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L235 4wd ?

3963 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Bluegill2

I just acquired a L235 with a BF400 FEL. It is need of a little TLC of little odds and ends here and there, but basically, it is what, appears to be sound both mechanically and hydraulically wise. Except for the fact that I think I may have some kind of problem with the 4WD. With the soggy ground we have here in the East, plus turf tires on my tractor, traction can be tricky. My first attempt left me at the bottom of a relatively small slope at the bottom of my yard. Seemed like no help from the front axle at all. Jacked the tractor in the air and tried the 4WD to see what was going on. Engaged the front axle several times and seemed to be working as it should. Went back out, and again, it seemed like there was nothing happening different with going in and out of the 4WD mode.

This being my first tractor, am I wrong to assume that when in 4WD drive, that any slippage should be able to occur with any of the wheels (of course with the Diff engaged). The rear wheels will slip but there is no indication at all that the front wheels have any kind of torque going to them.

Any suggestions or clues to this, or are my assumptions of this little tractor set to high?


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Welcome aboard Ron.
Well you've already done what would be the 1st suggestion, jacking it up and testing 4wd. You're already ahead of the curve :D

When you're in the soggy ground, do you observe all the wheels spinning? It's not unusual for one of the rears to continue to spin and not the other but both fronts should be trying to turn.

You mentioned slippage, how does the clutch feel? Folks have a tendency to run them way past wornout, mainly because you have to split the tractor to replace them.

It sounds like the 4wd is working by your test with the wheels jacked up but seems to fail when on the ground.
Perhaps you can try to just jack the front end off the ground, engage the 4wd w/the engine off and see if you can manually spin the wheels. Just thinking out loud here ther could be some stripped splines in the driveshaft (if there are any) or perhaps the shifter is worn to a point where it may not be fully engageing the front wheels.

Thats about all my swags.
If you don't have an owners manual. heres a free download: these manuals are very helpful.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
ag tires will give ya a much better bite!!!!:fing32:

Ok, I've done some more investigating on my situation and have discovered that when jacked up and the front axle is engaged, the only time the wheels are actually in gear is when the steering has the wheels in a hard left or right forward turn. If you were to hold the left wheel in a left turn and rotate the wheel slightly, it will engage. Move it away from that position and it is no longer engaged. The same is true for the right side repeating the same process.

Obviously, there is gear chewed up or spun or something that needs to be replaced. Just need a little guidance as to what or where I need to expect it to be, keeping in mind the symptoms of only engaging when the wheels are fully to the left or right.

Thanks all


Oh, the reply of changing to AG tires won't do any good if there is no power to them:dunno:

Is this so challenging that no one can offer any guidance or suggestions.




Put your tractor in FWD in gear and jack up one front tire. Try to rotate this tire by hand.
If it rotates, you do have problems. I would suspect transfer case problems, check in both high and low range. Could also be driveline problems or gears numbered 21 in the photo. Normally with one tire up and one down in gear the tire should not rotate. With both front tires off the ground in FWD and in gear rotate one tire and the other one should rotate the opposite direction. If that don't happen then suspect gears numbered 21,drive axle or diff.
Hope this helps. Ken Gardner
Ron, are the u-joints for the front axle enclosed in a boot or cover or is the front driveshaft enclosed in a tube?
If so, remove the boot/cover or slide the tube to where you can inspect the entire driveshaft & u-joint assembly.
I'm not sure of your setup but some of the older B series Kubota's front driveshaft is actually two half shafts enclosed in a tube. The tube is in two halfs also, this allows one half or the other to be slid one way or the other inorder to inspect a hidden driveshaft coupleing. Seems the spring drive pin works like a shear pin and can break which will allow the half shafts to slip. Again I'm not sure if your model is like this. The U-joint yokes could also have a drive pin for connection to the driveshaft(s). Shouldn't be too hard to check.
Let us know
The 4WD went out on my L3750. Problem is the splines on the pinion shaft. Parts ordered. Check your front drive shaft, it has splines on each end and splined couplers. This is the weak link in the front drive system.

Also, if the pivot points on the front axle are badly worn, it can cause problems at the front of the drive shaft.

First off, a real big :thanku: to Ken (AKA Akghound) because one of his suggestions got right to where I needed to be.

As noted in my previous steps in diagnoses, when I was checking the front end, I was just raising it with the bucket. As a result, not much pressure was needed to pivot the axle up and down and back and forth. Therefore, the problem was not easily noticed. But Ken offered the suggestion to just raise one side at a time and, WaaLaa, now when checking the right side first I find that the Axle Case and Bevel Gear Case are all but just hanging off the Axle Housing. Because the top end of the Bevel Gear Case was all but destroyed, the whole works were hanging with all the weight outward making it unnoticeable with both sides in the air. As per Ken's illustration of the case, Top bearing was disintegrated, one of the center bearings had nothing left but the outer ring, oil seal, collar, and large snap ring destroyed. Ordered parts Monday (just under $100.00), got them Friday, put together today and am now back in business with the 4WD.

Again, Thank you Ken.


Thanks forthe koodoos. Hope it works well for along time.
Ken Gardner
Glad ya got it figured out.

Got mine back together yesterday, but it cost me a whole lot more $$$.

Grease all the joints often! :trink39:
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