Question about John Deere 5420 Tractor

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John Deere 5420 has no fuel from tank to filter

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John Deere and it's lack of engineers, located the fuel tank below the engine/filter assembly, so it won't gravity feed. The little pump in the top of the fuel filter is worthless. The easy fix is to install an inline diesel fuel pump with a overpressure line off a blank fitting from the fuel filter, which will allow excess pressured fuel to flow back to the tank. What I did was install a fitting with a fuel hose about 2 feet long that has a lawn mower fuel cut off, with a section of hose after it, that can be plugged, when not used. Anytime fuel prime is lost to the filter, then it's a major effort to get it back. This is the cheap way. If you disconnect your fuel line the fuel flows all the way back to the tank, however I believe there is a check valve located underneath the tractor, before the tank, which keeps it from going all the way back. Anyway, I use a large cc syringe to pull fuel up to the filter. After each pull, I close the lawn mower shut off to keep the progress. Empty the syringe and then open the valve and pull some more. Once you have plenty of fuel to the filter, then I close the red fuel shutoff on the back of the fuel filter (closes the line to the tank). Then I push some fuel with the syringe toward the injector pump, while cranking the engine. At this point you don't want it to start, because you will pull all the fuel from the filter, because the red shut off is closed on the back of the filter. After only one or two "pushes" , then close off the lawn mower shut off, open the red shut off on the back of the filter, and crank. Mine usually starts about 5-15 seconds from starting to crank. DON'T CRANK TOO LONG, THE BOOK WARNS ABOUT OVERHEATING THE STARTER. What stupid engineers designed this? Hope this helps. As a side note the fuel hose off the tank is one size, and then it goes through the check valve and changes to a smaller diameter, to go to the filter.

Posted on Sep 25, 2010

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  • Michael Orgera Jan 15, 2012

    I did the same type thing but put a "T" in the line and use a transfer pump to fill the line. It takes about five good pumps and it goes to the check valve and back up to the filter. Then I go to the other side of the engine and open the fule bolt (in mannual to bleed air) and pump until it comes out. Close the nut.then I hold the key in for 90 seconds to heat the starting fuel area. At this point, I am standing by the battery side or right side of the tractor and I pump as the engine turns over. Once it starts I have to keep pumping until it catches. Then I turn off the "T" valve.

    Is this a solution. Yes. Is this a danger... Hell yes! Is this easy... NEVER! Yet, it works. BTW... do not crank for over 30 seconds. EVER. Then wait for a few minutes or even 5. That starter cost $200 and to replace it takes an act of God! There is zero room to work with and the JD factory guy has the tools. Oh yes! They get us coming and going. I found a JD retired factory trained guy that is only $20 an hour so that helps. I do the simple things myself.

    Back to my point. I am ordering the full kit to put a fuel pump on the unit.The costs range from $200 to $300 hundred dollars.

    It will be worth doing this to stop the danger fractor and all the spilling of fuel on pants, boots etc.

    I am sure we have a true class action law suite if we want it but who has the time to do that! You would think JD would offer to sell us the fix at cost just to make us happy. NOT!

    Here is the item list of parts and numbers I got from another site talking about the same problem.

    To install this pump you must order the following parts :

    (1) - R269133 - Fuel Pump Mounting Plate
    (1) - AL169412 - Clamp
    (1) - 19M7867 - Screw
    (1) - 14M7298 - Flange Nut
    (1) - AL168483 - Fuel Pump
    (1) - AL154046 - Fitting
    (1) - RE218699 - Fitting
    (1) - 14M7139 - Nut
    (1) - R270247 - Nut
    (1) - RE270815 - Wiring Harness
    (1) - RE271703 - Wiring Harness
    (1) - 61M5015 - Elbow Fitting (consists of 38H5015 elbow and T77814 o-ring)
    (1) - R268896 - Barbed Fitting (this will be added to the end of 61M5015)
    (1) - 38H5078 - Nut
    (1) - N154080 - Tee Fitting
    (4) - RE187161 - Clamp

    Additional Information :

    Reference electrical schematic R195771 or section SE 1.

    IMPORTANT: Installing an electric fuel pump is not feasible for Straddle Mount or Narrow Tractors. Instead, check for any leaks, loose clamps, restrictions, and pinched fuel hoses. Also inspect the fuel strainer, the check valve, and the fuel filter primer assembly's plugs and diaphragm.


    Good luck with this! If you join a class action law suite please let me know!

  • Michael Orgera Jan 30, 2012

    PSS on the John Deere 5420 starting problems. Once I put in all the "t" fuel stuff... it started to blow blue smoke! The power got less and less and finally it would do nothing but idle! Geeze! All that time fixing what I thought was the problem! As it turns out, the entire fuel filter housing was bad. It is easy to replace. About $100 bucks. The gasket for the little pump was too hard and the inside was pitted on the metal. Once I replaced the who unit I pumped the fuel from the tank all the way up to the fuel filter. Then I went around to the other side and opened the air bleed bolt and pumped till it came out over on the other side. Secured the bold and the dang thing sarted on the first crank!

    It turns out all the effort of the above was NOT needed! Anyone want to buy a JD Diesel fuel pump! cheap! LOL! So before you do all the stuff I just suggested... pay the $100 bucks and see if that is the real problem.

    On a really fun note... I can now get all the way up my hill (.5 mile) in high gear! The full power is restored. As it turns out, the JD injectors supply 7 times the fuel needed at any one time. This is why there is a fuel return line. I did replace my entire incomeing fuel line which was not that difficult. The outgoing return line was impossible to get to and thank goodness it worked!

    Good luck!

  • Michael Orgera Aug 25, 2014

    We finally replaced the entire fuel system on the right side of the engine. There was an air leak and thus the prime was not holding. Now that was easy... after all the other stuff we did. Thanks.. err...no thanks to JD and their staff which was no help at all! The community gave me the idea of replacing the priming unit!

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One PS on my post about the "T"... I put a shut off valve off the "T" that sticks out and pumped till it got very tight and I could hear it leaving the return line to the tank. Sort of a high wine sound. Then I'd start it while pumping and wait for it to pull the rest up from the tank. This is a major pain in the rear! I have ordered the parts for the fuel pump. The wiring is the thing I'm a bit concerned about but there is info about that on the net. Google John Deere 5420 starting problems and you will find the links I did.

Take care and good luck!

Posted on Jan 15, 2012

  • Michael Orgera Aug 25, 2014

    As a final note to our fuel line problem. We finally just replaced the entire setup on the right side of the engine. It took about an hour. New fuel plunger, housing and filter. It worked just perfectly and I was able to take all the other "rigged" hoses off. I bought a kit to replace the inner working parts for this so I won't have to do the whole thing again. This was done over a year ago from this post and there have not been any problems. As it turned out the old system had an air leak and this was why the fuel did not make it to the engine. HOWEVER... NOT ONE JD PERSON KNEW WHAT TO DO! WE FIGURED IT OUT BY TALKING TO OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY! JD MAKES A GREAT PRODUCT BUT NEEDS TO IMPROVE ON CUSTOMER SERVICE.

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