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Looking for help on an old tiller #5440234 05/27/20 03:28 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 1
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BarryBl Offline OP
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Joined: May 2020
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I bought this old tiller last year. I think it's from around 1976 and I believe it may have been built by MTD.
The motor is a 3.5 HP vertical shaft Briggs & Stratton. The motor runs well but I've been having issues with the rotors not turning well enough to do anything any the garden. I was told that the tiller had new belts when I bought it. I was also advised not to touch the bolts on the sides of the deck (there are two on each side) as that would affect the belts. When I was checking all the bolts this spring I found that those bolts o the side of the deck were loose which caused me to wonder if the belts are loose. I've searched online and I can find any information on this tiller or how to adjust the belt so I am wondering if anyone has an idea how to adjust things so the belts tighten up.

Thanks.

IMG_20200509_184319.jpgIMG_20200527_151321.jpgIMG_20200511_133103.jpgIMG_20200509_184240.jpg
Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440255 05/27/20 03:54 PM
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Lubener Offline
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I would bet the belt adjustment is the jack screw which is part of that rod which is between the engagement handle and the tensioning pulley.

Last edited by Lubener; 05/27/20 03:55 PM.

The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440256 05/27/20 03:54 PM
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mk378 Offline
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There is one belt underneath the deck. When you pull the clutch handle, the push-rod moves a lever in the deck area to push the idler pulley against the belt and tighten the belt so you get drive. Clearly the rod from the handle to the first lever is adjustable, you could try that first.

It is very simple. There's nothing wrong with taking the bolts out and lifting the engine / top deck assembly off to have a look. You'll just have to be careful to get the belt back around the engine pulley when put back together. The bolts should be kept tight merely so that the machine will not fall apart. They don't affect the belt adjustment other than the 1/2 inch or so you may be able to slide the top part forward and back. Moving it back (not where it is now) would make the belt tighter.

Last edited by mk378; 05/27/20 03:59 PM.
Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440263 05/27/20 04:00 PM
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chainblu Offline
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An engine that old should have a "real" throttle. Do you have it wide open?

Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440266 05/27/20 04:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
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eljefino Offline
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If you hit a root/rock/obstacle, the tiller should--

-- plow through it
-- jump up over it, or
-- stall

The belt should not slip to "protect" the engine. If it has new belts and they aren't gripping well, there could be a problem with the pulleys, like a sheared key or just bad belt-driving surfaces.

Seems like you have a project! If you don't know small engines/ machines, this would be a great starting project. Just disconnect the spark plug wire so you don't accidentally start the engine while tugging on stuff under there.

Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440326 05/27/20 05:50 PM
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Posts: 1,246
old1 Offline
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Are you sure the belt is slipping? Many tillers this old have bad gears in the gearbox. Have you checked the gear oil in the box? You can usually see the big brass gear if you look closely through the check plug. If it is good, it is probably just a slipping belt.


2017 Nissan Frontier 4.0 5w30
1965 Mustang 200 c/4 10w30 QS defy
1964 Ford Ranchero 302 c/4 FOR SALE
1998 Mustang 3.8 automatic 78K miles
Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5440387 05/27/20 07:11 PM
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RyanY Offline
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I used to have one just like that, but mine was an MTD model 213-100 (same model but three years older)! I completely restored it and then sold it when I moved to a new home. Cool tiller but a bear to maneuver through hard soil and rocks.

The owner/repair manual is free at hammerwall.com. just search for MTD 216100. You will have to register before you get the free download. Below is a screenshot of the belt diagram.

As mentioned above, it is fine to remove the four screws to lift the deck and motor. This is the only way to check the belt condition. Also an oil leak (from the main shaft seal) could be causing the slippage. This seal is inexpensive and easy to replace.


Screenshot_20200527-201324_Adobe Acrobat.jpg
Last edited by RyanY; 05/27/20 07:22 PM.

2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L >131k miles; mix of PUP/Magnatec 5W-30 + ACDelco PF2129G

2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L >109k miles; QSUD 0W20 + STP S6607XL
Re: Looking for help on an old tiller [Re: BarryBl] #5442655 05/30/20 05:23 PM
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RyanY Offline
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If you get stuck on some parts of the project, you might find the "tiller talk" section helpful at mytractorforum.com. I learned a lot of good stuff there when I restored mine.


2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L >131k miles; mix of PUP/Magnatec 5W-30 + ACDelco PF2129G

2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L >109k miles; QSUD 0W20 + STP S6607XL
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