Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
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post #1 of 39 Old 05-15-2010, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

A couple of weeks ago, the Hydro-Gear 344-3000 on my '06 GT5000 started making more noise than usual. I decided to change the hydro fluid even though it's "sealed at the factory and fluid maintenance is not required for the life of the transaxle" (excerpt from the manual), since I use ground-engaging implements, and it's seen lots of rough service in dusty areas.

Anyway, since I wanted to check the vent and have clear access for refilling, I decided to unbolt the transaxle and roll it out from under the tractor. This is pretty straightforward.
  1. Disconnect the clutch/brake linkage.
  2. Disconnect the ground speed control.
  3. Unbolt the frame mounting bracket at the front of the transaxle.
  4. Remove two bolts from each axle end of transmission housing, and remove the transaxle from the tractor.
At this point, I thought of you guys and decided to get the camera out.


As you can see, dirt and grass have collected in the spaces on top of the housing.




The vent tube appeared to be in good condition, but was somewhat loose, and turned out to have a small amount of gunk inside.


The level-check plug is on the right-hand side of the rear of the housing.


The easiest way to drain the old fluid is by removing the gerotor housing from the bottom. I could have turned the transaxle upside down and drained out the vent hole, but if there was any sediment in the bottom, I didn't want to redistribute it throughout the unit.


Cleaned up a bit.


And draining.


The old oil looked pretty good. Still transparent and not too dirty. I feel pretty confident that there hasn't been significant breakdown or contamination.

It's still draining now, and I'll probably let it trickle out overnight, and refill tomorrow.

2007 Cub Cadet 6284, 2005 Craftsman GT5000

Last edited by jdoff; 05-15-2010 at 09:48 PM.
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post #2 of 39 Old 05-15-2010, 09:09 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Interesting and good info. Hope you keep the story going through the rest of the job.

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post #3 of 39 Old 05-15-2010, 11:51 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

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Interesting and good info. Hope you keep the story going through the rest of the job.

+1

I am interested in doing this too.

Thanks for the pics!



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post #4 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Nice write up, jdoff, My Craftsman manual says the same thing.
But the 3000 series H/G trans-axles are not considered a sealed unit. A sealed trans-axle has no plugs or drains other than the vent tube.
I changed the trans-axle oil in my DGS65000 at 100 hours, just as you did, but without taking it out of the tractor. I used a top off a gear lub jug and a length of vinyl hose to refill with 20w-50 synthetic, through the fill hole.
I also stuck a magnet out of a junk hard drive on the bottom steel plate.
At 200 hours I will more than likely drop the bottom plate and change the fillter along with the oil. They don't give the fillters away though, around $50. Then I'll see what the magnet attracked also.

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post #5 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 04:02 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Very informative thread with great pics.

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post #6 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Well, I left the transaxle to drain overnight. This morning, I replaced the gerotor housing, removed the vent tube nipple, and put in Lucas full synthetic 20W-50 until it started coming out the level-check hole. I used about 2.75 quarts, which means there was probably around 1 quart of original fluid left (capacity is just over 3.75 quarts).




The vent tube was somewhat loose, so I added a hose clamp.


Then I jacked up the rear of the frame and supported it on jack stands. It looks somewhat unstable, but there's not much weight left at the back without the transaxle.


I positioned the transaxle under the frame and began lowering slowly.




Once I got everything close, I looped the drive belt over the pulley, reconnected the brake/clutch spring, and installed the freewheel lever. Then I set the frame down on the axle and bolted it back together. The last step of reassembly was the ground speed control linkage.


With everything back together, I started up the tractor and completed the purge procedure from the manual. When I got to the part of the procedure where you purge with the freewheel engaged (normal operating position), I noticed a problem. The tractor didn't move under its own power.

I removed the level-check plug, and very aerated fluid came out. It looked opaque, like there was lots of air in the system. Obviously something wasn't right.

I let the tractor sit for a couple of hours. I returned, purged again, no result. I removed the cap at the end of the vent tube in case it had become plugged and was preventing a purge from working. Again, purged with the same result.

At this point, I'm thinking that there's lots of air in the system, and for some reason the purge procedure isn't working to get it out. I'm starting to think that draining the fluid by dropping the gerotor housing isn't the best way to do it. I might end up pulling it out, refilling (maybe upside-down through the gerotor hole), and bench purging it. We'll see what happens when I try it again tomorrow night.

2007 Cub Cadet 6284, 2005 Craftsman GT5000
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post #7 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Nice write up and great pics, looking forward to seeing how you get this resolved and hopefully it goes smoothly .
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post #8 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 09:37 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

When you purge the trans after changing the oil, you only move the pedal back and forth a couple times and then recheck the oil level, add more oil. You do this several times until the oil level stays where it should. Then it should be good to go.

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post #9 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

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When you purge the trans after changing the oil, you only move the pedal back and forth a couple times and then recheck the oil level, add more oil. You do this several times until the oil level stays where it should. Then it should be good to go.
I did the purge procedure once, and then checked the level. It was correct, or a little over (which makes sense since the oil was aerated at that point, so was a larger volume).

I will check the level again tomorrow night before trying anything else. I'm hoping the bubbles will have worked out of the oil by then.

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post #10 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 09:55 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

I didn't say the whole purge procedure, I said move the pedal back and forth once or twice. And,Yes, check the oil level, before you do anymore purging.

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post #11 of 39 Old 05-16-2010, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

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I didn't say the whole purge procedure, I said move the pedal back and forth once or twice. And,Yes, check the oil level, before you do anymore purging.
Okay, I guess it was that one extra time back and forth that made the difference. The purge procedure is three times back and forth.

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post #12 of 39 Old 05-17-2010, 08:56 AM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

The book also says hold the peddle for 5 seconds in each direction, that is too long if your down almost a whole qt. of oil. You just want to fill the passages in the trans-axle. Then add oil until it is full. By holding the peddle down your just cavitating the oil that's in there, creating foam, not purging the air.

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post #13 of 39 Old 05-17-2010, 02:46 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

I would make sure to also do the purge at reduced throttle. I think that is what the manual calls for. You can try it at low RPM first and see if that helps.
That gives the pump a chance to not cavitate as much.

I changed the oil in two GT5000 tractors with similar transaxle. I used the same procedure except I left the transaxle in the machine and I only let it drain for a couple of hours. I also only loosened the geroter cover instead of taking it all the way off - probably doesn't make a difference.
I may not have replaced as much of the fluid but it seemed to work great. If I remember correctly I added just over 3 quarts of oil. I used Mobil 1 15W-50, but I am sure that does not make any difference.

Having experience in working with pumps in general I think the key is to start slowly and get the pump to prime. So try and do the purge cycle at engine idle and then check the fluid level. Once you get the air bubble out of there the oil level will drop.

Too late now, but another trick I usually do whenever I change oil is to measure how much oil comes out. I just pour it onto the now empty oil containers to get some sense of how well I drained it. On equipment where you don't know for sure how much to add, this is a great trick as you would expect to add at least as much as you drained out.

Good luck and keep us in the loop. On my tractors it helped a lot, but the tractors really did not have any problems per say. I could just feel them slowing down after an hour of mowing pulling an additional 550 lbs tow behind mower - that is a lot of load on the tractor. With the new oil they both accelerated much better and did not have the heat slowdown as pronounced. I did it at about 400 hours on the meter if I remember right.
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post #14 of 39 Old 05-17-2010, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Okay, an update. After letting the tractor sit for a day, I checked the oil level before doing anything, and found it to be low. I added oil through the vent tube using a long length of 3/8" vinyl tubing and a lower unit oil pump that screws into a quart oil bottle. I ended up adding about a half quart before seeing it at the level-check hole (looks like you were right about needing to add more, Glenn). At this point, I've added about 3.25 quarts of fluid to the transaxle, which has a capacity of 3.8 quarts.

Figuring this was pretty close, I did a purge at half-throttle (hadn't read your post yet, Alan), but stopped at the second half of the purge (freewheel engaged) when there was no ground motion at all. I let it sit for another five hours.

When I returned, I checked the oil level, and found it to be right on (slight drip out of the level-check hole), with no air apparent in the fluid. I then attempted an idle-speed purge, but again, no ground motion at all in the second half of the purge procedure, so I stopped.

At this point, I think I either broke something, or it's still needing more oil, even after sitting for five hours with no level change after my first try today. I've double-checked everything else: brake/clutch linkage, drive belt routing, ground speed linkage; and can hear the hydro whine like normal when I engage it.

Thanks for the advice and pointers. I appreciate it, even though I probably sound frustrated at times.

2007 Cub Cadet 6284, 2005 Craftsman GT5000

Last edited by jdoff; 05-17-2010 at 10:04 PM.
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post #15 of 39 Old 05-17-2010, 10:47 PM
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Re: Hydro-Gear 3000 photos and fluid change

Hmm, usually they are not this stubborn

Since you are saying that you have the whining sound from the transaxle I am thinking you may have a ground speed linkage problem or a freewheel linkage problem. I would double check all of these to make sure that the arms on the transaxle are actually moving when you press the pedal.

At least I think this version has the pedals. The ones I had had the fender control. I did have an issue once where the adjustment bolt on the fender control got loose and you could move the controller without moving the linkage on the transaxle.

With the engine off and the parking brake off check to see that the pedals are moving the lever on the transaxle. Also check that the freewheel lever is moving on the transaxle. That one has a spring return I believe. Make sure it releases all the way back as far as it can go.

You can also test for wheel movement with the rear jacked up. If you can get the wheels to move without a load on them it may help everything fall into place. You can also try and push the tractor with the axle engaged. It will be tough, but can be done. Sometimes that will help as it moves all the internal gears a bit.

Unfortunately I cannot go out and look at mine as I sold them and upgraded to a Simplicity Legacy, so I am going by memory here.

Keep up the faith - there are a lot of knowledgeable people here
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