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I have a 1997 Yard Machine – Special Edition by MTD Model# 13AS699G088, TMO-3204205 with a Hydro Gear transaxle Part number 718-0255A Cross Reference Number 313-0650.
It started making some moaning noises when accelerating from stop. Some searching suggested that was probably from low fluid level so I pulled it out of the tractor.
I noticed some end play, or in and out movement of the axles, >1/8" right, +/-1/16" left. I can't find any info on the acceptable amount of play. Can anyone tell me how much is acceptable?
I haven't worked on one of these before but the factory manual indicates it's not too bad to just pull the bottom cover and replace the axle seals and the parts are cheap. If there's something worn in the differential though and it has to be replaced I might just look for another tractor. The differential kit is about $260.
I drained and measured the fluid and it had 74oz. compared to the 82oz. capacity. The only indication of a leak was a small amount of fluid on the right axle. It'd clearly been leaking but definitely not 8oz. there. I suspect the 20W50 oil just cooked down in the last 23 years.
Does that sound reasonable?
Thanks in advance for any help
 
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