CVT Automatic Transmissions – Simple to use, ideal for all terrain.

I am very excited to announce that there is now a transmission available for lawn tractors that has all of the features of a hydrostatic transmission without all the problems. There are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out.  The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance.

For 2014 Craftsman is taking a huge leap forward in transmission technology. Today’s automatic transmissions in Craftsman Yard Tractors are ideal for any type of terrain. Having to buy a manual transmission for hills is a thing of the past.

Automatic Transmission – Simple to use, ideal for all terrain.

This transmission is different than the CVT in MTD built lawn tractors. You can tell the difference by the shift. The MTD transmissions have a F-N-R selector on the left fender. While the MTD built transmissions have proven to be very dependable they are designed for light-duty lawn tractors. This new CVT in the Craftsman Yard tractors is a heavy duty unit and eliminates all the worries owners have had with the current crop of hydrostatic transmissions in the $1400 to $2500 tractor price range. 

CVT transmissions like this will replace hydrostatic transmissions in lawn and yard tractors. 

This bulletproof transmission from General Transmissions is designed for high performance and low maintenance. The new Element V™ Automatic transmissions are right for yard tractors.  The V-Motion™ patented technology that is the heart of this transmission is based on a CVT, Continuously Variable Transmission, system. Unlike traditional gear transmissions, V-Motion™ equipped transmissions are infinitely adjustable to match your acceleration needs. Eliminating the need to stop and shift, you won’t lose any of the momentum that is lost when you shift gears with a manual transmission lawn tractor.

Unlike Hydrostatic Transmissions there are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out.  The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. In fact you probably will never have to replace the CVT belt.

Watch this video to see the testing this transmission went through before the first one was sold.

General Transmissions already has over 20 million transmissions installed in lawn & garden equipment around the world. CVT is not new or unproven technology. Conceptualized by Leonardo da Vinci more than 500 years ago, CVT has been used for years in snowmobiles, performance motorcycles, heavy equipment, and is now replacing automatic transmissions in automobiles. Today, over 100 leading cars have drivetrains using CVTs.

The transmission in the Craftsman Yard Tractor is sized for it and is a proven and reliable part of the tractor.  This transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. Just clean the dirt and leaves off the top of the trans every few months. All of the components that make it run are completely enclosed in a sealed case. This transmission is sized to the tractor. It will give you long life for mowing, snow removal and yard work.   Like most transmissions in lawn tractors it does not have posi-traction or differential lock for steep hills (greater than 15%). 

This transmission is designed for mowing and yard work. It is not designed for pulling a food plot cultivator or disk.

Element CVT The pedal on the left side of the tractor is the parking brake.  You do not need to depress that pedal to shift the tractor.   The forward, reverse speed and braking is controlled one lever on the right side fender.  To go forward move the lever forward.  To stop pull the lever back to the middle position. (The parking brake pedal can also be used to stop the tractor.)  To back the tractor pull the lever back. Because of the way this CVT transmission operates the braking is part of the operation. When you move the lever towards the middle (neutral) the transmission brakes your travel automatically. The brake is internal and never needs replacement. You only need to use the left hand pedal to start the mower or to leave it stopped on a hill.

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peter yann
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peter yann

What is a good riding lawn mower for 2a. of hills?

Babu
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Babu

Hi Paul, I have a craftsman YS4500 lawn tractor, no forward drive model # is 944 608060 can you please help ? thank you

Dave Snider
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Dave Snider

Hi Paul – On my 2013 RS800, I replaced the outer axle seals to address the shaft leakage issue only to find that after a few mows, the left shaft was leaking again – and transmission grease is being deposited on the tires. I used Permatex to ensure a solid bond between the seal and the axles housing, but the grease is coming out between the axle and the inner diameter of the seal. Question…is there an “inner” seal that also needs replacement? The tranny sounds different (noisier/rattling) than when new and I’m wondering if it has lost too much… Read more »

James Terlemezian
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James Terlemezian

My 1995 917.252599 does not move . It is an automatic, is there a place to add fluid ,or must the trans be replace Do?

linda
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linda

Hello Paul, I was wondering if this GT V-Motion (rs800) transaxle is either
locked , or lockable , ala doclocker2.o weldless . I plow an irregular lot/drive
with a 75′ long ‘slope’ at the end. Without a lockable rear , or 4wd, it is often
impossible to get the tractor /plow back up the ‘slope’ after making 1st run down.
I also cannot find any pics/images/ of the gear/axle section of this tranny.

Robert Schultz
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Robert Schultz

Paul, Do you know if GT has addressed the leaking axle seal issue yet in the RS 800 transmission ?

Mike Campbell
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Mike Campbell

Hello Paul! I am in the market for a new riding mower. I’ll be mowing 3 acres, all flat, and occasionally be pulling a lawn cart (nothing too heavy). Out of the 2, which would you suggest? Husqvarna YTA24v48 or TYH24v48? I’ve had the YTH with hydrostatic before with no problems. Never had the YTA with the automatic.

Thomas
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Thomas

Hello Paul. I’m in the market for a new lawn tractor. I don’t know which trans to go with. I am near 400 lbs. I know the CVT is composite cased and that scares me. I was looking at the Husqvarna yta24v48. I’m worried the case will fracture at some point. I had 2 new mowers over the last 20 years, a Poulan Pro and a Craftsman. Neither has had any transaxle issues and use the Peerless 6 speed manual (206-565). I’m getting older now and can’t be down on my back working on things like I used to.

Daniel
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Daniel

Paul I’m debating between the Husqvarna YTA22V46 and YTH22V46. As you may know the YTA has the CVT and the YTH is hydrostatic. I plan on adding a “high-hitch” to back the boat and trailer into it’s parking spot from time to time. It’s a tight fit with a tight turn. I know that the more I press the gas the higher the motor RPM and the motor HP output increases. However, with higher RPM the CVT’s pulley connected to the motor belt would increase in diameter and the other will decrease. This would mean higher speed and less torque… Read more »

Dave Snider
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Dave Snider

Hi Paul – It has been interesting reading your posts regarding the GT RS800. I have one in my Craftsman 22hp – it is about 4 years old or so. I noticed last season that the tranny box makes more noise than it did when I bought it. When the tranny is not engaged, I hear the relatively smooth engine noise. When I let out the brake, the tranny has a distinctive rattle noise. I engage the brake and the rattle stops. Also, when not running and I’m pushing the mower, I hear the rattle noise in both forward and… Read more »

Tom Williams
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Tom Williams

Paul, I have a John Deere D105. The variable speed pedal requires me to pull it back with my foot in order to change from reverse to forward and vice versa. Could this be a spring or something loose on the transmission. It looks as if I will have to pull the body off to get to it.

Robert Klanica
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Robert Klanica

Hi Paul, I do small engine repair and have a customer that has a Husqvarna YTA22V46 riding mower. He was driving at a high rate of speed through his yard and forgot about a rock that sticks up. Well, he hit the rock so hard it bent the mower hanger rods and I think the deck as well. After the impact the transmission will not go forwards or in reverse. I thinks something was damaged with the instant stop of the rock. I have looked underneath and do not see anything out of the ordinary. Could something have been damaged… Read more »

Steve Lane
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Steve Lane

Hello, I was wondering how do I know what CVT transmission is in a Husqvarna YTA24V48 Model 960450052 sold by Lowes. If comes with a Rs 800 or Rs 400 transmission?

David A.Vogler
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David A.Vogler

Dave Vogler, Saratoga, WY. Paul, I bought a new Craftsman 20390 in 2014.I mow an acre with some moderate slopes. My only real complaint is that the tranny has become weaker over time. Hills I used to roll over, the tractor barely moves up them. Tire pressure is 12 lbs in rear. Rod is fully pushed in. Any suggestions? Belt slipping?

larry sequete
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larry sequete

I am new with this riding mower stuff. So I bought a Ariens 19 hp Briggs that looked to be very new. it was used when I got it but it still had the look of brand new everything including nubs on the tires. Well i put aprox 20 hrs on the machine and I noticed grease on the left inside rear wheel. I took it to the dealer and he told me that the whole trany would need replaced not fixed because of the sealed case. futher inspection showed a sticker from General Transmissions. I believe the trany was… Read more »

Michael
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Michael

Hello. I live in Memphis, TN, with a 1/2 acre yard, fairly flat, smooth yard with few trees. I recently foolishly sold my 18 year old perfectly good Craftsman for a quieter, smoother Husqvarna YTA22V46 (with the CVT trans) I am on the 3rd one in a month. First one leaked oil (exchanged it), second one made terrible engine noise (exchanged it). I thought third one is a charm, and I hope it in fact is. The (perceived) problem I am coming noticing now is a groaning/humming noise in reverse. Is it normal for this transmission to make this noise… Read more »

Paul from CT
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Paul from CT

Hi Paul, I have ordered Husqvarna YTA22V46 mainly based on your articles but Lowes has delivered YTH22V46 instead. I tried the tractor and I like it, it is a big improvement comparing to my old manual 15.5HP Craftsman. However, I am having tough time to decide if I should exchanged it for YTA22V46 or not. Would I take any advantage of CVT transmission if my lawn is less than 0.75 acres, flat and most I will pull will be thatcher and few wagons of mulch, firewood or dirt per year. You have indicated that hydro is easier to operate and… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

I bought the Craftsman T 3000 in April 2014. I mow a smooth, level yard, (about 4 city lots) in Wheaton, Missouri. I started having problems with misfires and running rough in August of 2014 and had 2 service calls to clean the carburetor. Last year, 2015, I had 5 service calls which included replacing the coils and spark plugs, rebuilding the carburetor and eventually installing a brand new carburetor. In October 2015 the transmission locked in gear and was replaced under warranty. This spring (2016) a month after I started mowing I again started having misfires and the transmission… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Hi Paul. Are there any new model riding mowers that use the Kohler 7000 Elite and the RS800 transmission together? Thanks, Peter

Troy
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Troy

I bought a model 917.20390 22hp, 42″ cut craftsman. Loved it. That is until the 6th time I used it… I have a hilly yard, and it just died mowing up one of my hills. After 4 visits from technicians, multiple “small parts” replaced, they finally said the tranny was bad. He drove it up and down a hill until it was SMOKING. Plastic burning everywhere. Then, “sorry Sir, this is no longer under warranty”. And also, “I’ve replaced a lot of these since the internal parts are all plastice”. Price? $1000 for replacement. This tranny is great if all… Read more »

shane
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shane

Hi, paul St Louis , Mo I had a craftsman lawn tractor 917272082, 17 hp, automatic which went shot craps after 15 years. I”m looking at 917203900 , 22 hp B@S motor, 42″, automatic and the craftsman pro 20438, kohler 20 hp 42″, hydrostatic. any advice which one? I like the features of both. I have a flat 1/2 acre yard. I also areate my yard 1 or 2 times a year, my old craftsman mower would slow down when I’m about finish. Its the only time I would use attachments. I like the features of both. I feel the… Read more »

fred todd
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fred todd

I bought a homedepoe Power PB24v a54 in poulan model 96o42080 it said a PB 24va Briggs Stratton engine had a automatic transmission is this automatic transmission. A general rs800 CVt automatic I going to cut 3 acres flat land wide open. 1999.99dollars

Burt
Guest
Burt

Philly PA-Great information Paul! Need to purchase a new tractor for a lawn about 3/4 acre. Mostly flat but bumpy in areas. Trying to get a grasp on the transmissions types. I need it primarily for mowing, but I do hope to use it for lugging some cut firewood from time to time (3 times a year). You seem to be high on the CVT transmissions. Would this type of trans but okay for that? At this point, I’m comparing the Craftsman 25583 ($1,399) and the Poulan Pro PP20VA46 Model 960420188 ($1,499), which I believe both have the General Transmissions… Read more »

Tommy Mc
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Tommy Mc

Hi Paul, I hope you can help me with my dilemma. My 25 yr old Craftsman with manual 6-speed transmission has finally given up the ghost. I’m trying to narrow down the field of new tractors to one that will work for me. I mow a little less than an acre, mostly on a gentle slope, but there is a steep hill in front of the house that varies between 10 – 20 degrees. There is no room to maneuver at the top, so I mow across, putting a lot of weight on the fender. Still, any tractor I buy… Read more »

Nick
Guest
Nick

Hi Paul, With your help, I purchased an Airens riding mower (936085 – A20VA46) in June 2014 which has the GT RS 800 transmission, which was supposed to be a superior transmission. After the first season, the transmission failed and had to be replaced. After last season, same thing happened and the transmission failed again. I have been reading elsewhere of others having similar situations. Do you know if GT is doing anything to make the RS 800 more robust. Luckily I have an extended warranty from Home Depot and part of me is hoping that it does fail one… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

I just bought a Husqvarna YTA24V48 From Lowes, I use the big box stores because I can get my 10% military discount, thank you Lowes for supporting us! I asked about the automatic and everyone thought it was still a hydrostat trans relabeled. I got it for the sale price of 1899 then 10% off that, so I thought it was a fair price with the 18 months zero % to pay it off. I’m Old school and like the hydrostat, I have never really had any problems with it, guess I was lucky but I have had them in… Read more »

Arthur Murray
Guest
Arthur Murray

Hi there Paul Thank you for the info provided. I ended up buying the Ariens 2014 lawn tractor. Model is 936084, has a 19hp Briggs and Stratton engine and the Element V CVT and a 42 inch deck. The machine looks a lot like the 2013/2014 Craftsman with 42 inch deck. The machine is brand new, I got it going and it seems to do everything I want. It was a pretty good price. It has no warranty as it is a non dealer import. This is a budget machine I am sure, but it will suit the job I… Read more »

Arthur Murray
Guest

Hi there Paul Thankyou for the response. Crucial information which surprisingly is little know by sellers. Most sellers have no idea about the drives and drive models in ride on mowers. I have another question. In my travels I have found a chap with a new unsold Ariens mower. It is a budget model with a 19 or 19.5 hp single cylinder Briggs engine and the drive is an Element V 800 series CVT by General Transmissions. The trans has the black cone on the forward facing belt pulley. He had brought a bunch of these into the country during… Read more »

Arty
Guest
Arty

Hi there, Can anyone give me a steer on the quality of a HUSQVARNA lawn tractor 2016 model YTA24V48 fitted with a Pedal Operated Element V RT400 CVT Automatic Transmission . In the automotive field CVT trans are not well regarded, kinda like a Volvo IPS sterndrive in a boat. My lawn is flat mostly with one section of hill that is 1 in 5, lawn size is 1600 sqm – so small – I am just old and lazy. it is a holiday place so the lawn can grow 150mm (6 inches) between mows. Any feedback would be great.… Read more »

Huey Campbell
Guest
Huey Campbell

Huey @ Ozark, Alabama To: L. Reid Benedict. ……You have probably took care of the problem by now but, The forward/reverse control rod pops off a 5/16 ” pin on the transmission lever. I purchase a 5/16 “E” clip from the local auto parts for my McCulloch M24-54T with the V element 800 transmission. It was delivered w/o the clip. We’ll see how long it takes to come off again? I had to drop the tranny down to get the clip installed.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I see that home depot is selling the Ariens A19A42 tractor. It uses the General Transmission RS 800. Will this transmission hold the tractor back going down hills like my old craftsman with a 5 speed manual? Pittsburgh, PA

Scott
Guest
Scott

How is the CVT in the John Deere D105, I know it is the General Transmission RT400 Vs. the RS 800 in the Ariens and Craftsmen mowers. Are these transmissions holding up? Any issues? How is the D105.
Thanks Scott
Fort Worth, TX

Brian
Guest
Brian

Johnstown, Pa. I have a 2014 Craftsman t1200 42 inch Lawn Tractor model no. 203721. Can’t find any reviews on this model. Is the auto cvt transmission the new v element
Model?

Thanks…..Brian

rudy
Guest
rudy

I have T3000 mower and everything works well, but I have a concern about the mower when reversing. Their is a slight whining noise coming from the transmission, also sometimes the mower moves very slow in reverse like it hasn’t engaged completely. I called Sears and the sent me instructions to “purge” the transmission, they said that it had air that had to be bled from the case. I tried it but the noise is still their. Any suggestions?

Collin
Guest
Collin

Are torque and speed inversely proportionate with the CVT tranny? I hated using a hydrostatic unit for plowing. You had to deal with max speed to get a lot of power to the wheels. I spent a lot of time ramming snow, not plowing it. I mowed with my new 20390 yesterday. Best attribute: 6″ Turning Radius (this thing can whip!). Worst attribute: Breaks traction on slopes too easy, esp when in a turn (whimpy tread on turf tires? tranny or differential letting inside wheel slip too soon? operator error?).

Richard Averill
Guest
Richard Averill

I took delivery of a new Craftsman 20390 on 4/30/14. I have driven the tractor but not mowed with it yet. Our daughter used the tractor to mow her yard and ours while we were out of town. She said it mows “awesome” but it rides really rough compared to our previous Craftsman. The major issue she had was traction. Twice, one of the rear tires dropped into a depression in her yard (a hole dug by her dog) and the tractor would not pull itself out. She raised the deck and tried rocking but it would not even spin… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

Thanks Paul – i went with the 20390 based on your reviews. Cant wait to use it! Thanks again. Bob from NY

Gary Mayk, Schnecksvile, PA
Guest
Gary Mayk, Schnecksvile, PA

You have the “Model 2014 Craftsman T2600 Model 20385 46 in Hydrostatic 19 hp Yard Tractor” on your CVT list, and yet its name contains the word “hydrostatic.” So which is it? A CVT or a hydrostatic? The Sears online description simply says “automatic.” I like Kohler engines but I really don’t want a hydrostatic. Please clarify. Also, I think it’s 48-inch, not 46.

Mike Erickson
Guest

Hudson, WI – Do you know if any of the pro-series Craftsman tractors also use this transmission? In particular the 98643 model. I’m not able to find any information about the transmission used in this one.

Graham
Guest
Graham

Thanks for your quick response, Paul – appreciated.

My bad for asking two (unrelated) questions, my first was related to this topic, which was –

who makes the Sears tractors that utilize this CVT tranny?

If I do choose a yard tractor over a garden tractor I would like one with a CVT transmission – simple seems to be best (IMO).

Graham
Guest
Graham

Asheville NC.

Who makes the Craftsman models with CVT tranny? I saw a Husqvarna “go fast” (RS) mower in Lowes – is that the clue?

and

is there a yard tractor suitable for other duties such as tilling a small patch at a reasonable price – have an acre of grass with some inclines up to 15º to cut but would like to grow fruit/veg for the family as well.

Thanks!

trackback

[…] Unlike Hydrostatic Transmissions there are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out. The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. In fact the only wear point on the trans is the CVT belt and I don’t expect you will ever have to replace that during normal use. If you do the belt is only $45! Go here to read more about the new automatic:  CVT Automatic Transmissions […]

trackback

[…] Unlike Hydrostatic Transmissions there are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out. The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. In fact the only wear point on the trans is the CVT belt and I don’t expect you will ever have to replace that during normal use. If you do the belt is only $45! Go here to read more about the new automatics:  CVT Automatic Transmissions […]

Dave V. Laramie, WY
Guest
Dave V. Laramie, WY

I just ordered a 20390 over the 20381 based on this article. For $125 and with the bigger engine I definately appreciate your input. Now I am contemplating purchasing the extended warranty. Do I really need it? Seems any major porblems would surface in the covered 2-year period. I mostly do my own service work. Decisions….Decisions….

Rome g.
Guest
Rome g.

Should I pay the money for a craftsman that has this transmission or pay the same amount for a John deere?

trackback

[…] Unlike Hydrostatic Transmissions there are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out. The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. In fact the only wear point on the trans is the CVT belt and I don’t expect you will ever have to replace that during normal use. If you do the belt is only $45! Go here to read more about the new automatics:  CVT Automatic Transmissions […]

John Leccese
Guest
John Leccese

Boston MA–When will the CVT transmissions replace the Craftsman Hydrostatic? I do not see them on their website.

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