John Deere X304 PTO Problem When Warm

pfleming88June 12, 2012

I have a 2008 John Deere X304 with a 17hp Kawasaki engine.

The problem is this: On cold start the engine cranks up immediately and runs smooth. When engaging the PTO a few moments later the blades come on at full speed. After mowing for about 30 minutes, if I stop the PTO for any reason (empty the bagger, etc) and then try to re-engage it, the mower rpm's will drop as it labors to fully engage the blades. This will go on for 30 to 60 seconds. Then, all of the sudden the engine will kick back to full power and the blades will as well. This condition will continue unless I shut the mower down to cool off. Also, it does this whether I have the mowing deck on or the snow blower attachment.

I have been to the John Dealer twice. They have replaced the fuel pump then the PTO clutch, but condition still exists. Wondering if anyone has suggestions on what else to replace / do? Thank you

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Kind of a shot in the dark, but-
Check the governor linkage and carb throttle shaft for binding when the problem occurs.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:45PM
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Thanks, Bill. Your suggestion makes a lot of sense. Follow up questions for you: how do I know if there is binding going on? Tonight I pulled the plate out that covered the muffler and there was the throttle and choke cable going into what I am assuming was the carberator. I checked both cables with the engine on and off. If anything, there was a bit of slop in both from use. Not bad, just from wear I would guess.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 12:55AM
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If the PTO clutch is the type that has a "blade brake" function built into it, it's possible that the PTO brake is dragging hard.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:20AM
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You would have to disconnect the throttle cable to the carb, but if you are ASSUMING a part is the carb, I'm not sure you should be taking anything apart.
Not trying to be mean, but It's hard to describe how to put stuff back together from the keyboard.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Float valve

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:55PM
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First, take the mower drive belt off the PTO and make sure all the pulley shafts on the deck turn smooth and spin free. If any are binding that can be your problem. If not, then you've eliminated the mowing deck.

Some JD PTOs have a gap adjustment. If your X304 does that could be the problem.

Could also be a marginal battery. Remove the battery, take it to Autozone and have it load tested.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Has this issue been solved? If so what was it? My x304 is doing the exact same thing! Help

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:34PM
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I like justalurkers advice about checking the spindles for binding. Maybe after some use, the bearings are getting hot and "partially" seizing. Not bad enough to really notice when the engine is up to speed and producing full power, but enough when the engine is at low speed and producing much less power.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:59PM
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I would love to here from Pflemming. I would like to know if he fixed it and what the problem was. So far I called the dealer and they said it could be the battery or the coil packs that are getting weak when the engine gets warm or the carb could need cleaning. I brought the battery to autozone and had it tested. They said it is fine. None of the belts are worn and all spindles turn freely. I also checked the gas cap vent it was clogged but it didn't solve the issue. It has 70hrs on it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Have you removed the deck drive belt from the PTO? If yes, does the motor still die when it's hot with the deck drive belt off? If no, then remove the belt and see if the motor dies.

Try new plugs correctly gapped.

I've seen coils lose spark when hot. EZ to check... use insulated pliers to remove one plug wire when it's running funny. If it dies then that side is working. Try the other plug wire. If it stays running then you found the side the problem is on. either coil, wire, or plug.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:51PM
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txtom50(8a texas)

Just for info - I did a search on "Pflemming88" and he only made the one post in 2012. Nothing before or after.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 5:26AM
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Thanks Tom for your time.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Thanks lurker! I have not tried pulling the belt off the pto and engaging the pto to see if it bogged down. But it is a great idea! Also very good advise on the coil issue. I will try this as soon as I get a chance. I am going on vacation this weekend and won't be back for a week so I will get back to you guys as soon as I can.

Thank you all for your help!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Sorry it's been so long but I think I found the problem! Thanks to all you guys! I had my wife sit on the tractor and turn on the blades. While it was bogging down I pulled the right side coil wire and the tractor died. I then started it up again and once again engaged the pto and while it bogged I pulled the left coil wire and the tractor did not run any different. So the issue must be the left side coil. Does anyone know how to change it? Or the part #'s I need?

Thanks guys

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:54PM
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May not be the coil. Could be a bad plug, plug wire, or bad connection on a smaller wire.

Check the easy, simple, and cost effective things FIRST.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:56PM
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I will try a plug at the end of the week when I mow again. Isn't it kind of strange it only happens when it's hot?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:56PM
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The symptoms are the symptoms... an orderly and systematic diagnostic procedure is the way to do it.

Would you be happier if you bought a coil and then found out you had a bad plug cap, plug wire, plug, or just an iffy low voltage connection or a bad ground?

You might not be losing spark when it's hot you could be losing compression. You need to KNOW that you're losing spark when hot cause a tight valve could manifest the same symptoms.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:44PM
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Coils do fail on these at times. The cover is easy to remove and is slotted if I recall. As JL noted, it could be a plug. Ideally, if it does it and you can quickly pull the cover, remove the small kill wire at the affected side coil and do a recheck. You don't want to run this for more than a minute w/o the cover on. And keep your fingers outta the flywheel ....

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:19AM
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