801-038B Peerless Transmission

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801-038B Peerless Transmission

Dave M. I have a 1987 JD Lawn tractor with an 801-038B Peerless transmission. I replaced the transmission with a new one just about 2 years ago. This summer while mowing the lawn I noticed it starting to have a lot of free play while in motion. (Stopping and hesitating) This winter while snow blowing, the transmission started skipping (move than not move in any gear except reverse) Fifty percent of the time it won't move, than it seems to catch. I've had the thing apart 3 times now and just can't find anything worn or broken. At first teardown of the unit I assumed it might have been the input shaft gear not fully meshing, but I see no signs of wear. With the case apart, when I turn the gear that the input shaft gear turns, it seems like there is an awful lot of free play before the axle turns. Also, it seems difficult much of the time to get in gear. The belts and idler pulleys are fine. I'm at wits end. Any help will be much appreciated.

daviddude how many gears is it? and is it h-pattern? or, inline shift pattern
Dave M. It's an in line patern, 5 speed, reverse, and 5 forward. it's on a John Deere 180 D Lawn tractor.
daviddude no offense but, gawd i hate them peerless inline shift trannys. anyways, on both gearshafts look for sloppy/worndown bosses that drives the gears thats 1 prob. number 2 is look for sloppy gearsliders where they slide on shaft back and forth.no3 is to look at gears themselves for worn engagement dogs on gears thts will cause trans to mis-shift and jump out of gear when moving take day off, take tranny apart, wash everything out including case. slide gears onto shaft over drive pins/bosses casted on shafts the gear must grab boss without any back and forth slop. i know this is a dumb question but, do you de-clutch when shifting? you wont believe how many ppl whos inline trannys i worked on thought you diddnt have to so, no offense
Dave M. Ok, I'll do as you say. I've had the case all apart,gears, everything, washed, ect.. and inspected every spline, gear, key.ect... and didn't find anything unusual, but I'll re-check everything again. and yes I do de-clutch, non offence taken. I consider myself a fairly good mechanic, as that's all I've ever trained for in my life.30 plus years exp.

Get back to you after I go through it again.

Dave M. Davedude, I took the tranny apart and washed every piece one at a time, as I've done before. What I think might be my problem, as I suspected before are the four slider keys that ingauge the gears one at a time. The reverse or backside of the keys are nice and square, these ingauge the reverse, and that's why I have no problem with reverse. However, the front side of all these keys seem to be rounded off, not completely but enough that I think when I'm in any forward gear, that the inside of the gear, no matter which one I'm in, pushes the key down, back into the groove, alowing the gear to slip. I'm going to order new keys and see if that fixes my problem. Every other part inside looks great. Thanks for your replies and fresh insite. I'll drop you a line to let you know if that was the problem.

daviddude ok. let me know how ya do
Dave M Daviddude, Guess what? I put in 4 new key sliders, 5 new washers (thrust washers they call them)a new seal and push nut for the shifter, and all is better than new, actually better than it ever was. Like I said, it was suppose to be new when I bought it 2 years ago, and it was always difficult to get in gear. After looking at all the parts, how the were first installed, I found they put the shift collar in backwards, which really doesn't let in lock in reverse, or in fifth gear.I also modified the bottom half of the case with a threaded fill plug because I'd rather run 85-90 weight gear oil in it, instead of the grease. I live in Northern Vermont, and the winters can get as cold as 75 below zero, with the wind chill factor. Thanks again for your replies, and opinions!

Dave M.

daviddude excellent!!! good job. glad you got her going again.
bontai Joe I think you are probably ok with 85-90 weight gear oil, but you should know that wind chill has no effect on internal lubricions. It only reacts to actual temp. which in you neck of the woods can still get gosh darn cold.
julien Je suis à la recherche d'une boite à vitesse 801 038B ou de pieces détachées , neuf ou occasion pour mon tracteur john deere 160. merci d'avance
Jim K. Dave M,

Are you sure the Peerless 801-038B has 4 slider keys??? I'd sure like to convert my 801-008B from two to four keys, but I was told the EDM machining is too complex ($300) unless they cut through the spline at the end of the shaft. All the power is transmitted through a gear on that spline and the spline is already missing teeth from the two existing slots. Maybe the slider shaft from the 801-038B will fit the 801-008B.

The other option I'm exploring is changing to a Peerless 820-series transmission. It has 4 shift keys and steel as opposed to cast iron gears. It is also rated for use with blades and plows, whereas the 801-series is not.


Jim K.

James P. I also have a problem w/this transmission, Re: will not stay in reverse, it justs keeps slipping and will not engage. I have taken the tranny apart and cleaned everything. There is no broken teeth on the gears and the slider keys travel without any binding and the forward gears all work.
I took shaft w/all the gears to martin equipment to have their service department look to see if there was a problem w/reverse gear been worn or the shift keys been too worn ( shift keys for forward have a little wear, but mechanic siad it was good)
I put the tranny back together and found I still had the same problem, reverse would still not engage. PLEASE HELP

John Volkmer I have this type of transmission in a White lawn mower. I have a surging, almost like a gear was missing teeth. Could the shift gears cause this? I used to pull a home made roler with it, and I think I may have over stressed the transmission.
Thanks, John

John Volkmer I have this type of transmission in a White lawn mower. I have a surging, almost like a gear was missing teeth. Could the slider teeth cause this? I used to pull a home made roller with it, and I think I may have over stressed the transmission.
Thanks, John

Vic I have the same surging in my John Deere 180 which has the Peerless 801 - 038B transmission. Were you able to correct your problem?
Jeremy I have the same symptoms as Dave M. I have my 801-038B tranny apart. I suspect the slider keys. What should the slider keys look like? Mine are triangular. Dave M mentioned one side was square and the other side worn. I would think they need to be triangular to help push it under the individual gears. Thanks for any help you can provide. Jeremy
mjp hey Dave M, i have the same problem and found out yesterday that the keys were rounded in the forward gears, but where did u get all the new shift keys and other parts,from J D?
Ron I found the parts at this site.

BJL Hi Ron - looking at the parts list & drawing (Outdoor Distributors) I cannot determine scecifically which parts are to be replaced. Can you advise part numbers? Thanx, BJL
Stix My transmission will not stay in reverse - John Deere 180 Lawn tractor with 801 038B Peerless.

I serviced the transmission (new grease, thrust washers, keys (4), and seals). First time it was serviced in 21 years. Gears looked good then and still do. Based upon what was discussed above I believe I have the shift collar backwards.

Ever since I serviced the tranny it has problems staying in reverse. No worn or damaged parts are visible. This winter plowing snow was impossible with out reverse. I even removed the shift guide to try and force the shift lever further over than what the shift guide allowed (which didn't work).

Thank you all for reporting your problems... I'm off to fix (hopefully) the problem.!

Stix Its fixed. Reversed the collar and reverse works as expected, all the time!
Joe Guess what... 3rd gear wouldn't work well, jumped. All other gears were just fine. I thought that I would replace all the shift keys (4) now only reverse runs well, 1-5 surge and jump out of gear?! Everything looks good, new grease, new keys, replace the seals. Worse than before any ideas??
Bob MY Craftsman lawn tractor goes forward in reverse gear and backward in the forward gears, any reason why?
George I have a 1988 JD160 with tranny problem. I was pulling an areator on a steep incline and something snapped. It still drives but acts like it is missing some teeth on all gears. This is my second tranny ( I know I should have leared after the first one) So now I have two broken 801-38a's sitting in my garage.

On a scale of 1-10. How hard is repairing one of these? This was my father tractor so I am prepared to spent the $500 = for a new one but want to look at other options.

Thanks in advance

Robert Kloc Does anybody know which way the thrust washers go in. They re slightly concave on one side. Does the concave side go toward the left or or toward the shifter? This is with it sitting on the work bench with the shifter and sliders nearest. and the axle furthest away as it sits on the bench
Glenn Caton Slightly different question, but I stripped down and re built my Peerless 801, replacing the spider gears and all fitted all new rubber seals. I have discovered that I have a leak from the area around the brake disc shaft and therefore grease is getting onto the brake pads and rendering them useless. I used recommended gaskit sealant and grease, anyone any idea where I have gone wrong please?

Many thanks

Doug Have yyou recently replced the belt?
Gordon David M.-Definitely was shift key issue. Was unit purchased from reputable peerless dealer? Peerless does not recommend oil in this unit, the case and seals will not retain oil. if oil is use, prepare for leaks. Also, extreme cold will affect shifting with oil or grease.
Jim K.- Upgrade your trans to the 801-008E. It is 4 key unit, replaces the "A" version. An 820 series will require major mods.
To all: Peerless transaxles are not sdesign\ed to shift on the fly. Would you power shift your car or truck? Failing to declutch will damage the keys and gears. Declutch with every shift. Also, for slipping and surging issues, check belts and linkages first, a belt may look ok but if it has any shiny spots (glazing) they can slip. Al;so check all linkages and clutch springs to insure full engage/disengagements, or damage will occur.
Bob- Check your belt and linkage. Sounds like belt routing is wrong or belt inverted causing reversed input direction.
R. Kloc-Shift washers should be installed with the rouinded or bump side facing the shift keys and collar. The cupped side should face away.
Glenn- Peerless recommends a bead of sealant from the shaft pocket to the 1st bolt on either sides. also make sure the oring didn't get pinched or damaged. Hope this helps all. God Bless.

bryan My John Deere 180 has a a Peerless 801-039 transaxle...I opened up the transaxle and it needs at least $250 of parts. What other transaxles will fit into the JD 180 and who sells re-furbished transaxles.


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