Maintaining Your AE400 Aerator

Are you having trouble with your Billy Goat AE400 aerator? Here’s what you need to know to handle the most common repairs, including tine replacement, belt tensioning and chain tensioning.

Tine Row Removal

1. Remove the nuts holding the top cover. Set the cover to the side.
2. Loosen the nut and bolt on the tensioner sprocket. Push the sprocket to release the chain tension.
3. Remove the bolts and nuts on the tine reel bearings.
4. Lift the reel and slide the chain off of the end sprocket.

Follow the steps in reverse order to install the tine row.

Tine Row Replacement

1. Remove the tine reel, then unscrew the nut at the end of the shaft.
2. Slide off the tines and spacers until you reach the damaged parts. Keep the parts in order for reassembly.
3. Swap out the damaged parts and reassemble the reel.
4. Tighten the shaft nut to 100 ft. lbs. Push the tines by hand. If they don’t move, the reel is assembled correctly.

Single Tine Replacement

1. Loosen the outer nut and carriage bolt on the tine. Unscrew and remove the inner nut and bolt.
2. Push the tine plates apart with a pry bar. Remove the tine.
3. Push the new tine in place, then screw in the inner nut and carriage bolt. Tighten the outer nut and bolt.

Belt Tension

1. Remove the nuts holding the top cover. Set the cover to the side.
2. Close the clutch bail. The idler pulley spring should should move ¼-3/8 of an inch.
3. Loosen the two nuts that secure the clutch cable.
4. Turn the nuts ¼ inch, then check the spring stretch again. Turning the nuts clockwise increases the belt tension.
5. Once the tension is set, put the aerator back together and use the aerator. If the tension is correct, the drive system will pull the aerator up a 15-degree slope without slipping, and it will fully disengage when the clutch bail is open.

Chain Tension

1. Remove the nuts holding the top cover. Set the cover to the side.
2. One chain sprocket sets the drive chain tension, while the other sprocket sets the tine reel chain tension. Loosen the bolt and nut on the idler you want to adjust. Slide the sprocket to change the chain tension. Each chain should have ¼ to 3/8 inches of slack.
3. Tighten down the sprocket hardware, then reinstall the cover.

Need Something for Your Aerator?

Do you need new tines for your aerator? Did you find something that needs to be replaced while you were doing maintenance? Billy Goat Parts is here to help. We’re an authorized dealer for Billy Goat, Briggs & Stratton and Honda, so we carry replacements for everything on your AE400. Our search engine can find parts that fit your specific model. We also have factory parts diagrams available, so you can see exactly what you’re buying, and where it goes on your equipment. Visit us at We ship across the USA and Canada.

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