Transmission Oil Replacement - Large Frame

by Jim Coate, Free Range Electric

This information applies to the large frame Elec-Trak models, such as the General Electric E12, E12M, E12S, E14, E15, E16, E20 and I-series models, and the New Idea EGT-120, EGT-150 and EGT-200 models and Wheel Horse B-145 and C-185 models.

The transmission oil should be replaced periodically. If you have acquired a used tractor, it is best to assume the oil has not been changed in a while (or ever!) and replace it as soon as you can.

Supplies you will need:
  • Wrench set
  • Jack and jack stands (or convenient steep hillside)
  • Pan to catch waste oil
  • 2 quarts (64 oz.) of 85-140 gear oil*
  • Funnel with plastic tube, or oil pump
  • Optional: Kerosene or #2 home heating oil
  • Optional: Bucket of hot water
Before beginning, locate the drain plug located on the bottom of the transmission and the fill plug located about 3/4 of the way up the back side of the transmission, as shown in the picture below. The picture was taken looking from the the back of the tractor towards the front. The tractor shown happens to be a GE E12JA; all large-frame GE, Wheel Horse and New Idea models are similar.

You may find it easier to put in the new oil if it is warm which will make it flow more readily. If this is desired, place the sealed container of new oil in a bucket and fill the bucket with hot water until the oil container is almost covered. Allow to sit while you perform the other steps.

picture of transmission

To drain the old oil, park the tractor on level ground and place a pan to catch the waste oil underneath the transmission. Remove the drain plug. As the old oil will be rather thick, it may help to go off and do something else for a while while it all drains out.

Some folks suggest a rinse step, using Kerosene or #2 home heating oil to flush out the transmission. To do so, replace the drain plug and add the rinse agent following the directions below for adding new oil. With the tractor jacked up and the wheels in the clear, turn on the tractor and run it in each gear for a few minutes. Lower the tractor back down and drain the rinse agent, following the directions above for draining the old oil.

Once all the old oil has been removed and any rinse completed, replace the drain plug and tighten. Jack up the rear end of the tractor so it is at least 5" higher than the front end (or roll down a steep hillside if you happen to have such nearby). Remove the fill plug and insert a plastic tube connected to a funnel. You may find it handy to tie the funnel to the seat back. Carefully pour in 2 quarts of 85-140 gear oil. Optionally you can use an oil pump to move the oil from the container into the tractor - simple manual pumps are available that screw into the top of the oil container. If you have trouble getting in the full 2 quarts, the rear end of the tractor may need to be raised up higher.

Once the new oil is in, replace the fill plug. Make sure both the fill and drain plugs are tight, then lower the tractor back to the ground. Properly dispose of the waste oil and take the tractor for a spin!

*Note: The use of synthetic oils is not recommended as this may cause damage to the seals in the transmission.

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