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rsnik

Need help with the Prestige

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rsnik

There are two sellers in my area offering a 2004 Prestige. Both have the CH20, 50" deck and Powerflow Bagger.

Ray is very knowledgeable and has had nothing but good to say about his Prestige over the years. However, I hear lots of bad from other quarters.

The Power Assist piston behind the drag link, has problems, works poorly, was a bad idea and was later replaced with the conventional, hydraulic drag link set up.

The steering knuckle fails. The front axle bushing is an annual replacement item, apparently, as excessive fore/aft play is constantly mentioned.

Steering drift, the tractor will not hold a straight line, is the commonest complaint and probably a result of all of the above.

And lastly - not enough cowbell. Just kidding about that and just saying about the rest - I am asking for advice as I don't know if all this is just the whiners whining or if buying one of these two available tractors is buying chronic problems that are more than the usual issues that come with any tractor you buy, including new.

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rsnik

Thanks Ron!

As I know you know, the effects of the 9/11 attacks on top of a deep recession finally overwhelmed Simplicity and they went under and were gobbled up by Briggs in 2004.

The best minds at Simplicity promptly left and Briggs brought the company back in the black by "going down in head count", which means firing a huge number of people and expecting those left to do the work of the involuntarily departed without proper training.

As things were understandably in a state of chaos/mayhem at the time, 2004 may not be the ideal vintage to buy, so to speak.

Methinks the 2015 Prestige is very much the ideal vintage. He, he, so hopefully the next member will say "rsnik - if you don't like the (censored) 2004, why the (censored) don't you (censored) go buy a (censored) new one?!"

Thanks again for your input Ron.

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Chris727

Years ago I had driven one in the shop for the steering drift problem. I cannot remember how it was resolved but it was only 3 or 4 years old at that time. I have been thinking of upgrading to a prestige from my Landlord tractors but have a JD 345 here right now, and if I had a Simplicity deck on it, then it would be the perfect machine.

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RayS

Never had an issue with axle bushing or the steering knuckle failing on mine. Will have to admit that I found the grease zerk just two years ago for the axle bushing. Replaced throttle cable a few years back and head gaskets were replaced. Head gasket failure was my fault.

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rsnik

Ray, I don't recall which engine you have - in 2005, of course, it went from the CH20 to the 23.

They are wonderful engines. Do have their quirks, though. Heard about a lot of gone head gaskets. The left head gasket is going on my CH18 and my neighbor just lost both sides on his CH23. I think it may be because they run hot or it may be a design issue. They are still great engines. Smooth, long lasting.

There is also the mystery puff of blue smoke on start up when a compression and leak down test show nothing wrong.

Hmmm, the JD 345 has that Kawasaki 20 liquid cooled engine which I know nothing about - but I bet it doesn't run hot.

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RayS

Biggest reason for head gasket failure is not shutting it off at half throttle to wide open throttle. I was told that by the dealer when I purchased it. The manuals also state shut down as well. My is a 20hp. First year they came out.

Other than that I haven't had any issues with the way it runs. Mine doesn't run hot but I blow out the engine after each use and I pull the flywheel shroud off each fall and clean the fins off. No smoke at start up either. I did put a oil cooler on it 5 years ago.

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drbrian722

I have a Conquest of similar vintage with a 16HP Briggs Vanguard on it so I cannot help you in the motor department. I can tell you that the front axle bushings were bad on mine when I bought it and less than $13 had it factory perfect. There are "pads" on the axle that are supposed to help with play and if they are worn, should be built back up when replacing the bushings. Read that as weld on strap steel. I suspect some people did not do this and it caused premature wear on the new bushings. Outside of that I've had no issues and I use it as a mower in summer and a plow in winter.

Comparing the old to the new is a tough proposition, but when it comes to mowing, the new is so much better than the old. Decks can be raised to a 4" cut, and the turbo collector hung off the deck easily collects 2-3 times as much as the vac on my Sovereign. I do love my Sovereigns, but when it's time to mow the lawn, I appreciate the electronic ignition, pressure lube, single hand steering, and foot controlled hydro.

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rsnik

Ray, of all the great minds and legendary figures we have lost I still can't get over the passing of Al Eden.

I remember his post wherein he explained why a CH20 should be shut off at half to WOT. The carb fuel supply has a two port solenoid valve which instantly starves fuel feed on shut down. The pistons still stroking at relatively high RPM's purges the cylinders so the engine will not backfire.

I tried it and it did not work. I found out why the hard way. The solenoid was stuck open. One day, one of the float needles did not seat and an entire tank of gas drained into the engine, completely filling the engine with gas all the way to the cylinder tops. After repair my oil sure stayed real clean. The inside of that engine would probably pass the white glove test.

After that I run the engine at half throttle and use an infrared Mastercool to check the cylinder temps until they cool down, which happens quickly. I installed an inline manual shut off valve and I now just shut off the fuel supply manually and let the engine starve out while running at half throttle, which happens quickly. It never backfires.

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joelk

I have a 2004 with 23hp and 54" deck (motor id is 2005 which I find odd). I've had it 2 years now 125 hrs on it. Overall I really like it, and it is safer for my kids to drive with the built in safeties.

The super short turning radius is amazing. The extra cutting height is nice when you get behind or in mid summer when you want it longer. I love the extra large gas tank and tank opening.

I have found the mystery smoke is just excess gas from the choke. If I start turning over and then apply the choke it fires immediately with no smoke.

I don't think the traction control is any better than my 3112, but the diff lock is useful. When sitting on my driveway, wide open throttle and deck engaged, the deck moves front and back a little (not smooth) but not noticeable when mowing. I also have a 46" single stage blower that works well with it. Overall I think it is a good tractor, no major problems that I have had so far.

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rsnik

Ray, the Honda in the 917H, eh? Your words have moved me. If you need room for your next project just let me know.

BTW, the '04 Prestige in excellent condition, 400 hours, just sold to another buyer for $3500. The other '04 is in fair condition and is at $1975 with no interested buyers to date.

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hurleyii

This is off topic a little as I'm referring to my K single cylinder engines but I'm now curious what throttle position I should be shutting down at. I always try to throttle down all the way and make sure they have idled down before shutting off. I never have backfires but after using the 7112 for an actual work load yesterday it ran on and didn't want to shut off! It's also clearly losing a rod after a oil inspection from its first job!

So what do you guys recommend on the me series engine shut down procedures?

I'm also picking up a 3415s next weekend accordingly as long as the man keeps his word!

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