On a very good note, I did finish my new waterpump installation today, reinstalled the engine and fired it up.
Success !! This crazy thing has not run so smooth & quiet as long as I have owned it ! I'm pretty dang happy.
A few notes from the job...
Don't do this without a factory service manual... Just don't.
Take pics. Bag & label your parts as you remove them. There is a CRAZY amount of stuff to disconnect and parts pile up quick.
Parking the tractor on level, solid ground is good. I carry a moving blanket from side to side with me to kneel on while working.
After you drain & remove the radiator, spend 1/2 hour flushing it inside & out. I was SHOCKED how much sediment I flushed out of the inside with my pressure washer. I was shocked again at all the clogged fins on the outside, even after I periodically had pressure washed it after mowing. Remove the screen guard because it shields a 1/2" top & bottom of more fins that will be clogged.
Don't loose the plastic cap/cup from inside the coupling, and if it falls out, the wide end is "out" toward the driveshaft.
Since my parking brake is stuck/nonworking, I park with the tractor slightly in forward. That turned out well, because turning the driveshaft by hand allowed me to EASILY move the tractor forward & backward to line up the engine for re-installation.
Order a new timing cover gasket (o-ring?). Mine was trash and I wish I had one but reused my old one.
I did not replace my timing belt. It's hot as heck here and I'm working outside under a portable tent. I'll do it later when my new garage is built and I can work on it when the **** grass isn't growing so fast
BEFORE you remove the idler pulley & water pump, set your cam and crankshaft timing marks up. That way, as long as you don't turn them while it's apart, it goes right back together with correct timing. Pictures below show the cam timing marks. There are two and you pretty much set them perfectly horizontal, but the crank timing mark also has to be horizontal to the left at the same time. Turn it more, clockwise only, if they don't all line up the first time.
After the cam belt is back on with the idler pulley loose (spring connected, center bolt finger tight only), turn the engine crank counterclockwise by two teeth on the cam, then clockwise 4 teeth on the cam then tighten the idler bolt. (clockwise as viewed from the camshaft end of the crank, and you can reach the front fan or flywheel to do this by hand).
Most of this was just the reverse of disassembly, but wire harness routing and hose connections are just about overwhelming on this tractor... Best to take pictures and make notes while you pull the engine.