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  1. Many of us do a lot of maintenance outside our hobby but, it may include hobby equipment.  We have approximately 26 total acres surrounding our house that requires at least some maintenance all year long. 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 FC1A19DC-1342-4C4A-BE4A-DF0BEBBAE560.thumb.jpeg.2c73016ea0da5de2bf46250e18ceec48.jpegA052DDAB-84EB-40A2-B9CB-7316C570BB6C.thumb.jpeg.5ace5fb41cc7ac81a97e159fc34a89f8.jpeg

    A bit late to over-seed but we’ve been dry for the latter portion of the summer and rain in the forecast.  Got to use the newly acquired revitalizer on the Hydro-18 to prepare, Conquest w/44” deck and power xxx to pick up thatch, and the bumblebee 10 + Agrifab seeder. I used a shade mix including creeping red fescue to try to get more grass in the shaded areas. Sunny spots are covered w/zoysia.  

  2. I am writing this, not because of a tractor I have bough in particular, though I could write a book full of examples of this idea. Rather I am writing because of  recent "repairs" that  I made to a tractor.

    A few days ago I was mowing with my 03 Prestige, a tractor I bought with a dead Kohler 23 which I repowered with a 20hp vanguard. Everything was going along just great when all of a sudden I started hearing some loud clanking and banging.  Fearing the worst, being internal engine problems,  I ran it quickly back to the shop and parked it.  Finished mowing with another tractor till I had time to hunt down the problem.

    Well, I got back to the Prestige a few days later and began pulling the deck and checking things out.  Did not find any problems with the deck or belts, no troubles with the transmission drive line, idlers or anything in that area.  Clutch seemed ok, nothing out of sorts there. Opened the hood and looked down onto the engine and found the problem straight away. There under the flywheel screen was the large flanged flywheel nut laying loose on top of the flywheel. Thought to myself, "well, no internal engine problems, but I bet the flywheel magnets are shot as probably is the stator and charging system".  Not so much  from a doom & gloom mentality, but from previous experiences..

    I then began pulling the engine shrouding off to get to the flywheel.  While the flywheel did not appear to be loose, it did just lift up off the crankshaft with only a little effort. When I flipped it over to look at the magnets something fell off onto the floor. Thought  probably a magnet or  one of the cooling vanes.  Looked it over and no magnets missing , loose, or banged up. No cooling vanes missing, Stator did not appear to be damaged in any way. Huh?... Looked around on the floor for the piece that fell out.  Found it...." well this aint good!"  Looked at the crankshaft around the half moon flywheel key....  Yep  ..a large chunk of the crankshaft had broken out with one side of the half moon keyway.wah

    After the initial despair wore off, I got on the phone with  my son Stephen about working over another potential engine sitting here.  Amidst the conversation , got to thinking, that we could just put the broken chunk  of crankshaft back in place with the key and tighten down the flywheel. Its a tapered fitting so it should compress down and hold it all in place. This given that the break was a wedge shaped piece and the break was pretty clean it should work. Stephen suggested a light coat of JB weld on the broken surfaces, so I did that. Put the flywheel back on and used the permanent bond  "green" loctite on the threads liberally and torqued it all down & let dry good till the next day.  Got nothing to loose by trying this, and don't care if it wont come apart again. Not going to be fixing this engine again anyhow. Just trying to buy more usage time. Fired it up yesterday and mowed with it for an hour with no problems. So far so gooddOd We will just have to see how many more hours we bought with that last ditch repair job.

    Think about the above the next time you go to buy a used tractor. While a lot of last ditch repair jobs are readily visible( welded up differentials, wheels welded to hubs,  steering wheels welded to shafts,  and so on and so forth), other repairs like the above just are not able to bee seen. Tends to make one a little more cautious  about laying out  larger amounts of $$$ for tractors that you don't have a verified history of. That's why when I go to consignment auctions to buy  garden tractors, I have a rule.... to pay only parts tractor prices  for the tractors that show up there. That way the only surprises are when the tractor actually turns out to be a good one.

    You never know what you are going to really get in a used tractor.....


  3. Tired Iron's Shop

    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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  4. Wendell Bragg

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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.

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  5. Mark Denison

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    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.

  6. Mike_H
    Latest Entry

    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...

    View the full article

  7. 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.  sm01 

    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!



  8. Incey

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    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.

  9. Tractor Boy's Blog

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    Latest Entry

    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!

  10. Mark Denison

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  • Blog Comments

    • Chris727

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      Fleet looks good. When is the proper seeding time for this region? I thought it was in the fall. It always seems to be too dry to seed around here in the fall and there's no practical way to water a large yard. 

    • AllisLaporteb12

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      Ive used the kohler 10w30 motor oil in my 2005 prestige transmisson since new, its worked well, I change my trans oil every couple seasons since I use my tractor all year around.

    • SmilinSam

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      3 hours ago, PhanDad said:

      @SmilinSam & Others - Curiosity questions.

      Is the "second" spin on filter a Simplicity add-on for the Prestige only?  Belt & Suspenders approach?  But not on the Conquest.  

      Other manufactures just use the internal "Tuff Torque" filter?  

      Does the Simplicity Operators Manual mention the internal filter and/or instruct to change both?  



      The Conquest and Prestige tractors use different transmissions. While both use the same internal filter , only the Prestuge transmission  has the "guts" to run the power steering and hydraulic lift. So , no, its technically not an "add on". I dont know what other tractors that use these transmission have for filter systems, but it would be interesting to know.

      Yes, the owners manual covers both filters.

      The above is for ConQuests and Prestiges up to when they went to the new style in 08, or 09, or something like that. I dont have any idea what systems are like on the newer styles. I think @Chris727 has one of those ???...

      • Thanks 1
    • PhanDad

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      @SmilinSam & Others - Curiosity questions.

      Is the "second" spin on filter a Simplicity add-on for the Prestige only?  Belt & Suspenders approach?  But not on the Conquest.  

      Other manufactures just use the internal "Tuff Torque" filter?  

      Does the Simplicity Operators Manual mention the internal filter and/or instruct to change both?  



    • Paul M.Murphy

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      A lot of good info Chris. My health has not been so good as of late so I have to do some other jobs before I get at the 707. We  are starting to get some nice weather so I'm working on my garden box.We can't really plant too many vegetables until after the 14th of June.

      Well take care of yourself.