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  1. #441
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    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Trainguy...you can change the oil without splitting the case. There are two round black plugs in the top of the transaxle. One is the vent and has molded features that look like they're for manually twisting off that cap...but DON'T...you'll break it! The other is plain flat black a little larger diameter than the vent cap. This is the seal cap. It's under the fan/pulley assembly. To change the oil you pull the tranny out of tractor, pry up the seal cap, and turn tranny upside down to pour the oil out this seal cap. The seal cap has a metal perimeter ring with a soft rubber plug insert molded onto that ring. You take a thin screwdriver or wood chisel blade, wedge it under the perimeter ring so it's between the seal cap and aluminum case. Then a couple light taps w/ hammer and you'll see it'll start to pop out. Under that seal cap is a magnet for collecting ferrous debris, to keep that debris from grinding the tranny to death. It slides out easily you'll see and you'll want to clean that magnet of course. 900 hours is a lot but you could just change the oil & clean the seal magnet and go for it & see how much more life you can get out of it. Use 5W50 oil which is more resistant to burning at high temps than 10W30 that was originally put in K46's. Burning oil creates the hard carbon particles (i.e., carbide, diamond is carbon) that microscopically end up grinding up the hydraulic parts. Thing is, you'll need 3 quarts because transaxle takes 2.2 qts or so (see prior posts about oil changing)...and that'll run right near $30. Your transaxle is so old, and the pulley spline failure is major wearout and potentially indicator that the stuff inside the case isn't far behind. You could waste $30 on 5W50 because the stuff inside is ready to fail. Or you might get lucky and it'll live another season or more??

    If your tractor has 900 hrs and been pushing a snowblower in addition to mowing, 900 hrs out of that transaxle seems amazing. Odds are it doesn't have much life left. The tranny case has two halves internally, a differential side and the hydraulic drive side. Inside the case on the differential side is another magnet (you have to open case to inspect & clean that one). Odds are that magnet in yours is loaded up. Since your transaxle has such high hours and you've already pulled it, I guess I'd be tempted to open the case & inspect everything. Look at the differential side gears and see if they're fairly eaten away or fractured with points broken off. May find you want to replace some of those. Then, if I'm that far into it, I'd pull the center case and pump & motor "revolvers" and inspect their faces...the two on the center case, and the bottoms of the two revolvers that ride on those center case faces. If those are scored like the pictures you see in this thread, those parts either need to be replaced...or you can grind/polish them manually. I just got done grinding mine (my tractor started slowing down and now halts mowing just 3/4 acre yard, having about 300 hours). Soon I'll post a separate message that has pictures and tips from my repair experience. I found there's a little misinformation in some of the posts (but not much), and there's some tips for reassembling that haven't appeared.

    The thing is...if that is the original transaxle in the machine, and it has 900 hours, you might find that there are many differential side gears you'd wanna replace that look busted up, and you'll probably want to either replace or grind/polish the center case and two revolvers. If you buy all those parts, it could exceed the cost of a new transaxle, and maybe you'd be better off trying to find a low hours used transaxle. To save about $270 in parts you can grind the revolvers and center case faces, but that's a few hours in my experience (of course, depends on how you do it and how smooth you want the surfaces to be).

    So, I guess you could drain & change the oil to 5W50 and see if your luck continues and your's turns out to be the Methuselah of K46 transaxles. Or I'd inspect everything and determine what you'd want to replace or grind, tally up the part cost & time (on TT website), and decide if you're better off just getting new transaxle or finding a low hours used one.

    Good Luck!!

  2. #442
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    Scotts S2048

    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Trainguy,
    By no means am I a mechanic... that being said and in my opinion, being that you already have the transaxle removed, without question I would do the following:
    1. Replace the filter(s) (my K62 had two of them. I'm not sure how many the K46 has)
    2. Rreplace the oil with a synthetic 5W50
    3. Highly recommend inspecting and probably 'sanding' the motor, pump and case assembly
    - make sure that you use a solid & hard sanding block (I used a piece of oak & 3M sticky back sand paper)

    I think the "secret" to these types of transmissions is the flat and unscratched surfaces coming in extremely close, but not actually touching, contact. Hence the really thin oil recommendation from Tuff Torq.

    FWIW - I'm a computer geek that feels comfortable changing my car oil and rotating the tires... That being said, I took on the challenge and tore my tranny apart. If I can do it, computer geek, anyone that knows how to turn a wrench should be able to as well (just take a lot of picture for reference purposes...)

    Good luck!

  3. #443
    Platinum Member Molerj's Avatar
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    JD 955, Economy Power King

    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Just another opinion. I have just removed a K65 out of a JD Sabre 2048 because of a leak between the case halves. Plan was just to drain oil, clean magnets a reseal case, as there were no symptoms of problems. Upon inspection, I found a few larger bits of metal and some worn/chipped teeth on the differential gears. Filter is different than the k46, which I usually just inspect & clean. This one is a different style and can't be cleaned to the tune of 35.00! Gears are 133.00 & oil is 28.00. I'm not doing anything with the motor and pump or center case. What I guess I'm saying, is yes, I would split case and clean and inspect. Also, if you don't need to order parts & you have a hard time finding 5W50 full synthetic, Darrel at Tuff Torq said 5W20, which is more easily found in auto parts stores, is fine. Saves on the s/h, which is pretty high, from tuff torq.
    Ron

  4. #444
    Platinum Member Molerj's Avatar
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    JD 955, Economy Power King

    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by cedricward View Post
    UPDATE as of Nov 15, 2012
    Attachment 288978 Attachment 288979 Attachment 288980 Attachment 288981 Attachment 288982 Attachment 288983 Attachment 288984
    I used a Dremel Tool with a small wire wheel to clean the old gasket material off the mating surfaces. It helped to get the material out of the little groove that is in the middle of portions of the surfaces.
    I then used acetone to get the surfaces really clean.
    I had a loose round magnet that I couldn't figure out wear it went. Called TuffTorq but no one was there except for the operator. She sent me an email attachment supposedly showing where the magnet went, but it didn't have anything but a little black arrow that didn't show anything. I looked at the parts blow up for my K46BT tranny at:https://www.tufftorqservices.com/COM...er?mode=comnet
    It appeared that the magnet labeled part 8 which fits into the magnet holder labeled part 9 was under the Seal Cap 30 labeled part 15. Didn't see any other magnets in the blow up, but I had one that fell out when I dropped the lower pan.
    My guess is that magnet should be in the slot of the upper case. Look in your bottom pictures of your post, picture #4. Next to the large gear (final gear) on the left. You can see a slot that the magnet fits in. Look at the front of gear, then a tad left & the slot is inside of two bolt holes.
    Ron

  5. #445
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    2005 JD L118

    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Apologize for long message, but those considering repair for slowing/stalling will likely find this useful.

    My JD mower w/ TuffTorq T40A has 330 hours. For awhile now it’s been slowing down very noticeably before a FLAT half acre is complete. Reverse goes to a crawl in that time barely moving. Attempting an acre it slows to halt. Let sit and cool, and then can finish. May take couple cool down sessions to get job done. So it’s just about total toast. From this thread I learned the likely culprits causing the failure were the tranxaxle center case and the pump and motor “revolver’s” (with spring loaded pistons) that ride on the center case faces. I opened the transaxle and inspected everything. Here’s a record of what I did and a few new tips.

    The motor & pump “revolvers” and their pistons are very hard steel. I mic’ed piston diameters and their bores. All pistons and mating bores are within .001”. So, those clearly do not wear even on a unit like mine that is almost total toast. What wears is this: The center case is soft aluminum and it’s machined faces that contact the “revolver” faces score easily and deeply. If overheated, the microscopic carbon particles (i.e, hard carbide) formed from burned oil probably grind & cut the aluminum easily. But the revolver pistons & bores tolerate it fine. While the pistons & bores show negligible wear, the bottom faces of those revolvers were also scored/galled from probably combination of carbon and contact with the galled faces of the center case. The revolver faces aren’t galled nearly as deeply as the center case(which would be expected of steel vs. aluminum) but they are clearly scored. If you replace or grind/polish only the centercase faces, and not the revolver faces, when you put it back together the scored revolver faces will quickly re-rake the centercase faces and you’ll be toast again shortly. So, to get maximum lifetime, you need to replace or grind both faces of centercase AND both revolver faces that sit on those centercase faces. As I said, I found the center case faces had much more severe and deeper scoring than the revolver bottoms. On the center case, the large diameter motor face (the face where the bypass pin falls out) was scored much worse/deeper than the pump face.
    TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-motor-before-1.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-motor-before-2.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-motor-before-3.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-pump-before.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-revolvers-before.jpg
    Since the three parts end up about $300 from Tuff Torque, I decided to try grinding/polishing the center case faces and the pump & motor faces (the faces of the “revolvers” which contact the machined faces on the center case). Here’s what I found.

    I called machine shops and found hourly rates $70-100/hr. The center case is a complex shape and the shop I visited had no machine with a working head that could get to its faces…the head would collide with other features on the case before getting down to contacting the face needing machining. Even if one had such a machine, the center case needs to be held securely and level (so needs some sort of fixture to hold & present to machine head), and the machine would have to be prepped & setup for the job. At $70+/hour, seemed just the setup time could easily exceed the $25 others have reported for grinding. I couldn’t find a shop that’d come anywhere near that. Buying a new center case for $125 plus shipping seems certainly cheaper than machining at a shop (if you can find a shop with machine that can do it). A shop could grind/mill the revolvers because they are a simple cylindrical shape. But no takers for $25 on the center case…just laughs. So I decided to hand grind similar to SJSmith.

    Attached is picture of my setup. TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-grinding-setup.jpg

    I used gray abrasive (sand) paper (carbide?) used for metal work vs. ordinary sandpaper. For doing the center case faces, I got a 2” diameter, 2” high cylindrical chunk of dense, HEAVY stainless steel to use as a “puck” for mounting the carbide paper (instead of oak block sd SJSmith used). I had both ends milled flat (that was way cheap). I used 2-sided tape to affix carbide paper to the puck. I pulled guard sheet of one side of thin 2 sided tape, and affixed tape to the flat end of puck (tape only 1” wide, so took 2 pieces to cover entire end of the puck). Then I turn puck over onto the tape and exacto knife around the perimeter of the puck to cut off excess tape. Then I remove tape guard sheet from the exposed side of the tape and press the puck onto backside of carbide paper. I use exacto knife to cut paper around perimeter of puck. I end up with an extremely flat hard grinding surface on an easy to handle but heavy cylindrical puck. I turn the puck over and tape another piece of carbide paper onto its other end, so I can use both ends. I started w/ 320 grit as did SJSmith, and that seemed good for starting. On the other end of puck I put 400 grit. As the paper loads up with sluff from grinding it gets less effective, so I pull off the worn paper & tape and replace it as needed. I put 5-6 small drops of aluminum cutting oil on the 320 grit and grind in figure-8 pattern, rotating the centercase around periodically so I remove material evenly around the whole surface and don’t get a low spot from favoring a particular area. I added more oil if puck felt sticking/skipping or felt too dry. I did not push down on the puck because my pushing would not stay even and maybe I’m anal but I didn’t want to risk flatness problems or uneven grinding. I just pushed the puck around laterally and let its heavy weight do the grinding job because that weight stays consistent. I ground w/ 320 grit until all wear marks disappeared. The motor face was clearly scored deepest and that took well over half hour because some tracks were pretty deep. Took awhile. Not easy 15 minute job for me. Maybe deeper scoring in mine compared to SJSmith’s. I probably could’ve cut the time down had I applied vertical pressure on the puck. The pump face on the case went much faster…it wasn’t scored as deeply and its smaller diameter helps cut the time needed. After no sign of gall marks w/ 320 grit, then the polishing starts: I went to 400 for just a few minutes…until the puck slides evenly and smoothly. Then on to 600 (again just a few minutes until it glides smoothly). I did a final pass w/ 12 micron paper (that paper was yellow, not gray). These surfaces are probably now better than new. How long it takes in total is also affected by how smooth you want it to be, but fair to say once you dive this deep into it, you don’t wanna half-*** it.

    For the revolver faces I didn’t use the puck. I had a surplus piece of flat granite tile laying around and placed carbide paper on that (grit side up of course), then put revolvers on that and pushed them around (w/ machining oil) just like I pushed the puck around. Not a quick job there either. The face of larger diameter motor took more time because it was scored more than the pump face (just as its opposing center case face was far more scored than the case’s pump face). Also, both revolvers are hard steel so even though scoring isn’t nearly as deep as on the case, it takes awhile to work them out of the steel. Again, if I pressed hard on the revolvers while grinding, it may have reduced the time.
    TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-motor-after-1.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-motor-after.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-case-pump-after.jpgTuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures-revolvers-after.jpg

    Some forum posters caution about assuring that after grinding the motor face of the center case, washer #39, which sits in a recess on the case, doesn’t stick out above the polished surface of the center case face (it shouldn’t “stand proud”). My case’s motor face needed so much material removed that after grinding, a straight edge spanning across that face pressed on the washer enough to hold it in place slightly. It stood proud. However, notice that not only is the case recessed for that washer, but the motor revolver’s face is recessed for the washer too. The sum of those recesses gives ample free space for free movement of the washer. I put the washer in the revolver recess, then placed revolver on the center case face, and when I shake the two together, I can hear the washer rattling inside. You could grind the center case down darn far before that washer would stand proud enough to interfere with motor function. In operation, no doubt oil injected under pressure by the pump fills the cavity around the washer and prevents rattling.

    All this grinding produces a lot of grit. ANY residual grit left on the parts will trash ALL the hydrostatic parts in short order and waste all your effort. Thorough cleaning is really important. The revolver grit may eventually be captured by magnet, but until it is, it’s disaster…and the aluminum grit is non-magnetic. It’ll just keep circulating. Aluminum grit from 400, 600, or 12 micron carbide paper may be too fine for the ring filter to trap? So, the parts need to be cleaned THOROUGHLY. I used a mineral spirits bath with stirring & dipping, then bathed parts in detergent degreaser like Super Clean heated to “coffee hot” to let convection flows work on the grease & grit (like when cleaning a carburetor). Finally I blew everything out. I then sprayed w/ brake cleaner and blew again.

    I inspected the differential side and it’s gears. That magnet was totally covered by debris. There was small amount of steel shards & shavings in bottom of transaxle case, but alarmingly big in size, and under brake pads, and more ready to come off many of the gears. No major damage to gears or missing/broken off teeth, but certainly evidence of plenty of wear. But looked intact so I just cleaned what I could by wiping & w/ magnet wand. Replaced nothing on differential side.

    Before reassembly, I bathed the center case faces and revolvers and their pistons & springs in 5W50 oil. The '50' number means greater tolerance to high temps w/o burning (the bigger number the better). It's burning oil that produces the hard carbon particles that wear things out. If you go w/ 20 or 30W, your oil will burn at lower temps.

    On reassembly, the challenging thing to install is the big assembly you seat as a unit: the center case, motor revolver, swash (prism shaped plate & bearings), with the drive shaft going through all that and having the bearing, brake rotor, & drive gear on the left side (see plenty of other pictures in this thread that show this set of parts). As you install, you have to hold those parts together and keep one finger over the access hole for the bypass pin on the right side, to keep that pin from sliding out. The motor piston springs have to be compressed making the whole assembly spring loaded as it’s installed. It fights against you. There are 4 interferences that have to managed to snap the assembly back in. 1) the brake rotor has to go between the brake shoes. To eliminate this challenge, I removed the left brake shoe and just reinstalled it after completing rest of the installation. 2) the bearing just to the right of the brake rotor has to fit into a cradle in the transaxle housing. 3) the vertical bypass lever rod (underneath so you can’t see it) has to snap up and into the centercase access hole where the bypass pin is contacted. 4) The two small forward/reverse pistons on the center case upper right have to compress to slide by the forward/reverse linkage part in the transaxle case. The biggest problem for me was that after I got everything else nearly in place, I couldn’t get the bearing on the far left side to align with its cradle, so I couldn’t fully seat the whole unit. I didn’t want to urge it into place w/ a mallet. After many attempts I found the easiest way to do this install. Start by removing leftmost brake shoe. Hold the whole assembly w/hands on each end and a finger on right hand reaching down & holding in bypass pin. Tilt the assembly so right side is higher than left (this also helps keep the bypass pin in place). Start inserting the left side first, getting the bearing and rotor roughly in place, paying special attention so the bearing will align w/ its cradle…this may require sliding the driveshaft out or in. Once those are certain to go into place, deal with the swash plate (the prism shaped piece & it's bearings which contact the revolver pistons). Then, you may need to squeeze the right hand toward the left (the motor piston springs may need to be compressed) to get the bypass linkage rod to align w/ the hole accessing the bypass pin. Finally, with left now almost in place, as you lower the right side the small forward/reverse pistons on upper right may need to be pushed in so that these pistons slide past the linkage part in the transaxle case. I had to use a finger to push the top small piston in to get it to clear the interfering linkage, but then everything seated fully with just a little pushing down. Doing it this way (start on the left and work right) made it easy & quick, and despite the whole thing being spring loaded, it could be installed and fully seated into place (without anything popping back up) without using any rubber mallet to convince things.

    Overall, next time would be a whole lot faster, having assembled everything needed, and not stopping and checking things and wondering about things so often. Once you’ve elected to get inside the transaxle, it’d definitely be worth grind-polishing these parts as opposed to $300 for replacements from TT…IMO.

  6. #446
    Platinum Member Molerj's Avatar
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    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    I have two center cases and motor and pump assemblys in my shop that I replaced. I think I will practice with them to see if I can clean them up. Thanks for your detailed report.
    Ron

  7. #447
    Bronze Member RBLapham's Avatar
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    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Idakiteman - nice write up and pictures, makes me want to tear mine apart just for the fun but only 70 hours on mine
    You said "I used gray abrasive (sand) paper (carbide?) used for metal work vs. ordinary sandpaper"
    That sand paper is called "wet or dry" sandpaper and can be found in many hardware stores in limited grit sizes. The best selections are found in Auto Parts stores (especially if they sell auto refinishing supplies). It comes in grits from 50 to 2500, lower numbers are corse and higher numbers are finest. You can sand using that paper using water as a lubricant. I do not have a new part to see what the finish looks like from the factory, was wondering if too smooth (miror finish) is better or not. May need a little fine scratches in it to hold some oil? I know if you use over 1000 grit it will look like chrome
    Deere X300, Cyclone Rake Commander Pro, Plug aerator, Murray plow on X300

  8. #448
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    2005 JD L118

    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Hey Ron. Glad my detail was of value to you, and given that, may I ask a favor? If you've got two sets of center case/motor/pump units laying around, any chance you'd send me one of those sets? Since I just did this grinding and am setup, I wouldn't mind doing another so I have a spare set for when the time comes it's needed. If you try this grinding as described, I'm pretty darn sure you'll be successful on the first set you try, so you'd have a spare set too. I'd pay for shipping of course, but maybe in recognition of the value of information to you, you'd part with one of your sets? If you want to reply privately, here's my email address a little disguised in case the forum screening software detects and blocks email addresses: idakiteman at gmai dot com. Thanks for considering.

  9. #449
    New Member
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    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    RBLapham wonders: "I do not have a new part to see what the finish looks like from the factory, was wondering if too smooth (miror finish) is better or not. May need a little fine scratches in it to hold some oil? I know if you use over 1000 grit it will look like chrome".

    I'm no expert and don't know. But to speculate...I think the key to minimizing wear in this design is for there to constantly be enough volume and pressure of oil to keep an oil film between the case faces and opposing pump & motor faces...so that at the microscopic level, the faces don't really touch but are separated by a thin oil film. The oil pressure works agains the spring loading of parts to create this very thin film, but at same time the clearances are tiny enough to prevent substantial oil from leaking out between opposing faces. Not sure though. I'm no expert. FYI and of related interest...to give much longer lifetime, I asked Derrick at TuffTorq if any of their transaxles were made w/ STEEL center cases instead of soft aluminum, and if not, what is the main design difference in the higher end longer-life TT's. He said none of their Taxles have steel centercases. He said the main addition accounting for longer life in their more expensive designs is addition of what he called a "charge pump". He described it briefly and what I got was that it was something that boosts the volume of oil being delivered to these faces or assures the oil supply is more reliable and consistent, thus assuring the film isn't compromised. I could imagine that during particular types of operation, like low rpm, or startup or shut off, or going from forward to reverse when things slow, stop, then reverse, perhaps the cheaper designs suffer greater risk of oil film loss or breakdown, while those with this "charge pump" maintain the film more consistently throughout all types of operation. Derrick said the "charge pump" designs start w/ the K57 and above.

  10. #450
    Platinum Member Molerj's Avatar
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    Default Re: TuffTorq K46 Repair Guide with Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by idakiteman View Post
    Hey Ron. If you've got two sets of center case/motor/pump units laying around, any chance you'd send me one of those sets? Since I just did this grinding and am setup, I wouldn't mind doing another so I have a spare set for when the time comes it's needed. If you try this grinding as described, I'm pretty darn sure you'll be successful on the first set you try, so you'd have a spare set too.
    I'll keep you in mind, but since these are on two different K46 transaxles the center case is different. The one has the valves in the side and the other doesn't. I will keep them around in case they are needed. I'm sure word is getting around that I repair these, and at a reasonable cost, so, I have a feeling there will be more to come.
    Ron

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