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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased my 3206 used in the fall of 2006. With the sale of the tractor, the original owner threw-in a lot of extras; tire chains, suitcase weights, air filters, oil filters, and 10 quarts of trans fluid. The tractor only had 200 hours on the hobbs.

One of the first things I did when I got the tractor was a full service, which included a fluid change. Why not, I had everything I needed.

I now have nearly 400 hours on my 3206. I've worked it VERY hard over the last 3 years so I figured I'd change out the transmission fluid. I've used nearly all of the 10 quarts that came with the sale so I went to the local Cub Cadet dealer today to buy fluid. I walked in the store and grabbed 10 quart bottles of the fluid I've been using for the last 200 hours and brought them up to the counter. The counter guy asks "what model do you have?" and I tell him 3206. He says "wrong fluid, you want the bottle with the blue and yellow label". I looked at the bottles in my hand and they read "Hydraulic Transmission Fluid". I look at the blue and yellow bottle and it reads "Drive System Fluid Plus, Synthetic Blend".

Yep, for the last 200 hours I've been using the wrong fluid in my transmission. In fact, the previous owner also used the wrong fluid. My mistake was never really paying attention to what he gave me. I just assumed he used it, so it must be right.

I explained this to Mr. Counter Guy and his reply was "I wouldn't worry about it, your model will be fine with just about anything. In fact, the fluid that was designed for it isn't even available anymore. Don't bother changing it, just top it off after a filter change".

I felt this needed research, so I didn't buy anything.

Sure enough, in 2000 when my tractor was built and sold, the recommended fluid was Cub Cadet Drive System Fluid, a non-synthetic formula. That has since been replaced by CC 737-3120, Cub Cadet Drive System Fluid Plus, Synthetic Blend.

So here's the confession; tonight I'll be changing the fluid with Joel's (JMoe) favorite fluid; Shell Rotella-T 15w40. I have several gallon jugs of this stuff in my garage. I've always operated my motorcycles on this stuff because motorcycles use the same fluid for both engine and transmission.

I've been one of those "use what Cub Cadet recommends" guys for a long time. Turns out I've been using the wrong stuff for YEARS. Turns out, I was wrong. On a positive note, I've never paid CC's ransom for Cub Cadet Drive System Fluid Plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i like rotella in my diesel crankcase, are you sure it belongs in the trans? reeeeeealy sure? like $3000 sure? :hide:
I have been using the completely wrong fluid (Hydraulic Transmission Fluid) for over 200 hours. It's not even close. Shell Rotella-T 15w40 is much closer, if not the same as the original Cub Cadet Drive System Fluid.
 

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Just as a point of information, Terramite recommends ONLY 15/40 motor oil as their hydraulic oil, which serves both the hydrostatic drive and the loader/backhoe hydraulics.
 

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I look at it this way... It's got an oil pump and your pumping oil... Some oil will foam and cause problems and some oil is to heavy and cause heat... If you dont have eather problem dont worry...
 

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Very interesting! I'm glad you posted that Gary. Yet another real world example. As long as you've got a hydraulic or engine oil in there, the system is going to work. There are no exotic seals, bearings or clutches in these units. I'm more for running a less expensive oil in the trans and changing it out more often. I've only got ~130hrs total on my 2544, but 100 of those are with the Shell Rotella-T 15w40 in the trans and Shell Rotella-T 5w40 in the engine.

Joel
 

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Eaton specs are for 20 w 50 in their residential grade ZTR Hydrostats. Just changed ours at less than eighty hrs due to a cautionary tale regarding JD 'L' series tractors having short life issues when used on extreme grades (the yard rolling down a hill to the frontage). The drain oil was contaminant free, but was dark enough to be of concern to me (no grades on our property). I went back with Mobil 1 15 w 50, mainly 'cause of the hassle pulling the drives in addition to the darkened dino oil. Base ZTRs have to be drained through the filler & the filters are internal, as in split the cases. As an aside, a JD tech is marketing a kit to replace the 'L' tractor Hydrostats with commercial grade for around $800 including new drive & wheels. I believe he reported the originals @ $600 (the only replacements Deere was offering at the time).
 

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Whatever you decide to use just keep it clean to me is the most important thing for longevity. slkpk
 

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maybe sometime we can get a sticky going with recommended Cub fluids, preferences....
 

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For what ever it’s worth. Years ago I used to use a product that Mobil made called 1310 in my ready mix concrete mixer Sundstrand hydraulic pumps and motors. Never had one fail and we used to get over 20,000 hours out of them. I also used it in my Cub 1210 and it's still running.
 
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