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Do not use oil additives in the L gravely. They may harm yellow metals as well as the clutches. The expected result is confirming there is a oil stream.
 

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What are others here with old machines doing for lead substitute ?
I run Avgas :)

But it's really not critical. They'll run for years on pump gas with no ill effects.

A thing you can do which is cheap and helpful is run a little MMO in the gas (like maybe 1-2 ounces per tank) I would expect that to mitigate any small amount of valve seat wear. I *know* it helps prevent valves from sticking.

One of the less good design features of the T head is that there's not great lubrication of the valve stems. The engine generally runs cool enough that it won't keep the carbon burned off, so it builds up. Especially if the machine isn't run for a while and stopped with the exhaust valve open, you'll find it's prone to sticking.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Ok guys, I changed the oil, cleaned the oil filter canister, reinstalled. cleaned the air filter as best I could, refilled the air filter to the lower bend. Installed the carb at preliminary settings at 1.5 turns out on both the main jet and the idle jet. Put non ethanol gas mixed with MMO. 2 pulls and she started. Went drove it with the sickle bar on disengaged about 5 mins and noticed the exhaust cherry red, adjusted the carb for more fuel on main jet and idle jet. Was able to run it around for about 10 more mins, then discovered the muffler has a hole in it directly towards the engine. Tried to Castles Thrust the bolts, but both snapped anyway. So the muffler is off. Now to get a new muffler. Oh BTW I did engage the sickle for a few mins, it ground a little going in, is that normal?
 

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Ok guys, I changed the oil, cleaned the oil filter canister, reinstalled. cleaned the air filter as best I could, refilled the air filter to the lower bend. Installed the carb at preliminary settings at 1.5 turns out on both the main jet and the idle jet. Put non ethanol gas mixed with MMO. 2 pulls and she started. Went drove it with the sickle bar on disengaged about 5 mins and noticed the exhaust cherry red, adjusted the carb for more fuel on main jet and idle jet. Was able to run it around for about 10 more mins, then discovered the muffler has a hole in it directly towards the engine. Tried to Castles Thrust the bolts, but both snapped anyway. So the muffler is off. Now to get a new muffler. Oh BTW I did engage the sickle for a few mins, it ground a little going in, is that normal?

Grinding engaging the PTO is normal. Have the rpm's low and don't baby the PTO lever.

I've had an exhaust header glowing on a car that jumped time, the fuel was burning in the exhaust. I haven't dug deep enough to know anything about how these motors are timed so I don't know if that's a possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Thanks for the heads up on the PTO engagement.
Is there a poor mans way of confirming the exhaust valve is seating properly? I have suspicions (flames shooting out of the exhaust pipe at higher RPMs) that the valve is not seating.
 

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If your compression is ok the exhaust valve is probably fine.

A thing you could check is the lash in the valve lifter. On a '49 you access the lifter by pulling up the spring-loaded valve cover. You'll see the bottom of the valve stem, and a hex head in the top of the lifter. You're supposed to have .012 (I think, check the manual) clearance when the lifter is down.

You can adjust the clearance by turning the hex head at the top of the lifter.
 

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Get exhaust valve open by turning strap pulley. Then tilt tractor toward exhaust side. Then pour in plenty of MMO and give it a day or two to penetrate the stem and valve area. When its started it will smoke badly. BTW I have gotten flame and glowing muffler using sea foam. I would not have used any additive at all in gas. You are making a mistake not following procedures in early L manuals. You may have to pull valve and clean guide and use at very least another spring.
 

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These engines are a little bit difficult to pull start, you have to pull them with authority and you need your implement on the front and sometimes it needs to be against something so the pull rope doesn't pull the whole tractor around when you pull on it.

If the above sounds like what you are going through, I would say your exhaust valve is good, you have good compression.

Don't be afraid to mess with the main jet adjustment. Get it all warmed up, and rev it up high, it would be preferable to have the rotary mower on it and engaged to present a load. With it running like that, turn the main jet out till it starts stumbling and running rich. Then turn it in till it just clears up. It will run the best like that, but it may be a little bit stinky, you get that exhaust smell in your clothes after you are done using the tractor. If that bothers you you can lean it out just a little bit more to get rid of the smell, but I have found out in the winter in cold weather, it runs better moving it back out just a little bit.

You can engage the pto without it grinding. I am surprised more guys on here that are particular about their tractors don't do this. I do it because I do not like the grinding and crunching metal when I turn the pto on.

1. Put the high low speed lever in the middle in neutral. Then lightly push the forward reverse lever to forward. When the tractor is cold, you will find with the high low in neutral, the tractor will move with authority and usually in high when the forward lever is pushed.

2. Move the tractor gently toward a large object that doesn't move, and you do not care about getting a little scraped up. This can be a old building or a tree, old stump, etc. With the high low still in neutral, push the forward lever till the implement gently touches your holding object, and then press down farther on the foward lever. You will hear the engine load down a little bit, while holding the forward lever so the tractor is pressing against your object, push the pto in with your foot.

3. If you lightly press the pto with your foot, while pressing on the forward lever, you can feel the pto speed slowing down when it's speed is slow enough the pto lever will drop right in.

After you used the tractor and the oil is hot, usually you do not need the large object, just put the tractor high low in neutral and then engage forward the tractor usually does not move. The pto will go right in no grinding. What you are doing is locking the high low planetary together with the forward and reverse planetary. Since the tractor can't move, the forward reverse planetary will stop the high low planatary, which are what is causing the grinding.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Thank you guys, the grinding did bother me and I will try the technique you mentioned, hi low in neutral, which is in between, and the forward lever in forward against an immovable object, then using my foot to engage PTO. Also I did not move the main jet open enough to affect the running of the machine. I willl try that after I rig the exhaust up. Also the compression is enough that I move the whole tracto if I don’t put my right foot anchored on the plate below the engine block. It has very good compession. If I try to pull the engine over and hit the compression stroke too soon it will not turn over by rope. I use my hand on the crank to get it past the compression stroke and it wants to roll far enough to loosen and unwind the pull rope. Thank all of you for the tricks, hints, and ideas.
I feel that the fuel is still lean and the main jet needs to be backed out Tull it wants to die.
So my first step is exhaust, then run the engine and add fuel through the main jet till the engine is running rough, then back it out till it runs good and see where that puts me.
 

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It can only help not having that hot exhaust puffing back into the cooling fins of the cylinder jug if that is what was happening.

When starting, I will wind my belt around the pulley and then give it a gentle pull till it stops, which is right against the compression stroke. Then I wind the extra rope I have generated back around the pulley till it's just right, and my initial pull is right into the compression stroke.

That is another advantage to making your own pull strap, you can make it longer, so you can wrap it around and still have enough where you do not have to bend over so far to pull on it. Another trick I have found, if you change the angle of your pull, and pull more upward, it will tend to move the tractor less than pulling at a angle lower to the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Excuse no updates for a while.
I have a buddy of mine putting together an exhaust to fit after the manifold. I fired it up today (2 pulls) just briefly (2 minutes or so)and it ran very well. I shut it down and pulled the jug cover again to look at the exhaust valve, it appears to be seating well. But I did notice the snap is happening ever so slightly BTDC. Does anybody know how to adjust timing on a Bendix magneto? Should I leave well enough alone? I am attaching pics to show the very slight BTDC.
Also one more thing, how do I use a feeler gauge to check valve adjustment, is removing the jug the only way?
 

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Discussion Starter #54
The first pic above shows exactly when it snapped, the second pic shows true TDC. The 3rd pic shows the 1949s lack of access to the valve stem
 

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Wait till someone else chimes in who may know a little more, but if it starts on the second pull and runs good, I would not mess with it.

Believe me, you would have known already if it was too advanced. It will jerk the pull rope out of your hand so fast you are standing there wondering what happened, you hand throbbing at the same time. You look to make sure you still have all your fingers still intact.

I forget how you set the overall timing, I think you move the whole magneto? But I do remember you can set the snap timing separately by taking the cover off the magneto opposite the points cover. I moved the adjustment just a hair and it quit the painful starting episodes.
 

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You should be able to slide that stamped steel cover upward to get at the valve lifter. It would do you no good to pull the jug, as the valve would come with it, and then you've got no clearance to measure. Yes, that cover is a pain :)

Timing: Adjust the coupling on the end of the cam extension shaft which drives the mag. There were different couplings; later models had a square steel number with a bolt which locks it onto the shaft. My '50 has one with a big nut which you back off to adjust the business end of the coupling. Whichever, loosen the coupling, rotate the mag to the mark (or wherever it snaps, if there is no mark), turn the engine to TDC, and retighten.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Ok thanks for the info. I pryed the locking pin tab up and loosened the big nut on the magneto cam connection, it took me a few try’s to get the snap exactly where I wanted it at the true TDC. But now it’s perfect. Obviously retightend and locked the nut.
The exhaust valve was under the spring loaded cover exactly as stated above, by JRD. I ran the piston to TDC and tried to get a .015 feeler gauge under the stem, it was WAY to tight. So I held the 9/16 locking nut and turned the 1/2 adjusting nut clockwise and like magic the exhaust valve is adjusted properly. Pics, oh don’t mind the 3/8 extension, that’s just there to hold the adjustment window open. I could not do it without MTF and the great contributors here. Thanks guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
I am still waiting on my exhaust part, but I had to start the Gravley and see how it ran. 2 pulls and it took right off, it was obviously loud but it ran smooth at idle. I was very impressed with the lack of soot that was present every time I ran it before (it would blacken the grass below the exhaust manifold). I can’t wait to get my part and run this old machine. I am in the process of degreasing it and cleaned out the fins of the jug behind the fan. I am pretty sure with the help of MTF and it’s contributors this 49 is going back into service after a long 50 year sleep. Thanks everybody!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Ok guys I’m back, the Gravley started and ran well, that is before jumping timing and stalling. So I had time today to reset the timing, and got to run the sickle bar mower for a bit, it ran excellent and j was happy with the heat (or lack of) that was produced from the old engine. This beast is a dangerous, yet useful machine. Next is the sulky and mower deck to see how all that operates, how do I tell it it’s a mower deck or brush hog? Thanks again MTF.
 
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