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HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake Adjustment

By Andrew Pollack on 04/19/2009 at 08:08 PM EDT

Update 5/8/2011 --
I decided to update this post with a follow-up that covers a more complete rebuild of the brake assembly. You still need this part for the adjustment, but if you want to go further, take a look here: How-to Followup - the Brake Assembly Rebuild
-- Andrew



I'm writing this because nobody else seems to have done so. I searched on the net a few times and didn't find these instructions, which seemed odd because it is so easy to do. So, now Google will pick this up and some other person may save an hour or two figuring it out for themselves.

I am the disappointed owner of a John Deere L100 42" Lawn Tractor. It's not that it's a bad machine, just that it's not a particularly good one either. The L100 is what you get when John Deere cheapens its cheapest model so that it can be sold through Home Depot. Virtually everything that distinguishes a John Deere tractor from the lower end brands is missing from this unit other than the green color -- and that's plastic. Frankly, I liked the design of my old MTD mower much better, and when this one wears out I will go back to the cheaper MTD model and never look back.

That said, while I have this poorly designed model, I do need to keep it in as good a shape as I can. One of the things that seems to need adjustment now and then is the foot brake. After only a couple of years, mine had stopped working altogether. In fact, since the brake and clutch are on the same peddle, pressing the non-functional brake pedal had the effect of disengaging the clutch and thus allowing the tractor to simply coast down hills at an increased speed. Yes, pressing the brake did in fact result in going faster.

After searching the owner's manual (ha!) and the internet, I found not a single description of how to adjust the brake. I spent an hour or so figuring it out, and now you won't have to.

The photo below is taken on the right (facing forward) side of the mower, looking backward toward the rear axle. The brake is just forward of the axle on that right side. The nut you see in the center of the picture is easily tightened with a 1/2 inch box wrench. You do not need to remove the wheel to reach it.

Sadly, the difference between no brakes at all, mediocre brakes that slow you to a stop but won't really stop you on a steep hill, and brakes that grab all the time -- thus producing smoke, fire, and other sorts of danger -- is only about two full turns of that nut. You'll need to tighten it a little at a time then test it. Keep doing that until you've got right. Carry the 1/2 inch box wrench with you so that if you over tighten it and start to smell the brake liner while you're riding around, you can stop on the spot and let off a little bit.


Have fun and be careful. Keep in mind that I'm not an "authorized John Deere mechanic" and have no particular expertise that should make me worth listening to. If you follow my advice and brake something, you own all the broken parts. If you don't know what you're doing, take it to someone and pay them to do it.

If you found this helpful, or if you have advice to add -- please comment below.


Update 9/25/2014 --

WOW. After 5 and a half years I am STILL getting great feedback on this one article. I LOVE YOU GUYS! I've had so much positive feedback that I've had to re-write the comment section of this blog software because it couldn't handle all the comments. You guys rock! -- Andrew


Update 3/29/2011 --

I am really gratified to read all the positive feedback on this article over the last couple of years. I'm glad this is helping people. If you do read it and find it useful, please do let me know! -- Andrew


Update 5/8/2011 --

I decided to update this post with a follow-up that covers a more complete rebuild of the brake assembly. You still need this part for the adjustment, but if you want to go further, take a look here: How-to Followup - the Brake Assembly Rebuild -- Andrew




There are  - loading -  comments....

re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Ian Randall on 04/19/2009 at 11:46 PM EDT
Do I just assume that Step 1 is "Please turn the motor off" to ensure that the
mower blades are not still not spinning?
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Andrew Pollack on 04/20/2009 at 01:24 PM EDT
Of course you should always do that -- but honestly in this case you can reach
the wrench to the nut most easily from behind the tractor so I suppose you
could get away with not even bothering to shut it off.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Rick on 03/23/2010 at 10:08 AM EDT
Really?? You had to ask that?? Step 1 is "if you are a moron and cant figure
out simple safety procedures without being told, sell your tractor because you
are not smart enough to own one".
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Dr. I on 10/22/2014 at 09:55 AM EDT
Thank you . I soooo needed a chuckle this morning!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bruce Perry on 04/20/2009 at 09:20 PM EDT
You're not driving a Hoyt Clagwell?
http://www.tractorshed.com/contents/tpic318.htm

I'm shocked!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Ron on 04/24/2009 at 03:45 PM EDT
Andrew, thanks for doing the grunt work. I thought the drive belt might be
involved somehow, but you have cleared the air for me on this, and I will go at
it with wd-40 and my 1/2 inch wrench.
On another shortcoming, have you had the engine stall and run unevenly? I went
to the dealer and the cashier (woman) showed me the vent hole in the gas cap
that gets clogged and causes the problem. It gave me the excuse to change the
fuel filter before I unplugged the gas cap.
My mower hasn't disappointed other than brakes giving way, exactly as you
described and the plugged fuel cap. Had it for 3 years.
Thanks Again,
Ron
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Andrew Pollack on 04/24/2009 at 04:13 PM EDT
Ron - carefully with taht wd-40. You don't want to get lubricant on the disk,
and you don't want to get any solvent in there if it uses some kind of a fiber
based pad. I didn't get into it enough to look for that.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Ken on 05/22/2014 at 09:22 PM EDT
Also a plugged fuel cap with make the fuel tank calaps
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Al Agnew on 06/06/2009 at 03:32 PM EDT
Amazingly simple. I've been looking everywhere for some help on adjusting my
completely non-functioning brakes on this used L100 we picked up. As soon as
the rain stops, I'm heading to the barn with my tools.

I'm still looking for a simple clutch adjustment since mine lurches into gear
with little "feather" no matter how carefully I engage the pedal.

Cheers,

Al - Palm Beach Gardens
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy randy on 08/20/2014 at 05:34 AM EDT
like the person before be careful not to get the wd 40 on the disc as it will
contaminate the brake pads, you may also find that the 2 pivot pieces inside
the brake caliper are rusted and seized so the brake pads arent actually even
engageing the disc, if this is the problem take the 2 bolts out of the caliper
and remove the pads and spray with wd 40 and remove the 2 pivot parts and clean
with emery paper, relube and reinstall, this is actually a yearly maintaince
thing that should be done.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Rodney Reese on 08/18/2009 at 02:47 PM EDT
Thanks for putting the Brake adjustment "HOW TO" on line for my L100. I was
looking every place on my tractor for the adjuctment. Thanks again
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy s krull on 09/03/2009 at 04:07 PM EDT
Fantastic solution. Thanks so much, worked like a charm.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy don on 08/09/2013 at 09:07 PM EDT
The actual brake rotor needs to move freely back and forth on the splined shaft
to get maximum braking effectiveness.

That was all that was wrong with mine. The rotor was rusted on the splined
shaft preventing it from being pressed against the rear friction puck (brake
pad)when the brake was applied
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy m fain on 08/16/2014 at 07:47 AM EDT
Andrew,
good information, turned the nut 1-1/2 turns and worked great,
my mower is L125
Thanks
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Robert Cooper on 09/15/2009 at 04:45 PM EDT
Thanks a million,
I have a L100 John Deere and was having the same problem as you. I have been
searching the web for a couple of days trying to find where the brake
adjustment was located. Kept hitting a brick wall.
It was 9:30pm when I found your page. I went outside to my mower and in two
minutes I had the brakes adjusted. I cranked the engine and tried them out
immediately. My son lives next door to me. He came outside to see why I was
using my mower in the dark.
We had spent at least two hours trying to find where to adjust the brakes that
afternoon. We had found the
nut that you were talking about but we did't know that all we needed to do was
tighten the screw. We thought that a part was missing. Thanks again for your
help.
Robert Cooper
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bill on 03/09/2010 at 09:29 PM EST
Thanks a bunch for learning how to do this simple task and more importantly,
sharing it with everyone else. You would think that JD would include this in
the user manual. Last time I had it to the dealer for a missing engine that I
couldn't fix, I mentioned that my brakes were getting "loose" and he said he
cleaned out a lot of debris that helped. Worth watching out for leaves, small
limbs, etc. that might keep the brake from fully engaging. In my case today,
it isn't working at tall and the area is clean, so it must be the nut
adjustment you described.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy chris on 04/02/2010 at 08:15 AM EDT
I have a L100 that I bought used, I was wondering if it is common for it to
smoke? especially after I shut it off, I havent mowed my lawn with it yet just
got it, but is this an overall good machine?
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Alan on 06/14/2013 at 07:26 PM EDT
while the engine is cool I spray a degreaser on the engine. And spray it off
with my pressure washer and it is going on 7 years old.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy kyeltoro on 03/20/2014 at 10:14 PM EDT
I found that a mother mouse decided that she needed to build a nest in under my
air intake cover. That smell of buring/smoldering grass is very dangerous.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42 Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Andrew Pollack on 04/02/2010 at 09:00 AM EDT
No. It should not smoke. You've got dried grass smoldering somewhere, or the
brake too tight, or some other maintenance problem.

DO NOT park the mower next to the house or a dry field. Park it on paved
ground well away from anything and clean it out (using tools, not your hand).

Be careful using a hose or other water source as cooling metal parts too
quickly could cause them to fracture.

Smoldering grass can continue to heat long after you shut the machine down and
cause a fire hours or even days later. (the same is true for mulch piles of
old grass). I see fires started from heat of decomposition fairly regularly.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Marc on 04/28/2010 at 09:55 PM EDT
Like you, I could find no info for brake adjustment in the owner's manual, via
internet, or even the John Deere Website. With the instructions you provide on
this page, I adjusted the brakes in less than 5 minutes and they perform like
new. And, your are so right about the narrow window of the adjustment between
where you need to be and where the brakes lock up. Many thanks my friend.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Dudley on 06/20/2010 at 01:43 PM EDT
Had an MDT also. Run it ragged for 10 years. Kept hopeing it would stop so I
could get a new John Deere. It finally did. I sold it to a man for $20.00 and
got my Deere. Wish I'd have gotten another MTD. Next one will be. Thanks for
info on brakes. mine don't work either! Going down an incline with no brakes on
an almost new mower is no fun. Should be a recall item!!! Oh, the man that
bought my old MTD fixed it and is still using it.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy steve s on 06/29/2010 at 10:07 PM EDT
I live up in the mountains and my son just gave me his J.D. L100. Like you say
going down a hill you really speed up and I almost jumped twice. Now I just go
in first gear and ready to head for the ditch. I will be adjusting the brake in
the morning. Thank you so much for your input I really appreciate it.

Steve
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Randy Cose on 07/17/2010 at 05:32 PM EDT
Thanks, that was great, went from no brakes at all to good brakes in five
minutes
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Matt Graf on 07/29/2010 at 06:46 PM EDT
This article was VERY helpful! I know everything that you said about this unit
is VERY true! Thank you for putting this out there!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy ned kelly on 10/16/2010 at 08:43 AM EDT
well done andrew, i adjusted my l100 as u suggested, low and behold the brakes
now work, i like u scratched my head as to where to adj the brakes, thanks for
the heavy thinking and leg work.

peter
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Malcolm Parker on 02/23/2011 at 07:22 PM EST
Thank you, no more suicide rides down the hill.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy randy on 03/29/2011 at 07:29 PM EDT
JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS,VERY HELPFUL.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Paul Bernard on 04/13/2011 at 02:15 PM EDT
Very nice. I just bought an L100. used it twice. Was sad cause it sounded like
the back wheels were grinding and smashing when I pushed in the clutch to
shift. After studing the mechanism, I realized the brake was set too close to
the travel on the clutch and was grinding the rear wheels to a stop. I thought
it was the transmission grinding but not so. (Thank God). After adjusting the
brake as you have shown, I now have the brake set way up the travel of the
peddle. It now stops well, but one needs to push the peddle almost all the way
down not in the way of the shifting of the gears. My area is flat and I don't
use the brake very much, but its there if I need it.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Warne on 04/27/2011 at 12:19 PM EDT
I found this article to be very helpful. John Deere apparently doesn't think
that adjusting the brake is important enough to include it in the operators
manual, although they say if the brake doesn't hold to adjust it but nowhere
does it say how. I even called a local JD dealer and just got a recording for
the service dept. The promised call back never came.

I previously owned a Cub Cadet that was so much better enginereed. Both from a
durability and an ease of use standpoint. I don't know what they are like now
however. The brake on the JD is almost a joke. The pads are barely more than
on a bicycle.

As you can see I'm over happy with the JD. I bought it from an independant
dealer who shortly after I bought it went out of business because they were
being sold at H.D. for so much less.

Again thanks for the help.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Mark on 05/05/2011 at 06:09 PM EDT
Thanks..... it only took me matter of a minute and two trys to adjust it
right. My transaxle went out on me last fall and had a dealer replace it
totally; unfortuately they forgot to adjust the brakes on it. Found out real
quick once I try to load the lawn mower on the trailer. Anyways... Thanks for
the hard work and putting all of this together for the ordinary man.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy stephen on 05/10/2011 at 02:01 PM EDT
thanks, had it to the dealer they didnt fix it,only thing on the 2010 la-105
its on the port side.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Richard Waingold on 05/28/2011 at 07:14 PM EDT
Thank you very much for this information on the adjustment of the brakes. I
myself sent all afternoon searching everywhere on the web for this information
as apparently so many others have done. First thing tomorrow morning I will be
out to the garage making the adjustment as you described going from no brakes
at all at this point to a means of stopping the tractor.

I also would like to add that I am having the exact same problem as another
writer with my clutch popping out and almost throwing me off the tractor no
matter how slowly I try to release it. I understand that it involves a spring
release of a pulley and not an actual clutch.

Hopefully someone can explain how to remedy this problem as well.

Thanks again for your extremely useful help.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy John on 08/04/2011 at 04:56 PM EDT
I read you're article about the brakes on a JD100 - what simple and great
article - you would think JD could figure it out. I have the same problem with
the jumpy clutch, did you ever have any luck figuring out that problem?
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy BIll on 07/20/2013 at 10:06 PM EDT
I alo having the same problem with the clutch, no matter how slow I release it.
It want to jumb in ot gear... Please kee me up to date if someone figures out a
solution on this issue..
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Dave on 07/11/2011 at 02:28 PM EDT
Thanks for posting this. I am mechanically stupid for the most part, but I
think even I can do this. I had to laugh at your comment about using the
brakes actually makes you go faster. That is so true.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Mark on 03/25/2012 at 11:55 AM EDT
Thank you for saving me several hours of searching and tinkering! You have
done a great public service here. As for JD, it is baffling how that simple
brake adjustment did not make it into their operator's manual! Big miss.
Nothing on adjusting brakes at all! Could be a source of liability in the
event of an accident, in my opinion.

Overall, the L100 has been OK for me. I had the fuel cap plug problem most
owner's have had (thank you, internet bloggers, again!). My issue is the whole
deck body is rusting. I use it to plow snow and the paint is literally flaking
off as I type this.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy whitey bellingham mass on 06/07/2012 at 08:31 PM EDT
thanks for a great helpful post. i have a 102 model adjuster is on left side
but you saved me valuable time in mere seconds had brakes adjusted. thanks
again
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Debbie on 06/10/2012 at 03:51 PM EDT
Thank you so much for posting this information on how to adjust brakes. My
husband has had his L105 model for 1 year and he said the brakes would stop
him only after he rolled several feet. I found this post went out adjusted a
full turn and half, and they are working great now! thanks again!!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Peggy on 07/10/2012 at 03:16 PM EDT
Just finished adjusting my brakes on my John Deere La105 after searching for
days and looking at my mower and manual and not knowing what I was looking at
or for. Then finding your information just a few minutes ago on brake
adjustment for your mower. Thank you!!::)) Thank you!!::))
Now I will be able to cut grass and not fly down the hill when I try to apply
the brake this week!!
Again thank you!!::))
Peggy Sue in Alabama
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bruce Morrison on 09/01/2012 at 02:08 PM EDT
Thanks for the instructions. I don't know why Deere didn't put it in the
owner's manual. Bruce
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy john on 09/13/2012 at 01:42 PM EDT
Thank you, have not cut with mine yet So i have not run it much but did try the
adjustment and it did seem help
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy vince valerio on 09/17/2012 at 08:13 AM EDT
Ithank you for you great help in how to adjust the brakes on my tractor

I dont know how I would have found the adjustment without your help

thank very much>>>>
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy chris on 09/24/2012 at 11:30 PM EDT
thank you for your input. It helped me and only took 1 min. with your
directions. I have a D100 and the same applies. Thanks again
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bob C on 10/12/2012 at 02:47 PM EDT
Without your tip I would have spent hours trying to adj. the brakes. Now on to
finding out how to adjust the clutch. Thanks . Bob C.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Murph on 10/16/2012 at 05:27 PM EDT
Wow that was easy, thanks Andrew. Now that the tractors fixed, can you please
solve all of my other problems!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy scott schraeder on 04/22/2013 at 07:33 PM EDT
Andrew, thanks for the info. This would have helped me out tremendously last
summer. I was visiting a neighbor of mine, who lives on an incredibly steep
hill. After a couple of cocktails, I made my way home on his 1/8th of mile
driveway. As soon as I hit the decline, the tractor shot off like a bullet. I
would guess that I reached 25mph and when I hit the T at the end , I turned
right and amazingly reached normal speed again. No harm, no foul, minus my
dirty shorts. I did two tours in Iraq and nothing was as scary as that ride.
Scott
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Shannon on 05/15/2013 at 08:14 AM EDT
Awesome information! I just purchased a L100 from a friend that had some
issues, one being the brakes did not work. After reading your article, It took
me about 5 minutes to get the brakes working like they should. I had tried
calling my local JD service dept. and was told that if I brought it in they
would be glad to take a look and more than likely have to rebuild the brake
system. Thanks again for the quick fix that did not cost me one dime or much
time. SDH
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Jeff Moody on 05/25/2013 at 03:35 PM EDT
Great instructions. Saved me a lot of time on my LA 105 searching in vain.
Thanks
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy EJW on 05/27/2013 at 09:12 PM EDT
Could not find any info either. But mine had a broken steel part that I
reproduced in my shop and later the dealer said he does not stock the part
because it never needs replacing?! Good post. Thank you but I will get a new JD
in a year or two.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy FlatHead4 on 06/06/2013 at 07:39 AM EDT
Dead on with about the quality of these things. I like kid with a new toy when
I finally was able to buy it. Nothing but disappointment since. At least I
still have my dad's 1973 JD 7!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy FlatHead4 on 06/06/2013 at 07:40 AM EDT
I was WAS like...!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Jamesgang on 06/18/2013 at 03:32 AM EDT
Maybe my L100 is newer and I think its brake is a belt thing? But just saying
its guys like you that helps us little guys! Thanks for you site.I'll will be
back to see what else you post and maybe help guys like us that can't can't do
$48 hour of labor. Full free to contact me at my email addy. Thanks again.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Danny on 06/20/2013 at 01:38 PM EDT
I have had mine over 10 years sold MTD and got this one have cabin in mountains
bought a new MTD and sold mtd that I had in mountains big mistake if I can get
the brakes fixed like you say I dont have to sale it it been great owning but
still like MTD thank for helping with brakes
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy puzzled63 on 06/20/2013 at 02:31 PM EDT
Thanks for the info! to bad JD couldn't put that in the manual...you're right
it's an ok mower,but no more JD's for me.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Hali Taylor on 06/23/2013 at 11:23 AM EDT
Hi Andrew: Just wanted to send a HUGE thank you for this article on adjusting
the brakes. As a 61 year old widow, I am handling a lot of tasks with which I
was formerly unfamiliar and this find was a real gem.
Thank you for taking the time to research this and post it - you've saved me
not only money, but time and the hassle factor, too. It has also contributed
to my sense of empowerment - bet you didn't expect all this when you posted!
Thanks again.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy LaDonna Turpin on 07/05/2013 at 10:48 AM EDT
Thank you so much for this information. I have a 16yr old son that helps me
keep my mower in running condition and we haven't been able to figure out the
brakes either. Rather scary, like you said, if you are on a steep incline.
I am having trouble now with the gears not wanting to shift, I'm sure its
something simple but haven't been able to figure that one out either. If you
know anything about that would you please email me.
Thank you, LaDonna
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Lynne S on 07/24/2013 at 04:29 PM EDT
Thanks so much. I can now quit dodgin trees. ( only hit the one ! ) Hubby and
dog use to hide in the house when I mowed. HaHa. Seriously, great article and
pic. Maybe u should youtube?

Hubby says Thanks too. Lynne - Florida
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy J. Chambliss on 08/01/2013 at 03:43 PM EDT
Thank you, Andrew. I have a D100 that is about one year new. I suddenly had no
brakes today and immediately performed an internet search and came across your
generous contribution to repair the problem. I went directly to the 1/2 nut you
described, turned it clockwise one turn and, wa la! the problem is solved; I
have brakes again. Thank you again,
J Chambliss
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Steve on 08/04/2013 at 03:39 AM EDT
I've been doing 3 point turns on a bank with no brakes, sometimes careering
down into the fence!
I looked for the nut but not there! Then I looked on the other side!! The port
side, the left side. It was there. Maybe a newer model, just thought I'd
mention it if anyone confused.
Anyway, thanks Andrew for highlighting the really easy fix.
Steve
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy MWA on 09/02/2013 at 08:46 PM EDT
You are exactly correct, on the newer D100 the adjustment is on the left hand
side as you are in the seat facing forward. Many thanks for the complete and
concise explanation, you have made us all a little safer as we use the
equipment. Despite a few minor issues, my unit has delivered and the rear
bagger saves garden mulch very efficiently. Good product. Only thing that
bothers me is the farmer's addition of alcohol necessitating consumer addition
of a stabilizer to the fuel...no common sense any more.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Dan on 08/12/2013 at 08:25 PM EDT
Thanks, great info!

Has anyone found a fix for the 'jumping clutch'? I feel like I'm doing
wheelies sometimes when I start moving!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Andrew Pollack on 08/12/2013 at 09:20 PM EDT
There's no fix for the clutch. That's a design feature. It isn't so much a
clutch as an on-off switch. It's the way they built it. If you want a smooth
ride, take the green plastic cowl off, and use it to cover the red on on a
brand new MTD mower for less money. MTD use a belt driven CV transmission that
is far smoother, more reliable, less expensive, and easy to work on.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Dan on 08/14/2013 at 01:51 PM EDT
So does everyones L100 do wheelies? On another forum someone said that some
clutch problems are because the brake/clutch switchover point is too close, I'm
wondering if I back off the brake adjustment the clutch would be smoother.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Rick Armour on 08/22/2013 at 11:27 AM EDT
Put in a call to John Deere 2 days ago. I had not heard from them. I read
your article and was able to correct my problem. Thanks for posting!

Rick
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Miller on 08/24/2013 at 07:29 PM EDT
THANK you. This worked!!!!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy K B on 08/30/2013 at 12:27 PM EDT
BEST ADVICE I GOT SO FAR.....MINE DON'T STOP AT ALL...IN FACT IF YOU USE THE
PARKING BRAKE ON A HILL AND GET OFF ...IT WON'T BE THERE WHEN YOU COME BACK!
tHANKS FOR THE INFO....
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy chris on 09/06/2013 at 02:04 PM EDT
thanks for that! it's the one thing i couldnt figure out!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy mike on 09/08/2013 at 07:01 PM EDT
Thanks Andrew, I habe a newer LA 105 and the brakes are the same as the l100.
Worked great. Thanks for posting this.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy joseph on 09/11/2013 at 09:51 AM EDT
if you look down through the gear shift you could see everything clearly
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy juan R Escar on 10/30/2013 at 04:39 PM EDT
Had the same problem with mine. now it also will not allowed it to go in gear
till i move the brake by hand , looking to re adjust the brake and see if it
will fix that problem.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Ramos on 01/04/2014 at 04:01 PM EST
I've had my D100 mower for over a year and brake failure was ready occurring. I
looked up one the Internet and came upon your article and I must say, you are a
life saver! Thanks!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bob on 02/24/2014 at 01:15 PM EST
I had to laugh. Yes, pressing the brake does make me go faster. Mowing has been
fun lately, I live on a hill with lots of trees. Thanks for the leg work.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Richard Orchard, Australia on 03/17/2014 at 08:48 PM EDT
Thanks man! I wouldn't have even thought that was what that nut was for. Looked
like some kind of guide arm. It has a bend that acts as a ramp that pulls that
nut out, which actuated the brake.

Just a note- it's on the left hand side of mine if you're sitting on it looking
forward.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy kyeltoro on 03/20/2014 at 10:09 PM EDT
Thanks for the education on adjusting the brakes on the L100. I got my reality
check when I was trying to stop while going down my hill backwards!! Wild ride.
Thanks for shareing.
Bob
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Len on 04/11/2014 at 02:42 AM EDT
Thank you. I rolled my mower end over end, luckily it landed on it's wheels,
don't know how. Now that I have adjusted the brake and do not have to ride the
clutch it will not happen again. Thank you for your post.
PS; The mower has done less than 100hours, reckon brakes should work better
than that.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Herb Harvey on 04/23/2014 at 12:39 PM EDT
Thanks for the info. I also have been bouncing around the internet looking for
a "fix" for my faulty brake problems on my L105. I took
a "carnival" ride down a hill the first trip out this season. I just held on. I
will go and give it a quarter turn and see what happens.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Jerry on 04/24/2014 at 11:16 AM EDT
Thank you for the information. After reading your article, I went directly to
the adjustment nut and had the problem fixed in three minutes.
Thanks again.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Mike Propst on 04/26/2014 at 03:09 PM EDT
Andrew - thanks for the brake adjustment procedure. My two cents worth to add
is to do it on a incline. The non-running mower, in gear, with the clutch out
will sit there very nicely as you make the adjustment. And this provides a way
to tell when you have brakes adjusted correctly - i.e. not so tight you get
smoke!

Use the incline to test if brakes are adjusted too tightly by putting mower in
NEUTRAL and letting clutch out. If brakes are too tight (still rubbing when
totally let of), mower will not roll down hill. A properly adjusted brake will
allow mower to roll down hill in NEUTRAL with clutch out.

Adjust to were brakes JUST let go when released. The difference on my mower
between good and bad was about 1/16 of a turn - not much leeway there!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Donn on 05/18/2014 at 10:40 AM EDT
Thanks for putting this on the Internet
After gliding down a short slope (very close to my lake) I decided it was
better to hit the tree than to go in the lake .I think it's time to work on my
brakes.With this post you just made it a whole lot easier for me . You are
right about the fact that stepping on the clutch and brake speeds you up when
you don't have brakes.
thank you very much . Somethings just shouldn't be put off
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Jimmy on 05/18/2014 at 06:32 PM EDT
Got tired of riding lower gears to hold down the speed when going down steep
hills. Great tip on adjusting the brakes! Works on the LA105 too.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Robert Dean on 07/18/2014 at 12:00 PM EDT
Happy Dance !!! Thanks for your humor and advice on brake adjustment . I know
what you mean about freewheeling into the driveway or roadway. It can be risky.
Thanks again.
R A Dean
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy evan on 07/22/2014 at 12:10 PM EDT
thanks a bunch, I just bought this mower used and I don't have any brakes at
all, or flat ground to mow for that matter. This article really helped me.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy ann on 07/28/2014 at 08:09 PM EDT
I have been reading your article about your john deere brakes. we inherited a
model 180 but it didn't have any brakes at all. it's an older standard shift
model. the problem I'm having is that it has been sitting for so long that I
can't get the wheel off because the cap has never been removed (I'm thinking
since the day it was made). Does that cap just pop off or screw off. I have
sprayed some liquid wrench on it but it will not budge.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Anna on 08/01/2014 at 07:15 PM EDT
I really appreciate this. I fixed my brakes right up.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy marc on 08/15/2014 at 10:02 PM EDT
Thanks for time saver!!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Chris Sauceda on 08/25/2014 at 06:06 PM EDT
This worked like a charm. Thanks!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Ken McDaneld on 09/07/2014 at 03:01 PM EDT
Very helpful and thanks for the information, and time you spent!
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Tom Moore on 09/08/2014 at 12:40 PM EDT
You article would certainly be helpful for that model lawn tractor. But what
if you own a D100? Same problem...virtually no brakes when going down hill.
What's the solution?
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Andrew Pollack on 09/25/2014 at 10:35 PM EDT
Tom, the D100 is the same setup.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Mike Abbey on 09/25/2014 at 07:09 PM EDT
Thank you so very much. Tomorrow I'll have brakes on our place, which is one
hill after another. Did I say thank you Sir? If not please accept it now and
my appreciation....
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Phil on 10/03/2014 at 10:59 PM EDT
Thank you so much ! I had exactly the same issue. Im not that mechanically
minded so I asked them at John Deer they said I needed new brake shoes, which I
orded. Then I saw your post - a couple of screw turns later - brakes fixed !! I
cancelled the order and asked why they didnt suggest the adjustment - they
shrugged their shoulders and said they thought I would have already tried that !
Thanks again
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Mr Foust on 10/06/2014 at 04:04 PM EDT
Saved me a bill. Loved the article and agree with most. Wouldn't it be easier
to separate the functions? After all the pedal shaft runs to both sides under
the step?
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Bob Coiner on 10/06/2014 at 04:47 PM EDT
Kudos Andrew Now I just need to find out how to adjust the clutch so I don't
get whip lash

Thanks again
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Charles Spalding on 10/06/2014 at 05:05 PM EDT
Awesome! So easy but cant find it anywhere. Second on google search right after
d100 brake recall. Go figure . Thanks chuck
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Geoff on 10/09/2014 at 02:44 PM EDT
What a great blog! Especially helpful on the brake adjustment.

I shifted my JD L102 while moving and transmission went into sleep or so it
seemed. Turned out that shifting while moving moves the transmission shift
keys past the point where they shift the gears. They are not broken but
extended past the gears.
To fix this, you must disassemble the transmission, pull the gears apart and
reset/retract the shift keys. The transmission is robust but you must be very
careful when cracking open the case- the side with the screws up is the bottom
of the transmission. Turn over to open. Use your camera liberally and be very
aware of the washer positions and the copper bearings. Bearings have notches
which need to be aligned correctly for reassembly. You need form a gasket to
reseal the case.

This site provides a free copy of the Tecumseh-peerless transmission manual- no
viruses as of 10-9-14 on it.


http://www.wfmfiles.com/download/Tecumseh-Peerless_Motion_Drive_System_-_Transmi
ssions_&_Differentials(691218).pdf

Download and look up your transmission. JD L100 series is the peerless 800
series transmission.

Buy a quart of Bentonite grease on line- Look for it through general search,
Ebay and amazon are too expensive. You will need to augment the grease.

Buy a BOX of throw away gloves and several rolls of paper towels!

Good luck and if you take your time, it'll work out.
re: HOW-TO: John Deere L100 Lawn 42" Tractor/Mower Brake AdjustmentBy Nancy on 10/23/2014 at 10:56 AM EDT
Like many other, I take care of my equipment. However, does anybody have any
suggestions on how to reattach the gas shaft inside the gas tank? Mine has
fallen off inside the tank, and now out of commission. Right now my thinking
is to retrieve it with a vacuum cleaner (its at the front of the tank) and use
the curved needle plies to try to reattach??? Call me a novice but what is MDT
mower? very interested in purchasing.


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