Firing Up Your John Deere 35G After the Engine Gets Flooded With Water

  • Written by Arsalan
HD mechanic sitting next to mini excavator with text overlay saying “Firing up a water-flooded 35G engine

This is the third and final part of our series about fixing a John Deere 35G mini excavator engine flooded with water.

In part one we replaced all the fluids and filters of the water-flooded engine.

Part two, we took steps to drain water from the excavator engine cylinder.

Now we’re going to wrap up by finishing getting water out of the cylinders and starting the engine. We’ll also give you some essential troubleshooting tips to get the machine running again. It’s perfectly normal for things not to go flawlessly — our John Deere 35G excavator engine still had some issues — which is why knowing how to troubleshoot is an important part of DIY maintenance for heavy equipment.

Prefer to watch the video?

Step 1: Getting Water Out of The Cylinders

In our previous post, no water came out of the glow plug holes when we manually turned over the engine.

Hold the starter for some time and turn it over to push water out of the glow plug holes. The water will spray out of the glow plug holes. Now put all the glow plugs, fuel lines, and engine back together.

In a diesel engine, there’s a dish inside the piston. Water might be present inside this dish, but should be significantly less than when you started draining everything. As long as it can’t stop the piston from coming up or bend the connecting rod it’ll be fine.

After plugging the glow plug and hooking up the power rail, put the fuel rail back inside.

Because there is no fuel in the fuel line, just tighten up the injection pump side and leave the injector side. When you turn over the engine, the air will bleed out of these fuel lines. After the air bleeds out of the fuel line, you can tighten up the free ends.


Heavy mechanic turning over an engine, bleeding out the air from fuel lines

Step 2: Starting Up The Engine

Try to start up the engine now. When the engine fires up, smoke and steam come out of the exhaust due to the burning of excess water in the water-flooded engine.

You should warm it up and ensure the engine doesn’t produce any funny noises.

The excess water will come out as steam from the exhaust.


Excess water coming out as steam from the exhaust of a John Deere 35G Engine

Now, check the dashboard for any warnings. Look for any battery light that indicates it’s not charging. There could be a faulty alternator. If you have a fully submerged excavator engine as we did, expect the alternator to be rusty. Replacing the alternator is easy enough.

In the first part of this series, the sight glass was over full. After the engine is fired up, it sucks down a little hydraulic oil. We could start the machine safely as the hydraulic oil was more than enough.


Step 3: Drop The Cabin and Test The Functions

Lift the cab slightly to get the safety bar down. The safety bar stops it from being pulled up.


Heavy-duty mechanic lifting the cab of a John Deere 35G excavator to get the safety bar down

The cabin can now be lowered. Some of the functions we recommend testing are:

  • Opening and closing the door several times to check it locks properly.
  • Testing all the hydraulic functions to ensure it moves properly before firing up the machine.
  • Putting the machine in the check oil position and checking the throttle.
  • Lowering the windshield to check the windshield wiper.
  • Testing the heater and AC system.
  • Checking the horn.

If everything is working, put the cabin bolts back.


HD mechanic bolting down the cab of a John Deere 35G excavator

Fix back the front panel and the lower cabin glass.

Now the machine is ready for the next job.


Visit the FortisHD blog for more tips, tutorials, and guides about heavy equipment

Google Rating
Based on 7 reviews