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#1
Old 06-22-2013, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 2,352
Troy Bilt Lawn Tractor hydrostatic transmission problems

Hello Everyone,

Once again I am turning to the SD boards to see if anyone here can give me some insight to a problem. A little less than a year ago my wife and I purchased a Troy Bilt 46" Horse lawn tractor for our 5 acres. This was the top of the line Troy Bilt and one of it's features was a hydrostatic transmission. Unfortunately, at least in our case, it has turned out to be it's weakness. After owning it for three months the transmission failed and had to be sent in to be repaired. We got it back and it has ran fine until today, when once again the tranny has failed in the same way.

The transmission is always engaged and to put it in neutral so you can push the tractor you have to pull a lever at the back of the transmission that dis-engages it. When you are done and want to re-engage the transmission, you take the lever and push it to activate it. Well, here is were the problem happens. The event described is the same one that happened the first time. I put it in neutral, pushed the mower into the garage and performed maintainance that needed doing. Push the mower back out, push the lever to re-engage the transmission, start the mower and nothing. The tractor will not move forward or reverse, instead the only thing that happens is that a whine sounds when trying to move the tranny lever into either forward or reverse. Then, just to make it as annoying as possible, I try to put the mower into neutral again so I can put it back into the garage and it will not go into neutral. I can take my hand and follow the lever back to the transmission housing and confirm that it is moving a lever when it is being pulled or pushed (the lever that moves the tranny in and out of neutral).

The last time this happend I was told a valve inside the tranny broke and that caused the problem, so I have to assume that the same thing as happend. The tractor comes with a 2 year factory warranty, so it will be covered under warranty, however it is MY responsiblity to transport the mower to the factory service center. Well, easier said than done. Because the transmission is locked up you can roll the 600+ pound mower. How in the hell could I possible get it onto a truck or trailer? Last time I returned to Lowes and pitched a fit at the manager until he agreed to send a Lowes delivery truck out with a lift to retrieve the tractor and send it to the repair center. That was after only owning it for a few months, I am not so sure that I can count on Lowes doing that again.

But, that isn't my main question. What I am trying to find out is if anyone here has a Troy Bilt tractor with a hydrostatic transmission and is familiar with this issue. What is causing it, how do I prevent it and is it possible to fix on my own? This has been a truly frustrating experience. I really wanted to purchase either a John Deer or Craftsman mower instead, but we decided to go with the Troy Bilt because it seemed a good value, price wise and feature wise. Initial research on the internet seemed to confirm that it was a quality mower and you couldn't beat the price (around $1400). Too late to look back and wish I had gotten another brand.

Any insight that anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated. I am positive that there is an owner or perhaps a tractor tech on the boards here that can answer the questions that I have. Thanks in advance.
#2
Old 06-22-2013, 06:04 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 2,352
Well, I just got back from the Lowes store I purchased the mower from. I have to give them credit as they have arranged to have the tractor picked up and brought in for service at no charge. I still don't understand why I keep having this issue, but it's good to know the site I purchased it from is willing to stand behind their product and help at their expense to resolve the issue. Good job Lowes!
#3
Old 06-22-2013, 07:17 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 3,879
Kudo's to Lowe's. One thing we never get reimbursed for is our time and our trouble.

I don't have much to add other than that Troy-bilt has a pretty good reputation for quality. You might want to call the factory and discuss the issue. They may have recognized the problem and know how to solve it.

If it makes you feel any better I probably would have bought the Troy-bilt over the Deer or Craftsman. Don't beat yourself up over your decision.
#4
Old 06-22-2013, 07:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 29
Had purchased a Raven riding mower from Lowe's earlier this year, some cliches in the design caused it to act up at times and operate great at others and when it operated right it was a great machine. I let the return period expire when shortly thereafter it began malfunctioning something awful. The folks at Lowes let me return with full refund but turns out they eventually recalled the mowers, so either they were good or smart but either way I ended up spending all the money returned with them anyway so they definitely did't lose.
#5
Old 06-22-2013, 07:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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Big fan of Troy-Bilt, ended up getting JD but mostly because they didn't have a comparable TB available.
#6
Old 06-22-2013, 07:22 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 29
Anyone familar with the hydrostatic transmissions?
#7
Old 06-24-2013, 03:10 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 592
The manual for my John Deere D110 (also hydrostatic) indicates that the transmission may be damaged if the transmission is engaged or disengaged with the bypass rod while the engine is running (this I can understand). However, its also emphatic that starting the engine with the transmission disengaged can lead to damage, too (not sure why). Is it possible you did this?
#8
Old 06-24-2013, 03:36 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Orlando, Florida
Posts: 2,352
Quote:
Originally Posted by joemama24_98 View Post
The manual for my John Deere D110 (also hydrostatic) indicates that the transmission may be damaged if the transmission is engaged or disengaged with the bypass rod while the engine is running (this I can understand). However, its also emphatic that starting the engine with the transmission disengaged can lead to damage, too (not sure why). Is it possible you did this?
I know for sure that I didn't disengage the transmission while the engine was running, however I can't remember if I ever ran the engine while the transmission was disengaged. It's good to know this information, for I have reread the Troy Bilt manual and it doesn't mention anything to this effect.

Update for anyone interested, Lowes sent a truck out today with a lift and two men to wrestle the tractor on the truck. I really can't say enough about their help with this issue. It seems all of us are quick to jump on a forum and bash a company when they've done us wrong, but we rarely seem to take the time to congratulate them when they do something right. In this case, Lowes really came through and I would recommend them to anyone. Too many retailers wash their hands of a customer once they pay for an item, good to see one standing by what it sells.
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