John Deere 653 loader

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought

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A loader is handy for a number of tasks on the farm, and John Deere is the only tractor manufacturer that designs, builds and fits its loaders specifically for its tractors

John Deere 653 loader
John Deere 653 loader
  • Internal plumbing to stop debris damaging hydraulic hoses
  • Visibility to implements is unobstructed
  • Easy mounting and dismounting through simple system
  • Excellent reach
  • Smooth and responsive joystick

Benefits of having a loader exclusively designed to fit the tractor include front fender clearance, easy to service daily check points, visibility and reduced stress on both tractor chassis and loader mounts with correct front axle loading, which enhance stability, increasing efficiency and safety.

The John Deere 653 sits squarely in the middle of the "3" series loaders that have been designed with the Mannheim-built John Deere 30 series tractors in mind, although there are a few of these loaders found on the last of the 20 series.

Our test loader was coupled with a John Deere 6430 premium tractor, which came "loader ready" from the factory, so the joystick is combined with the side console and the brackets are already on the tractor. Internal plumbing means obstacles can’t damage the hoses underneath the tractor.

The test loader was the base NSL (non self-levelling) model, however it had boom suspension fitted, which is tucked in the cross beam so you can simply tap on the left-hand side to turn off and on.

Build quality

As we have come to expect from John Deere machinery, the components are all built tough and fit for purpose. The brand puts prototypes through numerous tests to ensure all of its loaders can take the digging, twisting and lifting movements that they will be put through. Built in John Deere’s Northern France factory, the loaders are machine welded as well as robot spray painted and baked in a special oven to achieve a precise finish.


There are two ICV (independent control valve) options available. The first is what our test machine was equipped with, called M – ICV, which is your standard joystick and has the third and fourth service buttons on the left-hand side of the lever. The control was extremely smooth to operate and it was effortless to move the lever to incorporate both lifting and crowding functions when loading maize to reduce spillage.

A handy option from the factory on tractors equipped with PowerQuad and AutoQuad transmissions is that the rabbit and tortoise buttons for changing the four powershift speeds can be incorporated on the top of the joystick so that you can keep your hand on the joystick at all times. The test tractor did not have this option because it had an IVT transmission, but having driven tractors equipped with front linkage and the powershift buttons on the joystick, I can vouch for the ease and comfort this feature provides.

If your tractor is equipped with CommandArm, you can opt for the E – ICV (Electronic Independent Control Valve), which offers precision movements with proportional controls mounted on the front of the armrest.

With E – ICV you can operate three functions at once, ie, lift the loader, dump the load of silage and open the silage grab all. A small safety flap on the right-hand side of the joystick must be held before it will operate because it is so sensitive.

Mounting and dismounting

Disconnecting the loader is very simple and hassle-free with park stands incorporated as part of the boom. Simply remove the "R" clip and they drop down into position and the "R" clip then locks the stand in place.

To dismount from the sub frame the process is also very easy and can be achieved in less than 30 seconds. Firstly remove the large locking pin, crowd the bucket back while creeping forward and the loader pops forward into position. Remove the multi-coupler to disconnect the hydraulic hoses and back away.

Connecting implements

The unique euro hitch implement mounting system works well and is built for years of effective use, although it is quite hard to see the lugs on the implements as the crowd rams are directly behind the mounting points.

Our test loader also had the hydraulic hoses changed from the standard European female fittings to metric male fittings, because the female fitting kept filling up with maize and dirt when the bucket was used. The male fittings now can be simply wiped with a rag rather than either putting in bungs or cleaning with an airgun.


Each of the pins and bushes is equipped with an external grease nipple for easy maintenance. The test loader had 14 grease nipples in total, the HSL model has 18, while the MSL model has 22. Industrial quality cylinders with heat treated shafts are used for the rams and all hydraulic connectors use flat face seals, which provide increased surface area between the two seals, reducing stress and increasing the life of the hydraulic components.

Self-levelling options

John Deere has recently released the option to equip your loader with hydraulic self-levelling (HSL) for greater accuracy. One downside with HSL loaders from my experience is they place a lot of strain on the top mounting points, as the hydraulic cylinders cannot keep up with the uneven ground.

John Deere also offers mechanical self-levelling (MSL), which offers the same accuracy as HSL but they are a lighter loader and will suit most farmers’ requirements.


Max lift height to pivot points 4.05m
Digging depth -205mm
Roll-back angle at ground level 45°
Dump angle at max height 70°
Reach at ground level 1.80m
Breakforce 20,750N
Lift capacity at max height pivot points 1810kg



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