Gilson tiller, model #501, leaky seals

awdunstanApril 7, 2012

I have a Gilson tiller, model #501 (not a four digit number like all the others I've seen listed). It's a front tine tiller, v-belt and worm gear driven. There's a small metal plate on the side of the drive pulley housing that says:


Model #501

Serial number 71R 1286

Gilson Bros. Co., Fredonia, Wis.

The engine is not original (the guy I got it from had replaced it) so that's no help in further identification.

It runs well but the shaft seals leak like a pair of sieves. It looks like each seal is covered by a ring/flange, through which the shaft passes (one ring per seal); each ring has three holes in it's outer perimeter and is held in place with three 3/16" cap screws. I've removed the tines & the cap screws, which lets the retainer ring (if that's what it is) turn freely and rattle around a bit but since the shafts don't come out and the rings don't move more than 1/8" away from the gear housing I can't get behind the retainer ring & replace the seals.

Any clues on how I might proceed further? I hate to think I'm dribbling large amounts of gear lube all over my garden.


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Please up-load a picture or link to a picture to show this seal matter? I feel you will need a simple puller if the seal is large enough to hook a puller into. I usually punch them with a screwdriver and flip or rip them out. Most of all check the seal's outside dia and shaft's outside dia to know you will have the new seal when you pop-out the old. loger

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 1:18PM
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After 3 attempts I'm unable to upload an image. After the 1st two tries I noticed that the file was 1.5MB so I did some serious cropping with a resulting filesize of 95KB. But it still won't upload - I'll try again later today.

The problem I'm having that I can't remove a retainer ring, which keeps me from getting at the oil seals. If I could pull the shafts out I could get back behind the retainer rings & get at the seals, but just pulling on them does nothing (which I'd expect, otherwise they'd fall out when in use).

Looking at the picture it's obvious what's going on, but...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Would Snap Ring Pliers as in the link below help remove the retainer? loger;Ntk=All&Ntt=snap+ring+pliers&Nty=1&D=snap+ring+pliers&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&cmnosearch=PPC&cm_ven=google_PPC&cm_cat=HandTools&cm_pla=generic&cm_ite=snap%20ring%20pliers&mkwid=sMkLZSmtQ&pcrid=8009858471&mt=e

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:35AM
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I tried again to post to the photo gallery but it keeps saying:

"Failed to complete upload

We encountered a system error when trying to process your upload. Please try again later. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

The file (a jpg) is less than 93KB in size. Should I be posting the image some other way? I don't see any way to post a file as a followup, or on my 'member web page'. I'm posting from an Asun Transformer using the Safari browser, if that matters.

I don't think snap ring pliers would help - the 'retainer rings' are held in place by three 3/16" cap screws (each) and are solid rings - no gap for snap ring pliers to open up. I'm assuming there are oil seals behind them - I can't get them out far enough to see behind them.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:32PM
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I've posted a picture on under the username awdunstan (see 'optional link URL'). This view is of the "driver's side", from in front. It's a front tine tiller with a pulley under the engine and another pulley above the worm gear drive housing. Said housing is what's visible past my hand (top part of the picture) - it's gear lube fill & drain holes are open.

The part I'm pointing to is what I'm trying to get behind. The ring has been rotated a bit so it's bolt holes no longer line up with those on the housing. The ring will turn freely but won't move any farther away from the housing than it already is.

The gear lube leaks out between the ring I'm pointing to and the hub (attached to the square plate).

The square plate on the drive shaft is what the inner set of tines attach to. I'm not sure if the square flange (& it's hub) should slide off the drive shaft - it kinda-sorta looks like it should, but I haven't been able to get them to budge. I've run the thing with no bolt in the inner bolt hole in an effort at loosening the inner set of tines - to no avail. I ran it that way all last season, in fact. I have no idea why there's that inner bolt hold through the shaft.

The outer tines are attached to a hub which slides over the narrower part of the shaft (bottom part of the picture, sitting on a jack stand) and are secured with a bolt through the outer bolt hole.

I hope this picture helps. I can post more (different angles, the ID plate, whatever).

Thanks for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Sounds like itâÂÂs time for some serious emery cloth polishing/work and good penetrating oil. Good Luck! loger

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Maybe this will work

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:36AM
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A little medium to low heat, penetrating oil, a puller (modified from threaded rods and plate stock if needed), torque back and forth but not against a gear vs an item on the same shaft and some medium blows not against gears or damaging (to get things moving). Good Lick!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:19AM
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That's pretty much what I was afraid I'd need to do, but it's nice to have my suspicions/fears confirmed. I've rigged up a gear puller on the end of the shaft, soaked it in Liquid Wrench and will let it sit for a while. And maybe give it a gentle tap now & then. I might be able to turn the two sides in opposite directions - I assume it's a solid shaft all the say through (if I turn one side the other moves in perfect synchronization).

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:41AM
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