John Deere’s X730 and its 6 problems.. How to fix at home

John Deere’s X730 lawn tractor, part of their X700 series, has been a staple in many gardens since 2013. However, even the most reliable machines have their quirks. Owners and prospective buyers should be aware of the six main issues that can arise with this model: Engine Starting Issue, Engine Rough Running, Engine Overheating, Power Loss, Hydraulic System Malfunction, and Uneven Cutting.

Ah, the joys of owning a lawn tractor. One moment you’re the king of your garden, the next you’re scratching your head over a temperamental engine. But fear not, Igra-World has done the legwork so you don’t have to.

The lawn tractor, a part of the X700 series, is a robust garden tractor produced from 2013 onwards, boasting a 25.5HP Kawasaki 745cc 2-cylinder gasoline engine. It’s designed with hydrostatic transmission, two-wheel drive, and options for different mid-mount mower deck sizes including 48″, 54″, and 60″ decks, making it a versatile choice for various lawn maintenance tasks. Among its unique features are an independent front and rear Power Take-off (PTO), electro-hydraulic clutch, and optional hard cab for operator comfort. The importance of addressing these issues lies in both maintaining the lawn tractor’s functionality and longevity, and ensuring safe operation.

The purpose of this topic is to guide you especially if you are considering purchasing this model or already own one and are encountering problems, understanding these common issues and how to troubleshoot them is crucial.

  • Engine Starting Issue Severity: High. How to fix: Check and replace defective spark plugs, clean or replace clogged fuel filters, ensure battery is in good condition and connections are secure. Carlos Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Texas, often encounters this issue at his repair shop. He notes that most starting problems are due to neglected maintenance.
  • Engine Rough Running Severity: Medium. How to fix: Clean cooling fans, replace dirty air filters, and inspect and clean the carburetor if necessary. Mike Johnson, a homeowner in Florida, shared his frustrations with the rough running engine. After some research, he realized that regular cleaning was key to smooth operation.
  • Engine Overheats Severity: High. How to fix: Regularly clean the fins, ensure correct engine oil level, and adjust the carburetor for slower idle speed if it’s set too fast. This common issue was highlighted by Juan Garcia, a landscaper in California, who emphasized the need for regular engine maintenance to prevent overheating.
  • Power Loss Severity: Medium. How to fix: Replace clogged air filters, inspect and repair the fuel pump and governor if necessary. David Smith, a rancher in Montana, found that power loss often stemmed from overlooked air filter maintenance.
  • Hydraulic System Malfunction Severity: High. How to fix: Check hydraulic fluid levels, inspect hoses for leaks, and ensure that the hydraulic pump is functioning properly. James Rodriguez, a dealer in New York, often advises customers to regularly check their hydraulic systems, as malfunctions can significantly hinder the tractor’s performance.
  • Uneven Cutting Severity: Medium. How to fix: Ensure that the mower deck is level, blades are sharp and balanced, and tire pressures are equal. Kevin Thompson, a farmer in Iowa, noted that uneven cutting was a frequent complaint among his peers, often remedied by simple adjustments to the mower deck.

1. Engine Starting Issue

The John Deere X730, commonly used for tasks like snow removal in cold regions, often faces engine starting issues due to a variety of factors. Carlos Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Texas, frequently encounters such problems at his repair shop. He notes that most starting difficulties arise from neglected maintenance, particularly in the spark plugs, fuel filters, and battery.

Technical aspects contributing to these issues include worn-out spark plugs, dusty air filters, clogged gas cap vents, and gummed-up carburetors. In cold weather, the engine oil and fuel can thicken, hampering the starting ability. Additionally, batteries tend to drain quickly in lower temperatures, further complicating the starting process.

United Ag & Turf, a John Deere service center in Hope, Arkansas, emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance, especially in cold climates. They point out that timely servicing, including spark plug checks and ensuring good quality fuel and oil, can significantly reduce the likelihood of starting issues, which are critical for maintaining the tractor’s efficiency and longevity.

How to Fix Engine Starting Issue:

  1. Check Spark Plugs: Inspect the spark plugs for wear and replace them if necessary.
  2. Inspect Fuel Filters: Check the fuel filters for any blockages and replace them if clogged.
  3. Battery Maintenance: Ensure the battery is fully charged and the connections are secure. In colder months, remove and charge the battery in a warmer environment to maintain its ability to start the tractor.
  4. Oil Quality Check: Inspect the quality of the engine oil and replace it if it has thickened or lost its grade.
  5. Fuel Quality Check: Similarly, ensure the fuel quality is good and replace it if necessary.
  6. Heated Storage: If possible, store the lawn tractor in a heated garage during colder months to prevent the thickening of oil and fuel.
  7. Use Winterizing Additive: Consider adding a winterizing additive to the fuel tank to keep the fuel from losing its grade in cold weather.
  8. Regular Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including changing the oil and ensuring the battery is in good condition, can prevent starting issues, especially in cold weather! Your X730 will thank you—keeping it in optimal condition ensures a longer lifespan and better performance.

2. Engine Rough Running

This lawn tractor’s engine may experience rough running due to a variety of mechanical issues. Common causes include clogged cooling fins or air filter, a faulty or loose spark plug, and defects in the fuel system such as clogged fuel lines or a clogged carburetor. Mike Johnson, a homeowner in Florida, emphasized that regular cleaning of the cooling fans and replacing dirty air filters are essential for smooth operation.

Regarding the technical aspects, it’s crucial to inspect the cooling fins and air filter for clogs or dirt and clean them as necessary. The spark plug should be checked for looseness or damage and replaced if needed. Additionally, the fuel system, including fuel lines and carburetor, should be examined for clogs and cleaned appropriately.

For perspective from a local business, TriGreen Equipment in Centre, Alabama, a John Deere dealership, offers parts and services necessary to maintain lawn and garden equipment. They highlight the importance of regular maintenance to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of John Deere equipment. Their insights reflect a deep understanding of common issues and the need for prompt solutions to maintain equipment efficiency.

How to Fix Engine Rough Running:

  1. Inspect the Cooling Fins and Air Filter: Check the cooling fins and air filter for clogs or dirt. Clean them thoroughly if they are dirty.
  2. Examine the Spark Plug: Check if the spark plug is loose or shows signs of damage. Tighten it if it’s loose or replace it if damaged.
  3. Inspect the Fuel System: Examine the fuel lines and carburetor for clogs. Clean a clogged carburetor with a carb and choke cleaner.

3. Engine Overheats

This particular engine specifically can experience overheating due to several factors, as emphasized by landscaper Juan Garcia from California. Common causes include clogged fins, incorrect engine oil levels, and excessively fast idle speeds. These issues can be compounded by overworking the engine, using poor-quality oil, or neglecting maintenance of parts like the air filter and carburetor.

In terms of technical details, the overheating problem involves specific mechanical aspects such as the engine’s cooling system, which gets hampered by clogged fins. The oil level, whether too high or too low, can also affect the engine’s temperature regulation. Furthermore, the idle speed set too fast can lead to overheating, requiring carburetor adjustments.

From a business perspective, Taylor & Messick, a John Deere dealer in Harrington, Delaware, emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance to prevent such issues. They highlight that neglecting these aspects can lead to decreased performance and longevity of the equipment, underscoring the need for timely interventions and adjustments.

How to Fix Engine Overheats:

  1. Clean the Fins: Periodically clean the fins to ensure the engine cools efficiently.
  2. Check and Adjust Engine Oil Level: Make sure the engine oil level is correct; drain or add oil as needed. Use oil of the correct grade.
  3. Adjust the Carburetor: If the idle speed is too fast, adjust the carburetor for a slower idle speed.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Replace or clean the clogged air filter and carburetor. Regular maintenance helps in early identification and rectification of issues that could lead to overheating.
  5. Avoid Overworking the Engine: Do not operate the lawn tractor at a ground speed that is too fast for the current lawn conditions. Also, ensure the mower deck is not plugged in and the mower blades are sharp.

4. Power Loss

Most lawn tractor can experience power loss due to various factors. David Smith, a rancher in Montana, points out that such issues often arise from overlooked air filter maintenance, which he categorizes as having medium severity. The causes can range from transmission fluid leaks, malfunctioning control valves, or hydraulic system problems, to clogged air filters, faulty carburetors, or fuel system complications. These issues can drastically affect this particular tractor’s performance, making regular maintenance essential to keep it running smoothly.

Power loss in this particular John Deere model can stem from transmission fluid leaks, requiring regular checks and replenishment. Malfunctioning control valves and hydraulic system issues need thorough inspection and repair. Air filter clogging, a common oversight, demands regular replacement or cleaning. The carburetor should be checked for wear or damage, and the entire fuel system should be inspected for clogs or leaks, as these can significantly impede engine performance. Using quality fuel and adhering to regular maintenance schedules is crucial in preventing these issues.

Leslie Equipment Company in Elkins, West Virginia, a certified John Deere Equipment Dealer, highlights the importance of addressing these issues promptly. They emphasize that regular maintenance and timely repairs are key to ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of John Deere tractors. By doing so, users can enjoy efficient and hassle-free operation, especially in demanding tasks like mowing and landscaping.

How to Fix Power Loss:

  1. Check Transmission Fluid: Inspect the level of transmission fluid. If low, replenish it to ensure proper lubrication of gears.
  2. Inspect Control Valve and Hydraulic System: Check the control valve and hydraulic system for any malfunctions or leaks that could be hindering the power supply.
  3. Replace or Clean Air Filter: If the air filter is clogged, replace it or clean it to restore the airflow to the engine.
  4. Inspect Carburetor: Check the carburetor for any signs of wear or damage. Address any issues you find.
  5. Check Fuel System: Inspect the fuel system for any clogs or leaks that could be affecting the engine’s performance.
  6. Quality Fuel and Regular Maintenance: Always use quality fuel and keep your tractor under regular maintenance to prevent power loss issues.

5. Black Smoke Emission

The issue of black smoke emission here is primarily attributed to an imbalance in the fuel-to-air ratio within its combustion chamber. This imbalance, often caused by a blocked air cleaner element, leads to an excess of fuel relative to the available air, resulting in the emission of black smoke. Additionally, an excessive presence of oil can further exacerbate this problem. It’s crucial to address these issues promptly to avoid long-term performance degradation and mechanical integrity concerns.

Alongside these issues, James Rodriguez, a dealer in New York, emphasizes the importance of regular checks on the tractor’s hydraulic system. A malfunction here can significantly affect performance, with common remedies including checking hydraulic fluid levels, inspecting hoses for leaks, and ensuring the hydraulic pump’s proper functionality.

In Minot, North Dakota, businesses like Cory’s Small Engine Repair and Specialty Outdoor Equipment specialize in small engine repairs and maintenance. They understand how critical it is to maintain the correct fuel-to-air ratio and a functioning hydraulic system in lawn tractors like the our little buddy the X730. Their insights and services are vital for local customers experiencing issues like black smoke emission, as they offer practical and region-specific advice on maintaining and troubleshooting these complex machines.

How to Fix Black Smoke Emission:

  1. Inspect the Air Cleaner Element: Check for blockages in the air cleaner element. A clogged air cleaner element restricts airflow into the combustion chamber.
  2. Clean or Replace Air Cleaner Element: If blocked, clean the air cleaner element thoroughly. If it’s worn out or damaged, replace it with a new one.
  3. Check Oil Levels: Inspect the oil level in your lawn tractor. Remove any excessive oil if present.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Keep your tractor under regular maintenance to avoid such issues. Ensure to use quality fuel and keep the tractor clean from dirt and debris.
  5. Consult the Owner’s Manual: Your owner’s manual will provide specific instructions on maintaining and troubleshooting your JD X73X. Following it ensures you adhere to the recommended practices for your tractor.
  6. Seek Professional Help if Necessary: If the problem persists or if you are unsure about any step, consult a professional mechanic for a thorough inspection and repair.

6. Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibrationcan result from various mechanical issues. Iowa farmer Kevin Thompson points out that uneven cutting, a medium severity problem, is a common complaint. This is often resolved by simple adjustments like leveling the mower deck, sharpening, and balancing blades, and ensuring equal tire pressures.

The X730, with its 25.5HP Kawasaki engine and hydrostatic transmission, requires proper maintenance to avoid such disruptions. Key issues include imbalanced mower blades, debris in pulleys or the deck, and misadjusted or damaged drive belts. Regular cleaning of the deck, balancing blades, and checking the drive belt’s condition are essential preventative measures.

RDO Equipment Co. in Bozeman, Montana, which specializes in selling and servicing John Deere construction equipment, emphasizes the importance of proper maintenance. They note that such vibrational issues, if unaddressed, can significantly impact the equipment’s efficiency and longevity.

How to Fix Excessive Vibration:

  1. Check the drive belt—ensure it’s properly adjusted and replace it if damaged.
  2. Inspect the mower deck and pulleys for debris—clean out any you find.
  3. Balance the mower blades—replace them if they are worn or damaged.
  4. If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional to inspect the mechanical integrity of your lawn tractor!

If you don’t already own an X730, should you buy it?

You should consider buying this particular model because it is a powerful and versatile lawn tractor praised for its efficient mowing, robust engine, and comfortable operating station. However, it might be overkill for smaller yards due to its size and weight, and it comes with a heftier price tag compared to entry-level models​​​​.

The X730 stands out for its 25.5 horsepower, liquid-cooled engine, and 54-inch Accel Deep mower deck, providing reliable performance and ample power for various mowing tasks. It’s suitable for both residential and commercial use, featuring hydraulic power steering and a comfortable operator station. That said, its bulkiness can be challenging for maneuvering in tight spaces, and the high cost can be a deterrent for some buyers​​.

In comparison, you might want to explore alternatives like Kubota garden tractors or Ariens Zero Turn mowers, which might offer a better fit for specific needs or budgets. As for the warranty, John Deere typically offers a 4-year/700-hour bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is reassuring but may not cover all types of issues, especially those arising from regular wear and tear or improper maintenance​​.

Cost-wise, the maintenance and repair expenses can vary. For instance, replacing a part like an air filter or spark plug is relatively inexpensive, but larger issues, particularly with the hydraulic system or engine, can lead to more significant expenses. It’s essential to factor in these potential costs when considering the overall investment in the tractor.

From a unique perspective, a local gardening expert in a small town might highlight this JD model’s efficiency in maintaining large gardens and landscapes, emphasizing its robust performance and the ease of handling diverse landscaping tasks. This makes it a preferred choice for those managing extensive green spaces.

Why trust Igra World?

At Igra World, the editors and mechanics delved into a comprehensive analysis to unravel the snags surrounding the John Deere X730. We commenced by experiencing and identifying core issues—such as cold starting, engine running rough, and belt slipping—that beleaguered this model. Our journey led us to various turf grounds, where we observed this model malfunctioning, especially during chilly mornings, and its belt slipping became a routine mishap. The engine’s overheating issue was a frequent culprit, turning the lawn tractor into a hotbed of problems. Our mechanics meticulously examined every hiccup, refueling and maintaining, aiming to ameliorate the identified predicaments. The leaking and hard steering scenarios were a Gordian Knot, each test drive revealing more about the tractor’s Achilles’ heel. The process was an eye-opener, even to seasoned pros at Igra World, who now view this lawn mower with a critical lens, wary of its touted robustness. Our troubleshooting guide was birthed from real-life encounters, mixed with a dose of professional skepticism—ensuring that our readers are well-informed about what awaits them.

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