All things tractors thread


Hmmm. You’re on the right path, need to get that cover off to get to those wires and relays.

Can’t be all that helpful from afar since I have not seen that model tractor, but a couple of generic suggestions: Perhaps that T handle has a set screw or the like which can be accessed after the cover is pulled back part way? Or maybe it pushes in and turns to release? Just a few thoughts on how they might have attached it. Depending on how friendly the dealer is, you might want to ask the service dept there how to remove the handle/cover.

A couple of other thoughts for once you get past the cover thing: Just curious if you have checked the battery voltage. If it were low, or run down from this electrical issue that may be why the starter doesn’t come on. Also, would be a good idea to figure out which circuit(s) the melted wires run to. Either by tracing them back or looking at a wiring diagram. Even with a wiring diagram, would be good to trace the wires over their run (as best you can) to look for worn spots that may be shorting out (assuming the GPs and relay check out OK and they aren’t the source of the blown fuse).

I would not suggest replacing a fuse with a wire, even for a short period of time (even though I have done it myself on several occasions). Unless you are very sure of what the circuit powers, you run the risk of burnout some component or even a switch. That said, if/when I do try it, I typically will use a much smaller wire, one that will heat up and melt quickly like in a sec or two (sort of my own fusible link if you will), although even that has some risks. It is best to identify and fix the problem before powering it up again.

One last resource, there are a few tractor forums, is the one I use a lot. They have things organized by manufacture and model, so you can target an audience familiar with your tractor and hopefully your problem. You might look or ask there about your problem. And you might be able to get the wiring diagram there too.



One other thought. Sometimes a defective starter solenoid can cause all kinds of issues, including burnt wiring. Starter solenoids eventually break. I had to put one in my tractor last fall.


Recent Rebuild of my old '79 Model 830. With Assitance from Stuart Little. Drove & Worked on Implements & Tractors since I was well the size my boys are here. I’LL be watching this topic.


Welcome to the thread and the forum, SBF. Nice job on the John Deere. I started this thread about three years ago to talk about tractor stuff. I got a 1981 John Deere 2040 four years ago, and knew just about nothing about tractors then, but have learned quickly on how to plow, disk, bush hog, and have even done some repairs on it (see further up the thread).

Lots of knowledgeable folks on here regarding tractors and of course, fruit. Hope you enjoy your time here. We have other members on here from WV, like @Hillbillyhort, @speedster1, and @bopcrane. I’m not too far from Huntington, in NE KY.


Not tractor related but tiller related. Close enough I guess. Maybe you guys can help me out.

My dad bought this old front tine tiller back around 1970. It was branded by Montgomery Wards but I believe it was made by Gilson. It has an old Briggs and Stratton 5hp horizontal shaft engine. The paint is pretty rotten on the old girl but it clearly says “Chain Drive” on the belt cover.

I replaced the old mangento poi ts and condenser with a modern electronic ignition coil and it runs like a top. I am in the process of cleaning it up. I changed the engine oil and would like to service the chain drive gear lube. On the side of the tiller there is a hex head screw with the phrase “Filled at the factory with 140wt transmission oil”. Without having a manual I assume that means 140wt gear oil which I’ve used in my trucks rear differential before. After pulling the plug it looks really thick like grease from a grease gun. 140wt oil is heavy but not as thick as grease.

Anyone know what need to go in there? And how much? Is it a full to overflow?


Not sure about grease vs oil, but I suppose that gear oil may have thickened over the years.

Typically on gear boxes, the fill bolt is also the level bolt. That is fill with new oil until it start to run out the bolt hole. This assumes of course that the fill hole is not on top but somewhere on the side.

Perhaps someone here has/had one of these and can comment from real knowledge about the model.


My bush hog (unknown age and model) has a big thick bolt where the oil is added, it’s a fill to overflow. I believe it’s on the side and uses 90w oil. Not that that helps answer Dave’s question.


I found these threads that might help-

From these threads it seems that 90w would work, but the manufacturer rec’s 140w, like what’s printed on your gear box.

@Steve333, it looks like the folks in these threads are calling for a GL-1, not GL-4 or 5 type oil in these old tillers. What is the difference?


Once again, thanks for that incredibly helpful post. I actually did make certain that I don’t have a dead battery while I’m trying to figure out my problem and get my starter to turn over. It’s good for sure.

I feel like I’ve pretty much hit my limit (which is a very low one I’m embarrassed to say) in terms of fixing my problem. The good news is my repair guy is supposed to be here Mon or Tues.

On a humorous note, i couldn’t wait any longer to spray so I took an unusual approach today! I put my 25 gallon tank sprayer with wand in the back of my farm truck!!! I used battery cables to go from back of truck to the battery in front of the truck. I would just pull up to a tree, get out and spray it, then drive 20 feet to the next tree and repeat! haha. Not the fastest way, but I got the job done!

I’ll keep you all posted on what my guy finds the problem to be. Thanks again for your help. @Olpea too.


I may get some disagreement here from others, but on old gear boxes, just about any weight gear oil will work. You just want a “sticky” gear oil, so it stays on the gears as they move out of the oil bath.

Most of those old gear boxes are very simple. Maybe a few ball bearings, some thrust bearing and perhaps some roller bearings, and of course the gears, which are hardened and almost never wear out. In the case of your tiller, a chain and sprockets. The gears will occasionally fail by breaking a tooth, or a bearing can fail because it was shock loaded, but these things almost never wear out. It’s abuse which kills them, not the type of oil.

I’ve mentioned before I’ve owned a motor grader. When I bought it, the seals in the final drive were out of it. When I went to change the gear oil, there wasn’t any in it. I suspect it had been run a long time like that. When I took the plate off to inspect the final drive, the gears/bearings looked brand new. The machine had at least 14,000 hours on it, before the hour meter broke.

I bought a new 10’ bush hog rotary mower about 25 years ago. I noticed it didn’t have a drain plug to drain the oil in the gear boxes. I called Bush Hog about it. The rep told me there was no need to ever change the oil in the gear boxes. They were designed for the life of the mower with the original oil. That mower is still in use today with the same (probably coagulated) oil in the gear boxes.

If the gear boxes have clutches in them, that’s a different story. Then the type of oil is more critical. Or perhaps if you are always operating the piece of equipment in 20 below temps, I could see using a lighter oil. But for all practical purposes, the weight of gear oil in a simple reduction gearbox doesn’t matter.


Looks like you had to have some work done on the head. Just curious, what needed to be done?


I’d tend to agree with Olpea here on the lube. On a simple chain drive gear assembly, it probably does not make all that much difference as far as lubrication goes. Any of the gear oils 90 to 140 weight should work, even the multi-viscosity ones as long as their range is up there.

While not a lube consideration, I would personally stay away from any synthetics in a gearbox that old. It’s not that synthetics aren’t good lubricants (they are), but there have been many reports of old shaft seals failing when people switched to synthetics. With rubber seals as old as on that tiller, I would not take a chance with them. Although these days you may have to do some searching to find one without any synthetics in it.

The GL-X ratings are an industry standard. I am not all that familiar with the details of them, but they cover things like high pressure lube ability, temp ratings and the like. In general they don’t make that much diff, as long as you use something with a higher rating; but sometimes they do. For example in my mid 90’s Ford Ranger with a manual tranny, Ford originally said one could use the newer Mercon ATF as lube for it (yes, some manuals take ATF for lube, just depends on the design), However after a while and several damaged trannies, Ford rescinded that rec and went back to the older ATF. It was a subtle thing, but after many thousands of miles some additive or change in the new formula caused problems. Not directly applicable to this tiller gearbox perhaps, but it does make a difference sometimes…


The links I provided mentioned that there might be some additives (sulfuric?) in GL5 lubes that are harmful to yellow metals in gears, I guess they are talking about brass?

But, some other threads talked about how some GL5 lubes are safe for yellow metals. GL1 from what I read, is like mineral oil, without any real additives. But, it’s harder to find. I did a check and NAPA carries GL1 type gear oil.


Replaced Exhaust values & value seats. Resurfaced . And new springs(I removed several broken bolts that allowed exhaust header to leak also). We also replaced someother components including Hydraulic Pump. In this 830 Hydraulic Pressure controls steering extra value bodies I added & powers brakes. When pump gets weak on a Hydro Tractor its a must do…
The tractor was lugged alot bailing hay, its slightly under sized for WV hills & Round bailer. Lugging leads to hotter exhaust & eventual Value & head damage.


We buy Hydraulic Transmission oil in 5 gallon buckets for our tractors, it would work( remember oils changed but lubricationof chains,Bearings requires an oil that doesnt make foam, Hy-Tran is made to lub Gear boxes & chain drives etc. The grease in there was probably put in because the seal on the case leaked liquid gear oil out so some old timer pumped it full of Bearing grease. Thats not a terrible option if case cant be stopped from leaking. I have seen my dad & grandfather do it many times. 80/90w gear oil i think would be Equivalent.


Thanks for all of the recommendations. I left well enough alone. My neighbor borrowed it and put at least three hours on the old girl today. It’s such a beast. Works really well in tilled ground but it’s a handful on when turning virgin soil.

I’ve had a rough time finding a manual for this tiller. I did read on a tractor forum that the yellow metal in the gearbox is a bronze gear. Not brass. Hence the reason to avoid GL5 rated lubes. But like Bob said, many other dispute that and say it will do no harm.

Interesting theory on packing grease inside the gearbox to help seal leaks. That doesn’t seem like a tactic my dad would have ever used. He was a hard worker but not exactly a mechanic. He told me yesterday that he did in fact purchase that tiller in 1970, the year my sister was born.


@Olpea , @subdood_ky_z6b, etc

Just wanted to give a little bit of an update, though I still don’t have all the answers. My repair man showed up today and worked about 30 minutes and left saying he’d get parts and be back asap.

Overall, he felt it was a fairly minor problem!

As for the 2 connections that melted, he thinks they were diodes but isn’t 100 % certain of that. But he felt they were a result of the problem rather than being the problem. The problem, in a nut shell, is I need a new starter!

He thinks I absolutely did the right thing be replacing the starter switch. He thinks it was 100% bad and likely caused the other problems. He found that the old ignition switch did, in fact, cause my glow plug(S) to stay on all the time, and it’s possible that is what caused the electrical overload that blew the one fuse and melted the 2 diodes or whatever they turn out to be. HOWEVER, the same malfunctioning of the ignition switch that caused my glow plug to stay on also resulted in the power to the starter staying on the whole time!!! In other words, he thinks it was as if a person turned the key to the starting position, then when the motor started just kept holding the key in the start position instead of letting it go so it could return to the correct position and the starter could stop turning over.
Its very hard for me to believe that even with the noise of my tractor running that I wouldn’t be able to tell that my starter was still being engaged, so I’m not 100% sure he is right. However, he hooked a light to the starter while it was hooked up and he showed me that power was getting to it when he turned the key, but it wasn’t turning over, so clearly there is a problem.

Anyway, that is all we know for now. I’ll update more when he comes back to finish things! I do like him and he does seem knowledgeable- not that I would know if he isn’t! ha


The bendix/solenoid can stick in on a starter and leave it engaged to the flywell. The Short (hot wires)means the source issue has got to be the switch or Solenoid . I had a similar fire on my diesel ford after the tractor started itself. I replaced Ignition Switch, Glow plug Solinoid, Rebuilt starter…


Got my air valve stem replaced on my tire. I just jacked up that side of the tractor, and unscrewed the old, corroded one and screwed in a new one. I then aired it up to 19psi. Easy, peasy, no mess, no fuss.

Thanks, @mvfd801 and @Steve333 for your help.

Was going to start plowing, but gotta recharge my sorry batteries again, so that’ll have to wait an hour or so.


This was a neat little piece of equipment I used for the first time today. The narrow discer was out of commission so I just ran over the row centers about 5x with some spring tines and hoped for the best… I guessed the pelleted mustard seeds to be about the same size as clover seed (I figured that was the closest thing on that yellow chart on the underside of the hopper) and dialed in to about 17 lbs/acre. We’ll see how it comes up.