John Deere 5400 problems and solutions to tackle

Ah, John Deere 5400 tractors – the bane of my existence. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of these tractors over the years, and while they are definitely reliable workhorses, they do tend to have their fair share of problems. Fortunately, with a few simple solutions, these problems can quickly become a thing of the past. In this article, I’ll be taking a look at some of the common John Deere 5400 problems, as well as outlining some practical solutions. So without further ado, let’s get started!

John Deere 5400 problems

Overheating of the engine

John Deere 5400 problems

When it comes to working with your John Deere 5400, you’ve got to stay on your toes. One moment you’re plowing away, feeling like the king of the world, and the next you’re dealing with an engine that’s suddenly running hot.

Chances are, something’s not quite right with the cooling system. But whatever you do, don’t be tempted to open up the radiator cover when the engine is too hot! Trust me – I’ve done it before and it’s not pretty. You’ll be met with a burst of hot coolant and steam that will make the cap fly – and it doesn’t feel so good when those droplets start 

burning you. In other words, it pays to be extra careful when working with hot engines!


Keeping your radiator clean is essential to ensure your John Deere 5400 functions optimally. I learned this the hard way after I noticed my tractor was struggling to reach the desired temperature. I used pressurized air to blow out the dirt and grime from the blades, and it was quite satisfying to see the fins looking as good as new.

But don’t forget to check the coolant level! I made the mistake of not checking and almost ran out of coolant, which could have created more problems. Also, it’s important to note that tap water should not be used to fill radiators as minerals in it can cause a blockage. Instead, it’s best to mix antifreeze and distilled water for optimal results.

Failure to Start

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve turned the key of your tractor, only to hear it spin wildly without any start-up? It’s definitely a bummer, especially if you’re trying to rush a job.

Chances are if it won’t start, it’s not getting enough fuel. There could be two potential issues – the fuel liner or fuel filters may be clogged, preventing diesel from getting to the engine. Or, the fuel control lever may be stuck closed. It’s an easy fix, but you’ll need the right tools and a bit of elbow grease.

Believe me, I’ve been there, and done that!


Did you ever get the feeling that your tractor was just not running right? Before you take it to the mechanic, make sure to check the fuel lines and filter! A dirty filter can cause your tractor to run erratically or even worse, can cut off the energy source to your engine completely.

It’s a good idea to replace or clean your fuel filter in order to ensure that your John Deere 5400 is running smoothly. It can be tempting to jump straight to the engine, but make sure to check why you’re having trouble first.

If you find that the engine is stuck, don’t fret! Lubricating oil can help grease the moving parts of the engine, making sure that your tractor can get back on the field in no time.

Transmission Problem

Trying to shift a John Deere 5400 tractor into reverse can feel like a lost cause – you press the clutch, try to move the shifter, and nothing happens. That’s because the rod, shifter fork, and a few other parts of the transmission may be out of alignment. It can be quite frustrating! 

On top of that, if you’re lucky enough to get the transmission into reverse, plenty of 5400 owners have complained that the steering wheel is too easy to turn. I remember when I was first learning how to drive a tractor – it felt like it was on a slippery slope right off the bat!


If your tractor is having steering troubles, it could be because of low oil levels in the tank or possibly a broken steering cylinder. The first thing you should do is take a look at the oil levels and see if you need to add or change the oil.

If the oil levels are fine, then it’s likely that the steering cylinder is damaged and needs to be replaced. It goes without saying, you don’t want to drive your tractor if it’s having steering issues, so take the time to check and fix the problem before taking it out.

Replacing the broken parts with new ones should do the trick and get you back into the business of running your farm.It can be a real headache, but it’s worth it to have your tractor running like new.

Cranking Issue

Starting up your John Deere 5400 can be a real challenge sometimes! I remember, there was this one time when I was trying to get it to start, but it just wouldn’t budge. After some investigation, I found out that the cause of the problem was the wrong grade or type of fuel.

Additionally, some other possible causes can include a broken high-pressure fuel pump, the timing of the fuel injection pump not being right, or the filter not working.


You might need to replace or clean the fuel injection pump, or maybe it’s time to replace the air filter. Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be when your vehicle won’t start! I once had a tractor that wouldn’t start, no matter how hard I tried.

After taking it to a mechanic it turned out I just needed to replace the air filter. Once I did that, my engine was back to running like a dream. So if you’re having engine trouble, don’t delay in cleaning or replacing the fuel injection pump and air filter. It might just save you from a major headache!

Axle & Lock Problems

If you’re a John Deere 5400 tractor owner, you may have experienced the dreaded noise coming from the front axle. I know I have – it’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out! But don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the expense of replacing any parts. It’s actually very easy to solve this problem


The issue may be caused by a worn-out friction clutch; if that’s the case, all you need to do is replace it and the noise should be gone. On rare occasions, the diaphragm might need replacing as well – but trust me, it’s still a much cheaper option than buying a new tractor!

It’s essential to keep an eye on the teeth on the front axle of your tractor because if they’re getting worn down it might be time to replace the gears. Nobody wants their job to grind to a halt because of a faulty axle, so it’s best to take care of the issue before it gets worse.

And the same goes for the bearings – if they break, make sure to replace them right away. Don’t wait around for the differential lock to go wrong as well – if any of the parts look worn out, take the bull by the horns and get a new one!, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you have John Deere 757 don’t forget to check this one



The John Deere 5400 engine packs an impressive punch, with 70 horsepower (or 52.2 kilowatts) of power.

What are the problems with John Deere tractors?

John Deere 5310 users have reported various common troubleshooting issues, such as engine starting problems, transmission overheating, low-pressure issues, steering wheel malfunction, steering, hydraulic system, and transmission failure.

How many hours is a John Deere diesel engine good for?

John Deere 5400 diesel engines are capable of providing reliable service for up to 5,000 hours, though some regular maintenance and repairs may be necessary along the way.

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