How to Change Rototiller Tines

Here’s a fairly straight forward service job that comes up from time to time. We were on a service call to a local tree farm and one of the tasks to perform on this ‘out of shop’ service call was the replacement of the tines on this 60″ Kubota tiller.

The rototiller was prepped and tines were on hand

The rototiller was prepped and tines were on hand

Our client saved us a little time by removing the unit from his tractor and even removed the old worn blades. So with half the job all ready done, we got busy and replaced the tiller blades.

Looking for rototiller tines?

Not all Tines Created Equal
The blades are marked ‘LH’ and ‘RH’ indicating the direction in which the blades curves off from the shaft. If you divide your tines into LH and RH piles it makes the whole process a lot easier.

Your tines will be either LH - left hand or RH - right hand

Your tines will be either LH - left hand or RH - right hand

Find and Use Correct Hardware
The hardware used to install the blades is sometimes a little difficult to locate if you’re looking outside dealership avenues. The bolt is a grade 5 designed to ‘shear’ if the blade becomes locked or engaged on something very solid like a rock or buried root. The nut and lock washer are metric and fine thread. The nut fits directly into the stub on the rototiller shaft, so only a socket is required to turn the bolt. Do not use an off-the-shelf local hardware nut and bolt that is not the exact metric fit. If you do, you’ll rototill about 10 feet and all your tines will have disengaged themselves from the shaft.

The attachment hardware is design to shear if a tine gets stuck on something really solid

The attachment hardware is design to shear if a tine gets stuck on something really solid

The most important thing to remember if you undertake replacing these yourself is to ensure that blades are installed opposing each other. Simply start at one end and work your way toward the other, alternating LH and RH tines. If it looks like our photo here you’ve got it right. We install 32 tines onto this 60″ tiller in about 20 minutes.

A detail view of how the tines are installed opposing one another

A detail view of how the tines are installed opposing one another

The completed installation

The completed installation

Inspect Tensioner
We also took the time to adjust the chain case tensioner, recommended by Kubota after every 50 hours of service. If you’re like most owners, 50 hours of ‘seat time’ rototilling is a lot. Figure it this way – if you rototill every spring for an hour, and then every fall the same you’ll only have to service that tensioner once in 25 years, so not that often at all.

Inspect Gear Case
The rototiller gear case, where the PTO shaft attaches to on the rototiller, holds 80W90 gear oil, the same as the differential in your pickup truck. This particular rototiller has a dipstick. Pull it at the beginning of the season and check for level. Most often these rototillers gain water in their differentials from condensate. If you notice cloudy, milky oil, then flush it and replace it with fresh stuff.

Changing Oil in Side Case
If you are going to change the oil in that side case, plan on having a whole Sunday to kill. You will need to remove all 60 bolts to get a look at the adjuster shoe that maintains some tension on that chain drive. There is a spring tensioner in there as well but we find that really does not do a whole lot.

Loosen off the set nut on the chain adjuster and back the adjuster off slightly, then tighten the adjuster down. You will feel it get tight real fast as the chain does not stretch a lot so it does not take much to take the slack out. After taking the slack out, run the set nut back down to hold the adjuster in place.

Lubing is done on the PTO shaft. Make sure the universal joints are greased, tight and that the PTO shaft is well lubricated so it plunges and contracts easily. You cannot really over-do the lube here! Lay it on!

All Done
Our after pictures shows a fully serviced Kubota RS1351 Rototiller that’s been lubed, had the oil topped up, the tensioner checked and of course 32 brand new tiller tines. It’s kinda nice to get out of the shop once in a while for a field trip!

New tines, tensioner adjusted and new case oil

New tines, tensioner adjusted and new case oil

Service Department Vic

Looking for rototiller tines?

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Forum: Service, Repair & Maintenance


  1. David Gordon Said,

    October 30, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

    Hi Vic, I would like to purchase a set of tines. Can you let us know how to go about this.
    Thanks David

  2. Vic Said,

    October 30, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

    David, Kubota makes several Rototillers and most share tines, so getting them should be pretty straight forward. Ocassionaly the extreme inboard and or the outermost tines on the rotovator shaft can be model specific and as such, unique. Kubotas North American model rototillers have tines that are different than the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) versions. Submit the model number of your rototiller and we’ll post some more info in a followup post. Thanks Service Dept Vic

  3. David Gordon Said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 1:44 am

    Sorry Vic, I forgot to inform you that I live in New Zealand. I purchased a Japanese Kubota tiller a few years back. I have lost a few tines which I am now having trouble sourcing new ones as tractor shops don’t really want to know. The only numbers I can read are RS1351 the tines on mine look like the ones in your piture.
    Thanks Dave

  4. Don Bragg Said,

    December 10, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

    I am looking for info or manual for an RS1351 Rotary tiller so I can repair and get part numbers. ANY info would be good.
    Thanks , Don

  5. Vic Said,

    December 10, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

    Hi Don,

    The RS1351 is the standard Kubota Gray market tiller. Kubota manufactured a billion of them! They were standard shipping items with every L1500, L1501, L1801, L2000 and a few L1511′s.

    I have a parts manual somewhere, what exactly are you needing?? I can check parts and current availability. Let us know by posting back to this site.

    Service Dept Vic

  6. Nick Urban Said,

    December 28, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

    I have the same tiller on my L1501 and it needs all new tines. I would like to know where I could buy a set?
    Thank You,

  7. Vic Said,

    December 30, 2008 @ 5:59 pm


    We have those tines here, they are very hard to source! You’ll need 16RH and 16LH, they price at $15 ea. Correct metric shear bolt/nut and lock are $1.10 each. We ship them in a 5 gallon pail due to the weight. Contact us if you need them shipped.

    Service Dept Vic

  8. Rick Said,

    January 21, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

    Hi Vic, I own a L3010 and going to probably going to do some heavy hogging in some lower (pretty wet) areas. I am in need of some new tires on the front and i was thinking wider tires would be better for this application. What would be the widest tire width you you would recommend that would fit on my rim? (this is a 99 FWD-HST model)

  9. Vic Said,

    January 21, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

    Hi Rick, Thanks for comming to our site!

    Your L3010HST was available with 5 different front and rear tire combinations! Since you didn’t specify the size on your Kubota now, I’m going to base this answer on your tractor having the 7.2 x 16 front tires in an R1 23 degree V-Tread Ag Grip configuration.

    The designed rim width for this tire according to Kubota’s tech info, is 6″, and that’s how wide that factory Kubota rim is. The section width of the tire is 7.2″ at the crown, and the OD is 29.3″.

    When considering a front tire change up on any MFWD Kubota you only have a small margin of tolerance to operate in, so a choice for a tire upgrade may be small, or non-existent.

    As you know, rolling circumference is the distance a tire travels in one revolution. Since the front tires on your L3010 are smaller than the rear tires, the front tires have to rotate faster to cover the same distance as the rear.

    The mechanical gearbox in your Kubota accomplishes this task.

    Typical Front/Rear gear ratios range from 1.2 to 1.5. When looking at “other than original” tire sizes for you Kubota be sure to maintain the proper ratio of rolling circumference.

    Typically you’ll want to maintain a positive front tire slippage or overrun from +1 to +5%.

    This positive slippage maintains good steering ability and reduces tire wear. (Positive slippage-front tires pulling, or leading, the rear tires. Negative slippage-front tires resisting, or lagging, the rear tires.)

    Too much positive slippage would cause the front tires to try to do too much work, and they become less efficient. Too much negative slippage would have a braking effect on the front and reduce steering ability.

    Looking at what’s available in terms of a “wider” tire, there are a few millimetric version like, 240/70R16 and the 260/70R16 that fall into an acceptable tolerance range of OD, BUT, they have a section width that requires a minimum 8″ wide rim.

    Sooooooooooooo, after all that, unless you upgrade the front rims to wider ones, your stuck with those skinny 7.2 x16′s!

    Service Dept Vic

  10. Terraposse Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    Thanks for this useful article. I recently got a second hand 1.2 m Kubota rototiller for a L2202. Needing to service it prior to use, and having no experience, I have searched fruitlessly for tips online (I did find Kevin Kubota’s image tools!).
    Couple of quick additional questions.
    1) Is the chain tensioning straight forward? Do you have to undo outer box covering the chain or is there some more cunning way to do it?
    2) You mentioned lubing – which parts of the roller mechanism need grease?

    I already checked the tines having read this article and found 3 loose ones.

  11. Barry Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    Hello Vic,

    I must say your website is very interesting! I own an Antonio Carraro TTR 3800 HST tractor and recently bought the same tiller like this one.
    It only is a Japanese one, with Japanese stickers on it. But it looks exactly the same like this one.
    I bought it without the tines installed, but I have all the parts. And with the help of your tips and tricks it should be a piece of cake.

    I only have a question about the direction of rotation. When I look from behind to the tractor, wich direction should the pto run?
    Does the tines rol “forward” or backward”………

    Thanks allready for yout help and tips!

    kind regards from the Netherlands,


  12. Vernon Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

    I think I have the RS1351 tiller but am not sure and can find no identifying marks. Picture looks quite simular. I have a broken chain and can find nothing on the chain that specifies which chain it is. It appears to be some where between a 80 and 100 heavy duty version. Have not be able to match it up yet.

  13. Vic Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

    If you are going to change the oil in that side case, and you have a whole Sunday to kill, you can take all 60 of those bolts out to get a look at the adjuster shoe that maintains some tension on that chain drive. There is a spring tensioner in there as well, but it really does bugger all.

    Loosen off the set nut on the chain adjuster, and back the adjuster off slightly. Then tighten the adjuster down. You’ll feel it get tight real fast. The chain doesn’t strech alot so it doesn’t take much to take the slack out. Then run the set nut back down to hold the adjuster in place.

    Rototiller differential and the chain case operate on 80W90 gear oil, change them if they appear milky as most do. Lubing is done on the PTO shaft, make sure the universal joints are greased and tight, and that the PTO shaft is well lubricated, so it “plunges” and “contracts” easily. Lube the crap out of it!

  14. Vic Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

    PTO should turn “clockwise” on your tractor, and the tines will roll “forward” as if they are “driving” towards the rear tires.

  15. Vic Said,

    March 7, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

    Should be Roller Chain #140

  16. James Said,

    March 20, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    I bought a tiller to go behind my tractor last year and does a great job. Used it to till about 6 ac. When I went to use it this year to till my garden it worked fine. Went out into the barn the other day and noticed gear oil leaking from the chain drive side. Upon futher inspection, the housing was cracked. I took the housing off to weld it and found that the tensioner had broke causing the case to crack. I can fix the case but really need to find a tensioner. The numbers on the tiller are RS1351. The sn# is 14231, but i cant make out the name. It looks like the one you replaced the tines on but mine is only about 4 1/2 ft wide. As far as I can tell the tensioner is cresent shaped piece of spring steel that pins on the top and rests against the housing on the bottom. This holds the tension against the chain and just rides on the rollers? Any idea where I might can get a tensioner?

  17. Vic Said,

    March 21, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

    James, Im pretty sure I have a new tensioner. Let me check my stock, will report back.

    Service Dept Vic

  18. James Said,

    March 26, 2009 @ 9:09 am

    Just checking to see if you came up with a chain tensioner? If you can just e-mail me and let me know. Still havent found one anywhere else. Its about to get planting time here in Mississippi!

  19. walt Said,

    April 8, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    I have an orange rototiller that looks like the one pictured on this site. The # reads RL 1352 and all writing on the tiller is in japanese. I would like to purchase 15 rh and 15 lh tines as the ones on it are worn out. May I purchase from you? Each tine has a 3/8 single hole with the tine being approximately 3/8 thick and approximately 1 in. where it is bolted to the shaft. I would like to know how i would go about purchasing them from you. Thank’s Walt.

  20. Vic Said,

    April 8, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

    Hi Walt, we have those tines in stock. They are unique to the JDM tillers. tines price at $16 ea, the correct METRIC shear bolt, lock and nuts are $1.75ea. We ship them in a 5 gallon plastic pail because of the weight.

    Recommend buying 16-17 of each so you have a couple of spares in case you “tangle” with a large boulder!!

    We accept Paypal and can ship worldwide. Let me know if I should process a PayPal payment request.

    Service Dept Vic

  21. dave Said,

    April 13, 2009 @ 10:56 pm


  22. Vic Said,

    April 15, 2009 @ 6:44 am

    Dave, something is binding somewhere. Start looking at everything you can see that is supposed to “move” and rotate.

  23. michael mcmahon Said,

    April 24, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

    have rs1351 and need a set of tines bolts please contact me at above adress

  24. Vic Said,

    April 26, 2009 @ 8:34 am


    we’ve got those correct METRIC shear bolts, nuts and locks. Price at $1.95 each. Should need 32-40 depending on how many tines are on that rotovator shaft.

  25. Chris Radach Said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    I’m looking for those tines, can you help me? Do you have a part number? Thanks for any andd all help.

  26. Chris Radach Said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    Hi, Vic
    I have a rs1351, do you have a part number for the tines. I live in Northern Calif.

  27. Vic Said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 6:52 am

    Chris, part is not available from Kubota USA or Kubota Canada. We stock an aftermarket tine we directly import. Price is $16 per tine, and the correct metric shear bolt/lock/nut assmb is $2.00 ea.

  28. Chris Radach Said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 7:25 am

    Thanks Vic,
    How can I order them from you.

  29. Vic Said,

    May 1, 2009 @ 6:54 am

    chris, send me a PM and I can process a Paypal payment request!

  30. Alan Said,

    May 8, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

    I am looking for tines for a Kubota RS1351 Rototiller. It takes 32 teeth. Can you help me with this? Please contact me at Thank you! Alan

  31. Vic Said,

    May 8, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

    Alan, I have those tines in stock!

  32. Vic Said,

    May 8, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

    Alan, Send me a PM and I can hook you up with those parts!!!

  33. David Said,

    May 12, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    I also need tines for RS1351 48″.
    I do not have paypal. Can I call and give credit card info or can you give me mailing address and I’ll send check? I did not see your contact info on this site. Thanks.

  34. Vic Said,

    May 12, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    Yep. We can work it out!

  35. David Said,

    May 16, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    Have a kubota rototiller model 420 and got a rock stuck, got it out and now the tiller turns but as soon as I drop it to the ground it stops turning. Opened casing and all chains and tensioner are fine – any ideas what this could be? I am thinking it is behind the lower gear and the shaft that something is slipping. Is there a shear pin there? Thanks!

  36. Vic Said,

    May 17, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    David, There may be a shear bolt located on that lower rotovator shaft, especially if the PTO shaft is not slip clutch protected.

  37. Bryan Said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

    I need a set of tines but i’m not sure what kind of tiller I have. It looks like the one
    in the video (orange) but the model number on the rear gate is RM 1611 B. Could anyone identify. Would tines be available. Thanks in advance.

  38. Vic Said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 8:53 am

    Bryan, I’ve got your tines!!!!

  39. Randy Penner Said,

    May 29, 2009 @ 8:40 am

    I have searched everywhere for tines for my rs1351 rototiller!! Then i came to this site. I would like to purchase the tines and the bolts from you. The tiller takes 16 lh and 16 rh tines. Could you please send me an email with an invoice through paypal? Thanks, Randy

  40. Randy Penner Said,

    May 29, 2009 @ 8:41 am

    I have searched everywhere for tines for my rs1351 rototiller!! Then i came to this site. I would like to purchase the tines and the bolts from you. The tiller takes 16 lh and 16 rh tines. Could you please send me an email with an invoice through paypal? I live in Manitoba CANADA. Thanks, Randy

  41. tom martin Said,

    June 1, 2009 @ 5:51 am

    I need 24 of the tines rs1351. Exactly how much would that be with shipping to Columbus, Indiana 47201.

  42. Vic Said,

    June 6, 2009 @ 7:17 am

    Tom, send me a PM for a shipping quote! Vic

  43. Mike Said,

    August 8, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    I have a Kubota tiller that came with my old Kubota L1501 tractor. I recently upgraded to a brand new B series Kubota tractor. The old tractor used the unique top link to attach the top link of the tiller. How do I attach the top of the tiller to the new tractor. Do I use the standard top link that came with the tractor?


  44. Vic Said,

    August 8, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Yep, that’s an issue that I see from time to time. The gray market tillers have a 2pc top link assmb that “folds” in on itself when the tiller is lifted. Plus the PTO drive shaft is very short, making the tiller sit very close to the rear of the tractor.

    Without using that articulated top link, you run the risk of bending the stub shaft of the PTO or cracking the upper transmission case because a single piece top link is too long (even the shortest one) to allow for a smooth, unrestricted arc of travel with these gray market tillers.

    If you have that original link, use it. Just make sure that first time lifting, you do it real slow and make sure nothing is binding.

  45. Monty Said,

    August 12, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

    Hi Vic: i ordered 48 rot. tiller tines from you and I now need the shear bolts. Can you call me @ 403-XXX-XXX or email me with your number.


  46. Vic Said,

    August 12, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    Roger that! Will call you in the am!

  47. Mike Said,

    September 2, 2009 @ 2:04 pm


    The old tiller does work well on the new tractor, but now a need a couple of tines to replace some that have been missing.

    The tiller id plate say RL 1401. Do you have tines to fit this one? I need lefts, it came with some spare rights. How much for tines, bolts and nuts?

  48. Henry Neils Said,

    September 21, 2009 @ 2:46 pm


    I need a set of tines for the exact tiller shown here, How do I buy
    them from you?


  49. Vic Said,

    September 22, 2009 @ 8:10 am

    Henry, send me a PM for details!! In-stock.

  50. chris koabel Said,

    October 14, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

    I just purchased a Kubota RL 1403 tiller at an auction. Can anybody give me any information or parts break-down of this unit? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  51. Terry Dunn Said,

    November 8, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

    Hello ! I have a grey market 60″ tiller and would like to order a set of tines and proper shear bolts for unit. I live in Calgary,AB, CA. Where are you located? If I ordered, how quickly can you ship ? Thanks, Terry

  52. Tom Savage Said,

    January 7, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

    Hi I am interested in buying one of these rototillers and was wondering if you could tell me what the max HP tractor they can be attached to. I have a david brown 995 which is 64hp engine and 59hp PTO at 540 1000, The linkages and PTO all marry up but I wouldnt want to blow out the tiller the first time I used it, cheers for any information

  53. Service Dept Vic Said,

    January 8, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    Tom, you’ll need something a little bigger. These units were all made for Kubota tractors in the 15-26 PTO HP range and as sturdy and durable as they are, an input HP twice their build specification is a recipe for disaster.

  54. michael Said,

    February 18, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

    have rs1351 looking for set of tines and bolts where would i be able to purchase and price

  55. Danny Said,

    September 20, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    I have an old FS1270 Kubota rototiller that I can not find parts for. Any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  56. leveral Said,

    October 2, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    Hi Vic, can you tell me how much a L1500 Kabota weighs?

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