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AC712H

Old vs New Garden Tractors Options available

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AC712H
I have been wondering what guys think about the options garden tractors had in the 70s and 80s and how they are today. Consider a newer tractor: Higher horsepower vertical engine hydro trans foot pedal speed controls push button mower deck engage electric mower deck raise/lower and so on. These seem to be standard on most tractors these days. Of these options or others, what do people wish were on the older tractors???

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RickS
I agree with Ray I have both a 7118 and a Legacy. I much prefer the Legacy with it's foot controlled hydro. Less things for my hands to do. One thing to keep in mind is that while many of the older tractors had lower horse power their torque was much higher. For what we use the tractors for, torque is what you want. Many people confuse torque and horsepower. I think of it this way, torque is what needed to get you moving, horsepower is what keeps you moving. Now a days high horsepower is a selling point for the masses; yet for a garden or lawn tractor the amount horsepower is meaningless. Why do I need a walk behind lawn mower with 10 horses when a 3.5 horses will do the job just as well. Because the unknowing consumer thinks 10 is better than 3.5. Sorry for the rant / education. Rick...........

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huffy
I like the hydro trans. Having infinitely variable speed control without having to switch gears, pulleys, use hi-los, etc, is great. And the foot pedal control is imo far superior to hand controls when trying to use attachments such as the loader, snow blower, etc. The vertical shaft engine I can do without. The higher horsepower ratings, imo, are often times a lot of bs. And, besides, all they've done is cranked up the rpms; not added more torque. I should add that I do really, really like the cup holders that come standard on GT's these days. Not that it makes up for the fact that most so-called GT's on the market now have no pulley or other rear PTO set up to run tillers, etc, as was standard on the old GT's.

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AC712H
I agree with you RickS. It seems HP is more of a selling point than anything. Its the same for vehicles too. I actually have a 3.5 HP Tecumseh on an old Allis Chalmers push mower that is unstoppable and my most reliable push mower ever. It looks horrible, but runs like a dream.

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AC712H
I am from a younger generation (only 32 years old) and I prefer the older equipment from the 70s and 80s over just about anything available today that. Of course these days, big price tags mean more options. I am taking on the challenge of putting foot pedals on my AC 919. If I can do this without too much frustration I will implement it on 700 series AC's and the Simplicity cousins. The look and feel of the older equipment just seems more appealing to me. I am considering adding other options that newer equipment have. I would like to fabricate a hydraulic system that allows front attachments to raise and lower independently.

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RayS
I am just the opposite. Have owned every large frame model but the B 1. I have had my Prestige now for ten years and have two 900 series, a Sovereign 18 and a 7790 diesel and wouldn't trade the Prestige for any of them. If I could only keep two. It would be my Prestige and my 917H re-powered with a 20hp Honda with power steering. I like the shallower deck on Prestige (better lift) and you can get about a 4" cut height and the turbo vac system is awesome. Really like the foot control and the vertical engine doesn`t bother me a bit. I can mower the ditch without sitting on the tire because of the foot-controlled automatic transmission. Pretty much every attachment for the 900 series will fit the Prestige with the correct hitch. I like them all. Just like the Prestige better. One thing about it Simplicity never went backwards in quality because of the cheap box store junk. They truely built a garden tractor to last a life time.

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MysTiK
For me, I am discovering that reliability is my biggest NAG with my "rusty olde junk" - and I say that affectionately. But the reliability is there - it simply needs to be maintained and/or repaired, as required. That's basically the difference between the old and the new - I kinda have to pay for the much lower price; but with all the little problems I have had, I have learned stuff; and that helps; and that makes it interesting, and easier to take. The learning process can be a bitter pill at times. Capability and longevity - I tend to think that I made the right purchase. Horsepower? I see it on some new machines as more destructive or maybe more stressful on components, than useful, or useable. I agree torque is better. And then running the power through superior hydros, or gears, makes the actual hp irrelevent. I have also said before, that it only takes a very few hp to move a tractor around, and it only takes a few more hp to spin an attachment. There's no need for a well-engineered tractor to have 20-30 hp. And my first impression - the first time I drove my AC716H, knowing nothing about all of this talk, I realized in a very short time that I was driving a miniaturization of a much larger, higher hp, large tractor. Re hydro foot pedal = My recent repair on my hydro shifter showed me that the real hydro stick is a 6" bar, or bracket, under the frame tunnel. At the time, I thought, wow, it should be almost easy to make a simple linkage work. But there are undoubtedly other considerations about leverage, safety, and reliability, and wear, to consider. I still think it's very doable with fab skills. As for brands - well, most of them are designed to self destruct IMHO. I hear the neighbours mowing, and using (safety-switched) reverse, and the deck drive disengage, re-engage, repeat repeat, as they go forward, reverse, repeat, repeat - slamming the crawp out of the belts, and whatever other parts, in the process - that's ongoing twisting torque on and off, on and off, on a cheap light duty unit. I drove a slew of golf course maintenance machines back in the 90's. I learned to love Toros and Jakes, and an old 50's Massey. But I also used, and tested for use, some green stuff w yellow trim, and they seemed like adaptations to do the high detailed work that was required on this private course. The popular items were Toros and Jakes in golf market. The deerz got a lot of attention is the marketing dept. I didn't like it. The Toros and Jakes were made to do the high performance, tight turns, and were highly useable and user friendly. Much was lost w switching to green stuff cos they seemed more designed to preserve themselves, rather than get the job done better. Nice ideas with bad translation to reality. Just this operator's point of view. And then there's character; that's just personal. But recently I was mowing, and a trio of Harley's rode by - I stopped and gave them 2 thumbs up - one of them, it was like he saw my olde rig; and gave me thumbs up. dOd It's an image. And it's visible. Also - my Kohler idle speed was set way too low when I got it - and it sounded like a Hog. OO Just a bunch of impressions - not sure if I am ontrack with what's called for here; but there it is. If I had a do-over, I would do it all again. Only complaint - I want a bucket; and I can't seem to work that out. yet. Fab skills? Priceless. AC712H, if you do the hydro pedal, take pix, lots of them. dOd But, with my hydro working better, I'm ok with the feel of the "Schtick". omg - another novel. (sigh).

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AC712H
I am confident I can make the original stick speed into a pedal control with the help of more modern parts and some creativity. I will show many pics when I am successful. I also want a bucket for my 919. I have been looking at Kubota 48" buckets and I think I may be on to something. . .

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rokon2813
I prefer older too, in fact, I don't like anything new enough to have running boards :O I prefer the sound, torque and ease of working on an old cast iron Briggs over anything vertical. I prefer the standard transmissions over the hydro, foot controls would not be an option, I occasionally do things where I need to leave the seat with the tractor moving. }:) Push button clutches, electric lifts and safety switches are just more electrical problems to come later. If I bump something with the corner of my deep deck, I don't have to get the deck straightened, re aligned and re adjusted to make it cut right again. My B12 has some dings and dents, it's pushed pulled and even been upside down a couple times. What would a fiberglass or plastic body look like after all that? I can even sit on the hood of my tractors without cracking or denting anything. ;);) And as for cup holders, my coffee cup won't fit anyway LOL

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MysTiK
quote:
Originally posted by AC712H
I am confident I can make the original stick speed into a pedal control with the help of more modern parts and some creativity. I will show many pics when I am successful. I also want a bucket for my 919. I have been looking at Kubota 48" buckets and I think I may be on to something. . .
I think a bunch of people would be interested in foot control. for bucket - I just need something small. I have seen a few that are like snowblades with sides and bottom added, and use a winch for lift. Simplicity/Allied Attachments used to make a front bucket that resembled a loader. They also made a rear bucket. I sometimes think the rear bucket would be less trouble since the rear axle is stronger than the front. I have only seen a pix of either of these on the simpletractors.com old catalogue pages. Nobody ever mentions them. LINK HERE is to Simp/Allied attachments 1977: there's a bunch of them. http://www.simpletractors.com/simplicity/1977_allied_attachments.htm
[img]http://www.simpletractors.com/images/allied_atch/front_bucket.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.simpletractors.com/images/allied_atch/rear_bucket.jpg[/img]

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perry
quote:
Originally posted by rokon2813
I prefer older too, in fact, I don't like anything new enough to have running boards :O I prefer the sound, torque and ease of working on an old cast iron Briggs over anything vertical. I prefer the standard transmissions over the hydro, foot controls would not be an option, I occasionally do things where I need to leave the seat with the tractor moving. }:) Push button clutches, electric lifts and safety switches are just more electrical problems to come later. If I bump something with the corner of my deep deck, I don't have to get the deck straightened, re aligned and re adjusted to make it cut right again. My B12 has some dings and dents, it's pushed pulled and even been upside down a couple times. What would a fiberglass or plastic body look like after all that? I can even sit on the hood of my tractors without cracking or denting anything. ;);) And as for cup holders, my coffee cup won't fit anyway LOL
I agree, I love the old stuff. it's built to last and take a beating. foot control comes in handy for some stuff(loader). the foot control has been around on some early models. i had a early 70's ford lgt with foot control , hi-lo range hydro trans and hydro lift. wheel horse sold a add on foot control option .

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n8in8or
I like hearing the other opinions here. I've only mowed with my 7016H twice, but I was already feeling like a foot pedal for the hydro would make mowing my tricky yard a lot easier...interesting to see I'm not the only one who had that thought. I haven't used too many different machines so I can't really speak to which features I like better on other ones, but I enjoy being "that guy" that has the good-looking, old machine out in the yard working. I used to use a round fender John Deere 110 at my old house and except for the 8hp engine I really enjoyed mowing with it because of the way it looked. Besides the foot pedal hydro, I have also been longing for a tighter turning radius. That's going to be tough since these tractors have such a long wheelbase, but I'm thinking of messing with the arm on the spindle to see if I can improve it, at least a little bit.

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leeave96
I like the old iron - with one exception, foot control! Foot control for hydro is something that should have been standard on these garden tractors back in the 70's - LOL. Bill

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MysTiK
I sometimes wonder if a footC would tend to promote more wear and tear on the Sundstrand. I know they are pretty tough. but with a footC, you can get into endless tweaking of the setting, so the hydro is always adjusting it's fluid flow "pressure" and "volume". I notice mine at a constant throttle and constant stick position is just real steady, real stable, and it just kinda acts like a crawler, constant speed, and strong like that, whether it's uphill, downhill, or flatland. One thing I don't understand is the difference between Hydro drive and Hydraulic drive. Golf course machines are all hydraulic drive AFAIK. Is there a major difference? Seems I was told once that hydraulic drive uses small hydraulic motors, possibly several, in combination - but it's just something I heard, and never really researched it. I might be all wrong in this. Any comments? They could be one and the same for all I know. ?

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AC712H
MysTik, that is something I had considered. I have begun doing research on that topic. If the Sundstrand will not work for foot pedal control, that makes it a much more expensive endeaver!!!

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GLPointon
DITTO!!! I love the old stuff. I've been using my 7010 for 13 yrs with no repairs since the refurb I did when I got it... But I do like the new OHV engines out today. and foot hydro does apeal to me for mowing...sm01
quote:
Originally posted by perry
quote:
Originally posted by rokon2813
I prefer older too, in fact, I don't like anything new enough to have running boards :O I prefer the sound, torque and ease of working on an old cast iron Briggs over anything vertical. I prefer the standard transmissions over the hydro, foot controls would not be an option, I occasionally do things where I need to leave the seat with the tractor moving. }:) Push button clutches, electric lifts and safety switches are just more electrical problems to come later. If I bump something with the corner of my deep deck, I don't have to get the deck straightened, re aligned and re adjusted to make it cut right again. My B12 has some dings and dents, it's pushed pulled and even been upside down a couple times. What would a fiberglass or plastic body look like after all that? I can even sit on the hood of my tractors without cracking or denting anything. ;);) And as for cup holders, my coffee cup won't fit anyway LOL
I agree, I love the old stuff. it's built to last and take a beating. foot control comes in handy for some stuff(loader). the foot control has been around on some early models. i had a early 70's ford lgt with foot control , hi-lo range hydro trans and hydro lift. wheel horse sold a add on foot control option .

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jsarro
I got involved with these tractors because I was under the impression that the old stuff was better made and would last a lot longer than the new stuff. I don't know if that is true or not. I got the impression that the new garden tractors were done after 10 yrs or less and weren't worth fixing. I was also told to get a garden tractor of similar quality and ability to these old ones, you are looking at like $10,000. for like a Legacy XL.

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RayS
quote:
Originally posted by jsarro
I got involved with these tractors because I was under the impression that the old stuff was better made and would last a lot longer than the new stuff. I don't know if that is true or not. I got the impression that the new garden tractors were done after 10 yrs or less and weren't worth fixing. I was also told to get a garden tractor of similar quality and ability to these old ones, you are looking at like $10,000. for like a Legacy XL.
legacy is far above a Sovereign. More like a Sunstar, I think they are even bigger than the Sunstar. My Prestige takes the same attachments as my Sovereigns do. Can`t use a sickle bar but I have no use for one either. I`ve had it since they came out 10 years ago. It has around 550 hours on it. The Command engine is rated at a life of 2500 + hours according to my dealer. we will see. Would be nice if it lasted 30+ years. Either way I definitely would put another Kohler Command in it.

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Chris727
I like the styling and wide array of implements on the older machines. They were also simpler to work on. For reliable mowing I have a 98 landlord (and wish it was a DLX so I'd have the foot control and diff lock) but for mowing its my go to machine. I can mow my ditch without worrying about blowing up a splash lube engine, (came close on the B-110.)

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John33051
I'll go with the old iron too. I have a Honda 3813 13 HP water cooled engine that I bought new in 1985 and it has been one of the best little machine I ever owned but, many parts are no longer available. I bought a 18 Hp Briggs / Walker zero turn to mow the hilly yard at a new house. Next I purchased a AC B212 with a FEL. I completely disassembled it, sandblasted and repainted it. What a pleasure to work on compaired to the Honda and Walker. I now own a HB212 and a HB112. I thought that I would sell the Walker when I bought the HP212 with a mower deck. After the first attempt to mow the hills around trees and shrubs the Walker is here to stay as well. I cut the back yard with the HB212 where it is flat. The zero turn is a blast and is fast but I really look forward to getting on the 12 Hp Briggs powered AC for the feel and enjoyment of a real classic machine. I to like the hydros and will be converting the B212 FEL to a hydro from the HB212 this winter. I am also working on a foot control to free up the hands for the FEL operation as well, probably a HD push pull cable setup.

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D-17_Dave
This should help some, Hydraulic drive is a gear pump(like for a wood splitter)builds pressure only as the oil is asked to work against a load. It also tops out on normal modern systems at under 2500 PSI. This steup drives a simple hydraulic motor. Good points are simple design and limited parts. Bad things are since the flow is based against a verying pressure it constantly changes the flow rates without the controls being changed. ie, if you climb a hill it slows down, if you drop down a hill it will nearly run away with you. Hydrostatic drive is a closed loop high pressure system with a positive displacement piston pump the circulates the same oil over and over again. The positive displacement allows for finite speed control of the flow under any load so the speed stays the same. It still flows oil to a motor but the pump changes it's displacement to control speed and direction. It's made to constantly change so continued use doesn't really affect anything. The downfall is that modern systems can go 6000+ PSI. So any contamination can cause a scratch inside and dump off lots of oil internally. There is some leakage inside and that's designed in so it uses a charge pump to maintain input oil into the loop to replenish the loop. If the system leaks off more oil than the charge pump can supply then it fails to perform under load. That's the basics in a nut shell. Foot control will work and constant tweeking will not hurt it. On a side note, I much prefer horizontal shaft engines. Much over *HP and the stress internally causes wear problems that must be engineered into the engine to counter these problems. Issue is if something, anything, changes these peramiters the engine wears badly and dies. Horizontal engines splash or pressure lubricated seem to just hold up better over any application I have ever seen. They seem to be stuck on verticle shaft engines on most late model mowers so they can spread out the belt drives to multiple locations easier. It's just cheaper to route a belt than add a gear box. So, diesel engine, horizontal shaft, hydrostatic drive, gearbox/shaft driven pto, is my favorite tractor. As for using the old stuff, old is all I have. I do try to look at the applied load and engineering and rebuild the wear spots on my older stuff so it becomes dependable. Just waiting to fix something when it fails will bite you every time you go to use it and depend on it. Lets face it, most of what were messing with is 30/40/ and sometimes near 50 years old now. It likely needs SOME serious attention on something.

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MysTiK
quote:
Originally posted by D-17_Dave
This should help some, Hydraulic drive is a gear pump(like for a wood splitter)builds pressure only as the oil is asked to work against a load. It also tops out on normal modern systems at under 2500 PSI. This steup drives a simple hydraulic motor. Good points are simple design and limited parts. Bad things are since the flow is based against a verying pressure it constantly changes the flow rates without the controls being changed. ie, if you climb a hill it slows down, if you drop down a hill it will nearly run away with you. Hydrostatic drive is a closed loop high pressure system with a positive displacement piston pump the circulates the same oil over and over again. The positive displacement allows for finite speed control of the flow under any load so the speed stays the same. It still flows oil to a motor but the pump changes it's displacement to control speed and direction. It's made to constantly change so continued use doesn't really affect anything. The downfall is that modern systems can go 6000+ PSI. So any contamination can cause a scratch inside and dump off lots of oil internally. There is some leakage inside and that's designed in so it uses a charge pump to maintain input oil into the loop to replenish the loop. If the system leaks off more oil than the charge pump can supply then it fails to perform under load. That's the basics in a nut shell. Foot control will work and constant tweeking will not hurt it. On a side note, I much prefer horizontal shaft engines. Much over *HP and the stress internally causes wear problems that must be engineered into the engine to counter these problems. Issue is if something, anything, changes these peramiters the engine wears badly and dies. Horizontal engines splash or pressure lubricated seem to just hold up better over any application I have ever seen. They seem to be stuck on verticle shaft engines on most late model mowers so they can spread out the belt drives to multiple locations easier. It's just cheaper to route a belt than add a gear box. So, diesel engine, horizontal shaft, hydrostatic drive, gearbox/shaft driven pto, is my favorite tractor. As for using the old stuff, old is all I have. I do try to look at the applied load and engineering and rebuild the wear spots on my older stuff so it becomes dependable. Just waiting to fix something when it fails will bite you every time you go to use it and depend on it. Lets face it, most of what were messing with is 30/40/ and sometimes near 50 years old now. It likely needs SOME serious attention on something.
Thanks for this, Dave. Very helpful. In many ways. sm01

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