4 Most Common John Deere 5103 Problems (Troubleshooting)

john deere 5103 problems
john deere 5103 problems

John Deere 5103 tractor is designed with a three-cylinder engine and produces over 50 horsepower of energy. It’s a perfect tractor for mowing bigger areas as it has a strong build.

In addition, it has exceptional fuel economy and is suitable for beginners as the transmission is easy. However, just like other vehicles, this tractor also has some performance issues that we are sharing along with the reasons and solutions.

John Deere 5103 Problems

  1. Engine Not Starting

Engine Not Starting

If you turn the key on the tractor, but the engine doesn’t start, it means that you won’t be able to use the tractor. The first step is to check the battery because a dead battery is one of the most common reasons behind the engine’s starting issue.

The battery can be checked with the help of a battery tester. If the battery is dead, you can use the jumper cables to jumpstart the engine. However, once the tractor restarts, you must let it run for a few minutes to ensure the battery is recharged.

The second step is to look for battery corrosion. That’s because if the battery posts have corrosion, they won’t be able to transmit the power. It’s recommended that you turn off the engine and clean the battery posts with the help of a rust cleaner.

However, if the battery isn’t the issue, you have to inspect the starter motor. It is important to turn over the engine and ignite the fuel. So, if the engine doesn’t start but makes a clicking sound, you should get the starter motor replaced. Also, you should replace the starter motor every 200,000 miles.

The third step is to check the fuel filter – it is responsible for keeping the debris away from the fuel system. However, when the fuel filter gets clogged, it will restrict the fuel flow, which means the engine won’t get the fuel to operate.

check the fuel filter

So, it’s recommended that you check the fuel filter and replace it if it’s clogged. In fact, you should replace the fuel filter every 30,000 miles.

The fourth step is to check the fuel pump. The fuel pump is responsible for transmitting fuel from the tank to the tractor’s engine at the right pressure. However, when the fuel pump fails or gets damaged, it will fail to transmit fuel to the engine, hence the starting issue. So, get the fuel pump checked and repaired.

Last but not least, you have to check the timing belt. The timing belt is responsible for opening and closing the engine valves at the right intervals to make sure pistons and valves don’t touch each other.

Having said that, if the timing belt is damaged, it can cause engine startup issues, so call the mechanic to get the belt replaced. I, the timing belt should be replaced after every 60,000 miles.

  1. Steering Not Working

The steering is important to control and change the tractor’s direction, which is why steering not working is a severe problem. If your tractor’s steering has stopped working, you need to check the fluid because contaminated fluid is the most common cause.

The contaminated fluid not only clogs the steering system but also wears down the fittings and creates excessive friction. For this reason, it’s recommended that you check the power steering fluid and get it replaced. In addition to this, if the fluid levels are low, they need to be replenished.

Secondly, you have to look for broken belts. The engine is connected to the steering pump with the help of a belt, which means breakage, stretching, corrosion, or fraying in the belt can result in steering issues.

So, we recommend that you check the steering belt and replace it if it shows signs of damage, wearing, and aging.

Thirdly, you have to check the steering pump – it’s the main part of the steering system. The steering pumps are durable, but they wear out with time. In particular, excessive strain on the steering pump can result in premature failure.

So, if the tractor produces excessive noise whenever you turn the wheel, it’s likely that the pump is damaged and should be replaced as soon as possible to resume the steering function.

To prevent the steering issues, it’s recommended that you regularly check the hoses for possible leakage. In addition, you must get the tractor regularly flushed to remove contaminated fluids.

  1. Engine Overheating

John Deere 5103 is a strong and high-performance tractor, which means it’s not prone to overheating. However, if it’s overheating, the first step is to check the thermostat because it’s responsible for preventing the flow of coolant into the engine until the engine is warmed up.

It is done to ensure the vehicle achieves the operating temperature. However, when the thermostat breaks down, it doesn’t open, restricting the flow of coolant, hence overheating. The solution is to replace the damaged thermostat.

The second step is to check the water pump. That’s because coolant is a combination of antifreeze and water, and the water pump is responsible for pumping coolant through the tractor’s engine and absorbing the excessive heat.

So, when the water pump is damaged, it will cause issues in coolant flow, which results in overheating. As far as the solution is concerned, you have to repair the damaged water pump. Also, make sure that there is sufficient coolant to keep the engine cool.


The third step is to check the hoses because coolant moves through these hoses and helps create a flow between the radiator and engine. Clogged, cracked, or damaged hoses can result in leakage of coolant or impedes the coolant’s flow.

So, check the hoses and replace the damaged ones. Last but not least, you’ve to check the radiator.

The radiator helps cool down the coolant, so when the radiator gets damaged, it fails to cool down the coolant. In most cases, the radiator fails to perform when the radiator fan is burned out. So, we recommend that you hire an electrician to get the radiator checked and repaired as soon as possible.

  1. White Smoke

White Smoke

If there is any type of smoke coming out of the tractor, it’s recommended that you turn it off immediately. The first common reason behind white smoke is the cracked cylinder head.

This is because when the cylinder head is damaged or cracked, the coolant will leak out and mix with the engine oil. As a result, the oil will be contaminated, hence the white smoke. So, check the cylinder head and make sure it’s not broken.

The second reason behind white smoke is the oil leak. If the oil leaks out of the valve seals or piston rings, it will flow into the combustion chamber with fuel. When the oil and fuel mix together, they will come out of the exhaustion pipe in the form of white smoke.

This leak has to be fixed immediately because if the engine components aren’t lubricated properly, they will start wearing out.

The third reason is the damaged fuel injector. As the name suggests, the fuel injector is responsible for injecting fuel into the combustion chamber at regular intervals.

However, if the fuel injector is damaged, it results in the formation of white smoke as sufficient fuel won’t enter the chamber. So, hire a mechanic to get the fuel injector replaced.


Last but not least, a cracked engine block can also cause white smoke. The engine block is important for supporting the engine components and plays an important role in transferring the heat produced from friction into the atmosphere.

However, when the engine block is cracked, it hinders the flow of heat. The solution is as simple as replacing the engine block, but it will be an expensive replacement.

The Bottom Line

John Deere 5103 is a reliable tractor for people who have huge lands. However, if you have any engine and steering issues, the solutions mentioned in this article should help you out. In case the tractor is in warranty, you should contact John Deere’s customer support team for free parts replacement or repair.

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