Half of this memorial weekend was dedicated to the neglected Troy-belt. My
7hp cast iron Kohler horse tiller was purchased new from the mid 1970s. Not
that much use really, only on second set of bolo tines, but much neglected
left out in the open for a while and not maintained and loan it to all my
neighbors throughout the years. Couple of them did a few numbers to it like
ripping the pull rope off, lugging the engine all day long and ran the
tiller into the fence post and broke the carburetor right off into many
pieces and didn't tell me about it until I got it back weeks later. So it
looks old and warn out. Anyways, got around to it this weekend and try to
start it up. Flat tire, no spark, no gas so won't run. Tire was leaking from
the edge of the rim. A bitch to separate the tire from the rim and next time
I'll get a long tire spoon at Harbor Freight. Brush wired all the rust off
from the inside rim, added a coat of primer, reinstalled tire - now it hold
the air fine and not leaking.
Next was to fix the no spark situation. Did something stupid and took a lot
longer than necessary. Anyway, I visually inspected the points (big mistake,
explain later) and the contacts looked new and the spring action was strong.
Next was to measure resistance on both magneto primary and secondary - both
open circuits. Thought the magneto was fried. Kind of long process to remove
the flywheel and magneto but got it done anyway. Check clearance on magneto
with shims to get maximum induced voltage. Turnout best without shims - long
monkey motions in installing and removing the flywheel a couple more times
to check the clearances. Still no spark. Took the magneto on my kitchen
table and tested it with a single battery D cell - we have spark on the
secondary, a few thousand volts at that! Reinstalled the whole mess back and
tested for spark again. No spark, what the heck! Ok, I than put my meter
across the points and crank up the old Kohler. With the points closed and
tight, the meter read infinite ohms. So that was the problem even the
contact surfaces looked perfect and new. Only took couple of seconds to
clean up the points so this most day process of removing the flywheel could
have been avoided. Note to self: Always check the points with a meter before
tearing up the engine to get at the magneto. Visual inspection is worthless.
Next remove the carburetor, install the plug and squirt some starting fluid
and gave it pull. It started right up ... wonderful!
Now if I fix the carburetor, I could do some tilling the next day. I happen
to have a ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning parts but never tried a whole
carburetor. Put in a few drops of dish washing detergent and added hot water
(a trick learned from the wife on cleaning greasy hood filters). Put the
carb in, turn on the ultrasonic cleaner and went to bed. Next morning took
out the carb and blow dry with compressed air. Reinstall the carb and it
started right up - the Troy-bilt haven't sounded so good in years.
Might as well change the engine oil while I'm at it. Oil was black, really
black but not what your think. Oil looks fresh as it was the black graphite
oil from years ago. Remember those? Way did they stop making it? I must put
the oil in and let the tiller sat for years.
The last thing was to change the transmission oil. What came out of the
transmission was some thick slight foamy dark mustard yellow stuff - almost
about a gallon! Was it the 90 weight oil mixed with some water and rust?
Anyone knows? I have a little leak from the front end on the transmission.
Hope I don't have to tear into the tranny - maybe another chore for another
This much neglected Troy-belt with the cast iron Kohler engine has outlived
three lawn mowers (including one Honda mower I had for over 25 years!), 3
weed wackers, 2 chain saws and 6 cars. I think now it could outlast me.