Messick's   Parts Hotline   877-260-3528
My Garage  
My Garage
Online Parts New Equipment Used Equipment Rentals Tools & Supplies Toys & Apparel About Us
Contact Us
Ordering FAQ
Tractor School
Current Advertisments

Transmission Breather | Neil Answers

Neil: Neil Messick's here to answer a viewer question from Dave. If you'd like to send us a question, shoot a short video, tag us in it, or email it to us at
Dave: Hey, Neil. This is Dave from West Virginia. This is my Woods TSG50 stump grinder. My question to you is, when I run this thing the hydraulic fluid gets kind of hot. If you come over here and look at the overflow, it used to just spill hydraulic fluid over here. I would wipe it up with a towel and it got to be really annoying, so I came up with this little solution to put in a little hose to catch it. I don't know if you can see down in here, but there's a-- Yes, there you can see it. There's a plastic bottle to catch the hydraulic fluid.
I've done a couple of stump grinding jobs this week, and now I've got a couple ounces of fluid down there in the bottom of the jug. My question is, if that jug is clean, can I just pour it back into the tank? What should I do with the fluid? I love your channel. Thanks.
Neil: The piece of the tractor that Dave is pointing out here, this little rubber hook that's found at the top of the transmission, is called a breather. Most every gearbox or transmission case that you're going to have on a piece of equipment is going to have a breather on it somewhere. It serves a really important purpose. If that hydraulic fluid starts to expand, it needs a place to go.
You need to be able to have air that can come in and out of that transmission as the fluid levels may creep up or down because of use throughout the machine somewhere or through heat changes. In this case, this transmission housing, it was so full that the oil was flowing up and out of the breather. Now, this is actually pretty common. It happens a lot on new machinery where we go through and prep a tractor here in our shop and fill that transmission up to the tippy top and top off all the gearboxes on a mower deck or a rotary cutter.
Sometimes when that gets hot for the very first time, some of that fluid can work its way up and out of the breather resulting in a phone call from us from a very concerned person who thinks that there's a problem with their piece of equipment. This is intended. It's what the breather is there for and what it's meant to do. Now, in this case, catching this oil is a great way from keeping it from dripping onto your garage floor and, in this case, it's certainly clean and can be used again.
I wouldn't encourage going and pouring it back into the top of the transmission because it's simply going to come out the breather again. Letting that oil level drop down a little bit on the dipstick is not necessarily a bad thing. You got a range on there for a reason. In the case of these machines where you have 4, 5, 6, 10, 30, in some cases, gallons of transmission fluid in the back of these machines, it's not necessary to keep things right at that full mark like it may be with a small gas engine where you don't have nearly as much fluid involved. You've got a lot more margin for error here.
That's what we're looking at. Not something to be concerned about. Fluid is clean but putting it back in there is probably not the right thing to do. You're shopping for a piece of equipment and we can help or if you have parts or service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call on Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at

9 : 19 : 2