4400 HST Safety Problem : John Deere Review  -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum and Review 4400 HST Safety Problem : John Deere Review -- John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum

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 05-13-2002, 18:04 Post: 38571
davebc
2002-05-13 18:04:22
Post: 38571
 4400 HST Safety Problem

Caution if you have a 4000 series Hydro with "cruise control"!

I have a 1999 JD 4400 HST with a potentially serious safety issue that showed up last winter. Our HST tractor has a useful feature the "cruise control", a 3 position switch on dash that holds the speed contol at your choice of speeds until you turn it off or hit the brake. Useful for field mowing/spraying to rest your foot from the constant pressure against the strong spring in the footfeed.

Our tractor is always stored outside.

Last winter during heavy, (normal in Oregon) rain a serious problem developed.
Apparently water leaked in to the switch and the cruise feature was activated without warning and without the ability to shut it off with the brake.
The really interesting part was this happened while my wife and I were cleaning horse stalls in quite close quarters.

This normally very controlable tractor, take your foot off and it stops, suddenly decided to "keep right on trucking" until I would either kill the engine with brakes or turn off the switch. Nearly hit the stall wall the first time it happened.

Happened several more times that day and the next few. The clue was the green indicator light for the cruise control would glow with different intensity and when it got bright enough, would lock the foot feed in position. Here we go again. Rapidly operating the switch would eventually get the light to dim enough to where the unit would release.

This also happened to our neighbor who feeds for us sometime and was trying to move some hay when he also went for an unexpected ride.

Tempory fix, cover the dash during the rainy season, the switch dries out and no further problem. There is no separate fuse to pull to disable the unit.
Complained to dealer, and spoke with the factory regarding this problem. Factory solution, "cut the wire" to the magnet that locks the footfeed and we will get back to you. (right!!!)

This was Feb/March and nothing more from factory.

Also filed a complaint with US Consumer Products Safety Board. They did a tele interview with me, but nothing more from them yet.
The switch is located on top of the dash and faces up to the rain.

Just be careful and keep that switch dry. Hopefully a better switch design or cover will be forthcoming.






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 05-14-2002, 06:45 Post: 38585
JDMan
2002-05-14 00:00:00
Post: 38585
 4400 HST Safety Problem

That's why I didn't by a new Ten Series.. to many electric switches now!!






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 05-14-2002, 08:22 Post: 38588
Peters

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 4400 HST Safety Problem

Unless it is totally sealed if its electric and exposed to the water it will eventually corrode and go bad.
I keep my machine in the barn but will let it stand out once in a while if I have an implement attached. Have been caught once in a while on the tractor in a sudden shower.
A totally sealed switch is expensive and if the case is plastic, normally ABS, the case is not sealed as the water will migrate through the plastic.
It seems that the JD people are taking leads from the lawntractor group. It is a little easier to store a lawntractor inside. I went looking for accessories the other day for the 4000 series and the info was all under lawn care in their site.






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 05-14-2002, 08:32 Post: 38589
DRankin



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 4400 HST Safety Problem

Sounds like you made all of the right calls. Hard to believe that anyone would be so cavalier about a potentially lethal design defect. You might keep one of those little squirt cans of WD 40 on the tractor. WD 40 has the unique property of displacing water without affecting the electrical conductance. It will “dry” the switch contact points and flush away any other materials that may have accumulated there. Good luck and keep us posted.






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 05-14-2002, 09:58 Post: 38595
treeman



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 4400 HST Safety Problem

It sounds like a similar switch and cruise setup as my New Holland TC33D. Thanks for the tip. I keep my tractor inside but I still wash it now and then.






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 05-14-2002, 10:27 Post: 38598
DavidJ
2002-05-14 00:00:00
Post: 38598
 4400 HST Safety Problem

I can't believe that all manufacturers don't put rubber booted switches in those places. I had a pushbutton on my JD that kept giving me probs until I replaced it with a sealed one.






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 05-14-2002, 13:00 Post: 38602
MRethics
2002-05-14 00:00:00
Post: 38602
 4400 HST Safety Problem

Please contact your dealer with this potentialy seriuos safty issue.
He can report it to the proper people at JD.

Believe it or not, Deere wants to here of these kinds of problems, in order to make needed improvements.

As much as we all want things to perform without any glitches, glitches still happen.

John Deere has a major program for saftey issues such as you described. If you have a good dealer, ( and I hope you do) he will know where to report it. And hopefully.....an improvement can be made. Maybe even at no cost to customers, JD has had several improvements over the years that have been added at no cost to old units. Covers to prevent jumping nustral switches on ag tractors for example.

Thanks for filling us in.






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 05-14-2002, 14:23 Post: 38603
Peters

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 4400 HST Safety Problem

MREthics
If you read Daves post on the problem you would realize that he has contacted his dealer and the dealer has reported it to the factory. The factory reported back with a temperary fix, which is basicly cut the wire to the switch so you now have no cruise feature on the tractor.
Dave has waited the proper or improper period of time considering the problem could be lethal to others, to have the junior engineer to write a service bulletin, look through the part bin for a better switch and supply Dave with the proper piece of equipment that should have been on the tractor initially. Dave is now worried as the grass is up to his ____ and he has the prospect of holding the spring while is foot goes to sleep for X hours as he cuts the grass or sprays the trees. Cutting the dealer BS.
Peters






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 05-15-2002, 10:57 Post: 38641
mrETHICS
2002-05-15 00:00:00
Post: 38641
 4400 HST Safety Problem

ok peters..point well taken.

A follow up to the dealer and the factory is definatly in order.

I know 60 days seems like a long time...and it is. But wheels sometimes turn slowely.

I can offer no excuse. No BS.

I was involved is a case simalar to this about 25 years ago.
to me.....the solution seemed simple.

I made several calls checking on progress and a solution. The problem was resolved....Finally! But I was educated on the process.

My only answer...and I will admit it is a feeble one....do not give up! Be adult about it...be tenacious.

In the case I was involved with, the company that made the valve was working on the problem within days after the complaint. Then the legal dept. became involved and would not let them start installing new valves untill the repalcement valve was tested in it's new application. This kind of testing took alot of logistics, and was six months before completion.

I am not standing up for anyone, nor putting anyone down. Just giveing my expeirience.

Consumer Products Safty Board was quick to listen , but appaerantly they don't work any faster than anyone else at these things.

We have sold several of these tractors, I have a couple customers who live close by and the tractors are not shedded when not in use. I warned them of the potential problem, and like the factory suggested, we cut the wire. To this writting, neither of the customers has expeirienced the problem described.

I am trying to follow up on this also.....I have a concern here too....my own customers!!!

Please keep me informed if anyone heres anything






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 05-15-2002, 13:13 Post: 38647
treeman



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 4400 HST Safety Problem

Yeh, wait till a little kid gets run over and see how fast they solve the problem!






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > John Deere Review Forum

Thread 38571 Filter by Poster:
davebc 2 | DavidJ 3 | DRankin 2 | Haras Lucero 1 | JDMan 1 | John R. 1 | kay 1 | MRethics 2 | Peters 5 | TomG 2 | treeman 2 |

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