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About this blog

Little blog I put together to document my projects on my workshop, my garden tractors, and eventually some woodworking projects (once my shop is fully complete)

Entries in this blog


Grader Blade

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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Broadmoor - More Progress

I think I have all the modifications complete to get my new motor in.  After moving the engine around a bit to make the gas tank fit, I realized that the hood was contacting the front shroud of the engine (evidenced by scratches in the paint 😡)

Anyway, After looking at the hood a bit, I realized that the front piece (that has the logo) can move a bit forward, and still look "correct."  So, off come the spot welds.




Next, I lined the hood back up on the tractor and clamped it in a position that looked "original" but that also cleared the engine.

Really, it didn't move much.  It was more of an "angle correction."  In stock form, the front of the hood is angled back toward the tractor.  I've realigned it to move of a perpendicular relationship with the hood.  Welded it back on and it fits nicely now.  Obviously, I'll need to paint it, but that was in the plan anyway.  I also need to add a couple pieces of sheet metal to clean up the edges a bit.  





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SnowCab Update

After a couple of storms now, all I can say is the cab is Awesome!  I love being able to be moving snow and pointing the chute any way I need to.  I used to only be able to move the snow in certain directions aligning with the prevailing wind that day.  To do otherwise meant a face full of cold, wet snow.  Think back to your days growing up and getting a whitewash from the neighborhood bully.  Yeah, it was that bad.

Anyway, its all installed and working well.  Also, a neat little video of the tractor in action!




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More "Stuff"

Or Junk, as my wife likes to call it.  I've been looking, off and on, for a snow cab for my Sovereign.  My driveway isn't that long, but it faces East/West.  When the wind is blowing, its nearly impossible to keep the snow out of my face.  Its annoying and I'm getting to the point in life where I don't like being cold...In fact I HATE being cold.  

Couple of days ago, my Craigslist alert went off, and Viola!  There was a snow cab about an hour away from me.  It looked pretty clean, and the price wasn't too bad.  I got on the phone as soon as I could.   After I talked to the man (Clark), I made "the Call" to my CFO (aka, my pragmatic wife).  I showed her the listing and asked if:

A) we had anything going on that night and 
B) Could I spend a couple hundred MORE dollars on my tractor addiction.  (I bought some tires recently too, more on that in a bit)

She said, "Yes, if I needed it I could get it."  We all know I needed it. 😀 Wahoo! 

I arrived in Lansing and Clark was actually talking to someone else who wanted it (or so he says...maybe a sales tactic?).   It didn't really matter...The cab was super nice, I was there, and it was coming home with me.  There were only a couple of rusty spots on the metal frame.  The rest was just dirty.  I asked if he would take less...he said no...but his price wasn't too bad, so I agreed to take it.  We were shooting the breeze a little, just talking about Guy stuff...Cars, Tractors, guns, snowmobiles, etc. 
 I was eyeing up his garden tractor.  Its a year newer than mine, but all the same options, with one caveat...His had the infamous Triad engine (Mine is the far more durable Command).  He thought it was a Command and was quite disappointed to find out it was a Triad, which have a tendency to overheat, drop a cylinder liner, then self-destruct (in that order).  I talked about some of the modifications I had heard about for the Triad, and gave him some links to check out.  He also didn't pay that much for it (stole it from an Auction) so he still got a good deal.  

Then he started complaining about the belt for his snowblower vibrating all over.  I looked at his set-up and noticed that his PTO idler pulley was in the wrong spot.  I also noticed his blower was from an older tractor and the drive pulley was flipped the wrong way.  

In the end, he knocked 25 bucks off the price of the cab, for my help!  He was a super nice guy.  I really enjoyed talking with him.  I think that is my favorite part of this hobby is meeting like minded people.  The chase is fun too!  I will literally spend hours looking through craigslist and ebay postings, looking for a deal.   

Here it is, as I bought it:






Its currently disassembled.  I washed all the vinyl (in the bathtub) and am cleaning up and repainting the couple of frame members that were rusty.  

This cab will need a couple of very minor modifications to work on my Tractor.  Its actually designed for older style tractor (7100 series).  The instructions tell me to drill holes in the fenders for the back mounting bracket, but that just isn't going to work for me.  I'm going to copy the design from the later models and weld on a new bracket that utilizes existing holes.  The front mounting points are also a tiny, little bit different.  I believe I'll need a couple of spacers for that, but its no biggie.  

Oh yeah,...The tires.  My blowing tractor got new Shoes!  Put some ags on the back and tri-ribs on the front.  She looks like a mini farm tractor now!  The tri-ribs I got used, and they weren't too bad, price-wise.  The rear tires made up for it!  They were 85 bucks a piece!  But, I have a lot of real landscaping to do next year, with my ground engaging attachments (grader blade and rototiller) so In the end, the more aggressive tires will be worth it.  Even with what I've spent on the tractor and all my attachments, hiring a contractor to do my yardwork would be more expensive. 

Here is the Sovereign, all ready for snow (minus the cab)



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Broadmoor Update...


I haven't had much time to work on my Broadmoor project of late.  I kicked finishing the barn into High Gear, so Insulation, walls, and storage have taken priority.

Thanksgiving Day, I had a few extra minutes, so I thought I'd try to get the gas tank and engine to fit in the Broadmoor.  When I mocked it up, I didn't have the engine shrouds on.  After the shrouds were installed on the engine, there was 4 inches of space behind the engine (where the gas tank goes) and a gas tank that is about 4 and one 1/8" wide!


I thought about how to solve this problem for a while...and figured that since this machine is all belt drive, I can fudge the engine mounting point a bit, and still get the belts to tighten up.  I also could have moved the bulkhead/firewall back a touch, but then I would have had a lot of holes to fill in the bodywork...Not fun.  

I slotted my engine mounting holes to scooch the motor forward about a quarter of an inch.  I'm concerned about that hole in the upper right.  Looks really close to the "edge"  We'll see how a nut and washer fit up there.  I may be cutting and welding a little patch there.  


With the additional clearance of the slots, the tank fits!


I did have a minor clearance issue with the grill though...scratched my paint!  The hood covers that up, so a quick trim will fix that right up.  

I'm starting to get unburied from my Honey-Do, so hopefully this project can pick up some more steam.  I'd like to get it set up to plow this winter, to augment my snowblowing ability!

Next on the list is to fab up a battery tray, install the necessary switches and relays, and design a wire harness (since this was a pull start tractor before).  

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This is a test post.  I'm a member over at SimpleTractors.com, which is a website/forum dedicated to Simplicity and Allis-Chalmers Garden Tractors.  The governing body has recently updated the forum software to Invision Power Systems, and that platform supports blogging.  Since I already have one (a blog), I wanted to figure out how to update one location, and have a "feed" set-up so my content will spread!  The new forum supports RSS/Atom, so once I figured out how to get the actual Feed URL of my blog, it seems to work!

That's all...I have a barn update coming soon...Insulation and walls!

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Most of the paint is shiny now, and I've been using her mostly to mow.  The way the weather has been, that's twice a week right now!  Anyway, one night after work, I thought I should mow the grass.  Rain was coming that weekend, and I didn't want to get stuck doing it wet.

Went to the barn, hopped on the tractor, and gave it the key a turn.  The engine gave half a revolution, and then nothing.  Any other key manipulations just gave me a click.  That's when I noticed smoke coming from under the dash!  After a quick check to make sure nothing was on fire,  I left it be for the evening.  Next day, I decided to tear into the wire harness and make it "right"

Pulled the whole thing out.  I found three or four wires that had the insulation abraded off them.  I cut the bad sections out, and replaced it.  I also found lots of dirt and grass in the connector bodies.  Those were disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled with lots of Di-Electric Grease.  My solenoid needed replacement and the whole harness was just a mess in general.  A lot of the tape sheathing was worn, so I replaced that as well.  All in All, I spent about 5 hours on that harness.  Everything works as it should again...except the seat switch.  That bugger got bypassed!  

What else needs to be done?  Well, the running boards need a new coat of paint and the deck is definitely going to need some attention this winter.  The arbors are in good shape, but the paint is really bad.  Its starting to rust, so I'm going to strip that down, and see if I can have it powdercoated.  If not, it will get the POR-15 treatment like the last one I did.   

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Bringing an old tractor back up to new

I recently purchased a new tractor.  Its a "late model" Simplicity Sovereign 18.  Late model is in quotes, because the darn thing is still 20 years old!  Anyway, its pretty much the ultimate Sovereign Simplicity made...Best engine, most features, etc.  Best thing is that its the power steering model, which is what elevates it to "ultimate" status.

Garden tractors changed a bit around the time this machine was produced...They became glorified lawn mowers.  No-one gardens anymore, and for those who want ground engaging capabilities, they  need to purchase sub-compact utility tractors (like a Kubota BX, John Deere 1025, or Simplicity Legacy XL)  However, the price tag on said machines is WAY more than I wanna spend, and I don't need a 60 inch mower deck!   Even used, they are up around $5000 for a nice one.  They have nice capabilities (I'd LOVE to have a front Loader) but I just can't justify it.

Here I am, wanting a heavy duty tractor, but not wanting to spend an arm and leg on a SCUT, and wanting to do more than just mow.  My old Simplicities fit the bill nicely.  I have a tiller, aerator, Mower, snowblower, weedcuter, etc.  and there are MORE things out there. If I really got crazy, I could get a disc, cultivator, sickle bar mower, front end loader, chipper/shreader, chemical sprayer,  ground trencher...the list goes on.  Some of this stuff is rare, but its available if you start asking the right people, and waving some Benjamins around.   Since you can't really replace them anymore, except with other old, used equipment and they obviously have quite a bit of utility, I want my toys to last!

When I picked up the Sovereign 18, I noticed that it was pretty clean, in that it hadn't been abused too badly, and probably hadn't seen much use.  The paint was faded, and as I looked it over and learned the nuances of the ol' girl, I noticed quite a few issues that needed to be addressed.  The first one I tackled was pure vanity...The faded paint.

I went a little crazy, and wetsanded the rear fender pan, and the hood.  Then I polished it back to a real nice shine.  Yes there are still some scratches, but that's OK.  Its a worker, not a trailer princess.  Chicks dig scars!


The hood came back nicely.  The rear fender pan and dash needed some more work.  The paint had started to bubble under the seat mounting bracket, and someone had drilled a hole through the dash.   I sanded the flaking paint off, primed, and painted what was necessary  The paint I bought (Simplicity factory touch up paint, mind you) doesn't quite match the original color though. 

Fender Pan Flaking Paint
Dash Paint issues

This tractor is looking good, but it still needs work.  The running boards will need a coat of paint, the dash tower needs buffing, and the frame needs paint.   Simplicity did something wrong when they powdercoated the chassis black.  Something in the prep went wrong, and there are giant sheets of paint coming off the frame.  I will have to address this in the off season (if there is such a thing for a year round worker).  Good thing I have multiple tractors, so I can set another one up to blow snow, cuz this one isn't going to see the wet until I get the metal covered!



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The Problem with old Tractors...

Last week Friday was a day I questioned my old iron addiction.  Especially, since I had just bought a "newer" machine to help in that respect.  So here's what happened...

I got a powerwasher from a neighbor.  Couldn't beat the price, 60 bucks, so I had to have it.  They are handy to have...its not heavy duty, but for cleaning gutters and washing my equipment, it'll work fine.  6 horse, 2500 psi or something.  Fired it up to powerwash one of my mowing decks...hasn't run in a while, and it was drain of gasoline...No problem.  Filled it up and it IMMEDIATELY started leaking gas everywhere.  Little bit of searching, and I find that the fuel line is cracked in a couple places.  I drained the tank back out, replaced the line, and was back in business.  It works well!  I finished cleaning my mower deck, and decided it was time to mow.

I fired up the newest addition (my Sovereign 18) and it cranks about a half a turn, and nothing.  Well, not nothing because I saw SMOKE come out from under the dash!  Sunofagun!  This isn't good.  I made sure it wasn't on fire (it wasn't) and figured it was just a minor electrical gremlin.  I had been into the dash before, and noted that there were some things that needed fixing.  I was going to wait until winter though.

Anyway, I have another tractor (the 7016H) that I can mount the deck on (the other was drying after powerwashing) so I figured I'd just use that.  I changed the deck over, and fired it up.  Forgot the belt...dang it.  Killed the tractor, grabbed the belt, and mounted that.  Fired it back up and noticed the blades are spinning.  This is a problem, because I haven't actually engaged the PTO yet!  So I wiggle the handle a bit, not getting the right feeling.  I stop the engine again, and start to look at the PTO.  I pull on the handle a bit harder, and POP!  The PTO engagement mechanism broke.

So, now I have THREE tractors with mower decks...and I had to push mow my dang yard!  I guess its good exercise.

Old Iron is GREAT.  Its heavy duty and repairable.  However...the fact that its repairable means that at some point, its gonna break, and need a repair.  Murphy's Law dictates that it all breaks at once!


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quick broadmoor update...

I've decided to go with a stack on this engine...It should be cool.  I've found a couple of sites that sell stacks, and I'm waiting to hear from them about integrated mufflers.  Otherwise, a company called Patriot Exhaust makes a slip-on style exhaust tip that will work as a "stack" for a garden tractor, and they also make a muffler that will slide in to help with noise mitigation.

I really want this one to work though...Its already got a 1" npt pipe thread on it, I would just need to screw it into an elbow.  Easy Peasy, however, the company has NOT responded to me yet about my questions.


I'm also going to custom design my air intake.  I was contemplating using a carb and filter from a 6 hp engine to run a 12 HP...I think it will be a tuning nightmare.  I got to looking at the carb set-up that came of the replacement engine, and there isn't any reason I can use that carb, and a round cartridge style filter from an old Briggs Flo-Jet style carb.  It will look more period correct as well!  I just have to design a flange and tub to adapt the two piece together.  No pics of that yet, but I can see it in my mine.  

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It was an exciting day yesterday in the household.  I brought home a new tractor!  Well, not new, cuz that's just not how I roll, but a new to me, used one.  Its one of the last models of the "old" style Simplicity "RBT's" (running board tractors).  Produced around 1996 or so (kinda hard to pinpoint it exactly) its a twin cylinder, fully power version of my 7016H that I've rebuilt.  When I say full power, I mean it.  Its a hydrostatic transmission, hydraulic implement lift and, drumroll, POWER STEERING!!!  I've been searching for about 6 months for the right deal, and I missed out on a couple of them.  I finally snagged one last night.  

I pretty much gave up on buying a factory power steering machine...they were too much money, or gone by the time I was able to look at them. I was starting to plan out the installation of power steering and a 20 HP KohlerCommand in my 7016. It was going to be tight, but I thought it would work.

Started out getting a message from a friend about a power steering machine for sale about 35 miles away. My craigslist alert went off that morning...I made contact with the guy to set up an appointment to put eyeballs on it. Wasn't totally sure of the condition, as I could tell the paint was faded, but the seat looked ok. Didn't think it sat outside, but wasn't sure.

Bonus, the tractor has a Kohler Command 18, not the Triad.  The Triad is an OHC design that Kohler tried.  I guess its a real smooth runner, quiet, and excellent on fuel. However, as it sits in a Simplicity (the flywheel side of the engine is where its coupled to the tractor which is backward from most mfg designs), the grass clippings get sucked into the engine.  That combined with a poor valve cover gasket design that leaked oil, meant that the cooling fins on the engine would plug up.  Once the fins plug up, the engine overheats, and will drop a cylinder liner, thus grenading the engine.  I was originally looking for one of these tractors with a blown engine.  Thought I could get it cheap, and I have a new engine (a 20 HP Kohler Command) I could drop in it.  Little did I know that cheap and power steering didn't go together.  I found a tractor in WI, missing an engine, that the guy wanted 700 bucks for!  He ended up pulling his ad, due to the response he got...he didn't think he advertised it for enough.
I was pretty excited when the previous owner opened the shed, and I saw how clean it was. The upper surfaces of the hood and fender pan are faded, but that's it. Everything else looks nearly factory fresh! Wheels, transmission, chassis, even the seat is clean...no tears. The tire still have the little tits on the beads!  We haggled on price a bit, he came down a little more than 10% for me, and I brought it home. There are a couple items to address...the sticker for the dash is all cracked and falling off, the front tires will need tubes (looks like they went flat, and sat for a bit) and I'll need to break out the wet sandpaper and buffer. Headlight lenses need a good scrub. Need a little bit of tune up here and there: Air Filter, Tranny fluid (the filter has NEVER been changed) etc. Deck is a little rough. Its packed full of grass, and I can see the rust starting. Has a decent set of gator blades on it though. I'll probably sell that deck with the 7016, and keep the deck I rebuilt last year.

Already had the wife on it, and she likes it WAY better than the 7016. Its amazing how much quieter the newer twins are than the Briggs single. Anyway, enough babble, pics, right?  These pics were taken almost as soon as I unloaded the trailer.  Stay tuned for updates on the clean-up and PM posts on this guy!








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New Post?

Wow, its been about a month and a half since I've put an update out!  That's too long to keep any readers...I'll have to do better.  I actually haven't really had any updates until recently though.  My tractor time has been limited, due to a honey doo list that became due.  Missus wanted new carpet...which meant a wider door way, tile bathroom floor, lots of drywall repairs, running new cable lines...and the list goes on.  Not quite sure how new carpet necessitated all that in her mind, but "happy wife, happy life, Right?

I got the 12 HP back together, finally, about a week ago.  Turned out really nice...Couple of things to finish up, like a sticker over the flywheel bolt, and I'm sure I'll need to tinker with the governor.  The service manual is VERY cryptic about how to do a static governor set-up for a vertical shaft engine. Notice the Nice, shiny OEM muffler...This is important in a minute.





Today, I started to figure out where I'll need to make adjustments to make this engine fit my little tractor.  I really want it to look factory, so I'll be making new parts where necessary, instead of cutting clearance.  Anyway, I knew the tank straps would need adjustment.  I didn't realize the Tank was too close to the shroud...It fit during mock up, but I had already removed the shroud, so its possible I didn't mock it up correctly.


I also found some unforeseen interference around my muffler. The PTO rod hits the bottom, and won't engage with the engine bolted down,  That isn't a huge deal, as I could bend a new one.  


The bigger issue is that the grill also hits the muffler.  OEM, the Broadmoor engine is equipped with a "hot dog" muffler.  Its similar to what is pictured below.


The round muffler in the OEM application provides clearance to the grill because of its small diameter.  However, its also LOUD...so I wanted the Lo-Tone like this engine was originally equipped.  


Not sure what direction to go...I guess I'll do some searching on Decibel levels from the different mufflers, and what might be available for a 1" NPT exhaust port.  Option two is extend the muffler away from the engine a bit.  That might be difficult to do, because of the mounting design of this particular muffler.  Option three is a stack...which might be cool on this tractor.  I would have a good way to brace it and stacks (esp with rain flappers) are kinda old school cool.  My goal was a quiet lawn mower though, and stacks can be loud.  Finally, my Uncle runs a fab shop...I might get the cardboard out, and make a new, wider grill template.  He'd bend me a new bracket and grill, no problem.  I'm sure there is someone out there who wants a perfect OEM grill! :)

Anyone wanna weigh in on the decision, Leave a comment!

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Workbench DONE!

Finished my workbench tonight.  Turned out really nice, and even better, exactly like I expected it too!  I think it MUST weigh 150 pounds.  Here is the thing...my first real woodworking project in my new shop was for my mechanics addiction!  I used woodglue, and these new type of lag screws to hold it together.  They have a flange head, torx drive, and self tapping, anti split head.  Worked really well.  I still pre-drilled, because oak it HARD.  Anyway, here are the pics!




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New Workbench

So, a little bit different from working on my tractors, but this will definitely help in the process.  I built a new shop last winter, so that I had a place to do my projects.  In addition to playing around with Garden Tractors, I like to do some woodworking.  My garage just wasn't big enough, so I built a 30 x 24 shop in my backyard.  Its two story, and I would love for it to be double the size that it is, but my dumb township limits outbuilding size, based on lot size.  So, it is the maximum size it can be, both in square footage AND volume!

Anyway, moving from a 2 stall garage that is really only a single stall (20 x 20...SMH) to a dedicated shop space is exciting and daunting, at the same time.  Daunting because I need to think about EVERYTHING that I put in there.  My interests are so varied, I need different areas.  My wife refinishes furniture on the side and I have a woodworking bug.  Both of those areas require a finishing area to be clean and dust free.  But everyone knows that woodworking generates a ton of dust.  Oh, and I like messing around with mechanical things, fabrication, and machining.  The machining I currently do at work, but I fire up the torches, welders and grinders from time to time.  All of those things generate sparks and heat...both detrimental to the other two activities that happen in the shop!

That's a lot of information that most of everyone doesn't need to know.  My whole point is this.  I need to build a stupid workbench.  I've been using every flat surface I can find for a table, plus my cheap portable workbenches that I used in the garage.

 Here is my design.  It will be 1 x 4 oak, and will hold an old steelcase desktop that is 30" x 72."  This is workbench one.  I will build another for woodworking in the future, that will have a nice Ash top, probably on edge...Not sure which one will weigh more!

Update...I have WOOD!  Haha...My dad and I spent a couple hours today milling rough sawn lumber down for some projects.  I have my workbench (obviously) and he's working on a headboard and some bunkbeds for my niece and nephews.  I got all my wood planed, run through the joiner, and ripped to width.  Over the next couple days, I'll get everything cut to length.  I do have to order some forstner bits to help with my joint strategy (lag bolts) but those are only 2 days away with Amazon Prime!  Here is a pic of the wood we were working with

The Cut pieces are for my bench...the rest is for my Dad's projects.  

Interesting story about the lumber pictured...It started as a few trees.  Yeah, I know, it all does.  But these particular trees are ones that WE cut down, and had milled.  So, yeah, its not "free" but it sure beats t****out of anything you can buy at Menard's.  There are a couple of 1 inch thick by 11 inch wide boards there without a single knot in them.  12 feet long, and clear as Lake Superior.  Nice stuff...also NOT what I'm building my bench out of.  Mine will have some knots and imperfections.  The knots are tight, no cracks, and I left the dimensions at their full measurements.  In other words, my 1 x 4 lumber actually measures 1 x 4 instead of 3/4 x 3.5.  Pictures of the completed bench to follow!

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More "Depth"

I sometimes wonder about my myself, and whether I have a real problem or not.  I just can't seem to leave we enough alone.  What started as replacing a motor quick (like in a weekend) has grown into stripping the motor down, and painting it...

Once I got the covers off, I noticed that the engine had a LOT of Oily buildup on it, and had at LEAST one critter condo under the shroud.  Once I started cleaning the black, nasty mess off, I realized that the clearcoat on the engine was discolored, and starting to flake off.  I don't want that in my relatively nice Broadmoor.  This pic illustrates my point.  That yellow/brown discoloration is clearcoat with what I assume is oil underneath.  Looks nasty...

My motives were not entirely vain however, I also wanted to get underneath the flywheel, and make sure there wasn't anything living there, past or present!  Finally, I wanted to totally remove the recoil starter, so I don't have to worry about vertical clearance at all.

I studied the web quite a bit, trying to figure out how to remove the post for the recoil...you can see it sticking up in this picture.  Turns out, it is an extension piece that is threaded into the crankshaft.  Those clever engineers at Briggs and Stratton figured out how to use the same crank for both recoil and electric start engines.  While I was searching, I also found a fan kit that will fill in the gaps left

Post to Hood Clearance
from removing the recoil.   Finally, since the kit didn't come with a flywheel bolt, I picked up a new one of those.  

Here is where it gets a little dicey...I KNEW the extension was threaded into the crank, but it didn't have any type of drive feature on it...in other words, there was nothing for me to grip and put any amount of torque on.  I checked with my local Fastenal store, and they happened to have 5/8-18 jam nuts, in stock!  I figured I'd use two of them tightened against each other, and spin the extension out.  I rushed home from work, excited to continue my project.

I got the first nut installed, and to my dismay, there was not enough thread cut onto the shaft for the second nut.  I dug through my toolbox for some Loctite and was only able to find the blue stuff.  I had my doubts, but applied it anyway.  I tightened the nut down against a flange then went to the house to have some dinner.  Afterward, I tried again to remove the extension.  No dice, the nut broke free...blue Loctite wasn't strong enough.  At this point, I was getting impatient, so I tried vice grips on the smooth end of the shaft.  That didn't work either...just slipped, and gouged the shaft.  Last effort for the night, I got my electric heat gun out, and got the extension hot enough to boil the penetrating oil out.  I tapped it a couple times with my screwdriver and it sounded like two pieces of metal...Could it be?  I grabbed my vice grips again, crossed my fingers, and gave them a turn.  FREEDOM!  It spun right out with very little effort.  Red Loctite was applied at the factory.  I have a love/hate relationship with that stuff...Heat always does the trick but I never seem to know when I need to apply heat.
The extension, In Place on the crank

Free from its home

I worked on getting the rest of the block cleaned up after that.  Hot water with dish soap, a couple rags, purple scubbie pad, and a stainless bristle brush did a pretty good job.  I also used a deburring brush in my drill to get into the nooks and crannies.  Cleaning round one is done.  I'll get back after it tomorrow with a fresh scrubbie pad and some lacquer thinner...that should remove the last of the grease and oil.  I'll probably have to wash with soap and water one more time, just to float the last of the clearcoat that I loosen by scrubbing away.  Prep is the key to a successful paint job, that goes double for aluminum.




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Pretty Colors

Today was all about paint.  Not a lot of words, but pretty picture intensive.  I spent A LOT of time cleaning...those engine blocks have many places for gunk to hide.  Its pretty tough to get clean too, as it gets baked on by the heat of the engine while running.  Hot water is your friend at this point.  Lacquer Thinner is also great...plus numerous brushes, rags, and abrasive pads.  Something that REALLY helped was a spray bottle full of hot water.  I was able to blast the dirt out of the deeper holes that I could not reach with a brush.  I think next time, I'll make a soap solution with hot water for the spray bottle, and rinse from the bucket.  

Anyway, everything now has a nice coat of paint on it.  I'm going to bring the head to work with me next week, and beadblast it.  I heard that keeping the head unpainted will help it run about 20 degrees cooler!  Anyway, here we go...

Masked off, and ready for paint.

Masked and Ready for paint 2

Painted Block!

Engine shrouds and various covers...
 The "tools" of the day.  Zinc Chromate Primer, purchased at Napa Paint Retailer, and Duplicolor engine paint.  The Orange-Red is very close to Simplicity Orange. It applied pretty well, without too much blotchiness.  I was really impressed with the black color.  It was awesome.  The block turned out really well.  Not sure how it looks in pictures, but its a nice even tone and gloss in person.

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Short post to end the day.  Wanted to see how the engine would fit, and if it was even worth the struggle.

Its nice when the research you do before starting a project and the reality of that project when you start mesh.  This engine lines up with the mounting holes perfectly!  What I was most worried about was the grill clearance and keeping the hood unmolested.  The barrel top hood, with the deep v front is the thing I love most about this machine.  If this engine wouldn't have fit without modifiying that hood, I would have done something different.

I mentioned that it will be tight...and it is.  The gas tank straps will need some re-engineering to clear the shroud.  Also, the grill is in the standard location.  I will have to change the strap that goes across the front.  The vertical height is no longer correct, and I believe it will need to be "flattened" out a bit.  With the hood on, it looks as though the recoil assembly will be close...so I will have to buy a new fan and screen to eliminate that.  I will also need to figure out a place for a battery and electrical system.  Without a recoil, I will need to utilize the electric start on this engine.  All and all, pretty minor stuff.   I'm getting really excited about this project now!





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Out with the Old

At the end of last cutting season, The old girl was really starting to struggle.  It got to where the engine would just stop...so, instead of risking a catastrophic failure, I pushed her to the barn, and used one of my other mowers (I have three total) to finish out the season.  It sat all winter that way.

April 01, 2016 I started pulling the hood and grill apart to get the old engine out.  Finished up on the morning of the second.


I took some measurements, and its gonna be TIGHT, but I think it will all look stock when done!  The new engine is physically much bigger than the old, but the mounting pattern is the same, and its an L-Head design, so overall length is pretty close.  Its much taller and wider though.  I have lots of clearance in those two dimensions, so I'm hoping that with very minor modifications, this new engine will look right at home.

Speaking of engines...


Old on the left, new on the right.  The new one is double the HP of the old one, and almost double the displacement!  I have it stripped down to the shortblock right now, correcting valve clearance, and removing mouse nests from the cooling fins.  I want new gaskets on this engine.  It had a lot of oily dirt buildup on it, and rather than install it, and clean up messes, I want it to be a nice clean install from the start.  I can't stand leaky equipment.  I'm off to order a gasket kit!

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I have this 1965 Simplicity Broadmoor Rider that I picked up for 200 bucks last year.  Its an AWESOME little tractor, perfect for my little 0.25 acre yard city lot.

Its pretty great for a 50 year old machine!  Its been restored once in its life, and is in really good shape.  No rust, very minor dents, and the tires all hold air.  The paint could use some freshening up, but overall, pretty nice.

It is almost as maneuverable as a zero turn and lays stripes like you wouldn't believe. The deck is 32" wide, and has three blades!  It cuts better than anything I've ever seen, including pro grade equipment.  For real...If I wanted to, I could double cut and make a checkerboard to rival any big league baseball stadium.


However, The engine is also 50 years old.  Its a little 6 horse vertical Briggs with a pull start.  Still runs, but the more I used it, the more it started failing on me.  Would be good for a parade, but mowing my yard seems to be pushing it too hard.  I also HATED all the grass clipping that this thing shoots out all over.  I found a NOS (new, old stock) mulching kit for my deck which is awesome.  However, mulching kits need more power, and I'm already noticing a lack of that.  So began the search for a new engine.

I found a possible donor in a Simplicity 5010 on craigslist.  It didn't run, and a kid bought it to screw around with.  Tranny locked up, so he took it apart, and then lost interest.  It came with a tiller and a 12 HP engine of the type I was looking for.  I gave him 100 bucks for it, and drug it home.


This is where the purists might want to stop reading!  That 12 HP is going in my 65 Broadmoor!

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