5 Common Gehl R220 Problems (And Possible Fixes)

The Gehl R220 skid steer is a versatile and powerful machine widely used in construction, agriculture, and landscaping industries. With its compact design and robust features, the R220 is a popular choice for various applications. However, like any piece of machinery, it is not immune to issues that can arise over time. In this blog post, we’ll explore five common problems that Gehl R220 owners may encounter and provide practical solutions to address them.

A Brief Overview of the Gehl R220 Skid Steer

The Gehl R220 is a mid-sized skid steer loader known for its agility, maneuverability, and lifting capacity. Equipped with a powerful engine and advanced hydraulic system, it can handle a wide range of tasks, from lifting heavy loads to operating various attachments such as buckets, forks, and augers. Its compact size allows it to navigate tight spaces with ease, making it an invaluable asset on construction sites, farms, and landscaping projects.

Importance of Understanding Common Problems and Solutions

As with any equipment, the Gehl R220 may experience mechanical issues that can impact its performance and productivity. Understanding these common problems and knowing how to address them is crucial for maintaining uptime and maximizing the lifespan of the machine. By being proactive and knowledgeable about potential issues, owners can minimize downtime, reduce repair costs, and ensure optimal performance of their Gehl R220 skid steer. In the following sections, we’ll delve into five common problems faced by Gehl R220 owners and provide practical solutions to resolve them effectively.

5 Gehl R220 Problems Include Solutions

Problem 1: Hydraulic System Leaks

Description of the Issue

One of the most common problems experienced with the Gehl R220 skid steer is hydraulic system leaks. Hydraulic systems play a crucial role in the operation of the skid steer, powering various functions such as lifting and tilting the loader arms, as well as controlling attachments. When a hydraulic system develops a leak, it can lead to decreased performance, loss of fluid, and potential safety hazards.

Potential Causes

There are several potential causes of hydraulic system leaks in the Gehl R220:

  1. Worn Hydraulic Hoses: Over time, hydraulic hoses can become worn or damaged due to friction, exposure to harsh conditions, or age. This wear and tear can result in cracks, punctures, or leaks along the hose.
  2. Loose or Damaged Fittings: Hydraulic fittings connect hoses and other components within the system. If these fittings become loose, corroded, or damaged, they may not provide a proper seal, leading to leaks.
  3. Faulty Seals or O-Rings: Seals and O-rings are essential for preventing fluid from escaping the hydraulic system. If these seals become worn, dried out, or damaged, they may fail to effectively contain the hydraulic fluid, resulting in leaks.
  4. High Operating Pressure: Excessive pressure within the hydraulic system can put strain on hoses, fittings, and seals, increasing the risk of leaks. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a malfunctioning relief valve or a clogged filter.


1. Inspecting Hydraulic Hoses and Fittings

Regularly inspecting hydraulic hoses and fittings is essential for identifying potential leaks early on. Look for signs of wear, damage, or corrosion, such as cracks, bulges, or leaks. Replace any worn or damaged hoses and tighten loose fittings to prevent leaks from occurring.

2. Repairing or Replacing Damaged Components

If a leak is detected, it’s crucial to promptly repair or replace the damaged components to prevent further fluid loss and potential damage to the hydraulic system. This may involve replacing worn hoses, repairing damaged fittings, or installing new seals or O-rings.

3. Regular Maintenance Schedule

Implementing a regular maintenance schedule for the hydraulic system can help prevent leaks and prolong the lifespan of components. This includes checking fluid levels, inspecting hoses and fittings, replacing filters, and performing any necessary repairs or adjustments. By staying proactive with maintenance, operators can minimize the risk of hydraulic system leaks and ensure optimal performance of the Gehl R220 skid steer.

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Problem 2: Electrical Malfunctions

Symptoms of Electrical Issues

Electrical malfunctions within the Gehl R220 can present themselves through various symptoms, indicating underlying problems within the skid steer’s electrical system. These symptoms include:

  • Failure to Start: One of the most obvious indications of an electrical issue is when the Gehl R220 fails to start upon turning the ignition key. This could signal problems with the battery, starter motor, solenoid, or other electrical components in the starting system.
  • Intermittent Power Loss: The skid steer may experience intermittent power loss while in operation. This can manifest as sudden engine stalling or the loss of electrical functions such as lights, gauges, or auxiliary attachments.
  • Dim or Flickering Lights: Dim or flickering lights on the dashboard or exterior of the skid steer can be a clear indicator of electrical issues. This may suggest a weak battery, faulty alternator, or poor electrical connections.
  • Erratic Instrument Readings: Inaccurate or erratic readings on the skid steer’s instruments, such as the fuel gauge, temperature gauge, or hour meter, can be a symptom of underlying electrical malfunctions affecting sensor inputs or instrument clusters.

Possible Reasons Behind Electrical Malfunctions

Several factors can contribute to electrical malfunctions in the Gehl R220:

  1. Faulty Battery: A weak or dead battery can prevent the skid steer from starting or cause electrical components to operate erratically. Battery issues may stem from age, improper maintenance, or excessive drain from electrical accessories.
  2. Loose or Corroded Connections: Loose or corroded battery terminals, wiring connections, or ground connections can disrupt the flow of electricity and lead to electrical issues. Corrosion buildup can inhibit conductivity and result in poor electrical contact.
  3. Blown Fuses or Relays: Blown fuses or faulty relays can interrupt the electrical circuits responsible for powering specific components or systems in the Gehl R220. Fuses and relays protect electrical components from damage due to overcurrent or short circuits.
  4. Worn Wiring Harnesses: Wiring harnesses are susceptible to wear, damage, or fraying over time, especially in harsh operating conditions. Damaged wiring harnesses can cause electrical shorts or open circuits, leading to malfunctions in the skid steer’s electrical system.
  5. Faulty Sensors or Switches: Malfunctioning sensors or switches, such as those responsible for monitoring engine parameters or controlling electrical functions, can cause electrical malfunctions. Sensor failures may result from damage, contamination, or electrical faults.

Troubleshooting Steps

To diagnose and resolve electrical malfunctions in the Gehl R220, follow these troubleshooting steps:

1. Checking Battery Connections

Start by inspecting the battery connections for tightness and corrosion. Disconnect the battery cables and clean any corrosion from the terminals using a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner. Ensure that the connections are securely tightened to the battery terminals to ensure good electrical contact. If the battery is weak or dead, consider charging or replacing it as needed.

2. Testing Fuses and Relays

Using a multimeter set to continuity or resistance mode, test the fuses and relays in the Gehl R220’s electrical system. Remove each fuse or relay and check for continuity or resistance across the terminals. Replace any blown fuses or faulty relays with new ones of the appropriate rating.

3. Inspecting Wiring Harnesses

Carefully inspect the wiring harnesses throughout the skid steer for signs of damage, wear, or fraying. Pay close attention to areas where the wiring harnesses may be exposed to rubbing, pinching, or excessive heat. Repair or replace any damaged wiring harnesses to ensure proper electrical connections and prevent further issues.

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Problem 3: Engine Performance Issues

Signs of Engine-Related Problems

Engine performance issues in the Gehl R220 can manifest through various signs, indicating potential problems with the skid steer’s powerplant. These signs include:

  • Reduced Power Output: The engine may struggle to deliver the necessary power for operating attachments or moving the skid steer efficiently.
  • Rough Idling: The engine may idle erratically, exhibiting uneven or unstable RPMs, which can be felt and heard by the operator.
  • Excessive Exhaust Smoke: Abnormal amounts of exhaust smoke, whether black, white, or blue, can indicate issues with fuel combustion, oil consumption, or coolant leakage.
  • Difficulty Starting: The engine may have difficulty starting, requiring multiple attempts or prolonged cranking before it fires up.

Common Causes of Engine Performance Issues

Several factors can contribute to engine performance issues in the Gehl R220:

  1. Fuel System Problems: Issues within the fuel system, such as clogged fuel filters, dirty injectors, or fuel contamination, can disrupt the proper delivery of fuel to the engine, affecting combustion and power output.
  2. Air Intake Restrictions: Restricted airflow due to dirty or clogged air filters can starve the engine of oxygen, leading to inefficient combustion and reduced performance.
  3. Ignition System Faults: Problems within the ignition system, such as faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, or wiring, can result in weak or inconsistent sparks, affecting engine combustion and performance.
  4. Engine Mechanical Issues: Mechanical problems within the engine, such as worn piston rings, damaged valves, or cylinder compression issues, can impact overall engine performance and power output.


To address engine performance issues in the Gehl R220, consider the following solutions:

1. Checking Fuel Filters and Injectors

Inspect and replace clogged or dirty fuel filters to ensure proper fuel flow to the engine. Additionally, consider cleaning or replacing fuel injectors to improve fuel atomization and combustion efficiency.

2. Cleaning or Replacing Air Filters

Regularly inspect and clean or replace air filters to maintain optimal airflow to the engine. Clean air filters prevent debris and contaminants from entering the engine, ensuring efficient combustion and maximum power output.

3. Addressing Potential Fuel System Problems

Check for fuel system problems such as fuel contamination, water ingress, or leaks. Drain any water or contaminants from the fuel tank, and inspect fuel lines and connections for signs of damage or leakage. Consider using fuel additives to clean injectors and improve fuel quality.

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Problem 4: Hydraulic Cylinder Failures

Understanding Symptoms of Hydraulic Cylinder Issues

Hydraulic cylinder failures in the Gehl R220 can present themselves through various symptoms, which are crucial for operators to recognize:

  • Leaking Hydraulic Fluid: One of the most noticeable signs of hydraulic cylinder issues is the presence of hydraulic fluid leaks. Leaks can occur at the cylinder seals, piston rod seals, or other hydraulic connections. Operators should inspect the ground beneath the skid steer for puddles of hydraulic fluid or oily residue.
  • Reduced Lifting Capacity: If hydraulic cylinders are failing, the skid steer may struggle to lift heavy loads or may not reach its maximum lifting capacity. This reduction in lifting capacity can significantly impact productivity and efficiency on the job site.
  • Slow or Erratic Movement: Hydraulic cylinders that are failing may exhibit slow or erratic movement when extending or retracting. This can result in jerky movements or delays in response to operator commands, affecting the overall performance and safety of the skid steer.

Root Causes of Hydraulic Cylinder Failures

Several underlying factors can contribute to hydraulic cylinder failures in the Gehl R220:

  1. Seal Damage: Worn or damaged seals within the hydraulic cylinders are a common cause of leaks. Seals can degrade over time due to exposure to hydraulic fluid, environmental conditions, or abrasive contaminants. Once seals are compromised, hydraulic fluid can bypass the seal, leading to leaks and reduced cylinder performance.
  2. Piston Rod Damage: The piston rod is a critical component of hydraulic cylinders, responsible for transmitting force from the hydraulic fluid to the load. Damage to the piston rod, such as scratches, dents, or corrosion, can compromise its integrity and lead to leaks or cylinder failure. Piston rod damage may occur due to debris, improper operation, or lack of lubrication.
  3. Fluid Contamination: Contaminants such as dirt, debris, or moisture in the hydraulic fluid can cause abrasive wear and damage to cylinder components. Fluid contamination can accelerate seal and piston rod wear, leading to premature failure of the hydraulic cylinders. Contaminants may enter the hydraulic system through improper maintenance practices, environmental exposure, or component degradation.

Resolving Hydraulic Cylinder Problems

To effectively resolve hydraulic cylinder failures in the Gehl R220, operators should implement the following solutions:

1. Examining for Leaks or Damage

Operators should conduct a thorough inspection of the hydraulic cylinders, focusing on seals, piston rods, and cylinder housings. Look for signs of leaks, such as fluid puddles or oily residue, and inspect seals for wear or damage. Additionally, examine piston rods for scratches, dents, or corrosion. Identifying and addressing leaks or damage early can prevent further issues and extend the lifespan of the hydraulic cylinders.

2. Repairing or Replacing Faulty Cylinders

If hydraulic cylinders are found to be damaged beyond repair or if seals are worn out, operators should consider repairing or replacing the affected cylinders. This may involve disassembling the cylinders, replacing seals or piston rods, and reassembling with proper lubrication. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications for proper repair procedures and component replacements.

3. Ensuring Proper Hydraulic Fluid Levels and Cleanliness

Operators should maintain proper hydraulic fluid levels in the Gehl R220’s reservoir and use the manufacturer-recommended hydraulic fluid. Regularly inspect hydraulic fluid for cleanliness and contamination, and implement a scheduled fluid inspection and replacement regimen to prevent fluid degradation and contamination. Proper fluid maintenance is essential for preserving hydraulic system integrity and preventing premature component failure.

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Problem 5: Track and Tire Wear

Identifying Signs of Excessive Track or Tire Wear

Properly identifying signs of excessive track or tire wear is essential for maintaining the performance and safety of the Gehl R220. Here are some key indicators to watch for:

  • Uneven Tread Wear: Inspect the tracks or tires for uneven wear patterns. Uneven wear can result from misalignment, improper inflation, or overloading, and can significantly affect the skid steer’s stability and traction.
  • Tread Depth: Measure the tread depth of the tracks or tires using a depth gauge. Decreased tread depth indicates wear and can compromise the skid steer’s ability to maintain traction, especially in challenging terrain or adverse weather conditions.
  • Cracks or Damage: Thoroughly examine the tracks or tires for any signs of cracks, cuts, or bulges. These can indicate structural damage or degradation, which can lead to catastrophic failure if not addressed promptly.

Factors Contributing to Track and Tire Deterioration

Understanding the factors that contribute to track and tire deterioration can help operators take proactive steps to mitigate wear and extend the lifespan of these components:

  1. Operating Conditions: The operating environment plays a significant role in track and tire wear. Rough terrain, abrasive surfaces, and extreme temperatures can accelerate wear and cause premature deterioration of tracks and tires.
  2. Improper Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance tasks can lead to accelerated track and tire wear. Failure to clean tracks or tires, lack of lubrication, and neglecting alignment checks can all contribute to premature wear and reduced lifespan of these components.
  3. Overloading: Operating the Gehl R220 beyond its rated capacity can put excessive strain on the tracks and tires, leading to accelerated wear and potential damage. Operators should adhere to load capacity guidelines and avoid overloading the skid steer to minimize wear on tracks and tires.

Preventative Measures and Solutions

To address track and tire wear in the Gehl R220, operators can implement the following preventative measures and solutions:

1. Regularly Inspecting Tracks and Tires

Establish a regular inspection schedule to assess the condition of the tracks and tires. During inspections, check for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment. Pay close attention to tread wear patterns, tread depth, and the presence of cracks or bulges. Address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.

2. Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Maintain proper tire pressure according to manufacturer recommendations. Proper inflation helps distribute weight evenly across the tire surface, reducing uneven wear and improving traction. Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to check tire pressure regularly and adjust as needed.

3. Adjusting Track Tension as Needed

Monitor track tension regularly and adjust as necessary to maintain proper tension. Loose or excessively tight tracks can lead to premature wear and reduce traction. Consult the Gehl R220 operator manual for guidance on adjusting track tension and follow recommended procedures to ensure optimal performance.

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In conclusion, addressing common problems encountered with the Gehl R220 skid steer is essential for maintaining optimal performance and prolonging the lifespan of the equipment. By understanding the symptoms, root causes, and solutions for issues such as hydraulic system leaks, electrical malfunctions, engine performance issues, hydraulic cylinder failures, and track and tire wear, operators can effectively troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arise.

Regular maintenance, proactive inspections, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are crucial for preventing and mitigating these issues. By implementing preventative measures and promptly addressing any issues that arise, operators can ensure smooth operation, maximize productivity, and minimize downtime with the Gehl R220 skid steer.

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