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post #1 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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My new Gravely

I was given a Gravely walk behind a couple weeks ago. Got her running, and she runs smooth. From going to the mow in, I now know it's a 1940 to 1955, and a little more talking to the previous owner after the mow in, early to mid 40's is about right for it's age.
I couldn't get any real oil coming out the unloader when running 5w30, so ended up going to 20w50, and once all warmed up, I still get enough out the unloader to give me a face full when I check it. Currently it still has the low volume oil system, and I'm pretty sure the engine is due for an overhaul(which I want to do this winter).
Current attachments I own are the left handed brush cutter deck, sickle bar mower, rotary plow, and MA210 snowblower. Middle of next month, I'm hoping to pick up another sickle bar and a gang reel mower assembly(I have about 2 acres of lawn I mow, and like the cut of a good reel better than a rotary). I also got a remote clutch engagement setup, which is already in and I'm appreciating it much better than the original.
My plans are to have it setup for use. Never did go for the whole make it look beautifull when it was made for work. Something about running old equipment the way is was made to give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

I want to check if I am missing anything for my overhaul plans.
1)high volume oil pump(Richards)
2)Swiftmatic unit, including the left hand wheel bearing carrier(richards)
3)Rings, and possibly oversize piston and jug bore out/hone job(what is the original bore spec of the 5 HP L?)
4)all new gaskets and bearings, bushings if worn out


Pictures of what I have are coming once the rain stops. Cheap digital camera doesn't take very good ones, and the better one is charging.

P.S. I am truly impressed with what this little guy can go through with new ag tires while running the sickle bar. Can't help but wonder what it can do with the dual wheels(which I want to get the spacers and spare wheels for).
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 09:30 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

Welcome! Yes, we love pictures... Also, if take a look at the serial number tag (hopefully it's still there) you can use it to date the tractor with this document:

https://www.mytractorforum.com/222-gr...rmine-age.html

'72 John Deere 110, '39 and '40 Allis Chalmers Bs, '41 WC, '56 WD-45, '80 Gravely 8102, '63 L8, '52 L, '63 LI, '73 CI, '68 C10A, '57 LI, '58 LI, '69 C8, '58? Wisconsin LI, '73 816, '72 816, '40 L SN 2958, '71 450, '70 432, '48 L, '51 LI, '66 C10, '79 5240, '81 UFT Mountaineer 120E

Looking for: Gravely LS/CS, various '40 L parts
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 09:33 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

Welcome Straick!

Yes, always,

It sounds like you're off to a good start with gravelys and gear. I think I also detect the first hints of G.A.S. (Gravely Acquisition Syndrome)

If you're going to use the machine for a bunch of real work, then yes, getting together an HV oil setup is a good move. If it's not already got a spin-on filter (as opposed to the canister type) you'll want to do that too.

The swifto is a must for snowblowing. I'm sure Richard can fix you up, or those parts go by on eBay all the time.

On the jug etc, standard is 3.250, and there are oversize pistons available in .010 .020 .030 sizes. gtgravelyparts has those pieces; Richard probably does too.

One caution on the gang mower: It has a lot of moving/sliding parts, belts etc, and eats a lot of power. I've never tried mine on a 5hp machine, but it pretty close to maxed out one of my 7.6 hp units. Normally I run it on my comm12 I know people have run them on 5hp units; you'll want to make sure the engine's strong and the mower is properly adjusted and lubed.

They are impressive beasts. N years later, they're still out there making hard jobs look easy.

'41 L (not running)
'43 L
'44 L
'50 L
'52 L (not running)
'58 LI (not running)
'59 LI
'61 LS
'61 LS
Mutt LS
'62 LI (not running)
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'66 L8
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Too many attachments
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 09:59 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

Congratulations! Got any pics?

A couple of comments, changing to the high volume oil system is more than a pump, there are engine parts that are different with that system.

If it was me, and of course it isn't, lol, before I'd spend what will be a quite large sum of money on all of those parts, I'd consider just looking for a L8 in running condition and keeping the L original and just run it. If you live in NY, you should be able to find a nice one for $300 or less, and your L will have a buddy to keep it company in the shed.

Gravelys: 1951 L, 1952 L, 1954 L, 1956 LI, 1961 LI-SR, 1962 L, 1962 LI, 1963 LI, 1965 L8, 1965 LS, C 10, 524, 5460, 8102.

I can quit any time I want. I just don't want to right now.

The rest: 1969 WH Raider 12, 1983 WH A-111, 1985 WH 314A, AC 917H, 1978 Ford 2600, 1978 Ford 4100, 1975 Ford 3550 Industrial, 1959 Farmall 560, 1949 Case VAC, 1951 Case VAC Eagle Hitch, Troy Bilt Horse, Troy Bilt Pony. Mowers, rakes, balers, and far too much other old junk to list....
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post #5 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 10:19 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

I ran the 72" reel mowers for years using a 6 hp L. There are 3 prerequisites to run those.

1 - dual wheels
2 - steering sulky
3 - dead flat ground

If you don't have all 3, forget it.

The problem with reel mowers is they are not as fast as rotary mowers. They don't cut long crab grass either. Even rotary mower decks have problems cutting long crab grass.

Code:
                              Current Inventory
   24G (Onan 24hp)    24GLX - was 16G  (Onan 24hp)   8249 - was 8129 (Onan 24hp)
        818T (Onan 18hp B48)       8163T - was 8123 (Onan CCKA) 
                              8183T (Onan B48)
   5665 w/brakes        5665        5660        Pro-8         Pro-16 w/brakes

For Gravely Manuals and more visit http://GTCOA.com
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 11:07 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

I like single wheels with the reels
post #7 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 11:18 AM
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Re: My new Gravely

As CTPhil mentioned, you will be much better off starting with a later 7.6 hp, swiftamatic machine than converting an old one. You will invest more time and money and end up with less hp.
What part of NY do you live in? I am in WNY near Buffalo.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: My new Gravely

Would love to just a good running or repairable L8, but wifey doesn't want me to start getting even more motor run equipment. She's already joking about getting me a sign to label my drive as a junk yard. Surprisingly, she isn't complaining about the attachments for the Gravely.
Already put the spin on filter on, plumbed low volume style.
If I recall correctly, to convert low to high volume oil, you swap the inlet screen(also needs to be done for swiftmatic), redo the oil line plumbing, replace the oil unloader, drill two holes in the connecting rod or swap it out with a newer one, add oil drain back holes between the crankcase and transmission and swap the oil pump cover and gears.

I should have 2 of those 3 requirements for the gang mower by next spring. My lawn is pretty flat, and the dual wheels will be coming(managed to almost get stuck with the singles off the side of my yard). Why do you recommend the steering sulky for the gang? I'm used to running old snowblowers that you literally drag around corners.

As far as impressive, I know. I honestly thought that the engine was higher horse than 5 when I got it running, and the blowby is a bit high for my tastes(hence the rebuild planned for this winter, as well as needing a winter project). I'm planning on treating the rebuild the same as I would a car engine rebuild.

Pictures are coming.

P.S. Wifey doesn't mind me buying parts though. If only she realized that I could possibly buy all the parts to build another and those I couldn't by, I should be able to fabricate.

Last edited by Straick; 06-21-2015 at 11:45 AM.
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 12:25 PM
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Re: My new Gravely

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straick View Post
Would love to just a good running or repairable L8, but wifey doesn't want me to start getting even more motor run equipment. She's already joking about getting me a sign to label my drive as a junk yard. Surprisingly, she isn't complaining about the attachments for the Gravely.
Already put the spin on filter on, plumbed low volume style.
If I recall correctly, to convert low to high volume oil, you swap the inlet screen(also needs to be done for swiftmatic), redo the oil line plumbing, replace the oil unloader, drill two holes in the connecting rod or swap it out with a newer one, add oil drain back holes between the crankcase and transmission and swap the oil pump cover and gears.

I should have 2 of those 3 requirements for the gang mower by next spring. My lawn is pretty flat, and the dual wheels will be coming(managed to almost get stuck with the singles off the side of my yard). Why do you recommend the steering sulky for the gang? I'm used to running old snowblowers that you literally drag around corners.

As far as impressive, I know. I honestly thought that the engine was higher horse than 5 when I got it running, and the blowby is a bit high for my tastes(hence the rebuild planned for this winter, as well as needing a winter project). I'm planning on treating the rebuild the same as I would a car engine rebuild.

Pictures are coming.

P.S. Wifey doesn't mind me buying parts though. If only she realized that I could possibly buy all the parts to build another and those I couldn't by, I should be able to fabricate.

If you have a great deal of spare time on your hands, it sounds as though you have sufficient knowledge and ability to complete this job. Otherwise, as mentioned, you would be better off to purchase an L8 (or even an LI), and sell the L you currently have (someone here would certainly take it off your hands). Then again, if you have time and like to learn new things, why not take a stab at it? The steering helps to turn (almost on a dime) large, wide, heavy Gravely attachments, such as 50-60" mowing decks and triple gang reel mowers.
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post #10 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My new Gravely

Sadly, the tag with serial and model information is missing. Here's the pictures of all but my rotary plow.

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I am thinking of making metal covers for the safety clutches to protect them when they aren't in use, plastic bags seem to like blowing off. And, in case you can't tell, I prefer the metal gas cans over the plastic ones, and yes, that is a big funnel sitting upside down on the red can.

Snowblower will be getting a teardown to get the chute turner working, and to get rid of the rust before it destroys it(even though the color won't be right, epoxy spray paint is great for snowblowers), and there will be plenty of pictures. I actually use pictures to keep track of exactly how something coes apart. Makes reassembly easier than getting done and having one weird part left, wondering where it's supposed to go.
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 03:03 PM
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Re: My new Gravely

Welcome Straick! You don't have to worry about replacing your L. You can keep it, and let GAS take care of the rest.


Dave
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post #12 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 03:49 PM
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Re: My new Gravely

First off gravely and only one

G.A.S. will get you a few machines

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Only non L or C machine there is a 526 AKA Wall-E

The only thing I will mention is theres really no need for the high volume oil pump. The low pressure pump will do just fine provided the oil lines are plumbed correctly. And honestly its easier to swap a whole high pressure block on than doing the oil pumps. I think the rod needs drilled for an extra oil passage if you go that route if im not mistaken.

But reguardless nice machine

Steven Turcheck
6? gravely's I think and counting
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post #13 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 04:31 PM
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Re: My new Gravely

Interesting machine... looks like she's had some upgrades as the years have gone-on ( starter, Later hood, front-facing aluminum carb (1963 or later), white grips on the shift levers ( probably replacing original wooden ones ) )

Can you give some pics from under the hood ? (Magneto, and such )

A word of advice on that LH rotary mower - pull the top plate, and make sure there's no water inside the gear box, and if it has to live outside, keep that gearbox well-covered - it will allow water to sneak -past that upper bearing.

I will echo the sentiments about caution on converting to HV oil pump... the main stumbling block is price and availability of the HV gears and cover, both of which have been unobtainable from Gravely for decades...

At any rate, Welcome, and good luck with your project!

( and if you run across a good L-8, grab it ! )
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post #14 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 04:52 PM
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Re: My new Gravely

Don't let the 5hp fool you, as you have already experienced they are way stronger than a "normal" 5hp mower.

If I were you I would run it some more. I have a little bit of blow-by on my machine, but I have been running it for about 20 years now and it still runs like it did when I first got it. When I use it hard and put it away, I always have to add a little oil to the crankcase before starting it, but I can run it all day long and it never runs out of oil. and it never noticeably smokes. You said it runs strong, so I am wondering if putting a new piston and honing or boring the cylinder will give you anything you don't already have.

It's fun putting new attachments on it and trying them out. I always thought they wanted you to run dual wheels with the steering sulky because you need lots of traction when the mower is going straight but the sulky wheels are at a angle.
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post #15 of 31 Old 06-21-2015, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My new Gravely

I'll have to get pics of under the hood later. Can't go near her now(massive yellow jacket nest nearby, and they decided that I wasn't acceptable outside, we'll see who wins tonight).
You are right on the upgrades. I swapped the original cast iron rear facing carb for the aluminum front facing one. I still have the cast iron one, but there was so much rust inside, that I doubt if I'll be able to save it. I did open up the gear box on the deck, and found rust inside. Cleaned out all I could, and the sprayed phosphoric acid into it to help neutralize what was left, followed by a good rinse and heat gun assisted dry. Changing the gearbox lube now any time it looks dirty(grit still working out, and I want it removed).
I did talk to Richards about the HV oil pump, and he might be able to help me out. We'll see this winter when I do the rest. Worst case scenario for me to do one, I get a HV setup that's worn out and get new parts made. It's nice knowing people who run CNC machines.
I also swapped the canister oil filter with the spin on. The big reason I want to run the HV oil pump is to be able to keep clean oil flowing into the engine. I prefer any grit to be removed before it hits bearings.
Gravely1964, you are right. You can either swap the rod with a newer one with the hole, or you dril a 1/8" hole into the bottom of the rod and chamfer the outer edges. I have Gravely's conversion instructions saved on the computer. You also have to modify the engine cover as well(drill and tap an alignment pin hole).

Now, if only the cloud of yellow jackets would go back into the wall where there nest is so that I can kill them. I've never seen that many at one nest.
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