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leeave96

Sovereign Type Tractor - Question

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leeave96
I came within a hair of buying a new Simplicity Sovereign garden tractor in 1998. It had power steering and I think a 48 inch deck. I also believe it had the (from what I have read) the dreaded Triad engine. I know it was 18 hp. As I recall, it was about $1000 higher than an 8-speed Wheelhorse, which I bought instead. Since then, I have pretty much centered my attention on Wheelhorse tractors, but might have a want to give one of these old design Simplicity tractors a try (and maybe even a Cub Cadet). So my questions are this: I know just like Wheelhorse, there are rare collectables and very practical tractors and some that are both. How about these Sovereign type tractors? I'd like something to restore to a useable tractor, not necessarily a showroom piece. Primarily I'd be mowing, towing a cart and maybe if I can find the attachments, pushing snow and tilling. What is the best workhorse Sovereign type tractor to look for? Should I look for the orange/white configurations, the newer orange/black ones like I looked at in '98, briggs cast iron single cylinder motors, AC branded tractors with kohler motors, etc.? One of the things that very much intrigues me about the Sovereign I looked at back in '98 was how deep the deck shell was. One of the places I want to use this tractor is at a camp where the grass gets mowed about every other week. Somehow, I think that deep deck would allow for a lot of clippings to flow through the deck. I know sometimes it things get to thick with my Wheelhorse, the belt will slip a bit - is that a problem with the Simplicity? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks! Bill

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Talntedmrgreen
Personally, I like the earlier stuff (old iron style, vintage appeal, etc). That being said, an early sovereign with a Vickers hydro, hydraulic lift and a 16 Briggs transplant would be my dream machine. They built the 'Sovereign' line for over 30 years and there really isn't one I would turn down for the right price. ;) I'm sure some of the newer machine have creature comformts I'm not accustomed to (electronic controls, power steering, etc), and that would be a sweet way to go too. Kinda depends what you're into, and how much you want to invest. The attachments mentioned are very common and reletively inexpensive. AND...The cut has no comparison!

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rm
i have a b-10 ive cut fields with it that werent cut for years i have a 42 in deck. it worked mint. old iron is stronger and better than these new cracker jack machines bought @ sears. b-10 pulls a 2000 lb trailer and a chev s-10 without a problem too

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tripleguy
I'd buy the best one you can find for the money. From what I've been reading, they are all good tractors. Look for hydro lift and some feel more HP is better. I have an early 90s machine with a Kohler Command 18. No power steering but you don't really need it unless you hang a heavy attachment on the front (snow blower). Mine has the Sundstrand hydro which is also supposed to be a good, dependable unit. I don't have too much dinero into mine - $800 for the tractor, mower deck and snow blower. There are good deals out there if you're patient. Check Craigslist early and often. Search eBay and filter by distance. There was a great post a while back on what to check when looking at a vintage tractor. Good luck.

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Hydro-Manic
I have driven just about everything,till someone gave me a shed queen 3310h.Used it for about three weeks and said to my wife "If i die you have to sell this tractor immediately as i do not want your future boyfriend husband to have it".It took a lot of years to figure it out. Hydro is the way to go i never touch the brake or shift.My wife thinks I'm crazy for being so into tractors,but she has not cut a lot of grass in her 30years.just my 2cents worth.

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Chris727
None of them are high dollar collectors items. A Sovereign with the Kohler Command would be a good way to go. You can probably find one thats clean enough you won't need to restore it. I like that they have a pressure lube engine and some safety features too. If you're wanting to restore, an older 7000, 7100 or even a foot dragger (pre-1971 tractor) would make a good candidate.

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SmilinSam
I had gobs of Wheel horse tractors over the years and had them before I got into Simplicity.( 520h, 417-A, 312h, GT-14,C-120, C-160, 12 Auto, C-165 & about 20 others:D) Last new Wheel horse I had was a 314H around 1992. Bought a new Soveriegn in 1998. Power steer, and the junk TH series engine in it. Had a boatload of Simplicity tractors since too. Both brands are good machines in my opinion. The Wheel horse 48" deck cuts the best in its brand while the Simplicity 42" deck cuts the best in its brand. My opinion is if you want a Simplicity that is laid out easy to work on and reliable, get a 900 series Allis with a single cylinder Kohler, 16hp if possible. Find one that the engine is in good shape and that the previous owner has kept well maintained. Get a hydrostatic machine if you can, or the 6 speed is nice too, but they were only offered in 10 hp and 16 hp if I remember right. Wouldnt bother with the shuttles as parts and wear is an issue. Rebuilding the newer splined spindles in the decks for those series is also alot easier than rebuilding the previous keyed style. Parts are relatively plentiful. I had belt slippage on My Wheel horses from time to time, but when I started using Blue or green power rated belts That pretty much stopped. I alwats had problems with Wheel horse oem mower belts stretching and loosening upC.

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leeave96
quote:
Originally posted by SmilinSam
I had gobs of Wheel horse tractors over the years and had them before I got into Simplicity.( 520h, 417-A, 312h, GT-14,C-120, C-160, 12 Auto, C-165 & about 20 others:D) Last new Wheel horse I had was a 314H around 1992. Bought a new Soveriegn in 1998. Power steer, and the junk TH series engine in it. Had a boatload of Simplicity tractors since too. Both brands are good machines in my opinion. The Wheel horse 48" deck cuts the best in its brand while the Simplicity 42" deck cuts the best in its brand. My opinion is if you want a Simplicity that is laid out easy to work on and reliable, get a 900 series Allis with a single cylinder Kohler, 16hp if possible. Find one that the engine is in good shape and that the previous owner has kept well maintained. Get a hydrostatic machine if you can, or the 6 speed is nice too, but they were only offered in 10 hp and 16 hp if I remember right. Wouldnt bother with the shuttles as parts and wear is an issue. Rebuilding the newer splined spindles in the decks for those series is also alot easier than rebuilding the previous keyed style. Parts are relatively plentiful. I had belt slippage on My Wheel horses from time to time, but when I started using Blue or green power rated belts That pretty much stopped. I alwats had problems with Wheel horse oem mower belts stretching and loosening upC.
Thanks for the reply and everyone else's too! I don't plan on getting rid of any of my Wheelhorse tractors - leaving that to my boys when I assume room temperature. Just courious, in as much as you bought the same model Sovereign that I passed on in 1998, did you have any problems with the Triad engine? How were the Briggs engines - especially the 16 hp? I assume it was cast iron and single cylinder. Are parts still available for those engines? Haven't heard of blue/black belts. I tend to stick with the OEM belts, but would give them a try. Who makes them? Thanks, Bill

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dave7016
I've had 2 7016 sovereigns and 2 7117's.(one being an allis 917 same as simplicity 7117) The briggs 16hp on the 7016 is a good engine but is noisey compared to a twin. In hind sight last summer I could have gotten a '96 with a kohler command with 450hrs on it for around $1200...should have bought it. For now I have the two 7117s and I do love them. I would only buy a hydro and only a sunstrand due to many parts available which in fact you most likely won't need. To me all of them are easy to work on but I work on cars for a living and they suck. Depending on where you live you can probably find a descent sovereign for a grand or less. Also they have so many attachments once you get 1 you'll get more, trust me on this!!! And this web site is very helpful if you ever need something or help with stuff.

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SmilinSam
I was mowing peoples yards with my 98 and after the warranty ended it started doing wierd things. So..having read all the horror stories I sold the tractor rather than face the possibilty of coughing up money for a new engine. The 7116 Simplicity used the Briggs 16 with a ring gear starter and flywheel alternator. They are good engines, I just prefer the Kohlers for one reason or another. I have a new Magnum 16 single in my DuetZ 917.
[img]http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv227/Smilinsam/more%20tractor%20stuff/DSCN0179.jpg[/img]
Gates makes the green power rated. I get the blue ones from the farm stores. Dont know if the farm stores carry the long lengths anymore though. Cant remember how long those were now. Been too long ago since I ran Wheel horse..

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Willy
I like the older iron,one of the A/C B-series with hydro lift. A good dependable 10HP cast iron engine,You don't need 20 HP to mow or plow or what ever. You can get some real pretty stripes with the old Foot Draggers.:D

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leeave96
Tell me about the Sunstrand hydros. I've seen a couple of references to them. What years were they used and why so desirable vs another make hydro used on the Sovereigns? Very interesting stuff. Thanks! Bill

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dave7016
I think the sunstrand has been used since '75 or '76. My '76 sovereign had one. They can pull just about anything. I use my little garden tractor to move my 23' travel trailer around all the time. Move my boat no issue, trailer with 2 yards of dirt or gravel-no problem. I am convinced it is the best hydro trans ever used in a garden tractor of this size. And for the few that go down in my area (se WI) I can find a good used unit for $200 or less. For me it is also nice that I have a Simplicity dealer within walking distance. My next door neighbor started the dealer in '53 and his son runs it now!!!

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SmilinSam
quote:
Originally posted by leeave96
Tell me about the Sunstrand hydros. I've seen a couple of references to them. What years were they used and why so desirable vs another make hydro used on the Sovereigns? Very interesting stuff. Thanks! Bill
Wheel horse used Sundstrands for years, from the mid 60's up to the mid 80,s when they switched to using Eatons in the 300-400-500 series tractors. Simplicity and Allis started out using Vickers and in 1975 switched to Sundstrand and stayed with them till the end of the Soveriegn style in 2000. The only Simplicity/AC sundstrands I ever personally saw that went bad were ones that were left outside and got water inside the pump and or resevoir, either by going in around the pop up valves or through a broken vent valve. The only Wheel horse Sundstrand I ever personally saw that went bad was one where lawn fertilizer got onto and was allowed to sit in the cooling fins and ate hole in the casting. Other than that I have had leaking lip seals around the power and control shafts, all which were easily replaced. Pretty durable units all in all.

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DanD
quote:

How were the Briggs engines - especially the 16 hp? I assume it was cast iron and single cylinder. Are parts still available for those engines? I have a 1975 7016 with the 16 hp Briggs that I completely rebuilt about 10 years ago. It is a cast iron single cylinder and parts are readily available. It runs like new today. Before, it was completely worn out. I had the cylinder bored, then put in new piston, rod, crankshaft, main bearings, upper half of carburetor and points plunger and bushing. You can see it run here.[url][/url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg2Gmq2EjLA I think it is a great engine. It maybe vibrates a little, but then you don't fall asleep while driving!!! I also have a 2000 Sovereign with power steering and power lift. I literally just last week installed a new Command engine from Al Eden in it last week after selling the Triad out of it. Don't have any video of the new engine running as all I've done with it so far is drive up and down the street a few times. However, if you want to see a running Triad, here's some video of the tractor from last winter. It's really too bad the Triad didn't work out. I found it to be powerful, smooth, and efficient, but decided to get rid of it before it became a boat anchor. [url][/url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdjUH3UzRkQ

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hotrodtractor
I like the singles also, but thought that I read they only lasted 1/3 as long as a kolher command. However, singles can be rebuilt cheap but man they shake commpared to twins.

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RayS
quote:
Originally posted by hotrodtractor
I like the singles also, but thought that I read they only lasted 1/3 as long as a kolher command. However, singles can be rebuilt cheap but man they shake commpared to twins.
There is a guy on here that says he has 2300 hours on a 16hp and I really believe it is possible. Some of these 40 - 45 year old tractors are on there original engines that haven`t been bored. 40 - 60 hours a year over that time span can get you those hours if well maintained. I have two new Briggs 16hp and around 6 on the shelf for spares that run like a top. I really like the old cast iron engines but I like the pressure lube of the new twins, the smoothness through the rpm`s and the fact that the carburetors don`t leak when new. Never owned a Vanguard twin, but the Honda GX620 and Command are excellent motors.

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hotrodtractor
Al made a post I think about oil drilling commands with 3500 hrs plus and still running strong.I think it's all about how you maintain + treat them. Unless its a triad.

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leeave96
Thanks everyone for your replies. How are the deck designs for thesse mowers? From the 7016 to the final year Sovereign, any major differences or pretty much same deck and performance? Thanks, Bill

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SmilinSam
Decks are pretty much the same from 1976 -2000. The earlier decks were about the same for performance, but the spindles were a different design and the decks were stamped out different on the flat where the spindles sit and in the mouth where the grass exits. The deck hangers and attaching points were a little different too from the 60's to the 70's.

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RayS
quote:
Originally posted by hotrodtractor
Al made a post I think about oil drilling commands with 3500 hrs plus and still running strong.I think it's all about how you maintain + treat them. Unless its a triad.
I believe it was Al that said he knew of a Triad that had over 900 hours on it with air cleaner modifications. The ones with over ten years of service must have been maintained well and issues resolved in manufacturing.

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