Tiller: Poor tilling
Worn or damaged tines, broken tine shaft clevis pins, a worn drive belt, a faulty transmission, a problem with the clutch cable, improper depth-stake setting or bad soil conditions can cause a tiller to do a poor job turning the soil.
The soil must be moist enough that it forms a ball when you squeeze it in your hand, but dry enough that the ball falls apart when dropped. Check soil conditions and water the area that you're tilling if the ground is too dry. Let the ground dry out if soil is too wet.
Check the depth stake setting and adjust it for the type of soil you're cultivating. Lower the depth stake to till at a 1-inch depth when using the tiller on soil for the first time or when breaking up hard soil. Also use the 1-inch depth setting to break up sod for shallow cultivation. Raise the depth stake to till loose soil and for deep cultivation.
Check the condition of the tiller tines and replace worn or damaged tines.
If tines don't rotate when the tine shaft turns during tilling, check the tine shaft clevis pins. The clevis pins are shear pins that connect the tines to the rotating tine shaft. The clevis pins are designed to shear off if the tines hit a fixed object during cultivation to prevent damage to the engine and other tiller components. Replace any broken tine shaft clevis pins.
If the tiller doesn't move and the tines don't spin when you pull the bail arm up against the handle, adjust the clutch cable to spin the drive belt when you pull the bail arm up. Replace the clutch cable if it's damaged. Replace the drive belt if it's worn or broken.
If the drive belt spins the transmission pulley but the transmission pulley won't move the wheels or the tines, replace the transmission.
Replace the tiller tines
The tines can bend or break if they hit a fixed object during cultivation. The can also get dull and wear out. Replace the tines if they are worn or damaged.
Replace the tiller drive belt
The drive belt connects the engine pulley to the transmission to drive the wheels and tines on the tiller. A worn belt slips, resulting in poor tilling. Replace the belt if it is worn or broken.
Adjust or replace the tiller clutch cable
The clutch cable engages and disengages the drive system on the tiller. Test the drive system and adjust the clutch cable if necessary. If the cable is damaged or broken, replace it.
Replace the tiller tine shaft clevis pin
A clevis pin attaches the tines to the rotating tine shaft. The clevis pin is designed to shear off if the tines hit a fixed object while cultivating to protect the engine. Replace the clevis pin on the tine shaft if it breaks.
Replace the tiller transmission
The transmission controls the motion of the wheels and/or tines on a tiller. An internal gear failure in the transmission can prevent the tines from turning or the wheels from moving. Replace the transmission if it won't drive the tiller components properly.
The recoil starter spins the engine when you pull the starter rope, and the rope retracts when released. If the recoil starter assembly is broken, follow the steps in this repair guide to replace it.
Rear tine tiller or front tine tiller, what to know to help in choosing the correct one for your needs.