John Deere Maintenance Monday: Diagnosing a fuel leak | Living the Country Life
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John Deere Maintenance Monday: Diagnosing a fuel leak

Puddles underneath the tractor may or may not be a fuel leak

Radio interview source: Walter Tubbs, John Deere Ag Tech Instructor, Arkansas State University

Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below

In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Greg in California. He's noticed puddles under his compact tractor when it sits for a few days, and when it's running, he smells gas. Does he have a fuel leak? Possibly.

Walter Tubbs is a John Deere Ag Tech instructor at Arkansas State University – Beebe. He says a leak could also be anti-freeze or condensation. However, diesel has a unique smell.

"If they notice any wet spots occurring under the tractor with it running, they can see where the fuel may be coming from, dripping off of," says Tubbs. "And they can tell the difference between the fuel and the oil because of the thickness of the fluid. The diesel fuel is going to be a lot thinner and it is going to spread a lot faster than the hydraulic fuel will."

Always consider your safety when inspecting a fuel leak. Engines get extremely hot, and any excess fuel may combust, so turn off the tractor right away and let it cool before making an inspection.

Tubbs says there are a few common causes of fuel leaks. Sometimes fuel drains back to the tank when the tractor sits for a long period of time. Without fluid frequently running through the fuel lines, they get dry and crack. But even with normal use, rubber lines can deteriorate and small holes form. Problems can also occur when changing the fuel filter.

"If it is a gas burner, a lot of the times, they will have just a little hose clamp and the fuel filter has like a barbed end on it," says Tubbs. "A lot of times they might not tighten the clamp down tight enough, they might tighten it too tight and break the clamp, which would prevent it from holding the tight connection."

If the tractor's fuel tank is leaking, your dealer should have a kit to temporarily patch it until the tank can be replaced.

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