How Do I Move a Hydrostatic Tractor Without Damaging the Transmission?

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Hydrostatic mowers have drive-release levers on the back.
Hydrostatic mowers have drive-release levers on the back. (Image: tondre le gazon image by fotogisèle from Fotolia.com)

Hydrostatic tractors have transmissions that are fluid driven. This allows you to steer the tractor by altering the flow of hydraulic fluid to individual wheels. You accomplish this through two levers. When you push or pull the handles, it slows or increases speed to the left or right rear wheels independently, thus turning the tractor in the direction desired. If you attempt to push a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission, it causes fluid to move backward through the pump and can damage the seals. You must disconnect the drive before moving your lawn tractor.

Turn off the engine and crouch down behind the tractor. Locate two zinc colored 1/4-inch bars bent at 90 degrees and extending out from 3/4-inch holes in the tractor housing on the left and right sides.

Grab the bars with your fingers. Pull hard on the bent part of the bars until a half-inch washer comes out of the hole. You can pull both bars together or pull one at a time.

Push down on each bar to force it down into a 1/4-inch slot. Let go of the bar. The washer will stop each bar from going back into its hole. This disconnects the drive and puts the tractor in neutral.

Push or pull the tractor to the desired spot. When you are ready to drive the tractor again, pull on each 90-degree bar, let the washer slide up out of the slot and back into the hole and let go. Perform this task on both sides. Again, you can pull on both bars at the same time or one at a time. The tractor can now be operated normally.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that the tractor has no brakes when the drive is disengaged.
  • Even if you start the tractor, it will be in free-wheeling mode until you release the drive lock-out.

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