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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am new to this forum, and I am needing help with my tractor before I decide it’s a completely lost cause. I have a John Deere 4200 with a front end loader and a belly mower. I inherited this machine a couple of years ago, but I really haven’t been able to use it because of constant issues with the hydraulic system. The tractor has around 600 hours on it.
Initially the tractor stopped going forward or in reverse. At this point, I drained and changed the hydraulic fluid as well as replaced the filter and thoroughly cleaned the suction screen. The tractor then would move, but was very sluggish, as well, the front end loader was very slow going up. I then decided that I may have not gotten all of the sludge out, so I again changed the fluid, filter and cleaned the suction screen, although there wasn’t any noticeable buildup this time. Once again, this did not correct the issue. The tractor moved sluggishly, the loader had trouble going up, and the steering was very jerky. To say the least, I was very frustrated.
I studied the hydraulic fluid path, and noticed that every time I started the engine, the low pressure hydraulic manifold on the left side of the engine would collapse. I could not figure what was causing this to happen, so I decided to take the tractor to my local JD dealer for them to diagnose and repair. The dealer was informed about the manifold collapsing and hydraulic issues. They decided the fluid and filter needed to be changed. The dealer also flushed the hydraulic system before refilling with new hydraulic fluid.
I brought the tractor home, and parked it for a few days. When I went back out to use it, the same problems started again. The manifold collapsed, and the hydraulic system was very sluggish.
I took it back to the dealer, and they tore into the hydraulic system, but found nothing internal to repair. The fluid and filter was changed for a fourth time.
The tractor is still having the same issues, and I am at the end of the line on what to do. I have spent a bundle of money at the dealer, and I still have a tractor I cannot use. I can’t continue pour money into it without knowing there is a fix that will work. I really don’t want to have to scrap the machine. Please help me figure this out. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.
 

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I just replaced my low viscosity HyGard fluid with Regular HyGard. It made all the difference in the world. Suction screen was cleaned and a new inline filter was installed 36 hours before. My tractor came with low viscosity and the dipstick is stamped to use Low viscosity. I live in South MS so the ambient temp gets higher than 80 degrees. This is from the 4200 owners manual.

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I just checked my 4200 - 4400 shop manual and I'm including the troubleshooting pages from the manual, and the part I think is causing you the problem, and it should not collapse as you describe. Part number 8 is also a hose that could be crapping out too, but I'll bet it's part number 2. That is a low hour tractor, and I suspect the manifold hose feeding the implement and power steering pumps is deteriorating from age. The dealer's service department should have got it right on the first try, or the second at the very least.

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I'm putting my money on the gear pump on the left side of the engine. Is the power steering working as it should?

The gear pump on the engine is a supply pump to the hydro pump inside the trans. If the line is collapsing it's apparent the gear pump is not supplying enough fluid to the hydro pump. Yours doesn't seem to be supplying enough and the hydro pump in the trans is begging for fluid to the point its collapsing the line.
 

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A pressurized line won't collapse, but a suction line will.
 
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Every time I started the engine, the low pressure hydraulic manifold on the left side of the engine would collapse.
G’day mate, the gear pump is a positive displacement gear pump, it’s directly coupled to the engine. The fact the manifold sucks in means it’s doing it’s job, that’s a really good sign! It’s sucking in because it’s not getting oil flow, it’s starving.
That rubber manifold that collapses is cheap (even by Australian standards) to replace, along with the short rubber hose (number 8 in the pic above). It’s easy-peasy too. Mars1952 does a replacement on YouTube if you want to see what’s involved, have a google.
If you pull the suction line (#4) and clean it out with a long bottle brush, as there may be something foreign in there. There shouldn’t be any obstruction in the pipeline.
I did mine on my 4300 with 2700hrs, along with replacing the pipe plug in the suction strainer housing with a magnetic one.
They’re a great tractor, so it’s worth having a go at sorting this out. And at 600hrs I’m green with envy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so much for the comments. I will start by ordering the manifold and the other small #8 hose. Hopefully this is all it is. I will update as soon as I get them replaced, hopefully sometime this week.
Best regards.
 

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I sent you a pm, Sometimes these things can be as simple as a blocked breather or as complex as the inch and mile system 😂
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
753732

Hello everyone,

Well I replaced the manifold today, and as you can see from the image, the issue did not resolve itself. After I replaced it, I ran the tractor for about 20 minutes before I started having problems. The steering got jerky, the forward motion slowed down and the frontend loader was sluggish just as before. Where should I go from here?
Thanks.
 

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There is a blockage on the suction side of the system...
Either the suction screen is installed wrong (if that's even possible) or it's clogged with fungus/algae or friction material. What does the fluid look like?
 
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WTF?!

What Kenny said as he's GTT's resident hydraulics guru.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The fluid looks good as it has been changed four times trying to resolve this issue. I changed it twice, and the dealer changed it twice. Each time the suction screen was cleaned and the filter changed. The fluid is clear, and it doesn’t appear to be at all cloudy to me.
 

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There's another hose .... #8 Follow and check the suction line back until you get to the transmission. Something is blocking the fluid . After four times, is the suction screen clear ? Get a fiberoptic scope to look in through the transmission outlet. Changing the filter and fluid isn't going to fix this. Doing the same thing over and expecting a different result is insane. (so said a very smart man)
 

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What does hose #8 look like while this is happening? If it's sucking in then I'd say a defective suction screen. If it's not, then there may be some foreign object in the steel suction line.
Did you try running with the hydraulic fill cap loosened/off? This shouldn't make any difference as the oil is cycling around, but a simple issue to eliminate.
 

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The other thing you could try, but it wont address the root issue, would be install the compression spring
LVU13591 from the 4210.
I think it must be a physical blockage or defective suction screen.
Mate, I wish I could see this in the flesh, it's got me fascinated! And the GTT community will surely help you find the solution.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, here is an update. I drained to fluid in order to look at the suction screen again. As you can see, the screen is very dirty. What do I need to do to keep it from immediately getting plugged up again? The oil coming out from the drain look really good, but when I removed the suction screen, the oil that came out of that port was extremely dirty with lots of sludge. I am doubting that the dealer removed and cleaned the suction screen. As for the questions from JungleStyle, I did run the tractor without the fill cap, and it still collapsed the manifold. I also did look at the #8 hose, but it was not collapsing. I plan on cleaning the screen again, but I need advice on how to address the sludge that seems to be clogging it up.
Thanks for all of your help.
JCP
754336
 

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That "sludge" is either friction material (from PTO clutches maybe) or algae growing in the oil from water contamination.
 

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I'd also say the dealer never pulled the suction screen to clean it. As you found out, it can be a bit stubborn to get the housing out of the way to get the screen out.

Unfortunately, I think the only option you have is to clean the screen, refill the tank and try it to see if it cures the problem. If the problem returns, then I'd say Kenny is correct. If it doesn't, then the dealer screwed you.
 
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