Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Wheel horse 417-8 pto clutch


QUESTION: in the last question i said that it was slipping on the PTO clutch, well i looked in the manual and it said i have to adjust the trunnion, well the big problem is it sat for 6 to 7 years down in gastonia, N.C., well the control rod had rusted so bad it was like it was welded to the trunnion, well we got it running about 2 1/2 years ago with a little bit of wiring issues but fixed(sort of). then we took it in for a "redneck" maintenance job last year,this is when the PTO clutch started to slip, so we tried to get the control rod off the trunnion but wouldn't come off, so we hit it with a blue tip wrench to heat it up a little, more like a little too long, and the excess of the control rod on the other end of the trunnion melted off just barely ahead of the trunnion. after that we tried to not mess with it and just push on the clutch with my foot but that isn't working anymore. Should i replace the control rod and the trunnion or just keep spraying down the trunnion with rust eater? Here's a video of it about a year after i got it( by the way the tractor takes a long time to start because i started it at full throttle,but now i start it at medium throttle with choke wide open and it fires right up).

ANSWER: I suspect you will have to replace the parts.  I have not seen or worked on Wheel Horses for many, many years so I'd recommend you post some questions and pictures on the Wheel Horse discussion boards.  There are several Wheel Horse discussion boards and I'm betting the members are passionate about their Wheel Horse and will be able to provide better advice as they have more recent experience with Wheel Horses and where to find parts...heck, I have a hard time finding any Wheel Horse products east of the Mississippi...have not see one since I moved from Missouri back in 1994...and they were old machines then but very high quality and very durable.

Did you try any of the Evaporust to try removing the rust?  I have used it and it works pretty good.  Have you ever used Kroil?  Kroil works well to free rusty parts.


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

QUESTION: no not really but i did find a control rod on ebay for half the price of the aftermarket price($35.95) and it comes with the rod and the trunnion for $14.99 and free shipping ( there was one on there that went to a 417-a that had the rod and trunnion for $12.49 but the problem was it had just then as i was reading it, the time expired!). If you look up Nash and The Wheel Horse on youtube, in a few days or weeks there will be some videos of the Wheel Horse. The 417-8 only has 3 videos on youtube and the 417a has like a full page of videos, so that is one reason i want to video tape the old beast.

If you were to buy a new machine today, with similar quality as you old Wheel Horse, I'd expect you'd have to spend $4,000-6,000.  John Deere and Kubota make some high end quality small tractors but I'm still betting they will not last as long as the Wheel Horse.  I tried to buy a couple of Wheel Horses from a customer many years ago but they would not sell them.  I moved out west and do not know what happened to his old tractors.

My point is I'd try to fix your Wheel Horse...I use Ebay a lot to purchase parts for older, good quality machines.


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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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