John Deere Lawn Tractor L130 - rapidly dying hydrostatic drive

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John Deere Lawn Tractor L130 - rapidly dying hydrostatic drive

nzo Over the last 6 months, I've noticed the hydrostatic drive getting weaker and weaker, to the point where if the ride-on has been mowing for an hour or less it cannot get up slopes it used to handle with ease. If I continue mowing I'll be lucky to get the machine back to base.

Two years ago, about 2 years after purchasing the new L130, I noticed the same problem, resulting in the John Deere agency replacing the hydrostatic transmission under warranty.

I expressed my concern at the time that the same fault may happen again, with us having to foot the out-of-warranty bill next time. The agency's response was that this was most likely a 'one-off'.

When I contacted them before Christmas about the present problem, the service guy said, "Oh, we don't bother repairing these transmissions - we just throw them out and put in a new one."

This did not reassure me at all, and made me wonder how many other L130 owners are being taken to the cleaners by John Deere with having to replace their transmissions about once every two years!

It also makes me wonder if there is some underlying fault in this transmission that JD are not being straight about.

Any insights very much appreciated :)

Shawn Have you had your drive belt and idlers checked. A lot of times the idler will seize and cause the belt to slip which heats it up and then causes it to expand in length which will also cause the transmission to seem to slip. Just a inexpensive thought to try looking at.
nzo Thanks Shawn. Yes, we've checked the drive belt/idlers.
matthew hi i have a deere L130 doing the same thing mow about 10.min and hope you make it back!! it will quit pulling and whine on flat ground. so i called jd and thet said it needs a new trans $600.00 what gets me is two years ago we bought it new for $ 1,600.00 hoping to get a relible mower for years to come and it is a "pile of crap" i am mowing with my old murry now .
kyle yes I had to replace my trany too it happened at about the 23 month period, so i was lucky, I think the early ones are junk cause the mower has about 400 hours since the trany, it now has 780 hrs and runs better then it did when it was new. However I had replaced every moving part except the motor since, I guess the good thing is the parts are cheap!!!
Bob Color me "in the same boat". I have a L130 that is aflicted with the same problem. Has anyone found a fix other than replacing the tranny through JD? After the way JD has treated me, I can't find it in my heart to buy from them unless I have to.
TIA, Bob

glen ross Mine is in its 4th year and has begun to make a whining sound and not pull hills that it used to pull easily. I will try replacing the drive belt but I'm not optimistic. I have 211 hours on the machine and have carefully maintained it.
Mark My L130 is on its last leg. I thought it was the drive belt but no such luck. JD must have known there was a heating problem because punched in the tranny mounts is a hole on the left side that is exactly big enough for a garden hose. So, I drive it for 20 to 30 minutes and then pull in for a pit stop and put the hose in the hole and spray cold water over the tranny for 5 minutes and I can go again for 30 minutes. John Deere promised me (and I quote) my hills were no problem for this meaty of a machine - unquote.
Ed I have a John Deere L-130 lawn tractor with almost 300 hrs & it won't go up a small grade after about a half hour of cutting the grass! Trans gets so hot you can't touch the bottom casing!Then You can not make it any where even on flat ground! Thanks John Deere for making a Great Lawn Tractor! Now What are all of us John Deere lovers going to do!
Joe I just bought a K66 Transaxle to replace the wimppy one in my L130 read about the convertion on my tractor forom .com real good reading there
Bill Adams Boy am I lucky to have hit this site tonight,
I was close to buying a 2005 L130 this week end. It appears I have some questions to ask. The tractor looks great, but this could up set the deal for sure. I think everyone should take this to John Deere and push for a recall. Have you ever seen the add about discount tire? When the little old lady doesn't get satisfaction, she send the tire through the window. I'm not suggesting that, but maybe a place for everyone to sign a patition and give to the dealers. That would make me feel better than doing nothing if I had boughten the L130 today.
Sorry, but Thanks in the same breath.

Tom This is happening to all of these models. John Deere says they are not made to pull big grades. They will be glad to put in a new transmission just like the one that is in it. If I pay that is. It WILL happen again. There is an upgrade on E-Bay for 1600.00 that is supposed to make the LA models perform a lot better than new. They are not affiliated with John Deere so maybe its true. I have a brand new looking mower that works for 15 minutes. I will never ever buy another John Deer product!!!!!!!!
Tom The upgrade is the K66 so if I do this I will have 3600.00 in this $2000.00 mower. I will probably do it but, I will tell you this, you won't see the words John Deere anywhere on my mower. Heck I may even paint it red!
Dave Lester bOUGHT USED jd.l 130 piece of junk transmission why don't your Dealers tell us the problem so we don't get screwed by buying what we are told is a good used machine.Been all checked out everything is good .Right got it home mowed half hour tractor wouldn't pull its self contacted dealer would not help me.So rest assure i tell every one i know don't buy this tractor with this transmission.The dealers are aware of this problem and not being upfront and telling me about this now i paid 1500.00 for a piece of junk thats no good .will never buy another one cant trust your dealers to be honest. No better know to bad i got burnt Dave Lester
James Ridgeway Why can,t i get a repair manaul for a L130 trans
Keith Henson Not just the L130. I have the LA175...I think the largest rider most folks sell....26HP, 54" deck. Same thing....just over 100 HRs. The worst part is that the service manager from Ritchie Tractor in Knoxville, basically laughed at me for not knowing that it would not mow on a hill (We live in East TN....we have hills). Same story.....we don't repair ones will not last. Tuff Torq, the manufacturer is in Morristown, TN. Same story from them....not for use on a hill. They know the problem. Told me to replace the transmission and then sell it. I shared that I could not sell the thing in good conscience (unlike JD). Borderline organized crime in my opinion.
Thomas Rodgers It has to be rebuilt. Its not hard either. There are youtube videos on the subject that are quite clear. The K46 has some spring loaded pistons that stick out and rub their tops against a wedge and as a result get pushed into a oil filled hole creating hydraulic pressure out the other end. The clearances are very tight in the order of .001". As the machine ages, the clearances open up and loss of pressure occurs. Changing the transmission fluid won't help this condition.
Frank stevenson I have A John deer L-130 with 5674 hours hours on it and very little trouble with the transmission. Very, very little.

Frank stevenson
I have A John deer L-130 with 5674 hours on let so for and had
very little trouble with the transmission. Very, very little.

Earl Had this tractor for 6 years. I noticed right from the start the lack of power. It is still moving but very hard to blow snow now. Gets stuck every time out. I am contemplating in putting in a new K66 trans axle. However I am hoping it will last until spring so I am not faced with the repair in the winter months.
When I purchased it at Home Depot they told me it was not recommended for hills for blowing snow. I woul just like to remind you that whatever you purchase there is maintainable involved as well as parts replacement.
Where can I purchase a K66 for the L130

Joe Owings I have owned and maintained John Deere lawn and garden tractors for 25 years and was asked by my brother to check out his L130. It has 88 hours on the hour meter, and still has the original battery after 5 years of service. When I unloaded it, the travel speed was very slow. Thank you for your input on this machine. From the others I have owned and rebuilt, from 1965 110 thru 1995 445. I have been well satisfied. This seems to be a poor choice by John Deere to get the "GREEN AND YELLOW" out here with a product not up their standards. Thank You
Mike I had the same problem with the used one I bought. I changed the trans fluid and it works much better. This fix will help.
claude im not sure if mine is the same model tranny, but i own the s2048 from scott since 2000.ran it hard mowing 3 acres in 5 hrs once to twice per week.
had only miner issues with carb using ethenol fuel. changed the oil in engine only twice in 16 years and beat this mower to death, but it ran fine until this year, now its having the same tranny issues. is it rebuildable i only want to keep it for a few more years.

Glyndell Bramlett My John Deere LA-150 has 308 hours on the clock. The tractor starts every time. No Problem! The transmission started loosing hydrostatic drive last fall. This spring the hydrostatic drive is rapidly dying. I bought a new John Deere 42" riding mower in 1983. The mower lasted for 30 years with no issues. But my latest experience with the LA-150 will be my last with John Deere junk. High priced green and yellow paint on junk equipment! Companies who fraud the public soon find the public will no longer be loyal customers.
Dave Thompson I've had mine for 10 years and the hydrostatic drive has died.
Robert Parks Had a dying Hydrostatic Transmission on my JD LA130 from the first month I owned it. Since JD would not support the problem and could not afford a new transmission or mower I have dealt with it until know. Its dead. I can buy a new transmission for under $700. However, I still have the same piece of crap. JD needs to step up and support this issue.
Jim Vargo I was giving a tractor because of the bad tranny. I talked to a guy who said to use a very heavy oil in the tranny will sometimes do the trick.
mysore gangadharamurthy according to manual it is sealed transmission it refers to the dealer and does not provide any solution to fix the problem.
Fred Hinke An L120 with the same slipping transmission problem. About 450 hours on it and most of my yard is sloped, not steep but not flat either. Replaced the drive belt, no change, idler wheels are fine.
bill mathys bought mine usd with 100 hours on the clock.seller had a flat has 227 hours on the clock and its stone dead.engine runs fine belts are new,idlers are free.hydrostatic drive is the problem,john deere you should be ashamed to screw your fellow americans this way.should have bought a Honda.
John sweat We should get a class action against John Deere
allen kelley bad trans axle,, la 130 jd stops pulling after 15 minutes no help available in site very sad jd owner last one lasted 15 yrs.
Rodney Hand I also have a L130 that lost all pulling power after a few minutes of mowing. Could hardly get back to the garage. I took out the transaxle, drained it and refilled it with full synthetic 20w - 50 engine oil from the local auto parts store. The tractor now seems very close to as good as new. Very, very much improved!! And only for the price of a couple quarts of oil.
mike cecil bought my first deere 2 mos ago beautiful looking tractor mowed with it for about 15 minutes to test drive it mowed great reverse and forward bought as is now it wont mow for more than 30 minutes i thought deere stood behind what they sell never again
Robert Heine Have a John Deere LT 160, 250 hours. Hydrostatic transmission is dying. Cannot go up hills. After 15 minutes it barely can go up any incline. Do I need to spend 4,000 on a Simplicity?
Guenter Roesch how much fluid does a John Deere hydro transmission needs I can not find it anywhere
would any one know thank you Guenter

Janice I also have a John Deere la130 with low hours with transmission problems when I called the dealership where I bought it the guy said Yeah they're know for that. Now why would you sell people junk I don't have money growing on trees. Will not buy JD again and I make sure I warn others about this problem.
george I had the transmission replaced in my L 130 JD shortly after it went out of warranty. The dealer charged me $1700 which included pick up and delivery. It has operated about 4 years and now needs another transmission. I have tried to take care of the mower. It still looks new, and the motor and deck are good. But I am not going to replace the transmission again. Too costly and unreliable. I am currently looking for a new mower, perhaps a Husquevarna. I would consider an E Series JD if I had assurance the transmission were more reliable. I like the John Deere name, but my machine has been very costly and undependable.
Robert I have one also and the transmission in mine is doing the same thing,so i bought a zero turn XMark, won't buy another john deere.

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