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khukman

Another Newbie with some questions

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khukman
Hello all, my name is Rob, and I'm down here in Dixie (Alabama). I live on 2 1/2 acres with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs and 3 cats. My Craftsman 20 HP 50" lawn tractor died about a month ago (too hot, KABOOM!!!!), so I'm looking for a REAL machine. I've found the brand, Simplicity, of course, now I just need to choose the model. I've talked to 3 or 4 different folks about different mowers. I mainly mow grass, but would like the ability to pull (stretching fencing, etc. grade the yard, spread mulch, etc. I'm leaning toward a 4040 that Ed has up for sale, I really like that size and style... I'm also considering, if I need that much tractor, or if a 3416 or something like that would do me. I know what I WANT to get (4040), but I'd like some input from y'all. What do you think? My yard is VERY rough (burrowing critters have torn it all up), and I have some areas that I only mow 1/2 the year, beacause of an intermittent drainage creek that runs through the property. In short, I need something that can handle the occasionally tall stuff (sometimes REALLY TALL), and is not affected by being jostled around on the bumps. OK, It's in your court, let's see what you can come up with. Let your 'tractorin' experience show gentlemen (and ladies if you're out there...) Nice to be in a neat place, I've been lurking for about a week now.. Rob AKA Khukman (Khukuri's are knives that I use. They are made in Nepal, and used by the Ghorka warriors. They are the Simplicity of hand clearing and limbing implements!!!!)

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SmilinSam
I'd start with the Soveriegn types first(3416, 7016, 7116). Alot less expensive, less expensive to work on, easier to see any problems in a quick inspection, and easier to work on. More availablity of parts and attachments too. I have 10 acres and a WD45 was too big for what I needed, but the Soveriegn types were to small for some of my needs. I got a 4040 for my first big one and almost lost my investment. Bath by fire, learn the hard way you know. You don't forget lessons like that......... I have run across several of these 4040 and similar types now and all of these big ones can have alot of hidden very expensive problems that you can't see unless you take all the panels and covers off to do a thorough inspection. Not a machine for the inexperienced or non- mecahnic types as I found. My opinion, and as Al Eden would say, its free and might not be worth that much....... SmilinSam

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khukman
SmilinSam, Thanks for the input. What types of things should one be suspicious of? I consider myself reasonably mechanical, as I've replaced motors in cars, clutches, electrical work, body work and paint, etc. However, the inner workings of a hydro tranny, now that's another matter... Rob

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SmilinSam
On a Soveriegn style 71' & newer You want to get under the tractor and take hold of the driveshaft and see if there is any up/down side to side play at the bevel gear box shaft. You don't want any of this kind of play.You also want to turn the driveshaft against the power output shaft in the gear box to see how much backlash there is. You should be OK if there is 3/16" or less play. Check the PTO clutch out to see if it is all tight and firmly engages when turned on with a mower attached. If it takes time for the blades to come to speed you may have worn clutrch linings or a bad spring. Vibration could mean a bad bearing . Check the engagement lever out too. These have a brass bushing in the hole and I have seen them worn so bad that the flange on the lever gets worn off and the lever slides into the tractor frame Jack up the front of the tractor at a point on the frame and Check the axle pivot poiunts, these are great places for heavy wear especially in the 75' and older tractors before the advent of a replacable bushing mount. When driving the tractor watch/feel for a hesitation in movement between the axle turning and the wheels starting to move. May indicate worn/loose keys/keyways in the differential. The seat pans generally crack behind the seat where the mounts are welded on under the pan. Look for that. The rubber/brass bushings in the dash around the steering shaft generally wear out. Look at that. Transmission should pull the tractor around at a fairly even speed with only slight variations up and down hills. On the oler Vickers Hydros, check the disengagement mecjanism at the rear to make sure it goes in and out of gear without ant problems. Sometimes you have to rock the tractor a little to put it back in gear. Also on the vicker tractors make sure the control lever has the locking ball intact and the lever hold position when released. Rock the tractor side to side at the rear to see if there is any side to side play in the axle at the transmission case. Shouldn't be any. I have had tractors with as much as 1/2" of play. Bad, very bad. Check the steering rod ball socket ends. Another frequently worn item. Front Wheels toed in or out mean either a bent tie rod or twisted axle on one side or the other. Bent tie rods can be straightened. Twisted axles must be replaced. I f tractor has a hard plastic steering wheel Check the steering wheel to see if the metal sleeve is still tight in the wheel. Should not be any movement between the sleeve and the plastic. Check the rubber seat latches under the seat deck for dry rot or damage. I won't even get into Shuttle clutches. As far as I'm concerned they are not worth repairing or buying to use for that matter. Alot of problems with them once they get worn. The older tractors will need the same sort of inspection, but the design makes accessing the driveshaft and steering gears more difficult. Additionally on those: Check the center PTO for play in the pulley shaft /bearings. Make sure all the blet stops are in place. Check the steering gear parts for play. They wear badly in the shaft the gear at the end of the steering shaft rides on. On the variable speed units check the notches in the lever control. They tend to wear offf and the lever will not hold position. Check the movement of the pulleys with the tractor running and the seat deck up. Should move back and forth smoothly. With the tractor off check the pulleys for wear and play. I do not think any of those parts are available new anymore, so beware. Probably forgot a few things... Maybe Kent could move this over to the site as a "What to look for when buying a tractor "sort of thing. It would be a good general outline. Others could do specific write ups for the various individual tractor models. Good idea ...or not? On the 4040 types the clutch bearing /shaft seems to be a heavy wear item. You have to remove access panels to inspect that. Also a person would be wise to jack up the rear of the tractor and look for play in the axle shafts in the drop housings. Lifting up and down on the wheel will do. Front end bushings are another high wear item. Jack up the tractor and chech for excessive play here too. Others here with more experience can add a whole lot more on these bigger ones. Enjoy hunting, Sam

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Kent
Sam -- great response -- I think it is certainly worth keeping and expanding. How about making it into sort of a checklist? Can others weigh in, and try to address any thing Sam didn't cover? The foot-draggin' Clubhouse Custodian...

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MikeES
Rob, Sam's list is great, but keep in mind that even if you find some of these problems with a tractor IT IS ALL FIXABLE. Most parts are still avialable. The degree of wear is what determines its value or price. Don't forget the Allis-Chalmers version of these tractors also. Good Luck! Mike S.

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JeffNemes
It does't sound that a "floating" deck may be the best choice for your yard conditions - especially in the ruts and ground hog holes unless the width of a 60" mower with rollers will help glide over them and the front wheels of the tractor won't fall into them. It depends on your actual ground conditions but it doesn't sound like they are just ocassional holes and ruts. Although the Landlord/Sovereign series are heavy duty tractors they are still designed for fairly smooth lawn cutting. Their powerful cutting ability does allow for taking down field grass but at a fairly short height (2.75" or less on older models) so you have to watch your clearances. Some Simplicitys can cut with the rollers off the ground for a little more height but on some (like the 3416 I believe) the belt will rub if lifted in the transport position too much. I'm not sure what th max. height you can get on the 4040 but I'm sure it is more. What height do you need to cut at where you are? As a side note - the manual lift handle on Landlords can usually be "pinned", using the appropriate bracket hole, to stop the mower from dipping down too much if needed.

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khukman
WOW!!! YIKES!!! SmilinSam, that's an 'eyeload'! Almost enough to send someone, tail-'tween his legs runnin' -- almost. Thanks for the great input guys. Now if only I knew what some of the things that Sam mentioned were... OK, here we go. I may have exaggerated a little on the condition of my property. It is not THAT rough, there are a few spots where it is nice to have a high deck, like along some of the steeper sections of the little creek-bed. Most of the yard is reasonably smooth, with the occasional depression or ridge. The orchard area is a little rougher, but I have been able to cut it with the aforementioned Craftsman tractor, sooo... One main concern that I have is concerning the width of the decks on the larger models (60"). While this would be great on the 'lawn-only' areas, I wonder if the 16 HP of the 4040 would run this HUGE deck through 6-8" tall field grass that only gets cut now and again. With the Craftsman, I would cut it on the highest setting, then cut it again. I don't care so much about the quality of the cut in these areas, I just don't want to have to be putting along at .1 MPH to avoid stalling and clogging. The deck on the Sears at the highest position is just about 3 1/4 inches high, which has mostly been sufficient. Is that height attainable with any/all of the Simp's? Thanks for all of the input, this seems to be a great group to be associated with. Regards, Rob

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Dutch
Rob, Getting back to your initial post, you suspect your 20hp overheated. Were the cooling fins clogged? Were you operating at full throttle? Poor air circulation and low RPM are detrimental to any air cooled engine. If you have different mowing needs, have you considered a sickle mower for the high grass? Or, even a pull behind rough cut mower?

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