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Many of us do a lot of maintenance stuff outside our hobby but it may include our hobby equipment too. Linda and I have 26 acres surrounding our house that requires a lot of maintenance. So, I thought I’d start this blog with a wide scope in mind and cover some of things I do and probably reflect back on things I’ve done too.
Sept 18-19, 2021
Now that I've retired its time to put at least a little emphasis on improving our yard. We live at the bottom of a hill and there is a rock shelf not far below the surface. So, water from uphill comes our way washing what little topsoil we have on farther down into the woods. I let my career get in the way of yard improvement for the last 11yrs and I've vowed to get started. Picked up a nice Simplicity revitalizer in OH while attending 2021 GOTO. Set it to lightly work the surface and loosen thatch in the shady parts of our yard. Some say its late to over-seed but we’ve been dry for the latter portion of the summer and rain is in the forecast.
Equipment used: Conquest 16-44 with turbo blower, Hydro-18 with revitalizer, the Bumblebee 10 with Agrifab seeder. I used a shade mix including creeping red fescue, bluegrass and perennial rye. Sunny spots are covered w/zoysia. Found the revitalizer likes more even ground than we have but it worked well carving slight groves for a good seed bed. Blew out a turbo belt (2nd one this season @$22ea) and I used 25# seed at $1.95/lb. Finished up seeding some points and harder to get to areas by hand.
September 21, 2021 Received 2.1" rain last night so timing was good. We do have a yard irrigation (needs adjustment and more heads) but you just cannot beat a good rain at seeding. Cleaned up the equipment after use with leaf blower and today I removed excess dirt and debris before placing it on the pallet racks for storage.
Found the one way to grease this zerk was to pry the bearing cover out of the way - ugh! Blades and spacers are spring tensioned from middle so I did get it to take grease!
Time to reload equipment on shelving.
September 21-22, 2021
Zoysa along our drive has elevated to a level that’s above the drive causing water to travel from the street nearly to our house. I am in need of grass in sunny areas around the shop so I used the Agco 2025 loader tractor to dig a strip along the drive and relocate them to around the shop.
my good neighbor brought his long handle flat shovel, som gutter nails, and string to mark the strip and cut the sod. Worked great after a 2.1” rain.
strips were cut length of the bucket. East to cut new digits for the sod
sod strips awaiting placement
not sure why this happened
luckily I saw the cap quickly so I raised the front off the ground, replaced the snapring and dustcap, and was back in business
I must not have made sure the ring was completely set in the groove
Never pass up a chance to grease so while on the floor I greased the Conquest front axle and front wheels.
Saturday September 25 I musta ran over something yesterday with the loader tractor. Right rear tire flat. Luckily a tire shop could fix it today. So, off with the wheel weight, chains and wheel: forgot the lug nuts are metric
Ellie and her mother stayed a few days and Ellie wanted some tractor time
winter 2021-22 maintenance. Washed and waxed the Conquest 16-44
and took a few pictures before removing the deck and power bagger
new in ‘02 and she’s proven to be worthy
winter duty clothes
and a little seat cushion maintenance inspired by @SmilinSam
Removed the chrome front bumper and replaced with original black one. Chrome bumper was kinda a rare option.
Tuesday December 14, 2021 We are experiencing an extremely warm winter. Local weather forecast for today: Clouds will increase and temps in the mid-60's. Tonight cloudy with temps near 60 at midnight, the warm to mid 60's by Wednesday morning. Wednesday forecast: very warm and windy with > 50mph winds. Temps likely reaching record in mid-70's. Dec 14 avg high is 44* and avg low 27*. So far I've probably only burned a dozen sticks of wood in the shop, mainly to take the chill off in the mornings. Have had the overhead door open many days.
December 17, 2021 Temp in 30’s, cloudy and rainy all day. Fire felt good
Wanted more light so caught this on eBay
Never been a detail guy but YouTube can help me do about anything maintenance wise. Watched several videos on dual action polishers and compounds before deciding to buy a MaxShine M8S, some Griots Complete Coumpound, and a bag of HF microfiber towels.
Should have taken a before picture but started on the Sovereign and you can see where I worked first
Bringing the old oxidized paint back to life slowly. Old girl cleans up nice
Time to try this blogging thing again
Blades we’re stuck and no hitch so I moved it to the basement, squirted PB Blaster whenever I thought about it, and bought a fdt snowblower hitch from a FB group member
Fast-forward to May 2022. It’s weedcutter rejuvenation time! No amount of PB Blaster could free this up so it’s tear down time. So, I pulled out couple B&D Workmates for a work table an the fun begins
The old machine is in pretty good shape. PO told me it was used primarily to clean up around electric livestock fences. Top shield was realitively easy to remove. Look at the crud in the corner and stiff belts-all original Simplicity
Took plenty of pictures for later reference
#2 is the power drive arbor and most challenging to separate. I watched @GrincheyOne YouTube video https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/46497-990370-weed-cutter-rebuild/
All original Hoover bearings and same as mower deck bearings. Had 6 inexpensive EBay purchased bearings on hand so decision time: use them and buy 2 more or buy 8 new ones?
Decided to use the bearings on hand and order couple more from Ebay.
and bought 3 new NAPA 4L300 belts per @Chris727 https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/63531-weed-cutter-rebuild-now-completed/?tab=comments#comment-508740
of course I made a miscue: sandwiched two bearings in an arbor correctly but the spacer decided to turn on its side just before the seated blow. So, beat one bearing back out and ordered a replacement.
going back together with mostly new hardware
and I modified the orange one for the weed cutter
(respect this warning)
Not decided yet which tractor I’ll mount to so pulled the bumble bee 10 out to see if it starts this year, and success!
Now for the early b10 that hasn’t run since summer ‘20. Swapped in battery from the bumblebee, opened the gas line valve, 3 revs and it purred like a kitten. Float sticks so gas shutoff valve is a must have. Note I mounted the hitch to see the fit.
June 17, 2022. First time mounted
I burned though a $36 green drive belt from O'Reilly, then ordered another $12 belt from Amazon and promptly burned through it. I quickly ordered more $12 belts to have on hand for quick use since I burn em so quickly. Started looking at my converted hitch, then bought one at Portage Garden Tractor Daze for a spare, and started swapping parts. I think some of the parts on my original converted snowblower hitch were bent so worth a try. I also installed belt guides and will find a spring as in this 2003 post https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/10006-weed-and-brush-cutter/?tab=comments#comment-1000 Also want to note a picture of Richard Jay's mounted weed cutter that uses the flat style pulley same as the snowblower - and he uses it so maybe I didn't need to change that pulley??
7/22/2022 Painted rear wheel weights removed from the sold Conquest JD yellow and let them cure in Missouri 90* heat past week. Installed them today on the X540
Engine appeared to be a 3hp Briggs but I have two 5hp Briggs on the shelf that “run when parked”.
So yesterday I decided to bring the tiller from the basement and get started taking the old engine off and start cleaning
Repowered and running strong. Still has that original look too! (I know, a whole $75 if I am lucky but its an AC.
9/17/2022 I attended a plow day at NEMO Old Threshers in Shelbina. A member of Central MO Plow Days FB group invited us and had convinced the group to host. Four tractors and plows showed up to try to plow the hardest ground possible! My B210 was climbing clods that I had turned over that were every bit 80-100#. My plow was sucking in, tractor rearing up the front end, and I broke 2 chain links on the lift before I called it quits. Installed 4 links upon return home.
9/18/2022 Used the revitalizer on the yard where I got carried away with roundup thinking it was 2-4D. Man I like this tool for reseeding.
9/22/22 Been intrigued by this tractor and story All White Early B-10 "Promotional" Tractor *Updates Added* - Show & Tell - Simple trACtors since @MarksA-C posted. Today I brought it home and will decide over the next few weeks/months whether to clean and fix it up or restore with picture history. For sure, I will dig around to find if anyone anywhere can verify the story.
9/26/22 had a tandem load of topsoil delivered. That will require some seat time on the Agco 2025 loader tractor.
9/27/22 After parcelling the dirt out in the yard I decided to get the belly blade down from the storage shelf. Glad I did! I forget how good it works
and a 40” JD spike aerator. The spike tines are metal and a plastic molded insert rides on a metal shaft. This thing is frozen nearly solid! I got the end tine off, wire brushed the shaft and cleaned out the plastic insert but that was tough. I couldn’t get the second spike assembly to move outward. Soaked it w/PB Blaster, have turned the spike with much effort, but the dang thing will not move up the shaft.
the first one removed.
My neighbor has been helping me - we found the rust is so packed under the plastic and around the rod and the only liquid that works is water. Heating the plastic so it expands enough that the spikes will turn on the axle, then trying to dissolve the rust enough to move it by spraying water on the joints and in holes I drilled in the plastic, clean the rod as best I can after finally screwing the tine off, and move on to the next tine. I am going to have so many man hours in this thing! 6 tines off with only 2 (so far) that will needed to sacrifice.
White early B-10 "Promotional" tractor purchased from Mark McCarren aka MarksA-C .https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/59396-all-white-early-b-10-promotional-tractor-updates-added/?tab=comments#comment-486195 Some parts were originally yellow painted over with white while others show no yellow at all. Gas tank is rusty inside so that’s a bummer but it’s good enough to clean and coat. (Thinking of painting an AC plow white for display purposes.)
11/29/2022 I worked with the shop door up today
Post Office delivered the control rod for my Sunstar the other day. I purchased it from Jack's Small Engine and have to say I was not impressed. I ordered what I saw as "In Stock" where the parts I ordered were in fact not in stock and had to be ordered. So, it took much longer for the part to arrive than I was expecting. I had thought about rebuilding the old control rod, but I abandoned that idea because the control rod cost $27. The surgery was short and simple (about an hour), no other surprises when replacing the control rod. I greased the front U-joint while I had the covers off.
Now if we can get it to warm up here in southeastern WI so I can mow the grass again. It is very deceiving to look out the window and see things greening up and it is only 44 degrees.
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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!
It seems you can make a post without being registered at all
A "blog" weakness apparently
You know me as phandad
Someone has hijacked this - get rid of
Your pictures have served to remind me of the zerks I always forget to grease on the inside of the front wheels....
Thanks Chris. We usually seed in early September and water the seed in. Works better than spring seeding most times.