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I've been looking for a (super) garden tractor that can do some grading work, can fit 26x12x12 tires, has an excellent reputation, is (VERY) cheap, and isn't the same machine that every man and his brother has, like the typical John Deere or Cub Cadet.....no offense guys, they're great tractors but I like more of the odd ball stuff). A little while back here on GT talk I saw a Snapper 1855 and loved it and said I'd love to find one if the price was right. A short time later one popped up here locally on Craigslist for $850 and it was kind of rough, but not too bad, but I couldn't justify spending that much. Then I saw one a couple weeks ago on Craigslist only a couple of hours after it was listed and I offered the guy $500 for it and we made the deal and I picked it up later that night. I heard they were big, but this thing seemed HUGE when I saw it in person, I was impressed! It ran great, it drove, but there were some cob job hacks done to it, but nothing major that I couldn't undo. The worst was the awful spray bomb paint job, but mechanically it was very good and didn't seem to have that high of hours on it.

I was buying other tractors like Sears Suburbans and Sears GT's, but really wanted a deal on a super garden tractor like a Sears FF, so that I could put big ag tires on it, a sleeve or 3 point hitch, etc, etc, but this latest Snapper 1855 purchase was the real deal and it has a 3 point hitch that I can use a box scraper on. But first I'm going to get it looking good and I want to do it like I do all my projects, the work being done by me, on a budget....shopping around to get the highest quality parts at the lowest possible price, and making it look great. Here's the rundown of what I have so far:

I'm going to do it up as a Massey 1855 because I like the looks of them and I have a matching vintage Massey dump cart that my friend gave me for free.

-The rear tires are shot, so I'll be painting the wheels and putting on some 4 ply Goodyear Super Terra Grip Ag tires that I have left over from some of the 6 wheel Amphibious ATV's that I work on. Cost- Free

-The grille was pretty dinged up and it didn't have the headlight panel, lights, wiring or mesh, so I got a complete front grille assembly with all those parts.

Cost-$70

-New Decals from Maple Hunter

Cost-$35

-Someone put some weird semi-triangular shaped steering wheel on my tractor so that has to go

Cost for a replacement from a Massey 1200 $25

-Another townie cob job artist stripped the brass high speed screw in the carburetor, didn't screw down the choke cable retainer so I got it out and secured the choke cable

Cost $10

-The tractor, when I was steering it in the snow, didn't go where I was steering with the front turf tires, it just kept going straight, so after reading all about the Vredstein V61 tires I decided I'd go for a set. They were WAY more than I wanted to spend but I got them for a little more than $135 shipped with all my ebay discounts and stuff.

It will still need the correct ignition switch (another townie hack put a toggle switch to spin the starter motor), a nice (and correct) paint job, the engine tin for the right side cylinder head on the Onan engine, a new seat because someone put a crappy old incorrect one on there, and all the fluids and filters changed. It does have a new battery though, which was nice to see. So right now I have $500 in the tractor and roughly $275 in parts. I really didn't want to spend so much, but I hope to have it all done and looking good for just under $1,000 hopefully. A somewhat low hour, Snapper/Massey 1855 that's all done up like this with three 3 point hitch for under a grand seems as though it can be justified. I highly doubt it'd be possible to find a very nice John Deere 420 or Cub 982 for that kind of money.
 

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Sounds like you have a good plan in place!
 

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Looks like your using it for snow plowing , I like the turf tires better when putting chains on anyway . Any other plans for it ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like your using it for snow plowing , I like the turf tires better when putting chains on anyway . Any other plans for it ?
Those pictures are from the Craigslist ad. The guy I bought it from Mickey Mouse'd a Craftsman plow on it. I will be keeping an eye out for a deal on a correct plow and maybe using it as a backup to my Bolens Grounds Keeper for plowing duty, but I think it'll be primarily used for work in the dirt. I really don't know what else I'd like to do with at this point, but that 3 point hitch makes it very versitile. I love all my toys, but I don't use them too much. I just rebuild them and make them look good and then use them only every so often. I really don't know why I bought this tractor actually, other than the fact that it'll be fun to play with every so often. :)
 

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It sounds like this machine went to a good home! Please post pics of your progress.

--Eric
 
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I just rebuild them and make them look good and then use them only every so often. I really don't know why I bought this tractor actually, other than the fact that it'll be fun to play with every so often. :)
I'm sure most of us use our tractors for the same reason , just to have fun lol . I tell my wife some guys that play golf spend more $$ on a set of new clubs and a season of playing , even if we sell a tractor at a loss after years of use , how can you put a price of the fun it brought us ?
 

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I picked up a pair of John Deere 50lb rear wheel weights for $90 today which I'll add to the Sears Suburban 35lb ones I have in order to put some weight on the back of the 1855. I also got some reflective heat tape to put on the inside of the hood to replace the factory stuff that had fallen off when I got the tractor. Little details here and there will make the rebuild go a little quicker since I won't have to search for these kinds of parts in the future.
 

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Not the most exciting update, but I'm making progress none the less. Ebay had a deal today, $15 off a $75 or more purchase. I decided it was a perfect time to pull the trigger on a seat for the 1855 so I could get rid of that awful, uncomfortable, and rotted out lawn tractor seat that was on it. I picked this up for $60 and some change shipped.

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Then I got some bodywork done on the grille where it was slightly dented in. I got it filled in with Bondo and the old paint was sanded down and ready for some silver and then the MF logo in the center. I also got the grille mesh straightened out nicely and wired wheeled and primed and painted gloss black. The grille assembly I recently purchased came with every little nut and bolt and even working headlights and wiring. Mine was missing all of that stuff and the grille was pretty dented up, so this saved me a lot of time.

The more I look at the Massey 1855, especially with a set of ags on the back and ribbed V61's up front, the more I like them. I think they are my ideal image of a big garden tractor except it looks like there's a bit too much red on them for me. I know this is a minor cosmetic detail, but when I saw this picture (shown below in my post) of a 1655 with black frame rails, it made this the perfect looking tractor for me. Once I get the fenders, side panes, hood and other parts done in red, I'm going to paint my frame rails black. I'm getting very excited to see this transformation take place and I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on my progress (even though it may be slow since I'm working on 4 other projects at the time).

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Nice progress, you should have it pretty spiffy in no time.

I saw one painted with the frame in a dark gray, it looked pretty sharp too.
 

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Thanks for the kind words, everybody. I made more progress today. Thanks to the help of you guys here on the site I found out one of my two drive belts was extremely loose, the other one was just a little loose, but missing some big chunks out of the inside of it. I ordered two new OEM Snapper ones off ebay.

I also addressed another issue I was having, the slop in the steering. A couple of the ball and socket joints on my machine had some slop in them, in addition to a hole in the triangular shaped steering knuckle/connector/triangle shaped piece being shaped like an egg where one of the linkages bolts into. I got a whole assembly including the linkages and triangular shaped steering sector piece. The only other parts I'll have to locate is the bushings or bearings where the spindles go into on each end of the axle. I looked on the Agco site at their parts diagram for the Massey 1855 and they didn't have any info listed for these, so I'll just take it to my friends at Buffalo Bearing and they'll find it........these guys do great work, have great prices, and can find ANYTHING!

My dad and I fought with the two rear tires to break the inside beads off the wheels and that was a bit of a job on one of them, but we got both of the old rear tires off and tomorrow I will take them to my sandblasters to have them blasted and primed. My friend's Harbor Freight bead breaker does great work! The fronts were Armstrong tires that someone replaced, and they had great tread, but the sidewalls and one of the beads were TRASHED badly. The Vredstein V61 tires for the front will be an excellent replacement! The 4 ply Goodyear Super Terra Grip ag tires on the back will be good for A LOT of extra traction over those worn out OEM turf tires. Each tire weighs an 5+ lbs more compared to the turfs, so 10 more pounds on the rear, plus 85 lbs per side of wheel weights will put a total amount of an additional 180 lbs on the back end which should help with traction dramatically.

Here's some pictures of the progress. Take a look at that awful bent up steering wheel and torn up lawn tractor seat. I'm so glad I rescued this machine from the hands of the cob job hack 'em up townies. I can already tell she's very happy too!
 

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My seat came in today and I got the front tires off too. It looks like someone kept slopping on layers of paint over rust, chipped paint, and other imperfections (kind of like a girl with a really bad face with acne and deep imperfections cakes on the cover up makeup) on the rims and some of the bodywork, so I'm going to have it all sandblasted and primed and ready for me to put fresh paint on it so it looks great. Plus when I have the rims done, I won't have to worry about bead leaks, which can drive you nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More progress has been made! I got my right hand side engine tin head cover that I was missing, new seat slider tracks that aren't all rusted, all new steering linkages and components that don't have any slop in them, from a 1655, packages of self adhesive reflective foil heat tape for under the hood, and a new Wix oil filter. I also got a call from my sandblaster and all my wheels have been sandblasted and primed with industrial brown primer that really, really sticks to the metal better than any paint I've ever seen. Looks like I'll have some fun stuff to do this weekend like paint my wheels and change some fluids!

Does anyone know a Rustoleum or any other good brand of spray paint that is a close match to MF silver?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Moving right along. Yes, Rustoleum Wheel Silver paint is a match. That's what I use for all my Massey wheels and grilles.
Thanks! Do you happen to know of any Rustoleum or Krylon reds that would come close to matching the MF red?
 

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Awesome rescue & a great job your doing in bringing it back to life. I have a MF12 waiting yo be put back together. Your thread is inspireing. The decal against the red hood just barks. There's something about a red GT that can't be matched especially the Massey's color schemes. Krylon has a Banner Red that is very close. I have heard though their paint tends to fade quickly. Maybe if you give it a clear coat or a good waxing after it sets up good would prevent this. Enjoying your project & keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Awesome rescue & a great job your doing in bringing it back to life. I have a MF12 waiting yo be put back together. Your thread is inspireing. The decal against the red hood just barks. There's something about a red GT that can't be matched especially the Massey's color schemes. Krylon has a Banner Red that is very close. I have heard though their paint tends to fade quickly. Maybe if you give it a clear coat or a good waxing after it sets up good would prevent this. Enjoying your project & keep us updated.
Thanks! I'll see if I can find a Rustoleum color that is close to the Krylon Banner Red color. I always use Rustoleum and have great luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I picked up the Rustoleum Wheel Silver today and I got right to work. I've got two of the wheels painted (the final coat will go on after the tires get mounted so I don't have scratches on them from the mounting process). Here's some pictures of the wheels after I got them from the sandblast shop and after some silver paint was sprayed. It took an entire can to do two wheels......that primer sucked the paint right in so I have a feeling it will nice and durable.
 

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We must be almost neighbors, I also have an MF1855, you can see the pic in my profile. I bought it to build into a loader tractor but that hasn't happened yet but I did buy a ford LGT125 with a loader so I could use the loader off of it but I have just been using that for loader work. I also have a MF12G with a tiller. A good alternative to Buffalo Bearing is BDI bearing on Cayuga road behind the airport, I have bought mower deck bearings and front wheel bearings there, good prices too. I'm in the process of converting my 1855 to power steering, I have the power steering valve from a Deere 318 but still have to get a steering cylinder.
 
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