Lawn Tractors are mechanical devices. They vibrate and stuff comes loose and will eventually wear out or break.
You and I both read reviews about lawn tractors. We listen to our friends and neighbors brag about their favorite and complain about the last piece of junk they owned.
I’ve heard it and you probably have too. Reviews where transmissions are falling out. Frames are cracking. Engines shaking and belts slipping because the engine is loose. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can very devastating to your tractor and your wallet. The two major components of your tractor, the engine and transmission that are held in with only 8 bolts. If these come loose hundreds of dollars of damage can occur.
I highly recommend you check these bolts when you get your new tractor, when you change your oil the first time, and then every 50 hours or so for the first two years.
In this article, I’ll show you were they are and how to tighten them.
by: Paul Sikkema
Click on the picture to make it larger:
The engine bolts. You don’t need to remove the deck to do this. You can get to these from underneath with a 3/8 inch ratchet and 3 inch extension. The actual size of the fastener varies from one manufacture to the next but is usually 1/2, 9/16, or 5/8. Of course I suggest you do this when the engine is cold. (Hasn’t been run for a few hours) Use the picture above find the four bolts. To tighten them you will have to wiggle the socket around the belts, etc. but I have always been able to eventually get a wrench on them. Try to tighten them. (From the bottom of the tractor turn counter-clock-wise) The 3/8 inch ratchet is the right length so you get the proper torque for this fastener. Are they tight?
A few engines are still installed with bolts and nuts. Have someone hold the nut above the frame with a combination wrench and still try to tighten them from underneath.
Tightening the transmission bolts is a little more work. To do this easily raise up the rear end and remove the rear wheels. I personally have a 12 X 14 inch wooden box that I put under the rear hitch.
Most lawn tractors use a bolt that screws into the end of the axle to hold the rim on. The rim is also keyed to the shaft. The key is part No. 2 in the diagram below. When you take the tire/rim off be sure to locate that key. Sometimes it stays on the slot on the axle, sometimes it sticks inside the rim and other times it falls out. If you don’t replace it when you reassemble the tire/rim the tractor will not move.
The bolts and nuts you will check are No. 73 and 116 in the diagram. Use a 3/8 inch ratchet wrench and/or combination wrenches and you will torque the fasteners correctly. I would be interested to find out how many of you find these loose.
Before you reassemble the rear axles put a little motor oil or axle grease on the axle and key. If you do this once a year you will always be able remove the rim when you need to.
Any questions? Ask in the comments below.
Hi Paul, What is the torque on bolts the hold the muffler on Craftsman 13hp lawn tractor?. B&S engine.?
Hi Arthur, I don’t have that information. I suggest going to https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/support.html and asking there.
do you know torque values for both the engine and trans. ( 8 bolts) 54 inches 2014 craftsman 24 HP.
orange ct 06477
Second Hand Tractors
All very good tips, we make these checks ourselves whenever we’re selling second hand tractors. Safety should always come first.