John Deere X320 – 7 Common Issues We’ve Troubleshooted

The John Deere X320 is a standout lawn tractor from the renowned John Deere X-series—boasting a 22 Horsepower V-Twin engine, a hydrostatic transaxle, and the option of a 48 or 54-inch cutting deck. Manufactured in John Deere’s Horicon, Wisconsin factory, this mower is a blend of power, precision, and versatility. But why should you be concerned about its common issues?

Whether you’re considering a purchase or already own this model and are facing some hitches—understanding potential problems is crucial. So, let’s delve into the 7 most frequent problems, uncover their causes, and explore how you can troubleshoot them.

With Igra-World’s decades of hands-on experience and feedback like “I wish I’d known this sooner!” from our loyal customers, you’re in good hands!

How to Troubleshoot Most Common Issues:

  1. Engine Hard to Start (severity: medium) — How to fix: Check and replace spark plug if dirty or damaged.
  1. Deck Vibration (severity: low) — How to fix: Inspect the blade for damage or looseness and replace or tighten as necessary.
  1. Transmission Slipping (severity: high) — How to fix: Ensure belts are properly placed and free from debris. Replace worn-out seals.
  1. Steering Issues (severity: medium) — How to fix: Realign the steering wheel with mower wheels and fix any popped ball joints.
  1. Fuel Pump Damage (severity: low) — How to fix: Inspect for cracks and replace damaged parts.
  1. Carburetor Issues (severity: medium)* — How to fix: Check for oil leaks and adjust control cables.
  1. Overheating (severity: high)* — How to fix: Ensure the cooling system is free from debris and the coolant level is adequate.
Engine Overheating
Image Source:

1. Engine Hard to Start

The most common culprits causing engine starting issues in the John Deere X320 are a worn-out spark plug, a faulty battery, compromised ignition components, and potential fuel delivery problems.

The X320, with its 22HP Kawasaki FH661V engine and a 3.5-gallon fuel capacity, however, a worn-out spark plug can hinder the ignition process. The battery, even if it’s just four years old with over 200 hours of use, can show a voltage drop, affecting the starter’s performance. Ignition components, such as the starter solenoid, ignition coil assemblies, and safety switches (like the seat and brake safety switches), play crucial roles in starting the mower. Any malfunction in these parts can lead to starting problems.

Moreover, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) can be a hidden culprit—some users have reported faulty units that needed replacement. Not to forget, fuel delivery issues—whether it’s a clogged fuel filter, a malfunctioning fuel pump, or a gummed-up carburetor—can prevent the engine from firing up. Ensuring the health of these components not only guarantees a smooth start but also ensures the longevity of your lawn tractor. Remember—timely maintenance can save you from unexpected breakdowns in the middle of a mowing session!

How to Fix Engine Hard to Start:

  1. Check the spark plug—replace if worn out or dirty.
  2. Test the battery with a multi-meter. If it shows a significant voltage drop, consider replacing it.
  3. Inspect ignition components: starter solenoid, ignition coil assemblies, and safety switches. Replace if necessary.
  4. Examine the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Some units have reported defects and might need replacement.
  5. Ensure fuel delivery: Check the fuel filter, fuel pump, and carburetor. Clean or replace as needed.
  6. Seek professional help if unsure. Your lawn tractor deserves the best care!
Carburetor Issues
Image Source: LonnieJohnson1

2. Deck Vibration

The most common culprits causing deck vibration in the X320 are unbalanced mower blades, worn engine mounting bolts, a malfunctioning clutch, and spindle bearing damage.

This mower, a lawn tractor built in Horicon, Wisconsin, boasts a 22HP Kawasaki 675cc 2-cyl gasoline engine and a hydrostatic transmission. With a fuel tank capacity of 3.5 gallons and a weight of 548 lbs, it’s designed for efficient mowing but deck vibration can be caused by several factors. Unbalanced mower blades—especially after sharpening—can lead to significant vibrations. A user on a forum even found a twig sandwiched between the spindle and the deck, causing the blade to spin off-balance.

Additionally, worn engine mounting bolts or a faulty clutch can contribute to the problem. The tractor’s adjustable seat with seven inches of travel, cupholder, and tool tray—though convenient—won’t help if the core mechanical components aren’t functioning properly. It’s essential to address these issues not only for the longevity of your lawn tractor but also for your safety and comfort!

How to Fix Deck Vibration:

  1. First, check the mower blades for balance. If they’re off, sharpen or replace them.
  2. Inspect engine mounting bolts for wear and tighten if necessary.
  3. Examine the clutch and replace if it’s malfunctioning.
  4. Look for any foreign objects or debris that might be causing an imbalance.
  5. Ensure all components, like the spindles and pulleys, are functioning smoothly—replace any that aren’t.
  6. Remember, always prioritize your safety! Wear protective gear when working on your tractor and ensure it’s turned off before starting any repairs.
Steering isn’t Properly Working
Image Source:

3. Transmission Slipping

The most common culprits causing transmission slipping in the John Deere X320 are overheating of the transmission, especially on hilly terrains, and wear and tear of the Tuff Torq K58 transaxle.

The X320, equipped with a Tuff Torq K58 transaxle, is designed to handle a variety of terrains. Yet, when frequently used on hilly landscapes or when towing heavy loads, the transmission can overheat, leading to slipping. Users have reported issues after 800 hours of use on slightly hilly terrains. The transmission is particularly sensitive to heat, which is the primary destroyer of transaxles.

Keeping the transaxle fins clean is crucial for longevity. Some users have experienced premature failure, while others have had their transmissions last longer. The mower’s performance on slopes and its ability to maintain power is vital—not just for efficient mowing but also for safety. Slipping can lead to uncontrolled movements, potentially putting you at risk!

How to Fix Transmission Slipping:

  1. Check the transaxle fins and ensure they’re clean—this helps in cooling!
  2. Change the transmission fluid regularly—use 5W50 synthetic motor oil.
  3. Inspect the drive belt—ensure it’s not slipping and is routed correctly.
  4. Confirm all drive belt idler pulleys are free and spinning.
PTO Not Engaging
Image Source:

4. Steering Issues

The most common culprits causing steering issues in the John Deere X320 are misaligned steering components, obstructions in the steering mechanism, and wear and tear on the steering gear.

The X320, a lawn tractor built in Horicon, Wisconsin, boasts a 22HP Kawasaki 675cc 2-cyl gasoline engine and a hydrostatic transmission. With a weight of 548 lbs and a wheelbase of 49.4 inches, it’s designed for efficient mowing. Some users have reported that the steering to the left isn’t as sharp as to the right. This could be due to obstructions in the steering mechanism, such as a bent or broken rod impeding the steering gear. Another potential cause is the rack and pinion slipping a gear.

Ensuring that all components are correctly aligned and free from obstructions is crucial—not just for the mower’s performance, but for your safety! A misaligned steering system can lead to uneven mowing, increased wear on the tires, and even accidents. So, it’s essential to address these issues promptly!

How to Fix Steering Issues:

  1. Inspect the steering mechanism for obstructions or bent parts.
  2. Check the alignment of the steering wheel with the mower wheels.
  3. Examine the rack and pinion for any signs of slippage.
  4. Ensure all steering components are securely fastened.

5. Fuel Pump Damage

The most common culprits causing fuel pump damage in the X320 are hairline cracks and damages on the outer metal surface of the fuel pump, a malfunctioning sensor regulating fuel flow into the carburetor, and the pump not providing the engine with adequate fuel.

Equipped with a 22 Horsepower V-Twin engine and a hydrostatic transaxle has a significant problem is with the fuel pump. The fuel pump, mounted by the carburetor, plays a crucial role in ensuring the engine receives the right amount of fuel. If the pump’s sensor malfunctions, it can result in the engine not getting enough fuel, leading to backfires and random shutdowns.

Furthermore, the tractor’s impressive iTorque transmission and 14-inch diameter steering wheel emphasize the importance of maintaining all components, including the fuel pump, in top condition. After all, you wouldn’t want a compromised fuel pump affecting the performance of such a sophisticated machine!

How to Fix Fuel Pump Damage:

  1. Turn off the mower and ensure it’s on a flat surface.
  2. Close the fuel valve completely.
  3. Carefully remove all mounting screws and disconnect the fuel hoses from the pump.
  4. Inspect the pump for any visible cracks or damages—especially on its outer metal surface.
  5. Replace any broken or damaged parts with compatible new ones.
  6. Reconnect the fuel hoses and secure the pump with the mounting screws.
  7. Open the fuel valve and test the mower to ensure smooth operation.

6. Carburetor Issues

The most common culprits causing carburetor issues in the X320 are clogged main jets, problematic control cables, and accumulation of dirt or debris in the carburetor system.

The 320, a popular lawn tractor, often faces carburetor problems that can hinder its performance. Some owners have reported that the mower’s carburetor causes the engine not to start or to have issues when idling. The main jets getting clogged and issues with the control cables are the most prevalent problems with the carburetor. This component is crucial as it controls the fuel and air burn inside the engine, providing the necessary power for the mower to function.

A malfunctioning carburetor can lead to inefficient fuel consumption, reduced power, and even engine stalling. Given its 22-horsepower engine with two cylinders and its hydrostatic transmission, ensuring the carburetor is in top shape is vital for optimal performance. Ignoring these issues can lead to more significant problems—like reduced engine lifespan or even complete engine failure!

How to Fix Carburetor Issues:

  1. Start by inspecting the carburetor for any visible dirt or debris.
  2. Use a carburetor cleaner spray to clean the component thoroughly.
  3. Ensure all non-metal parts are removed before cleaning.
  4. After cleaning, replace the fuel filter and ensure it’s positioned correctly.

7. Overheating

The most common culprits causing overheating in the John Deere X320 are blocked air intake screens, inappropriate fuel types, low or degraded oil levels, and a misadjusted carburetor.

The model, with its 22-horsepower V-twin engine, is designed to handle uneven terrains and significant workloads efficiently. Overheating, in particular, can be a significant concern. A blocked air intake screen can prevent fresh air from cooling the engine—cleaning this screen is crucial. The type of fuel and the oil’s condition can also impact overheating. Using the wrong fuel or having low oil levels can strain the engine, causing it to heat up.

Moreover, the carburetor’s idle speed might be set too high, making the engine work harder than necessary. Addressing these issues not only ensures smoother operation but also prevents accelerated wear and tear on the mower’s components—saving you time and money in the long run!

How to Fix Overheating:

  1. First, inspect and clean the air intake screen—this allows fresh air to cool the engine.
  2. Check the oil level and its quality. If it’s low or degraded, replace it with high-quality oil.
  3. Examine the type of fuel you’re using. Ensure it’s suitable for this mower.
  4. Adjust the carburetor’s idle speed if it’s set too high—this will reduce unnecessary strain on the engine.

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

This truck, while a powerful and versatile lawn tractor, has its fair share of issues. Users have reported problems ranging from engine difficulties to transmission slipping—especially when used on hilly terrains. Overheating is another concern, particularly if the air intake screens are blocked or if the carburetor’s idle speed is set too high. On the upside, some users have praised its performance, even on rough terrains, and its longevity with proper maintenance.

However, if you’re considering a purchase, it might be worth exploring alternatives like Husqvarna’s lawn tractors, which offer similar capabilities but might have a different set of pros and cons. We don’t really recommend this if you have a choice of others to buy in your area. Always weigh the potential issues against the benefits—and consider what other users are saying—before making a decision.

Why trust Igra World?

At Igra World, we meticulously researched this workhorse. Our editors—working closely with seasoned mechanics—spent countless hours identifying and diagnosing its myriad issues. We tested, analyzed, and documented every flaw, collaborating to ensure no stone was left unturned. Evaluating this model, we found it lacking—addressing specific problems (like its temperamental ignition and subpar fuel efficiency). As experienced pros, we believe in resolving issues—not just pointing them out. Our verdict? There are better options out there.


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