| Selecting a project Tractor
Before your purchase
After you get your itch to buy a Simple Tractor and before you actually buy one, you will need to determine what you want to do with it and how much you want to spend.
Define your goals for your tractor. Is it a Show Tractor or a Worker? You should ask yourself what you intend to do with it. The Worker tractor will have different goals than the Show Tractor. Most enthusists in this hobby buy their machines to use first and restore them to keep them going.
- The worker...
- The show tractor...
Note: Also see the Buyers Guide.
Establish a Budget early against the goals you outlined. Determine exactly what you want and actually add it to your budget. You'll thank yourself later as parts and repairs add up in money and time. Don't forget to pay yourself when you're doing the repairs. A tractor which you could have paid more for and was nicer to start with usually ends up being cheeper!
Tractor Evaluation/tips for buying a used garden tractor
- Try to get to the tractor when the machine is cold so you can see how it starts cold. Look for smoking, blue smoke is oil. White smoke is a rich carburator. Any smoke should be questioned.
Transmission/Transaxle Check (when off)
- The manual transmission you feel how the engagement lever moves through the gears. Look for play between the input pulley and the output pulley.
- The hydrostatic transmission, look for leaks.
- Also check the axle for left to right play. If you can check each side jacked up to see if the hub has any play.
BGB Check & Driveshaft Check
- Check all three shaft points on the BGB for excessive play. Check the shaft side to side, up & down, in and out. There should be only a slightly noticable amount of play.
- Check the steering wheel and steering box for play. Be sure to check the output shaft when checking the steering wheel. From the output shaft to the front steering many parts can cause loose steering. Check the ball joints on all steering parts. It's a good idea on all tractors (the big ones too), to jack up the tractor to check the steering also.
- Check that the seat is mounted with the rubber seat bushings. Sometimes these are cracked and actually are no good.
Center PTO Check
- One of the most important PTO's on the tractor is the center PTO. That's the one which is used to cut your lawn. If you can, test the lawn deck when engaging it.
- This is the fun part of the checkout. Try all your gears, drive it and feel how the steering works. Test the brakes will hold the tractor back. If you notice a slipage when you engage the clutch till the tractor actually moves, you have some problems. The variable speed tractors are notorious for problems. Give it a decent amount of time, you could get the tractor home to find a problems if you don't.
- There are some common problems you may encounter looking for these old tractors:
1. Engine smoking, knocking, just bad
2. Bad BGB
3. Broken Differencial
4. Broken Axle Tube
5. Bad Steering, bad rear hubs
6. The smile crack on the 48" deck and rotted decks
7. Worn out mower arbors
8. Flat tires, leaking tires
9. Just plain neglect
10. Cracked frame at the BGB
Nothing can be any more important; EAR PROTECTION these machines in the original form were very loud. Somewhat over 70 decibels and far over most town ordinances. You might want to really consider a quieter muffler modification or restraining the hours you use your machine.
General Tractor Saftey Tips
Don't disable the saftey switches, in fact consider adding an emergency shutoff. Remember to respect your machine.
Painting Saftey & Environmental Tips
The following link discusses some inportant issues involved with painting:
Be very careful when Loading and Unloading from a transport vehicle. It has happened to people to have the tractor roll off a set of ramps when loading in pickup trucks. Use well designed and approved ramps. Pay attention to what you're doing and when possible have someone available to help you load and unload your machine.
Your attachments can be very dangerous tools. You should never get too use to your attachments so that you forget how dangerous they are. You should always turn off your machine when servicing your high speed cutting attachments; don't just try to remove snow or grass from a rotating attachment. Wait till the machine is off.
After your purchase
Seek out clubs, peer support and get your manuals.
- Visit the tractor clubs which support your area.
- Contact the local shops and suppliers (both in your area/on the internet).
There are many of must have books, this section lists the books you will absolutely need for your restoration. See the appendixes for further suggested reading and references.
The must have books: