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MRR

Collector's Conundrum

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MRR

So three years ago I bought 5 acres for weekend recreational use.  Four of those acres are wooded, and relatively steep grade.  The remaining acre is grass/yard, with some hills.  As a city dweller, one of the first things I needed was a way to mow an acre of grass with something other than a push mower!!  After some research and talking with friends/family, I came across a deal on a Sunstar 20.  It is an early 90s model and has a newer short block with lower hours.  It has a 60" deck, a plow, weight box, tire chains, and soft sided cab.  Also came with a second Sunstar parts tractor, later model (it has the Kohler Command rather than the Magnum like the first).  The parts tractor did run well before being in storage indoors for some years.  A few missing pieces have been replaced and I am working on seeing if it still runs.  My currently running Sunstar has been a good tractor, and when it runs, it is a beast.  There have been some odds and ends repairs that I have managed and overall it's a good machine.  But also an old machine....  So, I am looking to add a third tractor (second running tractor) to the mix.  I can't justify some expensive newer tractor as I use it mainly on weekends.  So I would like to have some ideas to keep my eyes open as you all know there is not an endless supply of these gems out there!  I have found this site very helpful over the past few years and wanted to get feedback from experienced fellow tractor lovers (hoarders???) and also make sure I am considering all angles of the decision.  I know it largely comes down to personal preference as well, so I will tell you a bit about what I anticipate needing:

Mowing primarily, especially if the current tractor is out of commission;  The 60" deck is wonderful but I could get by with smaller if I don't have an interchangeable tractor;  General hauling with dump trailer and taking things from point A to point B;  I would like to plow snow in the winter.  I have a steep gravel drive and have not yet attempted this, as I am worried I won't be able to get the tractor back up the hill (even with the chains) and will be stuck not able to get it back in the barn.  Having a second will give me something to pull it with if necessary!  I am thinking a lot about a rear PTO/3 point hitch/brinly sleeve etc.  I don't anticipate ever plowing, but may use a drag someday or more likely a rototiller.  Maybe a back blade but with the plow I'm not sure I would need it.  A snowblower would also be nice.

Ideally a second Sunstar (or comparable DA or AA) would be great as I could swap out implements and maybe even parts as needed.  However options are slim.  (Saw the perfect package in Wisconsin, but that's just not doable at this point).  So, if I don't get a Sunstar, I am thinking I would still want a 20HP or close as I do have to go up some hills, etc.  I know that sort of limits things.

So, what would YOU want to get if it was you???  I have some time and some padding in the budget so that may play into a decision.  Also I am OK with some minor fixing up but not looking to add a new project tractor for a low price-  I prefer pretty decent running condition from the start.  What are your thoughts on a rear PTO for the basics that I would possible use it for?  Any thoughts on belt driven vs shaft driven?  I know some implements are easier/harder to find and more/less expensive also.  What else am I not considering???

As always, I appreciate the knowledge and variety of opinions from this group!!

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SmilinSam

An Early Legacy, if the front end has been kept greased and maintained might not be a bad idea for you.  Legacys replaced the Sunstars in 1998. Like the Sunstars, the rear pto's are also somewhat hard to find.  With the Sunstar you had 2 choices for rear pto, and engine speed pto which usually drove either a tiller or a rear vacuum.  They also had a 2000 rpm pto . Those you can use other brands of rear pto driven attachments that used the same sort of 2000 rpm rear ptos. Gives you a better chance of finding used equipment.

The Legacy also had 2 choices. for rear pto.  A 2000 rpm pto and a regular farm type 540 rear pto. I have a 1998 Legacy with a 540 rpm rear pto. Found the PTO on Ebay. Cost me around $900, but it has been worth it.  I run a 48" rear bush hog. You have to buy the attachments made to use with tractors using subcompact style 26"x12x12 tires/wheels. I use King Cutter xb series attachments which are orange in color.

OEM 3 points are hard to come by, but you can find them given enough time and money. I had a club member here make me a 3 point setup for the Legacy , buying my own lift links and cat 1 arms. Ended up with another $800 or so in that.  Tractor and deck was $1000 used. Mine is a liquid cooled Kawasaki that had 1400 hours on it when I got it. I put a new water pump on it when I got it for preventative maininace, as from what I hear it is bad water pumps that usually take them out. Runs great with almost 1600 hours on it . Never a problem. Seen alot of high hour Legacys with dead  air cooled kohlers in them by comparrison. the front axle/spindles are what you need to watch out for. If they are worn, it means a trip to a machine shop and several hundred dollars to bore out and re bush everything. I dont think new parts are available. Tilt steering system can also be a problem if its worn or broken.

The Legacys also all come with diff lock and a 2 speed rear end. Very handy...

 

As to mowing I never liked the 60" deck. Works good for open areas, but is always too wide to get into that 1 or 2 places I need to go. Found the 54" deck to be excellent. Mows real nice and gets in where a 60 will not. Never cared for the 48" decks . Does not stick out past the wheel enough to mow up to things well, especially in a turn. In a tight turn , as others in hear have stated, it will leave unmowed strips.

 I also have single stage blower for mine. Same basic blower as the sunstar uses, but you have to have a subframe mounted to the tractor to use it on a Legacy.  The snowblades are also similar. Again, you need to use the same subframe to mount on a  Legacy.

I have both Legacy and Sunstar tractors. Legacy is a way more comfortable platform to operate . However I do like the Sunstar alot better to operate a snowblade on. Just my personal preference.

Edited by SmilinSam
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Talntedmrgreen

I am nearly in complete agreement with Sam's opinion on the Legacy.  I found the Sunstar completely uncomfortable to operate once I tried a Legacy.   I very much prefer the Legacy for a snowblade (and all other implements).  On the Legacy your implement lift is controlled via left foot pedals, keeping your hand free for sipping coffee or using the snowblade angle rod.  I also prefer the foot controlled hydro speed & direction for plowing.  Again, it leaves your hand for other tasks vs one hand steering, and one hand on your speed/direction with the Sunstar.  Legacy prices are nearly in the toilet, so it is a great time to hunt for one.  2nd hand Attachments seem to have become quite common.  In fact, there are no fewer than 4 legacy loader tractors currently for sale in my area...once a very scarce find.  

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gwiseman

I underscore Legacy or a cousin tractor. With some patience and willingness to drive a little or use U-Ship you can find one for decent $. I bought an Agco2025 w/wasted 60" deck that needed a little lovin for less than a grand. Scrapped the deck, found a Kwikway loader and 3pt hitch, did some maintenance and cosmetic work and I have a very reliable and useful outfit with about $3k invested https://simpletractors.com/blogs/entry/73-agco-2025-loader-more/  I am on the lookout for a 540pto, a 60" blade that I may adapt to the loader for snow duty, and maybe some cat 0 attachments. After plowing snow with my Sovereign earlier this week I pulled the loader tractor out to finish up and to have some fun because, it is such a pleasure to operate.   

 

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Snojetter

I own just under 6 wooded acres and I had intentions of keeping my fleet of tractors on the scale of the Allis 917.  Multiple attachments, but close to a 1:1 tractor/implement ratio.  Then I decided to do my own landscaping and realized the light 2-wheel drive tractors were not going to cut it and I went shopping for a small compact utility tractor.  I ended up with a really nice, low hour John Deere 855 with loader.  At first, it almost seems too big for a small acreage, but it's just about the perfect size.  4wd is pretty much a must for these small, light tractors.  I use a box blade for driveway maintenance (gravel and snow) along with a rake.  Even the rake requires the front wheels engaged.  But when engaged, I have yet to run into a task that stops the tractor!

Anyway, my point is I started out with a mindset of limiting my tools to the Allis-branded Simplicity's (since I'm an Allis guy at heart).  But that was limiting the work I could do, or the efficiency with which I could do it.  For property maintentance, you won't regret going to a larger tractor with a true 3-point lift (Cat 1 implements will be much easier to find used than Cat 0) and strong hydraulics.  I put more time on my Allis' but I would not want to be without this green machine!

Edited by Snojetter
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Bill725

I originally thought I bought my Legacy XL 4X4 with FEL as a want, not a need. I soon found more reasons to use it because it is very useful, comfortable and easier to get on and off than my Sovereigns. I love my Sovereigns, but once I climb in the seat, I want to stay there for a while. The FEL makes putting down mulch a dream.

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tripleguy

Trees die. They fall and have to be cut up and hauled away. Im in agreement with a compact tractor/loader like a JD, Kubota, Massey, etc. Longer term, keep the Sunstar for mow and get a skid steer or track steer. Add a grapple and pick up fallen trees to buck at waist height. Plow snow, auger holes, brush hog with attachments. Maybe not an immediate purchase but a longer term one? 

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MRR

So I am looking into a 2002 Legacy 20LC with a 60" deck and roughly 1200 hours on it.  I have not seen it in person yet, but the deck looks a little rough.  I will attach some pics.  Not sure if it is just surface rust or worse.  One question for @SmilinSam and @Talntedmrgreen (or anyone else):  Would it be possible to use my 60" Sunstar deck on the Legacy?  I know the Legacy deck attaches with a hitch, but could I take the hitch from the Legacy deck and mount it on the Sunstar deck?  I also have a 46" dozer blade for the Sunstar and am wondering if I could do something similar to use with the Legacy?

Also, I wanted to get your opinion on an older LC engine vs a newer model but with the Kohler Command.  In other words, is the LC engine that much superior to the Kohler, or just an added bonus if you find one.

Thanks!

Legacy1.jpg

Legacy3.jpg

Legacy2.jpg

Legacy4.jpg

Edited by MRR

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SmilinSam

Cant help you on the deck swap question.

My experience is that the LQ kawasakis just last longer than the air cooled Kohlers in the same tractor. At 1200 hours I would  replace the water pump if it hasnt been already. They are not that expensive, and doing so eliminates the one thing that could kill the engine if it goes bad. Just my 2 cents anyhow. Others may have different opinions.

You would still need a complete subframe from either a Legacy blower or blade  to mount and lift the sunstar blade.  The Legacy lift system for the front attachments is built into the subframe for the implements.

Whatever you buy Legacy wise, take a high lifting floor jack and jack it up under the bumper so the axle/spindles hang loose off the ground. Then rock everything around real good in all directions to see how much play there is. Both wheel spindles and the axle itself.  Shoudlnt be any ideally.  If things move around alot you are looking potentially  at hundreds of dollars to fix each one at a machine shop.. Also look for excessive leakas anywhere on engine or transmission regardless of which kind of engine.

I wouldnt get carried away on paying alot either.  LQ 20's with 60" decks are everywhere for well under $1000. Like I said, I got mine for $500 private party,  ( and my front end iis fairly tight) plus another $500 for a NOS 54" deck from a dealer wanting to get it out of inventory. Patience really pays where these things are concerned.

 

 

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720nut

Phillip, I put a Legacy deck on the Sunstar that I had just changed the front mounts on the deck and added the switch for raising or lowering 

Would assume the same can be done to put it on the Legacy , change the handle out for the electric lift and you'll be good to go, should be a really easy swap. 

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MRR
1 minute ago, 720nut said:

Would assume the same can be done to put it on the Legacy , change the handle out for the electric lift and you'll be good to go, should be a really easy swap. 

Great!  Thanks for the information.

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