John Deere 338 Baler Problems: (In Details Solutions Included)

The John Deere 338 Baler is a popular piece of equipment used in the agricultural industry for baling hay and straw. It is known for its efficiency and reliability in creating tight, uniform bales. However, like any complex machinery, it is not immune to occasional problems that can hinder its performance. This blog post aims to provide an in-depth guide to troubleshooting common issues that users may encounter with the John Deere 338 Baler.

Identifying and resolving problems promptly is crucial for maintaining the productivity of your John Deere 338 Baler. Ignoring or neglecting issues can lead to reduced baling efficiency, increased downtime, and potential damage to the machine. By troubleshooting problems as soon as they arise, you can ensure optimal performance, minimize downtime, and maximize the lifespan of your equipment.

The primary purpose of this blog post is to equip John Deere 338 Baler owners and operators with comprehensive troubleshooting steps for common problems. By delving into each issue and providing detailed solutions, we aim to empower readers to address these problems effectively on their own, minimizing the need for costly repairs and service calls. Whether you’re a seasoned operator or a novice, this guide will serve as a valuable resource to troubleshoot and resolve issues with your John Deere 338 Baler.

Common Problems with John Deere 338 Baler

The John Deere 338 Baler, a widely used machine in the agricultural industry, may encounter various problems that can affect its performance. In this section, we will explore four common issues and provide in-depth troubleshooting steps to help you resolve them effectively.

Problem 1: Bale Not Forming Properly

1. Possible Causes

  • Insufficient tension on the bale density control system: When the bale density control system does not apply enough pressure, the bale may not form properly.
  • Incorrect adjustment of the bale size setting: If the bale size setting is not properly calibrated, it can result in bales that are too loose or too tight.
  • Malfunctioning gate latch or twine arms: Issues with the gate latch or twine arms can prevent the bale from forming correctly.

2. Troubleshooting Steps

  • Step 1: Check bale density control system: Inspect the bale density control system for any signs of damage or wear. Adjust the tension according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Step 2: Calibrate bale size setting: Verify the bale size setting and adjust it if necessary. Follow the operator’s manual instructions to ensure accurate calibration.
  • Step 3: Inspect gate latch and twine arms: Examine the gate latch and twine arms for any damage or misalignment. Repair or replace any faulty components as needed.

Problem 2: Twine Not Tying Correctly

1. Possible Causes

  • Improper twine tension: If the twine tension is too loose or too tight, it can result in failed or inconsistent knots.
  • Twine routing issues: Incorrect routing of the twine through the baler can cause knots to slip or fail.
  • Malfunctioning twine disc or knife: Issues with the twine disc or knife can prevent proper twine engagement and tying.

2. Troubleshooting Steps

  • Step 1: Adjust twine tension: Check the twine tension and ensure it is within the recommended range. Make necessary adjustments according to the operator’s manual.
  • Step 2: Verify twine routing: Inspect the twine routing path and ensure it is correct. Re-route the twine if necessary, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Step 3: Inspect twine disc and knife: Examine the twine disc and knife for any signs of damage or wear. Replace any worn or damaged components to ensure proper engagement and tying.

Problem 3: Belts Slipping or Breaking

1. Possible Causes

  • Incorrect belt tension: Insufficient or excessive belt tension can lead to slippage or breakage.
  • Worn or damaged belts: Over time, belts can become worn or damaged, compromising their grip and strength.
  • Misaligned or damaged pulleys: If the pulleys are misaligned or damaged, the belts may not track correctly, resulting in slipping or breaking.

2. Troubleshooting Steps

  • Step 1: Check belt tension: Verify the belt tension and adjust it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure proper tension for each belt.
  • Step 2: Inspect belts: Examine the belts for signs of wear, fraying, or damage. Replace any worn or damaged belts promptly.
  • Step 3: Inspect pulleys: Check the pulleys for misalignment or damage. Correct any misalignments and replace damaged pulleys if necessary.

Problem 4: Pickup Not Working Efficiently

1. Possible Causes

  • Improper pickup height or speed: If the pickup is too low or too fast, it may not effectively gather the crop.
  • Worn pickup tines or bands: Over time, pickup tines or bands can wear down, reducing their ability to collect the crop efficiently.
  • Malfunctioning pickup drive system: Issues with the pickup drive system, such as a slipping belt or malfunctioning gearbox, can hinder its performance.

2. Troubleshooting Steps

  • Step 1: Adjust pickup height and speed: Ensure the pickup height is set correctly, allowing for effective crop gathering. Adjust the pickup speed according to the operator’s manual recommendations.
  • Step 2: Inspect pickup tines or bands: Check the pickup tines or bands for wear or damage. Replace any worn or damaged components to improve pickup efficiency.
  • Step 3: Check pickup drive system: Examine the pickup drive system for any issues. Inspect belts, gearboxes, and other components for wear or damage. Replace or repair any faulty parts as needed.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can address common problems with the John Deere 338 Baler and restore its optimal performance. Remember to consult the operator’s manual for specific instructions and reach out to a professional technician if needed. In the next section, we will delve into preventive maintenance tips to help you avoid these problems in the future.

Read more: John Deere 336 Baler Problems (And Solutions)

In-Depth Troubleshooting Steps

To effectively troubleshoot and address issues with your John Deere 338 Baler, it is important to follow a systematic approach. This section provides in-depth troubleshooting steps that can help you diagnose and resolve problems with your baler.

Step 1: Visual Inspection and Basic Maintenance

1. Checking for Loose or Damaged Components

  • Thoroughly inspect the baler for any loose or damaged components. This includes bolts, nuts, hinges, and fasteners.
  • Pay close attention to areas where vibrations or stress are common, such as the knotter assembly, pickup system, and bale chamber.
  • Tighten any loose components and replace any damaged parts to ensure proper functioning.

2. Cleaning and Lubricating Moving Parts

  • Clean the baler regularly to remove dirt, debris, and crop residues that may accumulate.
  • Pay special attention to critical areas such as the pickup system, knotter assembly, and bale chamber.
  • Lubricate moving parts, such as bearings, chains, and shafts, as recommended by the manufacturer. Use the appropriate lubricants for each component.

Step 2: Diagnostic Tools and Error Codes

1. Using Diagnostic Tools Provided by John Deere

  • Take advantage of the diagnostic tools provided by John Deere specifically for the 338 Baler.
  • These tools can help identify specific issues and provide diagnostic information to facilitate troubleshooting.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use these tools effectively.

2. Interpreting Error Codes and Troubleshooting Accordingly

  • If your John Deere 338 Baler is equipped with an error code system, familiarize yourself with the error code meanings provided in the operator’s manual.
  • When an error code appears, refer to the manual to determine the appropriate troubleshooting steps.
  • Follow the recommended procedures to address the specific issue indicated by the error code.

Step 3: Adjustments and Calibration

1. Adjusting Pickup Height and Speed

  • Set the pickup height according to the type of crop and field conditions.
  • Adjust the pickup speed to match the crop volume and baler’s capacity.
  • Consult the operator’s manual for recommended pickup height and speed settings and make adjustments accordingly.

2. Calibrating Twine Tension and Knotter Mechanisms

  • Check the twine tension to ensure it falls within the manufacturer’s recommended range.
  • Make adjustments to the twine tension mechanism, if applicable, to achieve the desired tension.
  • Calibrate the knotter mechanisms, including the bill hook, twine disc, and needle, to ensure proper functioning.
  • Follow the instructions provided in the operator’s manual for specific calibration procedures.

Step 4: Parts Replacement and Repairs

1. Identifying Worn-out or Damaged Components

  • Regularly inspect the baler for signs of wear, damage, or malfunctioning components.
  • Look for worn-out belts, bearings, pulleys, and other parts that may affect the performance of the baler.
  • Replace any worn-out or damaged components promptly to avoid further issues.

2. Replacing Belts, Bearings, or Other Parts as Needed

  • If you identify worn-out or damaged components, refer to the operator’s manual or seek professional guidance to determine the appropriate replacement parts.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the faulty parts and installing the new components correctly.
  • Take necessary safety precautions and ensure you have the proper tools and equipment for the replacement process.

By following these in-depth troubleshooting steps, you can address various issues with your John Deere 338 Baler effectively. Remember to always refer to the operator’s manual for specific instructions and safety guidelines. If you are uncertain or encounter complex problems, it is advisable to consult a qualified technician or contact John Deere customer support for further assistance.

Read more: John Deere 319E Problems and Troubleshooting Tips

Preventive Maintenance Tips

To ensure the long-term performance and reliability of your John Deere 338 Baler, it is essential to implement regular preventive maintenance. By following these maintenance practices, you can proactively address potential issues, extend the lifespan of your baler, and optimize its performance. Here are some key preventive maintenance tips:

Regular Cleaning and Inspection

  • Clean your John Deere 338 Baler regularly, especially after each use and before storing it for an extended period.
  • Remove debris, dirt, and crop residues from critical areas such as the pickup system, bale chamber, knotter assembly, and twine path.
  • Inspect the baler thoroughly for signs of wear, loose components, and damage.
  • Look for frayed belts, worn-out bearings, misaligned parts, and other potential issues that may affect the baler’s performance.
  • Promptly address any identified issues through repair or replacement to prevent further damage.

Lubrication and Greasing

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for lubricating the moving parts of your John Deere 338 Baler.
  • Apply the recommended lubricants to bearings, chains, shafts, and other components that require lubrication.
  • Regularly inspect lubrication points to ensure proper lubrication levels and adjust as necessary.
  • Use the appropriate lubricants specified by John Deere to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the components.

Keeping Belts Properly Tensioned

  • Maintaining proper belt tension is crucial for the efficient operation of your baler.
  • Regularly check the tension of the belts and adjust them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Ensure that each belt is correctly tensioned to prevent slippage, breakage, and uneven bale formation.
  • Over time, belts may stretch or wear out, so be prepared to replace them when necessary to maintain optimal tension.

Storing the Baler Correctly During Off-Seasons

  • When the baling season is over, take the necessary steps to store your John Deere 338 Baler properly.
  • Clean the baler thoroughly to remove any debris, dirt, or crop residues that may attract pests or cause corrosion during storage.
  • Grease all relevant components and lubrication points to protect against rust and ensure smooth operation when the baler is next used.
  • Store the baler in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture accumulation and minimize the risk of rust.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific storage procedures and consider using protective covers to shield the baler from dust and other potential contaminants.

By following these preventive maintenance tips, you can minimize downtime, reduce the likelihood of unexpected issues, and maximize the overall performance and longevity of your John Deere 338 Baler. Remember to consult the operator’s manual for model-specific maintenance recommendations and guidelines. Regular maintenance and care will help ensure that your baler operates at its best when you need it most.

Read more: John Deere 318G Problems In-Depth Troubleshooting Steps


The John Deere 338 Baler is a reliable and efficient piece of equipment used in the agricultural industry for baling hay and straw. However, like any complex machinery, it may encounter problems that can impact its performance. In this blog post, we have provided an in-depth troubleshooting guide to address common issues that users may face with the John Deere 338 Baler.

By following the outlined troubleshooting steps, you can effectively diagnose and resolve problems such as improper bale formation, twine tying issues, belt slippage or breakage, and pickup inefficiencies. Additionally, we have emphasized the importance of regular preventive maintenance to keep your baler in optimal condition.

Performing visual inspections, basic maintenance, and regular cleaning will help identify and address potential issues early on. Proper lubrication, maintaining belt tension, and correct storage during off-seasons are crucial preventive measures to ensure the long-term performance and reliability of your baler.

Remember to consult the operator’s manual for specific instructions, recommended maintenance intervals, and safety guidelines. In case of complex problems or uncertainties, it is always advisable to seek professional assistance or contact John Deere customer support for further guidance.

By implementing these troubleshooting steps and preventive maintenance practices, you can minimize downtime, maximize the lifespan of your John Deere 338 Baler, and optimize its performance during each baling season. Take proactive measures to keep your baler running smoothly and efficiently, ensuring a successful and productive hay and straw baling operation.

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