cyl gasoline engine. The use of low-octane fuel can cause premature ignition, producing a pinging sound. Conversely, insufficient oil levels can lead to the failure of engine bearings, resulting in a knocking noise. Addressing these issues is vital for maintaining the engine’s performance and the functionality of the tractor’s attachments.

A representative from Ag-Pro Companies in Thomasville, Georgia, a dealer experienced with John Deere equipment, underscores the importance of addressing these engine noise issues. They point out that such problems, if neglected, can lead to reduced efficiency and increased repair costs. This is particularly significant for local farmers and homeowners in Thomasville, impacting their daily operations and financial stability.

How to Fix Noise from Engine:

  1. Inspect Fuel Type: Ensure you are using high-octane fuel as recommended to prevent premature combustion.
  2. Check Engine Oil Level: Verify the engine oil level is adequate and refill the oil pan if it’s depleted.
  3. Investigate Other Noise Sources: Look for loose or damaged parts like knobs or gears that might be causing grinding, growling or rattling noises and secure or replace them as necessary.

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

You should consider buying the John Deere X350 because it stands out for its robust performance and user comfort, despite some drawbacks. Reviews praise its powerful Kawasaki engine, ease of operation, and comfortable steering and seating. Its durable build and efficient fuel usage add to its appeal. However, it’s noted for being a bit heavy, potentially challenging to maneuver, and has a higher price point compared to some other models. This is particularly suited for homeowners who value quality and performance in a lawn tractor.

Competing models from brands like Kubota or Husqvarna might offer alternative features or pricing, appealing to different user needs or budget constraints. When comparing, consider aspects such as engine power, deck size, user comfort, and overall build quality to ensure you find a lawn tractor that meets your specific requirements.

This model comes with a 4-year/300-hour warranty, covering most issues but not necessarily all problems, especially those arising from regular wear and tear or improper use.

Owning and maintaining an X350 can involve various expenses, especially when it comes to repairs or replacements of parts. Prices for different components vary, reflecting the quality and performance of the tractor. For example, replacement parts like the John Deere 42-inch Accel Deep Mower Deck are priced at around $785.00, while smaller items such as a blade drive pulley might cost about $22.18. Even smaller parts like a blade pulley flange nut are priced at $3.21.

A local gardening expert from Ames, Iowa highlights the truck’s ability to maintain large lawns efficiently, thus contributing to the town’s reputation for beautifully kept residential areas. Their expertise underscores the model’s suitability for expansive and diverse landscapes, typical in regions like Ames.

Why trust Igra World?

Our team at Igra World delved into identifying problems and analyzing performance of the John Deere X350. We spent long hours documenting solutions— consulting experts for validating fixes. With a rigorous regime of testing functionality, we ensured the guide stood out. Comparing models, gathering feedback from actual users, and reviewing manuals enriched our insights. We believe in enhancing usability—our actual mechanics, armed with hands-on experience, found this model to be a resilient performer, echoing a sentiment of trustworthiness and efficiency.

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 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.

Join the discussion