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Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Craftsman Rear Tine Tiller - 6HP, 14


QUESTION: When pushing in neutral, makes grinding noise. Any ideas?

ANSWER: Please send the model number from the sticker, about the size of a business card, located on the tiller frame.  The model number format will be similar to xxx.xxxxxxx.

When was the last the tiller was used?

Let me know.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The model number is 917.296020. It had been idle for about 6-7 months, stored inside building. I moved it out today and noticed the grinding when pushing it to outside. I cranked it and put it in gear and acted fine. The grinding only occurs while pushing in neutral.

There are a couple of chains in the gear box that tend to stretch and eventually break over time.  Not much you can do about it unless you want to dis-assemble the entire tiller and replace them BEFORE they break.  When they break they will usually break a couple of gears/sprockets as well.  The other part that wears are the gear box input shaft bearings.  Again by the time the bearings fail the input shafts are wore to a point where they have to be replaced as well.

It is not a difficult job to replace the chains and bearing but it is very time consuming...lots and lots of hours.

You can do the job at home as with basic hand tools.  The hardest part is usually removing the rear wheels and tines as they tend to rust onto the shafts.  Make sure you MARK the tines if you decide to remove them as there is a right and left side.

If you have some time and a few bucks to just replace the chains and bearings, or at least inspect them, I would do it before the spring tilling season.

If you need to use the tiller the I'd recommend buying some 00 grease and filling the gear box with lube to reduce wear.

I have rebuilt several of these gear boxes.  Not difficult, just time consuming.

Go head and start spraying penatrating lube on the wheel axles and tines.  In fact, if the tiller is running, I would remove the wheel bolts and tine pins, spray with pentrating oil and then CAREFULLY run the tiller to make sure the shaft are free and the wheels and tines can be removed.  By removing the bolts/pins and operating in the garage or small dirt section you will be able to, hopefully, have the tiller spin the axles inside the wheels/tines.  Keep them lubes so they are easy to remove...this can save a lot of labor in the event you have to remove the parts to access the gear box.

Let me know if this helps.

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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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