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I Have a Three-point Hitch Problem

We want to show you how to diagnose any three-point hitch issues that may arise.

There are 3 types of hydraulic lift problems.

They won’t go up. They won’t stay up. Or they won’t go down.

The following information is meant to help you troubleshoot your issue --- not fix it.

To fix it, contact your local tractor dealer or mechanic.


Always make sure your tractor loader is working properly.

If so, this rules out a pump problem.

Now, if you find that the loader is not working, then something is wrong with the pump. Typically, this is caused when someone unhooks the hoses while the tractor is running. This automatically kills the pump.

It could also be a problem with the oil supply. This includes being out of oil, or a dirty screen or filter. If the oil is full, and the filters are clean, you may need to remove the pump and inspect it for damage

If you don't have a loader or the loader is functioning, and you have a clean filter and plenty of oil ---- then you need to check the linkage going to the valve. Make sure that a pin or rod has not fallen out and that the lever moves to the valve.

Now, if everything we just discussed is ok, then you need to do some in-depth troubleshooting or contact a mechanic. You may have a bad three-point control valve.


Lift the three-point all the way up.

Close the lock out valve. It is typically located between your knees, just under the seat.

Next, shut off the tractor.

If the three-point seeps down, then you probably have a bad lift piston “o” ring. When you closed the lock out valve, you have eliminated the valve and everything else in the system. If the three-point stays up, then you likely have a problem with the three-point control valve.

Three-Point Up and Won't Go Down

Be sure the lock out valve is open.

If the valve is open, make sure that all the linkages between the valve and handle are intact. Now, if everything looks good, then unhook any implements from the three-point.

NOTE: Do not start the tractor.

Unscrew the entire lockout valve assembly.

If you do this with anything on the three-point, the oil will shoot out with a lot of force --- causing damage or injury.

Gently push down on the lift arms. There is a small valve that will pop out of the hole, so be sure you have something in place to catch it.

If you get a stream of oil shooting out of where the lockout valve was installed, and the three-point goes down, then you have a blockage somewhere in the hydraulic valve system. This is normally a piece of “o” ring, gasket, or debris that has plugged an orifice in a valve. You will need to start checking valves for obstructions, including the valve you just removed.

So, if you remove the lock out valve and the three-point does not go down, then you have a mechanical binding somewhere in the lift piston or rock shaft area. This is typically caused by water in the oil or condensation causing rust on the lift cylinder walls. That can cause the piston to stick.

Typically, the cylinder walls will rust above, or below, the normal piston travel range. If the piston is forced higher or lower than it normally travels, it will get wedged into this rusty area and stick. You will need to remove the lift piston and inspect the cylinder walls and piston for scarring or damage.

If you need any further help or have any questions about a three-point hitch, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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