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At long last.....


Tarheel

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 I was looking through Marketplace last night around 11 and saw an ad for a Sunstar. The ad said it had been parked running in a barn and left sitting for years. The tires were all flat but the body looked good. I sent a message and got a reply in moments. They simply wanted it out of the barn to make room for live stock.

 I got a promise that they would hold it and I told them I would leave home around noon. I did so and it is 6:30 and I am just getting home with my new prize.

 All I know about it so far is that the tires will have to be replaced and when I raised the hood, there was a mouse condo under there. Little doubt the engine will be packed full as well. It came with a 48 inch deck that looks to be in good shape but haven't yet checked out the gear box. It is a power steering/ Diff lock and Hi-Lo machine.

 The deck was not mounted and I noticed right away that it had been removed without separating the PTO shaft (So part of the shaft is still on the engine. I hope anyway. I hope to learn more later this evening and will post what I find.

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 I really was tired when I wrote the above. The shaft connects to the tractor, not the engine.

Still have yet to take a look at it. Storms and much needed sleep kept me from doing so last night. My trailer winch had failed while pulling the Sunstar from the barn leaving the work to be done with a come along. With the steering not working, keeping it going in the right direction was a matter of lifting/sliding the front or rear end. Without the help of the POs and my wife, I guess I'd still be there loading.

 As for the winch, I had assumed the solenoid was failing but bypassing those with jumper cables produced only a very slow movement. I had carried a back-up battery and changing to it changed nothing. I'm clueless. Anyone seen anything like this before ? It is a Harbor Freight 3500 pound only a few years old. I'd be surprised if it has 30 minutes use on it.

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  Yesterday I backed the trailer with the Sunstar on it up near the garage to unload it. Took the air hose out to try and inflate the tires. One rear would not hold air at all. Moved the hi-lo shifter between gears and pulled the Sunstar off the trailer. Went to move the truck and trailer out of the drive and forgot the air hose.  It caught on the trailer and I turned my 60 gallon air compressor over ! The damage was minor. Busted the plastic intake cover and the plastic cover on the pressure switch. Hope I can get parts for it.

 This morning I hooked up the battery charger to the Sunstar. The second half of the PTO shaft is still attached to the tractor BTW. While the charger was working, I checked fluids etc. Took my hand held blower and cleaned out most of the mouse nests. By the time this was done, the battery was taking a charge ! Spun the engine a bit and it turned over okay. Put a few gallons of fuel in it, primed the carb a bit and in minutes it was running !

 The choke cable was very stiff and I got it lubed and freed up. It needed the choke to run for maybe 2 minutes then cleared. The power steering works and the tractor moved ten feet or so To the door of the shop.

 Now I need to address the tires, getting the deck back under it and checking out the PTO etc. I read a good bit of a thread here on Sunstar models. There seemed to be mixed thinking on the front ends and how they held up. Back when I was working for a Simplicity dealer, I had a good bit of trouble with them I recall. Maybe this was only with the early models, I can't recall the exact years but for those who know, It was when the power steering valves would fail, The steering cylinders would leak, the bushings in the front suspension would get sloppy and the ball joints would fall apart.

 If I recall correctly, the manual steering had a link from the steering box that had a built in ball joint on one end. I purchased a MIG welder and argon tank and would cut off the ball joint end of the link and weld on I'm thinking a half inch fine thread bolt and put a ball joint on it. I could make the repair parts and all for less money than the link and they held up much better. This paid for the welder pretty much. (along with deck repairs etc)

 New oil and filter for the engine and a filter for the hydro and if all works out, I'll be cutting grass before the day is done !

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   The carb went back to running only when choked. Picked up the filters but have yet to change them or the engine oil. (Will likely wait until I have mowed with it) Hunted in my spare parts and found a rear tire to fit it. Found a replacement for the plate that sits directly on the air filter before the cover goes on it. Got the hanging PTO shaft out from under it and took it for a drive.

 Everything seems to work as it should. There is a small leak in the rear, not sure why or from where. Looks to be over filled with oil though.

 Was planning to set the deck under it, clean the carb and try to mow. But thunderstorms ran me inside.

 A European hornet decided to build a nest in one of my stereo speakers in the garage. Good thing they like 70s rock I guess LOL. But I don't like being in there after dark now. These things fly at night and the LED lights really mess with them. I can walk up to the speaker in daylight and they seem docile enough. I'm caught between wanting them gone before they damage the speaker and wondering if it is worth the danger. Anyone know of a good way to get rid of them ?

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Mowed with it at last. Maybe half an acre. I mowed slow keeping ayes and ears open. Everything went pretty well. Great cut etc but the steering wanders. About like I recall. It will be heading straight and veer off to the left or right.

 About 15 minutes into the job the left front wheel decided to abandon ship. I saw a bit of movement (Thinking that was the snap ring) Then the hub cap plate and then the wheel began flopping. I was able to find all the parts and after going for tools and a jack was able to get it back together and finish.

 I will have to clean up the snap ring groove and inspect both it and the snap ring for wear or damage.Don't want a repeat of that on steep ground.

 The deck could use new blades and in thick grass it leaves the center grass standing. I'm guessing idler pulley arm sticking maybe ?

 The battery was dead when I got it but took a charge right off and has held it since Sunday. Leaving me to thing that if it was parked as long as they said, someone put a new battery in it not to long back.

 All in all I am pleased as can be. Now to install the new winch on the trailer.

Edited by Tarheel
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 There is a "growl" somewhere in the deck or PTO. I only hear it when shutting off the PTO. The sound reminds me of spinning a worn and dry plastic wheel being spun on an axle bolt. It has done this 2 times now. The first time I wasn't aware of where the sound came from. (Pretty much deaf in one ear. Can't locate direction of sound)

 It was a chore for me to get the deck under the tractor. To remove it and put it back will have to wait a bit. (Until I get over the install) If any of you have seen/heard this before, please share any info. Thanks

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On 7/18/2023 at 6:08 PM, Tarheel said:

   The carb went back to running only when choked. Picked up the filters but have yet to change them or the engine oil. (Will likely wait until I have mowed with it) Hunted in my spare parts and found a rear tire to fit it. Found a replacement for the plate that sits directly on the air filter before the cover goes on it. Got the hanging PTO shaft out from under it and took it for a drive.

 Everything seems to work as it should. There is a small leak in the rear, not sure why or from where. Looks to be over filled with oil though.

 Was planning to set the deck under it, clean the carb and try to mow. But thunderstorms ran me inside.

 A European hornet decided to build a nest in one of my stereo speakers in the garage. Good thing they like 70s rock I guess LOL. But I don't like being in there after dark now. These things fly at night and the LED lights really mess with them. I can walk up to the speaker in daylight and they seem docile enough. I'm caught between wanting them gone before they damage the speaker and wondering if it is worth the danger. Anyone know of a good way to get rid of them ?

To get rid of them I use a flamethrower type of deal that is really effective. No comebacks either!

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9 hours ago, Horvik said:

Anyone know of a good way to get rid of them ?

Hornets love 70's classic rock. They can't stand new country music. Play Jason Aldean's "Try That In A Small Town" and put out a dish of Bud Light and watch their heads explode.

Edited by Bill725
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Or put on protective clothing & just take care of it. Coat, thick pants, boots, leather gloves & sandblasting hood. Pick up the speaker, carry it outside stick your arm in there pull out the nest. We have bald faced hornets all over southern WI. I can’t believe the European hornet is more aggressive than these. You have the advantage. You know where the nest is. You’re not walking up on it blindly wearing shorts & flip-flops. If you are unable to find protective clothing, there should be nuisance pest removal people that you can contact in your area. Just please don’t call 911. Believe me, plenty of people on the planet would & do.

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 I found a video telling (so it says) how to wipe out the whole nest. fish cat food laced with costly front line dog meds. Guess I'll give it a try. Thanks for the input.

 No update so far on the deck/pto problems. Hope to address that in the morning.

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 Got the mower deck removed a few days ago and the only problems I have found are the belt being to long and the belt guide on the idler pulley was loose. Ordered a belt online, was supposed the be here Saturday but got a message saying Monday. Oh well.

 I guess that the belt guide was the cause of the sound I was hearing though I'm not sure how.exactly as of yet. It pretty much had to have been making contact with one of the pulleys. Not sure how the overlong belt came into play. I guess the PO maybe bought one that was to long ? I can't imagine it having stretched this far. The idler pulley almost hits the deck. (maybe that is where the sound was coming from ? Will go ahead and service the gear box/ grease the u-joints etc while it is down.

 Sprayed the hornets with Ortho Home Defense wasp and hornet killer 7, 5 times now.  I found one hornet dying so far. I applied more directly to it and it still took 45 minutes to die. A waste of 8 or 9 bucks IMO. The one good thing I can say about it is that it foams and blocks the opening so keeps the hornets from swarming. If I were brave enough, I'd use spray foam to seal them in and use an electric space heater to cook them. Haven't yet tried the Front line bait.

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Paul M.Murphy

Thanks for the info

I have3 missed most of the messages as I have been away travelling with my wife in NewFound land for the best part of 2 weeks. Saw icebergs, puffins, and whales. 

Paul

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 Received the new deck belt today and got it installed. Noticed as I pulled the covers off that the center cover had wear around the hole in the center. The center arbor it seems has been riding up and hitting it. There is end play in all 3 arbor assemblies. Long story short, The new belt fixed the belt tension problem but the roaring is worse by far now.

  Everything turns smooth And the gear box doesn't leak so I think I'll mark the center pulley with a paint pin and see if it is hitting the cover. Getting the deck in and out of this thing isn't fun BTW.

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I have taken a 2X4 and cut grooves into it for the front nose of the deck to fit into. The 2X4 makes it easier to slide the mower under the tractor.

20230801_055758.jpg

Edited by Bill725
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 Pulled the deck yet again and I'm pretty sure I found the problem with both the growling noise and the deck leaving grass in the center standing.

 Turned the deck on it's edge and started to look for missing parts that might cause end play. Took hold of the center blade and found it to be loose. Upon inspection, I found that the PO had installed the cup/spring washer upside down. How it had mowed as much as it had before slipping? I have no idea.

 

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 Put 8 pumps of Slime in each rear tire. Set the rear end on jack stands and allowed it to run in gear for 10 or 15 minutes. Hope it works but have heard that Slime maybe isn't the best for dry rotted sidewalls. New tires are a while away for now.

 I pulled and went through the Walbro carb. This one is a fixed high speed model. Picked up a different brand of carb spray. Noticed no problems at first but a few hours after the carb was reassembled, when I tried to start the tractor, it wouldn't hit a lick.

 When I pulled the carb again, I found the float pinned open and the bowl gasket jumped out of place at once. Now to large for the bowl.

 The tip of the inlet needle and the gasket had both swelled. I boiled water in a throw away cup and dropped the gasket in it. It sank at once but the came to the top quickly. I let it sit until it sank once again and it now fit the carb as it should. Should have done the same for the needle I guess (not having a replacement on hand) but did not. The plastic float had a steel tang that I was able to bend and set the float level once again. This may be a problem later but plan to change the carb.

 When I clean a carb, I spray and use compressed air to dry. The inlet needle was not sprayed. The spray was Gumout brand and was all they sold at Rural King. I won't throw it away exactly but I will be very selective with it until gone and no more. Never had this problem with other brands I know. (Not fair exactly because it could be the compound in the needle and gasket but I'd think I'd have seen it before now if so.) I have a carb with dual adjustments somewhere that I'll build and install sometime soon if I can find it.

 The Sunstar is loaded on the trailer and ready to go try at Mom's place for between 2.5 and 3.5 hours of hard running. But it is around 95 degrees outside and the wet bulb is around 90% so I may wait LOL I'll post how things go.

 

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 Headed for Mom's place with the Sunstar later that afternoon. Stopped and filled up with fuel etc. Got unloaded and ran for 10 or 15 minutes and it started running rough and died. Would restart at once but before I'd release the key, it would die again. Took the GX255 yesterday and finished the mowing.

 Have not looked at the Sunstar as of yet. Ordered a new carb and it should be here tomorrow around noon. Found there is a leak from the front of the hydro that will need to be taken care of.

 The Sunstar doesn't come close to pulling w/o spinning as the GX255. I guess that is understandable as it is a far heavier machine. If any of you have tried Ag bar tires, Let me know how much if any they helped on steep areas please.

 The cut was also uneven and rough. I put the pins for the lift in the second chain link and I wonder if this may be the reason ? It mowed fine here at home, but my place is pretty level. Mom's is anything but.

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BTW, the slime seems to have fixed the worst tire and slowed down the leak/s in the other. Maybe a bit more time will finish the job.

 

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Mounting and dismounting the deck. They are designed to drive over the top of the deck to get them in position and for removal. As for poor running conditions, have you removed the tins to make sure there is no mouse/wasp nest under them? Main cause of engine damage is hastily putting previously long term stored machines back in service without making sure the air cooled cooling fins are free and clear of debris, oil and dirt. Poor air circulation around the cylinders and heads causes overheating and eventual catastrophic engine failure if left unattended. If you purchased a cheap Chinesium replacement carburetor, my advice is to just return it and purchase an OEM Walbro carburetor. Yes, they cost a lot more, but WAY less of a headache than trying to get one of the cheap China knock off carbs to play nice with the engine.

 

You can email me and I can send you the manuals for your tractor, engine and mowing deck to help you out. ZippoVarga@gmail.com

 

Edited by ZippoVarga
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 Thanks for the input Zippo. I had just finished installing the Chinese carb when I first saw your post. I wrote a reply but waited before sharing it. I'm glad I did.

 When I removed the old carb, I installed a new fuel filter and new fuel line from the filter on. And I still found the float bowl (on the new carb) to be full of tiny black specks. Pulled the lines and used the air hose to blow them out. Reinstalled the carb and yet again it had the black mess in it after only moments running. The fuel filter is pleated paper so I don't think this stuff is passing it but that seems to leave the fuel pump as a suspect.

 As of now, the carb is bolted up without the breather elbow. The hornets have taken over for the night so I hope that in the AM I can install a second filter between the pump and the carb and see what happens. I did go through the Walbro and it will be ready to go once parts come in for it.

 Have any of you had an issue with a fuel pump like this ?

 

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