Kubota L35 TLB - Gear Shift Change Mechanism

Nicksacco

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L35 TLB
Sep 15, 2021
195
86
28
Bahama, NC
Hello All.
I have looked at this forum for advice a few times and thought I'd like to give back.
Recently my well-used L35 wouldn't move forward.
I traced the issue to a broken cable between the shift controller and the actual shifter on the GST.
On the forum I found a lead to a guy on Youtube which helped me understand the issues involved.
Moreover I laughed and choked when I saw that Mama Kubota doesn't sell parts for this assembly - only the entire assembly - at about $700.
Having repaired many motorcycles (they use similar cables) I figured what the heck? So I took some pictures to show what I did to get the L35 back running again.
The long and short is that I bought some steel cable from amazon 1.6mm thick (as close to 2mm original as I could find) and proceeded to replace the cable.
In the process, I ended up powder coating the assemblies and having to repair the original cable sheath due to rust having taken it's toll on the adjustment side (which is on the GST).
The hardest part was getting the cable to be as close to the same length as the original as possible. I used a brass bicycle cable end, ground it down to fit and silver soldered the end of the cable. The rest of the repair is all about adjusting and reassembly.

The cable repair was inserting a small brass tube for extra strength into the adjuster side, and using an 8mm nut to bridge the break in the threaded portion. The whole thing was then epoxied with JB weld (the wonder tool).

Since this was an assembly that wasn't meant to be repaired, the cable ends in the shifter are held in place with pressure applied to the ends/o-rings by bolting the halves together. Really crappy - which made adjusting tricky - to keep the ends from popping out.
 

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Nicksacco

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L35 TLB
Sep 15, 2021
195
86
28
Bahama, NC
Nice job.
How's it working?

So far so good!
Currently the tractor is down for some other repairs but hope to have it running again next week.
I'm replacing muffler, cleaning the injectors, and replacing old hydraulic lines with OEM steel lines.
I'll post some of the work for anyone else interested.
Your tractor and mine share a lot in common.

Here's a couple of other pics from the saga.
 

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12251hd

Member

Equipment
M6800, L35, RTV
Nov 23, 2018
39
3
8
Woodbridge, VA
So far so good!
Currently the tractor is down for some other repairs but hope to have it running again next week.
I'm replacing muffler, cleaning the injectors, and replacing old hydraulic lines with OEM steel lines.
I'll post some of the work for anyone else interested.
Your tractor and mine share a lot in common.

Here's a couple of other pics from the saga.
Thanks for sharing your work. The shift mechanism on my L35 is sloppy and will need work. Thanks again.
 

Chanceywd

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501DT BH77 VIRNIG URG60-CT
Mar 26, 2021
281
144
43
central ny
Nice work. I like to work and repair as I am retired too. I have an 1950 8N that i kept when I got my new L2501. I have had it over 20 years and while I can buy almost anything for it I am one for function and repair and never get around to the level of paint you do and I admire that. I have added a front mount pump with controls and modified a dearborn front plow to hydraulic lift and angle which I use to plow a long drive. I have had plow trucks but the N just seems to be a better size for tasks and I picked the l2501 because of it's comparable size.
 

Nicksacco

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L35 TLB
Sep 15, 2021
195
86
28
Bahama, NC
Thanks for sharing your work. The shift mechanism on my L35 is sloppy and will need work. Thanks again.

As you can see from the pic below, the upper shift mechanism has detents in it (8) corresponding to the 8 gears in the GST. There is a roller and spring that keeps the detent engaged in whatever gear you place the tractor in. Thus the click, click as you shift.
The detents and GST must be aligned properly for it to work. That is a little tricky, but that is what the adjustments are for on the cables. The cables should be pretty snug as any slop between the upper shifter and lower GST will make shifting messy.
There are ORings inside the upper shifter that are a common size found at Lowes or HomeDepot. They are internal to keep out the water and there are indents in the bosses on the inside for them.
The Neutral position on the GST has dots that are aligned when tractor is in neutral. You have to get the gear shift in neutral and then align the lower shift unit - a pain when you have to keep the cables from falling out of the upper unit. A crappy design - by design.
 

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Nicksacco

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L35 TLB
Sep 15, 2021
195
86
28
Bahama, NC
Nice work. I like to work and repair as I am retired too. I have an 1950 8N that i kept when I got my new L2501. I have had it over 20 years and while I can buy almost anything for it I am one for function and repair and never get around to the level of paint you do and I admire that. I have added a front mount pump with controls and modified a dearborn front plow to hydraulic lift and angle which I use to plow a long drive. I have had plow trucks but the N just seems to be a better size for tasks and I picked the l2501 because of it's comparable size.

Thank you! I love the 8N. I go to a lot of tractor shows and 8Ns are always around and looking fabulous!
Paint and such is a lot of work - but I like the looks when I'm done. Believe me - never a dull moment around here!
 

L35

Active member

Equipment
L35/TL720/BT900/York rake/Valby chipper
Jun 13, 2010
278
77
28
CT
Seems to be a more frequent problem on the L35 now that the are starting to show some age. Any preventive maintenance to do on these shifters to prolong their service life?
 

Nicksacco

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L35 TLB
Sep 15, 2021
195
86
28
Bahama, NC
Seems to be a more frequent problem on the L35 now that the are starting to show some age. Any preventive maintenance to do on these shifters to prolong their service life?
Here is my 2 cents: If you've never opened the gear shift mechanism it might be worth inspecting the cables. There is never a good time for these to break.
Removing the assembly is pretty easy and the shifter knob unscrews from the shaft.
I don't know if the long bolts and their spacers holding the shifter assembly will fall out or not on your tractor. I was rebuilding the rusty fender side and had the rear wheel removed so it didn't matter to me.

GST SIDE
Start with the GST side first. The pulley inside will try to stick on the GST shift, but some very gentle persuasion will remove it from the tractor. The pulley looked to be made of aluminum to me.
Look for rust on the cables and/or cracks in the cable jacket/cover which could allow water penetration.
There is a large sealed ball bearing that the pulley rests in. That shouldn't need anything unless you've had water issues.
If all looks good, get some thin oil like motorcycle cable lube (not the waxy kind) and spray or drip it down the cable while the shifter end hangs down - let gravity do the work.
The cables should move easily.
You can remove the detent mechanism on the bottom of the shifter to make moving the cables easier.
You don't have to split the halves of the shift mechanism unless you want to.
Grease up the detent roller and spring when you replace it.

SHIFTER SIDE:
If you want to split the halves of the shifter:
1) remove the two bolts on either side of center on the shifter side and
2) remove the detent spring and roller on the bottom (2 bolts there). It bridges both halves.
Then the two sides will come apart, but the shifter arm and cog won't fall out if you leave the center bolt in place.
The darn cable ends will come out of the halves since there's nothing to hold them in place.

TIPS:
If you don't adjust the cable nuts at the GST side, everything will go back the same way.
If you do adjust the cable nuts, measure and make note how much cable extends into the housing before turning anything.
Take a lot of pictures!!!

Be careful not to tear the large flat ORings on the center section - ensure they go back properly and are not pinched. A bit of grease helps.
Replace the ORings on the shifter side cables if not soft and elastic.
Replace the two housing ORings on either side of the center bolt if damaged.
Use Sil-Glyde or similar on the Orings.

Putting it all back together is a bit of a pain, but easier if you have another set of hands to do things like hold the cables in the shifter side and ensuring the ORings don't fall off.
Use RTV or similar in the halves before mating them together.

I know, it's a lot of work.
 

L35

Active member

Equipment
L35/TL720/BT900/York rake/Valby chipper
Jun 13, 2010
278
77
28
CT
Great write up, thanks for taking the time. It does seem like a project but if it saves a breakdown or a expensive replacement part it’s worth it to me. Sounds like a nice winter project.