How to remove a PTO shaft from a tractor?

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If your PTO shaft is stuck and you’re using a tool to remove it that isn’t working, stop.

If you continue, you’ll risk damaging the PTO driveshaft or its components, which could create loads of mechanical problems.

When a PTO shaft jams, it refuses to uncouple from your tractor’s PTO spindle with the usual steps.

Luckily, there are a few ways to get around this problem and pull your stubborn power take-off (PTO) shaft out.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to remove a PTO shaft from a tractor.

How to remove a PTO shaft from a tractor

We will look at a couple of easy tips, tricks, and ideas just in case one of the fixes doesn’t work….

1.     The lube method

Lubes can be particularly effective for stuck tractor PTO shafts where the cause of the jamming is rust, something which is bound to happen if you have run it without grease for long.

A PTO shaft also tends to get corroded in just a few months of sitting.

Here is what you do:

Spray the shaft with plenty of lubricating oil to ease it up, let it sit for a few minutes, and then attempt to pull the uncooperative part apart again.

If this isn’t enough to make it budge despite all your attempts, pour some more oil down there or shoot some grease in there.

Wait some minutes for it to soften further and retry.

Hopefully, it should be move without putting a lot of strain on it.

If the shaft won’t yet be persuaded to get out even after squirting oil generously, try some light taps with a sledge hammer.

Your last throw of the dice is possibly some light heating around the coupler (it could give you modest expansion).

In this case, work the heat (a torch would suffice for the heat) all around quickly then try to strike the PTO coupling once again all around to help make it move.

The combination of heat and easy hammering (after abundant application of a penetrant) works like a charm most of the time.

Note: Soaking with WD40 can also help to loosen the shaft adequately for this method. And now that we are here, I must mention that penetrating oil like PB Blaster might take more time to be effective. Be prepared to apply and then reapply over a day or two.

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2.     The hammer method

Hit it with a hammer – be sure to place a block of wood for precautionary reasons- gently and see if it will loosen it.

In some situations, just gentle hammering will get the stuck PTO shaft sliding out in a short while.

If this doesn’t work, you can try applying more force- a heavy hammer would be needed for this purpose- to make the seized PTO shaft wiggle free.

Needless to say, you must be careful with the brute force method – the last thing you want is destroy the shaft parts like the bearings- even though it’s the most dependable solution if your shaft is slightly deformed.

3.     Pry Bar method to remove PTO shaft stuck on tractor

Another method that helps when PTO shaft wont slide is dismantling the assembly.


  1. Knock the pins out to have more working room.
  2. Remove the PTO shield from the tractor. It’s not rocket science so you shouldn’t face huge problems.
  3. Now you can get a long pry bar or even two in there. Move them around while prying.
  4. The idea is to drive whatever locking mechanism is used out (typically balls or pins) or cause it/them to disconnect.  The odds are that you’ll be successful.
  5. However, if the shaft doesn’t break loose, you have to be content with sacrificing the coupler.
    This option is a last resort though and it’s wise to explore any other idea you may have in mind before adopting it.
  6. Assuming nothing else solves your dilemma, use a good quality grinder to cut it until it splits apart, longitudinally. You surely know that it’s cheaper to replace the coupler or even the entire shaft than a damaged tractor’s PTO gearing (a likelihood with some awkward methods).

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How to remove a PTO shaft from a tractor : Useful tips

  • It’s important to note that most of the discussed methods work only if the PTO shaft is still in good shape and not cracked/bent (a twisted shaft won’t allow telescoping). Likewise, only extreme measures work for circumstances like where splines are twisted/worn.
  • Always shut the tractor before attempting to remove a PTO shaft from the tractor. Ignore this and you’re looking at possible horrific accidents leading to severe injuries or even death.
  • You can opt to make your own penetrating oil, too instead of pegging your hopes on the WD40.

Use materials with lubricating qualities if you go this route. For example, a 50:50 mixture of ATF and diesel works well if properly mixed. And it penetrates excellently.

  • Do not attempt to wrestle the shaft from the tractor by chaining the PTO coupler then driving the tractor forward to create steady pulling tension (the chain is typically fixed to an immovable object).

Sure, it might work for some people but this method is riddled with danger.

Plus, you will likely end with a spoiled PTO Shaft and potentially seriously destroy the tractor.

  • Wear all recommended safety gear before doing all the suggested procedures. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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What does a PTO shaft do?

The PTO shaft is super important to the proper operation of your tractor.

In fact, none of the attached equipment will work if it has problems since they won’t be receiving any power – it effectively transmits power from the tractor to the implements behind it.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you observe the recommended maintenance procedures.

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Wrapping it up

We have been learning how to remove a PTO shaft from a tractor and I hope that this article has made it a bit simple for you.

That said, there’s no shortage of DIY methods out there and it’s important to make a sensible decision before embracing any.

Look at the practicability, cost, and above all, your safety (and that of your tractor).

And, of course, it’s best to call a qualified professional if you fear that you’ll come unstuck.

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