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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I Purchased a used tractor at the end of this season. Idea was to get it cheap, spend some time this winter fixing what needs fixing in the garage, and have a good running lawn tractor in the spring.



What I found was a Husqvarna lawn tractor for $300 that seems to be in good shape.
Model: YTH1542xp (there are a few variants, I think this is the oldest)
Engine: Kawasaki FH451V
Transaxle: Hydro Gear 314-0510

It starts with little effort, shifts in and out of forward/reverse smoothly, and it cuts.

I got it home, gave it a spin, and learned a few things.

(1) Lights don't work. (ordered a new switch)

(2) It struggles up hills. It doesn't make bad noises, or jerky motions. It just slows as the incline increases and will eventually stop.

(3) It free-falls down hills. Wheeeeeee! This one is actually pretty scary and the one I'm most concerned about. With the trans lever in neutral and parking break fully depressed, the tractor still races like a pinewood derby car.

I didn't know anything about hydrostatic transmissions but after reading some forum posts and the Hydro Gear manuals, here's what I'm going to try. I haven't gotten much further than researching and ordering inexpensive parts that I'd want to replace anyway. I'll probably wait until parts start arriving before I really tear into it and get a better view of what's going on with the transmission. I realize that seems a little backwards, but it's typically how I operate 🤷‍♂️.

(1) The tractor is missing the transmission bypass lever. It's just not there. I ordered a new one. It's not something I even knew to look for when I started, but now I suspect this is the primary issue and that it may be stuck in some partial position.

(2) ordered a gallon of 20w50 to flush and replace the fluid. Because, why not?

(3) I ordered ANY replacement "belt" or "spring" that was a available.

(4) I ordered new brake pads for the brake rotor that sits outside the trans.

Now that you know what's in my head, anybody have any experience they'd like to share from a similar situation, or advice?

This photo best shows the type of hills I'm dealing with.



Now with grass.

 

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The brake locks the layshaft which in urn locks the diff, so one wheel can only turn forward & the other can only turn backwards.
THus you come to a very abrupt stop
The park position on an automatic transmission works exactly the same way .
Some are internal and never give any problems but stuff the gearbox by contaminating the oil with brake pad .
Others are external , the disc rusts onto the shaft and the operating pins rust in the caliper .
Very rarely do they need replacing, just cleaning & derusting .
If the tranny is in good condition then with the engine off the mower should sit still on that hill .
If your mower races down the hill then the tranny is deceased.
A change of oil some times squeezes an extra season or two out of them
So don't spend too much money for now as a replacement tranny is not cheap and nor are tranny parts.

THe bypass lever is just a valve and has 2 positions open - goes nowhere or closed drives, there is no 1/2 & 1/2
 

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Its not better with either brand to go south but its more common to see the k46 issues hope it turns out to be a simple fix especially if you've been ordering parts already.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay! Had some time to tear into it, so I have some updates.

based on some of the comments above I did some tests seeing if the tractor would coast downhill with the engine off. It does.

Oil change, new fuel filter, new set of spark plugs, air filter, oil filter. Engine runs great. The plastic oil plug is leaking a bit. I'll probably need to replace it.

Removed the mower deck for a pressure washing. there's a good bit of rust on the deck, but its not rusted through anywhere. Not sure if I'm going to go to the trouble to sand/paint rust spots. I guess we'll see how the rest of the repairs go.

Fixed the lights first by pulling out the ignition switch (light switch is a position) and blowing out a tremendous amount of crud. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo because I really didn't think this would fix it. I hadn't even pulled out the voltmeter yet.

The light housing was full of dust, grass, and dirt. I removed the lens and reflective backing to give them a cleaning. The plastic lens cleaned up nicely, but the flimsy plastic reflective backing sort of disintegrated in my hands.

Aluminum tape to the rescue!







I took the back panel off next and found my bypass lever! Not sure how it fell out of the panel. I suppose it's possible the panel was removed before and not replaced correctly.



Next I pulled the wheels off and transaxle out. I made an idiot move here and sliced my finger pretty badly on the edge of a square key groove in the axle. I'm being reminded of that as I type.



Service Tag




I was pretty surprised to find that it was full.



But the fluid that came out was...gross.





I also removed the oil expansion tank and drained the little bit of oil that was in it also.

That's all I got to for now. I'll fill it back up this weekend and take a look at the brake disk. As I move the brake lever back and forth, I can't see that it does anything to move the brake pads. I can't really even see any brake pads. I've got a replacement set, those are big enough that I think I should see the old ones in there if they exist. I'll get some photos as I dig into that.

Thanks!

-Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In the photo below, new brake pad on right side for reference.

Pads don't look that worn, but it also looks like they're been stuck at the same point on the rotor for a long time.

If I turn one axle by hand, the other axle spins but the rotor does not. Is that normal?

The actuating pins that press the pads against the rotor are rusted in place. I pressed against them hard with a block of wood, they don't budge. I sprayed them with a bit of penetrating oil before walking away. ... to think.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well. It's open.

So far I don't see any reason the brake rotor wouldn't be turning.

I'm struggling to get the input shaft out at the moment, so that's where I'm leaving it for now.
I'm scheduled for a vasectomy in the morning........ So I have no idea if I'll get back to it this weekend. TMI?







 

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You are no the right track
Clean clean clean is the magic word.
You want all of that crud out of there
Some like to put a drain plug in the box when it is apart.
makes draining easy but you still have to hang from the ceiling to fill the box
You have to get that disc to slide on the splines or the brake will not work
Check the splines the shaft may need replacing .
On boxes with an overflow / expansion chamber I make a plug to go in the top that is a tight fit with a hole for my sump pump.
Then with the engine running as slow as possible I put vacuum pressure on the tube to suck the air out.
You can do it with the box out with some thing turning the input shaft .
Around 200 rpm is good for purging .
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The brake shaft won't turn unless you hold one axle still or turn both in the same direction.
Yeah. The methods I used to determine the rotor wasn't turning (spinning the drive pulley /axle) were absolutely incorrect.

Once I had it open, and I rotated the gears a bit to get an idea of how everything worked I noticed that turning a single axle wouldn't engage the shaft connected to the brake rotor.

With the case open, The shaft attached to the rotor seems to rotate fine, also.

I thought that was really interesting.

Maybe the brake rotor is functioning properly after all. I'm still perplexed by the way the pads were rusted against it

Hopefully it will all make sense one I figure out how to get the input shaft out and can disassemble the rest.

I'm still happy I opened it. I'm learning a lot and there's still a bunch of crud in here that just wouldn't have come out even with multiple flushes. I sent Hydro Gear a note asking them for help identifying the right seal kit for when it all goes back together.

I'm not working on it today. I'm not in a ton of pain after getting snipped, but I'm sore enough to want to stay off my feet for now.
 

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Have you got the brake rotor off yet ?
The splines are a sloppy fit and strip really easy good chance it will be striped where it is sitting
OTOH the rust mark could have dated from when it was sitting outside and when you moved it the pad broke free
If the pin were rusted solid in the caliper then they would not have been pushing the pad into the rotor so the rust spot would remain regardless of weather the rotor was spinning or not
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got the input shaft out. I needed to put the pulley back on just to get a little more grip on it.
I'm wondering how difficult it should be to spin the input shaft. When it's in place its too tight to spin by hand without the pulley to help grip it. There was still about a half quart of fluid in the bottom, my guess is thats still enough to give the pump some resistance, so probably normal.

Everything looks pretty good. No other shavings. The magnet seems to be doing a pretty good job. No teeth or splines seem to be messed up.

The only thing I can't get apart is the filter. So I can't clean it out or check the bypass valve. Not sure I can pry it apart without breaking those tabs... I'm also not sure I can find a replacement.

 
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