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North Carolina Issues Stop-Sale Order on J303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid

North Carolina Is Now The Third State to Issue a Stop-Sale Order On “303” Tractor Hydraulic Fluid

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) issued a stop-sale order for tractor hydraulic fluid (THF) products labeled, claimed or implied as meeting THF 303, which has no known specifications available. For those unfamiliar with “303”, this specification was discontinued in 1974 and it subsequently replaced with the current JDM-J20C or D specifications.

THF303Pic11172017The NCDA&CS order requires that, Manufacturers and distributors will have six months to remove these products from retail locations. These products may be relabeled to either remove the J303 specification or include a more recent John Deere specification it does meet. Online sales shall include a note that these products are not legal in North Carolina.

The Division’s Motor Fuels Laboratory tested nine brands of THF either claiming to meet J303 specifications or including “303” in their brand name. None of these products met specifications for use in modern equipment.

  • Products that meet the current J20C and J20D specifications may list the obsolete specifications J20A, J20B, J14B and J303 on their labels as the products are backwards compatible.
  • Products listing the obsolete or discontinued specifications J20A, J20B, J14B, but not current specifications, must include a statement that the product does not meet John Deere (JD) specifications for tractors built after 1989 for J20A-B or after 1978 for J14B. This advisement can include only the date for the latest specification the product claims to meet. The J303 specifications may be listed here as well.
  • Brand names that include “303” imply they meet those specifications and should be altered as they may have the effect of deceiving the purchaser as to the nature of the product.

Stephen Benjamin, director, Standards Division with the NCDA&CS says, “Our lab found several THF products that stated they were universal, or as being approved by major manufacturers, stating no specifications of any kind on their packages.” Further Benjamin adds, “These samples were tested to the current J20C specifications, for information reasons, and met them. However, the lack of any specifications does not provide the purchaser with information for its intended use, nor the ability to test the product for meeting those specifications.”

Specific to such products in the state of North Carolina, the NCDA&CS says, “Retailers or distributors with this product in stock should return it to their suppliers.”

Questions concerning this Stop-Sale Order should be directed to:
Stephen Benjamin, director
NCDA&CS Standards Division
919-707-3226


In addition to North Carolina’s Stop-Sale Order, the States of Missouri and Georgia have also taken action to remove “303” products from shelves in the states.

Click links below for the actions by these states.

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