TROY BILTTillers ( garden tools) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

At the risk of severly embarrassing myself, I'm going to ask this anyway. Has anyone else had trouble adjusting to a Troy Bilt besides me? I'm used to a wal-mart Murray cheap model that you have to pull your guts out to use. I'm not getting the hang of it I guess. I'm not pushing down on it anymore and it still leaps, especially on a slope, of course this doesn't happen for my husband, but I'm the tiller of the family, he makes the living. Any tips? And turning it....

-- Cindy (SE In) (, March 28, 2001


How deep are you trying to till and is the ground hard? On unworked ground you will need to make several passes, starting very shallow and working deeper with each pass. Troy, like other quality tillers, are gear/shaft driven, lower quality tillers are often belt driven, and belts tend to slip when the rotating tines catch solid ground (or a root, rock, etc) while shaft drives just take hold and the tiller jumps.



-- Robert (, March 28, 2001.

In my experience, Bob is right. :) You have to start at a shallow level of tilling-especially on untilled ground. And on a slope you need to be especially careful-they can tip pretty easily-even on a grade that is very slight, if the tines hit hard ground.

In getting used to our tiller (8 HP Troy Bilt) I discovered that the best way to till on any grade is **slow** as possible and shallow. And also going perpendicular to the grade, not parallel. As an example in one section of our garden where the corn was, there is an ever so slight grade-patch runs E-W. When I tried to till at the same level as the rest of the patch (about 4 inches down) going in the same direction(E-W), if I hit a rock or anything that could make it jump-the tiller got off balance and would even tip. Scarey when you are talking about something that weighs a couple of hundred pounds! I tried going opposite the direction of the grade, and then made the tine level shallower by a notch or two, and the problem disappeared.

I also finally got the hang of it-and discovered the handiest thing... (sarcasm here-aimed at my slow on the uptake self)..if you are tilling correctly with a Troy Bilt-you really do not have to do much beyond guide the machine. If you find you have to push or pull down- you are trying to till too deep or go to fast. Plus your shoulders don't have to ache for two days after tilling either! :)

Once you get the hang of it, you will be amazed at how easy it is-and then, when you put the hiller/furrower attachment with the row marker on, you will be back to learning all over again!!! But this time, the tiller will weigh a good bit more! I still laugh at the memory of trying to make my first furrows...what fun! (NOT!) I felt like such a dunce-but I was determined that that *&!X* machine was not going to get the best of me! I did get the hang of it after a few tries-and even amazed my husband. Once you get the hang of it-the tiller realy does do the work, and makes the operator look good.

Oh and if you don't have the guide book that comes with a TroyBilt( like if you got it used), get it-it really does make a difference if you follow the instructions.:) ( not being critical-a little more sarcasm directed at myself-I like to glance at the directions and then plunge in-almsot alwasy going *back* to the directions and trying to figure out why I messed up.)

Happy gardening!


-- Sarah (, March 28, 2001.

Yes you are not alone, I bought one last year after hearing for years why do you still us a front tine tiller get a reartine and save your self all that hard work. After pulling a muscel in my chest and getting jerked all over the garden I was really sick of the reartine. Hit a rock and the thing jerks forward causing you to press down on the handle which makes it take off which jerks you forward even more untill it jerks out of your hand. Sure the answer is garden where there are no rocks. I just happen to have rocks all over the farm. Still use it some but have tuned up the old front tine tiller also.

-- David (, March 28, 2001.

My recommendation is not very practical. Get rid of the troy bilt and get a BCS tiller. They have a much lower center of gravity,a cone type auto clutch and you can put the tines in neutral when you are transporting them. I owned two bcs tillers but had to sell them when I moved. I finally got a troy bilt, used it twice and immediately sold it. No comparison.

-- jz (, March 28, 2001.

I've used quite a few different tilling machines. The BCS and the TroyBuilt are both fairly decent machines, but like all rear tine tillers, you have to start very shallow and go over an area several times, increasing tilling depth each time, unless soil is mellow or has been worked within past year. Front tine tillers, dont even think of using without plowing first. They are more of a cultivator. Although when desperate, I once rented a small Honda front tine and it worked half way decent although very slow breaking ground. Learned I really like Honda small engines from my experiences with it though.

My favorite is a Gravely with the Kohler engine and a rotary plow attachment. Its very different than a rototiller. Nothing else like it for breaking ground and preparing nice seed bed. Believe me it really busts up the clods. Only downside is its handle will bang you in leg if you hit big rock or root with it. There is also a rototiller attachment you can use for shallow cultivating as the rotary plow tends to bury stuff and leave a furl.

-- Hermit John (, March 29, 2001.

We have had an Ariens tiller since 1976 or 77, which we bought after trying a number of other brands of tillers. We like it even though it has a belt drive and lacks some other "features" that Troybilts have. A year or two ago it was out of service while waiting for a new engine and we borrowed a neighbor's Troybilt. Are we ever glad that we didn't buy a Troybilt 25 years ago. The Troybilt is awkward to use and manuver. I suspect that many people have bought Troybilts based on the ads, ordered it direct from the company, and never compared using one with another brand before buying it. I recommend trying a couple of brands of tillers if at all possible before getting one. I like the Mainline or BCS from what I have seen of them, but haven't used one much.


-- Jim (, March 29, 2001.

Make sure you have the handle bars adjusted to your height. Also, don't be afraid to disengage when you reach the end of the row so you can regroup and make a smoother turn. I've used both the BCS and Troybilt and although I consider the BCS to be the "best" of tillers, I think it is a tad overpriced...we didn't replace ours. The T-bilt is a very good machine and with a little practice it does become 2nd nature. Also, remember your bed isn't going to be new every will improve after a few tillings and you'll find yourself "one-handing" it like the pictures promise! ;-) Hang in there, like anything else, it gets better with practice.

-- JimR (, March 29, 2001.

I had a troy bilt for several years and really liked it. This was one of the bigger models. Troy bilts are well balanced and shouldn't take any effort on your part. I had solid clay at that time. It took me all day to get my garden tilled deeply. I tried to till it deep the first time....wrong! Set it on about the 2nd notch the first pass and really just tear up the sod. This works well because you can then rake it up. Each pass after that lower it 2 more notches. Once you have the original busting over with you will love your troy bilt. When turning it just lift the back of it and turn it in small increments...let the wheels do most of the other words keep the wheels engaged. I had to sell my tiller due to a move several years back and I've since bought an older honda rear tine tiller that I really like. The honda seems to have more weight and not require as many passes when you are busting up a garden however that weight is a bit harder to turn.

-- Amanda in Mo (, March 29, 2001.

I have a big Husqvarna tiller that I really like. I've found that you have to make umpteen shallow passes too. I'd be happy if I could just use the thing! The ground is still mostly frozen around here.

Stacy Rohan-looking forward to spring in Windsor, NY.

-- Stacy Rohan (, March 29, 2001.

We have a pony tiller.( by troy built). It works great!! I does jump a lot for me too, but our ground is rocky. Dad has the work horse tillr. We sometimes use that one to break up the ground in the spring the nuse our pony the rest of the season. Being ably to handle it will come with practice.

-- michelle (, March 29, 2001.

Thanks for all the answers. We started out on the first notch and proceded from there. Our ground is really rough, but this is the last year we'll be planting here, so next year should seem like a breeze compare to this.

-- Cindy (SE In) (, March 30, 2001.

Troybuilt has great ads, huh? They are tilling on loamy soil that has been worked for years. I bought a rear tined BCS a few years ago and got the daylights jerked out of me, my wife sprained her wrist using it. When we sold that farm I threw it in with the other equipment. I have used old beat up front tined tillers for years and loved them, bought the BCS becasue I thought I was smarter than I am. With the front tines models all you have to do is keep the stake down with the handle bars and coax it along, you can work in close to plants for cultivating and run them at a low RPM, and just putt along. Last fall I pickup up an old MTD rear tines tiller with a belt drive, I just about have it back together, it will be fine for cultivating in the corn and preparing seed beds. But for that serious tilling throught the hard and soft spots I use a 6' tractor mounted tiller on a 55 HP New Holland tractor. and in the raised beds we have one of those little tiny ones like a Mantis.

-- Hendo (OR) (, April 01, 2001.

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