Bolens 225 User Manual

2.82 Mb


Front Tine Tiller

Model Series

300 & 330


Warning: This unit is equipped with an internal combustion engine and should not be used on or near any unimproved forestcovered,brush-coveredorgrass-coveredland unless the engine’s exhaust system is equipped with a spark arrester meeting applicable local or state laws (if any). If a spark arrester is used, it should be maintained in effective working order by the operator. In the State of California the above is required by law (Section 4442 of the California Public Resources Code). Other states may have similar laws. Federal laws apply on federal lands. A spark arrester for the muffler is available through your nearest engine authorized service dealer or contact the service department, P.O. Box 361131 Cleveland, Ohio44136-0019.

MTD LLC, P.O. BOX 361131 CLEVELAND, OHIO 44136-0019








Important Safe Operation Practices...................................................................


Assembling Your Tiller .......................................................................................


Know Your Tiller.................................................................................................


Operating Your Tiller..........................................................................................


Making Adjustments ..........................................................................................


Maintaining Your Tiller .......................................................................................




Parts List............................................................................................................



This Operator’s Manual is an important part of your new Tiller. It will help you assemble, prepare and maintain the unit for best performance. Please read and understand what it says.

Before you start assembling your new equipment, please locate the model plate on the equipment and copy the information from it in the space provided below. The information on the model plate is very important if you need help from our Customer Support Department or an authorized dealer.

You can locate the model number by standing in the operating position behind the unit and looking down at the center of the rear tine cover. A sample model plate is explained below. For future reference, please copy the model number and the serial number of the equipment in the space below.


Copy the model number here:



P. O. BOX 361131

Copy the serial number here:



330-220-4683 800-800-7310



The engine manufacturer is responsible for all engine-relatedissues with regards to performance, powerrating, specifications, warranty and service. Please refer to the engine manufacturer’s Owner’s/Operator’s Manual packed separately with your unit for more information.


If you have difficulty assembling this product or have any questions regarding the controls, operation or maintenance of this unit, please call Customer Support Department.

Call 1- (330) 220-4MTD (4683) or1- (800)-800-7310 to reach a Customer Support representative. Please have your unit’s model number and serial number ready when you call. See previous section to locate this information. You will be asked to enter the serial number in order to process your call.

For more details about your unit, visit our website at



WARNING: This symbol points out important safety instructions which, if not followed, could endanger the personal safety and/or property of yourself and others. Read and follow all instructions in this manual before attempting to operate this machine. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in personal injury. When you see this symbol— heed its warning.

WARNING: Engine exhaust, some of its constituents, and certain vehicle components contain or emit chemicals known to State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

DANGER: This machine was built to be operated according to the rules for safe operation in this manual. As with any type of power equipment, carelessness or error on the part of the operator can result in serious injury. This machine is capable of amputating hands and feet. Failure to observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury or death.


1.Read, understand, and follow all instructions on the machine and in the manual(s) before attempting to assemble and operate. Keep this manual in a safe place for future and regular reference and for ordering replacement parts.

2.Be familiar with all controls and their proper operation. Know how to stop the machine and disengage them quickly.

3.Never allow children under 14 years old to operate this machine. Children 14 years old and over should read and understand the operation instructions and safety rules in this manual and should be trained and supervised by a parent.

4.Never allow adults to operate this machine without proper instruction.

5.Keep bystanders, helpers, pets and children at least 75 feet from the machine while it is in operation. Stop machine if anyone enters the area.

7.Use only an approved gasoline container.

8.Extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources of ignition.

9.Never fuel machine indoors.

10.Never remove gas cap or add fuel while the engine is hot or running.

11.Allow engine to cool at least two minutes before refueling.

12.Never over fill fuel tank. Fill tank to no more than ½ inch below bottom of filler neck to provide space for fuel expansion.

13.Replace gasoline cap and tighten securely.

14.If gasoline is spilled, wipe it off the engine and equipment. Move machine to another area. Wait 5 minutes before starting the engine.

15.Never store the machine or fuel container inside near an open flame, spark or pilot light (e.g. furnace, water or space heater, clothes dryer etc.).

16.Allow machine to cool 5 minutes before storing.


1.Thoroughly inspect the area where the equipment is to be used. Remove all stones, sticks, wire, and other foreign objects which could be tripped over and cause personal injury.

2.Wear sturdy, rough-soledwork shoes and close fitting slacks and shirt. Loose fitting clothes or jewelry can be caught in movable parts. Never operate this machine in bare feet or sandals.

3.Disengage clutch levers and shift (if provided) into neutral (“N”) before starting the engine.

4.Never leave this machine unattended with the engine running.

5.Never attempt to make any adjustments while engine is running, except where specifically recommended in the operator’s manual.

6.To avoid personal injury or property damage use extreme care in handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable and the vapors are explosive. Serious personal injury can occur when gasoline is spilled on yourself or your clothes which can ignite. Wash your skin and change clothes immediately.


1.Do not put hands or feet near rotating parts. Contact with the rotating parts can amputate hands and feet.

2.Do not operate machine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

3.Never operate this machine without good visibility or light. Always be sure of your footing and keep a firm hold on the handles.

4.Keep bystanders, helpers, pets, and children at least 75 feet from the machine while it is in operation. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area.

5.Be careful when tilling in hard ground. The tines may catch in the ground and propel the tiller forward. If this occurs, let go of the handle bars and do not restrain the machine.

6.Exercise extreme caution when operating on or crossing gravel surfaces. Stay alert for hidden hazards or traffic. Do not carry passengers.

7.Never operate the machine at high transport speeds on hard or slippery surfaces.

8.Exercise caution to avoid slipping or falling.


9.Look down and behind and use care when in reverse or pulling machine towards you.

10.Start the engine according to the instructions found in this manual and keep feet well away from the tines at all times.

11.After striking a foreign object, stop the engine, disconnect the spark plug wire and ground against the engine. Thoroughly inspect the machine for any damage. Repair the damage before starting and operating.

12.Disengage all clutch levers and stop engine before you leave the operating position (behind the handles). Wait until the tines come to a complete stop before unclogging the tines, making any adjustments, or inspections.

13.Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly ventilated area. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas.

14.Muffler and engine become hot and can cause a burn. Do not touch.

15.Use caution when tilling near fences, buildings and underground utilities. Rotating tines can cause property damage or personal injury.

16.Do not overload machine capacity by attempting to till soil to deep at to fast of a rate.

17.If the machine should start making an unusual noise or vibration, stop the engine, disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the engine. Inspect thoroughly for damage. Repair any damage before starting and operating.

18.Keep all shields, guards and safety devices in place and operating properly.

19.Never pick up or carry machine while the engine is running.

20.Use only attachments and accessories approved by the manufacturer. Failure to do so, can result in personal injury.

21.If situations occur which are not covered in this manual, use care and good judgment. Contact your dealer or telephone 1-800-800-7310for assistance and the name of your nearest servicing dealer.

Maintenance & Storage

1.Never tamper with safety devices. Check their proper operation regularly.

2.Check bolts and screws for proper tightness at frequent intervals to keep the machine in safe working condition. Also, visually inspect machine for any damage.

3.Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting, stop the engine and make certain the tines and all moving parts have stopped. Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the engine to prevent unintended starting.

4.Do not change the engine governor settings or overspeed the engine. The governor controls the maximum safe operating speed of the engine.

5.Maintain or replace safety and instruction labels, as necessary.

6.Follow this manual for safe loading, unloading, transporting, and storage of this machine.

7.Never store the machine or fuel container inside where there is an open flame, spark or pilot light such as a water heater, furnace, clothes dryer etc.

8.Always refer to the operator’s manual for proper instructions on off-seasonstorage.

9.If the fuel tank has to be drained, do this outdoors.

10.Observe proper disposal laws and regulations for gas, oil, etc. to protect the environment.

Your Responsibility

1.Restrict the use of this power machine to persons who read, understand and follow the warnings and instructions in this manual and on the machine.

2.The safety label on the tiller is reproduced below for your review. To ensure safe operation of the tiller, follow the instructions on all labels closely.



NOTE: This operator’s manual covers various models of tillers. The units illustrated may vary slightly from your unit. Follow only those instructions which pertain to your model number.

NOTE: References to right or left side of the tiller are determined from behind the unit in the operating position.

To Remove Unit From Carton

Remove staples, break glue on top flaps, or cut tape at carton end and peel along top flap to open carton.

Remove loose parts included with unit (i.e., operator’s manual, etc.).

Cut corners and lay carton down flat.

Remove packing material.

Roll or slide unit out of carton. Check carton thoroughly for loose parts.

Extend control cable and lay on the floor. Be careful not to bend or kink control cable.

IMPORTANT: This unit is shipped without gasoline or oil in the engine. Be certain to service engine with gasoline and oil as instructed in the separate engine manual before operating your machine.

Loose Parts In Carton

Tailpiece and Depth Stake

NOTE: All hardware needed for assembly is attached to the loose parts or the tiller.


Adjustment Lever


Adjustment Lever

Retainer Bracket

Lock Nut

Before Assembly

WARNING: Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the engine to prevent unintended starting.

Assembling The Handle

Remove the handle adjustment lever from handle and lift up upper handle to raise in operating position. See Figure 1.

Reinsert adjustment lever through the lower hole, tightening the lever into lock nut on the retainer bracket.

Once the lever is in the lock nut, the handle can be moved to the desired position and then tighten securely.

Attaching Tailpiece and Depth Stake

Remove the two self-tappingscrews on the frame and slide the tailpiece into the frame, with the lower hole in the tailpiece toward the front. See Figure 2.

Secure tailpiece with the screws just removed.

Figure 1




Lower Hole

Figure 2


Check Cable Adjustment

With the clutch lever disengaged, pull starter rope slowly several times. The tines should not turn. If they turn, the cable is not adjusted properly.

To adjust the cable, loosen the nut near the top of the cable and unscrew the cable to provide additional slack in wire. See Figure 3.

Tighten the nut and check again for proper adjustment.

Clutch Lever

Loosen Nut

Figure 3


Tine Clutch Control

Handle Adjustment Lever

Depth Stake


Figure 4

WARNING: Read, understand, and follow all instructions and warnings on the machine and in this manual before operating.

Tine Clutch Control

The clutch control lever is located on the left handle. Squeezing the lever against the handle engages the tine drive. Release the lever to stop the tines from turning. See Figure 4

Depth Stake

The depth stake is located in the rear of the tiller and it controls the tilling depth. See Figure 4

Handle Adjustment Lever

The handle may be adjusted to the height desired. Loosen the handle adjustment lever a few turns and pivot handle up or down to desired position. Tighten lock. See Figure 4.

Throttle Control

The throttle control lever is located on the engine. It controls the engine’s speed and stops the engine.

With the throttle control pushed completely forward, the carburetor is in START or FAST position. Use maximum engine speed for deep tilling.

Pull the throttle control back to reduce engine speed to IDLE. Throttle control should be at IDLE for transporting the tiller.

Pull the throttle completely back to stop the engine.


Choke Lever

Engine Controls

The choke lever is located near the throttle control. It is used to enrich the fuel mixture when starting a cold engine.

See the separate engine manual for additional information and functions of the engine controls.

Starter Handle

The starter handle is located on the engine and is used to manually start the engine.


WARNING: Read, understand, and follow all instructions and warnings on the machine and in this manual before operating.

Before Starting

Gas And Oil Fill-Up

Service the engine with gasoline and oil as instructed in the separate engine manual packed with your tiller. Read instructions carefully.

WARNING: Use extreme care when handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable and the vapors are explosive. Never fuel machine indoors or while the engine is hot or running.

Starting Engine

WARNING: Be sure no one is standing in front of the tiller while the engine is running or being started.

Attach spark plug wire to spark plug. Make sure the metal cap on the end of the spark plug is fastened securely over the metal tip on the spark plug.

Make sure that the tine clutch control is disengaged.

Place the throttle control in the FAST position.

Move choke lever to CHOKE position. A warm engine requires little or no choke.

Grasp starter handle and pull rope out slowly until engine reaches start of compression cycle (rope will pull slightly harder at this point). Let the rope rewind slowly.

Pull rope with a rapid, continuous, full arm stroke. Keep a firm grip on starter handle. Let rope rewind slowly. Do not let starter handle snap back against starter. Repeat until engine starts.

When engine starts, move choke lever on engine halfway between CHOKE and RUN. As the engine warms up, move the lever to RUN position.

Refer to engine manual for additional engine information.

Stopping Engine

Move throttle control lever to STOP or OFF position.

Disconnect spark plug wire from spark plug and ground against the engine.

Using Your Tiller

Your tiller (also known as a cultivator) is a precision built machine designed for seed bed preparation, cultivating, furrowing and mulching. It is engineered to minimize the hardest work in the vegetable or flower garden, to till the soil for planting and cultivating, and to perform many other useful labor saving tasks in the garden.

Wheel Position

The tiller is shipped with the wheels adjusted such that the unit sits level. While tilling, as the tines enter the ground and the front of the tiller lowers, the wheels must be raised to level the unit, which is essential for proper engine operation. This adjustment is made by removing the clevis pin and hairpin clip from wheel yoke, raising the wheels to the desired height, and replacing the clevis pin and hairpin clip. See Figure 5.

Depth Stake

Hairpin Clips

Wheel Yoke


& Clevis Pins


Figure 5


Controlling Speed And Tilling Depth

Wheel Yoke Adjustment

Place wheel yoke so that the wheels are forward (nearest point between wheels and tines) for shallow tilling, cultivating and transport. The forward speed will increase. Turn yoke around (farthest point between wheels and tines) for deep tilling. Forward speed will decrease. See Figure 6.

Position Wheel Yoke

Position Wheel Yoke

For Deep Tilling

For Shallow Tilling

Figure 6

Depth Stake Adjustment

The depth stake acts as a brake for the tiller and controls the depth and speed at which the machine will operate. Remove the clevis pin and hairpin clip to raise or lower depth stake. Refer to Figure 5.

By increasing the depth of the depth stake, the forward speed of the machine is reduced and the working depth is increased. When the depth stake is raised, the working depth of the machine is reduced and the forward speed is increased. The working depth of the machine may be predetermined by setting the depth stake and wheels so that the wheels are about four inches from the ground when the tines and depth stake are resting on the ground. This setting will permit a working depth of about four inches. When presetting the working depth, the handles should be adjusted so the hand grips are a little above waist. The tiller will be lower when the tines and depth stake penetrate the ground. See Figure 7.

When tilling, leave approximately 8 inches of untilled soil between the first and second tilling paths, then make the third path between the first and second. In some soils, the desired depth is obtained the first time over the garden. In other soils, the desired depth is obtained by going over the garden two or three times. In the latter case, the depth stake should be lowered before each succeeding pass over the garden. Passes should be made across the length and width of the garden alternately. Rocks which are turned up should be removed from the garden area. See Figure 8.







Handle Pressure

Depth Stake

Wheel Setting For

Deep Tilling

Figure 7

Figure 8

Further control of tilling depth and travel speed can be obtained by variation of pressure on the handles.

A downward pressure on the handles will reduce the working depth and increase the forward speed.

An upward pressure on the handles will increase

the working depth and reduce the forward speed. The type of soil and working conditions will determine the actual setting of the depth stake and the handle pressure required.

Transporting the Tiller

To transport the tiller to or from the garden, pivot the depth stake forward and out of the way. With the throttle control in SLOW position, the unit will walk freely on the lawn. If the operator does not allow the tiller to move freely, the unit will start to till the surface. Refer to Figure 7.


For cultivating, a two to three inch depth is desirable. Setting the wheels and depth stake so that the wheels are about two inches above the ground while the tiller is resting on the tines and depth stake will allow the machine to work at cultivating depth. The throttle should be set to control forward movement to a slow walking speed. With the outer tines installed, the


working width of the machine is 22 or 24 inches. For cultivation, this may be reduced to 13 inches by removing the outer tines. Refer to the Adjustment Section. When laying out plant rows, be sure to allow enough width to permit cultivation between the rows. In growing corn or similar crops, check-rowplanting will permit cross cultivation and practically eliminate hand hoeing. See Figure 9.

Figure 9

The tiller has many uses other than tilling and cultivating a garden. One of these is the preparation of lawn area for seeding. The tiller will prepare a deep seed bed which will be free of hard untilled spots, allowing a better stand of grass to grow. The tiller is very useful for loosening hard soil for excavation with a shovel. No tedious handwork will be necessary. Your tiller may be used for mixing compost in the pile, or for mixing it with the soil in your garden. This should be done after the soil has been broken to the full working depth. The compost should be worked in to a depth of six to seven inches. This may be done by working the length of the garden and then by making separate passes across its width. The addition of decayed organic matter will substantially increase the fertility of your garden. For proper decaying action, fertilizer should be applied and worked in with the mulch materials. Breaking up leaves and straw and mixing it with several inches of soil causes the soil to hold moisture longer and allows proper aeration of the plant root system. This also retards the growth of weeds.


WARNING: Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the engine before performing any adjustments.

Engine Adjustment

Refer to the separate engine manual for engine adjustment instructions.

Wheel Adjustment

To adjust the wheel yoke and wheel position, refer to the Operating Section.

Depth Stake Adjustment

To adjust the depth stake to a desired position, refer to the Operating Section.

Clutch Control Adjustment

Periodic adjustment of the belt tension may be required due to normal stretch and wear on the belt. To adjust the clutch control lever, refer to the Assembly Section.

Tine Width Adjustment (330 Series Only)

The tilling width of the unit is 22 inches. Tilling width can be increased to 24 inches by removing the clevis pins and hairpin clips, sliding the outer tines out one inch, and securing in this position with the clevis pins and hairpin clips. For cultivation, reduce the tine width to 13 inches by removing the outer tines completely.

See Figure 10




Figure 10



WARNING: Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground it against the engine before performing any repairs or maintenance.


Refer to the separate engine manual for engine maintenance instructions.

Maintain engine oil as instructed in the separate engine manual packed with your unit. Read and follow instructions carefully.

Cleaning Tine Area

Clean the underside of the tine shield after each use. The dirt washes off the tines easier if rinsed off immediately instead of after it dries. Always towel dry the tiller afterwards and apply a light coat of oil or silicone to prevent rusting or water damage.

IMPORTANT: Never use a "pressure washer” to clean your tiller. Water can penetrate tight areas of the tiller and its chain case and cause serious damage to the unit.

Service air cleaner every ten hours under normal conditions. Clean every hour under extremely dusty conditions. Poor engine performance and flooding usually indicates that the air cleaner should be serviced. To service the air cleaner, refer to the separate engine manual packed with your unit.

IMPORTANT: Never run your engine without air cleaner completely assembled.

The spark plug should be cleaned and the gap reset every 25 hours of engine operation. Spark plug replacement is recommended at the start of each tiller season; check engine manual for correct plug type and gap specification.

Clean the engine regularly with a cloth or brush. Keep the cooling system (blower housing area) clean to permit proper air circulation which is essential to engine performance and life. Be certain to remove all dirt and combustible debris from muffler area.

Belt Replacement

Your tiller has been engineered with a belt made of special material (Kevlar Tensile) for longer life and better performance. It should not be replaced with an off-the-shelfbelt. Order all belts through your authorized service dealer.

Disconnect and ground spark plug wire against the engine.

Remove the two hex washer screws from the front of the belt cover and remove the lock nut and flat washer from the side of the belt cover.

Remove the belt cover. See Figure 11.














Belt Cover

Hex Washer













Lock Nut &

















































































Flat Washer






























The transmission is pre-lubricatedand sealed at the factory. It requires no checking. See an authorized service dealer for any service issues.

Clutch Handle

Lubricate the pivot point on the clutch handle and the cable at least once a season with light oil. The control must operate freely in both directions.

Pivot Points

Lubricate all pivot points and linkages at least once a season with light oil.

Tine Shafts

Remove tine assemblies and lubricate the tine shafts at least once a season.

Wheel Shafts

Remove wheel assemblies and lubricate the axle shafts at least once a season.

Hex Washer


Figure 11

Remove the hex screw and idler pulley from the idler bracket assembly. See Figure 12.

Reassemble the new belt and reattach idler pulley to secure in place.

Replace belt cover assembly and secure with the hardware removed earlier.