2014 24.4 Ask Albert

Dear Albert,

I ran my BCS rototiller this spring and had no trouble with it. Now when I start it up for fall tilling, the clutch doesn’t release. What’s going on and how do I fix it? ~ Stuck In Gear

Dear Stuck,
What happened is that the moisture got in the clutch and rusted the clutch cone to the housing. You just need to un-stick the clutch mechanism.

I suggest you take the tiller to your shop and do the following surgery:

  • Remove the 4 bolts that hold the motor to the clutch housing.
  • Loosen the clutch set screw with a 13-millimeter socket.
  • Use an allen wrench to loosen the set screw on the crank shaft to remove the clutch.
  • Place the clutch in a hydraulic press. You can also use a vice if it opens up wide enough. A lever and fulcrum or long bar could also work. The object here is to pop the clutch cone free.
  • Use a ¾-inch square shaft to place on the throwout bearing to get a direct press on the throwout bearing. Apply pressure and the clutch should pop free of the cone.

Once the cone is freed up from the housing, reinstall the clutch on the crankshaft. Tighten the set screw and locknut. Make sure the throwout bearing tangs are on the bottom and horizontal.
Reinstall the motor onto the tiller housing. The housing may have to rotate slightly (5 degrees right or left) to align the transmission input shaft to go into the clutch. Push the engine into the housing. The two faces of the transmission housing and the bell housing attached to the engine should contact each other. Retighten the four main bolts; operate the clutch to verify that it moves freely.  With the transmission and pto in neutral, start the engine, slide it into gear to make sure that things are working.

When not in use, secure the clutch lever compressed against the handle with the lock, keeping the clutch disengaged. Preventive measures could include covering the tiller when not in use or storing the tiller in a shed to keep the clutch from gathering that moisture.

Good luck with your fall tilling.


Albert Roberts can be found in the shop working on innovative rake installations. He was raised on a fourth-generation grain and cattle operation in North Dakota. Albert has ranched in the Okanogan for twenty-eight years with his partner Carey Hunter.

Tags: Clutch, Mechanical, PTO, Rototiller, Technical, Tillers