Bought a Troybilt 634K-ProLine tiller, UNHAPPY :(

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by gardentalk, May 15, 2006.

  1. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I were all excited. We received a small windfall in the mail, and know that we need a tiller like YESTERDAY. I have a bulging disk in my neck, so digging with a shovel and breaking up the soil with it just eats up my upper back. Anyway, we spent $850+ on that thing at Lowes (will never buy a tiller from a store again). The instructions are poorly written, the illustrations sparce and incorrect at times. Now, I think Briggs & Stratton engines are durable and nice-looking, but I'm wondering why the hell they put TWO "low oil fill" in there (along with the "high oil fill" where you check your oil)? One of the lower ones you can't even access unless you use a long-necked funnel. The sparkplug is very hard to get to. It's somewhat buried under the cage that protects hands from the exhaust. You practically have to remove the exhaust cage in order to remove the sparkplug and its cover. I know, I know, those are peddly complaints. My BIGGEST COMPLAINTS, though, pertain to the tiller in motion. Why on Earth did Troybilt design a tiller that goes in reverse only when you pull on a cable? That's so old-fashioned-like. They could have just built a shifting system (like a tiller I rented several weeks ago had, which was nice). I can just see that cable snapping some day. And, why did they not include a multiple-speed transmission with this expensive beast? It only goes one speed. In order to make it go any faster you either need to mess with the governor (which I'm not going to do) or remove the cotter pins to the wheels. Silly. Probably the WORST aspect of this tiller, in my opinion, is that the tines are forward moving. It is nice that it's a rear-tine tiller, but still.....The damn thing constantly hops and skips (they should have dressed it in a flower dress, with ribbons in its hair). I looked like I was riding a rodeo out there. :) I told my wife I wasn't going to complain too much since it IS a lot better than tilling a garden by hand. And, it took me a long time to get that thing together so I'm not going to return it to the store. I may just not return to Lowes at all, ever :p
     
  2. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    please don't take this as an arguement, i am just "thinking out loud" as to why some of this is as such.

    the reverse mechanism is active only when you pull on it. i believe this is a safety feature that would prevent someone from being tilled into the earth if they happen to fall down while in reverse. i think troybuilt marketed to older folks for a while. i remember seeing older folks on tv running the machine with one hand...as if.

    my troybuilt finally died this year after 20-25 years of service. the rod came through the case. for the 20-25 years of service, it ran great...mostly. my model had a carberator that kept coming loose. it was designed in such a way that the fuel tank was in the way of the bolts. i hated that. i eventually had to use blue locktite on the carb bolts.

    i have a friend who bought a new honda tiller. it is big and has forward and reverse tine gears. i was surprised that his reverse tines feature seemed to bounce on rocks more than the forward. as far as using the forward tines...be patient. once you bust through the sod and weeds and roots and such, it should get better. any rock the size of a childs fist or bigger will give you a jolt if you hit it. my tiller would jump two feet when i hit a rock. in that case i sort of liked the reverse set-up. i would pull the handle, no need to flip a lever and then release it when i got back to where i was. i think that is easier than shifting levers but to each his own.

    i am always in a hurry but i learned to break sod slowly and with a shallow setting. i worked to depth gradually. once you get it loosened a bit it should mix like cake batter.
     

  3. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    $850+ ???? How many horse. My replacement engine ran $600 with shipping and no labor as son did that. Troy I have is old, how old???? But a Troy Horse 8 HP. I have electric start so that ran it up. It is 4 speed but only two till you move the belt over then has another two. I run in the lowest and it take time to get to the field but can be shifted. Reverse as Meloc says is safety that it backs up only when you made it do it. Mine is on the shift and have to press it upward. Which takes it out of gear. Then shift back into to forward. (I have an old Sears walking tractor and they nevet even put a reverse in it. )

    I just had a round checking oil in mine B and S engine. It has two oil filer plugs and the two drains. Then has the other oil deal but mine does not have a oil check guage on it. You check oil by opening a filler plug. But to fill it you can get a fennel in to the one where would be guage and fill easier. Have a plug open and fill till it starts running out. Mine takes a screw driver to open the extra deal. Just now got about 5 hours on the engine. This engine is new to me. I need to change oil. So far I have not looked to where the spark plug is. I do know this new B and S engine is more blanced on the tiller than the old one.

    Once you get rocks, stumps, roots and such out it will work better. Then wind stuff up in the tines and has a to be cut out. I had to make handle pads for it as my hands got so sore the first year. And the shift would dig into my hand so bad and hurt I put pads on it. Laugh if you want but not funny to me and my tiller may look odd but sure did help. Arthritis and female and 74 and I run this tiller. Big garden. There are things I do not like on Troy and one is can not shut off the tines. Could on the Ariens. But it has more power it seems. Each one will have different things and draw backs I guess. You can't do it in one pass over.
     
  4. Jennifer Brewer

    Jennifer Brewer Jennifer

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    Troy buiilt is not the quality that it once was, the company was bought out by another that makes cheap things for walmart. I wish I could remember the name.
     
  5. Kee Wan

    Kee Wan Well-Known Member

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    I woudl suggest that even if you are not going to return the thing (and I certainly cannot blame you there) and even if you don't plan on returning to Lowes (and I don't necessarily dissagree with you there either) that you at least contact the store or the manufacturer and express your displeasure. If the store doens't know that people are unhappy, thery cannot make improvements. If the manufacturer has contracted out for the insturctions, they may not know just HOW inadequate they are.

    You could wind up making an improvement in someone elses life later on if you just amke your complaints to Lowes and to the manufacturer....

    That said - thanks for the heads up.
     
  6. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    I think it's 8HP. No question, the tines MOVE! It actually scares me how fast they move. I sincerley hope I never get my foot or leg caught in there. It's a blur, that's how fast the tines move. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it isn't. Personally I think they should have included a slower speed (for the tines). So far in the hours and hours I've spent tilling this garden I've not run into many rocks. I think what's making the tiller jump so much (aside from the fact that the tines move in the same direction as the wheels) is that the ground is bumpy. I hate to come off as a complainer, because there is no way with the neck problems I am having that I could have gotten this garden done without the tiller. It's nice being able to till when <I> want to till, not because the thing is due back to the rental place tomorrow. :) That said, I about :Bawling: (and I'm a guy) today when I went out there and was able to pretty easily use the hoe to create the furrows where see will go. :angel:
     
  7. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

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    Jennifer, it is MTD. The same company does Yard Machines, Ryobi, Bolens, Troy-Bilt, McCulloch, Huskee and White Outdoor.

    We do the biggest part of our tilling with a 58" wide Kuhn tiller for our tractor and it jumps quite a bit when it hits a rock.

    We also just aquired an old Troy-Bilt like what Meloc has described. That thing is quite rugged and heavy but the previous owner (74 years and going) said it used to belong to his mother and she could use it with one hand. We will see.
     
  8. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible that the 634K-ProLine's tines are supposed to move BACKWARDS when the tiller is going forward, and because they are going FORWARD instead THAT is the reason the tiller pulls as strongly and erratically as it does? Check out this thread

    My username is the same on that site.
     
  9. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    My two troys are are fifteen and twenty years old. I just put two sparkplugs in mine the other day. First time ever. I've never changed the oil in them ever. I'm going to do that this week. Plugs are really easy to get at. In fact one I took off with an open end wrench. I keep them out of the weather in a shed, but every spring when I start them, they start on the first pull. I just replaced the forward drive belt on the 5 horse. removed to screws from the cover and put the six dollar belt on in five minutes. Very simple. That tiller I bought new in 1987. There are two drain plugs to drain oil. You only need to drain it from one side. There is a gear oil drain, and a separate gear oil fill plug. If you add gear oil in the gear oil fill hole, you have to have the gear oil drain plug open so that you know when it is full. The regular oil should flow out of the fill hole when it is filled properly. Just seeing the oil isn't enough. It has to filled to overflowing. I don't know what the quality of the newer MTD models is. There is no way that any company could compare to the original. I do rototill my garden using one finger to guide my tiller. Obviously turning it requires more effort. The tines need to turn in the same direction as the tires though. Otherwise you'd be pushing the soil in front of the tiller. When you start tilling, it is important to till on the shallowest setting and then go back over it on the next setting, and so on. I too have a neck problem. Nerve damage. I can relate to that for sure.
     
  10. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Troy-Bilt makes both forward-rotating and counter-rotating tillers. The later are designed for heavier soils. The smart thing to do is buy whichever best suits your needs. Sounds like what was needed here was a Pro Line CRT, not a Pro Line FRT. A week ago, friend rented a Troy-Bilt FRT to do his community plot. Took him awhile to get the hang of it. Before long, he was volunteering to till everyone else's plot as well!

    Martin
     
  11. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Alright, everyone. I feel better now. My problem is that I want to get this garden tilled up NOW, and it's clearly not going to work that way. :)
     
  12. rggambrell

    rggambrell Well-Known Member

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    Yes,MTD now makes Troybilt.It's now the same quality as the older machines. But after saying this, I use a 5hp front tine tiller and it does just fine. The trick is to not get in a hurry and let the tiller do the work.
     
  13. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Today I attempted to till again. When I set it close to turtle speed, the tines themselves move too slow to get much done. When I set the tines at a smaller depth, they don't get enough of the soil. Of course, it doesn't help that we've had rain for I don't know HOW many days in a row. The rain seems to be gone now for the next week or so, save a small shower here or there. Still, the soil is damp enough to make dirtballs if you squeeze it in your hand. When I set the tines to a deep depth (after making a couple of passes at a shallow depth, the tiller STILL threw me around (and I wasn't pressing down on the handlebar or anything) like I was riding a bull. It's frustrating, even when I go painstakingly slow on this. I have a feeling there isn't enough weight at the engine-end of the tiller.
     
  14. Real Hawkeye

    Real Hawkeye Well-Known Member

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    I hated my Sears tiller. It only lasted one season, though, so I am rid of it. It gradually destroyed itself. Was real hard to use, requiring nearly as much strength and energy as I would use with a shovel anyway. What is the best tiller for someone who doesn't want to put in so much muscle work?
     
  15. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    I check on my new engine where the sparkplug is. As have not need to remove but looks like long thin socket and extention and ratchet. Do not know if I have an extention. IT will be fun learning how it is done.

    My tiller is heavy, starter, generator and battery add more. It could well be you need more wt. At least when just starting the tilling. Are you double tilling?? Till a stripe and move half over and do the next strip each time. So all gets it double going over once.. Mine leaves ditch other wise. I did 12 rows yesterday each up and down twice so 2400 feet of tilling. Slowest it goes.
     
  16. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Colorado, I'll give that a shot. I've thought that double-tilling like that made it easier in general to break up the soil. We're forecasted to not get rain for a week or so. YES!!!
     
  17. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    The part under the gear box does not get tilled in the center. Tines miss it of course. I tried to till some onions yesterday and ground too hard. I could do in time but I tossed in the water and then will get it hopefully before too dry. Not tilled this year and onions from last year and horseradish and garlic. In 90's shere. I had watered it several time but this heat now is baking it.
     
  18. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Hawkeye, the tiller I rented weeks ago was a Honda. Really enjoyed that thing. It was a rear-tine, and the tines moved backwards. Worked WONDERFULLY. In fact, I don't think this will fly, but I am tempted to make an offer of a trade in the $850 634K ProLine tiller for the ol' beatup Honda tiller they had.
     
  19. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

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    Man oh man, am I glad I didn't buy a Troybuilt! I'm the tiller in my family and we have a Mantis. Laugh all you want, we've had it 4 years and it is a work horse. I'm 5'4" and I can start it MYSELF w/o hubbies help. We broke it in 4 yrs. ago on 1/2 acre garden. Since then it has prepared 1/4 acre asparagus patch, continuous garden areas (expanded to 2 acres at one time!), dug a patio this winter/spring (l7x20), prepared a formal rose garden this spring for daughter's grad party (10x35) and never let me down. I argued for a T-built, but hubby had doubts I could handle anything that big no matter how convincing their ads were. That's one battle he won and I'm very satisfied. Li'l devil does a great job for us - soil at one place we lived nothing but rock-hard clay. Much, much better ground where we are now. Ohyeah, we also planted 3 1/2 rows of triple crown blackberries, 50 ft. each with it last year. Out of grass/sod. Also used it to plant our peaches (45) and apples (75) we put in as new stock in our orchard. I wouldn't be without it. I just pop it in our old golf cart and away I go.
     
  20. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Well I've only run a tiller once before and it was a beast to run, I imagine most of them are. As for the oil filling, on a briggs you can remove either of the "low" oil fill plugs and with the engine level, fill until oil spills out. Or some engines like you indicated have a dipstick mounted vertically that you can use to check the oil and fill through. Either way works. They put plugs on both sides because of the many different types of equipment that use the engine.