Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak

   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #1  

gogreen

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
35
Location
Lexington, VA
Tractor
John Deere 3520 Cab
I need to vent and this is a good place to start. I currently own a 2008 John Deere 4720 eHydro with 225 hours. Obviously, I don't use it much. It has developed an antifreeze leak between the timing gear cover and engine block. Antifreeze is seeping through the gasket material all the way around it. An internet search reveals known problems with this happening. It is related to the aluminum timing cover against the steel engine block, different contraction ratios when hot and cold. The gasket material used by the factory will break down after a couple of years (like shortly after the warranty runs out). I called my dealer and they said they have fixed several of them, the kicker is that it will cost $2000. 3 days at $80/hr labor. There are no parts, they just tear it down and reseal it with more gasket material. It requires pulling the front axle out, because the oil pan must come off to remove the timing cover.
My disappointment comes because over the years, we have bought a 445, 4200, and a cabbed 3520. All new. Currently we own a X595, that we bought with 19 hours off of a local family that the owner passed away and they didn't want to keep it. Otherwise, we would have bought a new one to upgrade the 445. Anyway, I call John Deere corporate, even after the dealer said I would be wasting my time. Which it was. I explained that I have always been a John Deere customer and that I felt a $2000 repair bill on a tractor with 225 hours on it was rediculous for a gasket material that didn't hold up. My tractor is always stored indoors and it looks brand new. I told her that a search of the internet shows that Deere knows it is a problem. Her reply was that you could search the internet and find problems with anything, that if they sold 10,000 units and had problems with 300 of them, they would be on the internet. She said that out of warranty was my responsibility. I understand that if I had worn a part out or broke something internally by overworking the tractor it is my problem. But this leak developed on the tractor sitting in my building when the weather turned cold a few weeks ago.
I am now contemplating just tearing it down myself, but I'd rather not be so mad when I am doing it. I also am wondering if anybody on here has experienced the same problem with their 4720 and what their results were.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #2  

Red Horse

Veteran Member
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Dec 12, 2010
Messages
1,146
Location
Bolton, MA
Tractor
Deere 655ZTrak, Deere 4720 Cab, 400 X LT 155
I too have a 4720 and so far so good. I have 415 hours. It had a little over 200 on it when I bought it in January. But in any case, I too would be bent out of shape if I was looking at a $2000 invoice for something that is clearly a defect. It is not a wear issue or an abuse issue. Having said that, perhaps this might be a real issue if you can round up others with this problem.

But again, if there were no others or 40% of the 4000 series had the problem, the issue is the same. A non wear component shoiuld not fail at 200 hours.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #3  

greasemonkeyok

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Jan 20, 2010
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1,832
Location
Oklahoma
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JD cut
Bars Leak maybe? Not the preferred solution, but it doesn't cost $2k.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #4  

MIKE R

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Sep 14, 2010
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4,092
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CANADA
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Many
greasemonkeyok said:
Bars Leak maybe? Not the preferred solution, but it doesn't cost $2k.

I find it covers up the problem and it will come back later on to get you twice as bad. I would fix it right. The dealer should eat the cost for fixing defective equiptment and not fixing it right. When antifreeze is allowed to sit for a long time it becomes acidic and eats away gaskets and other parts like hoses and water pumps
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #5  

Agent Blue

Platinum Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
608
When antifreeze is allowed to sit for a long time it becomes acidic and eats away gaskets and other parts like hoses and water pumps[/QUOTE]

I would not bet that is the whole problem. My guess is that there was a lack of gasket or sealer when the cover was attached. There is no great expansion difference between a thin piece of aluminum against an iron block. This is the reason they are not changing the cover to metal. It simply needs to be resealed.
It is not that serious of a job. Talk with a JD mechanic and see if there is a short cut.. ie not removing the front axle ... working around it. How fast could one make 2k by a couple days labor in a warm garage ? Good luck.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak
  • Thread Starter
#6  
OP
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gogreen

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
35
Location
Lexington, VA
Tractor
John Deere 3520 Cab
I am still trying to understand the whole thing. I checked JDParts and they are showing a timing gasket kit for my engine (4024TLV08) which has a shim. The shim is not shown on the newer kits. I asked the service manager and he said not to use the shim, that it would cause it to leak again. Just tear it down, clean old gasket away, and reseal it. The oil pan must come off to remove the timing cover because of the "pickup tube" if that sounds right.
What I don't understand is why the coolant flows through the timing cover? Wouldn't there be oil in there to lubricate the timing gears? Maybe I am off base on that, any thoughts or clarifications?
I will try and take a few pictures today and post. Thanks for the feedback.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #7  

buickanddeere

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Apr 15, 2004
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East Coast of Lake Huron
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Deere, several
As previously stated, all bets are off with 5 year old coolant that has not been tested for inhibiter strength.
Drain, flush and fill with distilled water and a coolant sealer which uses water glass.
Drain, flush and fill with distilled water and propylene coolant instead of ethylene coolant. If propylene leaks, it doesn't ruin bearings.
Think your Deere has problems? Check the long list of repairs that owners of other brands find "normal".
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #8  

D4120

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Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
12
Location
IN
Tractor
JD4120
Just took my 4120 in for a similar problem. Antifreeze leaking down face of the block. I haven't heard back yet, but I suspect I'll have the same diagnosis. I was prepared to contact deere but it sound as though your complaint fell on deaf ears. 2 grand bites but so does the job. Google antifreeze leak 4120 and click on the 3rd link it returns. Someone posted pics of their 4x20, less the entire front end. Seems like an enormous amount of work for a stinking coolant leak. I'm no mechanic but didn't or couldn't understand coolant flowing throw timing cover???? Has your machine been repaired? Someone did post they had it fixed for 1200 and that included a new water pump. That was 2 years ago, hard to believe cost went up that much in such a short time, may be your area of the country too, don't know.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #9  

kford13

New member
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
17
Tractor
2008 John Deere 4720
Had my '08 4720 in this summer for the front gasket leak/replacement. Got lucky and had it done under warranty; only had about 170 hours on it.
 
   / Beware John Deere 4*20 series owners--antifreeze leak #10  

Gator6x4

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Dec 7, 2003
Messages
2,337
Location
NC
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Kubota Grand L3830
I think it is terrible the problem occurred. One would not think a low hour unit would have problems. On the other hand, when I purchase something new and it has a warranty I write the warranty expiration date on the front of the manual. If a problem occurs I just retrieve the owner's manual, look at the date and am instantly informed if this is my problem or the dealers problems. I have always considered this as part of owning equipment or vehicles. I have had a couple of border line failures, hair splitting over exactly what day of the month did the warranty expire and these I discussed with the dealer. After the dealer ran them by corporate and was told, "Not Covered" I then either paid them to do the repairs or did them myself. I have always resisted the urge to "End Run" the dealer. I figured this would cost me more in the long than the dealer. I have never considered or discussed warranty repairs with a dealer on something that was several months or years past the warranty expiration date.

I have also after receiving a repair estimate looked at the unit and evaluated it with a five year perspective. If the repairs are made what will I have in five years and what additional cost am I looking at in five years. I have had Roll Backs remove units from one dealer and move to another who offered a better trade deal rather than repair.
 
 
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