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Gene's Shop

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Vanguard 16 maintenance

gwiseman

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Winter 2020/2021   I bought my Conquest new in 2001 and for the most part I’ve not done anything other than regular maintenance to it or the Vanguard 16 hp engine. Oh, I’ve replaced a starter once, replaced valve cover gaskets twice, but otherwise it’s oil and filter every 50hrs, air cleaner 2-3 times per year, grease the front axle pivot and other fittings, and that’s about it. With 750+ hrs she’s started leaking oil (I think) around the crank seal and #2 valve cover. Oil was collecting on the mower deck and I noticed the loss on the dipstick at each startup.  So I’ll take you through what I found and most of what I did. While the engine was on the workbench I developed a sever pain in my hips so progress was pretty slow. I am blogging this on Sunday, March 21 and its beautiful 71* Missouri day. But, I am playing catch-up cause I started the tear down several weeks ago. 

 Hood pops off the Conquest without any bolt removal. Just disconnect the light wiring harness and lift up with the hood open.  I've owned this machine for 18+ yrs and never knew that. 

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Electric clutch removal is cumbersome but not tough. Disconnect the wiring harness, take the center bolt out and drop it off the shaft. Dirt and grime build up 

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Unclipped air cleaner cover and removed the filter to reveal nuts & bolts that hold SSM ly onto carburetor.

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Air cleaner assembly removed. Air is supposed to move across the heads and fins to keep dust & dirt out but it looks like the engine has probably been running hotter as the buildup is worse than expected. I do blow compressed air around the heads couple times per year without removing tinwork but apparently I wasn’t getting the job done.

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 The grand reveal under the blower housing: yuk! Tore it down none too soon. Fins were clogged/packed with oil soaked dust and dirt. Vanguards are known for leaking oil past the valve cover gaskets and I've had problems with one cylinder. Pretty easy to see which one..

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Spark plugs look fairy good so the engine is operating fairly well for this age.

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I was surprised to find the head gaskets didn't seem compromised and no real buildup around them. So I decided to clean up the fins and not pull the heads. Here you can see the buildup around the spark plug holes

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My engine stand was an old Cub Cadet front wheel salvaged from a machine I bout to scrap a few yrs ago. Really worked good for me as I could rotate the engine a full 360* to inspect everything. I found the sump gasket was seeping a bit so that, along with the crank seal may be most of my leaking problem. 

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@s_stephen has cautioned me to check Vanguard valve clearance so while on the bench I simply followed instructions by inserting a ✏️ into the cylinder through the plug hole, measuring at tdc then 1/4” past tdc. 

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New sump gasket was the most expensive part ($30+) replaced plus there was an o-ring in the sump gasket that added a bit more. This picture is after assembly with only a bit of the red colored sump gasket showing

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On reassembly I forgot the governor spring orientation so with the help of my @Chris727 pictures I got them rightD3A5262C-3BC5-4B09-ADFB-15C9E4D55547.thumb.jpeg.ab1d020361588a3bed11d62112fd29c4.jpeg93863DEA-F6CD-491A-8BAD-0C4AEC074C27.thumb.jpeg.77736e670a019ed8bb5b65e0fef215bf.jpeg5CDD6276-5388-4790-81C3-B50D24CC615E.thumb.jpeg.e1fc897ce848f34bedc22df24693920a.jpeg04497804-638F-46DD-B257-4DD03E4F153E.thumb.jpeg.364ddcb3391cadffcd8f420fccd18219.jpeg
When I put repowered the Sovereign I followed @PhanDad instructions to cut holes in the blower shroud and place covers over them for future cleaning. Although I like the feature on the Command, it is not as serviceable as I'd wished because the covers are so close to the firewall on the Sovy. Should be a big + for this vertical engine though so I set about drawing, cutting and jabbing inspection and clean outs hoping I can avert future buildup problemspop

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While underneath replacing the electric clutch it's a good time to grease the front axle pivot. I've been lucky so far that this wear point is still fairly tight. 

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Just a picture of the model, serial and pkg numbers from the frame. As I've said, bought it new in 2002 and never been sorry of the purchase. I coulda bought the older style Landlord with Kawasaki engine for a little more $ but I opted for foot controls and styling over heavier transaxle. 

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While the engine on the bench I took the mats off the footrests to clean up some rust and repaint. This is the 2nd time for repaint on the right footrest. Powder coat orange has bubbled and moisture collected under the mats caused erosion. Those darn christmas tree plugs are odd size; ordered new ones off Amazon that were a little short but think will do the job. Had to finish out with some from higher $ ones from the hardware store.  

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Remember this paint can buy  @Chris727 ? Does just what I needed and matches well. 

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What I didn't show new lower crank seal (that I messed up and had to get a 2nd), exhaust and valve cover gaskets.

Monday, March 22, 2021 I filled the gas tank, cranked the engine (forever it seemed until gas flowed into the carb) and it purrs like a kitten. Replaced the hood and hooked up the headlights and everything works as it should. With all the leaves that have fallen over the winter I am going to leave the gators on the deck to crush 'em as soon as the yard is settled enough to run over.

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May 11, 2021  45*F this morning and a cool spring after a very warm startup. Grass is green and growing. So far no leaks and the engine is running nice albeit at a higher max rpm. I've mowed 3 times now but didn't operate it at max rpm not knowing just how fast the engine is turning. I have an older tachometer we used to get readings off the combine shafts but it doesn't work when applied to the top of the Vanguard. Ordered a new knock-off throttle/choke and digital tach off Ebay; will report results

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Reflective tape is even supplied with these inexpensive digital tachometers so I cut a small piece and applied to the rotating debris screen921958F8-2EDD-4F1C-83EE-7D78E25AE813.thumb.jpeg.dfd3792ead7ff32df8f71adf376fec45.jpeg

May 23, 2021  time to check the revolutions per minute. I knew top end was set too high when I reinstalled the engine earlier so I’ve been running 3/4 throttle. Top end after warm up today 43721421-1491-4298-9D48-20AF69BB64EF.thumb.jpeg.0fa6d9df6aa69c8b81909cff4719eb93.jpeg

and 3/4 throttle was a little over 3,000. After adjusting I settled at just under 3,300 rpm.1524432F-710C-45B7-A904-728FD61DC17B.thumb.jpeg.689e721ae24ae143d55dc2fb3fb35792.jpeg

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Chris727

Posted

The access panels are a nice upgrade. Looks good. 

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PhanDad

Posted

11 hours ago, Chris727 said:

The access panels are a nice upgrade. Looks good. 

I agree 100%.  

Was the top crank seal leaking as well as the bottom seal? 

I've never messed with a vertical shaft engine, but I would have thought with the air blowing down, a valve cover leak wouldn't be as bad as with a horizontal crank engine.  I'm surprised to see so much oily debris at the top and center of the fins.  I guess the oil migrates by capillary action.

And as you would expect, it appears the debris is more "dust" and fine particles than I found in my first 75th Command which was installed without a chopper screen.  

 

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gwiseman

Posted

Just the bottom seal, sump gasket, and valve cover that found leaking. 

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Paul M.Murphy

Posted

Nice photos helps a newby to learn something. You guys sure know your equipment I wish I was 

as techy as you guys are. Unforunately I'm the only one in my area that enjoys Lawn & Garden 

tractors other than the dealers.

Keep up the good work

Paul

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gwiseman

Posted

10 hours ago, Paul M.Murphy said:

Nice photos helps a newby to learn something. You guys sure know your equipment I wish I was 

as techy as you guys are. Unforunately I'm the only one in my area that enjoys Lawn & Garden 

tractors other than the dealers.

Keep up the good work

Paul

Thanks Paul. I learned a lot from Dad and my Uncle Clarence who were both farmers. Uncle Clarence was  also a mail carrier and spend many a night in his shop while Dad and he swapped out VW engines so he could carry the next day. A lot is learn as you go and almost anything that can be done to a Simplicity or Allis has been done on this site. Good luck. gene

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Paul M.Murphy

Posted

Thanks for the encouragemnet Gene!

I try and follow what you fellows are doing and I enjoy the photos you post !

Paul

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bnolte

Posted (edited)

I seem to be going through the same misery with the Vanguard 18 on my Landlord DLX. The problem seems to be the bottom seal, I have replaced it several times, including a few weeks ago. It seems to have held oil through a couple of cuttings, but now the leak is back and bad as ever. I fear I may have nicked the crank at some point pulling or installing the seals, and as it drips oil and gets flung everywhere, and is making the drive belts slip. How involved was replacing the sump gasket? I have actually started looking for another motor but most of the candidates seem to have 1 1/8 cranks on them. 

 

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Edited by bnolte

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gwiseman

Posted

1 hour ago, bnolte said:

I seem to be going through the same misery with the Vanguard 18 on my Landlord DLX. The problem seems to be the bottom seal, I have replaced it several times, including a few weeks ago. It seems to have held oil through a couple of cuttings, but now the leak is back and bad as ever. I fear I may have nicked the crank at some point pulling or installing the seals, and as it drips oil and gets flung everywhere, and is making the drive belts slip. How involved was replacing the sump gasket? I have actually started looking for another motor but most of the candidates seem to have 1 1/8 cranks on them. 

@bnolte The sump gasket is expensive but not hard to replace. There is a small o-ring that must be purchased as well that fits into the sump when the gasket is replaced. I had more problem with the crank seal; it contains a spring inside the seal and when I set it the first time I recessed the seal too low into the sump. Tried to pull it back out some but could not and when I removed the sump to view the spring was crinkled and would not stay in place. Bought a second seal and set it in place at the proper recession (I forget but was just fractionally below surface and not recessed as far as it could be placed). So far I haven't had a problem but I haven't mowed much either. Good luck. gw

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Chris727

Posted

I have heard that packing the inside of the seal with some grease aids in keeping the spring in place. 

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Guest guest

Posted

It seems you can make a post without being registered at all

A "blog" weakness apparently

You know me as phandad

 

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