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Double Check your Front Axle after Servicing. It's likely to surprise you.

2731 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Michael Moncrief
Whether you perform the front axle fluid change service yourself or if you have it done in a service facility, make sure to check the fluid level after the axle has had some time to "settle", let's say a day following the service. You might just be surprised.

I checked my front axle immediately when it came back from my buddies shop who performed the full service for me recently, as I have a number of projects in the works. The day it came back, the dipstick showed the fluid within the hash marks.

Then, I read Rob Wheeler's thread about his fluid level being low, which can be found here. I suggest you read it.


I checked the fluid again, a few days ago. It didn't show on the dipstick. I added more fluid and ended up adding nearly 12 ounces of fluid before it showed back full again. This time, I added some red MT3668 Hydraulic Fluid Dye to the fluid, it only takes a half dozen drops, and the axle fluid turns red and its much easier to see.

The point is, until the fluid works the air pockets out of the housing, the axle likely has less fluid in it than it needs. When servicing, you need to remove the axle vents as described in the thread Rob Wheeler had recently posted. Good thing I read that thread and double checked the axle fluid again. Make sure you do the same.

I check the dip sticks probably every 5 hours or so of use. Its not every time, but its also easy for that interval between checking fluids to get longer than 5 hours if something happens and you need to use the machine NOW, and defer checking the fluid until next time. Then until the next time after that, etc.

Adding the red dye to the front axle and also to the main hydro makes seeing the fluid on the dipstick much easier..........I strongly recommend using this small jar of dye on your hydro fluid. Its also very helpful in the winter when you see spots and drips on the pavement, you often wonder if they are Hydro fluid or just drops of water. As you add the dye to the fluid, make sure to fill the little dye jar with fluid and shake it, even after you have dumped the dye out of the har. The remaining dye will rinse off the jar using the fluid to fill and shake the jar, its a good way to get the most dye out of the jar.

By the way, when you open the jar up the first time, don't be surprised to find it contains only 1/2" of fluid or less in the bottom of the jar. The dye is very concentrated and it doesn't take much to change the fluid color. As I said , just a dozen drips into the front axle fluid will color all the fluid. The remainder of the jar into the rear hydro fluid will treat the nearly 5 gallons of hydro fluid in the system.

Once you use the dye, there is no question whether or not the drips are hydro fluid. When they are, it looks like a blood trail.......so you can tell from a distance.

For those of you who use the front Quick Tach hitch, you know that the angle cylinder 90 degree fittings can leak and leave fluid trails or drips. I lost count of the number of times I would get out of or off the tractor to see if te drips were fluid or water and 99% of the time, they were water melting off the plow or hitch from the exhaust heating the Quick Tach hitch or the snow plow blade and melting the snow. When you use the red dye, its clear when you have a fluid leak and clear when you don't.

Make sure to check the front axle fluid levels following service and check again and again. 12 ounces is a lot of fluid to be low in the front axle. From what I could tell adding the fluid, the difference between fluid showing on the dipstick as full and fluid not showing on the dipstick, is about 9 ounces. Being red in color the fluid sure is much easier to see on the axle dipstick.
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Very good info Sulley. Thanks for posting. 馃憤
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Moved to the general section as it applies to all machines, not just SCUT's.
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Moved to the general section as it applies to all machines, not just SCUT's.
Maybe "sticky" this
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Great tip @SulleyBear

One thing I find very helpful when attempting to read dipsticks on very thin or fresh oil is to moisten the dipstick by wetting your fingers with water, (or spit), run fingers along the dipstick and then reinsert. The water film will make a definitive line where the oil is and is then readily readable if that is a word.
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Our friend Frank (@Superglidesport ) pointed this out in another thread somewhere - something I never knew after 14 years of ownership of my 2520. I鈥檓 not sure if other series tractors have the same thing but well worth looking for.

There is a bleeder plug on each front 4WD hub shown as #9 in the diagram. This allows air to escape when refilling the axle housing.

802382


The reason I never knew this is that I had never removed the wheels when doing the front axle service.

As others likely well know, refilling the front axle can be frustrating in that it takes the oil so slowly. Add a little鈥ait a little鈥dd a little more. Frank said with the plugs removed the refill process went very smothly,
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Morning SulleyBear

My front axle was fine, not leaking or anything. But.....Last spring, my dealer asked for the tractor back - it was a recall for incorrectly installed axle seals. They inspected, and mine were found to be upside down. So they installed new ones and returned it to me. Took a couple days.

Upon return, the axle seemed ok. About June (month or two later), I checked it again, and no fluid showed on the stick. It took about 16 oz to fill it back up.

I guess you're right - it takes a couple days to work out the air pockets, causing fluid level to drop. I should have rechecked sooner. Live & learn.
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Our friend Frank (@Superglidesport ) pointed this out in another thread somewhere - something I never knew after 14 years of ownership of my 2520. I鈥檓 not sure if other series tractors have the same thing but well worth looking for.

There is a bleeder plug on each front 4WD hub shown as #9 in the diagram. This allows air to escape when refilling the axle housing.

View attachment 802382

The reason I never knew this is that I had never removed the wheels when doing the front axle service.

As others likely well know, refilling the front axle can be frustrating in that it takes the oil so slowly. Add a little鈥ait a little鈥dd a little more. Frank said with the plugs removed the refill process went very smoothly,
Yes Stan. Complete drain and refill on the Gen1 2032R (same as 2520, 2720) including removing the front wheels to access the vent plugs can be accomplished within about 30 minutes. That's what it took me to drain and install ~ 4 quarts of Mobil1 75W-90 GL5 lubricant. It would probably fill faster using Hy-Gard which is recommended for some models.

Same with my 3320. Quick job when the final drive housings are vented as shown below with #31 pipe plug being indicated.

802389
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Yes Stan. Complete drain and refill on the Gen1 2032R (same as 2520, 2720) including removing the front wheels to access the vent plugs can be accomplished within about 30 minutes.
I remember the last time I did it is was basically an all day affair. Add a little oil then go do something else - and repeat many times.

I鈥檓 due for the axle fluid change this fall along with most every other service and am actually looking foward to it thanks to you!
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Great reminder, I need to check my fluid levels. I ordered some dye also since I can't see the fluid levels easily.
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