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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, been a while since I've posted and have some questions. I have a number of issues I'd like to share with you that my father has had on his x590 that he just bought brand new last year. He's owned Deere's since the early 80's and has had good luck with them, until this one. Now the dealer is giving him trouble with replacing the failing parts under warranty, so figured I'd come here for some support/ideas. The tractor only has 85 hours on it currently, I'll be ballparking the hours of each issue I'm about to list. Within the first 50 hours, he had the check engine light come on (this is the EFI gas engine) at the end of last season and the dealer picked it up to do the repair. (Apparently his owners manual only says "contact your dealer" when that light comes on.) They kept the machine all winter, finally bringing it back right when he needed to mow the first time this spring. He mowed with it for a few weeks and then had issues with it struggling to move intermittently, probably around 60-65 hours. He got off to check the transaxle oil and found it low, so he looked the machine over and found the entire underside of it covered in oil. Dealer picked it back up, ended up replacing the entire steering unit because some non-serviceable seal blew out around a shaft or something. He got it back, mowed for a few weeks, now yesterday that check engine light to have the dealer look at it just came back on again at 85 hours. And in between all of these issues, he's literally been melting the anti-scalp wheels off the pins. He's had 3 replaced under warranty and the dealer told him they woudln't replace any more because he must have the deck set wrong. He's been mowing with it the same way it was set up when he bought it and on the same deck height and anti-scalp wheel settings all while mowing the same property he's been mowing for almost 40 years and never had issues in the past. Needless to say, he's getting very frustrated and now worried what he's going to be dealing with when warranty runs out. Do you guys have any ideas, common problems with these to look for, etc? Thanks!
 

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I can't comment on the check engine light. Obviously the engine or electronics has some gremlins in it. They can be difficult to diagnose especially when intermittent.

The blown steering seal is unfortunately but those things do happen. If the seal was properly replaced I doubt he will have further problems.

As for the anti-scalp wheels. If they are getting damaged that quickly they almost have to be mis-adjusted. The decks on the X300 and X500 tractors have been using the same type of anti-scalp wheels for many many years and they haven't been a problem. I have the same wheels on my X500 and even after 5 years they show no wear at all. Since they won't get damaged from being too high, my guess is he has them adjusted too low and they are rubbing all the time. I keep mine adjusted so they are about two finger widths off the ground when on a flat level surface. I'm sure the operator's manual will give you a more technically accurate way of adjusting them.

Good luck.
 

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Tend to agree with jgayman On the Blown seal

I am even surprised they replace a anti-scalp wheel the first Time Because that is a Ware Item usually not covered By warranty to began with The anti-scalp wheel are supposed to run 1/4 Inch above the ground on Level Ground according to the owner Manual I actually run them a Bit Higher myself On all My Tractors Just tell Him to raise the anti-scalp wheel to a Higher setting if Not the Highest setting Because to me You father is Letting the anti-scalp wheel run On the ground and support the deck which they are currently not designed for. Some Pre-1992 Models or Older Deere decks were actually designed to run and Be supported By the anti-scalp wheel But Not today. They are designed to occasionally support the deck On UN-level ground to Prevent scalping But raising them should Prevent anymore ware Like He has been Having. The dealership Probably Only leveled it On concrete In the shop. But some times You have to adjust your ant-Scalp wheels On Your own.

My question when the check engine Light comes On what is the dealer telling Him That the diagnostics tell them is wrong. Next time have him find Out. and Have the dealer check with there Deere Rep Because it might be a Known Issue to Deere. But Deere doesn't always Put out Known issues to dealers for everything. They Just tell the dealer when the dealer contacts them:bigthumb:
 

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Keep track of everything,being in NY we have the lemon law. There's only 2 dealers in our area,one I don't care for even though their close to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll try and get more specifics on the check engine light, but it sounded like even the literature was pretty non-descriptive on what it means and just said right off the bat to call the dealer.

The o-ring I understand happens, but his concern is if it happens again out of warranty, he's stuck replacing a $700-1000 steering/transaxle unit for a $.95 o-ring?

The scalp wheel's he's adjusted multiple times and they keep failing. After the first failure he adjusted them where they should be, had another fail. So for ****s and giggles he adjusted all 4 up as high as they'd go and then he still lost another one. His yard is very level and smooth, he mows on 2.5" height if i recall, and he mows it the same way he did with his last 3 Deere machines that had no problems. He's watched the wheels as he mows and said even as high as they can go, they're all still spinning most of the time just from the uncut grass brushing on them. Mine are moving all the time on my x758, never had an issue with them and I'm up over 200 hours on mine now.
 

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What on the guide wheel is failing/wearing out? The outside of it or the inner part that spins on an axle/shaft? Are his wheels greaseable? The last JD I had with a MMM had guide wheels that were greaseable.

Not much you can do about the expense of parts. Not much that is colored green is very cheap these days!
 

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The o-ring I understand happens, but his concern is if it happens again out of warranty, he's stuck replacing a $700-1000 steering/transaxle unit for a $.95 o-ring?
There's always a chance that you can find a 3rd party O-ring to fix the defective unit but unfortunately there isn't much you can do about something that isn't serviceable. It's the risk you take when you buy a tractor with a bunch of expensive hydraulics and electronics. That's one of the main reasons I went with a standard X500.

The scalp wheel's he's adjusted multiple times and they keep failing. After the first failure he adjusted them where they should be, had another fail. So for ****s and giggles he adjusted all 4 up as high as they'd go and then he still lost another one. His yard is very level and smooth, he mows on 2.5" height if i recall, and he mows it the same way he did with his last 3 Deere machines that had no problems. He's watched the wheels as he mows and said even as high as they can go, they're all still spinning most of the time just from the uncut grass brushing on them. Mine are moving all the time on my x758, never had an issue with them and I'm up over 200 hours on mine now.
This still has me puzzled. My last tractor was a 175 Hydro and the anti-scalp wheels were still in good shape after 25 years. Even with them adjusted all the way up on a smooth yard he is still damaging them? I mean even if they are spinning a lot you are not mowing at 50 MPH. I would love to see some photos of the damaged wheels.

Even though the wheels aren't greaseable on these decks, if it is the axle hole that is wearing out I would be inclined to remove the bolt and give it a dab of waterproof grease or something. Your conditions have to be unique as I've just never heard of this happening so frequently.
 

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I'll try and get more specifics on the check engine light, but it sounded like even the literature was pretty non-descriptive on what it means and just said right off the bat to call the dealer.

The o-ring I understand happens, but his concern is if it happens again out of warranty, he's stuck replacing a $700-1000 steering/transaxle unit for a $.95 o-ring?

The scalp wheel's he's adjusted multiple times and they keep failing. After the first failure he adjusted them where they should be, had another fail. So for ****s and giggles he adjusted all 4 up as high as they'd go and then he still lost another one. His yard is very level and smooth, he mows on 2.5" height if i recall, and he mows it the same way he did with his last 3 Deere machines that had no problems. He's watched the wheels as he mows and said even as high as they can go, they're all still spinning most of the time just from the uncut grass brushing on them. Mine are moving all the time on my x758, never had an issue with them and I'm up over 200 hours on mine now.
Well I would say try them Up as High as they will go Then Mow at 3 or 3.5 Instead of 2.5 and Try it again for the same Number of hrs as the first failure
Did the dealer Just replace the wheel itself? or Did He Replace the wheel & axle ? The axle (L shaped Part) could be Bad. or the Insert that the Axle fits Into the deck is Out of shape some How if the axle was replaced as well & not just the wheel :bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
If he has another wheel fail, Ill get a pic. 69project, it's literally melting the center of the wheels out from the plastic riding on the fixed metal shaft. I've never seen anti-scalp wheels get hot enough to melt when you're only mowing at what, 6 mph? But these appear to be doing just that. Sergeant, they replaced just the wheel as far as I know. My father is a 45 year machinist and I'm a heavy equipment mechanic so we knew enough to take the failed wheels off and inspect the shaft for any abnormalities, didn't find anything. Also I should note that these 3 wheel failures have all been different wheels, not the same one. My father also looked into drilling and installing grease zerks in the wheels but since they're hollow you'd either have to drill the shaft itself for the grease ports or the wheel and fill the entire wheel with grease before it'd make it to the shaft. I'm sure he'll do something for lube in the future, he's just pissed that he's never had an issue in 40+ years of Deere ownership and now he's blown 3 of them out on 1 tractor in less than a year while changing absolutely nothing about how he mows his yard.

As for the check engine light, he STILL hasn't heard back from the dealership and it's been almost a month now of them having his tractor. Oddly enough, the day he went in to talk to them about this second check engine light issue, corporate Deere left him a voicemail on his phone in his truck while he was there asking how his warranty experience was for the first check engine light issue. He made them give him a loaner tractor when they came and got his this time, so he didn't care at first how long they had it as long as it was fixed right. But now he's getting mad that by the time he gets his own tractor back, he'll only have a month left to use it before the season is over. He plans on giving corporate Deere an earful over the whole experience, and I can't say I blame him. That tractor has spent just as much of it's warranty period at the dealership having work done as it has sitting in his garage to be used when he wants to.
 

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My mind is still blown on these melting anti-scalp wheels. In 40 years of riding mowers I have never seen such a thing.

If you guys are both mechanically inclined, why not get yourself a 1-foot piece of steel tubing large enough to fit over the existing anti-scalp wheel axle, cut off pieces the width of the plastic wheel, drill out the existing hole in the plastic to a size where you have to hammer-in or press-in the piece of steel tubing and viola... you have an instant bushing that will take forever to wear. Put a little dab of water proof grease on the pin when you reinstall the wheel and it will last all season.

Total cost less than $10.
 

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I believe its time to find a different dealer.
It sounds more like they are the issue instead of the tractor.
Having it in for service for a month during peak season isnt unheard of, but its on the long end of things.
Keeping it an entire Winter to fix a problem is a HUGE red flag to me.
Engine or electronic problems happen. Deere generally stands behind their stuff, and thats why they are calling. Maybe through all of this there will be some other resolution once he talks to them about his experience.

As to the deck wheels, Im like most. Confused.
Ive got an 87 318, and while it hasnt mowed much over the last 8 years, its 50" deck is still wearing the original gauge wheels. They sit about 1" lower than cut height. So if Im mowing at 3" they are about 2". While they may spin some, they dont spin at the same speed as the tractor, nor all the time.
My Exmark is similar. Its mowed a LOT more grass than the 318, yet it too is still on its original gauge wheels.
Deere used to sell sleeved wheels for some of their decks. They didnt advertise them, but they were available (I used to work in the parts dept). I couldnt tell you if they still do.
I know that they dont have a monopoly on gauge wheels though, and there are aftermarket options available that may work better for him.
Id think if it were me, Id want something greaseable. All you need is something that fits that shaft diameter. Or make your own shaft, or use the hardware from a different wheel.
 

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My mind is still blown on these melting anti-scalp wheels. In 40 years of riding mowers I have never seen such a thing.
.
My first mower was a used Cub Cadet GT.
It had a "cam" that you rotated to set the mower height.

The cam was missing on my used machine, the guy who sold it to me told me the deck should run on the anti-scalp wheels.

Well, each week, I was scouring the local hardware stores for wheels that were stronger than the ones I wore out the week before.

Finally, I asked the local Cub Cadet dealer, he showed me how to install the cam, which he happened to have.
That was the end of melting plastic wheels, and rolling steel wheels to death.

To the OP, as per another recommendation, raise the deck to 4 inches,,, :good2:
With the machine on level concrete, and the mower down as if to mow, the gauge wheels must clear the floor by over an inch.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My mind is still blown on these melting anti-scalp wheels. In 40 years of riding mowers I have never seen such a thing.

If you guys are both mechanically inclined, why not get yourself a 1-foot piece of steel tubing large enough to fit over the existing anti-scalp wheel axle, cut off pieces the width of the plastic wheel, drill out the existing hole in the plastic to a size where you have to hammer-in or press-in the piece of steel tubing and viola... you have an instant bushing that will take forever to wear. Put a little dab of water proof grease on the pin when you reinstall the wheel and it will last all season.

Total cost less than $10.
He'll probably end up doing something like that if they stop replacing the wheels, but at this point in the game it's more the principal of why is it happening and why won't they stand behind their product? Unfortunately he's just retired, so he doesn't have a full machine shop at his disposal anymore to do that kind of modification.

IndianaJim, this dealer he bought it from is the only Deere dealership in a 50 mile radius, so he's kind of stuck. My father doesn't like driving 6 miles into town to go to Home Depot, much less 50+ miles away because he doesn't like the local dealership. He did say, however, that this is the last time he'd go to this location where he bought his tractor from. It's about 4 miles from his house, the next nearest dealer (same franchise) is about a 20 mile ride. What's odd is that in the month plus that the dealer keeps it each time, they never call to even update him on the progress, he always has to nag them. Not even a "hey, we got it apart and it looks like *this* is what caused it, we're waiting on parts" or anything. I'm a mechanic for a Caterpillar dealership, our service department is constantly updating customers on their machines progress. The initiative as a dealer to call the customer instead of waiting until they call you, even if it's bad news, goes a long way to keeping a customer happy. I'm headed to the parents tonight to bum dinner off them, I'll see if he's heard anything from them on the tractor. Thanks again, guys.
 

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Have you checked the squareness of your deck/wheels? Sounds like they're dragging ever so slightly.


Or there's a hot exhaust leak right over them. :mocking:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So this past Friday I went to the dealership to get some stuff straightened out with a 47" snowblower I had just bought and figured I'd ask about my dads tractor while I was there. I spoke to the service manager, he explained to me that "they think" what's happening is the light is coming on when the load on the tractor is too high for the selected engine speed and the engine is being lugged down. They hooked up to it, can't find any logged codes or any reason the light would be on and can't get it to come on at all while it's there. Or in plain English: "Yeah, we got nothin so we're just going to give it back to you and hope it doesn't happen again."

Fast forward to tonight, I had dinner with my Dad. He tells me that this past Thursday one of the dealerships drivers my dad knows personally that delivers tractors happened to stop by his house on an unrelated matter, so he asked him if he knew anything about his tractor. The guy tells my dad something along the lines of "yeah, I don't have any idea. I thought they were waiting for parts or something because it's been sitting in the back warehouse for like 2 weeks." So my dad asked him to check on it for him. (They picked his tractor up June 29th to fix the problem, it's now July 28th.) My dad gets a call a few hours later that day from the same service manager I spoke to Friday, they told him the same thing they told me on Friday. Then also told my dad "yeah, you'll have the tractor back today (Thursday) after they try "just one more thing" to see if they can duplicate the issue. No call Thursday, Friday or today and they're not open Sunday obviously. Needless to say my dad is not a happy camper over this whole ordeal. He said he's going to demand a year extension on his warranty since they've had this thing for such a long combined amount of time. At this point, he's asking me about the lemon laws in NY state so I'm pretty sure next time this thing malfunctions he's not going to stop at just the dealer service department. He's ready to MF them to corporate Deere and I can't say as I blame him.

So, is anyone familiar with these EFI systems? Do they not log codes so you can see what tripped the light if it isn't on when the dealer has it? According to my father, that light in the manual just says "shut down engine and call your dealer" with really no description of what causes it or where to look for a solution.
 

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They hooked up to it, can't find any logged codes or any reason the light would be on and can't get it to come on at all while it's there.
Riding mower engine logging computer codes? It might be time to rethink the direction small engines are taking. :)

 

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