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hey. all...i have a long story about how i got into garden tractors. about 7 years ago, my parents bought my younger brother an old Craftsman riding mower. 12hp Briggs and Stratton with a manual rear axle. not a bad mower, really, but my brother only lived in the place where he needed the riding mower for a few months. with him not needing the mower, and my parents not having a big enough yard to use one, i "inheirited" the machine.

i had it for about 3 years, during which time i painted it, installed a beer holder, and kept it maintained regularly. the yard i had at the time was kinda small, and had several trees to get around, but i managed to put the tractor to use, anyway. finding it great fun to get into top gear and race around the yard at "break neck" speed...haha.

about 2 years ago, my stepdad decided that he wanted the mower back...OK, i took it back over to their place, and wished him luck with it. i had even found a utility cart they could pull behind the mower, unfortunately, my stepdad is not particularly mechanically inclined, and proceeded to basically kill the mower, letting it sit all winter outside in the elements, letting gas sit in the carb and gas tank, never changing the oil, and running over everything that happened to be in their yard or along their boulevard,

surprise, surprise, guess who got the mower back? not only was the mower not running, but prior to the actual death of the machine, my stepdad had bought a new battery for it, and installed it backwards, frying several components. now it not only needed mechanical repairs, but electrical too.

in looking into what i would need to get the poor Craftsman back into running and useful condition, i decided to try to find a parts machine that i might be able to get needed components off of. in that search, i found advertised on craigslist a Ranch King Pro machine to give away. what luck! i didn't know what might be or might not be interchangeable between the two mowers, but i was not going to pass up the chance of getting this mower, no matter what condition it might have been in.

as luck would have it, it was actually pretty complete. the old gal who had it kept it stored in her garage, and had been using it to mow her yard until she had hit "something" [her story on it] and it just wouldn't run after that. it also had a very dry-rotted set of back tires, and was obviously in need of general maintanence, but it had a 16.5 hp opposed twin Briggs under the hood. i figured it might be worth a shot to get it back running.

as it turned out, the engine in the Ranch King had a bad intake valve. i probably could have repaired that fairly easily, but in the mean time, i found yet another cheap deal on another dead mower that was supposed to have a running 18 hp opposed twin Briggs. that cost me $50, and the guy selling it delivered it, too. at this point i had 3 non-running riding mowers in the garage, and was getting some seriously questioning looks from my wife.....even more than usual, that is. haha.

as it turned out, the 18 horse twin did run, and still runs quite nicely. installed in the Ranch King mower, i use it for lots of "around the homestead" chores at the new place my wife and i have moved to. i used most of the wiring harness and several other parts from the dead mower i took the engine out of to repair my folk's Craftsman, and now have it back up and running. these two machines, along with the Yard Machine push mower i have had for years, means i will never run out of ways to mow the grass....

earlier this spring, we were out yard saling, and one of the items i found was a 1954 Planet Jr. walk-behind tiller with a 1 1/2hp Briggs and Stratton one-cylinder and a box full of attachments. the guy selling it said he kept it in his garage as a converstaion piece. he had got it in a non-sunning state, and never tried to get it going, himself, but he had it for sale cheap. i paid $13 for it. finally, this last weekend, i had some time to look at it, and after an oil change, some serious cleaning, and some basic effort, i gave it a shot of starter fluid....and it actually fired up. a bit of fine-tuning, and it now runs like a top.

it still needs a new drive belt, and most certainly needs the axle and other moving parts greased up, but this has at least restored the faith my wife was beginning to waver on for me, with all these old machines. maybe i am not entirely crazy, after all.
 

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1976 Sears SS18, 2008 JD 2320
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Welcome to GTTalk. Nice story of how you got hooked! You certainly seem to have good luck getting equipment at "reasonable" prices!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i have always been into mechanical stuff....starting with modifying bicycles and building models when i was a kid, collecting my own tools, and buying my first vehicle when i was 14. an old 63 Ford Econoline van. i got into motorcycles really heavily in the 80s. mostly old Japanese road bikes, and this latest addiction to lawn tractors has led me to watching youtube videos on everything you can do with a mower.....i want to eventually build one up one i can use to go out onto the old logging roads and trails around my house, just like the ATV crowd does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to GTTalk. Nice story of how you got hooked! You certainly seem to have good luck getting equipment at "reasonable" prices!
yes....being "Cheaper than Dirt", i have quite the knack for scrounging up stuff and making it work for me for very little money. it helps that most people around here generally overlook lawn tractors for any use other than mowing grass, so if you look for broken down ones, they generally go pretty cheap.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you are off to a good start towards being incarcerated, but hey, so is everyone else.

Ben W.
 

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:wave: Welcome to the forum! Sounds like you're off to a good start! We like to see your toys so better get the camera out and check out the pic help link in my signature.
 
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