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Front tires just don’t seem to last as long but even so, the Sears branded tires on the front were pretty shot, but one still holds air perfectly. The rears are cracked on the sidewalls but the tread is still in almost new condition. I had a 74 MF8 and the rears were still holding air in 2018 when I sold it. 52 years for your Bush Hog is the longest I’ve heard of for a garden tractor tire. I think keeping the tractor out of the sun and weather helps. I doubt that some of the modern bargain brand Chinese tires will last that long but I have confidence that Carlisle or Goodyear will still have a long service life. I’m seeing prices approaching 500$ For a pair of 23x10.5/12 AG tires. Yikes, maybe I can find a parts tractor with good rear tires for less.
Possibly keep an eye out for slightly used tires on Craigslist. Sometimes I see some nice looking tires on there.

The Carlisle Turf-savers on my dad's John Deere D105 are like 7 years old and already needing tubes. Proper inflation helps though.
 

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Nice tractor! When I got my SS/16, I was kind of surprised how well built it was. I got it cheap, and was planning on just getting it running and selling it, until I started using it. It’s a keeper. It still has all 4 original tires, lots of deep cracks, but they all hold air and have plenty of tread left. All of my tractors still have the original rear tires, and a few with the original fronts too. Unless you want something different like ags, I would just put tubes in the tires you have. Much cheaper than new tires.
 

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those old tires are thicker and have a harder compound but there is more to a tire than simply holding air... modern tires are made with softer compounds and have far better traction and ride comfort.

AG tires are designed for soft soil where they can dig in a little.... on basically any other surface they have very little traction so unless the main purpose of the tractor is to pull a furrow plough or tiller in a garden an AG tire is simply the wrong choice and even then at 10.5" wide a garden tractor does not have the weight needed to make good use of the tread pattern so you would most likely end up adding chains..... if you need chains the tires are not doing what they are designed to do.... plus chains beat the crap out of axles/hubs and transaxles in general.

I have a small engine service shop... if somebody brings in a 40+ yr old tractor with axle/trans problem I think was caused by using chains I wont work on it or sell them parts... parts for these older machines are hard to find and I wont sell them to people that are going to abuse them
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I had AG’s on my JDx475. 26x12/12. The salesman said that would be best for my application so the tractor was ordered that way. In hindsight I would have been better off with something else. Conventional chains on AG tires aren’t a great choice. I only use chains for snow removal when it’s icy. The original rears will be on there for a while. They seem to be holding air just fine but I haven’t checked the pressure. Today I got a new front tire and valve stem installed to replace the front that was leaking down overnight. The other one will wait until I get it running and can put it away in my little heated workshop. The garage isn’t big enough to keep it in there. Cleaned up the rim and painted the inside and the outer lip. The rims were in good shape.

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Found a small crack in the dash coming from the upper inside of the throttle control. I drilled a small hole at the end of the crack to stop it. The throttle was so stiff you had to use too much force to move it. Choke was stiff as well. Removed both cables at the carb, tilted them up and fitted a short piece of tubing over the end of them. Put about 10-15 drops of light weight oil in the tube and let it sit. After an hour or so the oil had reached the console end of the cables. Worked them back and forth for a while until they both ran smoothly. I want to add something to the back of the dash to spread the load of the throttle mounts over a larger area. The thin plastic panel flexes noticeably when you work the throttle.


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Pulled the intake manifold off to deal with the carb issues. You have to loosen the exhaust clamps at the engine to allow the manifold to lift out. I vacuumed the engine first to get rid of anything that could fall into the engine and covered the intakes with tape ASAP. I’ll have a go at the carb tomorrow. I know it had old gas in it and that it had been sitting for about 10 years since run. The vacuum line from the engine to the fuel pump was a loose fit so that will get changed out.

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Yes, I got some oil on that first but the main issue seemed to be inside the cable. A bit of corrosion from sitting for at least 10 years since last being used on a regular basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
The previous owner said the carb had issues. The engine was spitting fuel out the carb. I’ve never owned an Onan before so I did a Youtube search and came up with a video from Cranky Motor Sports that pretty much gave me a blueprint for servicing the carb. It had a number of issues. The fuel that was in it smelled terrible. The bottom of the bowl was covered in a gooey green sludge. The main jet was not fully screwed into the carb. The O ring had swelled and it seemed tight but wasn’t anywhere near deep enough into the carb to meter fuel. The tip of the jet also had a hard black coating over it. Got that chipped off and put a new o ring on it. Installed it and set to factory default so it now has a chance at providing the right amount of fuel. There were 2 clogged channels in the carb that I got cleaned out by pushing a small wire through them. The vent hole in the fuel pump was also partially plugged. I was able to reuse all the gaskets and pump diaphragm although they are showing some wear. The carb still had the foam float in it. It was starting to crack but didn’t seem to be in bad shape. I switched out to the brass float that came as a spare and adjusted it to where it looked like it would work based on my experience with Kohler and Tec carbs. The needle valve was dirty and the valve seat looks a bit rough so I cleaned them and put it all back together. I should have thoroughly scrubbed the outside of the carb before taking it apart. Carb cleaner softened the paint and it was a pain to keep the peeling paint out of the carb.
I cleaned up the intake manifold and scraped the excess sealant off of the seam between the 2 halves. I then cleaned the area with carb cleaner and an abrasive pad. I sealed it with Motoseal which was a suggestion in the cranky motor sports video to seal intake leaks in the manifold without the need to drill out the rivets in the 2 halves.
Sometime in the next couple of days I hope to get it back together and try to start it. I need to have a quick look at the electrical side of things and also check the crankcase vent system to make sure that is in good shape before I try a start.

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Got the carb and intake manifold installed with new gaskets and a new pulse line to the pump. Ran a new fuel line with an inline filter. Put the fuel tank back in and the seat bracket. Took a look at the electrics and one of the plug wires doesn’t look like it was making a connection at the plug. I cleaned a lot of corrosion out of the contact and squeezed it together a bit. Seems to be good now. At the coil end one connector pin in the coil was corroded so I cleaned that up and cut a short piece off of each wire to make a new solid connection. Pulled the plugs and they were badly fouled. I guess that would happen trying to run it with the main jet essentially missing from the carb. Cleaned them up and that side of things seems ready to go. Checked continuity through the ignition switch and the points to the coil and it all looks good. I still need to check the point gap. Points look OK, not pitted. Condenser measures .32uf on my meter so it looks in the ballpark. Points and condenser look like recent replacements.
Have a battery to put in it but I’m not sure if it’s strong enough to start it. Tomorrow I will test the battery and starter circuit and then if all looks good I’ll add some fuel and see if it will light up! Hopefully I’ve fixed enough of the issues so it will run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Got it to run guys! :):) Put some gas in it this AM and connected the fuel line. Got a good battery on it, set the points and cranked it. I couldn’t get it to run at first but it would fire if I put some fuel in the carb. Removed the top of the carb and nothing in the bowl at all! Tried turning it over and the gas shot about a foot in the air proving that the pump was working, so I readjusted the float and tried again. This time it fired within a few seconds and ran. Puked some black smoke for a few seconds and then ran like a top. I adjusted the idle down a bit and it settled into a smooth idle, no hitches or stumbles at all. Hit the throttle and it went to full rpm without a hesitation. No smoke on restart or when you rev the engine up. Sounds good, with that smooth opposed twin exhaust note. Drove it around the yard for a while. All the gears work fine. The belt is in bad shape and it squeeks a little when ever it engages. Pulleys are a bit rusty. Brakes work. You really have to have the clutch all the way in for it to disengage. Ground the gears a couple of times because of that. I’ll have to adjust that when I get a new belt on it. Battery was 12.5v when I was trying to start it. It seems to be charging. Voltage was up to 13.45 when I shut it down. I must say it is easy to steer. Hardly any effort at all required. Now I have to get it out of the garage and into the small workshop and get some other stuff done around here. Winter is upon us!
 

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Nice job! Glad to hear it ran well. It's always a nice reward to hear them running like a top once you put some time into them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I’m more than happy with it Mark. The last 2 GT’s I had were a nightmare of worn out parts. This one is a real peach compared to those 2 -a 1983 JD314 and a 79 317. Had my fill of green tractors there! I like the Sears because it is a much simpler tractor but is still very versatile. Tried a cold start today. It barely cranked over before starting. Reduced the choke gradually to off and it settled into a smooth idle for about half a minute then quit. I tried restarting it but it wasn’t even kicking off. I think the float needle is sticking shut. When I was assembling the carb the needle was sticking in the seat when the float would drop. The seat is in bad shape. Time to order a rebuild kit and replace the worn parts. The fuel pump gasket was leaking a tiny bit as well, so a rebuild kit should put things right. I know the engine runs very well. When i was running it around the yard I drove it up the steepest hills I have with it not much above idle in 3 high and you could hear the engine load a bit but the governor kept the speed constant so that’s one more piece of the engine that seems to be working fine. I figure I can open the top of the carb and get that needle to release and get it running again to get it moved. Once it’s moved I can work on it in a heated space, although it’s small. I picked up a new drive belt today for it and some yellow paint. I’m going to start with the carb when I get the parts in and then the battery tray is coming out to be painted and I’ll have to make battery hold down hardware. With the battery tray out I can have a go at renewing the wiring and adding some reinforcement to the back of the console. I have never bought a used tractor yet that had the factory battery hold down bracket. To me it’s a pretty essential piece of hardware. I’ll then take off the old cracked belt and check and service the idlers and pulleys, install the new belt and adjust the clutch/brake for proper operation. The brake, like the clutch only works at the very end of the pedal travel. However the parking brake works perfectly! So that’s my plan for the next while for the SS18. I hope to have it ready to work in the spring. The rear blade will be put to work grading the trails I have here as well as the driveway.
 

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Got it to run guys! :):) Put some gas in it this AM and connected the fuel line. Got a good battery on it, set the points and cranked it. I couldn’t get it to run at first but it would fire if I put some fuel in the carb. Removed the top of the carb and nothing in the bowl at all! Tried turning it over and the gas shot about a foot in the air proving that the pump was working, so I readjusted the float and tried again. This time it fired within a few seconds and ran. Puked some black smoke for a few seconds and then ran like a top. I adjusted the idle down a bit and it settled into a smooth idle, no hitches or stumbles at all. Hit the throttle and it went to full rpm without a hesitation. No smoke on restart or when you rev the engine up. Sounds good, with that smooth opposed twin exhaust note. Drove it around the yard for a while. All the gears work fine. The belt is in bad shape and it squeeks a little when ever it engages. Pulleys are a bit rusty. Brakes work. You really have to have the clutch all the way in for it to disengage. Ground the gears a couple of times because of that. I’ll have to adjust that when I get a new belt on it. Battery was 12.5v when I was trying to start it. It seems to be charging. Voltage was up to 13.45 when I shut it down. I must say it is easy to steer. Hardly any effort at all required. Now I have to get it out of the garage and into the small workshop and get some other stuff done around here. Winter is upon us!
Someone close to me has one posted for $500 not running. I have been tossing around the idea and how to convince the boss I need it. LOL Can I ask how much you paid for it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
My price wouldn’t help you much as a guideline. Condition is everything in my book. Also a lot depends on what the supply of tractors is like in your area. It’s hard to get anything viable here for under 500$. 50$ is an unheard of price for a tractor. Remember I am in Canada. everything is 30-40% higher to start with because our dollar is worth less. It seems older GTs are in demand and sell quickly. I know where there is a SS 18 for sale for 450. It has no attachments, is supposed to be running but has 2 car wheels and tires on the rear instead of the normal 12 inch tractor rims. Saw another one recently that was a real basket case. Hood butchered for an engine transplant. No engine. Pieces of pipe welded to the frame for some reason and a bizarre winch mount on the front end. No seat. Basically a parts tractor -price 500$. Today there was a Wheel Horse 520 listed with a snowblower 3pt hitch and a tiller. Price 5500$ “ non negotiable”! So that’s what I am facing when looking for a garden tractor. Low supply and high prices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Noel, I’m sure there are some deals around if you happen to know where a tractor is and get to make an offer on it before it goes to Kijiji or FB marketplace. I just don’t have the connections to find them like some folks do. In my view a tractor that is low hours and was maintained properly is worth much more than one that has thousands of hours on it.
 

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Asking prices and Selling prices are not the same thing.... and if you only look on sites like kijiji or craigslist then you only see the most absurd prices... those sellers dont get those prices and the ads only disappear because the seller gives up and then goes on forums bitchin about all the so-called lowball offers he received..... you need to watch auction results to get a realistic value on what these old tractors sell for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Not sure where I would find auction results for tractors around here. Most of the auctions I see don’t have any garden tractors in them. When I look at a new garden tractor I see at least 8k$ for a lightweight frame and a hydro rear end that is rated at pretty much the minimum requirement for ground engaging equipment. That just doesn’t seem like a good value proposition to me. I’m looking at condition as a big contributer to how much I’ll pay after having spent too much money and time on tractors that are worn out. By that I mean pretty much every system on the tractor is worn out on a lot of the stuff out there. Engine, trans, steering, tires, seat,fuel, hydraulic issues on a hydro, battery and electrical issues etc, etc. You start adding all that up and the money and time is substantial. I found this tractor and when I look at all the systems they are not worn out and look well maintained, so it’s worth a lot more to me than a parts tractor would be. I might have been able to find another one for less, but prices seem to be going up not down lately as stuff gets older. Bottom line, I’m happy with what I got for what I paid!
 
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