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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2018, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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walk-behind mower transmission fluid

I've disassembled my new MTD/Troy-Bilt rear-drive transmission and need to know what kind of gear oil they originally used.

I noticed after mowing my front yard for the first time that the right wheel wasn't being powered. My grass was super tall, and I guess I was more concerned about that and just didn't check to see that BOTH wheels were turning.
They refused to send me a new tranny, even though it was clearly defective (nothing wrong with wheels or spur gears), so my only recourse was factory service center, which had a backlog of at least a week just to evaluate the unit, then no telling how long until it would actually get repaired. I decided to see whether I could repair it myself (I could always, maybe, get warranty repair if I can't fix it...).

The first time I disassembled it, I discovered the factory had omitted the right side metal cam pivot arm that engages the axle snail cam, so only one side was ever powered. That's not the only QC issue with my new mower, and this was the second attempt to get one shipped to me intact. That's another long story, but suffice it to say that I strongly caution against purchasing MTD products.

Ok, so I carved a new arm out of a steel bolt, and it was working on my bench. Finally done! I thought. I had cleaned off all traces of the original gasket maker sealant, of course, and used Permatex Ultra Black to seal up the housing and filled it with full synthetic 75w-90 gear oil. However, when I put it back in the mower, it started slipping and then wouldn't engage, and there was leakage around the seals. I could have installed the seals backwards, or perhaps used the left side on the right, etc., but I suspect it could [also] be that the fluid I used is much thinner than the original.
There was plenty left when I opened it up for the SECOND time, so it wasn't a huge leak.

I think I found the problem and should hopefully be able to correct it. If I'm lucky, this damn mower will finally be fully functional.

Whatever the factory used had a greenish tint and was much thicker than 75W. It flowed and was absorbed by paper towels readily enough, but it was very thick and had an incredibly pungent odor. The gear oil I replaced it with is practically odorless by comparison. This new model tranny uses a plastic helical gear, plastic cam wheels, and plastic housing, so whatever they used is obviously plastic-safe.

I can't find gear oil thicker than 90W, and none of that is synthetic, so the typical 90W likely isn't PAO-based (plastic-safe). Besides, I think what they used is thicker than 90W as well.
I know I could use grease, since this isn't a really high-speed application, but I'd rather use the original stuff or something close to it.
Does anyone know what the factory used and where I might find some?

Also, I'm thinking about replacing the seals, too, just in case I damaged them before when putting them back on the axles, even though I can't see any damage. They are MTP #5232, but I can't find them anywhere. I'll contact MTP, but I fear I'm facing one of the dreaded "custom run" parts and that they won't sell them to me.
MTD/Troy-Bilt won't sell individual components to the tranny; must purchase as a complete, expensive, sealed unit.. OF COURSE! They've got ya there.

Last edited by Torque; 08-16-2018 at 08:06 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2018, 08:43 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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I but all stuff like that local; that's not a great place to try to save cash, in my experience.

I buy all my stuff from my local Sears guy; it's his store, not a corporate store, buy he can order anything they sell.

I have a great working relationship; if something breaks he fixes it, I give him money, it stays in my community.

I broke the shaft off the pushmower wednesday, mowing the hill by the pool, luckily noone was injured. (no one is close while I mow, but a mower blade can fly.)

Simple metal fatigue; I think its 10yo or more.

I picked it up today, $200, and it has a new motor, and looks brand new.

It will last another 10 years, if I do, lol.




OK, I searched around a bit, and this seems insane:

Tecumseh/Peerless Bentonite type 0 grease.

This is the grease people recommend; Bentonite is Clay, so WTF?

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2018, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Holy crap, that's expensive stuff $35 for 32oz.
But it's not as insane as this: https://www.ereplacementparts.com/gr...p-1584505.html

Problem: If I don't get it fixed this time, I'll be out the costly lube as well. I could take it into the service center, but the special gasket maker compound they used is a dark purple, which is why I used Ultra Black, as I couldn't find that purple anywhere. Maybe it's a custom tamper-evident product. If so, they won't likely honor the warranty, even though they sent me an incomplete tranny in the first place.
I'm getting pretty fed up with MTD.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2018, 09:28 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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Dude, from what you've said, you have the patience of a saint.

I'd be raising hell, personally; that's a lot of Jack.

Stuff for Business, I get persnickety about price; but personal, I want someone's balls within reach, lol.

YMMV!

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-18-2018, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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update

Well, I just got off the horn with MTD tech support and it really depends on who ya talk to, because this time, the parts guy gave me all kinds of info. He spec'd the oil as 85W-140, but couldn't tell me what base it uses or brand. He did give me an MTD part number for it (more on that below).

He also sent me the engineering exploded view PDF which has part numbers for all the guts of the tranny! Finally, I'm in! I thought...

So, I call back, talk to a parts lady and, you guessed it.. I discover the axle shaft seal/bearing bobbins are NLA, the little pivot arm AND oil show as invalid numbers. FFS!!! This is a BRAND NEW mower and parts are already NLA and other numbers aren't even on their system at all anymore!

If the tech guy was correct, at least maybe I'll be able to fill it with the correct oil. I still expect conventional oil will damage the plastic(s), so here we go with expensive synthetic; the ONLY synthetic 85W I can find is: Royal Purple

The engineering drawing is dated 2012, which isn't really that old. That proves where their mindset is — buy the ENTIRE $90 tranny or fuck off.
I asserted that I shouldn't have to buy a $90 transmission to replace a brand new one that wasn't even built properly at the damn factory.
Their factory workers are apes or show up for work high or are straight out of kindergarten. You should see all the damage to the paint on this thing, which could not possibly have happened during transit because of the locations. It looks like a monkey went apeshit on it with a wood rasp. Big gouges and scrapes all over the place. When I called them and said it looks like a rebuilt, they swore it isn't. Oh no.. not if you ordered directly from Troy-Bilt (which I did). Therefore, it was damaged during production.

This thing was supposedly assembled in America. Well, Trump, this is what everyone is going to get when you virtually force consumers to buy American.. BUY AMERICAN! It'll be like the 70's auto industry, and I remember quite well how cars were absolute JUNK before the Japanese scared the shit out of Detroit and forced them to start building better vehicles. We had a Plymouth Valiant which was a death trap (along with a leaking trunk like every other Chrysler we ever had). Its steering gearbox wasn't properly welded. My Dad was driving, the thing started shimmering and shaking violently (as it had done before a few times) and we went flying into a ditch on the other side of a BRIDGE we just crossed! Lucky we weren't all killed. His buddy at work discovered the fault and welded it for us, after which it worked just fine.

Anyway, moral of the mower story: FUCK MTD!

/rant
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