Cub Cadet 004 Tiller - What To Do
After years of looking for a 190-004 hydraulic tiller for my GT3235, I took a chance on one that I have been looking at for almost a year on eBay and bought it. I say that I took a chance, because 1) while it was never used, it was stored outside during much of its life - It had some surface rust, and 2) it was missing the hydraulic pump, driveshaft, brackets and hoses. Cub Cadet price for all the missing bits was $1,700, but after researching what other options were available, I was able to trim that by well over half meaning I would have $1,200 - $1,300 in the complete tiller, all in. Not a screaming deal, but good NOS examples of this model tiller have sold for much more.
Well, it arrived in fine shape at Fastenal, but after bringing it home the nasty surprises started. Right off, I noted that the 3/4 hydraulic oil return fitting was rusted beyond use, including the sealing surface. Obviously, the protective cap was left off at some point, leading to
an oil storage tank filled with rust. The oil storage tanks on these tillers are huge (you start by adding 6 GALLONS of hydraulic oil), running the length of the tiller body with a welded in pick-up tube, a recess and a fill tower. The water let in by the open fitting caused so much rust that dragging a stick of wood across the tank bottom through the oil fill opening resulted in the bottom of the stick being completely covered with rust. It would be impossible to clean it all out. And as the hungry Eaton sucks directly from this tank no filter is between the tank & pump; the filter is before the tank a destroyed pump would be the result of using it like this.
I contacted the seller and he immediately refunded the full purchase price, leaving me with a very heavy, very unusable, lump in my garage. What to do?
My first thought was to cut it open, clean out the rust, install a new fitting, fabricate a new pick-up tube and weld it all back together. After coming up with a number of possible ways for that plan to go astray (along with just not wanting to do all that work), I am not wild about that idea.
A second option presented itself after doing some research. I learned that new tiller frames are still available, for $800, $200 more than the $600 I paid for (and was given back by the seller) the rusted lump o tiller. The rest of the main tiller components are all there and in good condition, needing only a little touch up here n there. I would be $200 over the total price that I had set as a target, but what the hey; in for a penny, in for a pound. After getting the new tiller frame and hanging all the components from da-lump on it, I would have a clean & factory fresh tiller.
I am tempted to go with option 2; thoughts?