How to bypass the RIO sensor in John Deere Lawn Tractors?

What is RIO?

RIO or reverse implement option is a safety system built into your John Deere tractor that ensures riders’ attention when backing up with an engaged mower deck. It’s extremely important for the rider to be as attentive and alert as possible when backing up the tractor with engaged PTO  to ensure the safety of little kids or animals that could be around. 

Backing up is a more dangerous maneuver as the visibility to the back is limited due to the rider’s position and since the mower deck is placed closer to the back axle and tractor sides: the blind spot of the rider, poses an additional danger.

An RIO system is made up of an electrical circuit that includes the RIO button, the RIO button switch sensor, the PTO sensor, the reverse drive sensor, and the ignition cutoff electrical breaker.

The job of the RIO system is to cut off the ignition or turn the engine off whenever the rider starts backing up with an engaged mower deck to ensure the maximum safety of those around.

Why might one want to bypass the RIO system? 

When you have a large enough property with complex terrain or intricate landscaping, the mowing job will inevitably involve a lot of backing-up maneuvers. It’s pretty inconvenient to disable the PTO or engage the RIO each time you need to reposition your tractor with a simple backing-up motion.

Even more so, with some advanced planning, you can implement your backing-up maneuvers for repositioning as a part of the mowing job, raising its efficiency.

If you are constantly alert and focused during the mowing, you might feel that you could handle the additional responsibility to gain more convenience and efficiency.

Bypassing the RIO safety system:

To bypass the RIO safety system you need to make it think that the RIO button is pressed at all times.

Basically, you’ll need to shorten the terminal that leads to the RIO button sensor switch to mimic the pressed button.

For that, you need to get under the hood. But first, park your tractor on an even surface, take the keys out of the ignition and let it cool for a while.

Open the hood and locate the RIO sensor switch. It is located under the dashboard, on the left side, and right behind the throttle lever box. You can find it by following the only thin white and black wires on the left side that lead to the RIO safety switch.

Disconnect the lead terminal from the RIO safety sensor switch by pushing its side clip and pulling it out.

Short the RIO the opposite contacts of the safety switch lead terminal with a handmade jumper or a paperclip.

You can make a jumper from a piece of 12 gauge wire, and crimp its ends with a crimper and crimper kit.

Isolate this construction with electrical tape and tie it to the other dashboard wiring with a zip-tie to ensure safety (we are after all talking about wiring and electricity that are close to gasoline).

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This article is written solely for educational purposes. You and only you are the ones responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you

Be extremely conscious of any decisions you make about modifying, maintaining, and operating your equipment. You bear full accountability for the state and safety of your equipment.

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