Life Fitness X3 Elliptical Resistance Not Working

Life Fitness elliptical trainers are one of the most popular choices for home cardio machines. 

Some of the common issues customers have experienced is with the resistance not working on the machine.

If the pedal resistance on your Life Fitness X3 elliptical machine stops working, then let’s review the most proven troubleshooting steps you should follow if your Life Fitness X3 elliptical resistance not working before calling the manufacturer or a repair person.

Life Fitness X3 Elliptical Resistance Not Working – Troubleshooting Guides

life fitness elliptical machine in a white background

An elliptical machine is designed to simulate the difficulty of running on different types of terrain. Typically, this is done by controlling the resistance which can be adjusted using a knob on the console.

There are many reasons for why a Life Fitness X3 elliptical resistance may not be working. Common issues include power supply problems, resistance motor not getting enough power, or the resistance motor being broken.

The following troubleshooting guides will help you identify and fix your Life Fitness X3 elliptical resistance problem.

1. Check The Power Source

If your X3 elliptical resistance stops working, the first thing to do is to check the elliptical machine’s power source.

The elliptical power source is the most likely reason for the resistance to stop working. It is what provides power to the resistance motor to respond and operate. If it isn’t working, the resistance won’t work either.

Check that it is plugged in properly and that there are no loose wires or other objects in contact with the power cord.

Make sure you are using the appropriate voltage your Life Fitness X3 elliptical requires. If the cord has been damaged then you may need to replace it with a new one.

proform elliptical machine picture from my garage gym

2. Check The Resistance Motor Voltage

There is a small motor under the shroud that operates the resistance motor. It is about the size of a roll of half dollars. You want to use a multimeter to see if the console is actually sending power to the resistance motor when you manually adjust the resistance on the console.

If the resistance motor receives no voltage from the console when you manually change the resistance, then your Life Fitness elliptical display not working and needs to be replaced.

However, if the resistance motor gets power from the console but still doesn’t run, then the resistance motor needs to be replaced.

Next, unplug your elliptical from the power outlet, and check the wire harness connections between the console and the resistance motor.

Through the use of a multimeter, check the continuity between the wiring and the resistance motor.

If any wires are no longer working, replace them immediately.

3. Check The Flywheel Magnet

When you change the X3 resistance level, but there is no actual change in resistance, then you need to check the flywheel magnet.

proform elliptical machine picture from my garage gym

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to unscrew all the screws on the left side of the plastic cover.

When all screws have been removed, the plastic cover over the screw holes can be pulled to the back of the machine without having to detach any metal bars.

Look inside the unit and find the magnet, which is located near to the motor and flywheel. There is a cable running upwards from the motor and is attached to the magnet housing.

If you adjust the resistance now, the cable should move up. This is supposed to make the magnet closer to the flywheel and increase its strength.

If the magnet gets stuck and doesn’t move upwards, then do the following:

To fix this problem, you will need two wrenches. You have to move to the opposite end of the machine, towards the front, and you will see it is connected with a nut and bolt. 

Using the two wrenches, hold the bolt while loosening the nut about ¼ turn.

This should lessen the pressure on the magnet housing and allow it to move freely and not bind. 

Reassemble everything back together. Lay the elliptical down on its side to allow the screws to fall into the holes easier.

Once it’s all back together, check to see if the resistance works again.

4. Replace The X3 Resistance Motor

If the power cord is plugged in securely and the resistance still does not work, then you will need to replace the Life Fitness X3 resistance motor.

Replacing the X3 elliptical machine resistance motor with a new one is a very easy task to accomplish. 

nordictrack elliptical machine picture from my home gym

1. Remove the pedal arm

Remove the left pedal arm cover screw, and then pull the cover off.

Using an Allen wrench, remove the bolt at the pedal arm and crank arm connection by turning it clockwise.

Carefully remove the pedal off the crank arm and push it forward the machine.

2. Remove the side shield

Using a phillips screwdriver, remove the screws attaching the left side cover, then pull it off to uncover the elliptical motor.

3. Remove the resistance motor

Using a wire cutter, cut the wire harness container on the Life Fitness X3 frame base to release the motor wires, and disconnect the wire harness from the motor.

Take the tension off the resistance cable. To do this, loosen the resistance cable by pressing down on the part of the eddy mechanism using a flat head screwdriver.

Next, pull off the cable from the resistance motor.

Using the screwdriver, remove the screws that mount the resistance motor to the frame of the elliptical and place it aside.

4. Install the new resistance motor

Line up your new machine’s resistance motor with the hole on top of your old elliptical, so that it is centered in the same place as it was before, and tighten down all screws on top to hold it into the frame.

Replace the resistance cable to the motor and reset the tension.

And finally reconnect the wire harness to the motor 

5. Reinstall the side shield 

Line up the side shield, and reinstall the side mounting screws

6. Reinstall the left pedal arm

Push the left pedal arm to the end of the crank arm shaft and attach it.

5. Check The Drive Belt

The elliptical machine drive belt is what connects the electric motor to the flywheel. It is also responsible for transmitting power from the electric motor to turn the flywheel. 

If the drive belt becomes loose, the resistance may slip or not work at all, even when you turn it on to the highest setting.

For safety reasons, ensure the elliptical is not plugged in.

sole-fitness-e35 elliptical machine from my home gym setup

The best way to check if a belt is loose is to look for signs of wear on the teeth of the wheel or if you can feel any slack in between the two wheels.

First you need to disassemble the Life Fitness elliptical until you have full access to the drive belt.

Next, loosen, but do not remove the idler bolt. Then tighten the belt adjustment bolt until the belt is snug and tight.

You should only tighten the belt enough to prevent it from slipping. You can test this by turning the crank pulley.

After you have tightened the belt enough, you should tighten up the idler bolt to hold your adjustments in place.

If the drive belt is still slipping after you tighten it, this is when you know you need to replace the drive belt. 

To do this, loosen the pivot bolt and then the adjustment bolt. Walk the drive belt off the crank pulley.

After the old belt has been removed, replace it with a new one. After this step, you are done.

6. Check The Console

If the Life Fitness X3 resistance problem still occurs after you replace the resistance motor, then there is a software issue on your display console.

You would need to replace the console. But first try to do the following before deciding to replace the console.

elliptical machine console

Remove The screws securing the console to the upright assembly. Lift the console and confirm that the cable connections are secure. 

Remove the cover from the console’s battery bay and check your console batteries is they are still working.

If the old batteries need to be replaced, then you need to follow Life Fitness elliptical battery replacement guide and see if this solves your problem.

Pack everything back together and turn on Life Fitness elliptical. If the resistance problem is still there, then your console needs to be replaced.


If your Life Fitness X3 elliptical resistance not working, there are a few things you can do to fix it. 

First of all, make sure that the machine is properly plugged into a power source. 

If it still doesn’t work after this, check the wire harness connections between the console and the resistance motor.

You may need to replace the resistance motor if it gets enough power but doesn’t work appropriately.

If you have tried all the steps but your X3 elliptical machine resistance still is not functioning, you should call Life Fitness customer service at 847-288-5773.

The customer service team will help you diagnose the problem and offer solutions.

Scroll to Top