Troy-Bilt 21A495B766 Pro-Line FRT Garden Tiller Operators Manual

Troy-Bilt 21A495B766 Pro-Line FRT Garden Tiller Operators Manual
Safe Operation Practices • Set-Up • Operation • Maintenance • Service • Troubleshooting • Warranty
Operator’s Manual
Pony, Pony ES & Pro-Line FRT Tiller
NOTE: This Operator’s Manual covers several models. Features may vary by model. Not all features in this manual are applicable to all
models and the model depicted may differ from yours.
Printed In USA
Form No. 769-11180A
(October 22, 2015)
To The Owner
Thank You
Thank you for purchasing this product. It was carefully
engineered to provide excellent performance when properly
operated and maintained.
If applicable, the power testing information used to establish
the power rating of the engine equipped on this machine can be
found at or the engine manufacturer’s web site.
Please read this entire manual prior to operating the equipment.
It instructs you how to safely and easily set up, operate and
maintain your machine. Please be sure that you, and any other
persons who will operate the machine, carefully follow the
recommended safety practices at all times. Failure to do so could
result in personal injury or property damage.
If you have any problems or questions concerning the machine,
phone a authorized Troy-Bilt service dealer or contact us directly.
Troy-Bilt’s Customer Support telephone number, website address
and mailing address can be found on this page. We want to
ensure your complete satisfaction at all times.
All information in this manual is relative to the most recent
product information available at the time of printing. Review
this manual frequently to familiarize yourself with the machine,
its features and operation. Please be aware that this Operator’s
Manual may cover a range of product specifications for various
models. Characteristics and features discussed and/or illustrated
in this manual may not be applicable to all models. We reserve
the right to change product specifications, designs and
equipment without notice and without incurring obligation.
Throughout this manual, all references to right and left side of the
machine are observed from the operating position.
Table of Contents
Safe Operation Practices......................................... 3
Assembly & Set-Up................................................... 5
Controls & Operation............................................... 7
Replacement Parts..................................................14
Warranty................................................... back cover
Record Product Information
Model Number
Before setting up and operating your new equipment, please
locate the model plate on the equipment and record the
information in the provided area to the right. You can locate the
model plate by standing at the operator’s position and looking
down at the front right corner of the tine shield. This information
will be necessary, should you seek technical support via our web
site, Customer Support Department, or with a local authorized
service dealer.
Serial Number
Customer Support
Please do NOT return the machine to the retailer or dealer without first contacting the Customer Support Department.
If you have difficulty assembling this product or have any questions regarding the controls, operation, or maintenance of
this machine, want to order replacement parts/attachments/accessories, or want to view an online How-To video; you can
seek help from the experts. Have your full model number and serial number ready. Choose from the options below:
Phone: (800) 828-5500
Mail: Troy-Bilt LLC • P.O. Box 361131 • Cleveland, OH • 44136-0019
Important Safe Operation Practices
WARNING! This symbol points out important safety instructions which, if not followed, could endanger the personal safety and/or property of
yourself and others. Read and follow all instructions in this manual before attempting to operate this machine. Failure to comply with these instructions
may result in personal injury. When you see this symbol. HEED ITS WARNING.
WARNING! Engine Exhaust, some of its constituents, and certain vehicle components contain or emit chemicals known to State of California to
cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
WARNING! Battery posts, terminals, and related accessories contain lead and lead compounds, chemicals known to the State of California to cause
cancer and reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.
DANGER! This machine was built to be operated according to the safe operation practices in this manual. As with any type of power equipment,
carelessness or error on the part of the operator can result in serious injury. This machine is capable of amputating fingers, hands, toes and feet. Failure to
observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury or death.
Read, understand, and follow all instructions
on the machine and in the manual(s) before
attempting to assemble and operate.
Keep this manual in a safe place for future
and regular reference and for ordering
replacement parts.
Be familiar with all controls and their proper
operation. Know how to stop the machine
and disengage them quickly.
Never allow children under 14 years of age to
operate this machine. Children 14 and over
should read and understand the instructions
and safe operation practices in this manual
and on the machine and be trained and
supervised by an adult.
Never allow adults to operate this machine
without proper instruction.
Keep the area of operation clear of all
persons, particularly small children and pets.
Stop machine if anyone enters the area.
Thoroughly inspect the area where the
equipment is to be used. Remove all stones,
sticks, wire, and other foreign objects which
could be tripped over and cause personal
Wear sturdy, rough-soled work shoes and
close fitting slacks and shirt. Loose fitting
clothes or jewelry can be caught in moving
parts. Never operate this machine in bare feet
or sandals.
Disengage clutch levers and shift (if provided)
into neutral (“N”) before starting the engine.
Never leave this machine unattended with
the engine running.
Never attempt to make any adjustments
while engine is running, except where
specifically recommended in the operator’s
Safe Handling of Gasoline:
To avoid personal injury or property damage use
extreme care in handling gasoline. Gasoline is
extremely flammable and the vapors are explosive.
Serious personal injury can occur when gasoline is
spilled on yourself or your clothes which can ignite.
Wash your skin and change clothes immediately.
Use only an approved gasoline
Never fill containers inside a vehicle or
on a truck or trailer bed with a plastic
liner. Always place containers on the
ground away from your vehicle before
When practical, remove gas-powered
equipment from the truck or trailer
and refuel it on the ground. If this
is not possible, then refuel such
equipment on a trailer with a portable
container, rather than from a gasoline
dispenser nozzle.
Keep the nozzle in contact with the
rim of the fuel tank or container
opening at all times until fueling is
complete. Do not use a nozzle lockopen device.
Extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, pipes
and other sources of ignition.
Never fuel machine indoors.
Never remove gas cap or add fuel
while the engine is hot or running.
Allow engine to cool at least two
minutes before refueling.
Never over fill fuel tank. Fill tank to
no more than ½ inch below bottom
of filler neck to allow space for fuel
Replace gasoline cap and tighten
If gasoline is spilled, wipe it off the
engine and equipment. Move unit to
another area. Wait 5 minutes before
starting the engine.
To reduce fire hazards, keep machine
free of grass, leaves, or other debris
build-up. Clean up oil or fuel spillage
and remove any fuel soaked debris.
Never store the machine or fuel
container inside where there is an
open flame, spark or pilot light as on
a water heater, space heater, furnace,
clothes dryer or other gas appliances.
Do not put hands or feet near rotating parts.
Contact with the rotating parts can amputate
hands and feet.
Do not operate machine while under the
influence of alcohol or drugs.
Never operate this machine without good
visibility or light. Always be sure of your
footing and keep a firm hold on the handles.
Keep bystanders away from the machine
while it is in operation. Stop the machine if
anyone enters the area.
Be careful when tilling in hard ground. The
tines may catch in the ground and propel
the tiller forward. If this occurs, let go of the
handle bars and do not restrain the machine.
Exercise extreme caution when operating
on or crossing gravel surfaces. Stay alert
for hidden hazards or traffic. Do not carry
Never operate the machine at high transport
speeds on hard or slippery surfaces.
Exercise caution to avoid slipping or falling.
Look down and behind and use care when in
reverse or pulling machine towards you.
Start the engine according to the instructions
found in this manual and keep feet well away
from the tines at all times.
After striking a foreign object, stop the
engine, disconnect the spark plug wire and
ground against the engine. Thoroughly
inspect the machine for any damage. Repair
the damage before starting and operating.
Disengage all clutch levers (if fitted) and
stop engine before you leave the operating
position (behind the handles). Wait
until the tines come to a complete stop
before unclogging the tines, making any
adjustments, or inspections.
Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly
ventilated area. Engine exhaust contains
carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly
Muffler and engine become hot and can
cause a burn. Do not touch.
Use caution when tilling near fences,
buildings and underground utilities. Rotating
tines can cause property damage or personal
Do not overload machine capacity by
attempting to till soil too deep at too fast of
a rate.
If the machine should start making an
unusual noise or vibration, stop the engine,
disconnect the spark plug wire and ground
it against the engine. Inspect thoroughly for
damage. Repair any damage before starting
and operating.
Keep all shields, guards, and safety devices in
place and operating properly.
Never pick up or carry machine while the
engine is running.
Use only attachments and accessories
approved by the manufacturer. Failure to do
so can result in personal injury.
If situations occur which are not covered in
this manual, use care and good judgement.
Contact Customer Support for assistance and
the name of you nearest servicing dealer..
Maintenance & Storage
Keep machine, attachments and accessories
in safe working order.
Allow a machine to cool at least five minutes
before storing. Never tamper with safety
devices. Check their proper operation
Check bolts and screws for proper tightness
at frequent intervals to keep the machine in
safe working condition. Also, visually inspect
machine for any damage.
Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting, stop
the engine and make certain the tines and
all moving parts have stopped. Disconnect
the spark plug wire and ground it against the
engine to prevent unintended starting.
Do not change the engine governor settings
or over-speed the engine. The governor
controls the maximum safe operating speed
of engine.
Maintain or replace safety and instruction
labels, as necessary.
Follow this manual for safe loading,
unloading, transporting, and storage of this
Always refer to the operator’s manual for
important details if the machine is to be
stored for an extended period.
If the fuel tank has to be drained, do this
Observe proper disposal laws and regulations
for gas, oil, etc. to protect the environment.
According to the Consumer Products
Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
this product has an Average Useful Life of
seven (7) years, or 130 hours of operation. At
the end of the Average Useful Life have the
machine inspected annually by an authorized
service dealer to ensure that all mechanical
and safety systems are working properly and
not worn excessively. Failure to do so can
result in accidents, injuries or death.
Notice Regarding Emissions
Engines which are certified to comply with
California and federal EPA emission regulations for
SORE (Small Off Road Equipment) are certified to
operate on regular unleaded gasoline, and may
include the following emission control systems:
Engine Modification (EM), Oxidizing Catalyst (OC),
Secondary Air Injection (SAI) and Three Way Catalyst
(TWC) if so equipped.
Spark Arrestor
WARNING! This machine is
equipped with an internal
combustion engine and should not be
used on or near any unimproved
forest-covered, brushcovered or
grass-covered land unless the
engine’s exhaust system is equipped
with a spark arrestor meeting
applicable local or state laws (if any).
If a spark arrestor is used, it should be maintained in
effective working order by the operator. In the State
of California the above is required by law (Section
4442 of the California Public Resources Code). Other
states may have similar laws. Federal laws apply on
federal lands.
A spark arrestor for the muffler is available through
your nearest engine authorized service dealer or
contact the service department, P.O. Box 361131
Cleveland, Ohio 44136-0019.
Safety Symbols
This page depicts and describes safety symbols that may appear on this product. Read, understand, and follow all instructions on the machine before attempting to
assemble and operate.
Read, understand, and follow all instructions in the manual(s) before attempting to assemble and operate
Do not put hands or feet near rotating parts. Contact with the rotating parts can amputate hands and feet.
Allow the engine to cool at least two minutes before refueling.
Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly ventilated area. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless and
deadly gas.
Engine parts, especially the muffler, become extremely hot during operation. Allow engine and muffler to cool before
WARNING! Your Responsibility—Restrict the use of this power machine to persons who read, understand and follow the warnings and
instructions in this manual and on the machine.
Section 2 — Important Safe Operation Practices
Assembly & Set-Up
Contents of Carton
Tiller (1)
Handlebar Support (1)
Handlebar Assembly (1)
Hardware Pack (1)
Operator’s Manual (1)
Engine Operator’s Manual (1)
Gently lift the handlebar (do not overstretch
the attached cables) and place the handlebar
cross-brace in front of the curved height
adjustment bracket. See Figure 3-2.
Warning! To prevent personal injury or
property damage, do not start the engine
until all assembly steps are complete and
you have read and understand the Safe
Operations Practices.
Recommended Tools for Assembly
Two 1⁄2” open-end wrenches
Block of wood (to support tiller when
removing wheels)
Tire pressure gauge
Clean oil funnel
Motor oil. Refer to the Engine Operator’s
Manual for oil specifications and quantity
Make sure the handlebar cross-brace is under
the bracket. Move the handlebars up or down
to align the threaded hole in the cross brace
with one of the three slots in the curved
height adjustment bracket.
Thread the height adjustment knob through the
washer (.760 x 1.250 x .041) then into the hole in
the handlebar cross-brace. See Figure 3-4.
Contents of Hardware pack
Unpacking Instructions
The tiller is heavy. You should not attempt to
remove it from the shipping platform until
instructed to do so.
Remove any cardboard inserts and packaging
material from the carton. Remove any staples
from the bottom of the carton and remove
the carton.
Cut the large, plastic tie strap that secures
the transmission tube to the shipping pallet.
Leave the handlebars on top of the tiller to
avoid damaging any cables.
The hardware bag is inside the literature
envelope. Check the contents with the list
Figure 3-2
With the forward clutch cable on the inside of
the handlebar, position the handlebar ends
on the outside of the two mounting tabs atop
the transmission cover. See inset in Figure 3-2.
Loosely attach the handlebars to the
mounting tabs with two shoulder screws
(.437 x .268: 5/16 - 18), inserted through two
Belleville washers (.450 x 1.0 x .062), then
through the lower ends of the handle and the
front holes on the bracket. Add flat washers
(.349 x .879 x .063) on the ends of each and
secure them by threading a hex lock nut
(5/16-18) on each end. See Figure 3-3.
Figure 3-4
Remove the knob from the center of the
lower end of the handle by rotating it
counter-clockwise. See Figure 3-1.
Tighten the height adjustment screw
Securely tighten the shoulder screws and
hex lock nuts from step 5 on the ends of the
To remove the tiller from its shipping
platform, first carefully unwrap the wheel
gear cable with the attached lever from
around the chassis. Move the neutral
position, this allows the wheels to rotate
freely. See Controls and Operation section for
location and operation instructions.
Use the handlebars to roll the tiller off the
NOTE: Use the DISENGAGE position to move
this tiller only when the engine is not running.
Before starting the engine, the neutral
ENGAGE/DISENGAGE lever must be placed
in the ENGAGE position (see the Controls &
Operation Section for details).
Figure 3-3
Figure 3-1
Cut the large, plastic cable ties that secure the
handlebar ends to the handlebar mounting
tabs on the transmission top cover.
Reverse Clutch Control
Carefully unwrap the reverse clutch control
cable (red) from its shipping position and
route it up along the right side handle.
Position it so that it rests above the small
groove on the handle assembly in front of the
reverse drive handle. See Figure 3-5.
Insert the cable z-fitting into the slot in the
control panel from the inside of the handle
outward. See inset in Figure 3-5.
The forward clutch control cable (black) is
hanging loosely near the right-side wheel.
Being careful not to kink or stretch the cable,
route the cable on top of the lower handle
and under the handle panel then insert the
z-connector into the hole at the end of the
forward clutch control linkage going from the
outside inward. See Figure 3-7.
Use a tire pressure gauge to check the air pressure
in both tires. Deflate or inflate both tires equally to
between 15 PSI and 20 PSI. Be sure that both tires
are inflated equally or the tiller will pull to one side.
Gas & Oil Fill-Up
Service the engine with gasoline and oil as
instructed in the Engine Operator’s Manual packed
separately with your tiller. Read the instructions
Warning! Use extreme care when
handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely
flammable and the vapors are explosive.
Never fuel the machine indoors or while
the engine is hot or running. Extinguish
cigarettes, cigars, pipes and any other
sources of ignition.
Figure 3-7
Figure 3-5
Snap the cable tab into place in the upper hole
on the handle cable bracket. See Figure 3-6.
Snap the cable tab into place in the lower hole
on the handle cable bracket. See Figure 3-8.
Figure 3-8
Figure 3-6
Test the function of the reverse clutch control
cable by pulling the knob back and releasing
it. The knob should return to its neutral
position against the tapered bushing. If it
does not return when released contact your
local authorized dealer or the TROY-BILT
Technical Service Department for technical
Battery and Cables (If equipped with electric start)
The positive battery terminal is marked Pos. (+). The
negative battery terminal is marked Neg. (–).
Remove the hex bolt and hex nut from the positive
cable (heavy red wire).
Forward Clutch Cable
Carefully free the forward clutch control
levers from their shipping position by
removing any fasteners (rubber bands,
tape, etc.) that may secure the forward
clutch control levers during shipping. The
control handles should hang beneath the
Remove the plastic cover from the positive
battery terminal and attach the positive cable
to the positive battery terminal (+) with the
bolt and hex nut. Make certain to cover the
positive terminal snugly with the rubber boot
to help protect it from corrosion.
Remove the hex bolt and hex nut from the
negative cable (heavy black wire).
Remove the black plastic cover from the
negative battery terminal and attach the
negative cable to the negative battery
terminal (–) with the bolt and hex nut.
NOTE: If the battery is put into service after the
date shown on the top of the battery, charge
the battery as instructed in the Maintenance
& Adjustments section of this manual prior to
operating the tiller.
Section 3— Assembly & Set-Up
Transmission Gear Oil
The transmission was filled with gear oil at the
factory. However, be sure to check the oil level
at this time to make certain it is correct. See the
Maintenance & Adjustments Section for instructions
on checking and adding transmission gear oil.
Controls & Operation
Lever (Bail)
Move the depth regulator lever all the way
down to the “travel” position, so that the
tines clear the ground. To change the depth
setting, pull back on the depth regulator lever
(A) and lift up or down (B), then release the
lever to secure in the desired position. See
Figure 4-2.
Handlebar Height
Adjustment Knob
Depth Regulator
Neutral ENGAGE/
Figure 4-2
Figure 4-1
Manual for detailed information on all engine
Read the Safe Operation Practice, and
Assembly & Set-Up Sections in this manual.
Read the separate Engine Operator’s Manual.
This lever has two positions: ENGAGE and
Check the machine for loose or missing
Check the engine oil level. See Engine
Operator’s Manual.
Check that all safety guards and covers are in
Check air cleaner and engine cooling system.
See Engine Operator’s Manual.
Attach the spark plug wire to the spark plug.
Fill the fuel tank with gasoline according
to the directions in the separate Engine
Operator’s Manual. Follow all the instructions
and safety rules carefully.
NOTE: Refer to the separate Engine Operator’s
Forward Control Lever
Also known as the bail: The two interconnected
levers control the engagement of forward drive to
the wheels and tines.
Reverse Control Lever
The Reverse Control Lever controls the engagement
of reverse drive to the wheels and tines.
Depth Regulator
The Depth Regulator lever controls the tilling depth
of the tines.
WARNING! Never run the engine
indoors or in enclosed, poorly ventilated
areas. Engine exhaust contains carbon
monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas.
Avoid the engine muffler and nearby
areas. Temperatures in these areas may
exceed 150° F.
Handlebar Height Adjustment Knob
The Handlebar is adjustable to three different
height settings.
Engine Pre-Start Checklist
Starting the Engine
Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark
plug. Make the following checks and perform the
following services before starting the engine.
Complete the “Pre-Start Checklist.”
in the ENGAGE position.
Release all controls on the tiller.
Put the Engine Throttle Control Lever in the
FAST setting.
On engines equipped with a fuel valve, turn
the valve to the open position as instructed in
the separate Engine Operator’s Manual.
Choke or prime engine as instructed in the
separate Engine Operator’s Manual.
For recoil (non-electric) starting models:
Place one hand on the fuel tank to
stabilize the tiller when you pull the
starter handle.
Use the recoil starter rope to start the
engine as instructed in the separate
Engine Operator’s Manual. When the
engine starts, gradually move the
choke lever (on engines so equipped)
Leave the Engine Throttle Control
Lever in the FAST setting.
For electric starting models:
Turn the engine ignition key to the
START setting and allow the starter
motor to crank the engine for several
seconds. Avoid cranking the engine
longer than 15 seconds at a time as
doing so could damage the starter
NOTE: Refer to the Engine Operator’s Manual
for detailed starting instructions.
When the engine starts, release the
key and it will return to the RUN
Gradually move the choke lever (on
engines so equipped) to the NO
CHOKE, CHOKE OFF or RUN position.
Leave the Engine Throttle Control
Lever in the FAST setting.
If necessary, the electric start engine can be started
with the recoil starter rope by following the steps
If the battery is not dead or damaged, leave it
connected to the tiller so it will be recharged
during engine operation.
If the battery is dead or damaged, remove it
and have it tested. Before starting the engine,
cover the terminal on the loose end of the
positive (+) cable with the insulated boot
and secure it in place with electrical tape to
prevent electrical sparks.
Put the ignition key in the RUN position and
then follow Steps 1-8 of Starting the Engine.
As the tiller drives forward the tines will
also rotate, digging into the ground.
Walk behind and a little to one side
of the tiller. Use a secure, comfortable
grip on the handlebars. Let the tiller
move ahead at its own pace. See Figure
4-4. To stop the forward motion of the
wheels and tines, release the bail.
Figure 4-6
WARNING! Look behind and exercise
caution while operating in reverse. Do
not attempt to till when in reverse.
Stopping the Engine
To stop the wheels and tines, release the
Forward Clutch Control levers or the Reverse
Clutch Control knob (whichever control may
be engaged).
WARNING! Do not push down on the
handlebars to try to make the tiller till
more deeply. This prevents the wheels
from holding the tiller back and can
allow the tines to rapidly propel the tiller
forward, which could result in loss of
control, property damage or personal
To stop the engine on an electric start model,
move the ignition key to “OFF”.
NOTE: After stopping an electric start engine,
Engaging the Drive & Tines
For forward motion of the wheels and tines:
Pull the bail up and hold it against the
handlebars. See Figure 4-3.
For reverse motion of the wheels and tines:
Stop all forward motion before
Lift the handlebars until the tines are
slightly off the ground and then pull the
Reverse Control knob out to engage the
reverse motion. See Figure 4-5.
Figure 4-3
NOTE: When placing the neutral
position, there may be a delay between
pressing the bail and the transmission
beginning to drive. This is normal. Though
pressing the bail should cause the lever to
ENGAGE the unit in drive, to quickly and
accurately ENGAGE the transmission into
drive gently rock the tiller backward and
forward on the wheels. The transmission will
click into drive and you will be able to feel the
proper drive resistance from the wheels.
Section 4— Controls & Operation
Figure 4-4
To stop the engine on the recoil start model,
move the Engine Throttle Control Lever to the
“STOP” position.
remove the ignition key from the switch to reduce
the possibility of unauthorized use of your machine.
While driving in reverse the tines will
also rotate in reverse. See Figure 4-6.
Figure 4-5
To stop the reverse motion, let go of
the Reverse Drive Control knob.
Turning the Tiller
Practice turning the tiller in a level, open area.
Be very careful to keep your feet and legs
away from the tines.
To make a turn, reduce the drive speed and
lift the handlebars slightly until the tines are
balanced just above the ground.
With the tiller balanced, push the handlebars
to one side to turn. After completing the
turn, slowly lower the tines into the soil and
increase the drive speed.
Clearing the Tines
The tines have a self-clearing feature that cuts down
tangling of debris in the tines. However, debris
may occasionally become entangled. Follow these
procedures to help avoid tangling and to clean the
tines if necessary:
To reduce tangling, set the depth regulator
deep enough to get maximum “chopping”
action as the tines chop the material against
the ground.
Try to till under crop residues or cover crops
while they are green, moist and tender.
While power composting, try swaying the
handlebars from side to side in a controlled
manner (about 6” to 12”). This “fishtailing”
action often clears the tines of debris.
If tangling occurs, lift the tines out of the soil
and run the tiller in reverse for a few feet. This
reversing action should unwind a good deal
of debris.
If reversing the tiller doesn’t clear the debris,
it may be necessary to remove the debris by
WARNING! Before clearing the tines
by hand, stop the engine, allow all
moving parts to stop and disconnect the
spark plug wire. Failure to follow this
warning could result in personal injury.
Tilling Tips & Techniques
WARNING! Before tilling, contact
your telephone or utilities company and
inquire if underground equipment or
lines are used in your area. Do not till
near buried electric cables, telephone
lines, pipes or hoses.
Choosing Correct Wheel and Tine Speeds
With experience, you will find the tilling depth
and tilling speed combination that is best for your
Let the Tiller Do the Work
While tilling, relax and let the wheels pull the
tiller along while the tines do the digging.
Walk on the side that is not yet finished to
avoid making footprints in the freshly tilled
soil. Lightly, but securely grip the handlebar
with just one hand.
Avoid pushing down on the handlebars in
an attempt to force the tiller to dig deeper.
Doing so takes the weight off the powered
wheels, causing them to lose traction.
Without the wheels helping to hold the tiller
back, the tines will attempt to propel the
tiller — often causing the tiller to skip rapidly
across the ground.
Selection of the correct engine speed, in
relation to the tilling depth, will ensure a
sufficient power level to do the job without
causing the engine to labor.
Faster engine speeds may be desirable when
making final passes through the seedbed or
when cultivating.
Suggested tilling patterns
Set the Engine Throttle Control Lever to a
speed that will give the engine adequate
power and still allow it to operate at the
slowest possible speed until you have
achieved your desired tilling depth.
Figure 4-9
With planning, you can allow enough room
between rows to cultivate. See Figure 4-10.
Leave extra room for future plant growth.
When preparing a seedbed, go over the same
path twice in the first row, then overlap onehalf the tiller width on the rest of the passes.
See Figure 4-7.
Sometimes, slight downward pressure on
the handlebars will help get through a
particularly tough section of sod or unbroken
ground, but in most cases this won’t be
necessary at all.
Tilling Depths
Avoid trying to dig too deeply too quickly,
especially when busting sod or when tilling
soil that hasn’t been tilled for some time.
Use the shallow depth regulator settings
— only an inch or two deep — for the first
passes through the garden area. With each
succeeding pass, adjust the depth regulator
to dig an inch or two deeper. Watering the
garden area a few days prior to tilling will
make tilling easier, as will letting the newly
worked soil set for a day or two before
making a final, deep tilling pass.
Figure 4-7
When cultivating, use very shallow depth
settings to prevent injury to plants whose
roots often grow close to the surface. If
needed, lift up on the handlebars slightly to
prevent the tines from digging too deeply.
Cultivating on a regular basis not only
eliminates weeds, it also loosens and aerates
the soil for better moisture absorption and
faster plant growth.
When finished tilling in one direction, make
a second pass tilling the same area in the
opposite direction. See Figure 4-8. Overlap
each pass for the best results. In very hard
ground it may take three or four passes to
thoroughly pulverize the soil.
Figure 4-10
Tilling on slopes
If you must garden on a moderate slope, please
follow two very important guidelines:
Till only on moderate slopes, never on
steep ground where the footing is difficult.
Review the safety rules in the Safe Operation
Practices Section.
It is recommended to till up and down the
slopes rather than terracing. Tilling vertically
on a slope allows maximum planting area and
leaves room for cultivating.
NOTE: When tilling on slopes, be sure the
Avoid Tilling Soggy, Wet Soil
correct oil level is maintained in the engine.
Check the oil level every one-half hour of
operation. The incline of the slope will cause
the oil to slant away from its normal level and
this can starve engine parts of the required
lubrication. Keep the engine oil level full at
all times.
Tilling wet soil often results in large, hard
clumps of soil that can interfere with planting.
If time permits, wait a day or two after heavy
rains to allow the soil to dry before tilling. Test
soil by squeezing it into a ball. If it compresses
too easily, it is too wet to till.
Avoid Making Footprints
When possible, walk on the untilled side of
the machine to avoid making footprints in
the freshly tilled soil. Footprints cause soil to
compact, which can hamper root penetration
and contribute to soil erosion. They can also
“plant” unwanted weed seeds back into the
freshly tilled ground.
Tilling up and down slopes:
Figure 4-8
If the garden size will not permit lengthwise
and then crosswise tilling, then overlap the
first passes by one-half a tiller width, followed
by successive passes at one-quarter width
See Figure 4-9.
To keep soil erosion to a minimum, be sure to
add enough organic matter to the soil so that
it has good moisture holding texture and try
to avoid leaving footprints or wheel marks.
Section 4 — Controls & Operation
When tilling vertically, try to make the first
pass uphill as the tiller digs more deeply
going uphill than it does downhill. In soft soil
or weeds, you may have to lift the handlebars
slightly while going uphill. When going
downhill, overlap the first pass by about onehalf the width of the tiller.
Terrace Gardening:
Power Composting
WARNING! When power
composting, do not keep the depth
regulator lever at a deep setting if the
tiller jumps or bucks. If jumping or
bucking occurs, move the depth
regulator lever down to one of the
shallower settings and then slowly
increase the tilling depth on later
passes. Failure to follow this warning
could result in personal injury.
When a slope is too steep or too short for
vertical tilling, it may be necessary to till
across the slope and create terraced rows.
Terraces are rows that are cut into the side
of a slope, creating a narrow, but flat area on
which to plant.
On a long slope, you can make several
terraces, one below the other.
Terraces should be only 2-to-3 feet wide.
Digging too far into the side of the slope will
expose poor subsoil that is unproductive for
To create a terrace, start at the top of the
slope and work down. Go back and forth
across the first row as shown in Figure 4-11.
Figure 4-11
Each succeeding lower terrace is started by
walking below the terrace you’re preparing.
For added stability of the tiller, always keep
the uphill wheel in the soft, newly tilled soil.
Do not till the last 12” or more of the downhill
outside edge of each terrace. This untilled
strip helps to prevent the terraces from
breaking apart and washing downhill. It also
provides a walking path between rows.
Loading & Unloading the Tiller
Power composting simply means tilling through all
manner of organic matter, such as crop residues,
leaves, grass clippings and cover crops, burying
them in the soil. This material will decompose
during the non-growing season and add important
natural nutrients to the soil. It is best to follow the
proceeding guidelines when power composting.
The first place to begin is with crop residues
such as leftover vines, stalks, stems and roots.
Power compost these crop residues as soon
as they finish bearing. The sooner this is done,
the better, as tender green matter is easier
to till into the soil. Use the deepest depth
regulator setting possible without causing
the engine to labor or the tiller to jump
Standing cornstalks of reasonable height
can be power composted. Pushing over, but
not uprooting, cornstalks will often make
it easier for your tiller to chop up the stalks.
Keep the tines clear of excessive tangling by
“fishtailing” or frequently using reverse. Make
several passes, then return a few days later to
finish off any straggling standers.
After tilling under crop residues, add more
organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings
and even kitchen scraps. When tilled into the
soil, this organic matter will decompose and
add even more important nutrients to the
After power composting, you may want to
plant a “green manure” cover crop to protect
the soil during the off-season. You simply
grow a crop of clover, alfalfa, buckwheat,
peas, beans, rye grass, grain, or kale and then
till it into the soil prior to the planting season.
WARNING! Loading and
unloading the tiller into a vehicle is
potentially hazardous and doing so is
not recommended unless absolutely
necessary, as this could result in
personal injury or property damage.
However, if you must load or unload
the tiller, follow the proceeding
Before loading or unloading, stop the engine,
wait for all parts to stop moving, disconnect
the spark plug wire and let the engine and
muffler cool. Remove the ignition key on
electric start models.
The tiller is too heavy (over 170 lbs.,
depending on model) for one person to lift
safely. Two or more people should share the
Use sturdy ramps and, with the engine shut
off, manually roll the tiller into and out of the
vehicle. Two or more people are needed to
do this.
Ramps must be strong enough to support
the combined weight of the tiller and any
handlers. The ramps should provide good
traction to prevent slipping, they should have
side rails to guide the tiller along the ramps
and they should have a locking device to
secure them to the vehicle.
The handlers should wear sturdy footwear
that will help to prevent slipping.
Position the loading vehicle so that the ramp
angle is as flat as possible. The less incline to
the ramp, the better. Turn the vehicle’s engine
off and apply its parking brake.
When going up ramps, stand in the normal
operating position and push the tiller ahead
of you. Have a person at each side to turn the
When going down ramps, walk backward
with the tiller following you. Keep alert for
any obstacles behind you. Position a person
at each wheel to control the speed of the
tiller. Never go down the ramps tiller-first, as
the tiller could tip forward.
Use wooden blocks to place on the downhill
side of the wheels if you need to stop the
tiller from rolling down the ramp. Also, use
the blocks to temporarily keep the tiller in
place on the ramps (if necessary), and to
chock the wheels in place after the tiller is in
the vehicle.
When the tiller is in the vehicle, prevent it
from rolling by engaging the wheels in the
wheel drive position. Chock the wheels with
blocks and securely tie the tiller down.
Tilling across slopes without using terraces:
If vertical or terracing gardening aren’t
practical for you, then you can till laterally
across a slope.
WARNING! This method is not
recommended as it can create unsure
footing and invites soil erosion.
As in terrace gardening, start at the top of the
slope and overlap the first pass by half the
width of the tiller. For added stability of the
tiller, always keep the uphill wheel in the soft,
newly tilled soil.
Section 4— Controls & Operation
Maintenance Schedule
Check After
first 2 hours
Check Motor Oil Level
Clean Engine
Before each
5 Hours
10 Hours
Check Gear Oil Level in Transmission
Check Tines for Wear
Check Air Pressure in Tires
WARNING! Before inspecting,
cleaning or servicing the machine, shut
off the engine, wait for all moving
parts to come to a complete stop,
disconnect the spark plug wire and
move the wire away from the spark
plug. Failure to follow these
instructions can result in serious
personal injury or property damage.
Remove the wheels, clean the wheel shaft
and apply a thin coating of grease to the
wheel shaft.
Grease the back, front and sides of the depth
regulator lever.
Remove the tines and clean the tine shaft. Use
a file or sandpaper to gently remove any rust,
burrs or rough spots (especially around holes
in the shaft). Apply grease to the ends of the
shaft before installing the tines.
Oil the threads on the handlebar height
adjustment screws and the handlebar
attaching screws.
Refer to the Engine Operator’s Manual packed with
your tiller for all engine maintenance.
Tire Pressure
Check the air pressure in both tires. The proper air
pressure is printed on the side of the tires. Keep
both tires equally inflated to help prevent the
machine from pulling to one side.
After every 10 operating hours, oil or grease the
lubrication points shown in Figure 5-1.
See Engine
Lubricate Tiller
Check Hardware
30 Hours
Check for loose or missing hardware after every 10
operating hours and tighten or replace (as needed)
before using tiller
Be sure to check the screws underneath the tiller
hood that secure the transmission cover and the
Depth Regulator Lever to the transmission.
Figure 5-2
Thoroughly clean the area around the
transmission cover.
Remove the four hex screws (5⁄16-18 x .75)
securing the transmission cover to the drive
shaft and remove the cover. Locate the main
drive shaft below the cover. See Figure 5-3.
The gear oil level is correct if the gear oil is
approximately halfway up the side of the
main drive shaft.
Transmission Gear Oil
Checking the Transmission Gear Oil
Check the transmission gear oil after every 30 hours
of operation or whenever you notice any oil leak.
Operating the tiller when the transmission is low on
oil can result in severe damage.
Check the gear oil level when the
transmission is cool. Gear oil will expand
in warm operating temperatures and this
expansion will provide an incorrect oil level
With the tiller on level ground, pull the Depth
Regulator Lever all the way up.
Remove the hex washer screw (1⁄4-20 x .500)
and flat washer (.28 x .74 x .063) from the
left side of the belt cover and the hex washer
screw (1⁄4-20 x .500) from the right side of the
belt cover. Remove the belt cover. SeeFigure5-2.
Figure 5-1
Use a clean lubricating oil (#30 weight motor oil is
suitable) and a clean general purpose grease (grease
containing a metal lubricant is preferred).
Figure 5-3
If the gear oil level is low, add gear oil
immediately. If the gear oil level is okay,
securely reinstall the transmission cover.
When adding gear oil, use synthetic 75W 140.
You may add gear oil with the transmission
cover off, or reinstall the and pour through
the oil fill hole, located on top of the
transmission cover, and secured with a plug.
While checking frequently to avoid
overfilling, slowly add gear oil into the oil fill
hole until it reaches the halfway point on the
drive shaft.
Changing the Transmission Gear Oil
The transmission gear oil does not need to be
changed unless it has been contaminated with dirt
or sand particles.
Drain the gasoline from the fuel tank or run
the engine until the fuel tank is empty.
Drain the oil from the engine.
Remove the belt cover and clean and remove
the transmission cover as in steps 3-5 in
Checking the Transmission Gear Oil.
Remove the left-side wheel by removing the nut
and bolt from the wheel axle. See Figure 5-4.
recommended engine maintenance by
following the storage instructions found in
the Engine Operator’s Manual. Be sure to
protect the fuel lines, carburetor and fuel tank
from gum deposits by removing fuel or by
treating fuel with a fuel stabilizer (follow the
engine manufacturer’s recommendations).
Store the tiller in a clean, dry area.
Never store the tiller with fuel in the fuel
tank in an enclosed area where gas fumes
could reach an open flame or spark, or where
ignition sources are present (space heaters,
hot water heaters, furnaces, etc.).
Removing a Tine Assembly
If removing both tine assemblies, mark them
“left” and “right” before removal. Doing
so will help ensure that the assemblies are
reinstalled on the correct sides of the tiller.
While not necessary, removing all tines from
around the outside of the tine assembly will
make accessing the tine assembly hardware
easier. See A in Figure 5-6.
Remove the screw and lock nut that secure
the tine assembly to the tine shaft. See B in
Figure 5-6. These pieces of hardware run
through the center of the tine assembly and
the shaft. Pull the tine assembly off the shaft.
If necessary, use a rubber mallet to tap the
tine assembly outward.
Replacing Individual Tines
Remove the two nuts that attach a single tine
to the screws on the tine assembly. If needed,
use penetrating oil to help free the nuts. See
Figure 5-5.
Figure 5-6
Before reinstalling the tine assembly, inspect
the tine shaft for rust, rough spots or burrs
and file or sand as needed. Then apply a thin
coat of grease to the shaft.
Install each tine assembly so that the cutting
edge of the tines will enter the soil first when
the tiller moves forward. Secure the tine
assembly to the tine shaft using the screw
and lock nut previously removed. Tighten
Figure 5-5
Figure 5-4
Tilt the left-side wheel shaft into a drain pan
and allow the gear oil to drain out through
the top of the transmission.
Reinstall the wheel and reinstall the
transmission cover.
Refill the transmission using synthetic 75W
140. Refill the engine with motor oil and
replenish the fuel tank with gasoline.
Reinstall the belt cover.
Off-Season Storage
When the tiller won’t be used for an extended
period, prepare it for storage as follows:
Clean the tiller and engine.
Do routine tiller lubrication and check for
loose parts and hardware.
Protect the engine and perform
Section 5— Service
When installing a single tine, be sure to
position it so that its cutting edge will enter
the soil first as the tiller moves forward.
Wheels and Tines will not
1. Improper use of controls.
1. Review Controls & Operation Section.
2. Worn or broken clutch belt.
2. Contact Authorized Service Dealer.
3. Internal transmission wear or damage.
3. Contact authorized service dealer.
4. Bolt and key loose in transmission pulley.
4. Contact Authorized Service Dealer.
1. Wheel mounting hardware missing.
1. Replace hardware.
2. Bolt and key loose in transmission pulley.
2. Tighten bolt; check that key is in place.
3. Internal transmission wear or damage.
3. Contact authorized service dealer.
4. Wheel Gear Lever not fully ENGAGED.
4. Ensure lever is ENGAGED and gently rock tiller back and
Wheels Turn, but Tines
1. Tine holder mounting hardware missing.
1. Replace hardware.
2. Internal transmission wear or damage.
2. Contact authorized serviced dealer.
Poor tilling performance.
1. Worn tines.
1. See Service Section.
2. Improper Depth Regulator setting.
2. See Tilling Controls & Operation Section.
3. Incorrect throttle setting.
3. See Controls & Operation Section.
4. Belt(s) slipping.
4. Contact an Authorized Service Dealer.
Tines turn, but wheels don’t.
Replacement Parts
Part Number and Description
Reverse Drive belt, 3L x 29.125
Forward Drive Belt, 4L x 25.375
Bolo Tine (LH), 12”
Bolo Tine (RH), 12”
Wheel, 13 x 5 x 6
Reverse Drive Cable
Forward Drive Cable
Hex Bolt, 1/4-20 : 1.5 (Wheel Mount)
Flange Lock Nut, 1/4-20 (Wheel Mount)
Hex Bolt, 3/8-16 : 1.75 (Tine Assembly)
Flange Lock Nut, 3/8-16 (Tine Assembly)
Phone (800) 828-5500 to order replacement parts or a complete Parts Manual (have your full model number and serial number ready). Parts Manual
downloads are also available free of charge at
The limited warranty set forth below is given by Troy-Bilt LLC with
respect to new merchandise purchased and used in the United
States and/or its territories and possessions, and by MTD Products
Limited with respect to new merchandise purchased and used
in Canada and/or its territories and possessions (either entity
respectively, “Troy-Bilt”).
Log splitter pumps, valves, and cylinders have a separate oneyear warranty.
Routine maintenance items such as lubricants, filters, blade
sharpening, tune-ups, brake adjustments, clutch adjustments,
deck adjustments, and normal deterioration of the exterior finish
due to use or exposure.
This warranty is in addition to any applicable emissions warranty
provided with your product.
Service completed by someone other than an authorized service
“Troy-Bilt” warrants this product (excluding its Belts, Transmission
and Attachments as described below) against defects in material
and workmanship for a period of two (2) years commencing
on the date of original purchase and will, at its option, repair or
replace, free of charge, any part found to be defective in materials
or workmanship. This limited warranty shall only apply if this
product has been operated and maintained in accordance with
the Operator’s Manual furnished with the product, and has not
been subject to misuse, abuse, commercial use, neglect, accident,
improper maintenance, alteration, vandalism, theft, fire, water,
or damage because of other peril or natural disaster. Damage
resulting from the installation or use of any part, accessory or
attachment not approved by Troy-Bilt for use with the product(s)
covered by this manual will void your warranty as to any resulting
Troy-Bilt does not extend any warranty for products sold or
exported outside of the United States and/or Canada, and their
respective possessions and territories, except those sold through
Troy-Bilt’s authorized channels of export distribution.
Replacement parts that are not genuine Troy-Bilt parts.
Transportation charges and service calls.
Troy-Bilt does not warrant this product for commercial use.
Belts are warranted to be free from defects in material and
workmanship for a period of thirty (30) days from the date of
Transmission — Troy-Bilt warrants the transmission (including
all gears, shafts and housings) against defects in material and
workmanship for the life of the tiller, to the original purchaser only,
commencing on the date of original purchase or lease.
Attachments — Troy-Bilt warrants attachments for this product
against defects in material and workmanship for a period of one
(1) year, commencing on the date of the attachment’s original
purchase or lease. Attachments include, but are not limited to items
such as: grass collectors and mulch kits.
HOW TO OBTAIN SERVICE: Warranty service is available, WITH
PROOF OF PURCHASE, through your local authorized service dealer.
To locate the dealer in your area:
In the U.S.A.
Check your Yellow Pages, or contact Troy-Bilt LLC at P.O. Box 361131,
Cleveland, Ohio 44136-0019, or call 1-866-840-6483,
1-330-558-7220 or log on to our Web site at
In Canada
Contact MTD Products Limited, Kitchener, ON N2G 4J1, or call
1-800-668-1238 or log on to our Web site at
This limited warranty does not provide coverage in the following
The engine or component parts thereof. These items may
carry a separate manufacturer’s warranty. Refer to applicable
manufacturer’s warranty for terms and conditions.
No implied warranty, including any implied warranty of
merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, applies
after the applicable period of express written warranty above
as to the parts as identified. No other express warranty,
whether written or oral, except as mentioned above, given
by any person or entity, including a dealer or retailer, with
respect to any product, shall bind Troy-Bilt. During the period
of the warranty, the exclusive remedy is repair or replacement
of the product as set forth above.
The provisions as set forth in this warranty provide the sole
and exclusive remedy arising from the sale. Troy-Bilt shall
not be liable for incidental or consequential loss or damage
including, without limitation, expenses incurred for substitute
or replacement lawn care services or for rental expenses to
temporarily replace a warranted product.
Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental
or consequential damages, or limitations on how long an implied
warranty lasts, so the above exclusions or limitations may not apply
to you.
In no event shall recovery of any kind be greater than the amount
of the purchase price of the product sold. Alteration of safety
features of the product shall void this warranty. You assume the
risk and liability for loss, damage, or injury to you and your property
and/or to others and their property arising out of the misuse or
inability to use the product.
This limited warranty shall not extend to anyone other than the
original purchaser or to the person for whom it was purchased as a
warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have
other rights which vary from state to state.
IMPORTANT: Owner must present Original Proof of Purchase to
obtain warranty coverage.
Troy-Bilt LLC, P.O. BOX 361131 CLEVELAND, OHIO 44136-0019; Phone: 1-866-840-6483, 1-330-558-7220
MTD Canada Limited - KITCHENER, ON N2G 4J1; Phone 1-800-668-1238
GDOC-100023 REV. C
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