How to Troubleshoot & Repair a John Deere 301A

Written by philip powe
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The 301A John Deere tractor is actually a front-loader tractor that can have other attachments added to it for different jobs around the farm. It comes with a front hydraulic bucket that can be used to move dirt, gravel, hay bales and other items around the farm. It has a three cylinder diesel or gas engine and typically has a 19-gallon fuel tank and an 8.5-gallon hydraulic system. These models have been produced since 1973. Basic maintenance can be accomplished on site; major problems will require a professional.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Crescent wrench
  • Air filter
  • Oil drain pan
  • Oil
  • Oil filter
  • Spark plug ratchet
  • Spark plugs
  • Shop towels
  • Bucket for hydraulic fluid
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Fuel filter

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  1. 1

    Locate the air filter on the tractor. This is either on the right or left side of the vehicle depending on year and engine model. Remove the wing nut on the cover of the air intake and remove the filter. Place the new filter in the intake and replace the wing nut.

  2. 2

    Locate the oil drain plug on the tractor. This is either on the left or the right side underneath the tractor. Remove with the crescent wrench and drain the oil. Remove the oil filter. It will be located on the engine itself. Replace this with the new one. Hand tighten only. Replace the drain plug and tighten. Fill with new oil. This needs to be done regularly since the vehicle is usually in dusty environments.

  3. 3

    Remove all of the spark plugs. There will be three of them located on the top of the motor. Use the spark plug ratchet. Replace with new spark plugs. Since this is an industrial motor the plugs may need to be replaced more than once or twice a year depending on use.

  4. 4

    Extend all of the hydraulic controlled arms to their maximum length. Wipe down with the clean shop towels. This will keep them clear of debris.

  5. 5

    Empty the hydraulic fluid tank. Depending on the model year the location can be different on the engine. The drain will be on the bottom. Drain all of the fluid and replace the plug. Open the top of the reservoir and pour in 8.5 gallons of hydraulic fluid. Move the hydraulic mechanisms back and forth to distribute the fluid through the cylinders. Add enough fluid to the reservoir to reach the fill line on the reservoir if there is a need.

  6. 6

    Locate the fuel filter. This can be tricky since the model year dictates where the fuel filter is located. The other issue is that if it was purchased used the line may have been broken and the location may have moved. You will be able to tell where the fuel filter is located by a lump about three inches in the line. Generally it is close to the engine but that can vary. The fuel filter holder is cylindrical and can be removed with the crescent wrench. The old filter will slide out, allowing you to replace it with the new one and reattach the fuel line.

Tips and warnings

  • If you use your tractor for only the summer season or do not use it in the winter, this is a good method for winterising the tractor. It is a good idea to do this process in the fall when the weather turns since it gives a certain date and season for this general maintenance and repair. Since the tractor does have a front loader it can be used to remove snow if you live in an area with heavy snowfall.
  • Do not try to work on the hydraulic forks or replace the seals on these forks. This can be done incorrectly if you are not experienced and can cause the tractor to lock its hydraulic system or even cause physical harm to the operator.

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