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Dan, Technician
Category: Agriculture and Farm Equipment
Satisfied Customers: 5183
Experience:  17+ yrs. shop and field experience with all major brands of heavy equipment, trucks and farm equipment - 1995 WyoTech graduate.
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I have two issues with an older john Deere 400 backhoe. 1:

Customer Question

I have two issues with an older john Deere 400 backhoe. 1: I changed my hydraulic filter and transmission filter and drained the fluid. Added new fluid after. When I use the backhoe it will run correct for a few seconds and then severely slow down. Even sputtering. The loader is the same way. The issue is better when the tractor is in gear driving, but worsens when I have the clutch pedal pushed in.
2: my tractor will start but only run for a few seconds. The pump will pump fuel for those few seconds but still does. I have checked for fuel blockage and have found none. I also changed the fuel filter.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Agriculture and Farm Equipment
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Hi my name is***** will be glad to help. The most common problem on these is the injection pump. Once they become worn internally they will start causing these symptoms. First check the lines between the tank and pump for leaks and reastrictions or anywhere that it could sucl in air. Try a seperate line between the tank and pump from a separat fuel container to see if the problem still exists. If so you are lookinf at an injection pump. I recommend doing the injectors at the same time. Let me know if you need more help
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
On the issue of the tractor starting and dieing. I've checked all lines between the fuel tank and the pump. I also disconnected the line between the pump and injectors. The pump is pumping fuel to the injectors while it runs up until it dies. The tractor was literally running fine and hour before this issue. Could there be an electrical issue?
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Does it die instantly like you turned off the key or like it is running out of fuel? Verify the fuel shutoff has no power when it dies. If it still has power to it it should still be running. If the fuel shutoff solenoid is good then you likely have a failed injection pump. Once they get weak there is not enough pressure produced to pop off the injectors.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It will start right up at low idle. I can give it full throttle and it will stay for about 5-10 seconds then will die within a few more seconds.
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the update. If the supply is good and not sucking air it will be a faulty injection pump.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you have an answer on the hydraulic issue I stated in my original question?
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Hi Troy, sorry for the confusion.I misunderstood part of your post. Check to see if the engine will stall at all with no load on it. If this is only happening when under a load by the transmission or hydraulic function then you have a transmission or hydraulic problem. Could be faulty pump, stuck valve, return restriction, or other internal mechanical failure. Did you find metal/debrisin the filter and oil?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Let me start from the beginning again. Sorry I should have started this way in the first place.
Backhoe was running fine a couple of days ago. No problems with running or hydraulic functions. I decided it would be a good time to change the oil since it was due and also decided to just change all filters and fluids while I was at it. I changed air filter, fuel filter, oil and filter, hydraulic fluid and filters. After finished the tractor started and ran as it should. When I went to use the backhoe I noticed it was very sluggish and would sputter. I cracked the hydraulic lines at their connections to bleed air. Some air came out but mostly fluid. When I changed the fluid on the hydraulics it was very milky telling me it was water contamination. And when I cracked the connections on the lines to bleed air I noticed it was still somewhat milky. I decided to completely drain the hydraulic system again and made sure to pull every plug this time since I missed one the first time. I filled the unit back with new fluid again. When I was finished tractor started as it should but still the same hydraulic issues. So I took a break for a couple of hours from working on it. I came back to try troubleshooting again and the tractor started. Within 5-10 seconds it died. Now it will start but dies like we talked about earlier. I don't know if the two issues is somehow connected or just giving the old girl new fluid was too much for her to handle.
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
thanks for the info Troy. What type of oil are you using? It sounds like you likely have some internal problems and wear from the water but check the suction screen to the pump as it could be starving the pump for oil and if so you could have a pump failure if it was starved for oil. Try cleaning the screen first. Let me know
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. I will check. Is the screen usually in a return line or directly on the pump itself? I've looked in my parts manual and cannot find its location.
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
There should be a suction screen at the lower part of the transmission case. I looked for this machine on the online parts book but found the 400 series tractor but not listed as a backhoe loader. are they attachments on the tractor or is this a factory backhowe loader.
Here is the link.... Let me know
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think i found a filter in the bottom of the hydraulic pump. I'm going to remove it tomorrow. It's listed as filter in my parts manual. It is a factory loader backhoe as far as I know. There are two caps on the bottom of the hydraulic pump. One is a valve other is filter, of course I removed the wrong one and now will struggle to reinstall tomorrow since it is a spring loaded valve. I'll give you an update on the hydraulics tomorrow.
As far as the starting and dieing issue, I removed the filter and pressed some air through the lines, the tractor started and ran for about 15 minutes before dieing. Enough time to get it to the barn. Hopefully that is a sign that the Injection pump isn't bad?
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Hi Troy, Thanks for th update. Try running the supply and return from a separate fuel container to see if the problem still exists. Also look on the side of the engine block for a primer pump driven off the cam. It will have a lever on it to prime the fuel system. I have seen these fail as well as the cam wearing right through the lever the drives the pump. Check for that as well. We need to confirm the suction line is providing consistant and sufficient fuel to the injection pump before condeming an injection pump or other component. This could be fuel suppy/restriction problem, Injection pump, or another component pulling an excessive load on the engine which will usually cause black smoke as well.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. I have figured out my fuel problem. There was some air in the system that was being an issue. So the tractor is running fine now, but my hydraulic problem still exists. I've checked the scree. On the pump and it was fairly clean. I reinstalled the pump and now the loader will not move at all. The backhoe will move as it should for 5-10 seconds but then slow down. If I wait 5-10 seconds it will speed up again only to slow down once again. Am I missing something?
Expert:  Dan replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the update Troy. If it is intermittent then check the relief valve cartridges on the main control valve for debris causing them to stick open or for damaged o rings... A sticking relief will cause low pressure and a bypass of oil in the circuit. Check that forst and if ok then you may have a pump failure on your hands. Let me know