Deere L110 - Loses Power After Running an Hour???

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  #1  
Old 06-09-11, 10:45 AM
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Question Deere L110 - Loses Power After Running an Hour???

Last year, I was "sleeping" as I proceeded to run my near 7 year old Deere L110 with auto trans and 400 hours over a stump. It seemed to have power problems on hills and I found a split on the traction belt. After checking with Deere and figuring at $135/hr plus transportation the $25 belt replacement would be more like $250, the experienced neighbor and the rookie mower owner put on a new belt. Started her up and saw smoke. The rookie put the back bracket by the transmission pulley down with the belt on the wrong side of one of the 3 bracket posts that keep the belt on the transmission pulley.

I used the chewed up belt until I could "get" to it this week - wasn't looking forward to that maintenance procedure again. Did the whole belt replacement again - we're getting pretty good at this maintenance nightmare. The procedure requires you to drop the mower blades and detach the tension spring (??? engages when you put on brake), loosen all traction belt pulleys, drop the steering gear to get at upper traction belt pulley at the engine (2 man job - one up and one under), put on the new belt and then hopefully put it all back together right.

The mower seemed good but maybe a bit on the less powerful side on my hills. Again after running about an hour it lost power big time on the hills. It will whine as I put the gas to her and go nowhere. On smaller rises (and I mean smaller) letting up on the gas a bit will sometimes allow me to creep up the hill. The motor seems to be running good. I have always noticed that the mower will whine a bit when driving in reverse.

Before the 2nd belt, I kind of figured that maybe the traction belt was warming up and stretching, but it was not hot or even that warm to the touch. This last time I put my hand on the rear left and right axles and, although warm, I could keep my hand on them. I am at a total loss on what's up. Cutting my multi-acre lot requires me to travel long distances to avoid serious hills and to even shut it down for a while so that it comes back with some power on hills.

HELP!!!!
 
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Old 06-09-11, 10:52 AM
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If I understand you correctly, your current belt is fairly new and fits snug enough that it isn't slipping? Then my guess is that your hydro tranny is in need of repair/replacement. These were "sealed for life" with no maintenance allegedly required. But from all the forums I read, these are wearing out at around 300 hours of operating time. They would last a lot longer if they had a $10 filter on them and a place to drain out the old fluid and replace it with new. These trannys get hot and that breaks down the fluid inside eventually causing problems.
 
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Old 06-09-11, 02:56 PM
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Joe, thanks for the quick reply. The belt is new as of Monday. How do you tell if it is tight enough? Do they stretch after use?

What are the indicators for a transmission problem? Are warm axles an indicator? I don't understand why it works, if not perfectly, or an hour or so and then seems to lose driving power. Have you heard any cost estimates for repairing or replacing? I am assuming that it isn't an amateur job to repair or replace a transmission.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 12:08 AM
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Take a look at the top of the transmission. I'm betting it is covered with dirt and debris. There are cooling fins on there that need to be exposed and the fan needs to be working well to transfer the heat off of those fins.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 07:51 AM
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Cheese, excellent suggestion! I was running it for a few hours last night and the same problem occurred after about an hour. The transmission housing was quite warm. I was puzzled about the delay and started wondering if the fan on top wasn't working. But I think the fan is driven directly by the pulley, isn't it?

The dirty theory sounds much more like a cause to the delay in performance problems due to the transmission heating up. Also, I couldn't believe the amount of impacted grass up in the frame areas when we did the traction belts. I use a leave blower on the mower after every use, but that apparently doesn't touch the under carriage. I am leery of using a water hose under there when it's hot. What do you recommend?

Thanks again. I'll check for transmission dirt and report.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 09:58 AM
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An air hose with a high pressure nozzle, a pressure washer, whatever means necessary to clean the debris off the top of the tranny. It gets caked up between the fins and can be hard to remove, but it does sound like this is your problem.
 
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Old 06-10-11, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jerryd_2008 View Post
Joe, thanks for the quick reply. The belt is new as of Monday. How do you tell if it is tight enough? Do they stretch after use?

What are the indicators for a transmission problem? Are warm axles an indicator? I don't understand why it works, if not perfectly, or an hour or so and then seems to lose driving power. Have you heard any cost estimates for repairing or replacing? I am assuming that it isn't an amateur job to repair or replace a transmission.
The belt is tight enough if you can visually check while someone else is operating the trator and see it is not slipping. Becarefull while doing this! Why will it work for an hour and then slow up? Because the fluid takes a while to get hot. When it gets hot too often, it starts to permanently break down and not do it's job. Chees is 100% right in that you need to keep the rear end CLEAN. A big dense covering of grass clippings acts just like insulation and keeps the heat in which is a BAD thing.

If you are a decent mechanic, it's possible for you to do the work yourself with about $200 worth of parts and a day of your time. Shop labor is expensive enough that you take it to the dealer, you might as well replace the axel with a new one vs. fix as it will be around $600-650.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 02:42 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Guys. I crawled under the mower with a hose and washed and dug out all the grass I could find. Basically, there was some stuffed between the transaxle and the back frame, maybe a few of hand fulls. Hard to say if there was anything restricting the fan since it is so tight up in there. But I hosed it pretty good.

The fan is a direct drive on the belt pulley fan, correct? In other words, the fan will keep spinning as long as the belt drives the pulley, right? If not, I could see the transaxle getting hot without the fan cooling.

I need to get out in a few days to cut some more grass. I'll check the transaxle temp and note any slipping. If it still loses power, I'll get back.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-21-11, 11:42 AM
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Got out finally to cut more grass. The mower still loses power after a while although it seems a bit better.

I know that there is multi-weight oil in the transaxle. Does the thickening of the oil as it heats up cause the power loss? Does that imply blockages of some kind?

Is there a nice table somewhere that explains which transaxles each Deere lawn mower has, including zero turns?

 
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