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Old 05-03-2010, 11:30 PM   post #1 of 6
wj52083
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Default Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

Ok, so I've read all the threads that say anything about hydrostatic transmissions. I've got a 2003 GT 5000 with the 331-3000 hydro-gear transmission. My question is, If the transmission comes with 20w-50, do we HAVE to put that back in it? Is the hydra-static fluid we see at tractor supply stores sufficient?

Can we use AMSOIL (Synthetic Tractor Hydraulic/Transmission Oil
SAE 5W-30 (ATH)) :
http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/ath.aspx

or perhaps Mobil 1 15w-50 dino?
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...1_15W-50_.aspx

or Shell Rotella-T 15w40 dino?

or just plain Valvoline 20w-50 dino?

you get the drift...

I just dont understand the integral mechanics of our transmissions so, I want to be sure to put the best thing in it. Thanks a lot guys

Last edited by wj52083; 05-03-2010 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:03 PM   post #2 of 6
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Default Re: Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

I'd stick with what is reccomended..20W-50 is thick,and anything with less viscosity might bring on trouble with an older tranny,that probably has some wear in places that are critical like the pump,and any loss of pressure will affect its ability to climb hills or pull weight,etc..the pumps on hydrostatic garden tractors aren't rebuildable for the most part,and once the housing gets worn,its disposeable..thicker oil might give new life to one thats worn some,thinner oil will make it worse instead of better..Synthetic oils might resist viscosity breakdown better,but you might have "fun" finding any 20W-50,most are much thinner and cover wider ranges of viscosity,I think "regular" oil is what I'd use in 20W-50 grade..
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:43 PM   post #3 of 6
pylek
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Default Re: Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

For what it is worth, the last two Hydrogears, and the next one, that I put together got filled with Valvoline synthetic 20W-50, ordered through my local NAPA.

Seth K. Pyle
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:49 PM   post #4 of 6
wj52083
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Default Re: Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

cool, thanks guys, I found some Lucas 20w-50 synthetic ($6.99/qt) at O'Reilly Auto Parts. should do the trick.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:49 PM   post #5 of 6
Alan Lloys
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Default Re: Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

Stick with the recommended weight oil (or close to at least).
I filled two GT5000 transmissions with Mobil 1 15W-50 oil.
I decided that the minor difference between 15W and 20W was not a concern.

The tractors ran great after that and from what I know are still running strong after I sold them.

There is a trick to replacing the oil in these. If you run it for a while to get the oil warmed up you will save a bunch of time. Then park the tractor over a catch pan and drain it by loosening the two allen head screws that holds the gerotor cover on. It is the little black lump at the bottom of the transmission. Just loosen them a little, you don't want to take it off completely.

After it is empty you can close it up again and refill through the breather tube connection on the top. Fill until oil comes out of the oil level hole (brass colored plug).

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:17 PM   post #6 of 6
Runningbare
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Default Re: Hydro-Gear oil..which to use?

I have a DGT6000 with hydrostatic which I use for mowing and bulldozing in the summer and snow blowing in the winter. It worked great in the summer, but by the third winter the temperature went down into the teens and the tractor would move slowly going forward and just creep in reverse, both bad for snow blowing. It would get stuck on a wheel track in reverse and barely push into the snow going forward.

After much research, I went with Castrol Syntec 5W-50. It is the oil I already use in the engine and it works great in the transaxle, summer and winter. The transaxle had the same pep forward and reverse in the winter that it has in the summer and it runs cooler in the summer.

As far as the oil weights go, the second number in this application is the important one. It needs to be high, at least 40 but preferably 50. This is the viscosity of the oil when it's hot. The first number, the one followed by the W, is weight equivalent when the oil is cold. If you run it during the summer only, a 20W or 30W is fine. If you're looking to run it in the winter, too, you need to consider a 0W, 5W or 10W. Whatever you use, synthetic is better for the transaxle, and engine, than conventional oils.

As Alan Lloys said, the easiest/best way to drain the oil is to loosen the allen head screws and let the gerotor cover drop down, but be very careful to NOT let the cover come off. The oil will be draining very slowly so let it go overnight. You will get between two and four quarts of oil, depending on the capacily and how much oil is left.

You never mentioned why you're changing the oil. Normally, the oil is supposed to last for the lifetime of the transaxle, but that is not true, and it must be topped off on occasionally.
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