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Garden Tractors Discussion Forum

Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade

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Gene Halpern

06-03-2007 09:43:19

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While mowing or just driving down a (not very) steep grade, my 8-speed manual transmission tractor "takes off" and slides down the grade (as if it were in neutral)--until it gets to the level--and then proceeds normally. I can turn around and go right back UP the same slope without any problem. If I apply the brake lightly, it does not skid down the grade---but I don't think I should have to ride the brake down hills.

I have already installed a new tractor drive belt, lubricated the clutch pedal and mechanism, and adjusted brake properly. The clutch return spring seems to be in good order---and is pulling hard against the clutch trunion. The belt idler pulley is free-wheeling and pivots OK.

I've even tried "pulling up hard" on the clutch pedel while going down hill... tractor still slips.

I am ABOUT to try using some belt dressing on the drive belt, but hesitate using something which is usually described as, at best, a temporary fix. I've also read about steel-wooling all the pulley sheaves, but have not done this yet either.

Any theories?

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joe csuti

06-06-2007 04:55:32

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
Surprise,Surprise,jacked tractor up this morning,with both wheels off ground,with brake applied,in or out of gear with or without brake on rear wheels still turn,rear & trans doesn't work the way I thought it would.One other thing I thought of if you moved clutch rod from 1 hole to other in pedal(mine has 2 holes)you change range of travel on brake/clutching action,same is done in 1/3rds,pedal all the way up trans drive engaged,middle(dead band)belt lifted off eng pulley & trans free wheels,lower 1/3 brake(pedal down)brake starts to apply,if you changed rod to pedal location you may have shortened travel range,or belt has a little slack,idler arm cross shaft has wear & slop or brake misadjusted,you may be at at end of takeup(pedal up)and slighest pressure on pedal may be lifting belt off eng pulley,beyond that I'm out of answers,went same route as you with toro 3 yrs ago,asked for service manual,was sent 4 pg owner manual copy(for $12)only good for toilet paper,I go to ebay now & buy orig or quality copys of manuals.

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Gene Halpern

06-05-2007 19:39:06

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
While I had the rear end jacked up, I did try rotating the wheels... whichever side I turned, the other wheel would rotate in the opposite direction--a fairly standard behavior with most differentials I've dealt with on cars. I also looked for end play... and got maybe 1/16" or so, which I figured was OK.

I do have the Parts and Service Manual---a really miserable photocopy which Toro sold me without mentioning that it was not a printed manual. I think the main problem with that re-print is that the guy who scanned it hit the "Black and White" button instead of the "Greyscale" button. Toro figures anything is good enough for their Wheel Horse step-child. The very few pages in the service manual section gloss over just a couple service related items---not at all what one would expect from something described as a service manual. Added to the fact that all of the info is part of the poorly reproduced pictures, I must have been nuts not to return it and demand my money back. But then, poor information is better than no information... perhaps not.

Elsewhere on the web today I read several accounts of the poor performance of turf tread tires on slopes. Perhaps that is all there is to my problem. I do have a set of chains I could put on to test the theory, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting in the mood for chaining up... in JUNE. Maybe next time around I'll go for a set of AG tires... and the heck with what my "lawn" looks like. Hey, I live so far out in the country, few people besides me ever see this lawn.

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joe csuti

06-05-2007 18:52:24

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
goto for pic of trans-axle

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joe csuti

06-05-2007 17:57:23

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
Was looking at diag of trans & axle,try this,jack up rear of tractor till both wheels off ground,put trans in netural,rotate either wheel,other wheel should rotate in opposite direction,try pulling on each wheel,see if axle starts to pull out of rear(there may be a little play but not much)you may have lost the snap ring on end of axle inside rear,next with trans still in netural lock brake,try to rotate rear wheels,looking at diag looks like both wheels should be locked,but not sure as there is a spring involved here on on axle on brake side of trans(might be a preload spring),also a body & two gears on each axle,you may have broken parts or bad gears here,will try same tests on my tractor tommrow morning & post results,will scan & upload trans pic to my site & post address later tonite so you can view/print to better understand what I'm talking about in trans axle,unless you have owners manual/parts list that has exploded view of trans parts.At least with your wife you got a counter offer,mine would tell me straight out what I could do to myself.

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Gene Halpern

06-05-2007 04:58:46

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
Good news and bad news:

The good news is that, although I have many good reasons for losing a hundred pounds, none of them relate to how my Wheel Horse goes downhill.

The bad news is that my wife (all 96 pounds of her)skidded down that little grade just like I did. ONE rear wheel (the one on the same side as the clutch pedal) did not rotate during the skid--for what that's worth.

So much for the operator's weight theory.

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joe csuti

06-05-2007 04:06:57

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
When you replaced belt was it an oem wh # 7473 or did you replace with a generic 5/8" x 82" belt?drive system can be very fussy,I've had same problem with a raider 10 8sp when replacing belts,I've found oem & kevlar belts work best,as they have whats called a "drier" cover on belt,if you look at belt it is a woolven fabric coating over belt,this belt is more flexiable & designed for back belt pulley operation(idler pulley)it also gives belt better bite in dirty/oily use & stops belt from streching when it gets hot,a generic neoprene belt only has reinforcement cords inside & will strech with heat.Also if eng or trans pulleys has a shoulder or groove worn in same I would replace,I had to replace on mine,new belt had short useage,then would start to slip,shoulder of new belt riding hi in pulley and pitch of pulley not matching that of belt,as shoulder wears down it drops lower into pulley pitch,now belt gains slack & idler pulley is close to end of takeup range causing belt to slip(at med throttle belt would squeal when going from netural to 2nd gear as you let out clutch or went into rev)As far as your weight ALL BETS OFF you've got 95# over me,if it works out with your wife,maybe you can have better luck conning her into cutting grass all the time than I've had with mine,after 35 yrs,she only mowed 3-4 times,last time last fall when I had a knee operation & didn't have deck on tractor with hydro trans,couldn't work clutch for about 2 wks.

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Gene Halpern

06-05-2007 04:34:45

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to joe csuti, 06-05-2007 04:06:57  
The belt is a genuine Wheel Horse 7473.

This much I know about my wife: if I tried to con her into mowing the grass, it would take her about a half a second to respond with, "...right after you lose about a hundred pounds!"

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old art

06-03-2007 15:59:10

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
when you go downgrade you are pulling the slack out of thelower side of the belt makeing the drive side of the belt to becone loose on the engine pulley you must ride the brake to keep controle.
not like a hydro drive or a shaft drive.

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joe csuti

06-03-2007 15:35:30

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
Besides what Bill said to check there are a few other offbeat things to check-check trans input shaft bearing for slop & seal for leakage,you may have a bad bearing/seal & slinging oil on belt or pulley,pulleys may be glazed & worn and need cleaning or replacement,check idler pulley cross shaft rod where it connects to pedal mech & also where it passes thru frame & behind idler pulley arm,assembly or holes for same may be worn & sloppy & you're loosing pressure on idler pulley,one other thing really out in left field,check that eng mounting bolts tight,eng may be sliding back & forth.

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William Pearson

06-03-2007 13:44:17

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to Gene Halpern, 06-03-2007 09:43:19  
Take a look at the transmission drive pulley and the axle hub flanges to see if any of the woodruff keys have come loose.
Bill in Richmond, VA.

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Gene Halpern

06-04-2007 17:41:38

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 Re: Wheel Horse 310-8 slipping down grade in reply to William Pearson, 06-03-2007 13:44:17  
Well, you fellers kept me busy today! I removed both rear wheels, side panels, and belt. All pulleys were on tight and not wobbley. The rear hubs were fine---there were two set screws per hub which I removed and inspected. I saw no reason to pull the hubs, as there was no indication that they were free-wheeling at any time. The engine pulley and engine mounts were OK. No sign of glazing or contamination of the belt. I did wirebrush all the sheaves... and then added an additional spring to the clutch return spring. I am certain the idler is exerting enough pressure.

So then I buttoned it all back up and headed for my little hill... she slid right down it again!


Later on, I started thinking about when this slipping started---it's been going on for quite some time. Then I thought there might be a possiblity that the slipping started around the time that I started putting on a "few" extra pounds. I weigh 260 pounds...hmmm... Tomorrow I'm going to get my wife on the mower and have her go down that slope---she weighs a bit under 100.

Any bets?

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