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Everyone has them if they admit it. My money pit long-term project is about to get re-started. I've been lurking around eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and on-line classifieds. Patience... I won the Ebay auction the February 16, shipments only on Fridays and for some reason not on all Fridays...Confirmation received item was shipped March 1 from Portland OR and on March 8 the box arrived via Old Dominion at my work in Jefferson City, MO.
Box unloaded in the shop.
Lots of screws and staples
Contents and project hint
Contents revealed: Kohler CH-18 that has been setting in a warehouse with some parts taken off. I worked out a deal to trade the vendor the muffler I didn't need or want for a valve cover that was robbed for parts. Got lucky - was supplied with a newer one with yellow o-ring.
Engine is 2004 vintage. Its clean inside but I'll run the first oil a short time and change along with filter to rid of dirt and dust particles that I am sure have accumulated.
Modifications begin. I have most of the parts needed to make it Simplicity worthy
Will change out ignition coils with newer Kohler replacements I have on the shelf.
Ordered inspection plates from OPE Engines and headed to Destin, FL. Project to resume upon return
As usual I practiced installation to get it right. Somehow I didn’t consider the engine might not be wired correctly for my application. Here is a picture of 1st install. If you look close you can see extra wires at the starter. Not shown are the extras in the connector.
So I uninstalled the engine and stole from the shot parts Command that was in the tractor when I bought it. I planned to build my own new harness but my local O’R does not stock Delphi-Packard connectors do I installed the old Simplicity application harness.
I have a video of it purring after initial sputters😮 what a nice sound. Wish I could upload from my iPhone but a screenshot and your imagination... Next the hood.
I used @PhanDad Kohler muffler idea. Notice, I didn't bend the exhaust outlet exactly correct so the exhaust pipe I had made at a local muffler shop is resting on the frame. May have to adjust with the gas wrench later. I will not install light bulbs in the headlights until I know the heat situation up front. The muffler is noticeably located higher than OEM. I expect I’ll be removing the old recessed bezels and adding something outside the hood. Anyone have a set from a 75th🤔?
Update: headlights cannot connected. The hood would not close due to muffler rubbing on the light.
The hydro needed adjusting to center neutral. I used HF chocks to secure the tractor while working on it in the shop but at startup it climbed out easily (in neutral). Blocked up the tractor so the transaxle was off the floor, adjusted per service manual, and off to work.!
Worked Saturday clearing the yard of sticks and mowing the first time.
Engine ran really hot and I noted the exhaust getting cherry red while not working the tractor hard at all. Discussing at length with @CarlH only 3 causes: too much fuel-carb, timing-wrong ignition coils. Took a look again at paperwork from OPE Engines & yes I bought & installed wrong replacement coils! @PhanDad is correct. So, coils I took off are 14yrs old but essentially new. Tear down time
Original coils in and it runs lots cooler! I’m excited to begin using it harder around the yard & lots.
Been sitting around for 5 years and finally coming to the top of the Queue. Saw it on craigslist and immediately called at around 8PM. It was located about two hours away so I asked the guy if he would hold it for me. He said no, as he had other interested parties. I asked if I could come up that night. He said, "You want it that badly"? I said, "Yeah, I have been looking for one." So he said he would hold it. Got it the next day for $350. It came with a 5 ft deck, front blade, rototiller and a vacuum system but no gas tank.
When I brought it home, I got it to fire by squirting fuel into the carb. I added a gas tank but now it won't run and the starter seems to have died. I tried to use an impact drill to turn it over for a compression test but no. Rather than start throwing parts at it, I decided to repower with a Predator 670 Honda clone.
I bought my 620 new in Nov. 1974. I used to do a limited amount of custom garden plowing/tilling for fellow Church members, friends, & neighbors. I also mowed 2-3 acres for the 1st 25 years until the mower deck was too rusty to continue. I repowered it in 1999 with a 22 HP Kohler Command, before there were repower kits to my knowledge.
Almost two years ago, after extensive use of the Simplicity 48" tiller, apparently one of the bearings seized so suddenly (after I switched the rear PTO off), that when I tried to switch it back on again a few minutes later, it instantly killed the engine "graveyard dead".
Can I replace the short (rear) shaft, it's two bearings & whatever else is necessary, just by removing the seat, top cover, & transaxle cover? Is it likely that I'll have to also replace the long shaft & it's gears & bearings?
I may have availability for used parts nearby. I haven't called Sandy Lake yet.
Thanks for whatever advice anyone can offer.
I've been wanting a way to move dirt with my tractors since I got them. Building a loader isn't in the cards...yet. Simplicity however made a grader blade for their tractors that by all accounts works pretty well. I've been meaning to build something for a while anyway and since grader blades are pretty spendy for what they are (300 bucks or so), I decided to build my own!
I had an old plow blade laying around the garage that I decided to cut in half for the grader blade.
I also wanted to add some ripping capability with this thing, so I bought a swisher scarifier from Wal-mart for about 80 bucks.
Here is the frame I built...
And the plow mount...
There are three positions the grader blade can be in, centered, Right and left.
Here it is with the teeth on one side.
And finally, all together, and ready to mount to a tractor.
I used it on a test run over memorial day weekend. I had a nasty patch of my backyard left over from my barn construction project that was starting to be taken over by weeds. I tilled it in, then used the grader blade to level the ground back out. It worked BEAUTIFULLY...
I will get it painted some day...
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I've enjoyed taking some time off and working on the honey-do list and springtime chores, though both are never-ending. But, I thought it time to provide an update, since it is rainy, and I'm procrastinating going to the garage to work. In addition to updating the software with new releases, and monitoring my email for "I can't log in" types of things, I have added a few more things to the site:
1. In addition to the Leaderboard that came with a recent release of the core software, I've implemented a Top Contributors function. It shows the people who've posted the most content in specific areas, by week, month, year, etc. There's been discussions in the Executive Committee about possibly setting up a competition (similar to Tractor of the Month) to reward the top contributors. I also have a programmer looking at taking this module even farther in what it tracks and counts, should we decide to implement a competition.
2. Due to feedback on the member list that I was using, I had a custom one developed and implemented. There's still some issues with missing data, but the function seems to be working well, and the plug-in that catches missing mandatory info seems to be working;
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56722-new-member-list/
Here's a direct link to it, underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/mlist/
Note that the amount of information displayed depends upon your access level. Dues-paying members can see more information.
3. Also based upon requests, I implemented a Member Map that allows you to place a pin on a map identifying the city and state where you live. (Smart phones will give you the option of using your Location from the phone.) This could really be helpful in finding people locally who share a similar interest in these old machines. Like most things here, its usefulness depends on the amount of use by others -- and use is optional, since some people are reluctant to share too much information on the web.
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56732-member-map-added/
Here's a direct link to it, also underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/membermap/
Note that if there are multiple members in close proximity, it displays them in a round "cluster" with the number of pins within it shown. For example, the pic above shows 3 members located near Indianpolis IN. If you click on that round icon, it will zoom in and show the three individual pins on the map.
Then, if you click on any one of the pins, it will show the info on that member. Here's mine, for example:
Hopefully you can see the value of this, in trying to connect with others in the local area. Now, if only we can encourage more people to add themselves to the map.
4 Continuing on that same subject of connecting with other enthusiasts locally, I want to give a sneak preview of a core capability coming in the next major release of the software, due out sometime mid-late 2017. The new core IPS software will have the capability to create sub-groups and corresponding functions for "Clubs". Since this entire site is already dedicated to a specific club, this new capability will allow us to then create and support "chapters" within the club, and support those chapters with their own functions unique to them. Implementing chapters is totally up to us -- should we choose to do so -- but the core capability will be there. Since this club has always been about encouraging face-to-face meetings with others, there has been discussion of creating chapters since the club was initially formed. This next release of the software will fully support that -- should we choose to do so....
Here's a look at their default view of clubs (i.e. chapters) from their development/testing server:
As shown, each "chapter" could have its own banner for that area. It would also show a list of the subset of members that are in that chapter, and each chapter would have "leaders" that can act as moderators for this subgroup. (Anyone identified as admin or moderator for the entire site would still have their same access levels/capabilities within these subgroups.):
We can set this up to control access to these sub-areas or chapters. See the settings at the top of the list below. We can also set it up so these chapters can have their own content areas/capabilities from the list at the bottom -- each could have its own forum, gallery, downloads, blogs and calendars to handle their local activities. If these are set up as either open or public, all club members can see them.
Here's a glimpse of what those chapter sub-areas could look like:
I'm showing all this to prompt your thinking about the possible creation of club chapters, and to hear your thoughts...
5. Continuing with the sneak previews, the next major release of the software will also include many more small enhancements -- I'm not sure what all yet, since they are slowly providing previews. For example, instead of just the Like button, there will be other Reactions that can be provided for a piece of content, such as a topic or reply
Meanwhile, I need to get back to working on cleaning up the rest of the old Simple trACtors content and republishing it. I just wanted to provide an update on some of the recent changes and a preview of what's coming.
Let me know what you think of creating club chapters, please!
Gidday, this is me testing (myself) to see if I can create a blog!
My tractor came from a massive but neglected collection covering about 20 acres, of all sorts of farm equipment. The Simplicity looked very sorry but seems pretty well complete, except for parts of the engine - a Briggs 23D-FB. I will return to the property now I know what I am missing. I will be looking for a complete air cleaner, the starter motor and voltage regulator and the wiring. I need to find out exactly where the battery fits, and to buy the correct size battery.
I am in the process of dismantling everything, to clean up and to get sandblasted, in readiness for painting. Still to dismantle are: - steering wheel from steering column, grub screw proving difficult to loosen, may need to heat carefully without damaging the hand grips, - lift lever and shaft, will need heat to get apart, - transmission group, not anxious to touch yet, - differential, not anxious to touch yet, - bevel gear assembly, not anxious to touch yet. These latter parts will be considered after seeing how easily they turn etc, without too much slop.
Hood needs piece welded in where previous owner cut a hole for fuel tank lid. Need to find grill and grill side bars. Need to find decals/ornaments. Need cover for front PTO shaft.
Need a complete seat cushion.
Need to replace front wheel bearings etc.
Hello All, just a little announcement here for those of you who don't know that I have a YouTube channel covering Simplicity Garden Tractors be sure to check it out at:
Thanks for all the support! Have a great Day!
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Somewhere I said, "Don't start a vast project with a half-vast idea". Well, this was one of those. I ordered an FR4 sheet from eplastic and tried to cut a 4" hole with my Harbor Freight hole saw. Stripped the teeth. So I ordered the High Temp Structural Fiber Glass from McMaster-Carr along with their recommended hole saw and arbor. After cutting a couple of pieces I realized that a 4" hole saw cuts a 4" HOLE, not a 4" disc. It comes out to 3 5/8 which is perfect for the smaller discs but not for the Powermax. So I cut the rest of the material into 4" squares and will use that. Furthermore, the fiber glass material is a lot more flexible than the original fiber discs. I guess we'll just have to test it and see. But now I'm into it for about $100. Partstree sells the 4" disc for $45. DOH!Edited by wwbragg
Sorry for the late reply, apparently my mail notifications aren't working...
Cooler crowding? I actually had the opposite with the 630. The back of the 630 has too much extra space because of the roundess that I made some (read that as hacked, temporary) cheap plates for out of bonded linoleum to take up the space. I had issues with my original hydro overheating with the 630, so added a dual run cooler. If you want to see this I can take a photo but found a couple of things that are "interesting". One, I added a couple of spal 4" fans, only running one now and thinking I don't need that unless it's seriously hot out. I cut for about 3 hours at a time, so probably more of a worst case scenario than most others. Two, I need to retrace the hydraulic diagram. It feels (need more data, yes I'm an engineer) that leaving the lift lever in float causes the hydro to heat up. It would make sense if it's causing a by-pass in the flow in this configuration, vs. lowering the deck and returning the valve to neutral.
I'll grab some photos and dimensions. Feel free to send me a mail message and I'll get you my phone number if you want to chat live or have me take some specific measurements for you. I have "some" photos in the thread I started on my build, link isn't working, if you paste the following after simpletractors dot com with the / it should work: "forums/topic/54541-powermax-9020-repower-and-clean-up/"
I still have more on my hard drive I didn't load.
I used the standard adapter for the back end of the tractor btw. I did have to replace the original (thanks to SEPW having one in stock) as my original was no longer true. The "kit" came with a crank adapter for the dual-pulley adapter to mount to. This is really close to the fan cover but I didn't have any issues with the cooler clearance.
I'll see if I can still pull the number off of the clutch I'm using. I have the number of the old one, but that's not going to be very helpful.
13 hours ago, ACT816 said:
in case you want any pictures or measurements.
I would appreciate any pictures and measurements you can muster. I have had to set it aside for a while but am now getting back to it. I had to shave another 1/8" off of the flywheel adaptor to align with the dual drive pulley. But that will crowd the oil cooler so I plan to raise it enough to clear. @Brighammer did the same repower but he used a third party adaptor (I made my own.) and notched out the front cross member. I hesitate to do that. How did you handle the oil cooler crowding???
Nice post and can't believe I missed it until now. I have the GX630 in my 9020, in case you want any pictures or measurements. A couple of learnings from my transplant:
- Consider a plate (thin glass or anything that won't get wasted by heat/moisture) for the back of the engine to take up the space that the Onan used to take up. The Honda/Predator have curves where the Onan was square and the gaps will reduce the efficiency of the oil cooler.
- Spacing for the front PTO, I ended up with an Ox clutch to get the clutch pulley to align through the hole in the frame. Also, and I haven't fixed this yet as it's a nit, the new pullies typically are made for 1/2" AND 5/8" belts, so your diameter is slightly smaller using 1/2" belts. End result is the blades won't be spinning "quite" as fast as on a brand new Onan, but then again, not sure any of the Onans are spinning at full speed.
You'll enjoy the power you are putting in :-) One interesting operational item is mine isn't happy starting with my tank under about 1/3 tank.
When you put the rear PTO shaft back in, there is a run-out measurement in the service manual and it is a pain to get a dial indicator in the space.
Look forward to your completion!
Here are some more clips of trial runs. google wants them less the 1 gig so they are each just a couple of minutes long.
I have pretty-well decided that
grasshay that tall and thick is just too much for this little guy. I'm going to quit foolin' around and break out the 5' Swisher.