3 Issues of John Deere LA120 with Easy Fixes

If you have John Deere 100 series LA120 lawn tractor, you know how handy this machine is for mowing. But I’m not claiming this riding mower is flawless. Sometimes you may face a few troubles with it too due to faulty or malfunctioning of some parts.

So, what type of John Deere LA120 problems are you experiencing now? Hard start, overheated transaxle, etc are several a few issues that you may face. If you can diagnose the problem correctly, most likely you can fix the troubles of the JD LA120 riding lawn mower yourself.

Here I’ll talk about the LA120 John Deere troubleshooting with rebuilding cost. Let’s begin!

John Deere LA120 Problems

john deere la120 problems

Briggs and Stratton 724 cc engine LA120 John Deere is an easy-to-use and reliable garden tractor. However, if the parts are old enough the machine might face several difficulties.

Some of the common issues of JD LA120 lawn mowing tractors.

  1. Hard start
  2. Transaxle trouble
  3. Issues with wheel

A few minor troubles include issues with climbing the sloped ditch, hydro pump, motor problems, gasket issues, etc.

How to Fix John Deere LA120 Issues?

Have you wondered how to troubleshoot the JD LA120 tractor? Here are some quick solutions for these troubles.

1. Hard Start

Sometimes you may encounter a hard start on your John Deere LA120 lawn tractor. If you keep your machine idle for a couple of days this could happen. The reasons might be a bad ignition switch, faulty battery, cables, starter, solenoid, etc.

Even the adjustment of the engine valve may also tend to hard start the machine. To fix the trouble do the following things one by one and see what works for you.

Step 1: Clean the terminals of the battery cables and battery connection points. If there is rust or corroded parts remove these.

Step 2: Test the battery. If it’s bad replace it. Also, check the starter, solenoid, and ignition switch one by one. If any of them is bad change it.

If the issue sustains even if you do the things mentioned in steps 1 and 2 go for checking the engine valve.

Step 3: Now, you have to check the engine valve. If the machine is old enough and you don’t do any servicing, the engine valve might misalign a bit over time. This will create too much compression in the cylinder and the result will be a hard start of the engine.

Step 4: To access the valve, you have to remove the spark plug and the front end of the tractor first. Start by removing several bolts (3/8 inch) on two sides of the front end.

Step 5: So, the valve cover is seen now. It’s time to remove the 4 bolts from the cover. But before removing the bolts, put a rag and cardboard under it as some oil may drop there.

Step 6: After accessing the valve, rotate the engine and keep one cylinder at TDC (Top Dead Center) compression stroke. Then check the clearance between the rocker arm and the valve stem.

Now using a feeler gauge, torque wrench, and T20 Torx driver tighten the screws. The clearance will be ensured by the feeler gauge. Then do the same for another cylinder. Hopefully, these will fix the issue.

The price of the tools mentioned here are-

Parts NameAverage Price (Dollars)
Feeler gauge5 to 20
torque wrench50 to 150
T20 Torx screwdriver5 to 50

If the hard start of your LA120 JD is happening due to valve adjustments, you can see these videos part 1 and part 2 to understand the fixing method more clearly.

2. Transaxle Issue

The transaxle of the John Deere LA120 is a sealed unit that isn’t serviceable. So, if you face any trouble, you have to change it which is quite expensive. Some users claim about overheating, or low oil due to leaks there. The fixing includes-

Step 1: If there is a leak in the transaxle and you don’t want to change the transaxle at this moment then you can use the machine without the transaxle for a little time. To do that, remove the transaxle and drain the existing oil.

As the transaxle isn’t accompanied by a drain plug, the machine will work for a while without a transaxle. In that case, fill the engine with 10w30 oil that is thick and doesn’t wear the components soon. But this is a temporary solution.

Step 2: For a permanent fix, you have to replace the faulty transaxle with a new one.

The new replacement JD LA120 transaxle cost around 1000 bucks.

3. Issues with Wheel

If you experience steering problems in LA 120 John Deere. A wobbly wheel might be a potential culprit. This could happen due to a bad washer or bearings. Follow the steps to fix it.

Step 1: Detach the wheel of the lawn tractor and see what the problem is. If the bushing (washer) or bearing is bad replace it.

Step 2: Before putting the wheel clean the spindle of the wheel and put grease there. And finally, attach it again using a channel lock.

Step 3: In case the tire is bad replace it too.

The replacement of the bearing or bushing for LA120 John Deere is available for around $5. Each tire cost around 20 to 50 bucks.

Frequently Asked Questions

After reading the above sections, you have already gotten ideas on problems and solutions for the LA120 John Deere lawn tractor. However, you might have more questions in mind regarding this. Here are a few of those.

Q. Which was John Deere LA120 years made?

A. JD LA120 was made from 2007 to 2009.

Q. How much is LA120 John Deere?

A.  The original price of JD LA120 was $1,849 in 2007.

Q. What are the specs of John Deere LA120?

A.  Some of the specs of LA120 John Deere are-

  • Engine: 21HP (15.7 kW) Briggs & Stratton 724cc 2-cyl gasoline
  • Weight: 470 lbs (213 kg)
  • Wheelbase: 48.9 inches (124 cm)
  • Front tire: 15×6.00-6
  • Rear tire: 20×10.00-8
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Chassis: 4×2 (2WD)
  • Mid PTO: Manual
  • Attachment: 42 inch mower deck

Wrap Up

Now you know different John Deere LA120 problems and troubleshooting. So, it’s your turn to match which issues you are facing and follow the steps to resolve them.

But, it’s recommended to consult with a mechanic before you replace any expensive parts as some of them can be rebuilt. And, take care of your lawn mowing tractor and enjoy mowing.

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Hi! I’m Wesley Thomas, a mechanical engineer with over 5 years experience in the garden and heavy machinery. I'll guide you to fix lawn tractors and mowers issues as well as other machineries used in lawn projects. Read my blogs and make your mowing and lawn projects easier.

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