How to Bleed the Brakes on a John Deere Backhoe

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A backhoe is an implement on a tractor, but when a contractor or heavy-equipment operator speaks of a backhoe, he's usually talking about the whole tractor, not the digging implement. The backhoe is so named because it's on the back of the tractor; it has a pair of booms and a claw bucket that allow you to dig in hard earth. When you change a backhoe/tractor's brakes, you have to bleed them, just as you would a car's, to remove air from the lines. This is true of John Deere tractors as well as any machinery with hydraulic brakes.

Things You'll Need

  • Brake lock
  • Measuring tape
  • Turn off the John Deere tractor and set the parking brake.

  • Turn the backhoe back on and start the engine at a slow idling speed.

  • Slowly push down on the brake pedal and pump the brake pedal 12 times without allowing the pedal to return to the original starting position. After 12 repetitions, release the brake pedal fully.

  • Wait at least 10 seconds, then repeat the process until the brake pedal reacts firmly after the 10-second wait. The pedal should travel 4½ inches when pressed for the recommended amount of firmness.

  • Connect 1/4-inch or 5/16-inch clear tubing with a bleed nipple to the bleeder screw on each side. The bleeder screw is located on top of the rear axles. Set the other end of the tubing into a clean, empty bucket.

  • Set blocks of wood on each side of the rear wheels and start the John Deere tractor. Run the engine at an idling speed of approximately 1,400 rpm to 1,600 rpm. This will allow the hydraulic fluid to reach correct operating temperature.

  • Slowly open the bleed screw on one brake and allow the hydraulic fluid to drain out of the clear tubing until there are no air bubbles. Close the bleed screw. Repeat the process on the other side. Do not pump the brakes during the bleed process.

  • Check the tractor transmission fluid level and add transmission fluid if necessary. Inspect the hydraulic fluid level and add some of the hydraulic fluid that you earlier drained out of the brakes if needed.

  • Examine the brake lines, which connect under the battery box and run along the tractor transmission to the rear axles, for any leaks. If there is no evidence of leaks, remove the tubing and nipples from the bleeder screws. Remove the blocks from the rear wheels.

Tips & Warnings

  • If pedal travel is more than 4½ inches before or after bleeding the brakes, the backhoe brake stop screws are set too loose. See your John Deere authorized dealer or another qualified professional for repair.
  • Contact an authorized dealer or service professional for assistance if the brake lines are leaking or if the brake pedal will not firm up after you've taken these steps to bleed the brakes.
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