The New Holland LS180 skid steer loader is a popular compact equipment choice for construction, landscaping, farming, and other applications. With a 60 hp engine and lift capacity of 4800 pounds, it packs impressive power into a small footprint. However, like any machine, the LS180 can develop issues over time.
In this guide, we’ll overview the most common New Holland LS180 problems and detail troubleshooting tips to get your skid steer functioning properly again.
Main Causes of New Holland LS180 Problems
Before diving into specific issues, it helps to understand the main sources of problems on the LS180. This can give you a head start on diagnosing issues when they arise. Here are the top culprits behind New Holland LS180 failures:
- Hydraulic system problems – Hydraulic fluid leaks, contamination, faulty valves, and other hydraulic problems are a common source of malfunctions. Issues here can affect lift/tilt functions.
- Engine problems – With hundreds of moving parts, diesel engines are prone to wear and tear over time. Fuel, air, and electrical issues can lead to starting, stalling, smoking, or power loss.
- Drive system problems – The chain, motor, and hydraulic pumps of the drive system have many failure points. Wear and tear here leads to loss of drive power.
- Electrical issues – Corrosion, faulty starters, and dead batteries are common electrical gremlins. These can cause no starts or other electrical failures.
Keeping these problem sources in mind, let’s get into the specific LS180 issues and fixes.
1. LS180 Won’t Start
Difficulty starting is one of the most common frustrations with the New Holland LS180. There are a few key items to check if your skid steer won’t fire up:
- Battery – Weak or dead batteries are a universal cause of no-start situations. Try jump starting the LS180 or charging/replacing the battery if cranking is slow.
- Electrical connections – Corroded battery cables or loose wiring can disrupt power flow. Check for green crusty buildup and tighten connections.
- Filters – Clogged air and fuel filters starve the engine of vital ingredients to run. Replace filters if restricted.
- Fuse – Check for blown fuses in the starter circuit. Replace any that are fried.
- Start relay – The start relay sends power to the starter when the key is turned. Replace this relay if faulty.
- Starter – Starters do eventually wear out. If all else checks out, starter replacement may be needed.
Also ensure you are following proper starting protocol if the machine cranks but won’t start:
- Wait for glow plug light to turn off before cranking
- Don’t crank for more than 30 seconds at once
- Allow starter to cool between cranking attempts
2. Loss of Drive Power
The hydrostatic pump and drive motors provide pushing power to the LS180. But worn components or hydraulic issues can lead to lackluster performance. Try these troubleshooting tips for weak drive power:
- Low hydraulic fluid – Insufficient fluid flow starves the drive system. Check level and top up as needed.
- Contaminated fluid – Dirty hydraulic oil lacks lubrication. Drain fluid and replace filters.
- Worn drive chain – Chain stretch reduces drive efficiency. Inspect chain wear and replace at 2-3% elongation.
- Hydrostatic pump – Worn pumps and motors eventually require rebuild or replacement.
- Drive belt – Loose or worn drive belts to pump rob power. Adjust or replace belt.
Also, go easy on cold systems – wait for machines to fully warm up before heavy loading.
3. Jerky or Slow Lift/Tilt Movement
Proper hydraulic pressures and flow rates are needed for smooth boom and bucket control. If lift or tilt response feels rough or sluggish, try these tips:
- Low hydraulic fluid level – Top up reservoir if low. Bleed air from lines once refilled.
- Blocked suction strainer – Clean strainer screen/filter to improve intake flow.
- Faulty hydraulic valve – Spool valves control fluid flow to cylinders. Replace if worn.
- Damaged hydraulic pump – Worn vanes lead to pump replacement. Listen for grinding.
- Cylinder leakage – Rod seal failure causes air pockets in the cylinders. Rebuild or replace leaking cylinder(s).
- Hydraulic restrictions – Kinked hoses or clogged filters restrict flow. Inspect/replace as needed.
Slow, uneven movement is a telltale sign of hydraulic problems. Address these promptly before total failures occur.
4. Overheating Issues
Excessive heat is damaging to any engine or hydraulic system. Overheating on the New Holland LS180 usually stems from these causes:
- Low coolant or radiator fan failure – Maintain proper coolant level. Check/replace radiator fan.
- Loose/broken fan belt – Inspect belt condition and adjust tension.
- Clogged radiator – Clean debris from radiator fins.
- Stuck thermostat – Replace faulty thermostat that won’t open.
- Coolant leaks – Address any external leaks detected.
- Low fluid level – Fill reservoir to proper level.
- Blocked intake strainer – Clean strainer screen for unrestricted flow.
- Wrong hydraulic fluid – Use manufacturer-approved fluid.
- Excessive workload – Reduce machine workload cycles.
Monitor temperatures closely to avoid overheat damage. Shut machines down if limits are exceeded.
5. Excessive Engine Smoke
Seeing plumes of smoke from your New Holland is always concerning. Blue, black, or white smoke generally indicate:
- Blue smoke – Oil burning. signs of failed engine seals, turbo issues, or hydraulic leaks.
- Black smoke – Rich fuel mixture. Clogged air filters or faulty injectors may be the culprit.
- White smoke – Coolant burning. Head gasket or other engine leaks allow coolant to mix with combustion.
Reduce operating load on smoking machines and determine root cause. Repair oil leaks, replace air and fuel filters, adjust injectors, or rebuild engine as needed. Don’t operate with chronic smoking issues.
6. Fuel or Hydraulic Leaks
Fluid leaks create immediate safety and performance concerns, as well as lead to eventual component failure down the road. Be vigilant for leaks and address them promptly.
Fuel leaks – Look for diesel stains around injectors, filters, lines, and tanks. Replace affected components.
Hydraulic leaks – Inspect hoses, fittings, cylinders, valves, pumps, and seals. Tighten fittings or replace leaking parts.
Clean up spilt fuels/oils immediately to reduce risk. Take precautions against fires when leaks are detected.
7. Turbos or Injectors Need Replacement
Though expensive replacements, faulty turboschargers and injectors are common repairs on high-hour LS180s.
Turbo failure – Look for blue smoke, sluggish power, and oil around compressor. Replace turbo if wheel shaft is loose or bearings are shot.
Injector issues – Symptoms are hard starts, misfires, black smoke, and performance codes. Remove and have injectors cleaned or replaced as needed.
Shop around for turbo/injector parts – significant cost savings over dealer prices are often available.
8. Electrical Gremlins
Like most equipment, the New Holland LS180 has its share of electrical woes that can arise. Be prepared to tackle issues like:
- Corroded connections and terminals
- Burnt out starter or alternator
- Faulty ignition switch
- Bad wire grounds
- Gauge/sensor malfunctions
- Lighting or accessory failures
Methodically trace circuits and test components like alternator diodes, relays, and switches to pinpoint electrical gremlins. Keep spare fuses, bulbs, and a wiring diagram handy for repairs.
Key Preventative Maintenance Tips
While repairs will inevitably be needed from time to time, you can stave off problems through diligent preventative maintenance:
- Follow service intervals – Stick to hourly service schedules for fluid/filters.
- Inspect hoses and seals – Replace any hoses or seals that appear cracked or swollen.
- Clean air filters – Well-serviced filters extend engine life.
- Check hydraulic pressures – Ensure relief valves hold proper pressures.
- Test battery and connections– Avoid no-starts with good battery maintenance.
- Monitor fluid levels – Top up any low hydraulic/engine oil or coolant levels.
- Inspect gears and chains – Look for any worn or damaged drive components.
Making routine maintenance a priority minimizes your downtime and repair headaches down the road.
Warning Signs of Potential Problems
Stay vigilant for signs of impending issues. Don’t ignore symptoms like:
- Difficult starting
- Rough/sluggish operation
- Abnormal noises from engine or hydraulics
- Vibrations or shaking
- Leaks of any kind
- Smoke from engine or exhaust
- Warning lights or fault codes
Addressing small problems promptly prevents more extensive repairs.
Knowing When to Call a Mechanic
While regular maintenance and minor repairs can be handled owner, bigger issues are best left to professionals:
- Engine overhauls
- Hydrostatic drive rebuilds
- Hydraulic pump/valve repairs
- Electrical diagnostics
- Skid steer won’t start diagnosis
Machine downtime is expensive, so don’t hesitate to call a mechanic for major repairs. Their expertise can get your LS180 back up faster.
Buying a Used New Holland LS180
When purchasing a used LS180, carefully inspect machine condition and service records. Test operation of all functions and watch for:
- Smoke or leaks
- Hydraulics working slowly
- Drive system noises
- Engine misses, knocks, or smoke
Also consider having a mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection. Their trained eye can detect issues you might miss.
Buying a well-maintained low hour machine will save you headaches down the road.
Like any heavy machinery, the New Holland LS180 requires diligent maintenance and the occasional repair. But understanding common issues these machines experience gives you a leg up on diagnosing and addressing problems promptly. With proper care and attention, an LS180 will deliver years of reliable service.
- Hydraulic, engine, electrical and drive system problems are most prevalent on the LS180.
- Won’t start, loss of power, and hydraulic response issues are top symptoms of problems.
- Replace filters and fluids, inspect components, and address leaks promptly.
- Major repairs like engine/hydraulic overhauls may require a professional.
- Stay ahead of issues through preventative maintenance.
- Look for well-maintained used machines if buying pre-owned.