Shafted? No!

Last November, yes that long ago, Gene and I began wondering why, when we grabbed hold of the engine end of the drive shaft it just flopped around and did not engage with the transmission.  I got some good advice from the tractor forum on the issue, but before Gene and I could look into it any further, winter weather, shoulder surgery (mine) and hernia surgery (Gene’s) stopped us in our tracks.  Well, having run out of excuses and seeing as it was a beautiful day yesterday, Gene and I decided it was time to play “Stump the Tractor Chump.”

First, here is the suggestion I got last November 16 from Miner 09:
“If the shaft came off the transmission shaft it will turn freely.  The shaft has a cotter key that keeps it on the transmission shaft.  The key may have come off; that is why it turns freely if the transmission is not in gear.  Take bolts out of transmission housing and it will slide out about 4 inches to replace key or take housing off transmission and tractor apart.    Miner 09”

Not knowing what the tractor might do when we literally broke it in two we shored up the two halves with one of my saw horses and a couple of two by sixes.  Next we removed the four bolts from the transmission housing (see picture).

By the way, every nut and bolt we removed during this process was a nightmare.  Even though Gene had occasionally squirted Kroil on these since last fall, many required the use of a breaker bar (pipe extension) on the ratchet.  After removing these I’m able to say that my surgically repaired shoulder passed the test and is now 100%.

Next we used Gene’s cutting tool to cut some lengths of threaded rod these would be used in place of the transmission housing bolts in order to allow the spread we needed to get.  Gene allowed me do the dirty work and he took this great shot of me shooting sparks at my private parts.  Jeez, hope I’m ok down there!

We took the lengths of rod and inserted them, so that the rigged-up area looked like this.

With the housing now stabilized by inserting the rod pieces, we removed the four bolts holding the two halves of the tractor together.  I circled one of those bolts in the first picture.  This then was the moment of truth.  At the joint in the transmission housing Gene inserted a pry bar, and without too much effort we were able to separate the housing (picture below).

And then for the peek inside.

What you see here is the transmission shaft (the male end of the coupling).  It is in perfect shape, no teeth missing, not even any rust.  And sure enough, there is a small hole in it (empty of course) for a cotter pin.  What you can’t see is the end of the drive shaft (the female connection),  since it is laying down in a dark, disgusting mess of acorns and transmission fluid.  We pulled the drive shaft up out of the muck and tried to shove it on the transmission shaft, but it wouldn’t go.  I stuck a finger inside the drive shaft and found the reason the two shafts wouldn’t join, more acorns and muck!  We worked a while cleaning that out, tried the join again and “ta da!”

Of course, where you see the nail is where we’ll insert a new cotter pin.  When that’s done, I’ll do a thorough “mucking out” of the torque tube, and we should be able to close her back up.

So, Miner 09, you win this week’s addition of Stump the Tractor Chump.  And your reward is my heartfelt thanks for leading Gene and me in the right direction.

Gene and I did a “high-five” after our work yesterday.  This was a matter neither of us had wanted to deal with, but all along knew was critical to finding out what lay ahead for the Pony.  We’re so happy that it was a relatively easy (and cheap) fix that we’re now psyched to get on with the rest of the project.  All this once again proving that the things we fear the most in life are usually not the ones we should be worrying about.  Thanks for reading.


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