Three Easy-to-Fix Tractor Issues

I get lots of questions about tractor issues and how to fix them. Here’s three service issues that are really easy to diagnose and fix. In fact, they can be fixed in under 30 seconds!

The Loader Won’t Work

One of the frequent questions I get is about loaders. Folks complain that their loader just quit working. Well, either the person has either just taken the loader off and put it back on, or they’ve been brush hogging really heavy stuff and jiggled the couplers under the tractor.

What’s almost always happened in this situation is a hydraulic hose that’s plugged into a coupler has come loose. And this one is a really easy fix.

Look underneath the tractor where the couplers come together to enables you to release your loader and take it off the tractor. Now, it’s not always obvious at first, but even if all the hoses look like they’re plugged in,there’s probably one that got loose. In fact, if one of the hoses has come unplugged just enough that it’s not allowing hydraulic oil to go through it, your loader won’t work.

So first shut your tractor off. If you’ve been running it a long time the hydraulic oil will be hot, and you may want to let that cool off before handling anything under the tractor. Next, you’re going to jiggle your joystick valve in all directions to let all the pressure off the lines. Then, all you have to do is go underneath the tractor. For some reason, it seems like it’s always the bottom hose that came unplugged – the toughest one to get to. But just plug that hose back in and make sure it’s seated. And that should make everything work just like it’s supposed to.

My Three Point Won’t Go Up or Down

The second problem we see quite a bit on tractors is the three point that won’t go up or down. If that’s your problem, I can almost guarantee that it results from a really dumb engineering design from years and years ago. There’s a little dial to the left side below your seat that connects to your hydraulic system. That dial regulates how fast your three plate goes up and down.

Now, most people don’t even know it’s there and so most people never use it. if you turn it all the way in, there’s a transport lock. That’s great if you’re driving down the open road and you don’t want that three point attachment bouncing up and down. The dial locks it all together so it won’t go anywhere. The problem is that’s it’s right below the knob you use to adjust the springs under your seat to make it more comfortable for your weight. When someone gets on the tractor and reaches down to try and adjust the seat springs, they may accidentally turn the little dial all the way in instead. Now they’ve locked the three point wherever it’s at and it won’t will go up or down. So if your three point won’t move, take a look at that little dial and see if you can turn it all the way back out. That should solve your problem.

My PTO Shaft Won’t Go On

The third problem happens when you’re trying to get your PTO shaft on. This problem bites so many people and it’s a really simple solution. When you pull the collar forward it feels like it’s working because it’s spring loaded. And it even looks like it should be working. But it’s not. And it won’t. You need to pull the collar back, not forward. It’s that easy. You just need to remember which way to pull.

Tractor Mike


  1. Norm on at 18:14

    Awesome. Thanks

  2. John G. Gritman on at 20:31

    Hi Mike,

    The three point hitch problem is all too familiar! We bought a tractor at auction. Reason given for selling it: the three point hitch did not work, it was frozen. My son in law started from the back end with no success. My daughter came out of the house and got up on the tractor seat and said “Hey, what’s this dial under the seat; it’s in the off position?” Turn it on and then start the tractor. Problem solved.

    My son in law was going to put to sale on the web. I had paid for the tractor and said “NO”. Do a PM and wash/towel down the tractor. We doubled our money in a day. We did three more before we actually hit a problem. No problem, the buyer had a remanufactured engine and a cracked block was no problem. Then I bought the last one. My son in law could find no problems except the lot number was written on the side with a grease pencil. A thorough wash and PM and we put it on the web. It sold in 3 minutes. It helps that my son in law is a master mechanic and I am a consultant who turns around middle market companies. We have so much fun together though we live about 600 miles from one another.

  3. Steve Frye on at 22:23

    Great video, Mike. You have been a valued friend and source of advice. Your last segment on the “PTO” won’t go on was an issue for me. I know you have another video out there that helped me solve that mystery a few years ago. Hope Carmen, you and the kids are doing well. Best.

  4. Roger Wright on at 12:46

    I was hoping to find an answer to my three-point problem here, but it’s beyond this simple fix. I can’t get the thing to lift any load, though it will sometimes move a little bit with nothing attached. I suspect that I’m going to have to disassemble the thing, since my dealer is >1000 miles away from here. The hydraulic pressure is great on everything else, but doesn’t appear to reach the three-point actuator. Bummer.

  5. Ed Stephens on at 17:30

    Due to illness I didn’t use the backhoe on my tractor for almost two years and the bearings are all full of dirty near solid grease that has set up so that they won’t take new lube. Any idea how to clean the old grease out and replace it, preferably without removing the backhoe arms?.

  6. Jerry Rodan on at 06:15

    Thanks for sharing these common tractor issues and their quick fixes! Your clear explanations make it easy to understand and address these problems efficiently. I appreciate the practical advice, especially on checking hydraulic hoses for the loader and adjusting the dial for the three-point attachment. Your insights will help many tractor owners troubleshoot and resolve these issues without hassle.

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