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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was pulling a heavy cart around a lot this weekend. It's not anything my X500 had any qualms about managing. However, about 80% of the way through several cart trips, my transmission gave out.

The belt and transmission fluid level are fine. The symptoms are that the forward and reverse pedals went squishy soft and there is no locomotion from the drive. I'm concerned this is going to require a very expensive transmission replacement. So first question for your forum gurus, is that a likely outcome? Or is there a chance these symptoms indicate a lesser repair?

This tractor is 11 years old and has almost 500 hours on it. It has been well maintained. If the transmission is shot, though, I have to wonder if it would make sense to replace the tractor. I'm torn even paying the dealer to pick it up and estimate repair if this outcome is likely.

The timing could not be worse with fall and winter impending.
 

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It's rare that the trans would go out on something that beefy. I suspect linkage since you say the pedal feel changed. If the transmission won't drive, they should still feel the same, since they have that shock on to prevent you from slamming it into full speed forward or reverse.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would it be informative if I said the transmission bypass lever, which I engaged in order to roll the tractor back into storage, is stuck in bypass? It would not push back in after I stored the tractor.
 

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Trentofdestiny makes sense regarding the pedal feel. Are you sure nothing has bent or jammed the rods or levers? An errant stick might have jammed up in there and then fallen out leaving you with a transmission victim, but no smoking gun. It does seem odd that you can't disengage the by pass lever. It seems to point to some kind of control damage. Watch its movement and see if the lever on the trans is moving when you try to disengage the rod. At least I hope so.
 

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what does it sound like? normal? if the internals are shot you will hear a much more pronounced whine from the trans above and beyond what you normally hear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It sounds normal to me. I just have the squishy pedals, no locomotion, and stuck bypass lever once I engaged it.
 

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There are very few complaints on the K72 transaxle. I think I have heard of one or two that needed to be rebuilt. If you have been reasonably diligent about changing the hydraulic fluid (50, 300, about now) it is probably still fine.

The pedals feeling different is probably a clue that the linkage is messed up. It is possible a roll pin fell out and so the pedal is not activating the internals of the transaxle. I would have someone move the pedals while looking at the linkage at the transaxle to see if the arm is moving. If the arm is moving, telling if the control rod is moving will be more difficult.

If the bypass lever is in bypass mode, the transaxle won't move at all.

As far as age goes, for an X500 that has had at least reasonable care, 11 is young. I bought my X534 at 14-15 years old and about 400 hours. I had some deferred maintenance to do with some still left to do. But, I expect to get 10-15 good years out of it.

I doubt that you need a whole new transaxle. However, the dealer might not have anyone capable of rebuilding the transaxle if it were to actually need that.

I would make sure the linkages are working. I might even pull the transaxle to make sure the lever is still connected.
 

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have you ever changed the trans fluid? what does the outside of the trans look like, clean and clear or covered in oil and dirt? Trying to get a sense if the trans is overheating perhaps, but sounds more like a linkage issue maybe
 

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Would it be informative if I said the transmission bypass lever, which I engaged in order to roll the tractor back into storage, is stuck in bypass? It would not push back in after I stored the tractor.
Yes that will keep it from moving. It's either jammed in bypass with a stick or something or (possibly) stuck because you never use it and it got snagged on something and pulled it out for example.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The bypass lever was not engaged when I noticed all the problems and the soft pedals. I engaged the bypass in order to move the tractor after it stopped working.

Based on the comments above, I will make a close inspection after I finish work today and see if anything can be spotted. Thank you for the helpful insights.
 

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There is a bolt on the each of the pedals that came lose on my 530 and did not allow the pedal to travel the full distance and it barely moved. You can find then right under the floor pan where your feet are, losen the bolt, pull the foot pedal up while tightening the bolt then give it a try, maybe it is just a simple fix. Doesnt explain the stuck bypass lever, never had that happen....yet.
 

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Doesn't the bypass lever automatically reset when you press the brake?
Also, the splines on the driven pulley on the transmission are known to strip out. Make sure that the shaft is turning with the pulley.
 

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'81 Gravely tractor, 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's Gravely tractors Various Honda Power equipment
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I have rebuilt many of those transmissions due to the worn pistons and cylinders in the drive pumps and wheel motors that did exactly what you are experiencing. That was a very common problem with them, and is quite an expensive repair, not just the labor, but also the parts.
It will wear and the problem show up quicker when low viscosity oil is used. Most times you will notice the tractor slowing down when the transmission and oil gets hot, but not always. Some times they just die out completely suddenly.
The K72 is not all that it is worked up to be, it is only a light-medium duty trans-axle that is not built for anything slightly heavy work like towing, hills and snow plowing. It is better off with very flat smooth surfaces and very light towing if any at all.
One thing to check is the linkage plate that operates the swash plate inside the transmission to make sure it is tight and fastened to the shaft of the swash plate on the outside of the transmission. If that comes loose, it will not move the swash plate and you will lose forward and reverse motion.
 

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That was a very common problem with them, and is quite an expensive repair, not just the labor, but also the parts.
While I don't doubt it is an expensive repair, I have been coming here a LONG time and I have only seen a very few people come here with a broken K72. I have heard of less than a handful. I have also heard of some from the K62, K66, K70, and K71. In comparison, I see broken K46 and lower almost every day.

When I first came here, I heard all the horror stories. I got so worried, I ended up buying a spare K46 for my X300. It is still in my basement unused. Several months ago, I found a really good deal on a K66Y, so I bought it. I think there is some wear on the motor part of mine, because I can rotate the wheels without using the bypass lever. But, it still has plenty of power.

The OP might have internal damage to the transaxle. If so, this thread might be of interest

This thread has two people who had issues, one is the OP of the thread above.

So, clearly it is possible to get a K72 to fail. But, then I've seen people who could break anything 😉
 

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While I don't doubt it is an expensive repair, I have been coming here a LONG time and I have only seen a very few people come here with a broken K72. I have heard of less than a handful. I have also heard of some from the K62, K66, K70, and K71. In comparison, I see broken K46 and lower almost every day.

When I first came here, I heard all the horror stories. I got so worried, I ended up buying a spare K46 for my X300. It is still in my basement unused. Several months ago, I found a really good deal on a K66Y, so I bought it. I think there is some wear on the motor part of mine, because I can rotate the wheels without using the bypass lever. But, it still has plenty of power.

The OP might have internal damage to the transaxle. If so, this thread might be of interest

This thread has two people who had issues, one is the OP of the thread above.

So, clearly it is possible to get a K72 to fail. But, then I've seen people who could break anything 😉
Most of the ones we see have been over-worked more than what they were designed for.
Unfortunately the salesman did not tell the customer about the limits of what they were designed to handle, and the customers all over-worked the units.
One other thing I forgot to mention, check the drive belt pulley on the transmission for worn splines, we've had tons of them with stripped out splines and all that was required was a pulley replacement.
We recommend to our customers to go with the K91 or higher series if we know what they are going to do with their machines. Yes that is a much more expensive tractor, but they are built to handle what the customers are going to do with them.
We know a lot of our customers never tell us the truth about what they were really doing with their machines until we go out to their residences and get to see what they were actually using them for.
Then we tell them they should have purchased the heavier machine that we first suggested. After they realize what the damage cost them, they realized why we told them so, and figure what it is going to cost them to fix their machine, the money would have been better spent on buying the bigger machine in the first place.
 

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Several months ago, I found a really good deal on a K66Y, so I bought it. I think there is some wear on the motor part of mine, because I can rotate the wheels without using the bypass lever. But, it still has plenty of power.
I believe that some of my tractors can be pushed forward without using the bypass lever, yet lock up when trying to push backward. So I think that's normal to some extent.


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I believe that some of my tractors can be pushed forward without using the bypass lever, yet lock up when trying to push backward. So I think that's normal to some extent.


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Yes, my X570 and my X730 can be pushed forward without using the bypass.
 

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Well, I guess I now have three back up transaxles for the K46 in my X300 😉

I am going to see how well it does pulling a loader Cyclone Rake (basic) this Fall. If it struggles, I'll probably put the K66Y into it. I have most of the parts (transaxle, spindles, X500 rear hitch) already, just need the time and desire to do the job.
 
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