Tech Tips – Residential IHT (w/ External Expansion Tank) Oil Maintenance

Oil Maintenance Procedures for Residential IHT units with External Expansion Tank

Designed to be trouble-free

Normally the Residential IHT (K46), that is featured in many tractor & rider models, does not require any servicing for the life of the vehicle. However, if there is a desire to check or replace oil, it may be necessary to remove the transaxle from the vehicle to access the black cap located under the pulley & fan. Due to the design of our units,

Maintenance Overview

First, remove the transaxle from the vehicle following OEM instructions. After placing the transaxle on a bench surface remove the fan & pulley and pry open the black cap and remove magnet (see Fig #1). Invert transaxle to allow oil to drain from case through the port under black cap.

Tuff Torq K46 Oil Maintenance - Figure 1

Tuff Torq K46 Oil Maintenance – Figure 1

Refill transmission case with oil through same port to near top of case. Tuff Torq® recommends refilling transmission with Tuff Torq® hydrostatic oil, available from our service and aftermarket department.

Reinstall magnet & cap. While reinstalling the fan & pulley on drive shaft be sure to place all components in the same order as they were removed.

In heavy usage applications oil changing is recommended after the 1st 50 hours of operation and every 200 hours, thereafter. The filter should never require changing unless the transaxle is removed from the tractor or rider and opened for repairs.

Finally, after purging the transaxle of air, add additional oil through tank opening (under vent valve) to recommended oil level. (see Figure #2 below for recommended oil level).

For more information, or to order your service parts and accessories, please visit our service website here.  For technical support, you can call our service team at (866) 572-3441.

Tuff Torq K46 Oil Maintenance - Figure 2

Tuff Torq K46 Oil Maintenance – Figure 2

Share This Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Raymond Pozzuolo says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    What is the defendants in part number 1A646098270 and 7A646084460 regarding the center case part?

  • Luis says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hello. My husqvarna k46 is not driving. I noticed that a rear tire has bluish oil all over it. I believe an axle seal is blown and lost oil from here. Do I need to open the transmission to replace this or does it seat itself from the outside? Also I read about using 5w50 syn. Oil. Does this seem correct.
    Thank you

  • Montri Chaisakul says:

    I have a Craftsman Garden Tractor. It works fine for the last 10 seasons. It started to stop and transaxle winning before it climbed the hill but it cut grasses fine in flat area in 11st season. I removed the transaxle from the tractor today. This is the info from the transaxle:
    TUFF TORQ 7A632084620 S/N: 66Y – 0002589
    HOP PN: 199973
    The reservoir has only small oil left in the tank. However, I have not drain the oil from the transaxle yet. There is no leak (as far as I can see from the housing. I would like to change and refill the transaxle fluid. What type of fluid it uses and how much? The reservoir has marks and show the level of fluid. However, there is no dip stick on the transaxle housing. How do I know that it is the right amount of fluid?

    I will greatly appreciate any info that you can provide.

    Best regards,

  • Tyrone Moore says:

    this Transaxle is loosing oil by spacer split how to stop it or how can i find a Transaxle

    • ggraham says:

      Which transaxle is it that you have? If I know that I can help pinpoint parts or a replacement. There should be a barcode sticker containing the serial number of the transmission on the case close to one of the axles. Get that number and call the helpful techs at the Service Department at 866.572.3441 and they will help you.

  • John Hawes says:

    I followed your instructions for oil change and bleeding air.
    I have a Husqvarna YTH24V48LS
    Refilled with 10W50 synthetic oil but now it loses all drive after approx an hours operation.
    Any suggestions?

    • ggraham says:

      It would seem that the oil is not able to make up the difference for the wear on the hydraulic parts. You would need a repair kit which is a complete hydraulic rebuild. You can contact the helpful techs in the Service Department at or call at 866.572.3441.

  • Mike Ormord says:

    I just received my new transmission and noticed it was full of oil. Do I have to drain the oil out and put new oil in or is it good to go?

  • Jason Chlebowski says:

    My LTX1045 is leaking oil from the vent valve. I have added oil to the transmission several times and it continues to lead from the vent valve. I do have 125 hrs on it. How do I eliminate this problem?

    • ggraham says:

      If oil is coming out of the vent valve then the transmission must be experiencing some rather rough treatment to make the oil heat up and expand that much that it is leaking from the vent valve. You might want to check to see if the fan is intact. Otherwise, I would change the oil and see if that helps.

  • Garnet Luick says:

    2004 LTR180 with K46A external expansion tank. How do I check the trans oil level? Can I simply top up the oil in the expansion tank to keep the trans oil level at the correct level or or I have to add oil in the oil port under the fan?

  • rusver briceño says:

    hola tengo una husqvarna con k46 y el problema en esta es que después de 20 minutos de trabajo pierde toda la fuerza y ya cambie el aceite y el problema persiste 🙁 ¿que es lo que estara pasando?

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr Briceno,
      It sounds like there could be wear on the internal hydraulic parts. The oil is using this to escape pressure especially after it warms up and thins out. After checking everything externally like the pulleys and the linkage your best option would be to rebuild the hydraulic system or replace the transmission. You can order parts right off of the website: And as always you can call the helpful service techs in the Service Department at 866.572.3441.

      Parece que podría haber desgaste en las piezas hidráulicas internas. El aceite lo usa para escapar de la presión, especialmente después de que se calienta y se adelgaza. Después de revisar todo externamente, como las poleas y el enlace, su mejor opción sería reconstruir el sistema hidráulico o reemplazar la transmisión. Puede solicitar piezas directamente desde el sitio web: Y como siempre, puede llamar a los técnicos de servicio útiles en el Departamento de Servicio al 866.572.3441.

  • John A DuBan says:

    I have a 2007 Craftsman MTS 5500 tractor with a K46 transmission. The number on the axle appears to be 7A646084161 SN#468N806013. The transmission quit working while vaccuming leaves and going up a small grade. It has some power going on level ground but will not climb a hill. The case is clean as there are no signs of oil leaking. What should I be looking for?

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr DuBan,
      It sounds like you need an oil change in your transmission to be sure of what you are dealing with. It can make the transmission run again but it is not a guarantee to fix the issue. But it is a great first step in finding the problem. When removing the transmission from the tractor you want to pay particular attention to the linkage, fan, and all the pulleys on the tractor. By checking these external issues you are making sure that they get eliminated from the list of possible issues. If all is well with the externals, change the oil and see if it helps. If it does, Great, then you had an issue with oil viscosity. If it does not get better or only slightly then you have wear on the internal hydraulic parts that the oil cannot make up for and a repair kit is what you need to replace the worn parts to get your transmission running like new again. You can always contact the service departments friendly service techs at 866.572.3441 or email at

  • Tyesen Robbins says:

    How much fluid does the K46 tranny hold?

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr Robbins,
      Most K46s hold 2.4 Quarts, however, there are a few that only hold 2 Quarts. It depends on whether or not the K46 in question has an external reservoir or an internal one. The internal reservoir units hold more oil.the rule of thumb is that the sealing cap with the magnet underneath of it is the easiest thing to look at for oil level. Keep the oil level at 1/3 to 1/2 up the magnet and that will be a good level for the transmission. And as always, if you have more questions you can contact the helpful techs in the service department by phone or email at or 866.572.3441.

  • do you offer a k46 with drain plugs?for a deere L120

    • ggraham says:

      Adding drain bolts to K46s that do not have them can be a problem waiting to happen and in reality not save you much time at all. The problem is having to pull off the lower case off to drill and tap for the drain bolt holes and now you have introduced a new way for the transmission to leak oil. Time is not really saved due to the fact you would have to still have to remove the transmission from the tractor to put the oil in the unit. We try to talk owners out of doing it for those reasons. However, you can always contact the friendly techs in the Tuff Torq Service Department by Phone: 866.572.3441 and if you have any further questions or for more clarity.

  • Sophia says:

    Thanks for sharing the information. i really enjoyed your blog article. and you’r writing a good point.

  • Frank Sherman says:

    Hi Guys,
    I have an L110 John Deere and had a leaking seal on the input shaft . I removed the trans-axle and brought it to my local dealer for replacement. After installing it there is no grunt in the machine. It cannot even climb a small hill. I removed it again and found the oil level a bit low so I topped it up with about a cup of suitable oil. Could this be the problem, ie. low oil? If I need to rebuild the pump assembly/motor can you supply a rebuild kit? I am in Australia and find the John Deere people here only want to sell a complete trans-axle.

  • arnold says:

    i like your page but dont go far enough some these tractors work all year round so the oil spec declare what type of oil


    Good evening. I own a John Deere L130 lawn tractor. Manufactured date 05/12. It doesn’t move at all. Raised rear wheels off ground tires do turn slowly,but I can stop simply by touching wheel. I understand their maybe a problem with K46 trans. What is my best option for the money to repair or replace.

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr. McCallum,
      You should check all the external things first. Making sure the control lever is being pushed and pulled through the whole arc that it can travel. Also, you should check the input shaft and the pulley making sure that the pulley is turning the input shaft. After that, you should check all the pulleys from the engine on to make sure you do not have a problem that way. If those things are all good then you might want to open the transmission and check the machined faces of the center case. Paying particular attention to the areas between the ports. that is where the oil can escape and not hold pressure and that loss of pressure is the reason you could be experiencing low power. As always, you can call the service department to talk to the friendly techs at 866.572.3441 and see if they can help troubleshoot your issue.

  • Johnny Williams says:

    I have a craftsman riding mower model 917 288561 with 150 hrs. The k46 transaxle went out and have a new one coming soon.Do i need to purge it after installing and do oil changes every 200 hrs. or so with 5w50 synthetic.I mow normal with it at home but yard has some hills and is sloped for the most part.

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr. Williams,
      Our Transmissions are tested at the end of the assembly line to ensure that they are meeting certain standards. So your transmission that is coming is purged, tested, and ready to drop in your tractor.

  • Steve Kariker says:

    I just inherited an 02 John Deere LTR 180 with a tuff torq K46 transaxle. Everything is working fine but there is a little humming noise when I engage the transaxle. The article above seems to contradict itself in regards to an oil change. First paragraph says “Normally the Strider™ transaxle (K46), that is featured in many tractor & rider models, does not require any servicing for the life of the vehicle.” Then “In heavy usage applications oil changing is recommended after the 1st 50 hours of operation and every 200 hours, thereafter.” What is “heavy usage?” and should I take the transaxle out and change the fluid? Thank you so much!

  • James French says:

    I have a 11 yr. old, 400 hrs. K46 in John Deere LT160, should I remove it and change fluid and was told to use 5w50 synthetic motor oil if I do !!

    • arnold says:

      what type oil for al,winter ,summerl year

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr. French,
      Yes, changing the oil is a good idea. The oil in the transmission will breakdown over time and keeping fresh oil in the transmission will definitely help it run. We do recommend 5W-50 synthetic oil for your change and have an excellent blend that will help the unit run longer. You can always contact the helpful techs at the Service Department if you have any further questions.

  • Tim says:

    La 165..ive drained the oil…how much is required on the refill.

  • Tim says:

    How much oil is required for the transmission oil change

  • Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and
    starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done
    a marvellous job!

  • body shaping says:

    I just like the helpful info you supply on your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and test again right here regularly.
    I’m rather certain I’ll be told plenty of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  • Wayne Elliott says:

    Is there an upgrade kit for the k46 transaxle? I plan on buying a Cub Cadet LT with a 42″ wide mower deck. I plan on using it to mow and pull a 15gal. trailer type sprayer. Will the K46 ever need servicing if I use it as stated? If there is an upgrade kit, what does it consist of and what is the cost?

    • ggraham says:

      Hello, Mr. Elliott,
      I am sorry but we do not have upgrade kits. If you need to talk with a service rep, however, you can call at 866.572.3441

  • RL Golden says:

    I own the John Deere L-120 and the transmission has failed. Imagine that? Any design that requires you to have to remove the transmission to replace the fluid is pure BS. The John Deere Manual says, “The transmission is a sealed unit that requires no maintenance” To add insult to injury they want to charge me more for a replacement than the mower is worth, knowing it won’t last either? Last John Deere anything I will ever own.

    • ggraham says:

      Hello Mr. Golden,

      We will be happy to help with your question about our oil. Please contact our professional service team and they will assist you in finding the information you require. They can be reached at (866) 572-3441 or my email at Have a great day!

  • joseph john says:

    hai dear,which oil using K46 gear box.(grade) .equipment using in gulf contry.

  • Richard says:

    Gentelmen…good mornin…heres the prob.John Deere l 118 2006 year mod…..mower working fine…needed to replace cooling fan…so i did according to procedure…mission acomplished…hoped on mower , and now no forward or reverse…replaced drive belt and drive idler ,and tension pulley asembley….no change…Now i did jack up and purge system and got slight movement but no torque…pullin my hair out in Texas…!!!!!!

  • Larry Conley says:

    I am having problems with my John Deere L130 tractor transmission slipping. Belt and pulleys are new. My tractor is a 2004 and is in very good condition. If I remove the transmission and change the oil can I drain most of the old oil from the top plug. I have observed someone trying to suck out the oil but he only got about a pint out. I may end up rebuilding or replacing the transmission but I would like to try oil first . If I have to replace the transmission should I upgrade to a k66 or another k46. If I have to replace the transmission I will contact you for what transmission will fit my tractor.

    • Hello Mr. Conley. Thanks for your message. While I am happy to help any way I can, you have several questions here that would be best answers by one of our service professionals. You can reach them at or toll-free at (866) 572-3441. They can give you recommendations on how to properly do an effective oil change and/or what would be best to check in the unit to see if repair or replacement is recommended. I hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you need anything further. Have a great day!

      • Keith says:

        Oil for pump tank 214 t mower drives power pump type of oil

        • ggraham says:

          I would need a little more information to help you. I need the serial number of the pump to know which one it is so I can get you the information on oil.

  • My Tuff Torq Login