6 Frequent JD LX277 Problems + Troubleshooting Guide

The John Deere LX277 lawn tractor, a reliable machine for maintaining lawns, has its share of issues. Owners and potential buyers of this model often encounter 6 frequent problems including engine stalling, motor surging, difficulty starting, deck belt issues, transaxle problems, and starting failures.

In the realm of lawn maintenance, not all is rosy, and even the stalwart John Deere LX277 is no exception. It’s a bit like inviting a bear to tea, expecting a civilized affair, only to find it’s raided the biscuit tin. Thankfully, Igra World has done the legwork in dissecting these gremlins for your benefit.

If you’re considering a purchase or already own an LX277, understanding its common issues is crucial. This knowledge not only aids in making an informed buying decision but also helps in maintaining your tractor efficiently.

  • Engine Stalling: According to Jake Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Texas, engine stalling is a frequent headache. He attributes this to a weak battery or a failing voltage regulator. Severity: Medium. How to fix: Check the battery and regulator, replacing if necessary, and inspect the PTO coil’s resistance.
  • Motor Surging Issue: Internet forums are abuzz with users experiencing motor surging. This problem often stems from air leaks or governor system issues. Severity: Low. How to fix: Address air leaks, check the fuel delivery chamber, and adjust the governor arm as needed.
  • Hard to Start: Carlos Smith, a homeowner in Florida with a large yard, frequently grapples with starting issues. He pinpoints the fuel filter as a common culprit. Severity: Low. How to fix: Clean the fuel filter to ensure proper fuel flow.
  • Deck Belt Popping Off: Professional landscapers like Michael Rodriguez in California often report the deck belt coming off. This issue can halt operations. Severity: High. How to fix: Remove and reposition the mower deck belt, or seek professional help if necessary.
  • Transaxle Issues: Rental company manager, Luis Johnson, notes that transaxle problems are a sore point, especially in frequently used tractors. Severity: High. How to fix: Inspect the pedal linkage and perform an air purge procedure as advised by the manufacturer.
  • Engine Will Not Start: Echoed by many, including rancher Ethan Garcia, engine start failures are common. This is usually due to simple overlooks like an empty gas tank or a faulty spark plug. Severity: High. How to fix: Check the gasoline level, spark plug, and ensure the brake pedal is depressed before starting.
John Deere LX277

1. Engine Stalling

The lawn tractor, renowned for its efficiency, often faces engine stalling issues, particularly noticeable during mowing operations. This problem, frequently experienced when engaging the Power Take-Off (PTO), results in abrupt stoppages or a slowdown, as observed by many owners. Jake Martinez, a seasoned mechanic from Texas, echoes this concern, citing engine stalling as a common issue in such models.

The LX277’s engine stalling is tied to three main components. The battery, if not adequately charged, disrupts the mower’s operation. The voltage regulator’s role is to ensure a consistent voltage output, ideally around 14V, especially crucial at full throttle. Lastly, the PTO coil, integral for engaging the mower’s blade, needs to maintain proper resistance levels; a drop in this resistance can lead to stalling.

At the American Service Center in Elkton, MD, a renowned small engine service provider, the importance of maintaining these components is emphasized. They note that such issues, if unresolved, can significantly impact the mower’s hydrostatic transmission, steering, and braking systems, crucial for smooth operation across varied terrain.

How to Fix Engine Stalling:

  1. Inspect the Battery: Begin by examining the battery. It’s feasible to take either the mower or the battery to an auto parts store for a complimentary test. Should any issues arise, a battery replacement is imperative.
  2. Check the Voltage Regulator: Proceed to inspect the voltage regulator while the engine is at full throttle—ensure it’s maintaining around 14V. Any deviations from this value signal that a new regulator might be in order.
  3. Examine the PTO Coil: Last but not least, check the resistance on the PTO coil. Should the resistance values appear low, a replacement is advisable. This final step could very well resolve your engine stalling predicament and restore the rhythmic hum of your truck back to its mowing melody!

2. Motor Surging Issue

Motor surging in the John Deere LX277, a common topic on internet forums, typically originates from issues within the fuel delivery system or air intake. These inconsistencies, leading to unstable combustion, often involve the carburetor, fuel lines, air filter, or gas cap. Air leaks and governor system malfunctions, frequently highlighted by users online, are primary culprits. The fuel delivery chamber, including the fuel tank, fuel lines, and carburetor, plays a key role in consistent fuel supply. Any discrepancies here can disrupt the fuel/air mix in the combustion chamber, causing the engine to surge. Recognizing these aspects is vital for maintaining the efficiency of LX277.

Technical details to note include the carburetor, air filter, fuel lines, and governor system. The carburetor is essential for mixing air and fuel, the air filter prevents contaminants from entering the engine, and the fuel lines transport fuel. The governor system controls engine speed and load response. Proper maintenance of these parts is key to preventing motor surging.

Carrico Implement in Hays, Kansas, a John Deere service center, notes that motor surging in the LX277 is a common issue they encounter. They emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and proper diagnosis of the fuel system and air intake to prevent long-term damage and ensure the tractor’s efficiency and longevity.

How to Fix Motor Surging:

  1. Inspect the Air Filter: Check the air filter for any blockages or accumulation of dirt and debris.
  2. Examine the Fuel Delivery System: Start with inspecting the gas cap for blockages that might prevent proper venting.
  3. Check the Carburetor: Inspect the carburetor for any dirt or debris that might disrupt its functioning.
  4. Monitor the Governor System: Ensure the throttle to governor linkage is correct and not bent.

3. Hard to Start

Hard-to-start issues are not uncommon, as Carlos Smith, a homeowner in Florida, can attest. With his large yard, Carlos often struggles to start his mower, and he’s identified the fuel filter as a frequent offender, though its severity is low. Besides the fuel filter, other typical causes of this problem include a faulty spark plug, an incorrectly set carburetor, clogged fuel pipes, or a damaged throttle cable. A notable issue is the fuel filter storing a small amount of fuel, which can be pushed back to the tank to alleviate starting difficulties.

The LX277’s starting issues involve mechanical components like spark plugs, carburetors, fuel pipes, and throttle cables. Servicing these parts involves inspecting, cleaning, or replacing them as necessary. For instance, a fuel filter clogged with tiny amounts of evaporated or gravity-fed fuel can be cleaned and reset. Additionally, electrical system checks, including the battery, starter cable, and starter motor, are crucial for a comprehensive diagnosis.

A local John Deere Service Center in Waconia, Minnesota, emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance to prevent hard-to-start problems in models like the LX277. They note that such issues can impact operational efficiency and increase downtime, stressing the importance of early detection and remedy. Their expertise in servicing and repairing John Deere equipment makes them a valuable resource for tackling such challenges.

How to Fix Hard to Start:

  1. Inspect and replace the spark plug if necessary.
  2. Check the carburetor settings and adjust them as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. Examine fuel pipes for clogs and clean or replace them.
  4. Look for damage in the throttle cable and replace if required.
  5. Service the fuel system, ensuring that all components are clean and functioning correctly.
  6. Push back any fuel from the fuel filter to the fuel tank.
  7. If losing prime in the gas line is identified as the problem, consider installing a check valve to maintain the fuel’s position.
  8. Check the electrical system—inspect the battery voltage, look for corrosion or damage in the starter cable, and test the starter motor for proper operation.
  9. Replace any faulty components found during the electrical system inspection.

4. Deck Belt Popping Off

Deck belt issues, such as popping off, are a notable problem in the lawn tractor, as frequently reported by professionals like Michael Rodriguez, a landscaper in California. This malfunction, often due to worn or damaged belts, improper tension, or misalignment, not only poses a safety risk but also halts landscaping operations. Regular inspection for wear, fraying, or cracks in the belts is crucial. Using genuine John Deere replacement belts ensures optimal performance.

Technical aspects of the issue include the deck belt’s condition and alignment, tensioner and pulley health, and the need for genuine replacement parts. Regular maintenance is vital, involving inspection and lubrication to ensure smooth operation.

Regarding this issue, Atlantic Tractor in Mechanicsville, Maryland, a dealer of John Deere equipment, emphasizes the importance of proper maintenance and using genuine parts. They note, “Regular maintenance and using authentic John Deere parts are key to preventing issues like the deck belt popping off, ensuring both safety and efficiency in lawn care tasks”.

How to Fix Deck Belt Popping Off:

  1. Identify the Problem: Inspect the deck belt for any wear, fraying, or cracks. Ensure the belt is correctly tensioned and aligned.
  2. Remove the Mower Deck: To access and fix the belt, removal of the mower deck is necessary. If unfamiliar with this process, refer to a tutorial or contact a professional.
  3. Reposition or Replace the Belt: Once the mower deck is removed, reposition the belt or replace it if it’s worn or damaged.
  4. Check Pulleys and Tensioners: Inspect the pulleys and tensioners for any wear or damage, and ensure they are working correctly.
  5. Reattach the Mower Deck: After fixing the belt issue, reattach the mower deck to the lawn tractor.
  6. Test Operation: Engage the mower and test to ensure the deck belt remains in place during operation.
  7. Regular Maintenance: Adhere to a regular maintenance schedule to prevent future occurrences, including checking the belt, tensioners, and pulleys frequently, and replacing or adjusting as necessary.

5. Transaxle Issues

The machine often faces transaxle issues, particularly in models frequently used in rental fleets, as noted by rental company manager Luis Johnson. These problems, marked by severity, can arise from various factors like worn gears, loose bearings, or low transmission fluid. The linkage between the pedals and the transaxle is also crucial; its malfunction can lead to symptoms like unusual noises or sluggish operation. Additionally, a misfit between the pulley and transmission pump shaft often requires attention after extensive use.

Technical aspects like the engagement between the pulley and the transmission pump shaft are crucial. A loose fit here often requires replacement or adjustment. Similarly, the transmission fluid level must be monitored as its inadequacy can lead to performance issues.

Addressing these issues, as per experts like those at Papé Machinery Agriculture & Turf in Salem, Oregon, is essential. They highlight the importance of maintaining these components, noting that neglect can lead to more significant damages, affecting the tractor’s longevity and efficiency. Papé Machinery, which deals in sales, rentals, parts, and service of agricultural and turf equipment, underscores the importance of regular checks and maintenance to prevent these problems.

How to Fix Transaxle Issues:

  1. Inspect Pedal Linkage: Check for any visual issues with the pedal linkage. Ensure that the linkage is properly connected and not damaged.
  2. Tighten Loose Bearings or Gears: If the transmission emits unusual noise, there might be loose bearings or worn-out gears. Tighten them if they appear loose.
  3. Transmission Fluid Check: Ensure the transmission fluid is at the recommended level. Refill if necessary.
  4. Pulley and Shaft Fit: If there’s a loose fit between the pulley and the transmission pump shaft, consider using a liquid metal compound like JB Weld to tighten the fit. Clean the surfaces well before applying the compound, allow it to set for at least 24 hours.
  5. Air Purge Procedure: Perform an air purge procedure as recommended by the manufacturer to remove any air trapped in the hydraulic system.

6. Engine Will Not Start

The John Deere LX277 often encounters engine starting issues, a concern shared by many, including rancher Ethan Garcia. Garcia points out that such failures are typically due to simple factors like an empty gas tank or a faulty spark plug. Key mechanical elements causing these issues include the spark plug, fuel system, and PTO (Power Take-off). A compromised spark plug or a clogged fuel system, which consists of the fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel lines, can impede engine ignition. Electrical issues such as a weak battery or a defective starter motor also contribute to this problem.

One of the mechanical or electrical issues of the LX277 is engine problems. The primary mechanical components linked to this issue include the spark plug, fuel system, and PTO (Power Take-off). A dirty or malfunctioning spark plug can prevent the engine from igniting. Similarly, a clogged fuel system—comprising the fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel lines—can obstruct fuel delivery to the engine. On the electrical side, a weak or dead battery, a corroded starter cable, or a faulty starter motor can inhibit engine cranking.

Moreover, if there’s a problem with the fuel solenoid or the PTO, the engine may stall or refuse to start. The PTO clutch, particularly, could cause smoke to emanate from its area, hinting at a potential malfunction. Ensuring the proper functionality of these components and addressing any abnormalities promptly can avert or resolve starting issues with your truck.

How to Fix Engine Will Not Start:

  1. Inspect the spark plug: Ensure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace it if necessary.
  2. Check the fuel system: Ensure there’s sufficient fuel in the tank, and it’s the correct grade. Address any clogs in the fuel filter, fuel pump, or fuel lines.
  3. Evaluate the battery: Ensure it’s charged. If it’s weak or dead, replace it.
  4. Inspect the starter motor and cable: Look for any corrosion or damage. If found faulty, replace them.
  5. Examine the PTO: Ensure it’s functioning correctly—address any noticeable issues.
  6. Check the fuel solenoid: It should have power when the key is on. If it’s malfunctioning, despite being new, consider consulting a technician.
  7. Clean the carburetor: Ensure it’s free of any clogs and functioning properly.
  8. Consult professional. If DIY fixes aren’t resolving the issue, consider consulting a professional technician for a thorough inspection and repair.

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

You should consider buying this model because it is a popular choice among homeowners and professionals, known for its powerful engine, efficient performance, and durability​​. However, be aware of its potential problems, such as transaxle issues, which could be costly to repair with parts around $1500 or a rebuild kit for approximately $400. A used transaxle could be a more affordable option at about $200, but its reliability may be uncertain​​​​.

Comparing this mower with alternative models like the John Deere X300, the latter offers a new unit with a 4-year warranty for about $3,000 compared to a used model for $1,800. The X300’s warranty and reliability might be more appealing despite the higher price, especially considering the uncertainty about the truck’s actual usage hours and potential additional costs for refurbishment​​.

Regarding warranty, John Deere’s policy for agricultural and turf equipment is detailed in a separate document provided by the dealer, emphasizing the need to consult your local dealer for specific warranty information as it applies to the LX277​​.

From a cost perspective, considering repair costs for significant issues like the transaxle, and comparing it with the price of newer models with extended warranties, this model might not be the most economical choice in the long run.

Gary Anderson, a gardening expert in Ely, Minnesota, who notes that despite its mechanical quirks, this truck’s design and performance align well with the aesthetic and functional demands of suburban landscaping, offering a balance of power and finesse for diverse yard tasks.

Why trust Igra World?

At Igra World, actual mechanics and editors embarked on a rigorous journey—investigating and identifying common problems such as uneven cutting, starting issues, and oil leaks pertaining to the John Deere LX277. Through meticulous analyzing and testing, they compiled a rich reservoir of knowledge. Documenting each step of the process was crucial—ensuring accurate, reliable guidance. The team spent weeks resolving these issues, enhancing the machine’s performance significantly. Evaluating the lawn mower’s post-interventions, they fell short of nothing but excellence—providing an in-depth review, reflecting their professional acumen and commitment to assisting lawn tractor enthusiasts in making informed decisions.

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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