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Craftsman Tillermodel #917297040

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Rototiller Transmission

I own a Sears Craftsman Model# 917.297040, 850 Series 17" Dual Rotating Tines Rototiller. My Gear shift is extremely hard to shift and has broken the roll pin that connects the shift lever to the transmission shaft twice! I've been told that the transmission is sealed and that you cannot add fluid/grease to it. Is that correct, or can I add fluid/grease to it? And if so, what kind of material do I add, and where does it go? Also, there are 2 yellow [oil?] fill plugs that I'm assuming are used depending on which direction the motor is facing for the various products, and there is also a white filler plug on the side of the engine next to the transmission belt housing that I'm not sure what it's used for but would like to know. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

Posted May 09, 2011


Joseph , May 09, 2011

when making adjustments on an appliance i know how important it is to have detailed instructions to make the project much easier. while you are waiting for your expert answer, i did manage to find two links that will provide you with some good tips to help you with your project. i hope my links are useful.

Mark T , May 10, 2011

thank you for your question.

i am sorry you are having problems with your tiller on the side of the transmission case, near where the shifter goes in, you will notice a silver colored rod end. it will be flush or almost flush with the side of the transmission case. take your 3-n-1 oil and cover the end of that shaft with the tiller tilted a good bit on it's side. try working the shifter. you can even tap on that silver shaft end while working the shifter to see if you can pop it into gear that way. usually once you get it back into a gear you can add grease to the transmission and be ok. i have also took a smallish hammer and pecked at the top of the shifter shaft where it goes into the transmission while working the shifter. sometimes, they just do not come unstuck and the transmission will have to be repaired or replaced. if you do manage to get it unstuck i would for sure recommend putting some grease in the transmission when done.

please let me know if you have any further questions.

here is a link to order any parts you need. sears parts direct .

if you do not feel confident repairing this problem yourself, then you can have it repaired at your home by a sears technician. here is a link for the website: sears home services .

thank you for using manage my life.

mark t.

Doug, June 11, 2011

i've had my transmission replaced several times, it's cost me 800.00 each time at the shop, and i noticed the newer tillers are in that price range! when i open up the transmission, should i have the rh or lh housing facing up?

Mark T , June 14, 2011

thank you for the reply. when you are taking the transmission apart put it on the bench with the drive pulley up. if i remember correctly, the heads of the bolts are on the pulley side also. once it is apart, inspect all of the parts. if you find a broken gear or any metal shavings all of the grease should be removed and thoroughly cleaned. before removing any part draw a diagram that shows where the components go. this will save you a lot of frustration later on. please let me know if you need further assistance on the repair.

Doug, June 14, 2011

you were correct, you have a great memory. it is the drive pulley side, where the heads of the bolts are. i found that the drive chain was broken (likely the same issue that keeps happening). it broke two sets of the spanner portion on the #35 size chain (50 pitch). i didn't have the replacement chain, so i found replacement spanners at true value in their collection of bolts, nuts, and such in those little boxes. we will see how this goes, and i'll order a spare chain meanwhile. i found the broken pieces in the grease. the craftsman replacement part number for the chain is 102134x, and currently is $14.07 dollars, and is a normal stocked item. i'll go ahead and order the item and put it with my spare parts. thanks for the help!


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