How To Remove PTO Shaft From Gearbox: Everything You Should Know!

When using farm implements like a mower with your tractor, you need a PTO shaft to deliver power to the implements. But how do you remove the shaft from the gearbox when you want to do some repairs or maintenance?

One of the ways to remove the PTO shaft from the gearbox is by pressing the push pin and pulling the shaft out. If your shaft has no push pin, you need to unfasten the bolts and screws securing it. And if your PTO shaft is stuck, lubricate it and hit it with a hammer until it breaks free.

You may need to remove the PTO shaft for different reasons, too. Check out this informative guide on how to remove the PTO shaft from the gearbox, and why you need it.  

Different Methods Of Removing PTO Shaft From Gearbox Table

Below, we will discuss how you can remove your tractor’s PTO shaft from the gearbox using readily available tools.

How To RemoveSteps
PTO Shaft with Push PinPress the pin to release the shaft
Wiggle the shaft up and down
Remove the shaft
PTO Shaft Without Push PinRemove the shear pin bolt
Unscrew the hex head set screw
Pull out the PTO shaft
PTO Shaft That is StuckLubricate the PTO shaft
Use a hammer or sledgehammer to break the shaft free
Warm up the shaft and hit it again with a hammer

What Is PTO Shaft?

PTO shaft, or Power Take Off, is a mechanical device built to transfer rotational power from the engine to other components. It transmits the power via the gearbox to a range of PTO-driven machines, including mowers, balers, and wood chippers.

Generally, the PTO shaft is only connected to heavy-duty vehicles like tractors, trucks, and harvesters. In addition, it comes in many shapes, including splined, square, round, or rectangular. Some shafts may also boast star or lemon profiles.

However, like other moving parts, this shaft is prone to wear and tear. Therefore, you may have to remove it from the gearbox for repairs or install a new one over time. 

How To Remove PTO Shaft From Gearbox: 3 Methods

Whether you want to remove the PTO shaft for ease of storage or repairs, below is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Method 1: Remove PTO Shaft From Gearbox with Push Pin

Step 1: Turn Off the Engine

First, put your tractor’s transmission gear in park mode. Then, activate the parking brake and turn off the ignition key.

Step 2: Locate the PTO Shaft

Go to the backside of your tractor. The PTO shaft should be between the rear wheels.

Step 3: Press the Push Pin Release

If your PTO shaft has a push pin on the gearbox, simply press the release pin, and the shaft should come off. You can find the pin or button underneath the PTO shield or shroud covering the shaft.

If the shaft does come off after pressing the pin, try wiggling the PTO shaft back and forth until it uncouples. Next, unfasten any safety chains connecting the shield to the shaft.

Method 2: Remove PTO Shaft From Gearbox Without Push Pin

Some PTO shafts come with a push pin, while others have a bolt that slides via a hole to hold them on. If your shaft has a bolt instead, use pliers, a wrench, a screwdriver, or a 3/8-inch drive ratchet to remove the shear bolt.

Then, get a hex wrench or tool and remove the hex head set screw on the shaft. But first, soak the screw with rust solvent to loosen it. Your PTO shaft should come off now. 

Method 3: Remove A PTO Shaft From Gearbox When Stuck

Sometimes, the PTO shaft may not come off so quickly, even after pressing the pin and unfastening any bolts. In this case, here is how to remove the shaft without damaging it.

Step 1: Lubricate the PTO Shaft

Because of rust and corrosion, the shaft may refuse to come off. In this case, apply generous amounts of penetrating oil between the male and female spline of the shaft.

You could also spray a lubricant like WD-40 to loosen the rust. After a while, apply some more oil and wiggle the shaft up and down before pulling it out.

Step 2: Use a Sledgehammer

If you cannot remove the PTO shaft from the gearbox after applying a lubricant, get a sledgehammer and hit it. You can also use a hammer, nylon, or brass mallet and give the shaft a gentle nudge until it loosens.

And to avoid damaging the bearings, you can place a wood block underneath the shaft.

Step 3: Warm Up the Shaft

If hammering does not help loosen the PTO shaft from the gearbox, warm it with a small torch for a couple of minutes. The heat from the torch will make the steel shaft retract. Then, hit the shaft again with a sledgehammer until it breaks free. 

When Should You Remove the PTO Shaft?

You may need to remove the PTO shaft from the gear box for the following reasons. 

Cutting it to the Correct size

If the PTO shaft is too long, it could damage the tractor, gearbox, internal PTO drive, or implements. To avoid this, you must remove the shaft from the gearbox to easily cut it to the correct size.


The PTO requires regular maintenance, including applying grease to the universal joints at least every 20 or 8 hours. To ensure the lubricant penetrates through the internal parts, you can pull the shaft apart first during application.

Perform Replacement or Repairs

Sometimes, the shear bolt may break, forcing the PTO shaft to move past the bolt hole. In this case, you will have to remove the shaft from the gearbox to install a new shear bolt. Also, you must remove the shaft when replacing a bearing.

Cleaning the Rusty Shaft

If you run your PTO shaft without grease, the two halves of the shaft could fuse together due to rust. So, to prevent the shaft from causing any damage, you must remove it from the gearbox and clean the rust. 


You should remove the PTO shaft from the gearbox when not in use and store it in a shed or on a shelf. This protects the shaft from premature wear and tear due to exposure to weather elements, like ultraviolet light and rain showers.

Final Note

Removing a PTO shaft from the gearbox without damaging anything is easy as long as you have the right tools. It does not matter However, you must determine if your shaft has a push pin, a shear bolt, or a hex head set screw.

Of course, shafts with release buttons or push pins are the easiest to remove because you don’t need any tools. However, if the PTO shaft is stuck, applying a lubricant or penetrating oil can help break it free. Alternatively, you could use a hammer or a small torch to help loosen it up.

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