If you are looking for a mid to high-end compact tractor that can easily handle large plots of land and heavy workloads, the Kubota l3301 is one to consider.
It features a 33hp, direct injection, water-cooled diesel engine. A near 1.5tons of lifting potential and a host of comfort and accessibility features make operating the machine a smooth and enjoyable experience.
However, should you purchase this machine, some issues that users should be aware of can crop up.
So today, we’ll walk you through all the main problems you’ll run into as an l3301 owner and how to fix them. Then we’ll share our thoughts on whether, despite these issues, this machine is worth considering as your next tractor purchase.
The most common problems with the Kubota L3301
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If you’re familiar with other models within the Kubota range, you will recognize many of these problems as they can be pretty universal across the l-range.
Most of these issues can be circumvented with a solid maintenance routine without needing to head to an expensive mechanic for repairs.
The most common problems you’ll contend with on the l3301 are engine and steering related. So let’s take an in-depth look at these problems and how you should fix them.
1. Engine issues
It’s always a worrying issue to be faced with, as so many things can trigger an engine shutdown. It can be difficult to diagnose if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The good news is that it can often be a minor and fixable issue causing the engine to stop. The most common cause of this is insufficient power from the high-pressure hydrostatic transmission system.
Also, things like overheating, an issue with the direct injection nozzles, or something as simple as a wobbly electrical connection not being able to supply power to its relevant part can also contribute to this problem.
Here’s a rundown of all the things you should check to restore the engine to solid working order:
- Inspect the engine belts: The engine fans are vital to keeping the engine cool and running efficiently. Sometimes, the small belts that power the fans will either fall or break off. These should be inspected and either re-attached or replaced accordingly. This is an easy thing you can do by yourself.
- The condenser becomes blocked: The radiator is another essential part of engine cooling. It requires a nice, steady flow of air to keep the machine cool. But over time, dirt and debris can start to clog this up, thus blocking airflow and increasing engine temperatures. Be sure to clean this out so it can pull in air unobstructed.
- Compromised radiator cap: The cap is vital in maintaining pressure within the cooling system and keeping all fluids at optimal temperature. Over time this spring-loaded cap can weaken and become compromised, resulting in fluid leaks or a loss of pressure. This cap should be inspected and replaced if it is not functioning correctly.
2. The Kubota l3301 won’t start
It’s already troublesome to have an engine fail on you mid-way through running. But it’s extra frustrating if you can’t start the thing first.
If this happens for you, it’s usually down to a battery, fuel issue, or a clogged fuel filter.
Before we inspect the internal components, the first thing to do is double-check that the transmission gear shift lever is in the correct spot, as this will prevent the tractor from starting.
Place the shift lever into neutral and then double-check the throttle lever is not forward. Check the throttle, and you may find this will start the Kubota diesel engine. If not, keep reading!
The next thing to check is the battery. Firstly check all the electrical connections to the battery to ensure nothing has become loose, or any connections have become compromised.
Check for corrosion or rust on any connections and clean/repair them accordingly.
You should also ensure the battery has been adequately charged, mainly if the machine has been in storage for several months. The battery will have drained itself when stored for prolonged periods, such as through the winter.
If you’re finding that even after you’ve charged the battery up, it’s still running out of juice very fast, there’s a good chance the battery is dying and will need to be replaced.
The next thing to check is the fuel. First of all, check there is adequate fuel in the tank. If it’s low, then you can top it off.
But you should also be aware of the quality of fuel you’re using, as well as how old that fuel is. If it’s been sitting in the tank for a long time, you might be better off discarding it and filling it up with fresh, high-quality fuel.
You should also check both the air or fuel filter or air filter intakes. Over time these can become clogged up with debris and restrict the amount of air that can make it into the engine. This can easily throw off the fuel-to-air ratio resulting in the Kubota diesel engine not starting.
Finally, you should double-check all the fuses to ensure none have blown.
3. Steering wheel issues
Some users have reported experiencing a lack of resistance while trying to steer or an overly resistant steering wheel. This can be very frustrating, particularly when navigating tighter areas.
The most common cause of this is due to a low oil level. So the first thing to check is that the oil level is adequately filled up. Also, make sure the oil isn’t too old either.
The next thing to check is the steering cylinder which may have become damaged or experienced a malfunction. This will need to be repaired by a qualified repair man and is not recommended for home service.
Likewise, you should check the steering pump as it can become worn over time and need servicing/repair.
Finally, you should check that both the steering fluid and hydraulic oil levels are sufficient, or this will affect the steering capabilities of the mower.
4. Issues with the loader system
If you are experiencing the l3301 loader operating very slowly when raising/lowering the loader without the dump/roll function simultaneously. This is usually a user error caused by the level being fully up. To fix this, you should move the 3ph lever to another position to see if it corrects the issue.
If that doesn’t work, you should consider adjusting the 3-point hitch.
5. Transmission issues
While not a super common issue with l3301, some users have reported that when they try to reverse the machine, it shifts hard or slips.
This usually warns that it’s time to inspect and service the transmission system.
As this is such an integral part of the operation of the tractor, we do not recommend servicing this yourself, and you should take the machine to a Kubota dealer for a proper inspection.
6. Issues with the fuel pump
Due to the high-pressure nature of the fuel pump, over time, it can get worn and is a common piece that needs to be replaced. If the motor is not cranking, you should inspect the fuel pump.
But this can also be caused by using the wrong fuel type, in which case you should flush the fuel system and fill it up with new, high-quality fuel.
If your fuel pump is experiencing issues, it can throw off the fuel injection timing preventing the engine from running.
Here’s how to go about replacing the fuel pump if you need to do this yourself:
- Ensure the mower is parked on a level service with the parking brake on so you are safe while working on the machine.
- Also, ensure the ignition is turned off.
- Open the hood, and you will see the fuel pump below the shroud on the left side of the engine.
- Tuel the fuel valve to the off position.
- Two clamps are holding the fuel lines on either side of the pump. Slide the back using a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
- Remove the fuel lines.
- Now there will be 2 x ⅜” bolts holding the pump on the engine. Undo these and slide the pump off.
- Replace this with the new one and re-attach by following these steps in reverse.
7. Air makes its way into the fuel lines
Some users who have encountered difficulties getting the Kubota tractor engine started have diagnosed the issue as air making its way into the fuel line.
If this happens, you should bleed the fuel system for air and replace the fuel lines accordingly, paying particular attention to any breaches on the connection points or damaged fuel lines.
Replace anything compromised to ensure you have a safe and reliable fuel injection system.
8. The engine doesn’t start in cold weather
While we are sure that users are eager to get working on a cold morning, you can often be stuck in place with the engine not starting because the temperature is too low.
What should you do?
The first thing to do is ensure the fuel you use is adequate for cold weather. Specific diesel blends (sometimes referred to as ‘seasonal diesel blends’ as they are designed for cold weather) will have some additives which allow them to remain liquid and functional in the cold weather.
Once you have got the machine to start, you should let it idle for 5-10 minutes before starting your work so the entire system can get time to warm up.
In rarer cases, the fuel injectors might be dirty and require inspecting.
Kubota l3301 problems: Are they a deal-breaker?
Kubota is, without a doubt, a trusted and popular brand that users generally review well.
However, upon deep-diving into the user reported problems with the l3301 Kubota tractor. We can see there are a lot of ‘one-off’ issues that seem to occur for users.
Often, tractors will experience the same problems that you can address quickly with a solid maintenance routine.
However, if these unique problems are a common occurrence on the l3301, you may run into non-user serviceable issues quite often, costing you money.
So for that reason, we recommend purchasing the machine with caution. If there is one you are considering buying in your area, we strongly recommend seeing it in person with someone knowledgeable about Kubota tractors to ensure the one you are buying is solid and well-maintained.