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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried posting a description and got no responses. Here is a video that maybe someone will be able to point me towards what to check for.

The lawn tractor jerks momentarily, slows down then takes off like something catches, and you can hear a clicking/popping noise while it happens. It happens much more regularly when turning tight circles. It will happen from time to time in a straight line as well, but it seems to smooth out more when going straight and will get up to speed like it normally would. Forward and reverse both work. In this video, I am going in a tight circle, as if I was rounding the base of a tree ...


Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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My guess would be a broken differential gear. Or the "spider gears" if it is built that way. Just a guess though. I should have looked up the parts before posting. :rolleyes:
Well, no help there. Just shows a transaxle assembly. Looks like JD doesn't want to sell any internal parts for it unless I'm looking in the wrong place.

tommyhawk
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^......thats my guess as well......sounds like a tooth or a few are missing......been wrong many times but that sounds terminal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's what others have guessed on another forum I asked. That's a bummer ...

So I'm probably looking at a new transaxle right? I know you can somewhat reasonably replace the pump, motor, seal, etc -- but I haven't seen anyone with videos or tutorials about replacing gears ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I started tearing stuff off and I noticed something. I'm a rookie at this stuff and I noticed a rookie mistake I apparently made when changing the transmission belt...

Despite pulling the steering wheel shaft to put the belt around it, somehow the belt must have double over on one side when I slid the shaft back into place. So I had both sides of the belt on one side of the shaft, not circling around each side. I fixed it, started it up, and it still has the same issue as before.

Obviously this probably caused the damage. Now my question is, would that extra tension destroy the transmission? It seems to me it would just affect the belt, pulley, and maybe the pulley shaft? I'm going to get a new belt tomorrow, but I can't get a pulley locally. Does that video look like something that could be consistent with stripped pulley gears, or is it possible the extra tension/friction cooked the transaxle?

755018



755019
 

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It could be the pulley is spinning on the splined shaft and the key is either damaged or missing. That would be part number 2 shown in your illustration.

I doubt your belt install was the cause if it is the differential or spider gears. It's more likely to happen when the tires spin on something slippery and then grab traction, that's what is more likely to damage the internal gears. Also, the gears can be damaged if you forward and reverse directions rapidly and aggressively.

If they don't show internal parts, its usually because the component needs to be replaced as a unit. You might try and find a used rear drive assembly but you never really know what you are getting. The unit could be worn out or a great source as a replacement part.

One other thing which often damages these gears is the pulling of "ground engaging" items, which are really anything which causes a lot of moving resistence to the machine. Hills are known to wear out these units, hills with heavy operators and add the pieces together and these units are likely to have failures.

The lower priced mowers, while resembling a lawn tractor, are really just mowers. The moment people start using them as lawn tractors, the more likely they are to see failures. Mowers are designed to mow flat ground which is void of rough bumps and even exposed roots. Garden Tractors are designed to handle more adversity and work load.

Does your machine make the same noise and "jerking" whether turning left or right? If so, the differential is likely the root of the problem. If it's just a turn in one direction and not the other, it could be in the spider gears but it really doesn't matter if you can't get replacement parts and have to buy the entire unit.

One thing to keep in mind. if you end up having to replace the rear drive unit, if the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the mower, you can sell your machine to a "parts machine" service, who buy used mowers and disassemble them and then sell the used parts online, etc. You won't get much for the machine, but you will be "recycling" it to some degree.

Check for Tuff Torq T40 transmission parts, etc. as the parts were used in a number of machines. Tuff Torq is actually a good company to work with as I have on a number of older machines. Make sure to identify your machines specific serial number, etc to make sure you get the right parts. There is a tag or label on the rear end assembly which gives the necessary information,

Tuff Torq sells an entire rear end assembly for about $675 brand new. They also sell parts and even "rebuild kits". There are numerous video's on the Tuff Torq T40 repairs and rebuilds. That's where I would start if I were in your place.

Be careful about putting too much money into your machine, as they don't last forever.....How many hours are on your machine, any Idea?
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
620 hours on the L118

The noises and jerking happens in either direction.

I did pop the snap ring and pulley off. It's rusted, but I'm less confident that it was the issue. If it were spinning in the shaft, I'd probably see some bare metal, shavings, etc right? It's all pretty uniformly covered in a red rust dust.

Just curious, what line of JD would handle light duty towable aerators, dethatchers, and dump carts? In just a basic 42" size deck, nothing humongous (flat subdivision lot, less than an acre).

Thanks!
 

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620 hours on the L118



Just curious, what line of JD would handle light duty towable aerators, dethatchers, and dump carts? In just a basic 42" size deck, nothing humongous (flat subdivision lot, less than an acre).

Thanks!
I would say a machine which Deere identifies as a "Garden Tractor", for example the GT series machines or the X series machines, those are units which can handle the tillers, blowers and ground engaging implements.

As long as the size of the implement is matched to the size of the machine, the machine should be able to handle it. Deere is pretty clever on the smaller machines by making the mounting systems for the various attachments and implements specific to the items which only fit that machine. For example, a snow blower for a x3xx machine won't fit an x7xx machine because the x3xx machine is belt driven implements and the x7xx machine is shaft driven implements.

The E machines and S Machines are really more mowers than Garden Tractors. Any machine which is going to be set up to handle a ground engaging implement will have such implements designed and purpose built by Deere for the machine.

As far as pulling rear "towables", take a look at the "hitch" and see how its attached and how strong it appears to be. Many are simply thin steel bent at a 90 degree angle with a hole drilled in it and its attached with two small bolts, often to a sheet metal cover.

A real hitch is structurally tied into the frame or main structure of the machine. Sort of like how you could have a REAL hitch installed on a SUV which bolts to the frame and is a substantial piece of metal secured with several large bolts or you can buy a "hitch" at the store which bolts through the bumper cover and the entire hitch weighs just a few pounds. While you can hook many things to either one, clearly one is engineered to handle the weight and one isn't........

There is a big difference between the small tab with a hole on the back of my zero turn which is limited to pulling a load of no more than 100 pounds in total weight and the hitch on the back of my garden tractors which I can stand on and jump up and down moving the entire machine without any negative issues.

If the rear attachment point on any machine can't handle having you stand on it, the machine is likely not intended to tow anything heavy or difficult. Simple, but likely accurate.............

If you were to consider another machine, make sure to ask here on GTT what others think of the machine for the tasks you have in mind. While there is always someone willing to push equipment past its limits, most of us have a good idea what works and what doesn't from decades of personal experience...........

Hope this helps answer your question.............
 
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I have had 3 tractors in the last month that were sold due to 'transmission problems"

One had the drive belt missing.
One was totally hand grenaded.
And the third one sounded just like yours.
And that third one was nothing more than the keyways on the rear wheels where both sheared. Don't have the slightest idea what caused the issue but, new keys installed (one rim had to be replaced since it elongated the hole too badly) and, that tractor is still driving flawlessly. (my Son in law has it) Thus, check the easy stuff first if you havent already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I should check those keyways. That crossed my mind but I didn't see the tires visibly slipping in the video I took. My thoughts were belt, trans pulley, tire keys, or trashed transaxle. Any idea what size those keys usually are? 1/8 or something? I have some keystock at work I could just replace them either way.
 

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whoops......not good.

Yea your video was like watching an old western movie...the Wagon wheels seemed to rotate the wrong way but couldn't see if the keyway was slipping......I've heard that sound way too many times.
 

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Thanks for digging in and showing the aftermath. Have you had a chance to check the manufacturer for replacement parts? Maybe you will want to look for a good used unit, or another parts tractor.
Did you find any obvious reason for the breakage, such as worn axle bushings, spacers, or bearings?

tommyhawk
 

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It was helpful of you to post what you found, as it provides the answers to complete the thread. Thanks for posting the photo of the opened differential. That looks like a K40 Tuff Torq assembly. There should be a tag on it with the model and serial number. Take the tag information and go to Tuff Torq's website and input the tag information and you will see the parts available.

On some Deere applications, you have to go through the Deere parts department to get parts. However, the K40 was used on a number of different mowers, so you can try to get the replacement parts from Tuff Torq. I have found parts from Tuff Torq were as much as half the price of some parts from Deere. But Tuff Torq might be restricted on what parts they can sell under their agreements with Deere. They will tell you if that's the case.

My personal experience with Tuff Torq has been very good. They have always been helpful and they have very good FREE service manuals for their units, which are key to proper reassembly, etc. Make sure to check for the K40 Technical Service Manual. The TSM's have assembly instructions as well as torq specs and other helpful information. Generally, as long as the serial number range is correct, the parts you need shouldn't be exclusive to Deere, which means you can save a lot of money (sometimes).

Follow the torq specifications closely, as the cases and covers are usually aluminum on these units and you don't want to strip or snap off a bolt with too much torque. Also, make sure your tools include a torque wrench in both inch pounds and foot pounds. Fortunately, decent torque wrenches are much more affordabloe than they used to be. If you do buy a "Click" style torq wrench or if that is what you use, it's important to always back off the torque settings to 0 when done and the tool is between use. This helps to maintain the accuracy of the tool's future adjustments and use.

Make sure to check axle bearings, etc. on a unit with a wounded differential as the metal pieces get into the fluid and cause damage to other pieces in the case. It would be great if you continue to update this thread showing the parts you find, sources, etc and end with the machine successfully back together and working as designed.

Follow the specific fluid recommendations closely for the rear drive assembly on your machine. It's important to use the fluid designed for the part to get the most out of it. "Close enough" isn't a good policy for fluid selection, as there are a number of different fluids for different applications. Get the best fluid for your application.

I hope you find the parts and pieces to make this a successful rebuild of your mower. Good luck.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was able to order a differential repair kit for about $35 with shipping. I've got some Loctite Superflex Red RTV gasket maker laying around that I think should work ok, so I could get out of this fairly cheaply. Most threads and videos I've found on K46/T40 suggest using 5w50, so that'll be another $30 or so in oil. Altogether, not too bad if I can do it right.

To get me by I rolled the dice and got a used unit on ebay for $170. The price was reduced b/c it was "broken", but it was just the fwd/rev control lever that was snapped. I took the control lever off my old one and ordered a new one ($8) for when I try to repair my original T40.

On the ebay unit, I changed the control lever, drained the oil (which actually looked pretty good) and cleaned the magnet (which also looked pretty clean). I don't know if it was spruced up for sale, but it appeared to be in great shape. I put some fresh 5w50 in, purged the air with a drill, topped off the oil to the fill point, and slapped in on the mower. So far so good! So if I can repair my old one I'll have a spare for my mower and my brother's (his LA115 also uses the T40). I can tow my aerator and dethatcher with slightly less stress, lol.
 

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Good deal......You don't mess around. In the time many people take trying to decide what to do next you have already done it and are using the machine. Glad you had a great outcome and are able to use your machine for a relatively low repair cost.............
 
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