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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I was mowing my yard (as I have done for two years since buying the John Deere 1025R) I was going down the slope, as seen in the pictures attached, the tractor started accelerating. When I took my foot off of the forward pedal nothing happened. The hydrostatic brake apparently failed as did the parking break when I tried to stop the tractor with it. As a result, I was unable to control the tractor and it flipped on its side. The tractor was picked up by the local John Deere dealer and take them back to their facility.

I cannot be the only person that this ever happened to on a 1025R. If the tractor is brought back without doing anything to the breaking system this dangerous problem will certainly reoccur. I am literally afraid of using this mower on a grade again. Any insights about what caused this to happen and how to keep it from happening again would be gratefully appreciated.

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Wow! Are you ok?

Did the reverse pedal fail to respond as well?
 

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Where you in 4x4? I have a similar hill and found the back tires would lock up if I was only in 2 wheel drive.. they start skidding and brakes or reversing won't help... all of the weight is thrown forward on the front tires..

I now use 4x4 going up and down the steeper parts of my lawn. In 4x4 you can actually stop and back up the hill.

Hope you and the tractor are fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am ok, thanks for asking. I was sore for a couple of days afterward.

I did not try the reverse pedal. I was too busy trying to get the parking brake to engage. I tried several times to get the forward pedal to respond. I didn’t have a lot of time as the tractor’s speed was increasing as it was freewheeling down the slope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
[
Where you in 4x4? I have a similar hill and found the back tires would lock up if I was only in 2 wheel drive.. they start skidding and brakes or reversing won't help... all of the weight is thrown forward on the front tires..

I now use 4x4 going up and down the steeper parts of my lawn. In 4x4 you can actually stop and back up the hill.

Hope you and the tractor are fine.
Yes, I was in 4 Wheel drive. As a majority of my property is on a slope so I keep the tractor with the 4 x 4 engaged.

I am OK now. The local John Deere dealer called to say that everything checked out. It seems they were more concerned about getting the engine started than about why the brakes failed. That is the reason that I posted to this forum. I’m concerned that if they bring the tractor back without doing anything to the brakes in this situation will reoccur. At 69 years old I would rather not have this happen again.
 

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I am ok, thanks for asking. I was sore for a couple of days afterward.

I did not try the reverse pedal. I was too busy trying to get the parking brake to engage. I tried several times to get the forward pedal to respond. I didn’t have a lot of time as the tractor’s speed was increasing as it was freewheeling down the slope.
Very glad to hear you're OK, that could have been very bad.

The question above is critical, was the machine in 4wd? If not, it may have been the case that there simply wasn't enough weight over the rear wheels, and when they lose traction, the brake does nothing UNLESS you have it in 4wd; by having a mechanical connection to the front wheels, the brakes on the rear wheels are able to slow the front wheels.

When the tractor is faced downhill, more weight is transferred to the front axle via the frame, resulting in less weight on the rear; any dampness caused by fresh cut grass would further reduce the traction, and could have been the cause of a downhill slide. I've experienced this on my garden tractor, it is not enjoyable, I got lucky that there were no major consequences.

Edit: looks like we posted near the same time, given that you were in 4wd, did you happen to notice if the wheels were locked up?
 

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I am ok, thanks for asking. I was sore for a couple of days afterward.

I did not try the reverse pedal. I was too busy trying to get the parking brake to engage. I tried several times to get the forward pedal to respond. I didn’t have a lot of time as the tractor’s speed was increasing as it was freewheeling down the slope.
That sounds like your rear tires (tire) was locked and sliding. That's not uncommon with tractors going down a steep incline in 2-wheel drive. There are some YouTube videos demonstrating this occurance.
 
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Glad you're OK.

If you're sure it was in 4wd?

If so, is it possible it jumped out of gear? I had that happen to me when I first received mine. In my case, the brake pedal did work to slow me down but I was on my paved driveway.

If the brakes did in fact fail, hopefully the dealer can figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very glad to hear you're OK, that could have been very bad.

The question above is critical, was the machine in 4wd? If not, it may have been the case that there simply wasn't enough weight over the rear wheels, and when they lose traction, the brake does nothing UNLESS you have it in 4wd; by having a mechanical connection to the front wheels, the brakes on the rear wheels are able to slow the front wheels.

When the tractor is faced downhill, more weight is transferred to the front axle via the frame, resulting in less weight on the rear; any dampness caused by fresh cut grass would further reduce the traction, and could have been the cause of a downhill slide. I've experienced this on my garden tractor, it is not enjoyable, I got lucky that there were no major consequences.

Edit: looks like we posted near the same time, given that you were in 4wd, did you happen to notice if the wheels were locked up?
As you can see in the photos, I had already mowed a lot of my yard. The grass was dry, the tractor was in 4wd and I have wheel weights on the rear tires
 

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Lube the forward/reverse linkage. Mine when dry stays to the floor after you lift your foot unless you hit the reverse pedal. Hydrostatics shouldn’t be driven like a car with gas pedal and a brake. Drive it with the forward/reverse pedals. If it was in 4x4, in gear, and you let off the forward it should have slowed unless it has not been maintained and the linkage is sticky. Then you’d have to step on the reverse pedal to slow, I’ve had this happen. Stepping on the brake at high speed and high rpm will slow it, but it appears too little too late as it’s fighting through the engine and grade. They don’t have large brakes.
 

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...I tried several times to get the forward pedal to respond. I didn’t have a lot of time as the tractor’s speed was increasing as it was freewheeling down the slope.
is there any chance that it somehow jumped out of gear? Im wondering if that could account for the failure of the pedal to respond, and for the free wheeling? did JD check the linkage between the shift lever and the transmission?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lube the forward/reverse linkage. Mine when dry stays to the floor after you lift your foot unless you hit the reverse pedal. Hydrostatics shouldn’t be driven like a car with gas pedal and a brake. Drive it with the forward/reverse pedals. If it was in 4x4, in gear, and you let off the forward it should have slowed unless it has not been maintained and the linkage is sticky. Then you’d have to step on the reverse pedal to slow, I’ve had this happen. Stepping on the brake at high speed and high rpm will slow it, but it appears too little too late as it’s fighting through the engine and grade. They don’t have large brakes.
Since the John Deere dealer has done all the recommended maintenance on my tractor. I assume that they did lube the forward/reverse linkage
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
is there any chance that it somehow jumped out of gear? Im wondering if that could account for the failure of the pedal to respond, and for the free wheeling? did JD check the linkage between the shift lever and the transmission?
I don’t honestly know. I will ask them. Thanks.
 

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Brake failure or not, it is good news that you survived relatively unhurt. What caught my eye in your pictures is the condition of the ROPS. It looks like you have the newer style forward-leaning ROPS and that it did its job. I wonder, had the ROPS not been up, whether the tractor would have rolled completely over, with more serious consequences.

There was a recall for the older backwards-leaning ROPS a few years back. Anyone with that style, particularly if you bought your tractor used, should check that the recall service was done if your tractor made the recall list. The recall notice doesn't specify exactly what the service procedure is. It might be as simple as ensuring that bolts and nuts are torqued properly. Does anyone know?

 

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First, thank God you are ok!

This sounds to me like you were either in High Range or the lever got bumped and took you out of gear... Was the mower still running or did it shut off and then you lost control? If it was running while it was getting faster, then it almost had to have gotten bumped out of gear, or you were in high range, and the gearing couldn't hold you back....

I mow on a hill that's pretty steep, I always drive down and back up the hill. I ALWAYS double check that I am in 4wd (I saw you did say you were definitely in 4wd so that's good), and Low range so that I don't have to rely on the brakes... the brakes on these tractors can wear or get out of adjustment... I had to adjust my brakes because they wouldn't hold the tractor on even a moderate incline at one point. I would never rely on the brakes for slowing down or stopping on a slope. My brakes are the transmission for the most part on slopes...
 

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Ouch, glad you're okay! Also good that your dealer was able to get your tractor going again.

If the range selector was inadvertently moved to neutral, you'll lose any braking action from transmission but should still have braking on both front and rear axles as long as 4x4 was engaged. Looks like your range selector is in low, is that where you normally mow? Even if so, it's entirely possible that it got moved during the rollover.

I'm also curious how the tractor ended up sideways to the intended direction of travel. Did you try to turn while going down the hill?
 

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glad you're in one piece....coulda been a bad one, for sure....
grass wet?
wearing the seat belt ?
ballast needed in the rear...lots of it, looking at that hill
 

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glad you're in one piece....coulda been a bad one, for sure....
grass wet?
wearing the seat belt ?
ballast needed in the rear...lots of it, looking at that hill
i’m wondering if front ballast should be used on a slope. i was always under the impression that close to 80% of braking power is up front, so putting some extra weight on the front axle seems logical.
 
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Zooming in on the pic seems to show the gear lever in L range. When mine slipped out of gear the lever didn't move, but it wasn't engaged all the way. Made a slight clunk and the machine took off.
 

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Glad to hear you're generally OK.
 
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