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Hydrostatic Transmission - Transmission Rebuild Service

Sundstrand Hydro Transmission - Rebuild and Repair

We are offering a rare service - rebuilding your hydrostatic transmission and or differential.  Most parts are already in stock.  The complete drive line units in the following tractors can be repaired or rebuilt:

Hydrostatic Transmission Troubleshooting Q&A

John Deere 110 John Deere 317 John Deere F911
John Deere 112 John Deere 318 John Deere F912
John Deere 120 John Deere 322 John Deere F915
John Deere 140 John Deere 332 John Deere F925
John Deere 300 John Deere 400 John Deere F935
John Deere 312 John Deere 420 John Deere F932
John Deere 314 John Deere 430 John Deere F1145
John Deere 316 John Deere F910
Other brands included are the older International Cub Cadet garden tractors, Simplicity garden tractors, Allis Chalmers garden tractors, and Ariens garden tractors. with a Sundstrand hydrostatic transmission.
Nothing makes us feel more satisfied than to take good solid equipment that is serving our needs well and fixing it up if it has quit, or improving it's performance.  Some equipment is "throw away" not worth fixing, but most of us have garden tractors that can outlive us if we take good care of them.  We don't baby our own equipment, we work it hard.  If you have well built equipment it would be money well spent to rebuild or repair your hydrostatic transmission rather than buy something new that probably is not as sturdy.

If you would like to have your hydro rebuilt give us a call: 1-800-618-8738 or e-mail us: jim@jimsrepairjimstractors.com.

We can give you an approximate cost for the hydro rebuild and help you decide if your hydro is worth rebuilding.  You ship the hydrostatic transmission to us,  we rebuild it,  and ship it back to you, usually FedEx Ground.

Note:  It is never a good idea to tow a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission.  Many of the tractors that come to our shop needing transmission work, need repairs because the tractor has been towed. If we have to move a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission that has broken down we will even just skid it, yes hard on the tires, rather than ruin an expensive hydrostatic transmission.

Hydrostatic Transmission Repair, Replacement,
or Rebuilding Questions and Answers:

  Q:  I have a Jacobsen 1450 Superchief garden tractor with a hydro transmission, but I'm having a problem with it. The hydro transmission doesn't work, no reverse, no front drive at all, but when I got the back wheels off ground and I engage the transmission, the wheels move and the tranny seems to work, forward and backwards. I can hold the wheels from turning around with just my hands. There are no rattles or weird noises from the tranny whatsoever. There are no oil leaks except one that could be caused by a worn rubber seal, or the nut that holds the seal, that isn't tightened up properly. The manufacturer of the transmission is Hydrogear.  The lawnmower is a project I bought a few days ago but by the looks of it it has been a long time since it's last been used, I guess a year or 5, maybe even longer. I hope that you can give me a clue of what's wrong with it.

A:  Take your charge pump apart and see if the drive pin is sheared off inside the pump.

Q: I just had the Sundstrand hydrostatic transmission on my 1973 Wheel Horse Model # 10440-8 replaced. The replacement was an old unit out of a similar Wheel Horse tractor but the mechanic said that it looked good enough to install.

The tractor works ok until it warms up (after about an half hour to an hour of use) and at that point it slowly looses all power until it finally will not go all. As soon as it cools down it runs ok. All fluid levels are at the proper levels and there has been no loss of transmission oil. There is, however, a slight film of oil on the bottom of the rear of the tractor but none at the gaskets of the hydro unit.

Any thoughts as to what is wrong and does the unit need rebuilding?

A: Any time I hear about a hydro slowing down more and more as the oil gets warmer and warmer, it tells me that oil is bypassing internally and that calls for a complete hydro rebuild.

Q: I was given a rough 300 John Deere lawn tractor but it has a blown engine. I will most likely get a Re-power set up from you when the time comes. I want to go through this thing and check everything else out but need to move it first. How do I disengage the rear differential so it can be pulled or moved?

A: Screw down that knob between your legs. Do not push it fast or far, as you will damage a good hydrostatic transmission. Sure, let me know when you're ready to repower your John Deere 300.

Q: I have an older, belt driven John Deere 214 garden tractor. I was recently using it to plow snow when it jumped out of gear and I attempted to put it in neutral. When I let off the clutch it would go forward. I could not get it to go in neutral. Then I put it in 3rd gear and the engine nearly locked up and it stalled. I restarted it and put it in third gear a second time and when I let off the clutch it did the same thing but the (I think) drive pulley broke off. Can you tell me what the problem would be and what I need to fix it?

A: I hope you are correct that you broke your drive pulley and that you did not blow up the transmission. If you did not already blow up the transmission, take your shift tower off and take a pry bar and align up those 2 sliding rods in the transmission. If you cannot get it to work you will have to have it overhauled.

Q: My 1973 John Deere 140 H3 has been sitting for a year. I did a head gasket today, new carb, new coil, and new points. I got it running great. I push the stick forward and have nothing! I have full power backwards, the deck lift works fine, but no forward. It has fluid in it, and it's not whining, and the linkage looks okay underneath. How can I have everything else, but no forward? We have had no issues in 33 years with this tranny. Please tell me I am missing something easy.

A: It sounds like one of your control valves are stuck open on top of your hydro transmission. To check this you would have to remove your rear fenders and check the 2 valves.

Q: I have a Cub Cadet 2084 Super Garden tractor rand I have a few concerns about my hydrostatic transmission. My tractor seems to be jerky when I go from forward to reverse and it doesn't have much power in reverse. My father could not get it started one day and he pushed it from the front of the garage to the back of the garage about 25 ft, could that have possibly damaged the transmission? If a transmission gets damaged in this manner what kind of symptoms would it exhibit?

A: I would say he did not damage the transmission just by pushing it only. If you would have said be hooked onto it with something else then I would have been worried. Sounds like you need to replace some of your external linkage and also adjust the hydro after you have things replaced. If this doesn't take care of your problem you may need a overhaul.

Q: I have a transmission problem in my John Deere 316 garden tractor. The forward-reverse lever moves only part way up or back allowing only minimal movement of the tractor. The deck hydraulics seem to work fine, however I notice the fluid level is not in the viewing glass as it should be or is it even moving in the lower tube as it is clear. I have drained the fluid and refilled but
still the same result. Any suggestions?

A: It sounds like there is nothing wrong with your hydro transmission. You need to replace some of your hydro linkage that is worn so you do not have all that play in the linkage.

Q: I have a 15 HP Z-Force 44 Cub Cadet Riding mower and it just started having a problem turning the left back tire. The tire will rotate but it seems the pump is not working properly. It just makes a loud growl and barely moves the tire. Is my hydrostatic pump going out or is their a problem elsewhere?

A: It sounds to me like the hydrostatic transmission is going out or if this unit has hydraulic driven motors on it, they are going out.

Q: I have a John Deere 175 Lawn tractor with a hydrostatic transmission. When cutting it gets hot and doesn't want to pull, how can I fix this?

A: The first thing to check would be the condition of the drive belt, if it is tight on the pulleys. After this it sounds like you will need to get a different transmission.

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Q: I have a John Deere G100 lawn tractor that won't move over 30 yards without stopping and making a noise. Do you think I may need a new hydrostatic transmission?

A: You could change the oil and filter if you have one and see if that takes care of your problem. It it does not, you can check with me and I will check into it to getting you a new transmission.

Q: I have a Bobcat T-20 Lawn mower manufactured by Wisconsin Marine, Inc. about 30 years ago. It is still in good operating condition. It has a Sundstrand Model 15 hydrostatic transmission. How often should I change the oil and filter in the unit?

Q: I have a problem with a John Deere 316 hydrostatic lawn tractor I'm restoring and I would deeply appreciate your opinion as to what the problem may be. I have been in the automotive business for the last 40 years and lawn tractors are not my specialty. The problem is with a high pitch whine when the tractor is going up hill progressively getting louder as the speed picks up but the whine dies down when going down hill. The transmission works perfectly all but for the rather loud whining. I set the neutral position and there is no creeping in forward or reverse. I changed the hydrostatic oil and used F type which the service manual suggested. The filter does not seem to be that old, but no difference was noticed. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

A: John Deere has 3 model 316 garden tractors, the 1978 316 with a 16 horsepower 1 cylinder Kohler engine, a 1983 to 1986 316 with a 16 horsepower Onan engine, and a 1987 to 1992 316 with an 18 horsepower Onan engine. It is normal that they will do this sometimes. We have run them like this and everything stayed together. If you have the transmission overhauled it might take care of the noise but as long as it is all working fine, just run it.

A: The book will say 1 year or 500 hours, whichever comes first.

Q:  I have an old Simplicity 4041 that I'm having trouble with the hydro. transmission. The unit in my tractor is a Sundstrand unit model # 90-1113. I have the unit pulled out and think the problem is in the unit itself. I would love to have a schematic of that unit before taking it apart. It seems like the lever that the linkage hooks up to is loose and sloppy. Do you know anything about this unit that might help me before I take it apart? Can I still get parts for it? And if needed, can you rebuild this Hydro. unit?

Also, I have heard of replacing my Onan with the Vanguard engine. This is something I will need to take a look at pretty soon. My Onan's getting tired. Do you have a conversion kit you sell for that?

A:  Yes I should still be able to get parts for you. I can rebuild the hydro for you if you decide to do so.

I do have the Vanguard engines in stock if you get to deciding to go into a real smooth quiet running package.

Q:  How does one tell if the free wheeling valve on a John Deere 420 is working or not? I have turned it out and back in several times but the wheels seem to move freely for a short distance then seem to catch?

A:  You should not tow these transmissions as you can cause damage internally. I am assuming this is a tractor below the 30,000 serial number. This free wheeling valve should be turned all the way in clockwise and this would be ready for tractor usage. If you are having trouble with the tractor not working correctly, then it does sound like a hydrostatic transmission problem.

Q:  I have an F910 with a hydrostatic transmission problem, here are the details:
Reverse is really slow and it seems to get stuck in between forward and reverse, makes lots of noise and shakes. Is there a linkage adjustment or anything I can do? Or is this typical to a hydro overhaul?

A:  You should check out the external linkage on the outside of the hydrostatic transmission and make sure that is all O.K. before we condemn the transmission. Repair any and all slop that is in the linkage, then if problems are still there we will need to get into the transmission overhaul subject.

Q: I have a small problem with my hydro unit on my 1970 127 Cub Cadet. When I come up to any kind of uphill grade, or a hard pull mowing grass, sometimes it seems like my hydro is slipping, and I have to move the lever more to keep it moving, and when I am out of the hard pull, it seems to speed up. Do I need a rebuild? I have to add that I have several John Deere hydros, and I do not have this problem. Also, is it possible to put a three point hitch, and a rear PTO on my John Deere 314, to maybe run a small finish mower?

A: Yes, you are correct, your hydro transmission is played out and definitely needs rebuilding. We would do a complete overhaul on it.

You can put a 3 point on your John Deere 314 but they are very hard to find and pretty expensive.

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Q: I have a John Deere 300 that I purchased this fall and I have a question. I don't know if it is a transmission thing or what. I understand that when you want to turn short, you put on the brake on one side and then turn that way. that is not the case with my tractor. When you are pulling something really heavy , both rear wheels will spin at the same time, not one and then use the brake, and the other will pull. Is there a differential lock or something on this tractor that makes it act this way? The hydrostatic transmission works great otherwise--holds back on hill as it is supposed to do and all that good stuff--no leaks--.

A: No, there is no differential lock on that tractor. when you are pulling a heavy load both wheels should spin at the same time if the traction is equal. Just say if you are pulling a load and one wheel gets on ice and the other one on dry ground, the one on ice will spin and the tractor will probably be sitting still and not moving. Then if you would step on the brake of the wheel that is spinning on ice, the tractor will start and continue to move until you passed over the ice and then you can release the brake and continue on your way.

Q: I have a 1992 John Deere 318 with hydrostatic drive for lawn mowing, snow removal, an all around work in the woods and property. I recently developed a problem with a leak in the hydro unit at the input bearing off the tractor's drive shaft. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the tractor had a broken rear axle mount on the left side of the tractor and the axle had slipped rearward throwing the torque off center. In checking with John Deere and a local hydraulic repair shop the repair would appear to be worth more than the tractor's worth. The hydro unit I was told, is a Sundstrand 90 series, and the repair would include the bearings, seals, new drive shaft to replace the scored one, and a new pre pump which they say was damaged by the shaft riding off center . The repairs would come to about $1000.00, and a replacement pump about $1100.00 to $1200 with me doing the installation.

I wanted to know several things before proceeding with this project. First, does this sound reasonable to repair or replace the hydro unit, if indeed it's worth doing in the first place, or do you think there is a less expensive approach? Secondly do you perhaps have a source for replacement pumps at a more reasonable price? I'm not sure it's worth putting this much value into a tractor that is this old, or would I be better off not repairing it? The tractor itself is in very good condition except for the hydro unit and I need something to continue with snow removal and working in my woods. I use the tractor to maintain woods trails, and haul firewood up to the house using a small two wheel utility cart. My last question to you would be for a recommendation on a replacement tractor which is more like a utility tractor, for the way I use my equipment. The John Deere dealership has a used 855 with a front loader coming in on trade for around $11,000 (more than I'd like to spend) but maybe that's the kind of tractor I need for the projects I want it to do. You seem to really know this equipment and I'd appreciate some guidance in this matter if you have the time.

A: You are working with a very dependable garden tractor. We do transmission overhauls and most times feel it's a wise investment if the parts are available. You can not really blame the tractor for what happened in your situation. I think that tractor is well worth fixing. If you bought a new one of the same quality you would have to buy a X model for about $8000. That 855 is nice but it still is a bigger, clumsier tractor and those John Deere 318's are by no means little babies. They will do some serious work. Just weigh them down and the fun really starts.

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