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Something else thats very common on kijij type ads is that many of the tractors are advertised as restored in which case the sellers often think they are going to get their investment back or even make money..... but that doesnt work out even for those that restore classic autos and muscle cars... you can repair them and get them roadworthy and still make a profit but once you start restoring something it becomes an expensive hobby.... same thing with these GTs.

Ive made some decent $$$ fixing/flipping GTs but Ive never even considered restoring one... at least not to my definition of "Restored".... for me that means every nut and bolt has been removed where as some people will clean it up and throw a rattle can paint job on it and call that restored asking an absurd price.

I dont hardly ever buy anything off of kijiji..... I find more tractors in the local buy/sell facebook groups and newspaper... yes newspaper.... many of these old tractors still belong to old people who cant be bothered with internet dealings. The two Sears tractors, gt18 and gt19.9 were never on the internet... I paid $125 for the pair of them, both run and only needed minor repairs.... I also picked up the Case 446 last year for $120 and that included an old two wheel tractor with a sickle mower.... granted Ive been in the biz since before the internet existed so I do things differantly. Lol
 

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1976 Sears SS18, 2008 JD 2320
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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
It’s impossible to get any profit from most GT restorations, even if you discount your labour. If time is valuable to you then doing a restoration to make money is not a valid plan. The huge prices that people are willing to pay for vintage automobile restorations is another story. Even then, in a professional restoration shop they have to watch the hours of labour in the job to make sure there is some profit at the end. So many things can be worn out, damaged or missing that the finances can easily go off the rails.
 

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I would like to rebuild another GT but then I would paint it like a Cockshutt so it still wouldnt be a restoration... my Bolens RaM is rebuilt but no where near stock so that isnt restored... lots of die hard Bolens fans hate me for that one. Lol

I often chuckle when the ads say "Rare" and/or "Collectable"..... tractors such as these Sears I think Ive had 7 of them, 10 or 12 old Fords, Im on my 5th big wheel case, more than a dozen old Cubs... even my '57 RaM might be considered a bit rare around here but in the states they are still fairly common if you know where to look.

Unfortunately Im sure some people do believe such claims and pay waaaay too much money but I dont believe thats the normal... I know a couple guys around here that "restore" tractors and advertise them for top $$$ but they rarely sell anything.... one old timer that recently passed away had 3 or 4 Case big wheelers and he was always asking for $3500+ for them... well he died with all the same tractors he had when I met him about ten years ago.. now those tractors will probably be auctioned off and go for less than $1500 each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Sometimes family members will end up with the tractors. Some keep them and sometimes they end up for sale. A neighbour of my father had a nice Ford 14hp diesel GT but the tractor went to a family member without anyone else having a chance to buy it. The Case big wheel tractors are cool looking I suppose but I don’t think they offer much in terms of capability over the 12 inch versions in most cases considering the increase in the asking price. If you need to replace those big rear tires there will be some pain in your wallet. Even 12” tires are more expensive than car tires these days.
 

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I believe those big wheels are actually a dis-advantage because they require more torque to turn them and they have a larger contact patch so they reqiure more weight aswell.... and when you consider that the hy-drive system uses 15% of your available HP the Case tractors have never impressed me. They are good looking tractors, the 16" wheels and longer wheelbase offer a smoother ride, they are plenty capable enough for most any yard/garden chores, and they often do sell for top dollar but they are not overly impressive imo and they use alot of fuel.

The MTD 990 is another big wheeler with a hydrostatic trans but Ive taken one to the pulls it couldnt come anywhere close to my 960 with 12" wheels and a gearbox. Doing chores around the yard the 990s ride smooth but they use alot of fuel so I was never tempted to keep one of them around for long either. For me a tractor needs to pull heavy loads and push alot of snow.. how it looks is not very high on my list.... after owning some 227+ tractors to date an MTD 960 is still the one I keep in my shop;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I’ve seen comparisons between the big wheel and small wheel Cases and they pulled about the same load. I think they change the motor on the big wheels so it needs more fluid/ revolution to compensates for the larger wheels. Pushing heavy piles of snow you can certainly run out of push power with a hydro if you have enough traction. My CUT with 33” high 12 w tires and weighing 3500 lbs ballasted will not spin the wheels if I have good traction. The hydro will limit first. That said, it is a much better loader tractor than the smaller SCUTs with 26” wheels. I don’t need 4wd or dif. lock to load from a pile of gravel where they are spinning in 4wd to load. Weight and tire size I guess. Having to run the engine at WOT all the time just to keep the hydro happy is a waste of fuel and it’s really getting expensive these days. I had a 750cc Kawasaki liquid cooled Vtwin in a JD Super sized Gt and it used 5l/hr just pulling a cart or other chores around the property. Switched to a 24hp Yanmar diesel powered CUT and it used a little more than half that amount. Although with diesel at 2.50/l even that much is a lot of $/hr.
I’ve seen some 960s for sale. What I didn’t like about them was the angle drive and automotive type clutch. The clutch is a nice upgrade over the typical belt tensioner type but can I get parts to repair it and how expensive will that be. At this point most 960s I see look pretty well done, so a clutch or angle drive rebuild is a likely scenario. For ease of repair simpler is better in my experience. That’s one reason I was looking for gear drive this time round.
 

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the clutch is the best part of a 960 imo... the disc is still available from partstree for about $90... the pressure plates can be cleaned up on a lathe, and the rest of it never needs attention.... I rebuilt the clutch in my Columbia over ten years ago and it still looks and works as new. ... but they dont like to be left out in the elements, if the plates gets rusty they will wear the disc in a hurry so my tractor is never left outside over night.

Not sure what your concern might be with the rag box... those are used on everything from mower decks to grain augers and Ive never seen one go bad. I would rather have a real clutch with rag box than a mickey mouse clutch with a pulley on a spring any day.... especially if its connected to a 2300 trans... other than a couple minor issues with the shift forks Ive never seen them have any problems... its the biggest / heaviest manual transaxle that Peerless ever built and uses the same differential cluster as the 2500 hydro.

In stock form the 960 has more weight over the rear drive wheels than any other tractor Ive seen to date, part of that is the 2300 trans but tractors frame is where most of the weight is... the back half of the frame is a single c-channel of 3/16 steel about 10" high, 13" wide, and 20" long with a 12"x13"x1/4" plate rear cap on the back end... there is more weight in the rear half than most other complete tractor frames and it puts the 960 up to 910# without any attachments.

There is alot of people who love to hate MTD... for me thats become part of the fun... I love it when such people show up at the pulls with their attitudes bigger than their tractors.... the MTD 960 are not real nice tractors to operate, not very comfy, hard to steer, and most of the attachments are pita... but if you need to hook a chain to a stone boat thats the kind chore where they really shine... taking it to the tractor pulls is an easy day compared to what Ive been putting it thru at home for the last 10 years or so... if I ever find a tractor that will beat the 960 then it will be up for sale but Ive tried/tested alot of whats available and I dont see that happening anytime soon. ;)
 

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Great post fellas. I enjoyed reading them. Restorations are few and far between in my mind. Anybody who is doing that is in most cases loosing money. Just my opinion. Refresh is what I call them. The Case 446 I did over is a refresh. But people sure like the look of it. That’s what I was looking for. It’s just for fun. That is the only and will be the only tractor I’ll ever paint. People who tell you it’s restored, is pulling your leg. There more than likely corners cut to get it done. Again, just my opinion.
Have a good day gentlemen, and keep the posts coming.

Noel
 

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Lol... I bet Noel hates my comments on the Case big wheels.... dont ya??.... but yours does look ALOT better than mine... and I do think they are nice tractors but after owning as many tractors as I have it takes alot for any tractor to stand out and really impress me.. for general yard work both the Case 446 and Brians SS16 are much nicer tractors than my MTD but they wont haul 20+ bales on the stone boat out to cows or pull a pickup truck out of the ditch in a foot of snow--- that guy looked at me like I had three heads when I pulled out the Columbia but if I had tried that with the Cockshutt 40 it would have been stuck right along side his truck... the Columbia doesnt even notice a foot of snow - thats play time!

I was very tempted to keep the Sears GT19.9 but it wont allow for 25" atv tires so that ended that thought right there... the tires are a big part of why the Columbia pulls like it does... I tried AGs on it once... lasted about 3 hours, got stuck in the mud near the dugout and had to walk back to the yard to get another tractor and a long rope... those are show tires imo

Ive never really become bias towards any brand name... I think most all manufacturers have made some good and some not so good models and some tractors shine at certain chores but suck at others... I might lean a little towards the Jake built Fords as a personal favorite altho I dont even own one atm.. but Im lookin;)
 

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No worries Lance. I like reading the comments. And there’s no doubt that some tractors do things better or worse than others. They all do work. The Case 446 I have is some thing I always wanted since I got into the tractor game twenty years ago. And back then I knew that’s what I wanted and how I wanted it to look. It took me 18 years to get one. And it came out looking exactly like I wanted. I’ve hauled many trees and branches with it after hurricane Fiona. And cleared the snow in my driveway last year. It works just as good as my Fords and MF’s. Which brand Is better ???? That’s anybody's guess. No different than talking about Ford, Dodge or Chev.

Noel
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Lance, were those 633 transmissions in the sears tractors made by Peerless for Sears? You don’t see them in any of the Peerless service info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Thanks Lance! I know they look like a Peerless but I have never seen a 2300 for comparison. The 633 looks big to me having never seen anything but the 800 series Peerless 3 speed in the MF8 I had. The JDs I had used a Sundstrand 15 hydro with a Dana 30 pumpkin dif. That is a pretty robust axle and dif setup with 30mm splined axles. Jeep still uses Dana30s in the front of the basic models of the Wrangler.
 

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the 800 series is a much newer and light duty transaxle which wouldnt have been available when the MF8 were built so if it was a Peerless then it was more likely a 600 series but without hi/lo... but... back then the MFs were built by Dura and Im not real familiar with them... after Snapper began building the MF tractors they definately had Peerless transaxles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Sorry, my mistake. It’s a 1200 series in the MF8. Not designed for ground engagement. Much smaller than the 633 which is supposed to hold 5 quarts of fluid. I was surprised by that. More than some car transmissions. Is the owners manual spec of SAE30 still the go to transmission fluid in modern times?
 

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Transaxles are not fussy so you can pretty much use anything with a similar viscosity... personally I look for non detergent oils because detergents can loosen up old crud that has collected in nooks and crannys over the years... its best to leave that stuff where it is unless you dis assemble the trans for cleaning... after which you can use oils with detergents if you like.

1200 3 spd is still a pretty stout transaxle and IMO is quite capable of ground engaging equipment such as a furrow plough or snowblade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Snow blade was an option MF offered for the 8. Ground plow or rear blade etc was not recommended by MF. IME dealing with a 300ft gravel driveway, plowing snow can put a lot of stress on the frame and mounting points of a tractor when you inevitably fetch up on some obstacle when plowing. Around here with freeze thaw cycles happening all the time you never know what’s under the snow. I remember the first tractor I had, a JD LT160 lawn tractor. With chains and weight it was still pretty useless for plowing. The transmission, a cheap hydro, could barely back up a small hill without straining. I remember hitting something with the blade which did not have a trip spring and the frame flexed so much the hood popped up off it’s latch. I only had that tractor 1 season and then moved up to something more suitable. With my 3000lb 2320 I use a blade with trip springs. Some days I am often backing up from an obstacle after the springs trip.
 

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MF8 is a fairly small tractor but furrow ploughs can and have been pulled with as little as 3hp walk behind units back in the 40s/50s... furrow ploughs and snowplows were both OEM options for my '57 Bolens with 6 hp but even that is far more capable than a JD LT160... if you want a hydro you need a pretty good one... gearbox tractors of comparable weight are far more capable and back in the 60s/70s those gearboxes were generally pretty tough... Im sure there is a few exceptions but most of those old timers are far more tractor than your lt160 was... and your Sears is getting pretty close to the top of the list as far as capable tractors from the 70s... its not real user friendly but when it comes to pulling heavy loads or pushing snow it will easily keep up to an MF1650 hydro and in some cases even out perform it. Once you get into the late 80s and 90s those hydro transaxles are nothing like the bigger hydros used back in the 70s and early 80s... just the hydro pump alone on some of those old tractors weighed more than the entire transaxle in your LT160
 
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