Husqvarna LGT 2654 with Tuff Torq K46 transmission failure

4teesMay 16, 2011

I purchased a Husqvarna LGT 2654 tractor about 4 years ago at Lowes. I purchased this model because it was supposed to be heavier duty, it was even rated for ground engaging applications. As many are far too aware (and as I was not at the time of purchase), this tractor has the substandard Tuff Torq k46 transmission. I live in the mountains, and mow about 3/4 of an acre of very steep terrain. At approxamately 100 hours my transmission began losing all power after about 15 minutes of use. After researching several sites on the web (including the excellent k46 rebuild thread here) I first tried changing the oil in my transmission; it ran a tiny bit better for a few minutes longer, but still was bad. I bit the bullet and ordered both hydraulic motors and the center section from Tuff Torq (for a bit under $350), did the rebuild, and would now run for about 30 minutes before loosing most of its power (at least now it would very slowly creep back up to the house).

Frustrated, I spoke to Tuff Torq technical support; they had no solution for me other than to buy a new k46 transmission (why, so I could spend $650 just to see it fail again?). I then looked on e-bay to see what used transmissions might be found. I noticed that the mounts on a k71B transmission looked very similar to my K46. I did some further research and found that John Deere uses the same or very similar frames for their tractors with a K46 transmission, and those with a K71. I called Roger who sells the John Deere transmission upgrade kits and asked him if he though a k71B could work in a Husky LGT2654. He said he wasnt certain, but he very helpfully described the locations and motions of the controls on the K71 transmission. From his description, the pictures on e-bay, and the parts breakdown from Tuff Torq, I thought there was a good chance I could replace the K46 in my Husky with a K71B from an older (2003) John I went ahead and bid on the transmission......and won! I paid less than half the price of a new K46 (including the shipping).

The K71B transmission arrived a few days later. When I lifted it under the tractor I was much relieved to see that everything was indeed very close to to the mounting points and control connections of the old K46, even though the K71 is MUCH larger and heavier. I had to do a few minor modifications to the frame (because the K71 had to be mounted about 1 inch further back than the K46), including drilling some new holes, and making two cuts and bends. I also had to make one simple piece to connect the brake, and modify the reverse switch bracket and swap out the JD switch with the one from the K46 (one is NO, the other is NC). The entire swap out, including modifications took me one day to complete.

The tractor now climbs hills with ease, and seems more stable (the k71 is a bit wider than the K46 so the tires stick out a bit further). It handled my 30 minute mountain mowing torture test with ease. Hopefully this much more robust transmission will be up to the task I was led to believe the original one was when I bought it.

The intent of my posting is to let others know there are other solutions to fix a tractor with a failed K46 other than wasting time on a rebuild that may or may not work. I would imagine other Tuff Torq models would work with similar minor modifications (possible to do with nothing more than hand tools) as long as they were used in similar John Deere, Craftsman, Simplicity, Husqvarna, and any other tractors built using similar frames, components, and control layouts (it is my understanding most of the tractors sold at major retailers are essentially built on the same assembly lines regardless of brand).

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Good "final solution", but definitely not for the faint of heart, or capability in the shop.
Might I suggest that since you have demonstrated you are fearless when pursuing an acceptable outcome, and because you accurately describe your operating conditions as a "torture test", that you use the best (in your opinion) synthetic oil and change that oil every 100 hours of use. Normally I suggest 200 hour intervals, but your work will wear out the oil much sooner than that, and the condition of the oil determines the life expectancy of the transaxle (once the appropriate transaxle is in place of course).

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:21AM
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I'm curious, because I have a LGT2654. What do you mean when you say "minor modifications to the frame," including two cuts and bends? Did you need a cutting torch, and did the bends require heat?

As the owner of the Husq LGT, two John Deeres, and an Economy CUT, I am not hesitant to say that I prefer the Husq over any of the others, but I do worry about the "non-serviceable" K46 that it sports. It seems to me that all the rest of the Husq is "hell for stout," and i really wish that the manufacturer had opted for a better hydro, even if it meant a higher price.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:05PM
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I made the two cuts using a reciprocating saw, and then bent the resultant piece using large pliers. I made the two vertical cuts 1 1/4 inch behind the original transaxel mounting points (one cut on each side), and made the cut deep enough so that when I bent the tab upward, the new horizontal surface was at the same level as the original mount. I then drilled two new holes on each side. I reused the plastic spacers (otherwise the fan will not have sufficient clearance), but had to drill those out to a larger diameter because the bolt holes on the K71 are about 1/8 further apart than the K46. Where to drill the holes is solely determined by the foreward/reverse linkage, and this must be pretty precise. I clamped everything together before drilling, and made sure the foreward/reverse had the correct amount of movement before determining the hole placement.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:38AM
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It sounds pretty good. But I sure wish you had thought to do pictures as you went along. You don't know how much we would love to have operations like this for future reference. Kudos

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:13PM
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4tees, did you have the body completely removed from the frame? I'm having a hard time picturing this.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:41PM
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No, I just put the rear end on jack stands and dropped the transmission only. Te vertical cuts are upward from the bottom of the frame on the sides of the rearmost (very thick, sort of triangular shaped) section, immediately behind the tranaxel mount with two bolts (on each side).

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Too bad TuffTorq can't/won't make a few changes to their assembly lines to have the trannys be modular, with the same mounting points, clearances, etc., even if it means making the K46 slightly dimensionally larger. They would have a boon in sales of upgraded replacement trannys to DIYers and independent shops. But maybe they have agreements in place with tractor mfrs. that they can't do this type of thing (would undermine sales of expensive tractors), or maybe they would sell fewer replacement K46 trannys...

An independent fabricator needs to step up with a DIY re-fit kit with all of the issues engineered out. I'd think they could make a tidy little profit with the right marketing. The tranny would no longer be the weak link in the tractor.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:34AM
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The axles are (according to TuffTorq) not the same size (, is their documentation wrong? I also have a LGT2654 with this pitiful transaxle - my issue is the axle breaking. I really don't want to replace this with another K46BN.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 8:56PM
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I have another husqavarna lgt2654. Got sick of fighting weak transmission. Now mine too has a k71. Works great and what a difference! Doesn't even feel like I'm on the same tractor. Best thing I ever did to that tractor.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 4:47PM
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