View Full Version : Eaton transaxles-Ferris

01-12-2012, 06:12 PM
Probably going to piss some one off here, but having issues with those that claim they know versus those that actually know.....Here we go. I've got three Ferris walkers, two DDS units and one single circa 2002. All have been outstanding units. My deal is this, the single drive has no filter, pretty much a sealed unit but has had the fluid swapped out four or five years ago. That was done with hydro fluid, not SAE30 engine oil. The DDS units now need their fluid swapped out, but several service centers claim SAE30 engine oil is what they use for fluid replacement. The service bulletins from Eaton mention hydraulic fluids for their transaxles.....but nothing definitive. Listen, engine oil is just that..engine oil. Its life cycle is limited due to its composition, operating temperatures and subjection to contamination(carbon). Hydraulic oil is specifically designed for transaxles that operate under such conditions as high temperatures, high pressure and basic extreme conditions that regulate how it is manufactured... specifications of its composition due to its designated use. Why then do I get this push-back from dealers that swear engine oil(SAE30) is ok for these units? I can think of only one reason they want SAE30 in these units...service money......year after year after year. Has anyone ever taken this battle on with your dealer....if so how did you resolve it? I don't know enough to swap my transaxle fluids out myself.....to risky...best left to those that do it daily. But if this is wrong, and I believe that it is how do ya win this arguement? ANYBODY....?

01-12-2012, 08:21 PM
I got a snapper 36" with integrated drive that is probably the same as the Ferris. We use synethic 10W30 and that was suggested by dealer. They are not complcated to change the oil but they DO need frequent change. These integrated units can be repaired but ...some dealer can't do that and they are costly new. All you do is take the filter off and it drains. The tricky part is the vent screw that is at the top of the assembly is a little hard to get too. If you don't get that plug out it will take forever to get fluid back in

01-12-2012, 09:00 PM
You reason is wrong. Eaton has recommended SAE 20 for many of the product that are in OPE. That differs widely from the OEM recommendations. They could, and do, call for engine oil. SAE 30 will do no harm. It in fact will help seal internal parts of the pump better than a thinner viscosity hydro oil. Higher viscosity oil can actually lower operating temps for that reason. Many recommend synthectic because many others do.
I like the idea of synthectics due to resistance to break down, but not the staggering cost. The attached is off the dealer website. I hope you will at least read it. But, since I'm a dealer, by proxy, I too am a liar :laugh:

01-12-2012, 10:29 PM
OooK, Let's really stir this pot up !

From Eaton's service manual;

Fluid Recommendations
Use premium hydraulic oil having a viscosity equivalent to
SAE 20w-20, SAE 30 or SAE 40.
The fluid should be chemically stable, incorporating rust and
oxidation inhibitors.
A reputable supplier can help you make the best selection of
hydraulic fluid for use in your Eaton transaxle.
Note: If the natural color of the fluid has become black or
milky, it is possible that an overheating or water contamination
problem exists.

The key words above are "hydraulic oil/fluid" and "equivalent"......

Here's a blurb on the difference between ISO in which most hydraulic oils are graded and SAE which is engine oil grading;

Grading Systems
The ISO system uses a viscosity measuring approach that is designed according to the number of centistokes the fluid presents at 40 degrees Celsius. A centistoke is a measure of a fluid's kinematic viscosity. For example, ISO grade 32 will be measured at 32 centistokes at 40 degrees Celsius.

The SAE system uses an entirely different approach centred on how long it takes for a certain amount of oil to flow through a certain space at certain temperatures. The longer it takes to flow, the higher the viscosity.

With that info now on the table here's a conversion from ISO to SAE;

Most ISO grades have equivalent SAE grades. ISO 32 = SAE 10W, ISO 46 = SAE 10, ISO 68 = SAE 20, ISO 100 = SAE 30, ISO 150 = SAE 40 and ISO 220 = SAE 50.

Sooo...... The question remains, Do you run the ISO 100 "hydraulic oil/fluid equivalent" to SAE 30 per Eaton, Or SAE 30 engine oil per the equipment OEM ?

Confused yet ?

Call Eaton @ 612-937-9800 and get it straight from the horse's mouth.

The service bulletins from Eaton mention hydraulic fluids for their transaxles.....

Some equipment OEM's are slow at forwarding part service bulletins to their dealers, Some dealers don't take the time to read them even if they get them. Take a copy of this service bulletin to your dealer. Be careful afterwards, They could get pi$$ed with you show'n them up if that's the case.

Good Luck.....

01-13-2012, 10:08 AM
The manufacturers (OEM) usually determines which oil/fluid is correct for their system.
The posted chart is from Ferris. I would be more concerned about what is really in the system now, and keep it consistant.

01-13-2012, 10:41 AM
A note on following rules: I had two Super Z's one I switched to Mobil1 15w50 at 500hrs (Hydros) I was told I could but not recommended the other I took their advice regular oil with Lubrizol. Lubrizol is the bomb I'm told. 1st Ztr 2000hrs no hydro issues 2nd with their advice multiple failures starting at 290hrs. Think outside the box. I'm always trying new things and have never had a failure because of it.

01-13-2012, 01:17 PM
The difference here, in my opinion is this. The SAE oils break down alot faster than ISO oils/fluids. The transaxles in these units are hydraulic transaxles by design, are they not. So by design they operate under high pressure and high temperature. Manufacturers of these walkers/zero turns should be following the technical recommendations of the transaxle manufacturers, unless of course Ferris, Scagg, Toro..etc. are making their own transaxles. So, as Restrorob stated, "Be careful after wards, They could get pi$$ed with you show'n them up if that's the case." I'm sure this will be the case. The landscape industry has set this trend in motion years ago....I don't know how or why it started..but in my humble opinion based on what I've been told by Eaton technical representatives and their design engineers the act of filling transaxles with any sort of engine oil is wrong. Long winded....sorry...just don't understand why this has to be an issue...common sense should prevail...or no!

01-13-2012, 04:28 PM
ISO is a rating system. It does not mean it's a superior oil.
Ferris had 2 recommendation. Grasshopper and Woods called
for DTE 26. While we were a dealers for both, we saw a whole lot of final drive
failures on the Grasshopper/Woods. Bad design? Inadequate lubrication?
Rough use? Maybe all 3. But, DTE is a high end hydraulic oil so.........
I have never seen a final drive failure on a Ferris DDS. Although it is
lighter. But those DDS's could never be called light. Although they
handle extremely well.

01-13-2012, 05:11 PM
just don't understand why this has to be an issue...common sense should prevail...or no!

It already has. ricky86 posted the Ferris chart for the oils. Done and done. Pick DTE26 or SAE30 and put it in.

01-13-2012, 09:08 PM
Ahhh but pugs, All Ferris or any other equipment manufacturer does is install a self contained transaxle or a oil tank and hoses in their units.

Why would they know what's best over the company that manufactured the parts they installed ? http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/images/smilies/smoke.gif

piston slapper
01-13-2012, 11:04 PM
Restrorob, don't you think some of the OEMs recommend an inferior grade of hydro fluid ,
Knowing full well that the fluid will probably get the unit through the warranty, but not much more.
They do know what's best for their company.
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01-14-2012, 08:59 AM
Yeah, I do Slapper...... That's why I've been "stirring the pot".....

piston slapper
01-14-2012, 09:58 AM
Too many mechanics fail to realize their potential because of their unwillingness to put away the books and think for themselves.
You keep stirrin.
I'll keep slappin.
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01-14-2012, 12:07 PM
Ohhhh..... So this is a conspiracy thread.The OEM's a purposely recommending inferior protection to sell parts. But, with that "thinking" in mind, wouldn't Eaton be doing the same thing? But, please. enlighten me. What's the best fluid for a hydrostatic transaxle?

piston slapper
01-14-2012, 12:38 PM
The best fluid is the one recommended by the OEM.
Wouldn't want to void the warranty.
We have all seen the same hydros in different equipment that call for different fluid.
Its not a conspiracy. Its business.
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01-14-2012, 01:46 PM
We can agree on that.

piston slapper
01-14-2012, 09:57 PM
Ricky, you agreeing with me sounds like a conspiracy.
I would have to say that Mobil 1 15w50 is the best hydro fluid for comm ztr's.
Haven't worked on many low end ztr's or riders,so I don't have an opinion on transaxles.
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01-16-2012, 03:41 PM
Ricky, you agreeing with me sounds like a conspiracy.
I would have to say that Mobil 1 15w50 is the best hydro fluid for comm ztr's.
Haven't worked on many low end ztr's or riders,so I don't have an opinion on transaxles.
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The Eaton's in question were never used on low end machines that I know of. Mostly used on Ferris DD walkbehinds, Grasshopper front mounts, and I have seen them in alot of old 3 wheel riders of different varieties(Ferris, Bobcat maybe, Exmark). The 3 wheelers got a single unit with 2 final drives.

piston slapper
01-16-2012, 08:55 PM
In that case I'D use Mobil 1 15w50 in them.
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