Most Common Oliver 550 Problems & Their Possible Solutions

The Oliver 550 is a utility tractor produced by Oliver, an Iowa-based company in the USA. It comes with an Oliver 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline and Oliver 2.5L 4-cylinder diesel.

However, some common problems with the Oliver 550 are transmission not going to all the gears, gas running out issues, engine choking or stuttering, sediment bowl leaks, sticky key switch or voltage regulator, clutch disengagement issues, pipe plug/3-pt hitch issues etc.

All these problems have been discussed in detail in this article. The solutions to these problems have also been discussed after extensive research and experiments! So read till the end to know everything you need!

Problems and Solutions at a Glance:

Problems with Oliver 550Solutions
Transmission Not Going to GearsTroubleshoot.
Gas Running Out IssuesTroubleshoot and replace various parts.
Engine Choking Or StutteringClean and/or replace various dirty parts.
Sediment Bowl LeaksReplace the leaking bowl.

4 Most Common Problems with Oliver 550 and Their Possible Solutions:

Users have reported many of the Oliver 550 problems starting from just 4/6 months after purchase. Here are some of the problems and how to solve them.

1. Transmission Not Going to Gears

The issue concerns the motor. Often it won’t shift through all the gears. It will die when you let out on the clutch at one point in one of the neutrals.

The 550 has some shifter fork issues. Additionally, the fork’s bolts may get loosened.

The rubber shifter boot gets bad. And they gather condensation that remains unnoticed.

Sometimes a few teeth of the gear get chipped. Especially the first or third gear, so it ticks loudly in those gears.

The Fix:

The gearshift lever might not be in the proper position. If pressed between ranges, something might not fit. Otherwise, fixing the problem is as simple as raising the hydraulic cover and looking inside.

In that case, the hydraulic housing must be removed. And you must drain the hydraulic oil properly.

Check that the slots in the shifting rails are lined up by pulling the lever out. Try it out after reinstalling the gearshift lever. Make sure that the forks align, then the gears will start working.

2. Gas Running Out Issues

The 550 will not work properly due to gas running out. It will start and run for around a few minutes before stalling. It does this repeatedly.

Often after a complete tune up like changing spark plugs, wiring, condenser etc, it will run for a few hours and then stop. This includes stalling of the engine.

The engine will seem to be like its stalling. Or does not have enough power. 

The Fix:

Pull the plug out of the carb’s bottom as soon as it dies and check to see if the flow is good. If not, you’re not getting enough gas.

Check for spark condensers. Condensers going bad is the number one culprit in this case.  

Then change the fuel filter, check to ensure there is a good flow to the carb and try adjusting the high screw. After that, change the spark plugs.

Alternatively, repair the carburetor and change the sediment bowl if the carb is damaged. Install new coils and wiring and check the plugs.

If there is an in-line filter, remove it immediately. The sediment bowl’s purpose is to remove debris from the fuel line.

Then reassemble it, leave the cap off, and run it with at least half a tank. The vent cap is the problem if it continues to run. If it stops working, examine the tank for anything that might be obstructing the gasoline flow and recheck the fuel lines.

If everything is in order, the problem may be a spark or potential wiring problems. If none of this works, take the truck to the dealership.

3. Engine Choking Or Stuttering

After running the Oliver 550 for two to three hours, the engine may choke or stumble. After that, it usually staggers, picks up, and then stumbles until finally dies.

Often these issues occur because of the carburetor gasket clogging the float. Another common reason is the ballast resistor on the coil. This is mainly a fuel issue.

Someone may have changed an internal resistor model for the original coil (12V coil) if it’s a second-hand truck. You can be burning out your points if you install a new 6 volt coil without an additional resistor.

Check the system’s joints for fuel flow. Then, reassemble it, leave the cap off, and run it with at least half a tank.

The vent cap is the problem if it continues to run. If it stops working, examine the tank for anything obstructing the gasoline flow and recheck the fuel lines. If everything is in order, the problem may be a spark or potential wiring problems.

Another issue with these Olivers is that the PTO clutch engagement and disengagement is an issue. Additionally, dirty switches may get sticky, causing the problem.

The Fix:

You must either use an external ballast resistor or have a 12-volt coil (internal resistor). Ask for one for a Chrysler at a parts store. Most locations have them in stock.

Additionally, conduct all the carb and injector checks. Troubleshoot and replace as necessary. Check above the sediment bowl in the gas tank. There is a screen filter that also may need cleaning.

The issue can also happen due to bad condensers. Check and change them. For wiring problems, do the necessary troubleshooting.

For PTO clutch problems, you may need to split the tractor and troubleshoot it. Clean sticky switches and replace if necessary.

4. Sediment Bowl Leaks

After the above problem, if the car still stalls after a few minutes, then it is due to the sediment bowl leak. The sediment bowl’s removes debris from the fuel line. The in-line filters are made for pumped gasoline.

When you tighten the sediment bowl, gas won’t flow into it. But when you loosen it, gas will start to flow.

The Fix:

Separate the sediment bowl and take the gasket out. Now put the glass bowl against the housing and try to rock it. It may rock on the other side of the bail, and the housing is bent.

This is probably because it was tightened too much. If the case is bent, you might as well remove it. You should be able to get a new one at a store near you that sells supplies for farms.

What Majority of the Users Feel?

They are sturdy small tractors with an engine that resembles a cast tub. It has  a transmission and rear end that run on gear oil. In the 550s, the PTO clutch is a tad flimsy.

Additionally, the front end might require spindle bushings and thrust bearings. Finally, the aftermarket hydraulic pump is pretty worthless on these tractors. Not worth the money at all, and is a horrible casting.

However, the 550 are overall wonderful tractors. The users seem to rely on them heavily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the shifter on an Oliver 550?

On the left.

Where are the controls on an Oliver 550?

On the right.

Where are the Sediment bowl parts available for Oliver 550?


How many speed transmissions does an Oliver 550 have?

6-speed transmission.

Final Thoughts

After much research, I found that the Oliver 550 tractors have a subpar quality. They are adored but they also have issues. If you are happy with average maintenance and want a sturdy tractor, go for it.

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