Peerless transaxle in Murray - bad shift keys?

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Peerless transaxle in Murray - bad shift keys?

Ed I have a Murray 52" garden tractor 52100x92a. The 5-speed with reverse transaxle is marked 820 037 Peerless 9118 0250. It started to not move or move very jerkily (like it was coming in and out of gear) in all of the forward gears, starting with 5th and then moving down through them all. It has about 200 hours on it across 5 or so years of service.

Olds455 thought that perhaps it was a belt tension problem or bad shift keys inside the transaxle when I first wrote about this maybe a month ago. The belt looked fine and seemed to turn the transaxle pulley without slipping, so I dropped the transaxle and looked inside. All of the gears looked pristine - still with hatch marks and everything as if they were new.

The only thing that I remain completely unsure about is the shift keys that he mentioned. How can I tell if they are damaged in some way? I suppose that I was expecting some long rectangular pieces of solid steel (sort of like the Woodruff keys that ensure that my rear tires turn when the axles do), but what I see are keys that start out solid but then thin down to what is almost like spring steel where the thin portion wants to be to the outer edges of the shifter & brake shaft. Is this what this is supposed to look like? I haven't taken the gears off of the shifter & brake shaft to fully remove the shifter keys - that's next. Any tricks there?

Also, what sort of grease do I put back in there? The diagram shows 32 oz of Bentonite grease, but I haven't ever heard of such a thing. How much grease should I put in there? Please advise. Thanks!

leon ragain the shift keys can get wore on the very ends and cause your problem they are not hard to take out.
you just lift both shafts out together they are attached together with a roller chain.
take them apart and lay them down in order and when you assemble it just do everything in reverse.
you can just use regular wheel bearing grease in a tube for lubrication.
when you reassemble shafts the bronze bearings have tabs that need to be in the right location to lock the shafts in the right location.
if you need any help on it you can call me on my cell phone and i would be glad to talk you through dismantling and assembling.
you also need to check main pinion drive gear and driven gear for wear . also the bearins on shaft for main drive gear.
leon ragain

Vernon Leon,

Where can these shift key be purchased? Since I have the same unit with the same problem. I would like to try repairing before replacing.

Ed Stefan I purchased mine (there are four of them) from Oscar Wilson, but I know that they were also available from the local authorized repair shop. Be sure to also purchase the required Tecumseh-branded graphite lube. It was a very, very straight-forward repair that saved me about $500. I was amazed at how little wear existed on the old keys, but I suppose enough to make the difference. These things are quite obviously the weakest link in this transaxle. The new keys worked great! Good luck! BTW, if I had realized it, I might have considered converting my transaxle to the six speed version - all it takes is replacing a spacer with a gear and possibly a smaller spacer. Sure would have been nice to be able to enter "transport mode" at a higher clip...
Ed Stefan One more thing...when you take yours apart, be very, very careful to keep track of the ball bearing and spring under the toothed gear selector - it's very, very easy to lose especially the ball. Without it, though, there won't be any staying in the same gear in the future.
Mark I have the same issue with my transaxle. Can you give me a phone number where you purchased your shift keys? Were there any installation issues that proved troublesome? I have the same peerless model. I've located a brand new 6 speed model for $200, but am concerned about the conversion. It too is a 820 series number.
Ed Stefan I purchased my shift keys from Oscar Wilson at 800-873-6726. You'll also want to pick up a tube of the Tecumseh grease that goes in the transaxle case from them and have a tube of RTV blue or similar form a gasket to ensure the positive sealing of the transaxle when all is said and done. I just wiped everything out of the unit and replaced it with the new grease. The only issue that I experienced with the install was the placement of the ball bearing that serves as the positive shift stop between gears. Basically, you have to have this ball stay in place during assembly, but you can't have access to it anymore since it is inside the case as you are bolting everything back up. To solve this problem, I held the ball bearing in place using a pencil magnet (you know, the little parts magnet at the end of those telescoping pointers like the one at You have easy access to hold the ball in place using the hole that the gear selector goes into.

The $200 number that you have for a new 6 speed sure would be tempting - the only difference is that that one will have a sixth gear in place of the spacer that you have in your current transaxle. As far as the "conversion" goes, that will likely basically amount to nothing if you wanted it that way. What I mean is that the gear selector that you have is designed to go from Reverse and then from first to fifth gear. To get to 6th gear, I would think that you'd need more travel for the gear selector that you'd have to get by chopping a longer slot where your handle goes. I wouldn't mess with it since it would likely look really, really bad and would just hope that the existing travel was adequate to get to 6th and if not, just live with the fact that I'd only have five gears, just like before. Total cost with this repair project is about $70. It sounds like you'll just have to determine whether you want to spend the time taking the current unit apart. Good luck!

mark Great tips, and thanks for the quick response. A "brand new" transaxle is financially out of the question, but I may go with the 6 speed, as it's waranted. Thanks again, Mark
JOHN ENGEL I have an old one here but I took good care of it and it still runs great. However I was lubing and greasing the deck and adjusting the clutch when I notice next to the shifting lever on on the peerless transaxle there is a red screw on top of a star washer.Being it was painted red I believe it probably for oiling or greasing. If it is i would like to know which one and what product to apply? MODLE 38706x99a with a peerless 5 speed transaxle.Bought it in 1996.
Justin C. Young Sr I have a Murry Select rider mower that was given to me. It has no movement or motion when put into gear. The belt is turning the pulley on top of the tranaxle, with no noise or sound of internal movement. Can this be repaired? If ao ia there a repair manual for this? The number on the transaxle is Peerleass 205-024C Tecumseh. All info given is appreciated.
chris Does anyone know a number or website to get the shift keys and about how much they are?
dennys i cant get my case apart any suggestions
Rob Denny: I just purchased my replacement part at outdoor Distributors on line. The shift keys are $15.63 for set of two and the 32 oz bentonite grease was $16.51 They also carry a repair manual for the Tecumseh & Peerless transmissions $ 9.40

Rob Denny: there are bolts all around the case but if you look in the middle of the case, there is a deep pocket there is a bolt in there also, you also have a snap ring at the bottom of the input shaft and a spring washer on the shift shaft. If you have all of this done, take a putty knife and follow the seam around the outside. this should open the two parts

Bobby L. Smith I need to replace mine, the numbers on the metal tag is 930011-21190212. I cannot locate one, let me know how much and where to get one.

Zac Baldwin i was reading this and u said about the ball berring for the shift thing i recently redid my transaxle so i know wat im talkin about when putting the transaxle back together DO NOT put the ball and spring in put it back together then where the ball and spring went there will be a hex bolt on the case u just undo that and drop in the ball then the spring then put hex bolt back in
Dan Cross Hi Guys I have a murray rideon doing a similar thing only sometimes it seems to lock in more than one gear preventing drive. Could the shift keys mentioned also cause this problem?
Gary Banta I have an almost identical question to Justin's above....
I have a 1996 Murray 5 speed and was pulling my 3 small children behind in a garden trailer. I stopped momentarily and then could get no more movement forward or reverse. It has no movement or motion when put into gear. The belt is turning the pulley on top of the transaxle, with no noise or sound of internal movement. Can't figure out what may have happened. Can this be repaired? If so, is there a repair manual for this? The number on the transaxle is Peerless 205-024C. All info given is appreciated. Thanks! 4-13-09

Peter Green Justin and Gary; have a look if the axis is moving together with the pulley. The coupling between them can wear out or break. If the axis is not moving, remove the pulley and examine.
ronnie byrne can anyone help me with sourcing a peerless 205-025C i have tried every place
wayne my problem is i have all forward gears but no reverse. when shit lever is moved to reverse there is no response. is their an adjustment for the shifter, it feels as if reverse never engages. there is an adjusting nut where shit lever connects to peerless. which way schould i move nut to engage reverse without losing forward drive. thanks.
Jerry Wilson Hi all, I have an 04 murry select with a 6-speed.
I go to put it in gear and nothing happens, forward or reverse. As I'm a poor man in todays economy, I will have to pull it out myself and open it up. I am mechanically inclined, but this is all new to me. Will I regret this action, or will I muddle thru this and find the problem.
All answers will be helpful, thanks yall.
Best wishes to you and yours.

phil my problem is that my murray lawn tractor with a peerless transaxle slips while moving forward it wont move forward when cold outside, i use it to plow snow in winter and cut grsss in summer it hasnt given me any problems in reverse any answers would be helpful
matt kadwell Jerry, I would go ahead and drop the transaxle, its not that hard if you are patient. Just keep track of how it goes together....and make sure you get every single bolt out of the transaxle case, they usually hide one or two in the middle of the case on the opposide side that most of the bolts are on, I missed one bolt and spent a hour trying to pry the case apart! Reassembly goes smoothly, all the gear assemblies just drop into place within the case, add new gear oil, scrape off the old silicone gasket material, apply new silicone RTV, and bolt back together. When you get the case apart, try moving the shift lever to various gears and turning the axle, all the gears should rotate in the case....if not, look for the shift keys near the shifter mechanism, wear on the ends can cause the transaxle to not engage gears. Also, as someone else mentioned, check right after you drop the transaxle, if you rotate the main pully that the drive belt goes the axles turn or does the pully just rotate freely on the input axle on top of the transaxle? if so, the key could be broken that locks the pully to the shaft....good luck!
Sammy I have a 1998 model Murray garden tractor, it doesn't matter what gear I put it in, it acts like its stuck in 6th, you have to very easily let out on the clutch or it will stand up and try to throw you off of it, I got it going and it was moving about 45 mph or so it seemed down my yard, shifted from 1st, to 2nd, and so on all the way to 6th, then back to first and no change in speed. Reverse works like it should, but my forward gears don't, is there something stuck or frozen inside the tranny, or what can be done to fix it?
Thank you

Jay Phil did you ever get a fix for your tractor? I have the same problem. Shifts fine in the summer in winter during plowing it will not always go in gear.
Steven Seideman I have a different transaxle but you all can probably respond to my question. i have a 6 speed but I only get 4 to work. Is this a prblem with the shift keys or did I reinstall the gears incorrectly?
Steve Seideman I have an old craftsman mower with the 1 inch axles. It is a Perrless 820 series. I have had it apart several times and cannot figure out my problem. I have reverse but no forward gears. When I turn off the motor, I cannot push it forward in any gear but I can push it in neutral. I have replaced many parts but not the shift keys? Can anyone offer any advice. This has been a two year project and is getting old. When I have it open and turn the axles, the gears and shift keys appear to be doing their job and working fine.

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