Cub Cadet 1320 Hydro fluid change question [Archive] - - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information

: Cub Cadet 1320 Hydro fluid change question

04-09-2006, 04:56 PM
New guy here, it's my first post. I purchased a 1990 cub HYDRO 1320 model new. I've always serviced the tractor myself. When I purchased it from the dealer I remember asking what needed to be done to the hydrostatic drive for maintenance and he said nothing, they don't do anything to them unless there is a problem. I have never done anything to it other than top off the fluid level a little. I can't help but think that the fluid should be changed. My question is how do you change this. Is there a drain plug and once empty how do you replace it properly. It is a hydraulic trans so it cannot have any air in it I would guess. I'm not having a problem with it, I just think it should have some fresh fluid by now. These models didn't have a filter like the newer ones have. Thanks for any info you can provide.

bontai Joe
04-10-2006, 01:41 PM
I don't know enough about the Cub's to give you a decent answer, but I'm pretty sure you are right. In any event, this will bump it up so that someone smarter than me might see it and give you a better answer than I can. By the way, Welcome to the forum! Glad to have you here!

04-10-2006, 02:48 PM
:Welcome1: Roadhog96!

I know nothing about Cubs either, but the manual for my GT-5000 says the Hydro unit does not need service... ever! That goes against everything I have ever been taught, but that is what they say... I would not do anything if it is working OK.

I am sure there will be other Cub owners that come by and can give you better information. Stay tuned...!

04-10-2006, 03:21 PM
Welcome to MTF. I have a 127 and after I changed the fluid ( taking off a back cover - slowly, I don't know if it is like yours- into a BIG catch can, and changing the filter / reassembling it) , the fellow I bought it from asked "Why did you change it"? Because the guys on the internet said to.... He told me his Cub dealer ( an OLD Cub dealer) said it didn't have to be done but change the filter and blow off the hydro unit on the top of the transaxle from grass clippings - so it will cool properly.
When I changed the fluid, it was dark in color compared to new stuff but the trans was clean inside. Remember, this is a 35 year old machine. It didn't leak until I did the change! You know what you could do- change the filter and see how the oil looks to you. Really, there are no parts to contaminate the fluid like in an engine or automatic transmission and there IS a good size filter.


04-10-2006, 04:40 PM
Maybe the dealer was right about doing no maintenance on these type hydro units. I'm going to ask him again about this the next time I get out his way. Fresh fluid has to be better than leaving the old discolored fluid in it. On these type units there was no filter like the newer ones have. At least that has to help prevent any wear or seal damage from contaminates. I don't know maybe the old rule applies here, if it ain't broke, don't mess with it.

bontai Joe
04-10-2006, 04:44 PM
I don't want to encourage you to get into something that has the potential of being quite a mess, but my 1970's vintage Deere has a hydro filter and the manual says change the fluid and filter every 200 hours or 2 years, whichever comes first. It uses type "F" tranny fluid or Deere hydro fluid (I've been using type "F" to save $$$)

04-10-2006, 08:20 PM
These Guys may be able to help with your problem

04-10-2006, 09:26 PM
I wonder just how often you really need to change that stuff. My Troy-Bilt tiller I changed only because I had a leak from a seal, otherwise, I'd never have changed the 140wt oil out of it. Look at the abuse that thing gets without a fan to cool it.

I changed my filter on my 2180 at 100 hours as my dealer said and was expecting to see bits and pieces of metal, the fluid looked clear as vegetable oil. So, I kinda think I wasted some cash there, as I had to top off what I lost. My dealer has really given me good advice on it as they are a large Cub dealer and he told me they just don't see repairs on them. Most units nowadays you can't even service and the ones you can like mine, hold so much fluid and have filters in place I think it'll last forever. Just my .02 :trink40:

bontai Joe
04-10-2006, 10:08 PM
Even without the temps seen in a combustion engine, ALL lubricants eventually break down. Now the manufacturers may say it needs no changing for the life of the unit, with a design life of "X" years and then replace the whole unit. But I gotta believe that by periodically changing the fluid and filter (if equipped with one) has to extend the life of the unit, provided NO DIRT is accidently introduced into the system. I change the auto tranny fluid, power steering fluid, rear differential lube in my cars, and seem to have extended the life of them beyond normal. My last car crapped out at 289,000 miles and might have lasted longer but I bought it with 150,000 and so it did not get my semi-anal maintenance from the beginning. Just my thoughts. I have never replaced the hydro fluid in an old Cub, and so do not know how difficult it might be, or if the return is worth the effort, but my tractor gets it done every 200 hours or 3 years (manual says 2 years) and it takes my about 1/2 hour to do.

04-10-2006, 11:23 PM
Bontai Joe:

You did anal maintenance on a car????????? :hide: :fing20: :tsk:

That is way too much information! :omg:

Bountyhunter ROF

04-11-2006, 09:24 AM
Bountyhunter- he said "semi-anal".......... is that like bi or somethin'? ROF ROF

04-15-2006, 10:09 AM
Sorry ,I've been out of town for a week.
This is a belt drive lawn tractor that has a smaller Sunstrand BDU hydro in it than the shaft drives. It was an early example of "unitized " hydros. Drive input (via belt/pulley) is actually to top of gear trans, internal gearing moves it on to the hydro,bolted on side,which does its thing and sends power back into the trans. The pump is seperate internally from its final gear drive and has a oil resivoir (or cup) on top. There is a line on it for proper level of hydro oil. The gear drive portion is sealed and uses 16 oz of transmission grease p/n 737-0223 that is replaced if transmission is ever "opened" for any reason. The pump was filled with hydro fluid that also is only replaced if pump is torn down. Filtration is by an internal filter.
Hope this helps......and welcome to the forum.

04-15-2006, 10:33 AM
The JDeere dealer told me the same thing about the hydro unit in my lawn tractor--keep the bottle filled between lines-keep it cleaan from grass/dirt for coolin, and leave it alone--he said they have had macines in for engine teardowns with 1,000's of hous and the tranny is still pulling along... :fing20:

I thing this might be a "male" thing--I just like to make sure all fluids are new/fresh.... ROF
As Joe said, Most vehicles on the road will outlast us with proper maintenance....

04-15-2006, 03:36 PM
Neil, I had that feeling after hearing all the simular replies. I guess I'll leave well enough alone. You are right about the Hydro trans, you described it right down to a T. It is only a light duty type lawn tractor, it would never hold up to heavy duty use, but works great for mowing and light cart use. I've done some neat mods to it to make it much nicer than when it was new. Thanks for your input everyone. roadhog96

bontai Joe
04-15-2006, 11:24 PM
Thanks Neil! From your description, it's a very different set up than my old Deere.

11-23-2008, 12:39 PM
I bought a 1320 at an auction yesterday and did not receive a manual. What type of fluid goes in the cup on the top of the trans that was mentioned? I want to keep the trans in working order if I can, I know they are prone to failure on this model. I have a very small lot to mow and the biggest reason I have it is for plowing the driveway in the winter (to be supplemented by a walk behind snowthrower)