How To Repair Cultivator When Tines Will Not Turn

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  • Rated as REALLY EASY
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Your cultivator tines may not turn while the engine is running because the clutch has worn out over time. Heat created from the spinning drive shaft inside of the clutch can wear the clutch down and cause the clutch springs to lose their tension. If this is the case, the clutch should be replaced. Replacing the clutch is a simple repair; it requires the removal of the engine from the cultivator and the removal of the clutch drum cover (in some models) to access the clutch before it can be replaced.

Drive Shaft

If your cultivator engine runs but the tines do not, there may be an issue with the drive shaft. Most cultivators have a short drive shaft, connecting the clutch to the gearbox. It is possible that the drive shaft has snapped, or slipped out of place and become damaged, causing the driveshaft to lose its connection to the clutch or gearbox. If you find the drive shaft to have broken, it should be replaced. This repair involves removing the gearbox from the engine to access the end of the driveshaft.


The gearbox takes the vertical engine shaft and transfers its rotation to the horizontal driveshaft which powers the tines. Gearboxes take quite a bit of abuse during the cultivators operation, especially when breaking up hard soil. Over time, the gears inside of the gearbox will fail. Some manufacturers offer replacement parts for their gearboxes, and others require the entire unit be replaced altogether. A gearbox can be replaced with relative ease, whereas rebuilding or repairing one can be quite a bit more complicated. If attempting to repair a gearbox, keep in mind that there are many densely packed gears and spacers inside of the box which need to be reassembled perfectly in order for the unit to continue working.

Shear Pins

If the cultivator engine runs but the tines remain stationary, there could be an issue with the shear pins, which connect the tines to the driveshaft. The shear pins can break if excessive force is applied, which helps protect the gearbox or transmission from damage. The shear pins can be replaced on an individual basis or altogether fairly easily. Make sure that your replacement shear pins are the exact same type that was used originally, as having the wrong type of shear pin installed can cause more damage to the gearbox or transmission.

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