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heron

Picked up the Sunstar today...where to start?

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heron
Well, picked up a 97 Sunstar, 20hp, ps, hi/low range, 60" deck. 569 hours, owner had dealer take care of it... Oil and filter just changed. Supposedly dealer has kept up with changing hydro, greasing etc... No rust except end of deck where grass shoots out...3" by maybe 10" strip. Motor runs great, cuts great, no smoke, hyro works well. So, where do I start? I'm thinking deck off, sharpen blades, check pulley bearings...? Can I, should I convert all fluids to synthetic? I've always run all syn in my vehicles. Should I paint the deck to preserve it or leave it alone? Wheel bearings? Tires are a little dry rotted and worn a bit so I'd like to replace the fronts and maybe the rears. The rears are HUGE. Where do I get tires? Where do I source parts, belts etc.. He said the hydraulic was just changed..should I use something different and does this cover the power steering? Sorry for all the questions. I have the tractor in the garage for the next couple of weeks and then I'll have to move it so I'd like to get some work done on it. Can I just sharpen the blades with a bench grinder or is there something specific I should use? I've got the original manual and bill of sale. This tractor was over 10K in 97. He paid 8 for it. Not sure if the manual comes up short so please let me know if there are things I should do outside of the manual. Thanks fellas!

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jmhusby
If you have the operators manual follow what it says to do. If it was mine I would clean the deck up, especially the underside and get the rust off and paint it. It will last longer. Switch to synthetic if you like, may help it last longer. When I get ours repaired I plan on going to change everything to synthetic. Keep all the air intakes clear of grass, etc., else they can run hot. Good luck with your new machine. Tractor Supply is one place to look for tires. 26 X 12 by 12's? Thats whats on ours and they are big.

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heron
I'll be studying the manual today. I just thought I'd paint the small areas of rust. Where it's not rusty it looks fine. Do you paint the underside and where can I find matching paint? Did you convert all of your fluids including hydro fluid to synthetic? Does your tractor have a tinny/metallic sound with the idle up? I think it's the clutch spinning within the clutch housing on the front of the motor...? It stops when the PTO is engaged and when it's idled down. Have you found any exceptions outside what the manual says as far as certain things to do or not to do? How do you change tires on these things? I've got a manual tire changer for motorcycles from nomar tire changers so I may try to use that.

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jbird243
If its not broke don't fix it. A lot of times I have worked on cars and tractors when I should have left them alone and just run them. Ck fluid levels and run it to see if everything works on a long term basis and let your new experience tell you what to do.

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heron
I'd like to go to a synthetic but I'm also worried about creating leaks...Have most of you experienced leaks with the synthetic with these Kohlers. I use it in my Branson 4220 and no leaks what so ever. I know it flows better but I'd think if there were a weakness that the gasket etc..will fail anyway. I've always used it in my cars and it's in my duramax...in fact I never change it.. :)) Oil analysis every 10K and a Bypass filtration system. On the deck..would it be a good idea to take it off, paint the bottom and touch up the top where the rust is or have it sand blasted and paint the entire top surface. I'm hoping I don't have any bad pulley bearings. The rear rollers are worn..not bad but should they be replaced? I'll try to get detailed pic's up soon. Might help.

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heron
Read up a bit and talked to dealer 40 min away.. He said rear tires run $140-$180/ tire..yikes! Said rollers run $22/roller on back and $6.90 for the others...yikes. He said he doesn't carry paint b/c he had to throw away a case a month ago. Said I can get it at a paint store? I'd like to get a tranny filter. Previous owner said he has dropped the tranny fluid and refilled it but has never done the filter. Anyone know where to get the filter? He said this is the most expensive tractor to maintain next to the diesel...greaaaat! Can I get an oil filter at the local auto parts? I hope so...

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jmhusby
Filters are available from dealer. Some folks have crossed the numbers to Wix. As far as the rollers do a search here and the MTF forum. There are several posts on rebuilding the rollers. Do a search and there are some good go bys. Some rebuilt using non-Simplicity rollers. Good luck.

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heron
I'll search around..just became an official member! I don't mind paying for the rollers if they are a better option. Not sure about the paint yet.. Any idea who to get the transmission filter from and can I use a Type F full synthetic in the hydro? I'm spending my evening removing the deck, greasing everything, repacking wheel bearings.. I need to find front tires..Dry rotted.

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GLPointon
Congrat's on the new Tractor, need to post some pics... I agree; I find parts cheaper at jacks or partstree.com than my local dealer as long as its not a heavy part to ship... ps...I've used 100% Synthetic oil for yrs in my 7010 & the wife's 14hp, the only thing I found is it burns slightly more oil. (I've heard the smaller molecules slip past the rings more??)

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comet66
You have a very well built tractor!! Check the front ujoint on the drive shaft. It has a grease zerk and is the most neglected item on these tractors as it is hard to get at. Pull the engine shrouds and make sure the cooling passages are not clogged up. I use a Motorcraft 400s oil filter on mine. Another neglected item is the front wheel bearings, some wheels have a zerk on the inside some do not. Except for the starter circuit on the command engines, (Al has a kit to fix that) these tractors have no inherent weak points. Some seem to have front axle problems, I have not. I have four on the property right now. My mower/snow removal unit purchased new in the fall of 02 has just shy of 900 hours, and my loader tractor has just shy of 1300 hours. never any trouble with either. Have fun and Welcome aboard!!

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heron
Thanks for all the posts! Just got to greasing it tonight. All zirks took grease well. My only issue is I cannot find the Rear Cleanout panel to remove so I can grease the Engine drive shaft...? Page 14, Figure 10 in the manual. I got the center front axle and wheels, mower drive shaft, idlers up front and on deck. Got the zirk on the brake pedal shaft...Are there not any on the rear of the tractor? Sharpened the blades. I'll have to pull the panels on the sides to make sure the cooling fins are cleaned out. My plan is to replace the front two tires and do the wheel bearings at the same time. Front deck wheel is missing hardware and outside left rear roller has no washer, just a cotter pin which is eating up the roller. I'll be ordering some things tonight from parts tree. My goal is to run it a bit then fix up the little bit of rust on the deck this winter. I know the synthetic is okay in the motor but can I run a synthetic type F in the hydro? Also, can I cross the numbers on the hydro filter and get something locally, maybe from a Parker store? There is not much in the manual regarding changing filter and it does not show where to add the type F oil. Any ideas? Do I have to remove the seat and top area of the tractor or can I add it from the side somehow? And yes, this thing is put together really well. Very heavy duty..now I know why it was almost 10K new.

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comet66
In my experience, the roller bar (on the 60" deck) has worn out before the rollers. It will flatten on the bottom side, but can be turned over presenting the rollers with a fresh round surface to ride on. Pull the right upper side cover and you will be able to see one hex head screw in about the center of the air plenum that holds the cover allowing access to the u-joint. As far as oil goes, I'm a dinosaur I still use dino oil.:D

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heron
Comet...I'm still not getting exactly what is considered the "right upper side cover. I pulled the one along the right side and I could see up under the battery area. In the manual it's considered the rear cleanout panel...? Got my first order in for it last night. Ended up going thru Jacks. A couple of front tires, some hardware for the rollers, tranny filter and 2 front deck wheels and a couple of cans of paint. I'm wondering if I should have ordered some extra belts to keep on hand. The belts look fine and have been replaced within the last 40 and 100 hours. Can you match up these belts locally?

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comet66
You're right, that's where it is located. Everything in there is black and maybe covered up with dirt. But it should be there. Look around where the shaft goes through the plenum. One screw, then the cover, having just a tongue on the other end, slides to the center of the tractor. I think I have one loose out in the shop, I'll try to remember to get a picture tomorrow. It's not an easy deal to get a grease gun on. Don't forget the zerk on the other end of the shaft.

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heron
The panel I took off runs from the front of the tractor all the way up to the side of the instrument panel. There is one screw there with a spacer, one screw up top and two along the bottom. The front of the panel has a clip where the headlight harness is fastened. I couldn't see much when I took it off. Plenum..is that the air cooler? If so, it was really dirty. Is there an easy way to pull it out. I blew with compressed air and used a shop vac on the other side. Tons of stuff came out but is there a better way to clean it out? Also, on to the deck. I had planned on just sanding a couple of spots and painting them up but when I had the compressed air around the pulleys I dislodged some more paint flakes. Nothing terrible but I hate to do it half way and then increase my work down the road. I'm wondering now if it would be wise just to remove the deck, pull all the pulleys and bearings and have it sand blasted top and bottom. Then paint it up really well...just to preserve it. I know my dad didn't take care of his Homelite T16 deck and now I'll have more work then I should to get it back. If I do all this can I apply some type of truck bed liner stuff to the bottom of the deck to preserve it? That Line X is pretty tough stuff and might really help the deck last.

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heron
Okay, answered my own question. I spoke to hotrod about the Line X. I decided to go with the Pro-15. I'll do the silver on the top and bottom and topcoat the silver on top with the chasis black. Now the big question... Is it tough to take the pulleys, peerless gearbox etc... off the deck to strip it down? Am I opening up a can of worms? Should I replace all hardware with stainless nuts and bolts? This reminds me of the muscle car restoration days...jeez this is addictive..and costly. Wife's not real happy with me right now but my kids will learn a bit as we go.

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comet66
OK I lied. It's been a year since I had one of these covers off and my oldtimers got me. The screw is, as you look from the rear of the tractor to the right (outside) of the tractor. This pic is the cover as it would appear from the rear of the tractor. You can see the circular cut out that goes around the driveshaft.
[img]/club2/attach/comet66/5.jpg[/img]
It's a hard pic to get but this is looking in from the right side. Looking past the brake peddle.


Hope I didn't cause too much confusion for you...:I:Ism00

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heron
Comet: So that panel is attached to the air cooler(plenum) box? It's oriented perpendicular to the frame rather than alongside the frame. The cover would be down in front of the battery tray...? I've been looking for a cover running along the outside of the machine. Have you ever cleaned out the air plenum..if so, what is the best way? I used compressed air and a long wand plus a shop vac. VERY DIRTY...probably never cleaned. Have you taken your 60" deck apart for painting? Is it tough...it doesn't look to bad as long as nothing breaks or strips out. Not sure about the Peerless drive box and how to remove it from the top of the deck.. How about the hydro filter...just get the back of the tractor up in the air and reach under and take it off..? Can you buy repair manuals for these tractors? Sorry for all the questions but I'm doing my best to not waste a whole bunch of time. Wife's pretty mad that I'm pretty much out in the garage after work each night trying to figure this beast out.

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comet66
Yes. I just blow it out, and use a vac when the cover is off. I pull the deck covers in the fall to clean the grass out and spray on some of that paint that converts the rust. Be prepared to replace the cover screws and run a tap through the holes. I have an extreme amount of leaves so the underside gets media blasted every fall and I use the same paint there. I had a noisy bearing last spring so I rebuilt all the arbors. Make sure you check the oil level in the gearbox each spring. I inverted the roller bar. I've never actually painted the deck though. It was 19 last month. Manuals are available. Maybe online, I don't know, never checked there. Hmmm, my wife sends me out to the shop. Go figure...

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jmhusby
quote:
Originally posted by heron
Comet: So that panel is attached to the air cooler(plenum) box? It's oriented perpendicular to the frame rather than alongside the frame. The cover would be down in front of the battery tray...? I've been looking for a cover running along the outside of the machine. Have you ever cleaned out the air plenum..if so, what is the best way? I used compressed air and a long wand plus a shop vac. VERY DIRTY...probably never cleaned. RayS had posted here about the repair manual and I'm sure he would forward a copy to you. All other manuals should be on Simplicitys site if your model number sticker is still there. You can get manuals on Kohler's website also. Have you taken your 60" deck apart for painting? Is it tough...it doesn't look to bad as long as nothing breaks or strips out. Not sure about the Peerless drive box and how to remove it from the top of the deck.. How about the hydro filter...just get the back of the tractor up in the air and reach under and take it off..? Can you buy repair manuals for these tractors? Sorry for all the questions but I'm doing my best to not waste a whole bunch of time. Wife's pretty mad that I'm pretty much out in the garage after work each night trying to figure this beast out.

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heron
I've got the general manual..I was not sure if there was a "shop" manual for the tractor. I don't recall anything in the manual about dis-assembling the deck..gearbox etc.. It's probably straight forward but I don't like learning the hard way especially since I'm finding parts for this tractor so expensive. Thanks for all your help everyone!

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