Question about John Deere 420,1020,2010,2020,2510,2520 Tractor Float

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I have a 420 riding tractor and it has been out of service for 6 yrs. I just got it running again and am having a difficult time in working the steering and hydraulic lifting arms. The lifting arms to the mower will work after holding the lever back for a long while and moving the steering around. If it does lift it will do so laboriously, slow and noisy as well. The power steering is hard as well. I changed the oil and filter years ago and haven't run it since. I was reading up on trouble shooting and it appears that the fluid passes thru the steering then to the other functions. The tractor does move forward and reverse. It took awile of coaxing before it did though however. Feels like the oil is too heavy or not passing along like it should. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks, Sid

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Hi Sid I am Kelly and welcome to FixYa,

Let me just state what I would do in the shop to revive your been resting for 6 years tractor.
Knowing that corrosion has formed in part of system from condensation I would:
1. Purge the entire hydraulic system under pressure by maintaining a good fluid level in the reservoir and pump everything in the system out after loosening the return line substantially and catching the fluids. (You have to wrap the loose connection with a denim cloth several wraps to keep from spraying fluid everywhere.)
2. Purge and FLUSH the trans-axle. If you have an external filter replace that. If you have an internal filter you have to open it up and clean out the housing.
3. The control valves probably all need some TLC and cleaning.

Here is the problem... due to the long non-use period and the corrosion that has manifested in the system ball seat type valve will get micro debris in them and that does not allow hydraulic valves of any type to operate properly. The Hydrostatic drive has springs, balls and flappers in it that are subject to the exact same micro debris issues. What you really need to do is purge purge purge.
After you purge and use it for a month.... I would recommend yet another purge and filter(s) change.

It is tough to tell you exactly what to do because each hydraulic component is affected in some way so, the only way to really make sure they are functioning properly is to remove and clean them.
Here is what I do... I have a short piece of hose I use to listen to components under pressure like a steth-0-scope. If it is making noise.. when in a neutral configuration I remove it and clean it up. The only one you can NOT use this line of thinking with is the pump.

The Hydrostatic drive is usually the most problematic after a long period of use. Especially the reversing valve.

I am sure if you purge the system your going to shocked at the color of the fluid you drain out.

What ever you do.. do NOT use solvents or fuels under pressure to "purge" the system. Both can do more harm than good. If you have something apart; B-12 Chem-tool works really well as does carb cleaner. Both are quite flammable so keep that in mind.

I actually did this for a relative who inherited a unit that sat for 9 years. To get everything up 100 % took me about 2.5 hrs a day for 5 days and one hiccup after that. It works fine now but I will tell you if a customer came to me and asked what it would cost to do a "return to service" job after it sat for 5 years or more they would be stunned at the labor cost. If you have the time to do it right it really is worth the effort.

I recommend you check all bearings you have access too for roughness also. Everything could be fine for 3 or 4 days and then you start having bearing failures.

Thanks for choosing FixYa,
Kelly

Posted on Apr 01, 2011

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