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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sears Craftsman Model 917-27660, 2 years old.
The transmission is getting weak and does not move uphill anymore.

a) Could it be a slipping belt, or fluid related?
b) Is it a sealed drive with supposedly no maintenance (filters, fluids)?
c) Does it have a fluid level (glass, dipstick), filter, drain? If so, where are they located?
d) If fluid can be changed, what fluid should be used?

Any tips to start the troubleshooting are much appreciated.

Note: Can the manual be downloaded somewhere?
 

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Found this for you,. second comment down

http://www.fixya.com/support/t1896160-loss_drive_in_craftsman_lawn_tractor



I also have a Craftsman tractor with the same problem. Sears repairman said it needed a new transmission and it would cost $1,400 to install. A new one is about $1,000. Anyway, if you remove the battery and the battery tray under the seat it will expose the transmission fill hole (hex). I opened the top and it looked empty. I had a bottle of 90 weight gear oil in my shop and filled the transmission to the top. I have not had any problems with it since. $4.00 bottle of oil verses a new tractor is worth a try
 

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Most hydros use 10-30 dino or 5-50 synthetic oil, in my experience. If the internal leakage is such that it won't run, I suppose putting thicker oil in can't do any harm. But first, I would make sure there is enough oil in it to begin with.
Certainly, first check for a loose or slipping belt! Check the idler pulley and mechanism for binding and adjustment.
 

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Have you tried purging? I forget the exact procedure. Instructions will be in your maual. If you don't have the manual you can download one at managemylife.com.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The test drive (hardly ANY forward/reverse motion, only in the lowest possible gear ration; NO force whatsoever) indicated a hint of belt noise (not the smoke generating, clearly audible usual 'belt slipping' noise).

The transaxle for the 917-276600 model is a sealed type (gas tank under seat, battery in front) and a fill/inspection plug (see suggestion post in this threat) is NOT there (or not easily found).

Raised the tractor, took the mowing deck off and the drive belt. Looks virtually new, no cracks, no signs of worn spots (typical for slipping belt). But belt was quite loose (elongated?), with little or no tension in the 'engaged' mode.

Went out and got a replacement belt from sears (no time to get it for much less online). Also removed any grass from the levers, springs, etc. that are tensioning the drive belt (assume that maybe dirt/built up does not allow the tensioners/levers to fully tension the belt).

Put the new belt in: drive is strong (forward, reverse).

BUT: the belt is still quite loose, what I would consider low tension.

Is that normal?
 

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10K and Climbin!
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Could be that your tensioner spring is weakening.. I've added a stronger spring from my local hardware store when I've had this problem before.. just a thought.. :goodl:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could be that your tensioner spring is weakening.. I've added a stronger spring from my local hardware store when I've had this problem before.. just a thought.. :goodl:
My thought, too. But:
- Mower is 2 years old, very light use. Spring should not have tired yet.
- Moving the tension by hand to what feels it mechanical end position (not sure where in all linkages the end stop is) by hand does not tighten the belt much more (if any)?

I mean: it works right now. I picked the steepest hill and and moved up with ease in low and higher gear, with no perceivable slip.

My concern: with not much tension (Transmited Force = coefficient for friction x tension force), the belt could again quickly glaze over (lower friction), wear on the sides (friction surface to pulleys), sink further into the grooves resulting in less tension. Ultimately slip again.

If I knew what limits the travel of the tensioner, I would make a bit more 'way' and (if needed) add some spring force to keep the belt a bit tighter, and avoid wearing it down caused by slippage from low tension.

Suggestions?
 

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When the drive is engaged, the belt should be pretty tight, or it will slip and give the problems you mentioned. There have been instances where the wrong belts have been sold to users (belts too long). I would double check the belt # and the part #, and make sure the correct belt was in the package. There have been instances where a belt was returned to the store in the wrong box, as in someone ordering two different belts, returning one in the wrong box.
The belt should have the number printed on it. Make sure they sold you the correct belt, also.
Your manual should have instructions on how to adjust the belt tension, if you haven't already done that.
 

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Not sure if this is the problem but here you go....

On theses types of Craftsmans or whatelse.... down by the spot where the steering shaft goes through the lower bolted on part of the frame.......

IMPACTED GRASS COLLECTS.....limiting the full travel of the idler linkage....it restricts it from coming completely back to full tension . This is a common problem I see often.

When working as a Sears LG repairman daily I usually lift it on the back of the van and set the parking brake . Then use a combination of a long skinny coil brush the AC guys sell on their trucks and compressed air to clean out the " sandwich " portion of the frame . Wherer the pedal shaft goes through and whatever...I have seen HUGE amounts of grass come out on " clean " machines "

If the belt is glazed don't be afraid to replace it . It has what I feel is very low tension from the factory . Not enough . We have found a slightly shorter belt at NAPA on more than one occasion to take care of customers who never clean the area . It works much better.
 

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This thread is 6 years old and the OP hasn't been active on MTF since the last post.
 

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I have a Craftsman YS-4500. After about 3 years I found it going slow up hill to the point it would not go up hill at all. I changed the belt with one I ordered from Sears. The old belt was warn but not bad. It did not help. Sears said the trans axle was sealed and maintenance free. I was told by someone on Mytractorforum to go to the trans axle web site to get the manual for the unit. It gives all you need to know about the unit, Fluid type, Torques and tear down and rebuild. Here is the link I used.

Download Materials - Hydro-Gear

My unit uses 20w50 motor oil. I changed it and it did not help. After cutting 1/3 third of my archer of lawn it will not go up hill. If I let it sit for 10 minutes or so it will work for another 1/3 third. I think it's an over heating problem. When it stops going uphill I tried to touch the case and it was to hot touch. No grass build up and fan was in prefect shape. Next I'm going to open the case.

Know you are not the only one with this problem. This is what I tried with no luck. I hope the link will help you.
 

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I have a Craftsman YS-4500. After about 3 years I found it going slow up hill to the point it would not go up hill at all. I changed the belt with one I ordered from Sears. The old belt was warn but not bad. It did not help. Sears said the trans axle was sealed and maintenance free. I was told by someone on Mytractorforum to go to the trans axle web site to get the manual for the unit. It gives all you need to know about the unit, Fluid type, Torques and tear down and rebuild. Here is the link I used.

Download Materials - Hydro-Gear

My unit uses 20w50 motor oil. I changed it and it did not help. After cutting 1/3 third of my archer of lawn it will not go up hill. If I let it sit for 10 minutes or so it will work for another 1/3 third. I think it's an over heating problem. When it stops going uphill I tried to touch the case and it was to hot touch. No grass build up and fan was in prefect shape. Next I'm going to open the case.

Know you are not the only one with this problem. This is what I tried with no luck. I hope the link will help you.
not likely as he hasn't posted din 7 years
 

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Kykuitthewitch
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I looked up our transmission manufacturer, found out THEY RECOMMEND YEARLY TRANSMISSION OIL CHANGE....Sears told me it's a Sealed System....I ordered a New Filter from the Manufacturer and they told me the oil to use....No problem Since I Did This....Sears Recommendation was TO REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION, But Since our GT6000 was over 4 Years Old, SEARS SUGGESTED WE BUY A NEW TRACTOR! !
 
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