Tiller: Wheels and tines won't turn

A broken drive belt, bad transmission or problem with the clutch cable can prevent the wheels and tines from turning on your tiller.

Check the drive belt and replace it if it's worn or broken.

If the belt is okay, check the clutch cable to see if it tensions the belt to spin the transmission pulley when you pull the bail arm up against the handle. Adjust the clutch cable if needed or replace the clutch cable if it's broken.

If the transmission pulley spins but the tines and wheels won't move, then you'll likely need to replace the transmission.

tiller

These repairs may help solve your tiller problem

Replace the tiller drive belt

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.

May 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a tiller drive belt

If your tiller won’t move forward or the tines won’t turn, the drive belt might be broken or worn. This DIY repair guide shows how to replace a tiller drive belt in 6 easy steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the tiller transmission

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.

Adjust or replace the tiller clutch cable

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.

Symptoms common to all tillers

Choose a symptom to see related tiller repairs.

Main causes: carburetor failure, bad gasoline, dirty spark plug, broken recoil starter
Main causes: clutch cable problems, faulty transmission
Main causes: dirty carburetor, engine needs tune up, stale gas
Main causes: damaged tines, broken clevis pins, worn drive belt, faulty transmission, clutch cable problems, improper depth-stake setting
Main causes: leaky engine head gasket, damaged sump gasket, damaged oil drain plug seal, loose or cracked fuel line, leaky carburetor seal
Main causes: broken shaft clevis pins, transmission failure
Main causes: worn or broken drive belts, bad transmission, clutch cable problems
Repair guides common to all tillers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your tiller.

May 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a tiller recoil starter

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.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all tillers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your tiller.

November 1, 2016
A guide to garden tillers
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Rear tine tiller or front tine tiller, what to know to help in choosing the correct one for your needs.

November 1, 2015
Tiller common questions
By Sears PartsDirect staff

These frequently asked questions might help you figure out what's wrong with your garden tiller.