Loader Backhoe Common Faults

case 580sle backhoe580 C,D,E,K shuttle problems (Borg Warner)

Q: My transmission is very weak in forward or will not drive in reverse?
Why can I only change the 4 speed with the engine turned off?

A: Both problems are usually caused by the failure of the forward clutch pack. If the drive is poor in forward it could be that the clutch pack has failed for either 1 of 2 reasons.

1) The torque convertor has failed & not allowed enough ‘slip’ to occur – when the loader is driven into a pile of dirt, not enough ‘slip’ or too much stall occurs & the forward clutch pack is eventually burnt out.

Broken bellville washer & worn out forward plates - Borg Warner Shuttle

Broken bellville washer & worn out forward plates – Borg Warner Shuttle

2) The belville washer in the forward pack breaks into pieces (due to heat or excessive clearances caused by worn plates) – this often causes the forward pack to sometimes lock up permanently, so when reverse is selected the transmission locks up trying to drive in forward & reverse at the same time.

Q: I don’t seem to have enough pushing power?
A: Here you need to ascertain whether the problem is engine power or transmission slipping. A ‘Stall Test‘ needs to be carried out to test the engine against the hydraulics & the transmission, to test the engine under different loads.

580/590 SLE;SM;SR POWERSHIFT (Clark)

Excessive clearances due to worn clutch plates - Clark Powershift

Excessive clearances due to worn clutch plates – Clark Powershift

Q: Why does my transmission not go into gear when cold & then once engaged be OK all day?
Why does my transmission hesitate between forward & reverse?
A: This is caused by excessive clearances in clutch packs due to worn plates & can only be repaired by overhauling.

Q: My transmission will not go into gear?
A: The powershift transmission is controlled by electrics/hydraulics/mechanical drive.
Most times here the problem lies in the electrics
Check – fuses & relays
– are lights flashing on LED readout? Take note of what they are – they are codes to assist diagnosis
– wiring continuity to control valve & shorts to ground
– FNR controller
– coil / solenoid resistance at transmission control valve

580 LE:M – SHUTTLESHIFT (Carraro)

Q: My transmission will not go into gear?
A: Shuttleshift is also controlled by electric/hydraulic/mechanical drive.
Check – fuses & relays
– solenoids on top of transmission clicking when FNR lever is moved
– wiring continuity to solenoids at transmission control valve
– modulator operation in transmission control valve.

Carraro 4wd Front Axles

Q: The king pin bearings have collapsed & worn the axle housing – Can it be repaired?
A: In most instances, YES ! Using the correct procedure ductile iron can be welded. We have carried out many “on-site” repairs to keep machines going that have lasted a number of years. For the guaranteed perfect job, workshop repairs can also be carried out – depending on time & your budget.


Q: Why does my engine start & then stop when I let go of the key?
A: The Cummins EC engines have an ‘in-line’ Bosch injector pump. The fuel shut off solonoid located behind the injector pump is probably at fault.
There are 2 coils built into this solenoid 1) a high energy one which pulls the stop lever – during ‘start’ & 2) a low energy one which then holds it in the run position.


Q: I have an oil leak around the swing cylinders I just can’t seem to find?
A: The closed end of each cylinder (at the back) has a welded ‘cap’. Look closely at this area & you may likely find it to be cracked.
To effectively repair these cracks the cylinders must be removed & stripped, the original weld completely removed & then the cylinder re-welded.

Q: The slew won’t slow down when I swing full left or right?
A: There is a roller which runs on a cam plate on the top pin of the swing tower. Check to see if it has any flat spots on it – they sometimes seize & need replacing. That small amount of wear, is enough to upset smooth operation of the backhoe. Adjustments to the cam lever may be needed – make small adjustments (1/4 of a turn) in between testing.


If you need any other question answered regarding your Case Loader Backhoe just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of the page & I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for visiting! If you have learned something here & would like to show some appreciation for answers to your questions – Donations are now accepted here.

59 thoughts on “Loader Backhoe Common Faults

  • I was pushing dirt with 580k 1989 and step on lever time lock wherls. My machine shuddered very hsrd. I stop and backed up as I did the machine made a terrible whack sound I could feel. Any idea what broke. I have looked at transaxel gears ..Look ok. I looked at shuttle gears are warn but ok. Did I break something in the axel . Help

    • Hello Barry,
      If you were using the diff lock pedal, while operating the loader, you may have damaged the transaxle. I would drain the transaxle oil, & assuming you have the series 1 axle, remove the rear cover & closely inspect the crown wheel & pinion. Look for broken teeth laying in the bottom of the housing.

  • Worked for a company that had about a dozen case backhoes as a mechanic. The diff lock was unhooked when we got a new machine because of this problem after it happened a couple times. The diff lock linkage gets rusted up and once applied will not release breaking the ringgear and pinion.

  • I have a 1988 super e backhoe and when you are driving down the road and you come to grade the machine slows down but the engine r p m stays up at2000 r p m .what would most likely be the problem

    • Hello Mel,
      You may not necessarily have a problem, depending on the size of the grade you would normally need to downshift to 3rd or even 2nd to get over it.
      You should carry out a stall test & compare the results.



  • pulsing travel in both directions and occasional sharp bump noise when left brake is applied prior to moving left brake recently replaced on case 580c

    • Hi Steve,
      I would be draining the transaxle oil & removing the rear inspection plate. It may very well have some differential problems. Also, raise the rear wheels off the ground, shut down the engine & turn the wheels by hand, there should be a constant amount of pressure to rotate the wheels. Any skipping indicates missing teeth……

  • I have a 1988 580e it will move in reverse but not forward after looking at the transmission and shuttle I found a electric cable hanging down from the top of shuttle shift but it was disconnected at the bottom and I cant locate where it plugs in.

    • Hello Scott, the electric wires on a 580E are for transmission cut-out operation. If forward is not working & the oil level is correct (checked while idling) the problem is usually with the forward clutch pack being worn out…… that will involve removing the shuttle for repairs.

  • Hi,
    Just found the page and looks very helpful!

    My 1997 580 LE has been parked up for a couple of weeks while having hydraulic hoses replaced.
    Just had her out in the paddock and it kept stopping in forward and reverse, as though kept going into neutral then moving again,
    To be honest it felt like there wasn’t enough transmission oil in it, I’ve checked under the hood and it appears fine,
    Any ideas please?

    • Hi Paul, the hydraulic oil is not connected to the transmission operation.
      I am assuming this is a shuttle shift transmission?

      If the oil level is correct at the transmission (checked while idling)- You need to verify the electrical operation of the controller. – Are the relays clicking while cycling FNR?
      Also check for loose fitting relays, particularly the neutral delay, it sits taller than all the other ones in the fuse box area.
      There is another possible cause, but I need to know what transmission you have to be certain.


      • All relays and fuses appear to be fine and not blown, the oil seemed fine until I checked whilst running, then it went to empty so I topped it up.

        It stops in both forward and reverse when it gets up to normal temperature, not even when under load, it just stops then has a think about it then seems to click back into gear until the next time it stops….

        • Hi Paul,
          You still have not advised me if you have a shuttle shift (FNR lever + 4sp gearshift on RH of steeringwheel) or a Powershift? (4sp on the FNR lever with red LED panel on dash)

  • Silly question but is the hydraulic tank linked to the transmission?
    Only asking as the hydraulic tank ran dry due to replacing hoses…

  • Hello Alrman,
    I am working on a mid 90s 590 turbo for my father and what started as an axle seal replacement became replacement of both right side axle bearings, brake plate, disc, wheel cylinder, diff lock and right side carrier bearing. As I removed the rear cover to remove the carrier I found that 10 of the 12 ring gear bolt heads were snapped off. the last two snapped off as I used them to push off the ring gear (crown gear). Any idea what would cause this? I also found a washer broken into about 15 pieces that when I put together must fit the pinion gear shaft in the transmission portion of the unit. The washer is maybe 1/16 or 1/8 tick and appears to be one of the thrust washers in the transmission. I can fix the transaxle but I’m very concerned about this loose washer. The ring and pinion gear teeth are in excellent shape. the unit seems to shift form forward and reverse ok but I wonder for how long. Any ideas would be welcome. Thanks!

    • Hi Mark,
      All the things you have mentioned are common issues with the phase 3 transaxle found in the 590 Turbo.
      The outer axle bearings suffer from a lack of lubrication.
      The original factory fitted crownwheel bolts did shear, but once replaced they didn’t seem to have any more issues.
      The broken washer you found, did it have a cup type shape to it? About 2″ od? If so they are from the differential spider gears. The original factory fitted ones had a pressed locating nib on them to stop them spinning. I’ve replaced dozens of them. If you order new ones from CNH there is a better design with extended tabs to stop them rotating.
      I would be looking at the LH axle bearings also…..


      Andrew (aka alrman)

      • This reply is a year old but still relevant.
        Thank you for your help. Every bit of your advice was spot on. The washers were dished with the nib, I ordered replacements, and the machine has been in service for the last year. Than you for the help and taking the time to write out your reply on Christmas.

  • I have a 590 super L and the 4wd does not engage. How does the transmission engage to power the front axle? The diff lock also doesn’t work and the transmission oil looks clean.

    • Hi Joe,
      To be able to give specific advice, I need to know if you have a Shuttle Shift or Powershift transmission.
      Either way the 4wd is electrically controlled. So check if power is going to & from 4wd switch & check fuses & relay operations.


        • Ok,
          The 4wd is permanently engaged by spring pressure, meaning the transmission requires 12v to the 4wd solenoid on the transmission control valve to engage 2wd.
          So you need to check the electrics properly, or else you have a problem inside the transmission.

  • Hi i have just got myself a 580 case back hoe and i am having problems when driving or pushing, as it feels like it lost all power in forward gears once it is warmed up but when it is in reverse it works fine??? once it comes down to an idle i can feel it engage but as soon as i give it some throttle it will throw out…. can someone help me please

  • Hello,
    Finding some great information on here. I recently purchased a case 580c with shuttle shift. My problem is it has no forward but reverse seems to work fine. I am wondering how I could check the torque converter do I can avoid replacement if it’s not neccessary.

    • Hi Shane,
      Generally this is a strong indication that the forward clutch pack is toasted.
      You should carry out a stall test using reverse to check the torque converter – see here http://www.alrearthrep.com.au/backhoe-stall-test-specs/
      The RPM shouldn’t drop below around 1900revs under full load – if so the converter will need repair…… as well as the shuttle…..
      If you pull the small oil pan it will usually show metal contamination from the damage to the forward clutch pack.


  • i have a 580m series 11 backhoe that the hydrolics seem to take all the engine power like a valve is stuck or something got any suggestions

    • Hi Richard,
      If something was ‘stuck’ hydraulically, you would be having difficulty starting the engine.
      Also, you would likely hear the relief valve opening & releasing pressure.
      Does the problem exist while operating the loader or the backhoe?
      If it is both, I would be checking the main relief pressure to ensure it isn’t set too high.



  • I have a 1998 590 super L series 2 backhoe that keeps losing prime for the fuel.
    I can bleed it and it will start right up and run for about ten seconds and its out of fuel.
    I have bled it many times and all the air is getting out but the same thing keeps happening.
    I have changed both fuel filters.
    I have been researching comments here and other places trying to find a solution.
    If the fuel shut off solenoid is bad as was talked about on this site would it lose the prime or do I have a cracked line going to the tank or something else?
    I would think if I had a crack in the line it would be leaking fuel because the first time I did this I didn’t use a tee I just ran from a 5 gallon bucket of fuel to the pump line before the filter and the other end coming from the tank was shooting out fuel while running.
    I put a tee in at the filter and ran a line back to the 5 gallon bucket and it starts right up after priming so I don’t think its the solenoid.
    I tried this just to get it out of the spot it was in so I could try to work on it and it never shut off while in the bucket.
    I also raised the rear up and drained about 3 gallons of fuel from the tank to see if it was dirty and it wasn’t.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Hello Scott,
      I wouldn’t think it was the fuel solenoid either.
      I would be checking

      1) in-line fuel filter for blockage (as you have done)
      2) clearing pick up in tank by blowing compressed air down fuel line at lift pump back to tank
      3) checking the lift pump screen for blockage – located under/behind the inlet fitting

      Cheers from DownUnder


  • Thank you for the information I will try that and let you know the results. Do I need to drop the tank to get to the line coming out? I have tried to find it from underneath with no luck as there are a lot of different lines running in the same area that do not want to move.

  • That did the trick. I am so glad that there are still some decent people out there like yourself airman. Thank you and the rest on here for doing what you are doing, sharing your knowledge with others. I try to learn something new every day and teach someone something new every day. The world would be a much better place if more people practiced this concept and the younger generation would be a lot more educated in life skills. I have a little over 6,000 hours on this machine is there anything specific I should be looking to do or watch out for.
    Thanks again,

    • Good to hear you got it sorted!

      TIP – keep an eye on your front axle king pin bearings – if the wheels wobble a little when they are raised off the ground, you need to inspect the lower king pin bearings & replace them BEFORE they collapse & chew out the main axle housing 😉

  • Hi Andrew and the entire ALR Team,

    First off, I am quite impressed by the knowledge and honesty of this website and yourself. I’m glad I stumbled across it. As a young mechanic I refute from using the internet to diagnose but in this CASE your info has been absolutely accurate.

    Got asked by the boss to build a shuttle shift out of a super K. It had no engagement I was told and no one can offer me any history or symptoms on the machine. I didn’t even get to remove it. Found convertor neck and pump to be worn. Forward clutches also burnt, replaced forward clutch inner hub on input shaft as well. CNH Gasket, seal kit, pump assembly, clutches and a credible reman convertor. I ended up doing the reinstall and found some tape on shifter solenoid wire so I repaired the wire. Big bulky solenoid, antique looking.

    Now I have ranges and gears but I cannot seem to shift. I can hit the cut out button while moving which does seem to disengage me but not sure if it is supposed to be enough to allow me to find my next gear. Transaxle grinds when trying to shift. It was once maybe twice I somehow went through all 4 gears. I am certain that my shuttle shift transmission isn’t disengaging while in neutral range. It creeps forward in neutral. Do I have multiple problems here? I’m wondering about my shuttle shift valve having been overlooked?

    Should I be looking into my shift solenoid and maybe checking it’s resistence? Do I have to take a closer look at my shifter spool assembly? Have you heard of anything pertaining to something similar? Any leakdown tests that you know of or necessary? Do I ask too many questions?

    Eh Mate, I appreciate chewin the fat with ya… Muskoka, Ontario, Canada says hello and keep well! Thanks for considering, Andrew.

    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for the positive website feedback!
      I just need to be certain of the shuttle we are talking about here. does the transmission 4sp shifter come through the dash OR up through the floor?
      Just that you say it’s a Super K – I’m thinking one type (later), then when you mention the bulky cut out solenoid I’m thinking something early serial number pre JJG 20000??

      I really need to be certain of what you have, to give specific advice – a serial number will help.


      Andrew (aka alrman)

  • Hi

    I recently picked up a 580 sk from a friend, verified hrs 2300 and it makes a whining sound occasionally in gear, forward or reverse that sounds like a auto trans pump going out but does it intermittently and only when warm. I didn’t get a manual with the thing but have checked the transaxile fluid, but not with the engine running? It was clean and full when parked and not a drop of oil under the machine anywhere. I’m not sure what year, will have to check the serial # . I’m not near the machine at the moment, but wonder if this is a simple obvious situation but understand nothing mechanical is? The trans filter looks relatively recent from the outside but don’t have a clue when last changed and don’t know if this could cause whining anyway?

    Thanks for the help John.

    • Hi John,
      I wouldn’t be too concerned (without actually hearing the noise…..)
      The 580SK transaxle was a noisy transmission – when they were still under warranty, we found some models made more buzzing type noises than others, but whatever was done to try to stop those noises was a waste of time & money – in the end they still made the same noises…..
      Transmission charge pumps will not really get noisy, as such, when they get tired, they begin to lose oil pumping capacity & their ability to build pressure quickly from a cold start.

      Yes, the phase 3 transaxle (4SP gearshift from dash) oil should be checked with the engine stopped – I usually check them a minute or two after shutting down the engine – when the oil cooler & convertor will still be filled with oil.


  • have a 590 super M 3200 hrs .4 speed shuttle shift F N R lever on left of column , sometimes the reverse wont engage . it will work several times in a row and then it wont . moving lever between forward neutral reverse it eventually engages. what should i check thanks

    • Hello Wayne,
      The problem you have is most likely electrical, but that’s not always the case.
      The electrical control is a little difficult to explain over the internet.
      Does the back up alarm sound (if still connected) when reverse is selected & fails to drive?
      The FNR lever could be at fault, as with any of the control relays.
      Make sure the relays/fuses are properly inserted, particularly the larger neutral timer relay, -also worth swapping with a new one.
      Checks need to be done of all the wiring harness on an older machine too.
      Then there is a possibility of a broken circlip for the modulator inside the transmission control valve …….
      That should keep you busy for a while – start with the simple things first.
      Oh, & I assume the oil level is being checked with the engine idling?

      Good luck


  • Hi my name is Keith
    What I have is a 98 580 sl shuttle shift Carrara transmission
    After getting my machine I focused more on the engine fluids more so than any thing else
    That means I changed the engine oil and filter but also checked other fluids which I were fine on there levels
    After about two weeks of using it I like lost all movement functions so I drained the trans fluid and pulled the internal metal filter out which was so clogged up with dirty rusty solid debris from years of neglect
    I didn’t get a owners manual with so I failed to find the screw on filter on top right side of trans so it didn’t get changed
    Put new trans oil in and clean internal filter and I thought I was on a new machine
    Shifted for fine for several months no problems until couple days ago it just all at once started acting up wouldn’t engage forward or reverse when pushing the pedal down or throttle up
    But if you let off and it would idle back down it would engage itself and start moving on its own but hit the throttle it would kick back out
    Did that half a dozen times but stopped doing that and won’t do anything at all now
    Changed trans fluid again cleaned internal replaced other trans filter too and nothing
    Relays seem to be clicking and working just don’t know if there is a sequence that I can do to check them or what does anyone think went wrong with it ? Seemed like the trans was very very strong after the first cleaning just don’t know what went wrong! Any thoughts?

    • Hey Keith,
      My first thoughts are that the transmission charge pump has undergone a thrashing with the condition of the old oil.
      You need special tooling to properly flow test it.
      But, if it is actually pumping any oil, the transmission oil level will drop after you start the engine.
      If it doesn’t, well it’s not moving any oil.
      I have seen the control valves get kinda clogged up when the oil is as bad as what you describe, so it might be worth pulling it off & giving it a clean out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath…….

      Good luck


      • Thank for the info and taking the time to respond to me. I don’t have a shop manual but I take it the control valves are located behind the solenoid with the square housing and bolt through the middle on top of the transmission. In the middle of the two round solenoids which I believe to be the forward and reverse solenoids when checking the relays and solenoids for activity I noticed the right round one guessing the forward one when I was activating it upon touching it for vibration or movement i noticed it was almost to hot to touch it on the backside of it is this normal?
        Vent also was also covered and clogged with dirt.
        Also could you explain the over ride procedure
        That you can do with the shuttle lever in case of an emergency to move the machine out of the way or a little further for what ever reason you need to I didn’t understand it fully reading out of the owners manual.
        Thanks again for your time and knowledge on this I pray you will be blessed !

        • Hi again,
          Yes it’s normal for the coils to warm a little during use, but without actually feeling it I can’t say if your’s is normal…..
          The over ride procedure you are speaking of is new to me. As far as I know there is no such option on a shuttleshift L.
          If the oil was so dirty the valve & charge pump will need looking at & if the transmission is out of the machine to do the pump – I would open it right up & check the shuttle & install new bearings.
          This type of repair is beyond the average home mechanic without a service manual.



  • Alrman,
    All of the info you have posted seems to be very helpful. I have a CASE 590 turbo with the series 3 transaxle. The shuttle shift works fine but the shifter is stuck in 1st gear. I disconnected the linkage from the shifter to the exterior actuators on the housing to try to move them by hand but only the 3/4 works. the 1/2 is stuck. I did this with the machine off the ground. My break master cylinders also drain over night. When they have fluid the breaks work but chatter. Any help is appreciated.

    Thank You,

    • G’day Fred,
      Unfortunately, your transaxle could be in a bad way. If you have no external oil leaks in the brake master cylinder circuits, the oil is leaking past the brake piston seals.
      Plus, if you have a shudder happening, that could indicate there is a problem with worn out brake discs.
      Start by draining the oil & seeing what it looks like. If there is silvery looking sparkles in it, that will confirm my guesswork.

      If this is the situation you have, the contaminated oil may have affected the bearings or synchro assembly in the gearbox, causing your 1st gear issue….. sorry mate.

      See one of my posts – 580SK Brake Repair.



  • I have a Case Hoe 580M 2axle Powershift. 2003. The Backhoe lacks power when driving. Brake system Hyd test: Brake RPM against Hydraulics is as follows. No load 2460RPM; Full RPM 4th Gear + Brake+ Load 2000 RPM; Full RPM 4th + Brake + Bucket on stops 1650RPM. Would this mean I have a clutch Problem. Regards James.

    • Hi James,
      These machines were never powerful to drive on the road, just look at a hill & you would need to downchange to third gear & soon be in second.
      Those specs indicate fairly normal rpms under those loads.
      With the age of the machine, it may possibly be a little tired.
      How many hrs are on the clock?
      Do you know if the transmission has been rebuilt before? Still original?
      Any hesitation or delay when cold & fwd or rev is engaged?
      Does the machine spin rear wheels when driving into a heap using 1st & 2nd gear? (2wd)
      If it still does that you can’t really ask much more of it.


  • G’day!
    I have a Case 580M, 2WD, new to me, that frequently refuses to move backwards and forwards. I find that if I lift the bucket high and then roll it back and forth (to dump position), jarring the machine with a good hard whack as it hits the end of its range of motion, I can get the machine to go back into gear. Obviously, this is not a very nice way to get things working. What should I look at to find the fault?

    • Hello Walter,
      If you look inside the fuse/relay box, you will see one relay that is taller than the others. It is a timer relay for neutral – make sure this is properly inserted.
      I have seen them work their way out while doing rough excavation – like digging shale or rock.
      It’s just a hunch, sounds like something is not making good contact – you just have to locate where that is…..

      Hope this helps

  • Hi
    My name is John
    I have a 1998 case 580 sle for some time the easy ride for front bucket has not been working.
    I lifted the digger up by the front bucket and took apart one of the grey plugs that go into the metal two solenoids
    that operate the easy ride control valve I put a wire into one side of plug then earthed it to the digger I left switch
    on and the bucket then dropped as it should but it won’t work when plug joined together I also took apart the second plug going to second solenoid but no power was in this one Do you think its a bad earth in the solenoid.
    Is there meant to be power to the two solenoids Should I take of the 4x alan screws of both solenoid and look inside Will I need new solenoids My Tel no is 07624 439957 oe 01624 880561

    • Hello John,
      It would seem you have an earth problem.
      The ride control was fitted as an option, so the wiring harness should be separate from the main loom.
      Follow the wires from the two solenoid plugs back to their loom & there should be another wire coming from that loom – with an eyelet on it – it is the earth wire for the ride control electrics.
      Follow that wire & look to see if it has been damaged in any way & check to where it has been grounded to be sure it is making good, clean contact.
      Here is a link to a picture of what I am talking about –
      There should not be a reason to look inside the solenoid valves. Maybe run a new ground wire if all else fails.

      Mate, I live in Australia!
      Hope this helps you,

  • Hello, I have a 1998 Case 580 sle ,powershift left hand side steering wheel, recently when first starting after sitting for awhile it would take awhile to engage reverse, after using for ten minutes or so would come good, went to use this morning and have reverse but no forward drive, it won’t engage? Checked solenoids near fusebox and seems to be working. When I turn the engine off and try to engage gears I can hear clicking sound from the side of gearbox when reverse is engaged but nothing when trying to engage forwards??

    • Hi Robert,
      The diagnostics of the powershift transmission can be quite complicated.
      Having a lack of reverse when cold is a bad mechanical symptom…. however the fact you now have a new issue with forward, may possibly be an electrical issue.

      Is there a continually flashing light on the display screen when you engage forward? or reverse for that matter?
      Have you tried swapping the forward & reverse relays to see if that makes any difference?
      Not sure what your electrical skills are, but there are solenoids in the transmission control valve that may also need testing.


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