Memorial Day Weekend 2013 Update:
Seized Here, Seized There, Seized Everywhere!!
The title alone may give you a glimpse into what was one of the biggest things that I encountered along the way in this update, but there was quite a bit of success here too as you will find.
I spent quite a bit of time with the tractor over Memorial day weekend and got quite a bit done. The main objective in this update was to get the get the tractor running and operational again.
The weekend before last I wasn't able to do much to it as I was still waiting for some things to arrive but it was then that a minor setback took place due to something so innocent, changing the sparkplug. Boy did that turn out to be a bit of a surprise.
The first seizure:
You know that feeling when you apply pressure to a tight bolt and somehow automatically know it's going to turn into a small project to remove? I mean like for a really seized bolt? Anyway, when I put a socket onto the plug it immediately did not feel right, it was tight, but I had that sudden realization that this was not just going to be an average plug change. In fear of breaking it I didn't want to go any further so I sprayed penetrating fluid all around it a few times and let it sit. After giving it a second try I put a bit more pressure into it and the next thing I knew... CRATCH!! UN
-B-E-L-I-ABLE. After having a mini heart attack and realizing that, yes, these things can happen and it could be fixed with some creativity and carefulness, I knew there could be some broken bits that may have found themselves in the combustion chamber so I pulled the head. I probably did near ten heat and penetrating fluid cycles but I simply could not get the darn broken sparkplug sleeve to even budge with the extractor. The next step was to drill it out but I didn't want to risk damaging the threads or even the head itself in the process so I took it to a shop to have it professionally done. Before they took a drill to it, they decided to give it a few heat and penetrating fluid cycles of there own but that method turned out unsuccessful for them as well so they had to resort to drilling it after all. My belief is that it was the original spark plug that had never been removed, and, you can darn well bet that I used anti-seize on the new sparkplug threads. I'm was just really happy that I did not wait to change it out as one of the very last minute steps attempting to start it or it would have been even more disappointing if you see what I mean!
I'm always a firm believer in that when setbacks occur like this, you take advantage of the situation to improve upon other things that only can only be done at the given point. In this case it was to de-carbon the head, which there really wasn't that much of but good to do nonetheless. I thought about replacing the head gasket while I was at it, but it was in excellent shape and did not need it. Otherwise I definitely would have.
Below are some descriptions with photos of the latest :
Perhaps the messiest oil change I've ever done! New oil drain pipe to the rescue:
There was no way on this planet that I was going to do another oil change without an actual oil drain pipe! The single recessed drain bolt and no place for the oil to go but everywhere imaginable and now way to catch it was not going to cut it. A catch can was pretty much useless. Never doing that again.
Also, something I want to upgrade in the future is to install a pull style dipstick like the one pictured below. The stock dipstick on it now has a nut on which requires you to put a wrench on the box nut every time you want to check the oil. Too inconvenient, sorry.
I like the idea of having the battery covered so I purchased a marine style battery box. My hope was that I could still run a regular 24 series car battery on it but that size battery box was simply too tall to fit underneath the seat, I even bought it since it was cheap enough just to confirm it. Because it would not fit, it meant locating the most powerful lawn and garden battery that I could find. This brings up another issue however. Because this tractor has automotive style round clamp on style terminals, it prevented them from not being able to attach to a L&G battery because of the slot style terminals. After some thinking, I realized that I could fit round side mount terminals in the slots as you see below through the holes with a nut on the back. It required opening up the terminal holes a bit to fit the larger studs on the side mount terminals. I did not drill the holes but used a file instead to not potentially break the lead studs. I was happy to find this setup works like a champ!
There was some surface rust on the battery platform and rather than painting it which I had considered, I clear coated over it instead in an effort to keep the original appearance and remaining paint alone. I also hard mounted the battery box with screws vs. using the strap as the primary source for hold down. Photos of it mounted to the machine will come soon as explained later.
I went through the entire fuel system and cleaned out the carburetor, fuel pump, flushed the tank and replaced the fuel lines. Being that I'm a slow worker with this type of thing took some time and honestly was a nice step to check off the list. A good amount of yellowy varnish fuel was in both and the main jet was partially clogged.
Also went through the ignition system. The points checked out good, but I cleaned up the surfaces. I also installed a new condenser that I had a spare of in the garage. The coil is good and produces a hot spark.
The moment of truth!
Starting her for the first time required me to prime the system. After doing so, it started right up and ran incredibly smooth at a very low idle that it was set at when it first lit off. I can't stress on the smoothness enough as it was almost like starting a brand new engine out of the box or something, not even a slight miss here or there and just purred like an antique car. I am LOVING this big bore engine the more and more that I run it. It has the coolest deep burble from the exhaust when you decelerate, I remember that unique trait when I was kid. It almost sounds like a 1960's muscle car on decel. To help clean out the engine I will be performing another upcoming oil change very soon.
Driving it for the first time!
This was really exciting, I'll describe the feeling of driving it the best that I can. The clutch pedal is somewhat heavy and has an early release to it. Let it out with an easy foot the tractor begins moving in such a subtle respect in first gear that you almost don't even realize you've began moving until after the fact. The ride is surprisingly very smooth as the front end articulates a lot more than you'd expect but when you're on a hard surface you feel the subtle bumpty bump of the AG's going around. The biggest thing is how completely SOLID and heavy everything feels. It literally feels as though you're operating a small vintage farm tractor in every respect. You sit up high and very straight, the steering does not have any play but is easy to turn. The brake pedals take a fair amount of force to push, it may be that the linkages need to be lubricated or simply how they are. In third gear the tractor really flies, it almost feels like you're a car cruising down the road with the rpm's up.
I can see why the family installed the metal straps over the engine cover, there are various rattles that come and go from various places in the low rpm's. I installed some additional washers for the engine cover as it was suggested to me by another owner before I reinstalled it, but I think most of the rattles comes from the hood. It doesn't really bother me as it kind of goes along with the character of the whole machine only really happens when the engine is down near an idle any way.
Seizure # 2:
Before I had any thoughts of engaging the belly mower, I made sure to spray down all of the pulleys on the mowing deck etc. I should have taken this next observation as a sign that something was wrong here, but didn't. When I tried to spin the deck pulleys by hand I couldn't and figured that it probably just required a lot more force than I could exert. When I engaged the front PTO the rpm's fell and I could start to smell burnt rubber, nothing was turning. I realized the problem and it was that the spindles were indeed frozen. I got them freed up but the two idler pulleys are completely seized, in bad shape and have to be replaced. After I had broken the main deck spindle pulleys free, the deck now engages as it should through the PTO. I located a set of OEM idlers that I have already ordered from one of the Economy/PK parts sites. Apparently these idlers were superseded by an upgraded to a more durable version so maybe these originals were not the best.
Seized idler pulleys.
Other miscellaneous things I've discovered:
I've spent quite a bit of time with this tractor over the three day weekend and because of it have come across some other things that need attention and made some other observations.
The first thing being is that the part of the wiring going from the headlight switch to the headlights is not only gone but frayed and cut off in one location. It appears as though it may have even got wrapped up in the front PTO pulley at some point which was the cause for the fray. The fellow who I've been in touch with regarding the new idlers is researching to availability of a new wiring 'harness' that goes from the switch to the lights. If not, then I'll rewire it myself.
The drain and inspection plugs for the bull gear cases are seized. To reduce the risk of rounding them off with a box wrench, I ordered a special socket that is designed for these square drain plugs that should make them easier to remove. Before I drove it I did the steering box fluid, but still need to do the transmission and rear end fluid as well.
I have more degreasing and cleaning to do below the tractor. The next step of the project will be devoted to simply finishing the job of degreasing the entire machine.
The seat is getting more and more torn each time I sit on it. It looks like a seat recovering will need to happen sooner than expected.
There is one very small rust hole right in front of the brake pedals. In the future when I begin the hydraulic conversion, I'm going to remove the top trans tunnel/flooboard assembly and take it to a body shop to have them cut it out and re-weld new metal in this area. This will be the perfect time to do it because having it off will assist in the routing of the hydraulic lines.
Over all it was a very successful weekend. I feel like I got a ton done to it, learned quite a bit more about it and best of all was able to enjoy using it. I am very excited and thrilled to have it.
Next weekend I promise I will have more photos of the tractor itself of the new additions. It was getting pretty rainy near the end of the weekend and ended up getting busy with other things.
Thanks for reading.