Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Gravely 5260


QUESTION: Hi Eric!  I have a Gravely 5260 walk behind tractor with a kohler k181.  I checked both the engine and transmission oil levels(both 10w-40), and they were fine.  However, after running the machine for a short while, the engine was nearly out of oil, while the transmission was overfull of oil. Apparently all of the engine oil went into the transmission. This only happens when I run it.  Also, I pulled the crankcase breather off, and oil poured out.  What is wrong with it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



ANSWER: Engine service manual URL:

That is an old, but very good engine.  I would start by checking for crankcase vacuum, refer to page 4.3 in the service manual.

Let me know if the engine creates and maintains crankcase vacuum.


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As it turned out, everything was ok.  I realized that I was checking the oil level when the machine was on a slope; when I leveled it, the levels were fine.  Is the original transmission oil ok, or do I have to flush it out and fill it with new oil?

Thank you very much,


ANSWER: When was the last time the transmission oil was changed?  At the end of last year or the start of this year?

Does the owner's manual have a recommended hourly change for the transmission?  The recommended change interval varies greatly with manufactures.

What does the owner's manual recommend?


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The owners manual says to just check the oil level every 100 hours, and add some if it is low.  It never says anything about changing it.  It says to change the engine oil every 25 hours, but not the transmission.  I am guessing that the oil is original.  The oil looks ok though.  What would you recommend?



Do you know how old the machine is?  It never hurts to change the oil but I would make sure to do some homework on what it takes to changes the fluid, how much it will need after changing along with what type of fluid to use.

It's a really neat old machine!  I read it takes non-detergent oil which may be difficult to find but I would change the fluid if possible...again, do some homework first and have everything sourced before changing.


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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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