John Deere LX 188 Overheating
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    John Deere LX 188 Overheating

    I have a John Deere LX188, and a couple of weeks ago it overheated when I was mowing. Sure enough, the screen had a ton of dust and dirt and was blocking the air flow. I thought that was it, but when I went to mow last week it overheated 15 minutes in. I had to let it cool off for about an hour then ran it again for 15 minutes before it overheated again.

    So, the tractor will run for 10-15 minutes now before it shuts off from overheating. Give it an hour to cool down then it will run again for 10-15 minutes before shut down. Coolant level appears to be ok as reservoir is still above the low mark. I checked radiator fins and straightened them out and made sure no blockage.

    Any ideas what the issue may be? I've read thermostat and water pump may be the issue, but is there a way to rule one out? How difficult is it to replace these on my own (I'm a novice but take directions well)? Any other ideas or tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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    bloodrunsgreen's Avatar
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    That's a good starting place. Radiator, Thermostat, Coolant pump and issues related to that. Then it gets into leaks that mess with air/fuel mix. Like intake manifold, and gaskets with that. Then we get into oil flow/lubrication that means, pump sump/pickup, oil pump, oil passage ways (cam problems). Then it leads to bearings, rods, crank.

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    If you are totally sure that the correct amount of airflow is going through the cooling system. Next step would be to look inside. Like condition of coolant, correct concentration of mix (coolant to water), and any internal blockage. The blockage could be from corrosion or a stuck thermostat.
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    xcopterdoc's Avatar
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    Is the light coming on? You say it's shutting down? Are you shutting it off or is it shutting off on it's own? There is nothing in the system to shut the engine off when over heating. If it is shutting off on it's own, your problem lies elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcopterdoc View Post
    Is the light coming on? You say it's shutting down? Are you shutting it off or is it shutting off on it's own? There is nothing in the system to shut the engine off when over heating. If it is shutting off on it's own, your problem lies elsewhere.

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    Thanks for all the replies so far. Yes, it shuts down on its own and at that time the light comes on. I thought there was an automatic shut off if the engine overheated, but apparently the light that is coming on is the oil pressure indicator light (the middle one of the three that are on this model).

    My apologies, I thought it was an overheating issue since it just randomly shut down in the middle of a mow when the screens were clogged, and now it will run for 10-15 minutes before shutting down. So, given these symptoms and the fact that it is the oil pressure indicator light, does anyone have any further thoughts on what the issue may be? I checked the oil levels and they're fine.

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    xcopterdoc's Avatar
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    If the engine slows enough for whatever reason, then the oil light may come on due to low RPMs. I would run it and see if it's loosing spark or a fuel issue. The fact that it cools off and restarts could be ignition related but hard to tell without testing for spark. You can get a couple in line spark testers at an auto parts place. Put one on each cylinder and mow til it quits. Then crank and check for spark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcopterdoc View Post
    If the engine slows enough for whatever reason, then the oil light may come on due to low RPMs. I would run it and see if it's loosing spark or a fuel issue. The fact that it cools off and restarts could be ignition related but hard to tell without testing for spark. You can get a couple in line spark testers at an auto parts place. Put one on each cylinder and mow til it quits. Then crank and check for spark.

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    So would this explain why it will run fine for 15 minutes, then I have to let it cool down another 30-45 minutes before it will run again? I have noticed I have to let it warm up a full throttle a little longer the past couple of starts.

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    When you slowly turn the key to start position, the temp. light should glow and go off as the engine starts or you let the switch return to the run position, as best I can remember anyway. If it doesn't, the bulb may be bad or the temp. sending unit isn't working. You want to know if that works correctly in case it does get too hot sometime.
    With the switch turned to on, before cranking, you should see the oil (red) and battery (yellow?) lights come on.

    As far as stopping after running a while, don't forget to make sure the vent hole in the gas cap is open. You should be able to blow thru it from the outside. Just thought I should mention that before we go too far. Hope it is that simple.

    tommyhawk

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctnashville View Post
    So would this explain why it will run fine for 15 minutes, then I have to let it cool down another 30-45 minutes before it will run again? I have noticed I have to let it warm up a full throttle a little longer the past couple of starts.
    That's what he is saying. It's possible that the magnetos cut out after getting hot and stop firing the spark plugs. When they cool down you are back in business. (Until they get hot again)

    Is the engine also not running correctly after a cold start? Seeing you have to let it warm up a little at full throttle.
    If the engine doesn't run correctly when cold and stalls when hot you could have a fuel problem.
    I'd first check it for spark as suggested. If it still has spark when hot it has another problem.
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    Make sure that your air filter is clean also. it can starve your engine and make it run hot.

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