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'19 2032R, FL, frontier brush hog, box blade, straight blade, rock rake
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My Frontier 2060 brush hog has been chugging along for two years now cleaning up our property whenever we need it. I pulled the manual out of the tube the other day, and the first thing I read was "shipped without oil, be sure to fill gear case before using", or something like that. I kind of got the jitters for a minute, but my wife said the dealer surely wouldn't send out anything if it wasn't ready to go. Of course, it would have screamed and ground the metal parts up pretty quick, but I thought it would be best to check it. The sighting window didn't look too promising, as in it seemed like it was below the window's bottom edge, So today I pulled the fill plug (do these things really not have drain plugs?), and what came flowing out was not what I expected. At least it came running out, which means it had oil in it. But it's tan, more like flesh colored.
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The HyGard oil (and every other hydraulic oil I've ever used) sure doesn't look like this stuff! First thing I thought was it had water in it. But it's not a milky, watery mix, it's just all this stuff. Is this what they put in them at the factory?? The fill nut was tight with Loctite on the threads, and when I pulled the so-called breather nut, I couldn't even blow air through it until I shot some PB Blaster in it, so I don't think any water could have gotten in there. So, what's everybody say about this? Is this normal? My first thought was "Drain that stuff and get some new oil in there!" Then I read the manual and it "suggests" vacuuming it out the top plug, so I'm assuming they didn't put a drain plug in these. A gearbox without a drain plug. Only an engineer could come up with that. Anyway, it's off the tractor (2032R) until I hear back from you all. This stuff looks like the CWF fence and deck stain that I put on my wood at home. That's scary. But I'm a geezer. Maybe this is what they call good today. Thanks for any ideas on this. Lee
 

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I do not recognize that color. What does it smell like? How thick is it?

Good news is it doesn't seem to be full of metallic particles. I would drain and fill with 80/90 then run it for a while then empty and refill.
 

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That is typically what oil looks like when it has water in it.
 

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MTB98......what a great idea.....wish I had that tip before I got a cheap oil extractor at Harbor Freight.......for the exact same operation. 👍
 

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1025r with Mauser cab.
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It's very hard to get the water out of the gear box when they don't have drain plugs as its difficult to get all of the fluid out the way most are designed. Be prepared for this fluid to have to be changed several times to fully rid your mowers gear box of the moisture in the oil..............

I also found that this tool is very helpful, it's much easier to PULL fluid out than to try and pump it out. Vaccum works but you have to be patient..............The reason many other tools won't work to extract the fluid is the pump or draw cycle is too limited. This allows a full draw and for the money, is something to have in the tool box...........

They call this a "grease gun" style tool as it resembles a grease gun, but this one draws fluid instead of pushing lubricants.........it's not currently available at Amazon, but this style with the oring sealed plunger has excellent draw capability and works well. The one I use is the same size as a grease gun and pulls nearly all of the fluid from the RC2048 gear box in a draw or two.......



Here's an example of the larger style tool..............grease gun sized tool......

 

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1025R, Z930M, GX345
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Unfortunately that is most definitely emulsified oil & water. Recommend you drain it out and flush it with fresh oil a couple times while making sure to run it up to operating temp in between.

Next question is where did the water come from and how did it get inside? Does the implement live outside? If so, it might be time to figure out how to cover it when not in use.
 

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3046R, 320R loader, 375A BH, 72D MMM, 4406H BB, County Line Landscape Rake, Fimco 40gal 3pt sprayer
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It does look like water/gear oil if it uses a gear oil that originally had a reddish tint like some poly greases. If it doesn't have a drain plug, I'd pull the whole box and flush it with kerosene or white gas until that stuff is gone, then let it dry and refill with the proper gear oil.
 

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Next question is where did the water come from and how did it get inside? Does the implement live outside? If so, it might be time to figure out how to cover it when not in use.
Mine sleeps outside. I cut a 5 gallon bucket in half lengthwise and placed it over the gearbox with the bottom part of the bucket towards the rear of the gearbox. A couple of tarp straps keep it in place. It’s like a little shed for the gearbox and U joint.
 

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Have you looked under the mower for an opening cut out to access a drain plug in the gear box?
If there is no drain plug I'd be removing the gear box and get it drained completely. You can buy 'Mineral Spirits' at a paint store which will help flush the box out. The 'Mineral Spirits' will mix with the oil where gasoline and most other oils won't.
 

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I agree that looks like water/oil mix. If you catch it and let it stand the water will eventually separate from the oil and be on the bottom.
Alcohol will mix readily with water to help remove it. It was sold as "dry gas" in my day. Or was it gas dry??
I suspect the water dropped out of humid air that entered the gear box through the vent and later condensed out of the air and mixed with the oil.
 

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They can get water in them from condensation.

I bought a new tiller last October and filled it with fresh 90w gear oil. Checked it after the first spring run and it was all milky with water.

Never seen a gearbox that doesn't have a drain plug.
 

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Never seen a gearbox that doesn't have a drain plug.
Both my brush hog and belly mower do not have drain plugs.
I have four PTO implements, none have a "drain" plug. My old County Line rotary cutter that we sold used to get water in the gearbox all the time. We used to just pick it up with the 2555 and pull the fill level plug and let it drain out. I like MTB98's system better, I'll keep that in mind for future reference. I now keep pales cut to fit over them, have for a few years now.
 

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The most correct answer for how water got into gearbox is typically "condensation". As you use the equipment, the gearbox gets "warm".... as in DO NOT TOUCH! I've read posts where guys have sprayed them down with water and instant steam, so gearbox is OVER 212ºF !!
Anyhow, as gearbox "warms" the oil expands forcing air out through breather. If breather is totally blocked, it tends to push oil out though & past the seals. When it cools down, it contracts and sucks air in, through breather or seals. This new air may contain moisture and as temperature continues to drop, the moisture condenses into water droplets. Think of dew or a favorite cold beverage sitting in the sun! Probably only a drop or 3 of water, but running, cooling, running, cooling and these drops turn into ounces! Bob
 

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There was a video on YT (might have been mbeef or one of the other JD enthusiasts/collectors) either changing the oil or rebuilding a JD gearbox and the stuff that came out looked very similar. IIRC he mentioned that this 'milkshake' colored oil is pretty common and not really a concern - only that you should change it. I'll have to try and find it and post a link.
 
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