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K51 TuffTorq problems

Posted by williston MA (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 16, 07 at 15:46

Well, after 7 years and 300 hours the hydro on my Scotts 1642 has started to act up. It started making a loud screeching noise (like a dry or bad pulley bearing makes) when I switched from reverse to forward mowing my lawn. Now moving the lever much past half way in either direction causes the noise and the forward/reverse motion stops. If you keep the speed real slow, it will move along without the noise until you try and make a turn. I was hoping it was just the old belt slippling, so I replaced it. No change/no luck. When I jack up the rear end of the tractor and engage the lever, there's no noise at any setting. When it's on the ground, back to the loud screech. It get worse when you try to make a turn. (More load on the tranny). It's quiet sitting there in neutral. It kills me because I have kept the tractor so beautiful all these years and it still looks new and runs great otherwise.

I'm hoping someone here might have another solution to the cause of the noise as a new trans costs more than the tractor is probably worth. FWIW, this happened with absolutely NO warning whatsoever: no slipping, no other odd noises... NOTHING. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Fluid level?
The only info I have says 10W-30 motor oil.
Nothing on how to check/add/change.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Unfortuneately, on this model there is no way to check the oil level without removing it from the tractor. The tranny doesn't leak so I'm pretty sure the oil level would be OK. The noise reminds me of what you get when your car is already running and you engage the starter again by mistake: that loud screeching noise. I really thought it was the belt and that it had let go and was jammed/caught around one of the pulleys or just slipping and making the screech.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Your description is consistent with a bad idler pulley bushing. I'm not familiar with that particular tractor but I would check the idler pulley(s) that put slack in the drive belt when the brake pedal is depressed. A pulley may be binding which would cause the drive belt to screech under load.

In any case, please let us know the outcome.

-Deerslayer


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I think the tranny bit the dust, an idler pulley,etc would still sound off when it's jacked up. I'd check this website to see if he services-sells that tranny. jim@jimsrepairjomstractors.com , they rebiuld and/or sell new hydro units, don't know if he carrys your unit.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Butch, I'd still check the idler pulley first. A small increase in belt tension can make a difference. Besides it's easy to check and doesn't cost anything. If the belt is new and has been installed properly, and the idler pulley rotates as smooth as butter, I'll agree that it's the hydro.

BTW, I'm glad to see that you're recommending Jim's Repair. I gave you his email address when you were considering rebuilding your MF1855 hydro. I believe that it has a Suntrand HT90. Did you rebuild it?

-Deerslayer


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

First, thanks for all the quick replies....

I checked all the idler pulleys before I put the new belt in and they all spun nice and smooth with little noise. The only odd thing I noted was the pulley and fan on top of the trans seemed loose and sloppy and I could spin it by hand with the belt off.. almost seemed stripped. However with the belt re-installed the fan seemed nice and tight again and locked with the transmission. (Couldn't turn it. With the tractor running, the fan and pulley spin fine (fast and nice and strong) with no noise whatsoever. Like I said, with the trans sitting in neutral and running, the belt and all the pulleys spin free and quietly (same as with belt off). It's only when you push the lever forward (or reverse) and get it about half way through its travel that the screeching starts and the tractor slows down. Keep pushing the lever forward and forward motion gradually stops. I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that the tranny is gone. A new one from Deere is about $520. UGH!


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems/pulleys

One other bit of info to add re: the idler pulleys. I still suspected one of them might be bad so after installing the belt I started the tractor and released the brake with the transmission sitting in neutral. This supposedly releases the tensioning idler so the belt is under full tension/no slack. Again, everything was nice and quiet -until- I moved the hand control lever forward, the I got the noise...gradually increasing in volume in proportion to har far I pushed the lever....


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Ahhh...the missing information! Your hydro pulley shouldn't be loose and sloppy.

Let me get this straight. Without load your hydro pulley slips. Under light load your hydro pulley spins correctly. Under heavy load it slips.

It sounds like you hydro pulley isn't secured tight enough to the hydro shaft or is stripped.

-Deerslayer


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Deerslayer, thanks it was you I got jims address from, I like his website, it lists the torque of the motors which seems more important to me than the horsepower. Haven't rebuilt the old Massey yet, found a faulty electronic ign conversion on the B48 Onan, put the points back in and it works good again. The paint is getting in terrible shape though so I got to get to getting directly. Thinking about buying a used JD 425-445 to use while I'm doing the rebiuld on the old 1855MF. That way maybe I can figure out the JD craze, I've always been a Massey Ferguson fan, have owned older Cub Cadets too but never a deere, so what the heck.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Ops, forgot to add it sounds like the input shaft bearings are gone. You say the pulley and fan wobble around, look and see if the shaft is wobbling too, if it is, the unit needs rebiult and/or replaced as called for.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Correct Deerslayer... the only part I can't confirm it what that pulley is doing under load...reason being that the only time it screeches is when it's moving along (forward or backward) and I'm either riding it or crawling along beside it while my son is driving so it was tough to pinpoint the exact location of the noise. I looked over the pulley and fan as best I could from under there...on top there is a c-clip and large washer, the fan is attached to the pulley with two think bolts and self-locking nylon nuts. Pretty simple and just going by feel, everything seemed to be in place. I can't imagine how or why anything could have stripped and to me if the pulley did slip and strip on the input shaft. And also if it indeed is stripped why it still works at all. With the tractor shut down and the belt installed that pully is rock-solid tight. I can not turn it by hand at all know with reasonable force. With tractor running the fan is spinning true and straight and also quiet. But without someway to put it under load while up in the air I won't be able to pinpoint the noise. I'm not saying you are wrong...believe me I appreciate the feedback you are giving me, but I doesn't seem like that light pulley and plastic fan on the relatively small input shaft could be producing all this screeching.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

If the hydro pulley to shaft connection is solid, I agree with Butch...the hydro shaft bearings may be bad.

Butch, I've heard a lot of good things about the JD 425-445 tractors. Some say that they are the best GTs that JD ever made. I'd be tempted to buy one if I needed that much tractor.

-Deerslayer


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

The next step will be removing the transmission from the tractor and see if I can get to the bottom of what has failed. Then I'll decide on repair, replacement or going with the "21 inch walk-behind" solution! ;^) Looking through the Deere manual, it doesn't look too difficult. I post back with what I find. I have also sent an email off to Jim's repairs to see what they think. Thanks again to everyone for your help.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

The pulley shaft is splined and should not spin freely. It sounds like the splines are shot due to loose nut which caused a wobble and resulted in accelerated wear. The reason why at idle it's fine, and then screeches under load, is because at idle there is no load - but the tension of the belt presses whatever is left of the splines to interlock... under load, the worn-down splines probably start to skip.

Take the pulley off and have a look-see (before you take the tranny out)... you may need to take the wheel(s) off to gain necessary access...


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

wally2q:
Thanks for the input. Sadly, I think you're right in your diagnosis. With the rear end of the tractor jacked up off the ground and no load on the tires, the tranny works fine/quiet both forward and reverse with no noise or screeching. To me, if there was an internal failure there would still be noise as the tranny was engaged. I'm going to have to remove the tranny to check the pulley as there is not enough clearance above it to check or remove it. The pulley and fan is held on the shaft by a c-clip and retainer on top and an e-ring and another retainer underneath. I have a sinking feeling one of those clips failed and that is what is causing the noise and problems. This is a real SOB that a catastrophic failure (stripped input-shaft splines) like this can be caused by a 5 cent part. There was no prior warning that anything was wrong either. All I can hope for at this point is that the splines on the shaft haven't been destroyed.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

All may not be lost. The input shaft is hardened steel. The pulley is quite often made out of zinc or aluminum these days... if any stripping happened, it would be the pulley. Of course, if the pulley is steel, then wall bets are off.

Considering that this has happened some time ago, and it's still somewhat useable, the pulley may be steel - as any failure of splines on an aluminum pulley would take only a few seconds to strip the splines off to a level where the machine would be totally dead.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

OK, heres the follow-up to my K51 problem I posted about. I pulled the tranny and found that the splines on the input shaft were indeed worn (not stripped) and this was the cause of the slipping pulley and fan when the belt was removed. The splines on the metal belt pulley were also badly worn (worse than the shaft). I digress here for a brief RANT.thanks in advance for your patience! To me, this could only be caused by
SLOPPY manufacturing allowing SLOPPY fit and tolerances between those two parts.
Im not sure who to blame here, John Deere or TuffTorq, and Im not an engineer, but it doesnt take a lot of smarts to know that these two pieces IN THIS CRITICAL APPLICATION, should fit together precisely WITHOUT SLOP.

Anyway, the good news is the splines on the shaft arent completely worn down, so Im going to order a new pulley and the two splined collars that go above and below the pulley and hope that the new parts will fit on the shaft tight enough to keep it from slipping. Im seriously thinking of using JB Weld on the shaft and pulley to hold everything in place. Im also considering just having my local weld shop braze the pulley to the shaft and hoping it will hold for another seven years. Several sources have told me that replacing the input shaft involves a complete tear-down and will cost almost as much as a new tranny. Right now I cant afford a new tranny ($525 from John Deere).

Final thoughts: this transmission was used in a lot of John Deere lawn tractors, including the LT series of the late 90s/early 2000s. Plug in the part number on the "where used" section of the Deere online catalog and youll see what I mean. Removing the transmission was VERY easy: remove cottor pin from brake linkage on the left side, unhook connector for shift rod on the right, remove 6 bolts for the mounting and lower the transmission. ANYONE with a tractor approaching these hours/years should drop the tranny and check this pulley for wear. Also, while it was out I removed the filler plug and checked the oil: I was surprised to see it was still fairly clean, still had the golden color of motor oil and no burned smell. The screen was also pretty clean. Im convinced the noise and failure is this worn pulley.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

williston, FWIW (and that tranny isn't "worth" much right now), you will be better off using JB Weld to "tighten up" the ill fit of the splines than to attempt "brazing". Brazing will certainly destroy the seal in the input shaft bore. JB Weld will work best if you can clean and degrease the surfaces of both pulley and shaft (I'm referring to a NEW PULLEY). Plus, JB Weld CAN be removed later if need be (though it will require heat to do so) After cleaning the input shaft, it wouldn't hurt to apply a little grease to the area of the shaft just above the seal and the seal itself to keep any errant JB Weld away from the seal. Use a cotton swab to apply the grease. It would be nice if the pulley could be drilled and tapped for a set screw (and of course if you could put a countersink in the shaft to catch the set screw).


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

mownie: Thanks for the input on the welding option. I didn't consider the problems heat would cause. I have used JB Weld in the past with good results, so I'm 99% sure I'm going to apply it when I install the new pulley. I know there's going to be some play between the shaft and the pulley due to the wear on the shaft splines, so this should give the JB Weld enough surface area to hold and it should all squeeze out when I slide the new pulley on. I planned on masking off the seal area with some cardboard before applying the JB Weld. I should have added that there was little to no wear apparent at the points those two splined spacers/collars mount on the shaft above and below the pulley. They were both very tight on the shaft with no slop whatsover...to the point that they took a little muscle to slide up the shaft. Obviously manufactured to much stricter tolerences, unlike the pulley. So know I just keep my fingers crossed that the screeching and howling will be gone when I put it back together and button things up. I have also sent an email to TuffTorq about this and asking them about re-filling with synthetic 10w-30.
Thanks again. I'll post back when I get it back together and running.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems ala JB Weld

williston, be sure to "paint" the insides of your new pulley with JB Weld too (in addition to coating the shaft). This will assure that every surface in this "fix" has good coverage.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Good point...thanks. I'm still hoping that the fit with the new pulley might be tight enough that I won't need the JB Weld. I'm saying this because as I removed the lower splined collar from the input shaft, it felt nice and tight on the shaft splines all the way up: little to no play and it wasn't easy to remove. I'm hoping the fresh teeth on the new pulley will mesh nice and tight with the shaft. You know, these aren't bad tractors. With the deck and transmission removed you can see just about everything under there. I didn't see any rust, cracks in the frame or other stress points. The deck lift mechanism was nice and sound with no unusual wear. You can see the steering gear and linkage and no unusual wear there either. The axle shafts were still nice any shiney when I removed the wheels and the keys were free in their grooves. Even though I take good care of the tractor, I was surprised at how good everything looked under there.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Well now if that ain't a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde turn of attitude. Just a bit earlier you were lookin' to draw and quarter some design engineers (go ahead, they deserve it anyway) and now your're practically cooing the virtues of this Scotts...... I know just how you feel. Please do keep everyone posted as to the outcome. You may have dodged the bullet.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Yeah, I could see where you might think that. My point though was that for what it is, it has held up OK. This is the first catastophic failure since I purchased it and it shouldn't have happened in my opinion. It also goes beyond the Scotts brand: this pulley is used on the tranny's that went into a lot of other -Deere- branded tractors. The K51 was used in a lot of them...the LT155 for example. That's why I suggested that anyone that has a tractor with this transmission in it try and check the pulley and input shaft before it slips and fails like mine did.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Of course you understand the Dr. Jekyll post was all in fun.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Yep, sure do. Parts are on order, I'll post back here again with results when I get it back together and running. Right now it's looking pretty sad with it's rear-end sitting low on the garage floor and the grille and headlights pointing up at the ceiling!


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I wouldn't glue it, if there was a way to drill a hole through the shaft and pulley - say if the pulley had a longer bore than the pulley wheel itself, so you can get a drill onto it. Drill and put in a pin.... once you JB the wheel it ain't ever coming off...


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Update: I mentioned before that I sent an email to Tuff Torq asking them if it was OK to put synthetic oil in the tranny if I changed it. I also mentioned that I might have to change out the input shaft and asked if this required a complete tear-down to accomplish. The next day I received a nice reply from one of their techs telling me that not only was it OK to use synthetic oil in the tranny (they use 5w50), but also that changing out the input shaft was a fairly simple job that only requires popping off the oil seal, removing a c-clip and the lifting out the shaft! They will also sell me the replacement shaft for around $25.00 which includes the near bearing and oil seal as well. (They do not make the pulley and collars that go on the tranny). I was pretty happy to read that email to say the least! (Deere does not offer the shaft as a separate replacement part). I'll be ordering the shaft from Tuff Torq and when all the parts are in and replaced I report back on how it went. They also supply the 5w50 synthetic oil as a replacement part if you can't find it locally. The tech mentioned that Tuff Torq now fills several of their larger transaxles that experience heavy loading with this SAE 5w50 synthetic motor oil.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Well now, this is a happier turn of events. I don't guess I need to say "hold off with the JD Weld", do I? Good save.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I am a new member and joined because I had exactly the same transmission thing happen to me yesterday. Please continue to tell us how to repair this problem as I to dont want to buy a new tranny either. I've used my S1642 for 6 very hard years and it has preformed great, I would like to keep it going for another six years.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I am also a new member. I have a John Deere LT166 with this transmission. IT doesn't make the noise the poster mentioned above but it does have a problem. It moves very slow. On level ground it moves slow but goes but on an incline of any size it just sits there. I've changed the tension pully and the drive belt (didn't fix it). Does anybody have suggestions?


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Repair follow-up:
I installed the new input shaft, bearing and seal I purchased from Tuff Torq and the new pulley and splined spacers from John Deere.

Result: tranny as good as new!

The screeching/howling sound is gone and it's moving in both directions with no problems. I also changed the oil and filter while it was apart and re-filled with synthetic 5w50 (Castrol Syntec) as recommended by Tuff Torq. The tranny feels smoother and seems quieter too and felt much cooler when I checked the case after I finished mowing. Total cost was about $60 not including the oil: $20 for the pulley, spacers and snap rings from John Deere, $25 for the new input shaft and the remainder for the new filter and a new trans vent valve assy. ( A new transmission is $525 from John Deere so to me, this was worth a try even if it did fix the problem.)

So there you go. If you start having these symptoms, pull the drive belt and check that pulley or just remove the transmission. It's an easy job. After removing the wheels it's only six bolts, the brake linkage (cotter pin) and the shift rod linkage. Thanks to all who contributed to help me and good luck to others.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Great job!!!

Thanks for letting us know the outcome.

-Deerslayer


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Williston, yes, Great Job. As I mentioned eairler, I have the exact same problem but I am not quite as mechanically inclined as yourself. Could you post more detail about the parts required, where you got them, & did you have a exploded diagram of the tranny that could show me where in the world all of the dohickies go. You seem to be my only hope as the John Deere people do not have much respect for our Scotts model and do not want to repair the tranny. Thanks.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Greg, I'm still waiting as well. I really want to fix this problem myself.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

If you re-read all the posts and sift through the info you should find the info you are looking for, including the parts I replaced and how to remove the transmission. I ordered the new pulley, spacers and snap rings from my local John Deere dealer using the on-line catalog to get the parts numbers (there are excellent diagrams of the tranny on there). I called Tuff Torq with the model and serial number from the sticker on the transmission and ordered the new input shaft and other misc parts from them. (The input shaft is not available from Deere)


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I have finally fixed my tranny. I found a John Deere service person who is really sharp & helpful. He said to replace the drive pulley which sits on top of the cooling fan above the tranny. He said JD made the metal softer in the drive pulley than the shaft so that when one went out all you had to do was replace the external drive pulley and not have to tear the tranny apart. I bought the part from JD for 13 dollars. I got to the top of the tranny by unbolting the six bolts that mate the tranny to the frame and dropped the tranny. Unbolt your brake rod so that your brake rod does not bend like mine did, minor repair. It now runs like it used to. Good luck to all on your repairs.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

That is great news. In my case, the splines on the tranny input shaft were also badly worn and there was not enough left to hold the new pulley nice and tight and thus I needed to also replace the shaft. This was a very easy job with the tranny out and I also was able to change the oil and re-fill with synthetic. Thanks for posting back with your repair update.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Great info on this page. I had the same problem with a Scott 2046. JD dealer wanted almost $600.00 for a new trans. and then labor to install. My son-in-law who is much more mechanically inclined than I, replaced the input shaft (you can buy it from Tuff-Torq as a kit) plus a new pulley, fan and spacers from JD and all is well again. While we had the trans. tore down we replaced the two filters and air vent also. Here is a link to the Tuff-Torq site: http://www.tufftorqservices.com/cgi-bin/tts.storefront . You will need to copy and paste. Total parts were less than $100.00. I really appreciate the great info Williston.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I went to the Tufftorq web site listed in the above post and tried to register so that I might order parts. I filled out the form, but it keeps coming back with the statement "This set of personal data does not sufficiently guarantee your security" at the top of the form. Does anyone know why? Charles Ranheim


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I found my registration problem. Quite a while ago, when Tufftorq first started their online web site, I registered with an ID and password, even though there was not much I could do on the site. I forgot about this (senior moment). I was trying to register with the same ID when I got the error message I did not understand. Once I changed my ID, it worked. If only the error message said the ID I was trying to use was already in use, it would not have been a problem at all. I am not trying to blame them for my mistake, but it would have helped if the message was more informative as to what was wrong. Charles Ranheim


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I have a scotts 2046 with a tuff torque tranny problem. Its posted on garden tractor recommendation. Please help!!!


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

HELP !!
Someone please tell me right away - how much oil should there be in a K51 TuffTorq box? Is there some reference that I can use as a 'level' marker?


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I have a Scotts 2046 (JOHN DEERE) with a Tuff-Torq tranny. It was making a growling noise as if the belt was slipping. The belt was fine. Problem got worse till one day it wouldn't move. Dissassembled the tranny and could see nothing wrong. Filled with fresh oil and re-installed. Worked good as new. I believe the problem was that grass had built up on top of the tranny case behind the lever that is moved in and out to disengage tranny. This prevented it from engaging. Check this first if you have a problem. You can do a search for Tuff-Torq on the web and call their tech services for oil capacity. Parts are available for these transmissions even though John Deere says they are not.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I have the same K51 symptoms with my Scotts S2046. My problem is removing the rear wheels. Removed the e-clip and washer. Shaft appears straight with keyway. I put a wheel puller on it with applied a lot of torque and wheels don't budge. Sprayed with WD and let sit overnight. Anybody else have this problem.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Norml: first off: throw the WD 40 away unless you're thinking of using it for the arthritis in your knuckles. That's about all it is good for. For a rust penetrant, try PB Blaster, Sea Foam Deep Creep, Kroil, and now CRC has a freeze penetrant I've used that I think works very well.

You may have to heat the area up some with a decent torch. Be careful if you choose to do so.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Can I ask some dumb questions? I bought a JD LT166 at an auction and it needed some work. Main thing I noticed is that the right rear axle would pull right out. So basically it wouldn't move because the axle was not completely in. Long story short, after pulling the tranny and with the help of this forum I found that the thrust washer had broke and basically allowed the "ring 17" to fall out, therefore there was nothing to hold the axle in. I have ordered the parts and hopefully that is all that is wrong with it. Now for my dumb question. I do not see any way to put oil in it once I get it fixed other than pour it in before putting the lower case back on. Is this the only way? Also, to me it looks like 2 different chambers between where the "transmission" is and where the axles and "rear end" is. Am I missing where this flows back and forth or do you need to put oil in both chambers and how much in each? Again I apologize if these questions seem real simple or real apparent, but for some reason I am not seeing the answers. Thanks


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I bought a SABRE 15.538 Hydro, supposedly built by John Deere, from Sears in 1997. It has served me well until last summer when the K-51 transaxle input pulley lost it's teeth. There was no strange noise warning prior to the incident, therefore some splines are now missing from the shaft. John Deere wants over $600 and Sears wants over $900 for a new transaxle which is totally out of the question. The tractor is in like new condition except for this failure and I want to keep it.
Thank GOD and Al Gore(LOL)for the internet and this website where I found an affordable solution.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Thank to all for the great info on this forum. I'm a newbie, so be gentle...
I've also got a Scotts 2046, going on around 10 years old, with the same symptoms as those noted above (after warming up, won't go uphill, etc).
I changed the ground drive belt, hoping that was it was just starting to slip when heating up, but alas, it's the tranny. I'm clearly not as mechanically knowledgable as many of those on the forum, and haven't dropped the transaxle to inspect it just yet (grass is growning too fast right now, mowing 20 minutes at a clip!). I did call my usual repair shop to ask about the repair, and they essentially said the tranny's shot, given the age of the tractor, and based on the tractor's age, not worth fixing. I'm still willing to make a final go at it, though, but need to keep it cheap, considering that my PowerFlow bagger unit is also starting to fall apart (held together by sheet metal patches). If this doesn't work, it looks like I'll be posting on the "New Tractor Recommendations" list...
I looked on the TuffTorq Website and checked the diagram for my unit ( http://www.tufftorqservices.com/cgi-bin/tts.storefront ). Can anybody advise if the part that's typically wearing out is #29, the motor drive shaft? Is this the same part as the input shaft? I don't see that listed as part of a repair kit, as some have mentioned they purchased. The K51A Repair Kit sounds like overkill, given what I've read here. Also, has anyone got the John Deere Part number for the drive pulley, in case I need to order one of those, too?
Thanks for any insights anyone can provide.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

As a followup to my previous post, I decided to bite the bullet and drop the transaxle to get a better look at what's going on. The input shaft pulley teeth don't look terribly worn - but there's quite a bit of play - measuring at the plastic outer fan blade, I can rotate the pulley freely up to 5/16" before the shaft engages. On the other hand, it's never made any noise, and there doesn't appear to be any sign of metal on metal gear slippage. Can anyone tell me if this amount of play is normal or if I should replace the pulley anyway? Also, I can turn the pulley & shaft by hand - there's resistance, but not an extreme amount. I have no clue how much resistance is considered normal, and some here have mentioned that there should be a great deal of resistance. Can anyone advise?
Finally (and forgive me for THIS ignorant question - I assume the large black seal is where I drain / refill with oil - not the small black cap. Is that correct?
Thanks to any and all who can help me.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

When I had the problem, the fan and pulley assembly would actually spin fine while the tractor was running in neutral, making it seem like nothing was wrong. It was only when you moved the lever to go forward that the pulley would slip on the shaft, the screeching would occur and the tractor would stop moving. Also, with the rear wheels off the ground (no load) they would move normally. With the transmission out, I couldn't force the pulley to slip with just my hand, but there was a lot of play between the shaft and the pulley and the splines on the shaft were very worn. The small black cap is the transmission vent. The large one is removed to drain and re-fill the transmission.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Thanks, Williston. I actually never checked the operation of the pulley assembly with the tactor wheels up off the ground. I really should've checked that, as well as what was (and wasn't) spinning when trying to move the tractor in forward or reverse once it was heated up. Too late now...

It would seem to me that if the pulley were actually slipping on the shaft, that there would be quite a bit of noise, and evidence of metal-on-metal scraping, which I don't see (and didn't hear). I think I may try to replace the pulley anyway, and possibly install the pump shaft kit, which is about $25 on the TuffTorq website. I'm not sure if I can do that without opening up the unit, though, as I don't see how the shaft is held into the unit. Apparently, TuffTorq doesn't supply any directions for the install, so I'd be working solely from the diagram.

I'm not sure how much I want to spend on the repair attempt. At this point, I think I'd be happy just getting one more season out of the tractor. I've been advised by the repair shop that they've occasionally installed the $324 repair kits only to find that the transmissions still didn't operate properly.
Thanks for the info on the drain/fill - TuffTorq sent me a diagram that helped on that front.

As an aside, I started researching new tractors...I was shocked to see that "experts" agree that 250 hours of mowing time is the average life expectancy of a tractor! That's practically a "disposable". I must have at least 750+ hours on mine. If 250 is really the life expectancy of the typical lawn tractor, I may really need to think about whether it's worth buying a better quality tractor, or better to buy relatively cheap tractors that I could just sell after using them for a couple of years (like leasing a car) when the repairs would likely be negligable.

Thanks again for the help - greatly appreciated.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

From your decription, it doesn't sound like the worn shaft/spline problem. When I got the tranny out of mine, the wear and slop was very obvious. The fan, pulley and shaft are all held in place by simple "C" clips. When the one for the shaft is removed, you can pull it right out of the case with a little effort. You might want to just try changing the oil first to see if that fixes the problem since R&R of the unit is so simple.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

test


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I found a short cut for pully removal. Take out torque bracket bolts & remove front tranny bolts. Then loosen rear tranny bolts almost all the way and fish pully & fan out of hole created by removing battery & black plate.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I also used JB weld. My shaft looked worn. Will let ya'll know how it holds up. Used mower for an hour so far it's good!


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

ok- folks. i found this post and had already fought thru the fix. my question. early on I took the rubber cover off of the blow off / relief valve. how do i get that blow off to come up so i can get the rubber cover back on. there is a groove in the rubber cover that accepts the disc perfectly. or do i just fly without????-dave in ohio


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need tuff torq drive pulley

I can't seem to find a drive pulley for my tuff torq hydo. Pulley splines are bad, drive shaft is good. Pulley is 3" dia. shaft is .4" Please help. Will have to by some sheep otherwise. Thanks


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I recently had a chance to get a Scotts 1642 from a friend. It has the exact problems discussed in this forum. I have the transaxle out, shaft splines worn,pulley splines worn. I have worked on a tuff torq 61 in a toro 267h. I would like the part numbers for tuff torq and John Deere ,would save me some time. Have enjoyed reading these postings. Just a old man who loves to fix things.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I had a stripped drivepulley on a Tuf-torque tranny. Somebody said to go to John Deere to get parts, so i went there. The man didn't/couldn't find anything in the parts book, but he went out back to the junk parts bin and found the pulley i needed and two plastic fans with splined centers! I put it all together and it works well. The pulley was a wee bit smaller than the original, but it works ok! I only used one fan! Somebody here would inevitably ask if i had installed both fans! ;0)


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Great Information!

I also had a similar problem with the worn K51 transmission pulley and in the process wearing out the transmission shaft.

The symptom was a loud squeal/chirp like sound coming from the top of the transmission. Adding some oil to the top of the pulley would temporarily relief the symptom.

Finally loosened up the drive belt and noticed that the pulley is moving on the transmission shaft. Lots of side-to-side movement noticed.

Got a new pulley, but it did not fit tightly as expected as the shaft was also warn at this point. Had to use "JB Weld" to hold everything together. No problem using the JB Weld - seems to have done the trick.

I could have replaced the transmission shaft that some have purchased directly form Tuff Torq for $25. Just need to register on the Tuff Torq web and order the correct part. According to the technician at Tuff Torq the shaft can be removed from the top (just remove the seal and the clip under the seal and it should pull out - no need to disassemble the transmission. However, I had no time for that as the grass was growing BIG, therefore JB weld was used!

Once the transmission was removed from the tractor. Drained overnight all the oil through the air vent (mistake #1 - should have drained through the fill cap). Also tried to fill the transmission with oil through the air vent - big mistake. Only got 1.25l in, should have been able to put in 2.25l. Note - you can't fill the unit with oil through the air vent. You need to remove the fill cap and the spring and the round mesh like insert under the fill cap (I think its used for backpressure to the pump). Then the unit will fill with 2.25l of oil. I used Castrol synthetic 5W50 oil recommended by Toff Torq.

How this helps someone.

Cheers


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I also had drive pulley problems The spline on the drive shaft and the drive pulley had been worn so that replacing the pulley wouldn't be a permanent fix When cheking on a replacement transaxle and hearing the cost I decided to attempt a fix. I pulled the transaxle and took my hand grinder to cut a key slot in the drive shaft and did the same to the pulley.I didn't use regular key but instead used a 3/8 bolt that was sized for a snug fitand used lock tite around the bolt.the bolt has to be grinded so it doesn't extend above the pulley shaft for clearance reason.That was over three years ago and still running fine


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

same problem, pulley & shaft both worn out
ordered pulley form john deere & shaft kit (pump bearing kit
item # 10 from tuff torq web site , a little problem finding diagram for k51 trans but after following instructions for navigating the web site all is good cutting a keyway
sounds good , no parts needed or tack weld pulley to shaft


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Just dropped my tranny out this week and found the input shaft with worn splines and the bottom washer with half of the splines washed out. I will be looking to order those same parts.
Thanks for the info


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Thanks for everyone's advice - saved me hundreds of dollars and a lot of time! After 10 years and 406 hours (with a self-installed meter) I experienced the screeching / grinding / scraping noise problem with my John Deere / Scotts S1642 riding mower whenever I engaged the transmission in forward or reverse. My mower would move slowly, but if I tried to gain any speed, the grinding noise started and the tractor stopped.

As with many posters here, I discovered the cause to be extreme wear on the hydrostatic drive's input pulley and input shaft. The spline mating surfaces on the ID of the pulley and on the shaft OD had both worn so badly that the pulley could spin freely (albeit in a chattering way) on the shaft. When I was driving very slowly, the belt pressure held the pulley up against the shaft enough that friction and what was left of the teeth would turn the input shaft. At higher speeds, the torque overcame the grip between pulley and shaft and the pulley release and ground around the input shaft.

I solved the problem by removing the Tuff Torq K51A transaxle (just put the rear hitch on a cinder block and a piece of 2x4, pull off the rear tires, disconnect two linkages to the tranmission, remove six bolts and it's off!), and replacing the pulley and input shaft. Total cost for new shaft kit, new oil, and a new pulley was about $100. Time to complete the repair was about 4-hours once I had all the parts.

I ordered the replacement Splined Input Shaft (Part #19216899490 - called a "Pump/Bearing Kit - K51A, B, E") from Derrick at Tuff Torq (actually I got advice from Derrick - Phone: 866-572-3441, and ordered the parts from their web site - www.tufftorqparts.com - The Input Shaft Kit consists of a splined shaft, a seal, and a spring [the spring is a new improvement and was not part of my original K51A.] The kit cost me $25.00 plus shipping.)

The replacement Pulley (#M127358) I got from my local John Deere Dealer for about $15.00.

Replacement of the Input Shaft is easy and is accomplished without opening the case! While working on the transaxle, I took others' advice and replaced the oil in the unit with Castrol 5W50 Synthetic Oil. On Derrick's recommendation, I just popped the big oil cap off, removed the spring and filter, then inverted the K51A on a 5-gallon bucket to drain. NOTE: Derrick says to NOT invert or move the K51A while you have the input shaft removed as components inside can shift! I drained mine before changing the shaft. Changed the shaft, then filled with 2.25 L of 5W50 (should fill to just above the filter.)

The new spring that goes on the input shaft required some fiddling to get down into the hole.

Be sure to purge the air from the transaxle after refilling it with oil. I failed to do this and at first I thought my repair had failed. Instructions for purging air can be found at the Tuff Torq link above - under the Tech Info link in the lower left corner. After I drove the mower in a slow, herky-jerky fashion for a few minutes, things smoothed out and now it runs as good as new. Now that it's purged I will recheck my transmission oil level this weekend.


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I know this is an old thread but I just purchase the same mower as the OP with the same problem. I have the transaxle out and the input shaft ready to come out. I read where all you need to do is remove the c-clip that holds the bearing. I have it out but the input shaft will not come out. I pull as hard as I can but it won't budge.

I have a Scotts 1642S with the K51A transaxle.

Anyone ran into this problem?

Am I missing something or what?

"EDITED"
NEVERMIND!!!! I got a hold of tuff torq.

Visegrips on shaft and tap with hammer! Waalaah! OUT!!!

This post was edited by BroncoMike on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 15:21


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Voila!


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

GREAT INFO on the trans. problem. Just dropped mine, splines shot! Question.... When I pulled the spline output shaft out, something under the shaft moved. I assume it is the pump piston drive plate (or what ever it is called). I managed to get it where things line up, but is there a specific orientation? Not sure how it moved, but it did. Also from what I'm reading here syn. oil is the way to go. Just drain as much of the oil out as possible and refill? Any purging that needs to be done? I don't want to have to drop this again any time soon...or burn it up.
THANX to ALL.... I was ready to junk it.

Mike


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Hey Mike, any idea how you got whatever moved back to where it needs to be.... I just did the same damn thing.....

Thanks


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

I figured it out, pump shifted. all fixed


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Hi Jay- How'd you get the pump back where it needed to be?


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RE: K51 TuffTorq problems

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you... I guess I was just damn lucky.. the pump moved but I could still see a TINY BIT of the center hole with the splines so I took a very skinny screwdriver and was able to finesse it back into place. But I ended up taking the entire transmission apart anyway (for another reason)

I'm sure you've fixed it by now, but anyone with average shade tree mechanic skills should NOT be worried about taking the tranny apart. I was afraid of doing it, but it's pretty simple inside. Just take it slow.


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