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Discussion Starter #1
I was going to mulch leaves one more time today and it seems I have no hydraulics of any kind. Forward, reverse, steering and deck lift are gone. Luckily, it was right outside the garage, so I don't have to push it far.

Any suggestions about where to start troubleshooting? I'm going to pull the seat and fender off and look for obvious problems.

At least it's the end of the season, I guess. :banghead3
 

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Well, if you're starting with obvious things, check that you have hydro-drive fluid. If it is low, check for leaks. I doubt that is the issue because if the fluid got that low you would have seen a puddle somewhere.

After that I'm afraid you may be in need of a hydro pump rebuild, or what I call, a nice way to spend a Saturday.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, if you're starting with obvious things, check that you have hydro-drive fluid. If it is low, check for leaks. I doubt that is the issue because if the fluid got that low you would have seen a puddle somewhere.

After that I'm afraid you may be in need of a hydro pump rebuild, or what I call, a nice way to spend a Saturday.
I haven't seen puddles. Would it go all at once if that's what it is or get worse gradually?

Anyway, I thought the steering/deck lift was separate from the hydrostat?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The liquid gold reservoir is full. Fender removal took longer than expected. Shaft appears ok. There was 8 years of clippings and dirt caked up there. The hydro fan is complete, though.

Is there any test to determine for sure that a rebuild is necessary without actually opening it up?
 

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How many hours are on your 3204? Has the charge pump/gerotor assembly been replaced already?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If I disengage the bypass and push it forward a few feet, should I see the drive shaft turn? It's not.

I think the BDU has an internal shear pin?
 

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The liquid gold reservoir is full. Fender removal took longer than expected. Shaft appears ok. There was 8 years of clippings and dirt caked up there. The hydro fan is complete, though.

Is there any test to determine for sure that a rebuild is necessary without actually opening it up?
The fact that you were able to push it means either the release valve is open or stuck in the release position (hopefully) Is the linkage hooked up and moving correctly?

If all's OK in the hydro release department then a busted axle or differential is your problem. To check those suggestions of a gear problem, jack the rear of the tractor up and turn one wheel. Does the other wheel spin in the opposite direction? If so your differential gears & axles are OK.

:goodl:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How many hours are on your 3204? Has the charge pump/gerotor assembly been replaced already?
I bought it last fall @300 hours and have put another 35 on it this year. I can't say what other maintenance was done, but I don't think the previous owner was the sort to do it himself. Surely he would have pointed that out if it had been done.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The fact that you were able to push it means either the release valve is open or stuck in the release position (hopefully) Is the linkage hooked up and moving correctly?

If all's OK in the hydro release department then a busted axle or differential is your problem. To check those suggestions of a gear problem, jack the rear of the tractor up and turn one wheel. Does the other wheel spin in the opposite direction? If so your differential gears & axles are OK.
Linkage is fine, Differential is fine.

The release button seems to actuate and release ok, at least visually.

Anyway, if I recall correctly, I forgot to release the bypass once when I pulled it out of the garage. It was slow, but the power steering and deck lift still worked(I think).
 

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And if it has 335 hours on it, when's the last time the fluid and filter were changed?

This is a problem that I'm sure some other 3000 Series owners will chime in on, but rest assured it's not an entirely uncommon problem. I've seen several 3000 Series owners have to go in and replace the charge pump gerotor assembly:

 

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Discussion Starter #12
And if it has 335 hours on it, when's the last time the fluid and filter were changed?
[/QUOTE

I could assume nothing about preventative maintenance, so at the beginning of the season, I did all the engine stuff and checked the transmission fluid at that time. If I recall, for that amount of hours the guide was to just verify amount and clarity. I haven't seen specific change intervals for that transmission.
 

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The filter should have been changed at the very least after the break-in period (10hrs I believe) and then at 50, then at every 100 after that. Cub recommends that you just replace whatever fluid you lose at the time of filter change - but I've seen plenty of units with metal flake in the oil that the filter just couldn't keep up with.

So at 335 hours it should have been done (4) times:

1. at 10 hours (break in period)
2. at 50 hours
3. at 150 hours
4. at 250 hours


The fluid should be almost perfectly clear in color when viewed on the dipstick when the fluid is new and clean. I thought my fluid was fine until I lost it all trying to change the filter only. It was good in the end, because the fluid was tarnished and had metal flake in it from the break in period. It's expensive fluid, but after the break in period, and with regular filter changes, it should last a VERY long time.

If the filter and fluid have never been changed on that unit, now would certainly be the time. :)
 

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Luckily, it's an easy fix if it is the charge pump and gerotor. It's a good thing it stops the unit dead in its tracks, actually - it doesn't give the metal pieces much of a chance to circulate into the very touchy hydro pump. You already have the fenders off, which is the majority of the labor involved. If you want to check that charge pump, look at the diagram listed in the post above and you'll see where it's located on the hydro. You'll know right away if that's indeed the problem!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Luckily, it's an easy fix if it is the charge pump and gerotor. It's a good thing it stops the unit dead in its tracks, actually - it doesn't give the metal pieces much of a chance to circulate into the very touchy hydro pump. You already have the fenders off, which is the majority of the labor involved. If you want to check that charge pump, look at the diagram listed in the post above and you'll see where it's located on the hydro. You'll know right away if that's indeed the problem!
I'm willing to tear this apart if you think this is something I can do myself. I wanted to get more familiar with the hydraulics anyway. You'll have to talk to me like I'm 7, though. The 'rebuild' instructions describe pulling the whole rear end out and that was enough to persuade me to put it off until I can get some assistance. If you give me the basic steps, I'll document the process with pictures and maybe the next guy will have an easier time.
 

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