Just went along nice and smooth. I’m not a mechanic and never got around to ask for help or advice how to do the final steps. Required fields are marked *. They are not designed for hills and will not last. Count me in!! I was told today that everything is fine and the only thing left is the transmission. It has been serviced by John Deere every year I have owned it (which by now I could have a nice Zero Turn for the cost of the oil changes/services). During the off season .. I had hoped this tractor would last 20 years. It takes me about 3 and a half hours to cut the lawn. It has fluid in it but has been leaking this last year. I hadn’t intended to spend 1200 bucks, but JDs last forever right? I have a L120 and have had the same problems as many others have had. I am not a rich person so when I spend this much money on a mower I expect it to last for more than 3 yrs. I really didn’t have any other avenue available to me except to upgrade the hydrostatic transmission myself. It slowss down going uphill. Bought all my parts from JD dealer then the transmission failed. James you are a wealth of information that gives me a bit more hope for my current k46 transaxle. Machine losing power. My suggestion to Deere is quit all your advertising and bring your products up to par with the advertising budget. Thanks mainly to the comments I’ve read on this page… I’ve successfully prevented my JD L120 from having Hydrostatic transmission problems for a total cost of $25. Push the tubing on the end of oil can snout, so it fits sung and doesn’t leak or slide off. (that includes the 15 minutes it took me to show her the difference between a socket, a boxed in wrench and a screw driver :):) (just kidding) She actually did quit well and was a great helper. Was told I needed to buy a new transmission from my John Deere dealer as this one is not serviceable. Also – I read where someone suggested drilling in a drain plug, but that’s beyond me and from what I hear, just one fragment of metal can mess it all up! The designed lifespan is 6-8 years on the L series and 15-18 years on the premium line X series mowers. Same problem. All the required various Genuine John Deere transaxle installation parts. Regardless of there being a better older machine or an upgrade, the point still stands that John Deere concealed a problematic design on a unit that retailed for over $2300.00. Have a LA135se, only a few months old. McDonalds is also a good example of this! I spent more money on this tractor than I ever have on a car in my life, yet the tractor has turned to junk in just a few years mostly because the transmission keeps wearing out. Kubota will be my next choice…. Same old crap. I never hardly have any problems other than a spark plug coil burnt out while mowing. Also, the motor drive sheave came off easy this time. Just over 200 hours. You will end up with a much more powerful and reliable tractor. I bought a D170 Mower 1-1/2 years ago, have NEVER used it to pull anything but a very small trailer with grass clippings. Spent a lot on annual maintenance and repairs from a licensed dealer. If I had an address I could mail you this. So you can add me to the list . I bought JD L130, it was the most expessive tractor in the store, and I wanted to go all out and buy the best. The K46 is not a bad transmission if used for its intended purpose, it is a very light duty unit, Tuff Torq builds very heavy duty units also. My total cash outlay was about $550, but I replaced every component that I judged to be worn just because I don’t want to pull it out again for a few years! What is the cost? Yeah, add me to the lawsuit too… JD SHOULD pick up the tab for the recall/ upgrade/repair bill on the ENTIRE Series of machines that have these apparently cheap-shit axles. For whatever reason, the price JD charged for the wheel rims used in the kits went from about $50 to over $80 – each! The guy had other mowers for less than half what the JD was selling for. The ground speed, in both FORWARD and REVERSE will be slightly faster. Please add me to the class action suit. BTW, I think it is more a hassle to replace the drive belt than removing the old transmission……I already have practice, but won’t replace the drive belt again when the kit arrives since it’s new. They agreed becasue they said some of the K-46’s could be serviced. You can only mow for about 15 min and it stops pulling. Looks like I’m about three years and $3000 late/short finding this site. I now have an X360 which is a very well built top of the line tractor in it’s class. I was at home depot and a guy was looking at a new john deere and I had to stop and tell him about my problems with mine and told him these tractors are nowhere near as good as their farm tractors so don’t be fooled. At the JD dealer I bought 2 quarts of JD hydrostatic transmission fluid…..$4.99/quart. I have a 2004 LT 160 lawn tractor with 214 hours on it. Get performance ratings and pricing on the John Deere X304 lawn mower & tractor. Write me if you have any questions or concerns. Then i went up a slight hill and it just stopped cold. Other differences are L111 has manual PTO while L120/130 Electric PTO. My dumb mistake that I lost some bolts and didn’t notice anything until the tractor started to wobble(!) Boy was I wrong. PS. If it’s not broke don’t fix it, or in my case “RUN IT TIL IT BLOWS” I just started looking on the net for a fix today 3/21/10 . I’ve read several forums concerning the disappointing K46 transaxle on the web. I must have a good L130, It’s a 2003 w/196hr. thanks for any advice, Dennis. my john deere L130 mower is sitting in my storage building for the past three years. I’ve hardly used it since. I’ve reading a lot about this upgrade you mentioned, and considering it myself. The cost of this unit was not cheap but that all I’ve gotten from Deere, is cheap talk and no action. Apparently they used to be concerned about quality and their reputation, but like many mfg’rs nowadays its more “Chuck you Farley”. John Deere is allegedly “the best?” Ummm NO. The tractor is now the tool I thought I had bought from the John Deere dealer. Changed all belts still won’t work after it gets hot. Don’t wait … less than thirty left. It shows the belt routing in the part diagram. With over 500 K66 Upgrade Kits sold, we have nothing but rave reports. What a disappointment, it is even worse than ever before…. I bought a John Deere cuz I thought the JD was the best,,,well,,,After this transmission problem and see this is normal after 300 Hrs. I am not only disappointed in JD but my local dealer. UPDATE REGARDING AVAILABILITY OF THE K66 UPGRADES. I have never used the mower other than for cutting the yard, which is right at about 1.5 acres, with only very slight inclines. I cut grass on my 115 automatic JD and parked it for a few min. And thanks for the reference site also. As one customer pointed out, you would also need to buy new attachments, such as snow blades and snow blowers. The spindle bearings are greasable and I believe in the grease gun. Well Guys, I have installed the upgrade and checked it out. Good luck everyone. Will appreciate any comments from anyone who is more of an expert than I. I previously had a 12hp, 38″ cut Craftsman and it lasted over 15 years. My brother in law was in a market for a rider he was seriously thinking John Deere, that changed when I left him cut some grass, it stopped moving, he said “What the heck?” ?!?!?!? The fact is, John Deere installed a completely “non-serviceable” transmission in their “L” series Lawn Tractors, know that their transmission will break down under normal conditions, and worse, charge you $1,800 for the K66. 3) Can I run the mower with out the fan for a limited time? What to do Consumer Reports has tested and recommended three of the recalled John Deere models: the X300, X304, and D110 (a CR Best Buy). What is my best solution to repair this and what is the cost? Please add me! I really would love to successfully install it and dump all the old parts When these gears start failing due to extreme stress and poor lubrication the metal filings destroy the hydraulics. It took 5min. It’s not the engine the transmision is not leaking. The ability to work on the mower is difficult as accessing and replacing components are often buried behind something very tight/close or large. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the lower end JD mowers at this point. The thing that has me replacing mine is that the front axle has broken in half twice now. Buy your mower from a deere dealer and you will be a lot more satisified. We’ll also continue to test new models and to monitor both the manufacturer and our brand-repair histories. As it stands, I’m a happy camper and guessing I won’t have a problem. You mower uses an Eaton transmission. Then the paint on the plastic hood began to oxidize (the tractor is garaged during the winter). I think a new K-46 is going for around $750 to $800, so I can certainly understand the cost tradeoff for a shop–the time they would have in disassembly, cleaining, and reassembly would probably more than offset the difference in the cost of the new transaxle vs. the rebuild parts–IF you replace everything like I did! took it on a Monday and dropped it off. Good luck on the class action. No more John Deere’s for me. I guess I got lucky. Luckily only a portion of my 2 acres is hilly, but I have had to stop mowing the hill because I can not make the hill. JD dealership put in a new transmission. I have a LA 145 with few hours on it<70 and it has issues. I realize that such an incline will wear down a tractor, but I have a John Deere and was under the impression that these riding mowers are the toughest in the business. I have the same problems with a JOHN Deere L118!!! Come on John Deere, your name use to mean quality and craftsmanship. After doing a lot of reading and finding that there were a lot of other people having the same problem with their K46 tranaxles as I was having, I noticed a posting from Roger. I don’t have that kind of money I live month to month. The problem with the K46 is the hydraulic pump wears and with the large clearance it cannot create enough pressure with the hot thine oil, it bypasses through the ware clearance. I have a L 145 that will not pull after a few minutes of mowing. I am not buying a transmission for more than what I paid for the mower. Thanks! Possibly today or tomorrow I will try an actual mowing job and will be able to accurately compare the “before” and “after” performance. If you want to do an upgrade – Don’t wait. Thousands of Sears, Ranch Kings, Yard Man and the like are sold at similar price points and run forever with no maintenance on the hydro transaxle. In my opinion, problems should have been foreseen when JD sold their L-series through “Big Box” stores. I love the tractor and snow thrower, dethatcher, etc accessories and cannot affort to buy a whole new mower and accessories. So, I’m going to buy the upgrade get it installed and see what happens. No … just green and yellow paint. That said, by what I understand they only used 10w30 conventional oil from the factory in these units. I am now the happy owner of a tricked out L120. I had it welded and did it myself, 25 minutes TOTAL. I understand Roger will only be selling a limited amount of these upgrades in the future do to JD pricing. (Fill cycle takes a VERY LONG TIME due to the small 3/8″ I.D. I need a new car, not another JD junk mower. My family has owned John Deere for 70 years. removing the transaxil is litterally 4 bolts. Lt180 with 250 hrs cant climb hill slow in reverse, I too have a k46 in a huskquvarna I bought from Lowe’s ,I put a new belt on it and that didn’t work,took it to the dealer and they told me the belt was stretched and sold me a new belt(145.00),still under warranty,only 50 hours on it,3 rd time my wife came up our small hill it wouldn’t make it,so I called Lowe’s and had someone drop it off,have to see if they do anything about it,the dealer told me huskquvarna wouldn’t warranty if I ever pressure washed it,sounds like they are trying to wait until the warranty runs out within a month. I live in central Louisiana and have about 4 acres to mow weekly and it gets hot here in the summer. The John Deere S240 Reviews has an excellent driver’s terminal with the control levers positioned in an understandable as well as use manner. Had an LT150 for 13 years with no issues, got a used LT160 with around 200 operating hrs and it started having that problem after the first month. HELP, I have this same problem with my L130. Hopefully I am on the right track and just need to make a few adjustments and purge the air. Has not gone uphill in a year. 3rd chute on it now since new. However, in this case, it does seem that John Deere has misrepresented, or allowed the big box stores to misrepresent, the capabilities of these machines. We had a number of similar problems with ours. L.x .176 some times the the trans. I use mine on flat ground and it won’t even move! A new set of 23″ x 10.50″ – 12″ wheels and new U. S. Made Carlisle “Turf Tamer” tires. I’m very please with the result as well as my interfaces with Roger. This last time which was a couple of weeks ago obviously didn’t work as it did not want to pull up hill yesterday. Anyway, all of the parts cost me a little over $500, directly from Tuff Torq. My L118 limited edition performs horrible. I’m having the John Deere dealership who sold me the X300 remove the transaxle and change the oil and internal filter. I have already had to replace the belts and the front axle and the wire going to the pto clutch. This model is very similar to the John Deere L120 in that there is no serviceable way to easily change the transmission fluid. Mines an LT160, and I do see at least one user (Tony from Australia) apparently made the upgrade successfully back in March. Thought I would take a chance and replace the fluid. I purchased a new JD D140 mower in April 2012. Now this year the paint is peeling off the foot area in sheets. If you think you might want an Upgrade Kit for your JD Lxxx/LAxxx tractor, please don’t wait until they are all gone. However, by the time my LT150 had about 150 hours, the transaxle was losing power. I’d love to look my old oil to see what is in there, if anything…. I thought that was a screw off cap to change the fluid, but looking at it now, I haven’t a clue what it is…. /roger. I know it’s unfair that JD puts their name on this junk, but they need to compete and this is the only way they know how. Cost about $250 plus 2 liters of 5w50 full synthetic oil. Only use ot when actually climbing hills. We think the answer is “Yes, of course.” After the K66 Upgrade, you will have a tractor with a great engine and a strong robust transaxle that is fully serviceable and built to automotive standards. I have some mechanical experience, so removing the trans was not really difficult, but it did take about 2 hours. Look for a good condition older used one and paint it and save yourself 3 to 4 thousand dollars they are out there. Is it the tractor company that sells a very low priced tractor or the transaxle company that manufacturers an inexpensive unit to meet the tractor company’s request or the sales force that perhaps misleads the buyer … or the buyer who really does not understand what his/her actual requirements are and buys a tractor without matching requirements with capability? I have an L120 with a bad tranny. i have a 2005 lt190 with 650 hrs. I have a la165 and am now trying to find transmission replacement. I can buy an LX277 2000 model with 320 hours on the clock. If I do I’ll let you know. Although arrangements were made with Tuff Torq to make new K66’s for Roger’s kits, the low cost I received is no longer available and the new price is such that for a little more, you can buy a new tractor, something other than a Deere! Started having problems after about 3 yrs of use. I’d like to throttle the guy at the JD dealership who sold me this thing and told me it would mow my three acres for 10 years, no problem. In another case we ended up doing a refund. I also own a JD lawn tractor from the early 80’s. If you buy another “under $5000” tractor, you will soon find yourself in the same fix. It was unstoppable when I first bought it; It would break traction at the wheels, now it just stops turning the wheels. I have just stumbled on the blog and I’m wondering if a replacement kit may be availible but I’m not sure which transmission it has and I’m not sure where to find this out. To repair the transmission will run about a grand. I have clean the carburetor out and replaced the fuel filter. For the last several years I have been cutting my yard in patterns such that I’m going downhill on most cutting passes and going back up hill on the pathway with the least amount of slope. As for the shipment, just give Roger a call and ask him if and when it is going out. I have an extremely steep hill, so steep that I have to bend down when riding so that my center of gravity is lower. I’m POSITIVE we both made the right choice by investing in the upgrade. Please add my name to the list for the Class action suite. Please add me to the class action suit!!! I have a steep hill and it just started to make a noise. Who does that?! …and is it any better? You can also contact your local media newspaper, television ect. First indication things ain’t right in the House O’Deere… Auger was blowing shear pins like a kid eats M&M’s at a birthday party.. On light snow loads no less) then that thing blew the 2nd stage main impeller (plastic) slipped/spun the hub, on a chunk of ice it shoulda crunched up and spit out easily… blower impeller was unrepairable in the field, but available. i think ill find me an old Pennsylvania Panzer with the 8 3/4 ” Dana, from those old Dodge’s… (those i know are near bullet proof at 600hp plus.. worked for them.. lol. If it continues to pull (and I believe it will) as it does now I sure won’t be buying another mower in the near future. I purchased a used L120 for $650 from my neighbor. as Craftsman and other such lawn tractors. The machine cost me $2373.14 at Lowe’s. Jim…Akron, Ohio. Snowblowing with that inept K46 tranny JD elected to put into this lawn machine was ridiculous. I just need to know how to put linkage on and adjust so it works right. motor seems to be fine starts without issue. JD uses these on the lower model 100 series and the higher models gets the K46. Same goes for snap-on tools ever seen some at softcore or Sam’s club branded snap-on but not an actual snap-on tool. I suppose the salesman I heard should have been saying: “Hi, welcome to John Deere! Hello, do they have any kits to fix my L111 John Deere Tractor The transmission is still working barely wont climb hills runs great on flat ground Let me know It is Hydrostatic drive. Can the fluid be emptied and filled with the higher viscosity 90 weight oil with any expectation of at least some improvement or should I use the 5W30 synthetic? I have a John Deer L120 with a defective trans. 5/16/18- I also have the same thing wrong with my John Deere L130 mower with the K-46 tuff torque transmission ..I mow for about 15 minutes and it stops pulling completely. I am going to try and find a dealer that will sell me the k66 tranny and wheels. Look on eBay for “John Deere K66”. COMPLETE JUNK! So, if anyone is considering this upgrade, give him a call. I think tonight I need to adjust the brake rod though and of course install the deck and finally mow the lawn again. My john deere lt150 starts slipping after about 20 minutes of mowing……let it set for a couple of hours and it will run for 15 to 20 minutes and not pull again……what a bummer…. John Deere response is ” sorry you’re disappointed. I used the 5/50 synthetic oil from Tuff Torq, and I think I have significantly more pulling power than when the tractor was new. This is my first and last JD product. AND Thanks a lot for the quick responce. Since I wanted to test the machine I mowed everything opposite of the way I normally mowed and left the hardest part for last when everything would be as hot as it was going to get. The unit is known to show some slippage at full speed setting. I purchased a LA165 john deere lawn tractor 1n 2010. The wife uses a Cub Cadet which now has 550 hours on it. ), FYI: There are two drain plugs in the bottom of the K66 for draining the oil. Confirm no rotation of the Axle Shaft in neutral by slowly returning the Control Lever to neutral from forward to reverse. .I bought this tractor hoping to get manny years out of it also dealer told me its a waste of time to try changing fluid . Went out side to pull tractor out of my garage so my son could do my field. Drill 5/8 dia. I had my son add a lttle pedal while I push on the belt and it actually moved forward so I’m hoping its just a loose belt. I’ll take some pictures. Sure, you can pick up a new John Deere lawn mover Model LA125 for $1,799 from Home Depot right now, but… When I bought my L120, it was around the same price. Deere with?! But I managed to wedge out the “cork” section. The way things turned out, I’m totally satisfied with the performance the way it is. My JD (LA120) with the k66 kit and a snow blower was able to handle it extremely well. Dealer made excuses why nothing is covered by warranty. noise and backs up very slowly. I have two JD mowers both running well ( but remember Yellow and Green is expensive to maintain). Same problem as everyone else on my LA140. I have a John Deere L120. I have a John Deere LT160. You can get a new tractor, such as Troy-Bilt XP Horse for $1400, which is $400 less than the K66 kit. Jens. Needless to say I have not been very happy with this purchase, and will never buy another john deere product. Yes, to my surprise, it is made up of pieces. (Have priced the parts and that is the real cost – lunacy). And now the Hydrostatic wants to give me problems? why isn’t consumer protection doing anything for john deere customers with problems I’m having issues with a la 125 mower only a year and a half into it blowing oil out fuel pump gotta be some type of class law suit if need be john deere can kiss it goodbye from here on out id never buy another seeing they have had mine for over two weeks and haven’t looked at it under warranty. They told me to send them all my information notarized and I sent them the costs, your website, some of the complaints and all my other information. Going to see what Craftsman has to offer…and see if they’ll haul off the JD JUNK. Match up the oil can with the tubing. Ps: The Super 500 is up and running. My L130 has had three axles snap and now the transmission is shot. My oil really did not look bad, but I think the 350 hours of heat had probably ruined the viscosity to the extent that, coupled with the worn components, I had no pulling power. This was actually a little safer then the stands I believe and easier also. I would love to purchase the K66 upgrade, but considering I paid $2,500 for the thing 4 years ago and have over 500 hours on the unit it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend another $1,200 on it. Thanks, Bill, I was able to significantly improve the poor performance of my L130 transmission by : In 2012, it couldn’t climb slight inclines and sometimes couldn’t move forward or backwards on the flattest part of my lawn. Blades have been replaced at least three times, yet it seems to only lay over tough grass. Got a D 170 with less than 100 hours. So here I sit with a great machine , if everything is flat ……??? Machine had been getting increasingly slower on hills over the past couple of seasons. John Deere and Tuff Torque…………. My yard is very flat yet feels as if it wants to stall out completely, and will come to a stop then go again. Will go up any hill. It is a shame, as the Kohler 17.5 HP engine has a lot of life left in it as I’ve not experienced any power loss. he put in new trans for $500. After the kids were done school I was planning on buying a John Deere full sized tractor like the 2720 or even a 3000 series with a cab and a 60″ front mount snow blower since I have a 1100′ driveway with a bad hill and a sharp curve in it so plowing snow in the winter with an old Bronco is a challenge without getting stuck. I have an LA 1435 with 200 hours and the tranny goes slow in reverse and now leaked tranny fluid out everywhere. Mike: If you hurry, there is one K66 upgrade kit left. And it climbed the hill even faster then it did when the tractor was new. The fact is that John Deere does not make the transmission TuffTorq does. Been without a mower for about a month. I am sure it is the k44 transmission but again no way to change hydraulic fluid?? A new plug (the dealer called it “valve”) costs $18.- but was not in stock. I rebuilt it with the factory rebuild kit 2 more times, and both other times the tranny ended up doing exactly the same thing. i wont be buying anymore John-Deere. This morning (Wednesday) I installed the tires as Roger said. This is a – for sure- black mark on the product. Experiencing exactly the same trannie problems as most above have described. I received the comment, below, from Dennis F, Alabama. I have the same problem as everyone else that I mow for a while and then there is no power The hood was my fault but everything else is from John Deere selling a piece of garbage mower.