Recognizing MTD clones of Gilson Tillers
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MTD built many tillers that can be considered clones, copycats, or look-alikes of Gilson models. Unfortunately, none of my parts will fit these machines. This page illustrates signature features that can distinguish these machines from Gilson Brothers Co. built tillers. If you have one of those machines, you can try contacting MTD Customer support or visiting a local long established dealer. The scope of this page is oil bath, worm driven front tine models.

Adjusting Plugs
GILSON

Gilson Adjusting Plug

The Gilson adjusting plugs have a pronounced radius of the center recess and the recess is deeper.

MTD

MTD Adjusting Plug

Where the Gilson plugs have significant radii the MTD notch edges are essentially sharp, and the recess is shallow

Identification Tags
GILSON

Gilson Identification Tag

The Gilson ID tags have a very consistent format that is explained here. Early models had aluminum tags folded into the holes as shown. Later, a similar silver on black sticker was used. Occasionally, exported machines had a different format but these are rare and will include a recognizable Gilson address or other clue.

MTD

MTD Identification Tag

MTD Identification Tag

MTD had various tag designs and here are a few examples.

Worm Wheel
GILSON

Worm Wheel

The Gilson worm wheels with 1" bores have a single keyway and are 7/8" wide.

MTD

MTD Worm Wheel

The MTD worm wheels with 1" bores have two keyways, and are usually 3/4" wide. The pictured worm wheel is badly worn.

Shifters
GILSON

Gilson Shifters

Gilson Shifters

Gilson used two shifter styles over most models. Early models have the knob that swings forward to engage forward and is pulled back over the handles to engage reverse. These were used on the pictured wower handles as well as some of a more tubular design with a brace panel.

Later models had a "Z" pattern shifter in the center of the console with the linkages behind the panel.

MTD

MTD Shifters

These MTD models usually have the shifter lever offset to the side and the linkage runs down in front of the handle panel.

Handle Bars
GILSON

Gilson Handle Bars

With very few exceptions the Gilson handle tubes of this style were flat across to the grips and were painted.

MTD

MTD Handle Bars

The MTD handles tend to sweep up to the grips and the tubes are sometimes chrome plated.

After reviewing these features, you can probably determine if your machine came from Gilson, MTD, or even another maker.


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Created May 30, 2022