John Deere Fuel Shut Off Solenoid Problems (360 Guide)

Just like any other tractor, john deere tractors often face problems with the fuel solenoid. It’s one of the main components that enable the engine’s start and stoppage.

John Deere fuel shut-off solenoids face some mechanical and electrical issues. Among the electrical issues, you may face bad wiring and internal component failure problems. As for mechanical problems, the solenoid valve tends to get stuck often. In some cases, replacement is the only choice.

Want to find out the solutions to these problems? Then keep reading our piece till the end.

What Does Fuel Shut-Off Solenoid Do?

Fuel shut-off solenoids are electromagnetically charged valves that remotely control the fuel flow in engines. It also controls the fuel flow into the carburetor and the injector pump.

It allows fuel to run through the valve when the solenoid gets activated. And when disengaged it blocks the road to the fuel path. Shut-off solenoid prevents engine backfiring.

That’s why it’s also called an anti-backfiring device. The fuel shut-off valve is capable of preventing engines from getting flooded through any leak.

Its activation and deactivation can be supervised both manually and automatically.

How Fuel Shut Off Solenoid Works?

Upon activation, the valve loaded with spring gets yanked off its seat. As the blockade is removed the fuel flows through the solenoid valve.

Similarly, when the solenoid valve is disabled the spring pulls the poppet back into position. So, no material can get past it. Under any regular state, the fuel shut-off solenoid is in the deactivated state.

When you turn the key into the tractor that is when the solenoid gets activated. Fuel gets into the engine so that it can start. And the engine starts to crank.

When the engine gets stopped the power to the solenoid also gets cut. That’s when the valve closes the fuel line. But if somehow the valve closes abruptly, the engine will shut down too.

John Deere Fuel Shut-Off Solenoid Troubleshooting

If your john deere shut-off solenoid valve gets bad you’re bound to face some troubles. But if you’re new to the mechanic world, figuring out the problems might be difficult.

Problem Diagnosis Solution
Bad Wiring Look for broken, cut or damaged wire connections Replace damaged wires.
Internal component failure Touch the plunger with the battery for any reaction Get a new fuel solenoid.
Stuck plunger Turn the key to start the plunger Apply penetrating fluid to assist the plunger.
Solenoid stuck in ON position Solenoid fails to open but fuel continues to flow Adjust the O-ring on the brass.

Problem 1: Bad Wiring

John Deere shut-off solenoid commonly faces issues with damaged wiring. When the engine is ignited it supplies power to the shut-off solenoid to activate it.

The wires that connect the solenoid to the engine sometimes get damaged. Or the terminals may get faulty. As a result, it prevents the solenoid from receiving any engine power.


Since the wiring is the issue it needs to be replaced with better cables. But also keep in mind to check the terminals and the port. So that you can be sure that the receiving ends are not at fault.

Problem 2: Internal Component Failure

A shut-off solenoid can last about 1-3 years. Maintenance and working conditions also have an effect on its lifespan. But it’s expected to get worn out after the said years of service.

When the shut-off solenoid wears out its electromagnetic system gradually fails. Thus the plunger goes unresponsive.


To know for sure that the fuel solenoid has worn out, test it first. Touch the solenoid’s plunger with the battery. See if you get any reaction on the plunger.

If not, then the fuel solenoid has gone out of service. You’ll be needing a new one.

Internal Component Failure
Source: True Staff

Problem 3: Stuck Plunger

One of the issues that arise due to the shut-off solenoid is a stuck plunger. The plunger often gets stuck with rust or debris from the fuel and the metal.

The plunger then refuses to move and stays closed even when it’s activated. This prevents the fuel from reaching the engine of your john deere tractor. So your machine will not start.


Press the start switch. See if the solenoid plunges or not. If it doesn’t move or open then it’s blocking fuel flow. In this case, move the plunger with your hand.

If you feel resistance then it’ll need a helping hand. Apply a WD-40 spray, carburetor cleaner, or any penetrating fluid around the plunger. that should release it.

Problem 4: Solenoid Stuck in on Position

In this scenario, the solenoid fails to open but the fuel doesn’t get cut off. It’s because the solenoid doesn’t get closed. So, as long as the engine operates the solenoid will keep operating too.

The problem here is that the solenoid valve isn’t closing. So, the fuel might flood the line.


This problem happens when there’s an issue with the O-ring. The plunger gets prevented from fully engaging and closing off the fuel.

When the O-ring doesn’t fully match this kind of problem occurs. That’s why it’s necessary that the O-ring from the actual solenoid is used.

The single O-ring should be positioned on the brass piece and not on the plunger. However, it’s not applicable when the plunger, solenoid, and spring are together with the O-ring.

In that case, gently insert it into the main point and screw it tightly. The wires need to be attached to the stud. Also, the nut has to be removed from where the solenoid was equipped.

That will get rid of the problem.

Symptoms Of John Deere Fuel Shut-Off Solenoid Problems

When the fuel shut-off solenoid starts to go bad it shows some symptoms. Sometimes the early symptoms save your fuel solenoid from complete failure:

Symptoms How To Detect
Engine shut off Engine stops abruptly.
Cold start Engine has slow start.
Unsteady acceleration Check if the speed is lower than average when accelerating.
Rushing noise Rushing noise when the engine starts.
Unsteady idling Shutting off when idling.
Smoke Black smoke followed by slow speed and loud noise.
Power Loss Low fuel flow

Symptom 1: Engine Shut Off

If your john deere tractor abruptly shuts off while operating it may have gone bad. It happens when the electromagnetic element doesn’t get charged enough.

So, when you attempt to start its engine it turns off without any warning. It’s hard to start the tractor once the fuel solenoid gets bad. Because it fails to provide fuel to the engine.

And the engine can’t operate without fuel. The solenoid at such a state stays in the deactivated mode. The fix for this issue is to get a new fuel solenoid.

fuel solenoid
Source: Ebay

Symptom 2: Cold Start

Cold start in JD’s happens due to the delay of fuel reaching the combustion. This delay happens when the engine is cold. But that doesn’t prove the fault in solenoids completely.

To be sure, turn off the engine and turn it on again. Do you see the engine is having difficulty restarting? Then yes, the solenoid has gone bad.

Symptom 3: Unsteady Acceleration

A faulty fuel shut-off solenoid causes unsteady acceleration. How to be sure? Put some load on the mower, around 50 lbs. Does it seem like the mower is having a hesitation acceleration?

Also, perhaps the speed has gone lower than the average? Then yes, it is the fuel solenoid’s problem. It’s because the solenoid is stuck controlling the fluid flow.

Thankfully, this problem isn’t too serious. In most cases, the solenoid needs to get adjusted manually. You can do it yourself or go to a nearby repair store.

Symptom 4: Rushing Noise

Rushing sound when starting the tractor engine may indicate a problem with the fuel solenoid. The sound doesn’t last for much longer. It’s heard when the engine is starting and keeps making noise for a few minutes.

Although it lasts for a short while it causes distress to many people. So, better not to leave it unchecked because the issue can get bigger. This can even lead to engine shutdown.

You can check by yourself to see if anything is stuck in the solenoid. If needed, get help from a local mechanic store and get your solenoid cleaned.

It might even need a bit of adjusting. A mechanic will be able to tell better

Symptom 5: Unsteady Idling

When the engine is idling you could well notice that the engine shuts off. Thereafter it produces an abnormal sound to announce the warning.

It generally indicates the solenoid has gone de-energized and thus switched off. Cleaning the solenoid may fix the issue. But you may also require a replacement.

Symptom 6: Smoke

Smoke coming out of the engine can indicate a lot of things. But when it’s about fuel solenoid there’ll be additional noise followed by slow speed.

This symptom usually appears on older models of john deere tractors with diesel engines. John Deere with the latest engines doesn’t face such issues.

The remedy to this problem can only be a new solenoid replacement.

Symptom 7: Power Loss

When engaging blades on the mower is there a lack of power? Fuel solenoids don’t always stay in On or Off state. It can also get stuck midway.

When it’s stuck in the medium position it allows the minimum amount of fuel flow. Right then the lower RPMs and idling will seem satisfactory.

But when the engine will load at maximum RPMs it gets slow and starved. Meaning there won’t be enough charge in the solenoid. Rather than trying to fix it, it is better to get a new one.

How To Test John Deere Fuel Shut-Off Solenoid?

Over time solenoid loses its two-way function and fails to snap open with the key turned on. After spending the expected cycling it’s not uncommon for it to fail.

But to be more sure of its condition it’s necessary to conduct a test. This test will tell you whether the solenoid needs a replacement or not.

For this, you’ll require the following tools:

  • A 9-volt battery
  • A 9-volt plug with positive and negative cables

Step 1: Using Battery Plug On Solenoid

Take the 9-volt plug and insert it into the battery’s terminals. Touch the terminals of the cable to the solenoid’s terminal. Here the direction of the current doesn’t matter.

Solenoids operate the same as light bulbs. So, they work in whichever direction is used for building the connection. The positive and negative polarity can be produced in any direction.

So, it’s unlikely that you’ll figure out a charged nature on the solenoid.

Step 2: Observe the Plunger

Once the contact is made the solenoid plunger will react. It shall move which indicates that it’s now energized. So, the fuel flow into the engine shall be enabled.

The 9-volt battery acts as the power source for the solenoid. When the solenoid receives the energy the magnet in the solenoid lifts up the plunger.

Thus the fuel flows into the engine. This is the case when the solenoid is properly functional. But if the plunger stays unmoved after touching the terminals with cables, then it’s bad.

Because the solenoid is remaining in the closed position the fuel can’t move. You’ll be needing a replacement soon.


How to bypass a solenoid on a tractor?

Bypass starting involves touching the terminals of the starter motor. Touch a screwdriver or a wrench to the tractor’s solenoid. That’s how all tractor-neutral starting switches are bypassed. As the circuit is completed, sparks fly, and electricity snaps. So the starter engages & engine starts.

What can be used instead of a solenoid valve?

You can use a plastic diaphragm valve as an alternative for solenoid valves. Plastic diaphragm valves are made from hard-wearing plastic elements. It has resistance to clogging and abrasion. It’s most suitable to use on applications where clogging occurs often.

How to test a solenoid using a multimeter?

Set the multimeter in the ohm setting and place the probes on the solenoid terminals. Touch one probe marked “S” on the case and the other on any terminal. Now you’ll get the readings on the multimeter screen. A perfectly functional solenoid should have a voltage reading between 12-24 volts.

End Note

Now you know all there is about the john deere fuel shut-off solenoid problems. We’ve talked about the problems and their respective solutions.

We’ve also talked about how to detect them. Hopefully, this will help you figure out the rest by yourself. You can also reach out for professional help.

Stay happy, and stay safe!

Latest posts by TAYLOR GALLA (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *