John Deere MFWD Problems (All Reasons + Solutions)

The best part about John Deere is the options you have. With so many types of tractors itself, you can choose anyone depending on your needs.

However, almost all of them have to deal with problems, particularly MFWD problems.

The most common MFWD problems are not engaging and not disengaging properly. Replacing faulty electrical and transmission components can solve both of these issues. Other than that, you might also face noise while driving, and light would blink constantly. The latter is often related to not disengaging properly. 

Now, this article discusses all of these problems and how you can solve them. So, go on and find out more. 

Quick Overview of John Deere MFWD Problems

Problem Reasons Solutions
MFWD Does Not Engage Low clutch pressure 

Leaking O-ring seals

Defective shaft

Faulty gear and bearing

Increase clutch pressure

Replace O-ring seals 

Replace shaft

Replace gear and bearing

MFWD Does Not Disengage Faulty brake switch 

Damaged solenoid valve 

Damaged electrical fuse

Replace brake switch

Replace solenoid valve 

Replace electrical fuse

Noise While Driving Malfunctioning driveshaft 

Problem in differential

Replace driveshaft

Replace differential

MFWD Light Blinks Constantly Faulty solenoid circuit 

Improper wiring

Replace or repair the solenoid circuit

Fix the wiring

Problem 1: MFWD Does Not Engage

This has to be the most common problem you might encounter while using John Deere. As frustrating as it is, it is due to problems in the electrode solenoid clutch or components in the front axle. 

The main problem here for John Deere MFWD not working can happen for so many reasons that the solution is hard to get.

But firstly, you have to find out if it is just a clutch issue or something else. How to find that out? 

  • Lift up the front tire and check if you can turn the wheel. If you can’t, it is a clutch issue
  • Next look under the tractor with the MFWD in. You have to check if the input shaft can move or not. If it can’t turn, there is something wrong with the clutch

Although, if in either case, you can turn the wheel and input shaft then the problem is with the front end. 

Solution 1: Check Your Clutch Pressure

First, check the clutch pressure using a gauge. These are the steps:

  • Start the engine and heat up the hydraulic oil. Make sure not to exceed 30 seconds.
  • After heating the hydraulic oil to its normal operating temperature, turn off the engine and check for oil leaks.
  • Now make sure that the distance between the bottom of the clutch pedal and to the top of the floor pan is 5 ½ inches. If it isn’t then adjust using a nut.
  • Find the clutch pressure test port and plug in the Hydraulic pressure gauge. 
  • Start the engine and pull up the PTO switch to the ON position.
  • Read the pressure on the gauge. It must be around 240-330 psi.
  • Now shut off the engine.

However, if the pressure is low then it is a problem with the internal leak, now for an internal leak, you have to open it apart and check for source. Then seal the source. Some other solutions can be cleaning the shift valve.

Solution 2: Replace O-ring Seals

MFWD clutch packs engage properly whenever there is enough pressure. This pressure is maintained when the O-rings seal is good enough.

But leaking seals decrease the pressure, rendering the clutch engaging difficult. So, this is how you replace the seal:

  • Bring out the front housing and disconnect the clutch from it.
  • Now disassemble each component of the clutch starting from the piston to the bearing. 
  • Take out the seal and put a new one in its place. 
  • Finally, connect back all the components. Make sure to put grease around the piston ring to help it slide properly.
  • Put the clutch pack back into the housing and the housing back into the tractor.

However, due to the complicated nature of this task, we advise you to seek help for this task. It should cost you around $1500 to fix this. 

Solution 3: Replace the Shaft

Problems in the shaft can cause MFWD problems in John Deere. You can solve this by replacing the shaft.

Just find the shafts and pull the snap rings out. After that, bring out the shaft itself. Put in the new shaft and finally put back the new snap rings. 

Solution 4: Replace the Gears

For the front axle to work all the components need to be in proper condition. This applies to gears as well.

There are planetary, differential, and spider gears and if any of these are damaged then the MFWD will not engage properly. 

But this is a relatively difficult task due to the types of gear involved. If either of these are not properly connected, the system will have more problems.

Hence, we suggest consulting a professional for this service. It should cost you around 

Problem 2: MFWD Does Not Disengage

Another common problem of MFWD is that it does not disengage. Primarily, caused by the faulty switch, solenoid circuit, and any electrical problem.

Solution 1: Replace the Brake Switch

This is a common reason for your John Deere not disengaging properly. But before you jump into the solution, you need to verify whether brake switches are the reason or not.

Typically, if there are problems with the brake switch then the MFWD light stays on despite releasing the brake pedal.

Now, in case of disengaging, the following are the methods of John Deere MFWD troubleshooting. 

  • Find the key switch and turn it to the RUN position.
  • There is terminal A at the MFWD switch. Check for the battery voltage in it.
  • If there is no voltage in this terminal then check circuit 552. This is between terminal A and terminal H of the gray-colored vehicle harness connector.
  • Now, place the MFWD switch in the OFF position.
  • Check the battery voltage in terminal B of the switch.
  • If there is no voltage then you have to replace the switch.

To solve this problem, you have to replace the brake switch.

Now, it differs by a model based on the circuit, we suggest going through the technical manual. 

Solution 2: Repair Solenoid Circuit

Again, you need to troubleshoot before proceeding with the solution. This is how you can do this:

  • Turn the MFWD switch in the OFF position.
  • Check the battery voltage at terminal A of the solenoid circuit.
  • If there is no voltage, check circuit 05 between terminal B of the MFWD switch and terminal A of the solenoid.
  • Next between terminal B and ground circuit 050 checks for any continuity.
  • If power is available and the ground circuit checks good then repair the solenoid.

Repair the solenoid valve to solve this problem. 

Solution 3: Replace the Electrical Fuse

Low voltage to the solenoid wiring connector can cause problems in clutch disengaging.

That happens when the electrical supply is disrupted because of a damaged fuse. So, the solution here is to just replace the fuse. This is how you can do it:

  • Remove the side panel.
  • After that, besides the ECU you are supposed to find the fuse.
  • Replace it with a new one.
  • Connect the side panel back.

Problem 3: Noise While Driving

Before you try to solve it, go through some troubleshooting steps:

  • Find a floor jack and a jack stand. Put the jack stand beneath the front axle of the tractor.
  • Now lift the rear end using the floor jack.
  • You have to turn each of the front wheels and check for noises. 
  • Quickly keep rolling the front wheel back and forth and see if it lags or has any weird noise coming from it. If it does, something is wrong with the driveshaft and needs replacement. 
  • However, if it is coming from the differential you have to change that. 

Solution 1: Replace Driveshaft

Before that go through some troubleshooting steps:

  • Find a floor jack and a jack stand. Put the jack stand beneath the front axle of the tractor.
  • Now use lift the rear end using the floor jack
  • You have to turn each of the front wheels and check for noises. 
  • Quickly keep rolling the front wheel back and forth and see if it lags or has any weird noise coming from it. If it does, something is wrong with the driveshaft and needs a replacement.

Following are the steps for replacing the driveshaft on John Deere:

  • Remove the bolts connected to the platform and fender. Then remove the platform and fender itself.
  • Remove the plastic deck.
  • Take the cover off and find the driveshaft.
  • Remove the C clips and then the U joint.
  • Next, pull the yoke and then the driveshaft.
  • Put in a new driveshaft and connect it to the yoke. 
  • Connect it with the U joint. Make sure to lubricate the U joint properly. 
  • Connect everything back.

Solution 2: Repair Differential

To solve this problem you have to repair the differential.

Due to the complexity of the process, we suggest consulting a professional.

Problem 4: MFWD Light Blinks Constantly

Some of the issues with the light staying on are related to clutch disengagement problems. So, we suggest you check if your clutch can disengage properly if the light is blinking constantly.

However, some unique reasons related to electrical connection can also cause the MFWD light to blink constantly. 

Solution 1: Repair Solenoid Circuit

The steps for replacing the solenoid circuit have already been discussed

Solution 2: Fix the wiring

Check the wiring connection around the sensor and solenoid circuit. If there is any problem in the connection then fix it by either replacing the wire or tightening the connection. 


Is MFWD the Same as 4WD?

No. Although in both cases the driving is focused on the four wheels. But in 4WD, all four wheels are of the same size but in MFWD, two of the front wheels are smaller than the rear wheels. 

How Much Will It Cost to Repair a Front Axle Leak?

Around $200-$600 approximately. It depends mostly on the type of John Deere tractor model and the complication of the leak in the front axle. 

Will Changing Solenoid Valve Make the Clutch Engage Properly?

Yes. A lot of clutch-based problems can be tracked to changing the solenoid valve. If your solenoid valve is functioning normally the clutch can engage and disengage properly.


So, these are the John Deere MFWD Problems. As expected, most of them are related to the clutch.

Some of these you can solve on your own but in most cases due to the complex nature of the mechanism, you should consult an expert.

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