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carter

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carter
Kent, In your question for Pat you refer to the difficlty of getting cast iron Briggs parts. I'm curious because so far I have had good luck with parts and they don't seem to be relatively any more outrageous than parts for a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado. I've been dragging my feet on re doing a 300000 series engine. Should I hurry before the parts supply dries up? Ron

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Kent
No, Ron, I'm not suggesting that we're that close to parts becoming unavailable, but since I've started the site, available cast-iron factory short blocks have disappeared, for example. Parts prices seem high, and will only go higher -- buy a new piston, rod, valves, gaskets, etc., and you could easily be looking at $250 or so today, then add on any needed machine work, etc... Or, consider those (like me) who've never rebuilt one, have no specialized tools (nor understand which ones we REALLY need) and are a little intimidated by the sychronized counterbalance on the 12HP and up... I could comfortably replace a short-block, but a total rebuild.... What would be labor cost to have someone rebuild one for you ... Next thing you know, you could easily be over $500 for a rebuild -- and still be left with a 30 year old engine that uses an expensive starter-generator, for example.... I just know that engine conversions are an ongoing "hot topic," regardless of what tractor or what engine it seems to be...

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MikeES
On the other hand, $500 may be reasonable if you can get another 30 years from an engine. Plus, you will not have the expense of purchasing a new engine, the cost of conversion, or the gamble of whether the conversion will work (as Al Eden has stated, there could be much testing and retrofitting involved in a proper and successful conversion). I operate an old cast iron Briggs and an old cast iron Kohler (both single cylinder). In comparison to my Kohler Command V Twin, they’re noisy and vibrate. But, they’re dependable, do the job and can pull (the jury’s still out on whether the Kohler Command will last 30 years). Another consideration with a conversion is the availability of replacement parts. Any custom made brackets, mounts, shafts, connections that break or wear out will have to be custom made again. Unless I had an engine looking for a home, before I went to the time and expense of a conversion I think I’d buy another complete tractor with a factory installed modern engine. With me it’s a matter of money. Usually, any machine with a non-factory engine looses actual value, and any collector value. I have done many engine conversions on larger equipment. Except for my own use, they became virtually worthless. Just my opinion, and I know very little about garden tractors, and next to nothing about small air-cooled engines.

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carter
Kent, Don't be initmidated by the counterbalance weights. These engines are real forgiving of being a bit off on clearances etc. Like Dutch says they shake rattle and roll but just keep on running. Get Briggs & Stratton part no. 270692 single cylinder manual and you too can be an expert. Anyone that would transplant a hydro unit ought to be able to do a single cyl. engine. Ron

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Kent
What can I say, Dutch? In addition to the concerns about smog controls, longevity, etc. there's just a wide range of interests also... Some people restore vehicles to original, showroom condition... some build customized show cars... some build hot rods, etc. ... some trade every couple of years .... some use them up .... I think we see all kinds of people visiting this site ... some likely would like to stay absolutely stock ... some (like me with my Big Ten) aren't opposed to mild, custom add-ons as long as the tractor could be returned to stock ... some enjoy the challenge of "what if" and strive to improve the usefulness or ease of use of their machines (like me with the B-210 I'm putting a Sundstrand in) ... and others just want to keep a tool operating at the lowest cost possible.... I'm not suggesting that it makes sense to go buy a new Vanguard to put in a tractor... but what if you have a tractor with no engine, or one with a rod coming through the block, a crank that won't clean up, or.... What if you get a great deal on a new or used Vanguard, or a different kind of tractor with a Vanguard, etc ...

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carter
Kent, I'd love to have a Vanguard to try to shoe horn into a early chassis. I get a real kick out of making things fit and work. I'm in the "nearly stock is fine" catagory too. I have friend that has bias ply tires on his '68 Corvette because "that' the way they came". I like to take advantage of the new stuff while still enjoying the overall fun of the older equipment. Ron

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SmilinSam
The thing to consider and watch is the push for cleaner burning small engines. The death knell for 2 cycled engines of all kinds is already sounding loudly. Kohler is pretty much all OHV now. My question would be once all these non conforming engines are all out to pasture, how long will the manufacturers make parts for them? Then how long will aftermarket companies find it worthwhile to make those parts? and I guess most of all, will the government and the environmental lobby eventually step in and just kill all the old stuff that can't meet the new standards - parts and all? Right now the philosophy is to ban future production of the non conforming engines and let whats out there die off on its own, but that could change. California seems to be the test bed for all this clean air regulation, so I guess we watch California to see where the rest of us will follow. I don't know the details of all the laws being enacted in California, but maybe some of our Californian members here could cue us in.? Or anyone else for that matter.

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Woodydel
Gentlemen, I have an opinion about changes being made to the Simplicity tractors by club members. When I bought my Model 700 last year I was drawn to it's looks and to the archaic pulley system employed by Simplicity. With all of the hassels attendant with the operations of these tractors I would not change a single thing. If I ever needed a difficult to replace engine I would do whatever was necessary to find one. I would not change one bolt on my tractors for an improvement. Now, I'm not picking on anyone here because this is a great or I should say fantastic group of people here, but if Simplicity truly made a great tractor then I believe to change anything on any particular model is a mistake. I can't even make myself drill a hole where it was never intended. My Cub Cadet cohorts seem to not modify their machines. Yes, some do experiment with dozer creations and the like but for the most part the Cub Cadet collectors would rather die than change even a reflector or a bolt without an IH stamped on it. In the IH Cub Cadet Forum it is really hard to find discussion about modifying those machines. I'm not dissappointed by the modifications being made by anyone and I am not putting anyone down for doing so. Just bringing attention to preserving these machines as designed. Woody

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MPH
Have to agree with you some Woody, I'd be hard pressed to modify anything on my 725. Now the B-112, Not sure what percent of it is B-112 anyway, engine is not, tranny is not, draw-bar is not but shes a workin ole beast so some degree of modifing to make something easier to work with I could handle doing..MPH

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Woodydel
Kent, I really do appreciate your viewpoint. When you have a basket case the easy way out is to sell. You ,however, are doing as you say, giving the tractor a new lease on life. My reason for submitting my reply was simply intended as a reminder to save the originals if we can. It's almost laughable how I'll go out to buy a "parts" tractor and decide almost immediately upon getting it home to keep it. My wife does not laugh about it, at all.

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Kent
Woody & Dutch, I agree with the preservation idea -- of the nice ones. But, I personally don't have a problem making minor mods to some that are just flat worn out. I'll use my B-210, for example: This tractor was flat worn out, for sure -- some of the sheet metal was OK -- none of it "cherry." I've used the original hood, but had already replaced the seat pan/fenders (original was rusted out when I got it) and one side panel. Between the wallowed out keyway on the pulley shaft on the BGB and the play in the gears, there was 7/8" total play and it was starting to vibrate... I'd already replaced the whole front drive pulley and variable speed levers, just to get it through the rest of the summer until I could get the Big Ten together and usable... The control levers/rods that mount on top of the variable speed was so worn that the hole was elongated. When I discovered that the nut on my front pulley had backed off, wallowed out the shaft, and destroyed the pulley, I replaced essentially everything but the rear pulley and the speed control handle with used parts off a B-112, just to buy me time... The center PTO was so worn that the hole in the frame where it mounts and hangs was elongated. When you engaged the PTO lever, the whole center PTO would twist sideways -- making it virtually impossible to keep idlers and belts going and adjusted properly. There is so much slop in it that the clutch idler pulley would sometimes "twist" enough to where the tall sides of it would rub the center PTO's drive pulley... It also used the "wierd and expensive" double-V belt to drive the mower deck. The only reasons I didn't part it out was that I'd put too much time, work and money in it already, and that it had a good 1989 replacement engine that runs good and works hard ... and that it has hydraulic lift ... I priced the parts for rebuilding the BGB, and it was cheaper to replace the whole BGB and tranny with a used one, including the PTO cone clutch setup, as I've mentioned previously. This should fix my BGB, tranny and PTO problems. When I started disassembling the tractor, I found about a half-gallon of acorns and oak leaves back in the frame tunnel, in front of the BGB. These acidic things had been in there so long that they had rotted and rusted the frame about half-way through. So, I ended up swapping out the frame. When I pulled the front axle off, I found that the mounting hole in the axle was also worn and elongated. I put on another used front axle that's in better condition, with a new pivot bolt, washers and bushings, including new bushings in the tie rod ends. Similarly, the steering gear and sector were worn so badly that I couldn't adjust the play out in the center without it binding at the "ends" so I replaced those with good used parts and bought new rubber bushings for the steering shaft.... Somehow, with replacing all these worn out parts, I don't feel that I've "done an injustice" to this old tractor at all -- instead I feel like I've given it a new lease on life, and probably set it up for another 10-20 years of service instead of it being parted out.... I don't feel guilty at all... I feel more like I "rescued" it.... *o) Kent

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SmilinSam
Like Kent said, Its a rescue job for the ones I choose to modify. In fact I generally don't start with a whole tractor. These Frankenstein creations of mine are drawn a piece at a time from the "2nd class"(parts that have minor defects) spare parts piles I have including the "last roundup" pile (parts not good enough to sell destined for the scrap yard). This "HB-116 hydro lift" project for example, will have parts from at least a dozen different rigs in it. I don't feel bad at all about modifying such a creation. On the other hand for the satisfaction of you true collectors and restorers, I do try to refrain from parting out the few older good rebuildable project tractors I do get. But, as a matter of economics and logistics, some of these whole tractors do have to "Bite the Big One" to provide parts to save the rest. I have three more to restore and repair, then I have to get down to business at hand and tear down the other 10- 15 I have to part out. No more fix ups after that- this year anyhow. No time, soon spring Garage cleanout season begins and I will no doubt be literally dragging more in.........

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JimDk
Let me share a method I use to save many parts on my old tractors.It is welding and machining,grinding or hand filing parts back to the original size.Many holes in brackets and linkage parts can be repaired.I weld on bushings, where possible, to double or triple the wearing surface.Linkage rods can also be welded or re-fabricated. I guess I learned to do this working in a steel mill where turn of the century(1800's)equipment was repaired and used again.Nothing was scrapped if it was needed and repairable. I agree with Kent and Sam that there is nothing wrong with up-grading an old working tractor to pro-long it's useful life.I also agree that there is a point where it is not cost effective to repair.That's when my parts pile grows a little higher.There is enough old iron out there that we could,if time,money,storage room,understanding wife ect.allows,all have working tractors and show tractors. My .02 for today, Jim

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Kent
Jim & Sam, I agree totally -- if it weren't for people "parting out" some of these tractors, then there would be many fewer restored tractors -- in many cases new parts aren't available, or if they were, we couldn't afford to buy the number of new parts needed. There aren't that many "cherry" used tractors around to start with -- or if they are really nice, they're either not for sale or too expensive for many of us hobbyists... The tough decisions become which ones to really restore, which ones to use as work tractors and which ones to relegate to being parts tractors. Remember that the situation of parting out a tractor can work in reverse -- I combined two different parts tractors (with a couple minor pieces off a 3rd one) to make my Big Ten.... Jim, I wish I had either a welder or a torch to help rebuild some of these pieces -- if I knew how to use them.... I've done all my work on this with essentially hand tools. All cutting was done with a jig saw (after drilling pilot holes) and some trimming done with a hacksaw. I bolted parts on rather than welding.... I'm definitely "low-tech" when it comes to my "shop" or mechanical skills.... Kent

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StinKy
Jim's reconditioning methods are a carbon copy of mine. I have a friend who's an absolute wizard with stick & mig welding and I can do decent machining jobs. The grille on my 3210-V was cracked along it's sides approx 4" in from both ends probably from 30 yrs. of vibration. Some .030 mig wire took care of that and I dont have to turn heaven and earth to find a rare item. The weld job is on the inside face of the grille and virtually invisible. This IS a basket case tractor but I have very little $ in it so far and compared to new prices it's a bargain!! When finished I'll get years of service and it'll be a nice old classic to boot. Dick

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StinKy
Back about 16 years ago I bought my first T16H Homelite tractor. It's the version made by AC. I looked high and low for even a manual about my tractor and couldn't find spit anywhere. Obviously there was no internet access such as we have today and even finding phone numbers for dealers was a major headache. Well I eventually gave up my search but I never gave up my tractor. When parts broke I had them fixed. Even when the clutch plates in my electric lift broke I took the discs to a machine shop and had them welded, ground down and checked for flatness and the lift was like new again. That's just a simple example, I know, but it typifies what I was bringing up with my opinion concerning preservation of these machines. When I saw the posts about fixing parts memories came back to me. Thanks. Oops waited too long to post this.......Woody

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