Cub Cadet FAQ's

Repairing a Manual Lift Handle

Posted by John-David Reaves on IHCUBCADET.COM


After many questions, some head banging, and some expert help, I was able to get the 169 manual lift arm apart, and I was able to get the float lock button off without damage (so it can be reused). Handle removal from the hub (yoke) casting will require fabricating a removal tool. I had to put make two different posts to get this information on the boards, so bear with me. Alternate steps should normally come after step number 8.

129-149-169 manual lift arm disassembly: You must first get the lift arm off the tractor. So apply some type of liquid penetrate (liberally), such as WD-40, Liquid Wrench, or whatever brand you prefer, where the hub (yoke) casting attaches to the rockshaft, and every other joint on the lift arm. Don’t forget to use it on the roll pins, as well. Apply penetrate for several days prior to planned disassembly. The tread plate and screws attaching the right foot rest assembly to footrest mounts must be removed before removal of the lift arm is possible.

It is also necessary to fabricate a handy removal tool. Select a piece of steel pipe slightly larger than the OD of the chrome handle, but small enough to seat on the top of the hub (yoke) casting. Cut a piece of this pipe about 2 to 3 inches long. Buy or cut a piece of flat 3/8” flat stock, about 2 inches wide by 10 or 12 inches long. Stand the pipe on end and stand the piece of stock against it, with the 3/8” thickness on bottom and top, and the 2 inch width against the length of the pipe from top to bottom. The length of 10” to 12” long the stock will project out at a 90 degree angle from the pipe. This is the proper alignment. Weld the stock to the piece of pipe, with weld seams on either side of the stock from top to bottom, in line with the pipe so that it looks like a small magnifying glass ring on the end of a very long handle. This handle serves a dual purpose; to hold the tool, as well as a striking surface

Alternate steps to remove rod assembly and top button:

• Lock the lift arm assembly in a vice, using 1 by or 2 by wooden material between vice and chrome handle to keep from scratching chrome.
   Ensure it is tight.
• Using a cutting torch, cut the lift rod shaft inside the cavity on the back side of the hub (yoke).
• The rod assembly, spring, spring retainer, and what’s left of the top button will slide out the top of the handle.
• Heat the top button, but not red hot, and unscrew it from the lift rod. It may take several attempts, but it will come off.
• The lift rod can be clamped, and welded back together where it was cut. A little file work and some emery cloth will make it look like new.

Continued instructions for disassembly of 129-169 manual lift arm assembly.

1. Using appropriate size roll pin punch, knock out the 5/16” x 2 1/4“ roll pin from the bottom of the hub (yoke) and arm. It is stubborn.

2. Pull or pry the right foot rest out and away from the frame (it only needs to move an inch or so), if is it still on the tractor, and wedge it on the bottom by using a small piece of wood between the end of footrest mount and the outside lip of the footrest.

3. Using a flat nail puller, pry the arm assembly off the rockshaft.

4. Place the lift handle assembly tightly in a vice with 1” x 4” or 2” x 4”soft wood blocks (to protect the finish from scratches) on either side of the chrome handle.

5. Remove the rubber handle grip. It can be made more pliable by warming it with a hair dryer. Don’t use a heat gun or torch. Don’t overdo it and melt it! Insert a blunt slotted screwdriver between the grip and the chrome handle. Use the screwdriver to manipulate the rubber grip over the float lock button. This may take considerable twisting of the grip, occasional re-warming with the hair dryer, and stretching with the screw driver, but it is possible to do it without damaging the rubber grip.

6. Remove the float locking button. This can be done by using a standard blade (flat) screwdriver with a rather fine, but not cutting sharp blade. Hold the blade below the bottom exposed rim of the float lock button housing and tap the handle end of the screwdriver with a ball pein hammer while prying up on it. Do this all the way around the circumference of the button assembly. It may take several minutes, but if you are careful, it can be removed without damage. It can be reused later.

7. Use a pair of locking pliers and unscrew the release rod pin (top button) from the arm. Be careful; do not force it, as it can break. If it does not unscrew readily, heat it with a propane or welding torch but do not get it red hot. It will lose whatever temper it has and twist in two. Try to unscrew it again. If it will not unscrew without undue force, it will require soaking. Get a small coffee can or similar vessel and place the handle upside down with the top of the handle in the can. This may require propping or suspending the arm assembly. Fill the can with penetrant until it is about 4 inches deep. The penetrant must seep into the bottom of the lift button where it screws onto the top of the lift rod. With the lift handle upside down, he penetrant must cover the float lock button hole by at least 2 inches, which is were the lift pin (button) screws onto the rod. There is no other satisfactory way of getting penetrant to the bottom of the lift button. Be patient, it may take several days. After a minimum of 24 hours, try removing the release top button again. If it still won’t budge, or you break it off, it will require some alternate steps, which I had to take. The alternate steps could also be used to prevent snapping the top button off in the first place. It is your call.

8. Install the removal tool by sliding it over the chrome handle and down to the hub (yoke). Secure the handle and hub (yoke) assembly in a vice. Ensure it is tight and that there is plenty of swinging room between the vice and the removal tool. Don’t forget the wooden blocks to prevent scratching the chrome plating. Remove the chrome handle from the hub (yoke) as follows.

9. Using appropriate size roll pin punch, drive 1/4” x 1 1/4” roll pin from top of hub (yoke) and arm. It is stubborn.

10. Heat the hub (yoke) casting around the handle until it is red, with a welding torch. Select a 32 oz or larger ball pein, or single handed sledge hammer. As you hold the removal tool against the hub casting, hammer the removal tool against the yoke casting by striking it on the narrow edge of the flat stock as close as you can to the pipe. Do not miss and hit the chrome. It may be necessary to do this several times, but if patient, the handle assembly will come off and the chrome will not be damaged. Any minor denting of the casting can be remedied with a hammer and file.

Everything now can be reclaimed, cleaned, painted, polished and assembled. If roll pins are rusted or damaged, replace them with new roll pins. Also be sure to clean out the inside of the hub (yoke) where the handle is inserted. Use a Dremel tool or wooden dowel with sandpaper and a drill. Don’t remove material, just get the rust out and ensure the handle can be reinserted without having to press it in. The float locking button can be reinstalled using a small piece of pipe, or a deep welled socked, or seal installer. Just tap it in after the handle is assembled and after the rubber grip is in place. Its thin housing is very easy to break. Don’t forget to use white lube on the threads of the top button, the chrome handle where it is inserted into the yoke, and the roll pins, and the rockshaft where the hub fits over it, so things will be easy to remove in the future. Good luck.