How to Fill Gear Case Oil For a John Deere Snow Thrower?


I would like to know the way to fill oil into the gear case in the auger of a John Deere snow thrower.
I have an old John Deere snow thrower from 1990's that I got from my father-in-law (who has retired to sunny Florida and doesn't need to worry about snow any more). The model number is 522. It is a small dual-stage snow thrower with a 4-stroke engine. I want to get it ready for the winter.
I am supposed to check the oil level in the gear case in the auger, and then refill if needed. The part that I don't understand is how I am supposed to refill the oil into the gear case? According to the operator manual, there is a small plug in the gear case that I am supposed to open, and see if there is any oil draining out. If oil doesn't drain out, this means there is not enough oil, and I should slowly fill it with oil. But the manual doesn't say exactly how to refill the oil. I don't see how I can refill the oil because the plug hole is facing sideway.
I thought only way to refill the oil is to place the snow thrower sideway in order to have the plug hole facing upward. But I doubt this because if I needed to place the snow thrower sideway, the manual would have say so and would have also asked me to drain the fuel from the fuel tank and all those safty requirement before turning the snow thrower sideway.
I thought the gear case may have another plug hole for filling oil. But I cannot find it in the gear case, and I cannot find any info about this in the manual.
Can someone tell me the right way to refill the gear case oil?
Thanks in advance for any info.
Jay Chan
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Since it difficult to reach the fill hole with a funnel you could try using a small paper cup filled with oil to reach in there and fill it up. It probly don't hold much oil anyway. Be sure to have the machine on level ground when doing so. You can fold a sharp crease in the cup to help direct the oil.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

use a funnel with a hose on it, or a suction gun.
nate
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wrote:

To expand on Nate's suggestion, there are a couple of options. The funnel and hose are spot on so I'll just add these suggestions; Get thee to a dollar store for a stack of funnels of different sizes, then go to a home supply store and buy 16-18" of vinyl tubing (sold by the foot). Pre-measure how much will be required to make your tsk tolerable. You will need to force the correct size tubing on the end of the funnel so take the funnel with you as well as the knowledge of the size of the hole in the case. That way you can use the largest hose for ease of filling. Be careful that the hose isn't too tight a fit or there might be an issue whichisn't worth the hassle. Pour your room-temp (house temp, not garage temp) very slowly and be sure to have rags under the crankcase for the inevitable overflow.
My second suggestion was to replace the funnel with a dollar-store turkey baster. Draw oil into the baster with the hose already attached. Cover the end of the tubing with your finger as you pull it out of the oil so that you can capture as much as possible and prevent drips. Now, feed the tubing into the hole and squeeze veeeery gently.
That should do it. I changed the gear oil in my garden tractor and had this issue when I found the fill hole to be beneath the seat and fender. The funnel trick worked great.
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C & E wrote:

Thanks for the trick of using a funnel and hose to fill gear case oil. One thing that I don't understand is how to fit the hose into the plug hole without having oil leaking out all around the hose. The hose will have to be a tight fit to the plug hole, right? Do you use some kind of fitting to secure the hose into the plug hole? Do you just happen to find a hose with the right size that fits the plug hole?
Jay Chan
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Put cardboard under the machine. Add oil until it drains out the plug hole. Remove hose, replace plug.
You're gonna spill a little. It's a given. All the best mechanics do.
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Christopher A. Young
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I thought I needed to fill up the entire gear case, and that made me wondering how I could fill up the entire gear case without leaking all over the place from the plug hole. Thanks for pointing out that all I need to do is to fill oil up to the plug hole. This means the hose doesn't need to be a tight fit, and a slightly undersized hose probably will work well. OK, I think I am ready to go looking for those items.
Jay Chan
Stormin Mormon wrote:

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Last year's turkey baster may do the job. Sorry about the confusion -- fill to the level of the plug hole. While the machine is level and in the usual user position.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Thanks for the idea, especially the suction gun. I will go to a home center to see if I can find it.
Jay Chan
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You'll probably have better luck at an auto parts store, although the last one I bought was utter and complete crap. I'd actually appreciate a lead on where I could get one that actually works without paying Snap-On prices.
For what you're doing I would probably just get a set of small kitchen funnels and some clear hose that will fit in the fill hole, and use the largest funnel whose end will fit inside the hose. It's probably not worth investing in a suction gun unless you do a lot of under car work.
Another option would be a hand pump that's designed to fit in a gear oil bottle; I forget which FLAPS I got one of those at but I do find it handy. The only problem is, I think they're designed for Sta-Lube brand gear oil bottles and the Redline bottles are a different thread so it's kind of a PITA if you're a synthetic snob :/
nate
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Thanks for everyone that has replied.
I bought a bottle of gear case oil that has a pointy cap. I could have cut the tip off the pointy cap, and stick the pointy cap into the plug hole of the gear case, and sequeeze the oil into the gear case. Unfortunately, the other objects are very close to the plug hole, and I cannot position the oil bottle in position. At the end, I bought a vinyl tub, a 99-cent store small funnel, and a brass fitting to fill oil into the gear case. Everything is just like what people here had suggested, and this works out great.
By the way, the gear case was running really low on oil. I am very glad that I have checked the oil level and had it filled up.
Jay Chan
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