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John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - Dumb_Polack - 05-07-2021

Hi,

I was cutting the grass yesterday and the JD had trouble going up a slight hill in our front yard.  (in fact I needed to use the push mower to finish the job). It has easily tackled it in the past.  I The power in reverse has never been all that strong (I'd like to be able to back it into the shed (has a ramp that's 6(ish) ft long and raises about a foot.  I have always had to drive it in vs. back it in.

Honestly, the weakness in backing up isn't too concerning, I'm more concerned about the weakness in going forward.

I watched this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsp6kR2MKjA&t=701s  but in thinking about it, I'm not sure it is the pulley because that runs the blades, which run fine.  (If you watch the video, skip to 5:20 where he starts to talk about the issue).


Any ideas?  (please don't tell me I need a new tranny....)


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - messmaker - 05-07-2021

(05-07-2021, 07:21 AM)Dumb_Polack Wrote: Hi,

I was cutting the grass yesterday and the JD had trouble going up a slight hill in our front yard.  (in fact I needed to use the push mower to finish the job). It has easily tackled it in the past.  I The power in reverse has never been all that strong (I'd like to be able to back it into the shed (has a ramp that's 6(ish) ft long and raises about a foot.  I have always had to drive it in vs. back it in.

Honestly, the weakness in backing up isn't too concerning, I'm more concerned about the weakness in going forward.

I watched this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsp6kR2MKjA&t=701s  but in thinking about it, I'm not sure it is the pulley because that runs the blades, which run fine.  (If you watch the video, skip to 5:20 where he starts to talk about the issue).


Any ideas?  (please don't tell me I need a new tranny....)

My first thought would be hydro problem. I don't think the one on that model is serviceable.


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - Roly - 05-07-2021

(05-07-2021, 07:21 AM)Dumb_Polack Wrote: Hi,

I was cutting the grass yesterday and the JD had trouble going up a slight hill in our front yard.  (in fact I needed to use the push mower to finish the job). It has easily tackled it in the past.  I The power in reverse has never been all that strong (I'd like to be able to back it into the shed (has a ramp that's 6(ish) ft long and raises about a foot.  I have always had to drive it in vs. back it in.

Honestly, the weakness in backing up isn't too concerning, I'm more concerned about the weakness in going forward.

I watched this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsp6kR2MKjA&t=701s  but in thinking about it, I'm not sure it is the pulley because that runs the blades, which run fine.  (If you watch the video, skip to 5:20 where he starts to talk about the issue).


Any ideas?  (please don't tell me I need a new tranny....)



RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - Roly - 05-07-2021

The belt you see on the hydro is not the same belt that drives the deck according to the video that shows how to change the drive belt on a LT160  (does not look like fun )  Look at the spline in the pulley on top of the hydro which if the belt looks good is most likely the cause.  Roly


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - WxMan - 05-07-2021

Wow, that YouTube channel is annoying.  Anywho......

I'd focus on the cheap stuff first, particularly if there's no grinding noise as in the video.  How old is the belt?  It might not be squealing, but it still may not be doing a good job of transferring power from the engine to the hydro transmission.  The belt could be worn or glazed, it could be loose.  Perhaps an idler spring is weak and not keeping the belt at proper tension.

My Zero-turn is ready for new drive belts.  It's not as fast as it was when new, and even though it has less than 300 hours on it, the mower is in its 8th year of service.


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - FireWood - 05-07-2021

(05-07-2021, 10:31 AM)WxMan Wrote: Wow, that YouTube channel is annoying.  Anywho......

I'd focus on the cheap stuff first, particularly if there's no grinding noise as in the video.  How old is the belt?  It might not be squealing, but it still may not be doing a good job of transferring power from the engine to the hydro transmission.  The belt could be worn or glazed, it could be loose.  Perhaps an idler spring is weak and not keeping the belt at proper tension.

My Zero-turn is ready for new drive belts.  It's not as fast as it was when new, and even though it has less than 300 hours on it, the mower is in its 8th year of service.

yep.  belts, belt tension, and hydro fluid level.   Start there.

Also, if it's your first mow of the season and the machine has been sitting for a while, check all the filters.  Mice love lawn equipment, and a nest in the air filter box would definitely cause a low power situation.


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - kencombs - 05-08-2021

I would inspect the pulley/belt first.  but, suspect you need trans work.  That work may just be an oil change, known issue with them.   Not advertised as serviceable but here is a step by step:
https://www.mytractorforum.com/threads/k46-oil-change-after-10-hour.106297/

Not a quick and easy job but may fix the problem.


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - daddo - 05-08-2021

I didn't watch the video, but...

You didn't mention is the engine is losing power and bogging down or the engine maintains it's rpm's but it feels like something is slipping or not engaging.

If the engine is fine, I'd first check the pulley that it isn't slipping on the shaft and the belt for slipping. Check that one tire hasn't sheared a pin and slipping.

If it were me, and I don't suggest you do anything you don't like, but I would drive it against a strong wall and engage it and then see if I could watch the belt and pulley system working. If none of that is slipping, it's probably the hydro unit.

 They say you can't add oil to the unit, but I might try and find a way, especially if there is obvious signs of leakage over time.

Or- take to JD and have them fix it.


RE: John Deere LT160 loses power going up hill - MstrCarpenter - 05-08-2021

When you remove the screws from plastic trim around the shift handle you'll get a little more throw. That will help with the symptom but it's not a cure. Check your fluid levels. The hydro is under the seat. There is a separate, different fluid in the transaxle. It can seep out slowly at the axle seals (especially during a tough workout) and not leave any noticeable indication. Most people miss this, and low fluid there is what causes that grinding noise. That is the sound of bevel gears grinding away, and they're a lot more expensive than seals, fluid, or a gasket.