Noisy hydrostatic drive


Old 09-26-09, 09:18 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: michigan
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Noisy hydrostatic drive

I have a craftsman 18.5 hp kohler lawn tractor approx 10 yrs old with a hydrostatic drive, model #218-3010L. When shifting forward or reverse there is a whining noise, also when going uphill the transmission seems to slip. Any suggestions on a possible problem/solution? Thanks
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Old 09-26-09, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: usa
Posts: 755
First, check the transaxle oil for proper level and condition of oil. Have you ever changed the oil and filter? If not I suggest you do and see if whining stops and performance improves.

Manual states, “Oil and filter changes should occur approximately every 200 hours of operation or once each year.”

The parts list shows your transaxle holds 99.8 ounces of 20W50 motor oil. A contradiction exists between the parts list and service manual. The service manual states, “Typically, engine oil with a minimum rating of API classification of SJ/CD is recommended. 10W-40 engine oil has been selected for use by the factory and is recommended for normal operating temperatures. Another alternative that will provide excellent all climate performance and extended time between oil changes is 15W-50 synthetic engine oil.”

I do not see the contradiction as a concern. Any of the oils will be fine as long as you meet or exceed the API classification of SJ/CD.

Noise can be caused by low oil level, worn out oil, excessive vehicle loading, dragging brake, loose parts or bypass valve operation.

Parts list:

Oil & Filter Change:
Old 09-26-09, 10:05 PM
cheese's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
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I recommend draining the existing oil and refilling with 20-50 synthetic and also clean the top of the tranny getting the caked up debris out of the cooling fins under the fan. You may have to remove the battery box if it's under the seat to gain access to all this.

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