12 Common John Deere 1520 Problems with Troubleshooting

While using a John Deere 1520, there are some mechanical issues that you need to learn about. There might be hydraulic system issues, problems with the 3-point hitch, engine difficulties, electrical problems, transmission, and steering issues.

Like other machinery, a John Deere 1520 aka JD 1520 has also some drawbacks. But there are some of them that happen more often and you don’t need an expert’s assistance to recover that.

Quick Overview of John Deere 1520 Tractor Problems 

Problems  Troubleshooting
Hydraulic problems Enough fluid level, the exact type of oil, proper system pressure, and clean hydraulic oil filters
3-point hitch problems Service the hydraulic system, warm up fluid, clean filter elements and replace damaged hitch elements 
Engine overheating Refill coolant, sound radiator cap, proper thermostat, and fan bet
Battery problems Change the battery, ensure wiring linkage and fix any leakage
Steering problems Enough steering fluid, no leakage, sound hydraulic pump, and required tire inflation
The engine doesn’t start Bleed air, clean or replace fuel filter, replace injection nozzles and pump
Engine stops while idling Adjust low idle speed and valve clearance, 
Engine being noisy Enough engine oil, change broken pistons and valves, no overloading

Reasons and Troubleshooting for John Deere 1520

1. Hydraulic System Problems

There might be low hydraulic system pressure if there is any lack of hydraulic fluid,  any failure of the hydraulic pump, leakage in hydraulic lines, or dirty hydraulic oil filter element.

Misadjusted or broken hydraulic spool valve and hydraulic cylinder will cause you the same.

The hydraulic system gets overheated because of inaccurate adjustments of hydraulic pressure, the hydraulic oil being contaminated, any air leakage in the hydraulic system, and malfunction of the main relief valve. 


Maintain enough amount of hydraulic fluid, repair any leakage in the hydraulic lines, clean dirty hydraulic oil filter elements, and fix your hydraulic pump to maintain your hydraulic system pressure.

Fix or replace the hydraulic spool valve and hydraulic cylinder according to necessity.

With a view to preventing your hydraulic system from getting overheated firstly, you need to check your hydraulic pressure and replace your contaminated hydraulic oil.

Look for any leakages in the hydraulic system and malfunctioning main relief valve to fix them. 

2. 3-Point Hitch Issues

Though the 3-point hitch works with the hydraulic system, it’s not certain that only hydraulic failure will affect the 3-point hitch.

It might be defective due to cold hydraulic fluid, blocked hydraulic control valve, damaged or loose suction pipes, worn hitch cross shaft, or the hitch itself being faulty. 

The issue might be the 3-point hitch being jerky, stuck, or hard to move. 


Firstly check your hydraulic system and do proper servicing to fix any damages in the previously mentioned methods. After doing so,  warm up the hydraulic fluid to ensure your 3-point hitch works smoothly.

Repair or replace faulty hydraulic control valves, tighten suction pipes or change them if required, replace the hitch cross shaft, and examine the hitch system to repair or replace any components. 

3. Engine Overheating

Something like the engine getting overheated occurs due to insufficient coolant in the cooling system and engine oil, malfunction or failure of the thermostat or the cooling system, and the worn fan belt or misadjusted belt tension. Look for a worn radiator cap.


Ensure enough coolant by refilling the cooling system, maintaining the required engine oil, repairing or replacing the thermostat, any particular components of the cooling system or the system itself, and worn-out fan belts.

Also, don’t ignore the misadjusted belt tension. Change the damaged radiator cap.

4. Loud Engine

You might encounter a loud diesel engine if there is any misadjusted fuel injection pump timing, low engine oil, cold engine, or loose flywheel nuts.

Broken or clogged injector nozzles, worn-out crankshaft or main bearings, and damaged or broken piston rings will cause a weird sound as well.


Adjust your fuel injection pump timing, warm up your engine, refill engine oil, and tighten flywheel screws to avoid any weird noises.

Make sure to have proper servicing of your damaged injector nozzles, piston rings, crankshaft, or main bearing, and change any components according to necessity.

5. Engine Not Starting

Plugged fuel filter, blocked fuel supply valve, fuel contamination and stuck air, damaged or dirty fuel injectors, poor compression for cylinder block, and faulty fuel injection pump will affect your engine while starting.


Clean or install a new filter element, open the blocked fuel supply valve, drain, bleed and refill fuel, and repair or replace fuel injectors to have a smooth start of your engine.

Look for any cylinder blocks and replace any damaged parts and take care of your faulty injection pump if there is any.

6. Engine Stops After Starting

Improper timing of the fuel injection pump, clogged fuel and air filter element, damaged or worn out injector nozzles, and fuel injection pump will stop your engine even after starting.


Adjust your fuel injection pump timing, clean or change fuel and air filter, fix or replace injector nozzles and fuel injection pump to keep your engine running after starting.

7. Engine Stops While Idling Or Running

Low idle speed, improper valve clearance, defective and damaged fuel injection pump, and fuel injector nozzles will make your engine stop while idling.

On the other hand, a cold engine, loose clamps, and fuel lines plugged or faulty fuel filters and injectors causing fuel injection failure will stop your engine while running.


Adjust your low idle speed and valve clearance, and fix or replace the fuel injection pump and injector nozzles to keep your engine running while idling.

Warm up your engine, tighten clamps and fuel lines to prevent any air leak, and inspect and change fuel injectors and filter to ensure that your engine doesn’t stop while driving.

8. Too Much Engine Oil Consumption

Improper oil viscosity, oil leakage, worn or damaged valves, pistons, cylinder liners, and piston rings will end up with excessive engine oil consumption.


Use the exact type of engine oil, and prevent oil leakage by fixing the connections, valves, pistons, piston rings and cylinder liners to avoid excessive oil consumption. Replace any components according to necessity.

9. Engine Loses Power

There might be several factors for your engine to lose power. Engine being overloaded, clogged air or engine oil filter, inaccurate valve clearance, fuel injection pressure, and low idle speed are some of them.

Any damaged part like clogged or damaged injectors, fuel pipes or hoses, and worn valves can be a potential reason as well. Don’t forget to examine the alternator as well.


Refrain from overloading your engine, clean or change air and oil filters, and fix valve clearance, low idle speed, and fuel injection pressure to prevent your engine from losing power.

Fix or change damaged injectors, fuel pipes and hoses, and valves to keep the system intact. Fix or change the worn-out alternator to get the required amount of power from the battery.

10. Electrical Issues

Like other vehicles, JD 1520 might appear with some electrical problems from time to time if not taken care of properly. 

Battery stops charging for faulty or dead battery cells, dirty or loose battery cables and terminals, or damaged wire harnesses and belts with improper belt tension.

The starter motor won’t work if the battery output is low, discharged or damaged battery, dis or misconnected cables, and the starter motor is damaged itself.

The starter becomes slow because of insufficient battery output, battery draining quickly, damaged wire harness, or dirty and loose cables and terminals.


Change the battery for dead cells, clean and tighten battery cables and terminals, and fix or change the wire harness and belt while adjusting the belt tension so that your battery can be charged.

Recharge your drained battery or change it if required, connect the cables properly, and replace the damaged starter motor to keep your starter motor working.

Don’t let your starter turn slow by taking care of your battery while changing or fixing any leaks in the system, inspect and tighten loose battery terminals and cables. If the battery harness is damaged, replace it. 

11. Transmission Difficulties

You might find it difficult to shift your gears if the clutch adjustment is improper or fails. Or there might be a defective gear shifting mechanism, damaged or worn gear shift linkage, and shift forks.

The transmission will be noisy if there is insufficient or contaminated transmission fluid, worn bearings, shift forks, gears, or improper backlash.

The transmission oil pressure will be low for insufficient transmission fluid, the transmission oil filter being dirty, or a defective relief valve.

Transmission oil leakage happens because of broken seals or gaskets, or the transmission assembly being cracked. 


For smooth gear shifting, adjust and fix your clutch, repair the gear shift mechanism or change any components as required.

Get rid of worn shift forks and gear shift linkage by servicing or replacing them with fresh ones as well.

Drain contaminated transmission fluid and refill it duly, fix or change damaged shift forks, bearings, gears, and adjust your backlash to get relief from the loud transmission. 

Ensure enough transmission fluid, and clean or change the transmission oil filter, and damaged relief valve to assure proper transmission oil pressure.

Replace broken seals, gaskets, and transmission assembly to prevent transmission oil leaks.

12. Steering Issues

Steering wheel might appear hard to turn due to various factors. Some of them might be air being stuck in the steering system, damaged front tires, malfunction of steering pump, improper toe-in, damaged or improper steering column.

On top of that, insufficient steering oil, oil leakage in the steering system, worn or damaged power steering valve, etc might hamper your steering wheel as well.

You might feel a pull to the right or left while driving your JD 1520. The problem lies in deflated tires and the misadjustment of toe-in and front hub bearings.

The damaged steering box components, power steering valve, or tie-rod ends can also play a role as well.

Defective hydraulic steering pump, worn steering shaft, and power steering valve damaged steering box components, or steering linkage will cause excessive play in the steering. 


For a smooth steering wheel, bleed out the air of the system, change the front tires, fix or change the steering pump, adjust toe-in, and fix or assemble the steering column.

Don’t forget to refill the steering oil, fix any oil leakage, repairing or replace the damaged power steering valve as well.

Inflate your tires properly, adjust the toe-in and front hub bearing, do servicing and change any components if required.

Repair or replace any damaged steering box components, tie-rod ends, and power steering valve according to the necessity to adjust the pull to the right or left.

Prevent excessive play in steering by fixing or replacing the hydraulic steering pump, steering shaft and box components, steering linkage, and power steering valve after inspection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a john deere 1520 a good tractor?

JD 1520 appears as one of the best utility tractors compared to similar models and facilities. However, the only suggestion is that, go for a JD 1520 diesel, not the gas one.

How much horsepower does a 1520 John Deere have?

John Deere 1520 tractor has a 3-cylinder Gasoline or Diesel Engine that is capable of producing 38.4 horsepower which is tested at the drawbar.

Final Words

If you have been through the post thoroughly, you should know some insights of John Deere 1520 Problems.

Now, start taking care of your tractor accordingly. Don’t let go of any inaccurate behavior from your tractor.

Try to apply simple DIY methods to get the fixes. In case the issue is too tough to discover or appears something that is beyond your knowledge, get an expert’s opinion. 

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