10 Common John Deere 185 Hydro Problems(With Solutions)

When it comes to lawn care equipment, John Deere is a trusted name. The John Deere 185 Hydro is a popular model among homeowners for its efficiency and durability.

However, like any machine, it may encounter problems over time.

In this post, we will discuss some common issues faced by John Deere 185 Hydro owners and provide troubleshooting tips to ensure optimal performance.

So, let’s dive in and address these problems one by one.

John Deere 185 Hydro Problems

1. Engine Performance Problems

 Starting Issues

If you’re having difficulty starting your John Deere 185 Hydro, there are a few potential causes to investigate.

First, check if the battery is properly charged and the terminals are clean and secure.

Ensure that the fuel valve is in the correct position and that the fuel tank has an adequate supply of clean fuel. Additionally, inspect the spark plug for any signs of wear or fouling.

Engine Stalling

Engine stalling can be frustrating, but it’s often a solvable issue. Make sure the air filter is clean and unclogged, as a dirty filter can restrict airflow and cause stalling.

Check the carburetor for any debris or blockages that may affect fuel flow. If the problem persists, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance for further diagnosis.

2. Transmission Troubles

Lack of Power

If you notice a lack of power in your John Deere 185 Hydro, it could be due to a slipping drive belt or a worn-out transmission.

Inspect the drive belt for any signs of damage or wear and replace it if necessary.

If the issue persists, consider consulting a professional to inspect the transmission for potential repairs or replacements.

Transmission Slippage

While operating the mower, a loss of power or jerky movements can indicate transmission slippage.

This problem may occur due to low hydraulic fluid levels or faulty transmission belt tension.

Ensure that the hydraulic fluid is at the appropriate level, and inspect the transmission belt for proper tension. Adjust or replace the belt as needed.

3. Electrical System Malfunctions

Battery Drainage

If your John Deere 185 Hydro experiences frequent battery drain, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause.

Check for any parasitic draws on the battery by disconnecting accessories and measuring the current.

Inspect the electrical wiring for any loose connections or damaged wires that may contribute to excessive battery drain.

Faulty Wiring Connections

Faulty wiring connections can lead to various electrical issues with your mower. Inspect all wiring connections, including those related to the ignition system and safety switches.

Tighten loose connections and replace any damaged wires to ensure proper electrical functionality.

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4. Steering and Maneuverability Challenges

Steering Wheel Not Responding

If the steering wheel of your John Deere 185 Hydro is unresponsive or stiff, it may indicate a problem with the steering system.

Check the steering gear for proper lubrication and any signs of damage. Lubricate the steering components as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If the problem persists, consult a professional for further inspection.

Difficulty in Turning

Difficulty turning the mower can occur due to various factors. Inspect the tires for proper inflation and tread wear.

Ensure that the wheel axles are lubricated and rotated smoothly. If the problem persists, it’s advisable to consult an expert to diagnose and resolve the issue.

5. Mower Deck Problems

Uneven Cutting

If you’re experiencing uneven cutting with your John Deere 185 Hydro, it’s essential to check the mower deck for any issues.

Ensure that the blades are sharp and balanced. Inspect the deck for any debris accumulation or damage that may affect cutting performance.

Make the necessary adjustments to the deck height and leveling to achieve an even cut.

Blades Not Engaging

If the blades of your mower are not engaging correctly, first check the drive belt for any signs of damage or wear.

Replace the belt if necessary. Inspect the blade engagement lever and associated cables for proper operation and adjustment.

If the problem persists, consult a professional for further assistance.

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6. Fuel System Issues

Fuel Contamination

Fuel contamination can lead to engine performance issues and clogged fuel filters. Ensure that you are using clean and fresh fuel.

If you suspect fuel contamination, drain the fuel tank and replace it with fresh fuel.

Regularly inspect and replace the fuel filter as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Clogged Fuel Filters

Clogged fuel filters can restrict fuel flow and affect engine performance. Regularly inspect the fuel filter and clean or replace it when necessary.

It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance intervals and replacement procedures.

7. Hydraulic System Troubles

Slow Lifting or Lowering of Attachments

If the hydraulic system of your John Deere 185 Hydro is slow in lifting or lowering attachments,

it could indicate low hydraulic fluid levels or a malfunctioning hydraulic pump.

Check the hydraulic fluid level and add the appropriate fluid if needed. If the problem persists, consult a professional to diagnose and repair the hydraulic system.

Hydraulic Leaks

Hydraulic leaks can lead to reduced performance and potential damage to the mower.

Inspect all hydraulic hoses and connections for signs of leaks or damage. Replace any damaged hoses and tighten loose connections to prevent hydraulic fluid leakage.

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8. Cooling System Concerns


If your John Deere 185 Hydro is prone to overheating, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent engine damage.

Check the radiator for any blockages or debris that may restrict airflow. Clean the radiator if necessary. Ensure that the cooling fins on the engine are clean and clear of any obstructions.

If the problem persists, consult a professional for further inspection and repairs.

Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks can lead to insufficient cooling and engine overheating. Inspect all coolant hoses and connections for signs of leaks or damage.

Replace any damaged hoses and tighten loose connections. Refill the coolant to the appropriate level, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

9. Belt and Pulley Difficulties

Belt Slippage

Belt slippage can occur due to improper tension or worn-out belts. Check the pressure of the drive belt and adjust it as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Inspect the belts for signs of wear or damage, and replace them if necessary. Proper belt tension is essential for optimal mower performance.

Worn-out Pulleys

Worn-out pulleys can affect the operation of belts and lead to performance issues. Inspect all pulleys for signs of wear or damage.

Replace any worn-out pulleys to ensure proper belt operation and power transmission.

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10. Safety Concerns

Brake Failure

If you notice any issues with the brakes of your John Deere 185 Hydro, it’s crucial to address them promptly to ensure safe operation.

Inspect the brake system for any signs of wear or damage.

Adjust or replace brake components as necessary. Always prioritize safety and consult a professional if you’re unsure about brake repairs.

Inadequate Safety Features

Inadequate safety features can compromise the overall safety of your mower. Ensure that all safety switches and interlocks are functioning correctly.

Replace any faulty safety components to maintain a safe operating environment.

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Final Remarks

The John Deere 185 Hydro is a reliable lawn care machine, but it may encounter problems over time.

By following the troubleshooting tips provided in this article, you can address common issues and ensure optimal performance.

Remember to perform regular maintenance and seek professional assistance when needed to keep your John Deere 185 Hydro in top shape.

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How often should I sharpen the mower blades?

It’s recommended to sharpen the mower blades at least once or twice per mowing season, depending on usage and cutting conditions.

Dull blades can affect cutting performance and cause an uneven cut.

Can I use ethanol-blended fuel in my John Deere 185 Hydro?

It’s best to avoid using ethanol-blended fuels as they can lead to fuel system issues and damage certain components.

Opt for clean, non-ethanol fuel for optimal performance.

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How often should I change the engine oil?

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for oil change intervals. Generally, it’s recommended to change the engine oil every 50 hours of operation or once per mowing season, whichever comes first.

Why is my John Deere 185 Hydro vibrating excessively during the operation?

Excessive vibration can indicate an unbalanced blade or a damaged cutting deck. Check the blades for balance and replace them if necessary.

Inspect the cutting deck for any damage or misalignment.

What should I do if my John Deere 185 Hydro emits black smoke from the exhaust?

Black smoke from the exhaust can indicate an overly rich fuel mixture. Check the air filter for cleanliness and ensure proper fuel flow.

If the problem persists, consult a professional for further diagnosis.

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George Bill
George Bill

George Bill is a Mechanical Engineer by Profession and an avid gardener and has been mowing his lawn for over 20 years. He has used a variety of different mowers during this time.
George is an expert at maintaining his mowers and over the years, he has learned many tricks and techniques for getting the best results from his mowers and is always happy to share his knowledge on this site.