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Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Posted by zach1101 Texas (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 08 at 13:54

After researching the Sears tiller on this forum I decided to not buy my next tiller from Sears becase of the transmission problems. But early last summer I noticed the top of the line reverse tine tiller at Sears tha was normally $875 (ridiculous) was marked down to $400. I purchased the tiller but based on the info here I got the 3 yr service agreement. Well, after no more than 10 hrs of work the big dude locked up. Called the service guy who came out and said the transmission is out.

The tiller is really powerfull and heavy but the transmission is a POS. Why put 7 1/2 hp and all that torque on such a flimsy gearbox? This has got to be happening all over the country for the past few years but they continue to sell these units.

Again, thanks to this site I'm protected for 3 years. If you see one of these for sale cheap you'll know why. Don't be like me, but run away no matter how cheap the price is.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Hate to hear about your troubles with the tiller. I have not strolled through craftsman tiller / lawn section at our local store in quite some time. Maybe they have cut some corners now a days to cut costs.

I bought the 7HP flagship model back in '05. I had read about the transmission issues back then as well. Like you they had a price drop during a one day sale that drove me to my purchase. Not down to $400 though...

This will be the fourth season on mine and so far I've not had an ounce of trouble. (knock, knock, knock)

Do you idle it down before shifting? Does it seem to take a lot of force to shift?

I've noticed on occasion that I need to rock the tiller back and fourth to get it to shift smoothly with very little force. I always do this if it feels tight to shift, then it just engages easily with hardly any effort at all.

It seems that newer mid to low end home power equipment just needs to be babied to last. It's a shame, things just are not made the same as they once were.


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

A friend showed me a Craftsman tiller that he couldn't get out of gear, no matter what. I told him to remove the engine, and turn the whole thing upside down and let it set and soak. He doesn't want to mess with it, but won't let me take it home to try to fix it.
Some heads are harder than others, ya know?! What the hey, it just might be the problem--lack of lubrication, and sitting outside has probably allowed moisture to condense in the tranny, and oil floats, doesn't it? HMMM?


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Do you guys know anything about the transmission on a 917.297141 model Craftsman tiller. It is a 17", rear time tiller with dual rotating tines, 850 series? I think I broke something in the transmission while trying to cut tree roots in a long un-used garden plot. I do not have a warranty with the machine and wonder what it will take to fix.
Thanks


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

"while trying to cut tree roots"...lol

You need an ax or throw an old chain on the chain saw and cut away. Don't abuse your tiller. I'm surprised you didn't start going through shear pins before the tranny failed.

Here is a link to the trans parts list and diagram. Hopefully you can get it fixed.

Here is a link that might be useful: SearsPartsDirect.com - Tiller Transmission


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

My only excuse is I grew up with a Troy Bilt Horse and cut just about anything with it. Unfortunately, the Craftsman 850 series is not a Horse.

Thanks for the parts list. It will help when I take it to the shop.


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Ok, so I Just tore mine down and the input shaft that the pinion gear rides on has wear patterns that cause the gear to not be able to slide and cause it to shift. Problem is probabally caused by poor lubrication as this is at the top of the transmission. I am gonna try to rotate the pinion gear 2 teeth clockwise as it slides smoothly here and add a bottle of lucas automotive oil treatment as it is clingy to gears and more fluid than the grease supplied. My only worry is that it is too thin and may drip from the case so I think I may rtv the gasket. If I really wanted to spend some money on it I would order the shaft and gear from sears at about $70 but I think without better lubrication It would just happen again so I will just try my cheap fix. This is not a hard job but may be too much for some beginers. Hope this info helps.


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Sear's rototillers were nationally promoted, 'two way tines', at a fair price. However, suffering the same 'seized' transmission, followed by the Sears cut back of repair centers nationwide and Sear's one year 'guarantee' of those tillers, actually 'guaranteed' that any consumer who bought one, would not get that 'seized tranny' until the 'next' garden year. Too late for coverage.
They can be fixed. It's not the shifter, it's not a lever, it's not an adjustment,nothing of the kind.
The manufacturer used a cheap, porous paper gasket, for the main gasket between the transmission housings, where it splits in two. Yes, the very center of the tiller.The manufacturer was so incredibly cheap, they didn't waste the two cents per unit, to even use a RTV sealant ( or, 'gasket goop').
So, like most gardeners, you don't always run the tiller in the garage and if you're a lucky gardener, it rains where you live. Americans expect tough machines and they should. But,,,
The cheap black paper gasket is simply crepe-paper, like school kids cut up for projects. When water rests on top of the tiller, it 'pools', in an engineered 'valley' atop the Sears tiller. The paper degrades like any newspaper and the water enters precisely where it was engineered to enter.
That would be an internal piston-gear, that instantaneously rusts and it rusts dead shut, it's not going to move, budge, nothing and all you will do is bend levers, trying to make it work. My Sears main store would not fix it and if they would it would have to be shipped from my town of 500,000 to a city of 5 million, in my case, Seattle WA.My town's Sears repair center was shut for corporate cost cutting and it worked for Sear's executives, who's corporate salaries went ballistic.
If anyone needs help getting their tillers back in gear, I have digital pictures, of how to do the breakdown, step by step and it is not near as difficult as you might think. Tools are basic. Procedure is simple and you will discover you are doing exactly what the assemblers in Asia did when they made them, minus the small cranes on the assembly line.
Don't throw the tiller away, it is $700 and trust me, the entire Sears Board of Directors is fully aware of the failing paper gasket, but do not care in the least. They may have sold a million of them by now, so one million times $700 per unit and now we're talking real corporate bonus money and why would the Sears board care when we're talking that kind of cash?
If anyone needs, just e mail me at Myeager2@aol.com ( in case I can't find my way back here) and I will provide vivid pictures of the take down and splitting of the housing, you'll see the little rusted gear, which slides out and must be sanded smooth. Put it back together and it'll run like a top. But don't be a cheap corporation when you put it back together and use real gasket, rather than newspaper and some gasket goop and she'll run like a top, shifting like a hot rod. It is not the location of gears on reassembly, but the internal pin must be sanded and dead free of rust and a first time user of work tools could do this.


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SEARS Crafts. Rototiller Tranny breakage

Sear's rototillers were nationally promoted, 'two way tines', at a fair price. However, suffering the same 'seized' transmission, followed by the Sears cut back of repair centers nationwide and Sear's one year 'guarantee' of those tillers, actually 'guaranteed' that any consumer who bought one, would not get that 'seized tranny' until the 'next' garden year. Too late for coverage.
They can be fixed. It's not the shifter, it's not a lever, it's not an adjustment,nothing of the kind.
The manufacturer used a cheap, porous paper gasket, for the main gasket between the transmission housings, where it splits in two. Yes, the very center of the tiller.The manufacturer was so incredibly cheap, they didn't waste the two cents per unit, to even use a RTV sealant ( or, 'gasket goop').
So, like most gardeners, you don't always run the tiller in the garage and if you're a lucky gardener, it rains where you live. Americans expect tough machines and they should. But,,,
The cheap black paper gasket is simply crepe-paper, like school kids cut up for projects. When water rests on top of the tiller, it 'pools', in an engineered 'valley' atop the Sears tiller. The paper degrades like any newspaper and the water enters precisely where it was engineered to enter.
That would be an internal piston-gear, that instantaneously rusts and it rusts dead shut, it's not going to move, budge, nothing and all you will do is bend levers, trying to make it work. My Sears main store would not fix it and if they would it would have to be shipped from my town of 500,000 to a city of 5 million, in my case, Seattle WA.My town's Sears repair center was shut for corporate cost cutting and it worked for Sear's executives, who's corporate salaries went ballistic.
If anyone needs help getting their tillers back in gear, I have digital pictures, of how to do the breakdown, step by step and it is not near as difficult as you might think. Tools are basic. Procedure is simple and you will discover you are doing exactly what the assemblers in Asia did when they made them, minus the small cranes on the assembly line.
Don't throw the tiller away, it is $700 and trust me, the entire Sears Board of Directors is fully aware of the failing paper gasket, but do not care in the least. They may have sold a million of them by now, so one million times $700 per unit and now we're talking real corporate bonus money and why would the Sears board care when we're talking that kind of cash?
If anyone needs, just e mail me at Myeager2@aol.com ( in case I can't find my way back here) and I will provide vivid pictures of the take down and splitting of the housing, you'll see the little rusted gear, which slides out and must be sanded smooth. Put it back together and it'll run like a top. But don't be a cheap corporation when you put it back together and use real gasket, rather than newspaper and some gasket goop and she'll run like a top, shifting like a hot rod. It is not the location of gears on reassembly, but the internal pin must be sanded and dead free of rust and a first time user of work tools could do this.


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Diogenes used a lamp in his truth quest. I doubt if he ever found it...We now have the INTERNET in search of the truth and quality....And we too may never find it...or if it were to bite us....


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Thanks Posted by Jon Yeager 99006 (Myeager2@aol.com) on Mon, Aug

Thanks (Myeager2@aol.com). Through corresponding by e-mail a few times after I had my tiller completely apart, you helped me have the confidence to put it back together and now it is running. I have many pictures also of the disassembly, and a few of the re-assembly. I didn't take as many when disassembling the transmission, probably because I had grease all over my hands. This is where I needed to take more pictures. Anyway, Thanks for answering a few questions. This tiller was in pieces in my garage for 6 months and now it is running.


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Sears Tiller Tranny pictures

That tear down isn't so bad, if you believe in blank stickers or taped on notes. Seriously. If you just tape a note to each screw, bundle like screws together and don't mind drawing crude schematics, it's not all that bad. I've been on a mission for some time, to not let guys get ripped off on that deal with Sears.
But,,, the pictures weren't taken until most of the tear down was complete. They will show you the tranny disassembly process and that's the most important part. Tiller comes apart by 'section' (think factory assembly floor ) and you just need to type notes and small drawings of every single thing you take off.
You'll start on all cables and those have to be drawn as to the correct re assembly, there's a particular 'grip clip' midway up the handle and it has a couple grated clamps, and is vital that it be put back where it started, so that's one you give special attention to, placing electrical tape on the cable for later hook up ( all this advice is for not, if you have a good owner's manual or service manual )
At the carb, same thing, firmly placed tape will save hours, again and again. Even the front weight 'axle' has a particular system of it's own, take a bolt off, draw it, tape drawing to any space of frame where it won't get scrapped off later. Everything comes off and though that seems daunting, it isn't. One thing at a time, drawing, then tape drawing.
Cables are off. Whole handle comes off. Then, pull wheels, weights and engine, with the intervening pully cover and pully being of utmost importance, especially the 'key' so involved there, that it has to go back right.
It's real easy if you draw as you go, even if you have a manual, I wouldn't do it any other way. So, look at that pully cover and pully real close. Keeper 'ring clip' has to go back, of course. I guess I'm just saying that unless you do it for a living, this is one where you better take intricate notes, or you'll have a pile of junk. With emphasis that if you do notes and tape them around, even drawing a decent bolt pattern for the main tranny housing, with the exact number of holes for exact number of bolts, you will find this a cakewalk. If you plan to 'remember things', take it to the scrap yard and buy a new one.
When you're down to the tranny, with the axles sticking through, the real surprise is that everything stays in one place, since the central axles are fixed to one side of the tranny's housing, from inside.
Lot of guys tried pounding them out, but it's not that way, you spread the housing apart and one side slides up the axles and you can raise it pretty high for visual. So, one side of the housing, up on wood blocks, so the few inches of axle extending out don't touch the table below, but rest a half inch or so above the table, with the housing resting on the blocks.
So, you removed the main bolts and now you're going to spread the housing apart. Flat head screwdriver, fitted in the crease and you pry around the seam and it'll slide upward.
What you're looking for is the 'gravity gear' ( my name for it, they used a lot of them on old farm equipment which I seem to live inside of). It's dead center below the actuating arm hook from your shift lever, where it meets the center top of the housing. You know, the arm that would bend if you tried to shift any harder.
Sear's contractor used passable gasket but was too cheap to add a little RTV goop to finish the job. So, you won't need a new gasket, I tried not to tear it too much and just laid it back together later, with the new addition of a dollars worth of RTV on the rim.
Point is, if you look at the machine before you take it apart, the thing sits so it creates a 'pool', directly above the internal shift mechanism, that 'low spot' is right above an internal sliding 'gravity gear' which of course, gives all forward, reverse and the rest. Guys broke bolts, bent steel rod arms, snapped handles, you name it. Understandable really, the directions tell a guy to 'adjust, adjust, adjust'.
Okay, you're spreading the housing and you have notes taped everywhere and since it's a $600 plus machine, it's worth every cent, if not just principle alone.
Your goal is the gravity gear and you won't miss it, since it will be what looks like a hopelessly rusted mass. It's not. But it's to be respected, since yes, you can remove it just by lifting it out. But don't. DRAW it. Draw it first and do not turn it upside down, don't turn it around, just be very careful of 'top' versus 'bottom'.
Because it will and can, go back together wrong, it will reassemble upside down if you want it to. If you do that, you will 'bench test' it and it will work fine on the bench. It will shift, wheels will turn, you'll think you have it. You'll put it back together and fire it up, but standing upright now, it will be the same. I'll just say, that at this critical juncture, if top from bottom has gotten away from you, the only way to know is process of elimination, that is, risk it backwards and then tear the whole machine down again.
You'll likely find red grease, rusty looking, just leave it, there's no internal hydraulics anyway and no internal pressure. I mean if you want to dig the grease out and change it fine, I just stirred mine up. It doesn't get heated to burn level, ever and I can't go dumping old still workable never heated grease out of the machines I repair, it's just too costly.
The 'Gravity Gear'.
It's rusted. I used an equal mix of WD 40 and Brake Fluid and some cheap rust loosener fluids you get at bargain stores. Soaked the thing for three days. Tapping, very lightly, several times a day. Guy could just order the gear, I suppose and save this step. After three days, it just decided to fall loose and yes it's real obvious once it starts to move, but it most certainly does. Then, you slide the center pin out and sand and sand and sand. Use light sand paper, be patient and once it's smooth as porcelain, you put it back in. If you aren't a patient type guy, just fork over the cash for a new gear. Because if you don't make it real smooth it will hang up and same problem, these type gears need to be very 'fluid', very smooth, Mine, though visibly pitted, smoothed out just fine and the tiller is brand new, runs and tills great.

here is the links.
http://tinypic.com/r/25ann09/5
[IMG]http://i41.tinypic.com/25ann09.jpg[/IMG]
http://i41.tinypic.com/25ann09.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful: tinypic tiller pictures.


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

Hey, Plowdeep, the link to the pictures isnt working. Would you mind reporting?

Thanks!


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RE: Big thanks to this site Sears reartine tiller

All -

Any pictures or working links would help me get my 917.293490 re-assembled and hopefully running.

Thanks!


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