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post #1 of 14 Old 10-02-2013, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Hi all,
Found the forum here while researching my first hydrostatic purchase, a Simplicity Hydro 18, which I reckon is called a Sovereign Series. I know absolutely nothing about these tractors except for the handbook and parts book I recently downloaded from Simplicity. I do have some questions, though, that are not covered in either manual.
First, a couple of photos of the beast, though I'm sure it's a familiar site to the regulars here..

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I'm not so concerned on the age of the machine. It's apparent it has been well looked after, and the engine only gives a slight puff of blue on startup, other than that it runs like a champ. The hydrostatic is new to me, and this one seems to do what another of the same model (that I've read on the forum) seems to do: going forward is a nice brisk pace... going backwards is downright scary fast, even with the drive in a lower "gear". That caught me by surprise - once. Now I remember to keep my foot on the brake!

Really, the only question I have concerns the engine and the extra output shaft it has at the front of the tractor:
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Since it's key-wayed, it's quite obvious it's there for a pulley of some sort, but what would you put there that would rely on the engine rpm? My plan for the tractor is basic homeowner stuff - cut the grass, plow snow and maybe get a snow blower attachment (even though I have a walk-behind already). I like this beast as it's a far step up from the box-store tractors I've had in years past, even though my last Huskee/MTD lasted nearly 20 years of abuse before the engine finally quit (not of my doing, though..).

Anyway, any insights/input on upkeep on this unit would be appreciated and would anyone happen to know which model snow blowers would fit?

Thank you!

Rick
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-02-2013, 10:08 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

You sir, found a real GEM! That is one clean machine. It has a great powerplant...the Kohler Command. You can add a front PTO, but really don't need to go through the expense. A snowblower will run off the Mid PTO, same as your deck does. Plenty of those out there, too.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-03-2013, 02:14 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Yes, very nice indeed.

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post #4 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 12:02 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Very nice. One caution - keep your foot off that pedal under your right foot. It's there for emergency use only (like if the hydro linkage somehow comes apart and you can't stop the tractor). Don't try to start forward motion by using it as you would use a clutch in a car - it's not the same thing and this can harm the hydro pump.

Just do all control using the hydro lever. I never... and I mean NEVER, touch that pedal. Ever.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

That's interesting to note about the pedal. The owner's manual simply refers to it as a brake and to aid in cold weather starts, that should be pressed to unload the engine. I'll bear that warning in mind, though, being my first hydro I don't want to screw anything up. I'm used to shifting a gear on my old stuff - "shifting" and speed control with one lever is going to take some getting used to!
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 12:24 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

There really aren't any gears, it's a continuous speed increase from zero to max speed simply by moving the lever from the center position to full forward (or reverse).

Some people press in the pedal when starting, to offload the engine. Nothing wrong with that except if the linkage sticks you then end up with a belt that isn't tight. So I never use mine.

You want to come to a stop (using the hydro lever) before changing directions. Meaning if you are going forward come to a stop before backing up. You can throw the lever from fwd to rev without stopping first but that puts stress on the axle tube.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

I wouldn't even think of trying to go from forward to reverse without a stop in between. I have to sneak up on reverse as it is...
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 02:21 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

The brake is for parking the tractor when not in use. Hydros will allow the tractor to roll if parked on a grade for a period of time.

At all other times, the hydro will supply all the braking force that is necessary for the tractor simply by easing the drive control back to the neutral position.

Stepping on the brake pedal for starting ensures that the hydro's main pump is not moving fluid (if the linkages are correctly adjusted), even though it is still directly coupled to the engine. If it also has a charge pump, that is still moving fluid.

Foot controls are more intuitive for the operator, especially when the task entails multiple direction and speed changes, but the hand control has advantages as well. You can set it and forget it for long runs at a consistant speed.

Bob

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Thanks, Bob, for a little more input on how these hydros operate. I do have to fix the parking brake. The threaded shaft the lever is on is froze on the rod end, so I'll have to get some penetrating oil and/or heat to it to see if I can get it to bust loose and tighten up the linkage a little. The PO said he never used it, and I probably won't either, but it's just piece of mind to know it's there!
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-04-2013, 07:13 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

The clutch/brake pedal is for panic stop only. Once you have used it you should shift to neutral release the pedal then start the tractor moving again with the hand lever. I like the shuttle as you can use either he lever or the pedal and can use the pedal to moderate ground speed while maneuvering in tight places.
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post #11 of 14 Old 08-16-2014, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Hi all. Almost a year into owning this tractor and no problems until now. I think my starter went - turned the key and a thunk and nothing. Caught a wisp smell of fried something electrical. I checked all the wiring, took the starter out and checked that the Bendix was free (it was), and tried to "start" it with the starter out and grounded... nothing. Now, the problem is the data plate on the engine is worn away so I can't get a model or serial number off of it. Does anyone have the replacement starter number for this particular model? They all appear similar on several retailer sites, but I want to make sure that what I purchase is the correct one.

Thank you!
Rick
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-20-2014, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Diving in deeper to the issue, turns out it was not the starter, but the main plug connector on the key switch. Over the years the waterproofing crud appeared to be melting on the connections, and eventually one or more of those connections ceased to function. A quick clean out and we're back in business!
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-11-2019, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

Resurrecting a thread.. geez, has it been 5 years already? Looking for input on the engine on this beast. I *think* it's finally starting to go. Not that it's loosing power, but my overall feeling is it's on limited time. The manufacturer's plate on the side of the housing is too far gone to see any model number, and the PartsTree search just indicates that the engine is NLA. Without tearing it apart before it's time to see what the keyway size is, does anyone happen to know an appropriate replacement engine for the Kohler Command of this vintage?
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 11:29 PM
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Re: Hello all, first Simplicity hydro

time flies while having fun
im of no help but you needed a bump

john
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