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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, proud to be here.
I just picked up a 1964 L8 Gravely with brush hog deck and sickle bar. My dad was 17 years old when this thing was made!

Seems to have been well taken care of. Purchased from former owner's grandson. I am a first time Gravely owner and need the machine to brush hog around my 3 acre property. I have been going through $30 used modern push mowers. haha. I have limited experience maintaining lawn equipment but this forum seems like it will be a great resource for me. I do have a hand me down Craftsman rider, 19hp briggs that mows the finished lawn area.

Here's what I've noticed:
  1. Battery's dead and does not seem to be holding a charge, but I will put it on trickle charge overnight.
  2. Seller was able to start it with jumper cables, with positive lead to starter. Battery was too dead with jumper cable leads on battery and foot starter button.
  3. Oil looks clean.
  4. Throttle cable rod was not connected. I likely need a new one. Original rod is all mangled.
  5. I know i'm missing the right side fin cover plate, and that it is needed for cooling.
  6. No choke cable. Not sure if there was one on the '64.
I'm attaching some pics. I did download the manuals and I'm reading them.

I see some nice throttle setups here:

See anything unusual in my photos?
Any recommendations for an aftermarket or used good throttle rod/cable? Can I run the machine without one, for now?
Anybody in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange County NY that has a heat shield plate? I'm looking around fb marketplace, Craigslist.

Thanks
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Welcome 1964!

The wierdest thing I see in your pix is that battery hold-down :) Overall the machine does look in good shape. It's a bonus that they were able to get it to fire by jumping it.

Throttle: As long as the handle is intact (pic 3 looks like it's there) all you need as a length of soft iron wire. In a pinch a coat hanger would do. Just run that down to the belcrank (which controls the governor) on the front of the carb.

There is no choke cable. The little hand lever on the side of the carb is the choke.

For the right-side baffle, try Richards (gravelyparts.com) or GTgravelyparts.

I recommend changing the oil and filter anyway. That's way cheaper than any damage.

You'll find this machine to be way sturdier than what you've been using. It's a great choice for hacking through brush.

Good luck, and keep posting pix!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here's 2 more photos of the throttle rod, resting in place on the plate at carb. I can unconnect the spring on the governor, rotate the plate back to feed in the throttle rod with pliers, but when I reconnect the governor spring, and turn the throttle control near the handle grip, the throttle rod pops off the plate.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome 1964!

The wierdest thing I see in your pix is that battery hold-down :) Overall the machine does look in good shape. It's a bonus that they were able to get it to fire by jumping it.

Throttle: As long as the handle is intact (pic 3 looks like it's there) all you need as a length of soft iron wire. In a pinch a coat hanger would do. Just run that down to the belcrank (which controls the governor) on the front of the carb.

There is no choke cable. The little hand lever on the side of the carb is the choke.

For the right-side baffle, try Richards (gravelyparts.com) or GTgravelyparts.

I recommend changing the oil and filter anyway. That's way cheaper than any damage.

You'll find this machine to be way sturdier than what you've been using. It's a great choice for hacking through brush.

Good luck, and keep posting pix!
Thank you for the welcome and quick reply! I posted another couple photos and will look for some soft iron wire.
The manuals are great reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One other annoying issue is there appears to be a fuel leak under the tank somewhere. The garage stinks of fuel overnight. I did pressure wash the machine this morning, carefully. See photo below from just now. Are there any common leak points under the tank here? I see the sediment bowl is dirty too.

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The common leak point is that settling bowl gasket. New settling bowls have better cut-off valves and worth the money.
My L was built in '56. It tortured me as a kid by always starting and running....always. It worked me to death.
The bolts on the sickle bars are special. Tractor supply places have them. Buy extras.
 

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Hi all, proud to be here.
I just picked up a 1964 L8 Gravely with brush hog deck and sickle bar. My dad was 17 years old when this thing was made!

Seems to have been well taken care of. Purchased from former owner's grandson. I am a first time Gravely owner and need the machine to brush hog around my 3 acre property. I have been going through $30 used modern push mowers. haha. I have limited experience maintaining lawn equipment but this forum seems like it will be a great resource for me. I do have a hand me down Craftsman rider, 19hp briggs that mows the finished lawn area.

Here's what I've noticed:
  1. Battery's dead and does not seem to be holding a charge, but I will put it on trickle charge overnight.
  2. Seller was able to start it with jumper cables, with positive lead to starter. Battery was too dead with jumper cable leads on battery and foot starter button.
  3. Oil looks clean.
  4. Throttle cable rod was not connected. I likely need a new one. Original rod is all mangled.
  5. I know i'm missing the right side fin cover plate, and that it is needed for cooling.
  6. No choke cable. Not sure if there was one on the '64.
I'm attaching some pics. I did download the manuals and I'm reading them.

I see some nice throttle setups here:

See anything unusual in my photos?
Any recommendations for an aftermarket or used good throttle rod/cable? Can I run the machine without one, for now?
Anybody in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange County NY that has a heat shield plate? I'm looking around fb marketplace, Craigslist.

Thanks
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View attachment 2561647
Welcome! I think almost everything has been covered. When you go to order your parts I suggest getting a few sentiment bowl gaskets and some implements gaskets and a spark plug. Comes in handy to have them on the shelf. The other thing you may not know is that the battery is used to start the tractor. There is NO charging system. You must always charge the battery with a charger. Good luck any questions just reach out to the group. There is a lot of Gravely knowledge in this group
 

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Concur on the gascolator leaking. Definitely clean that up and put in a new gasket.

You may also have a small leak around the fitting, I see some peeled paint in that area.

Those fittings are soldered to the bottom of the tank. That generally proves pretty resilient, but they do fail every so often. If you try to resolder it, make sure the tank is thoroughly clean first! Or you can use a tank sealer, like the one made by POR.

On your throttle, that handle is kind of banged up, and installed backwards. I would turn it around, and fab up a piece of wire, bent properly at the bottom so that it will stay in the belcrank. The length of the wire is not critical, as long as you can get decent travel out of the belcrank, you'll be fine.
 

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Welcome 1964. Nice find on the tractor. I will add to what others have said.

1. I would chuck the glass fuel bowl and replace it with a shut off valve like this one and add an inline fuel filter. The sediment bowls were somewhat necessary back when the tractor was new but gasoline is better now. My father had them on his old Gravelys and that fitting leaked and was repaired may times (I recall as a kid).
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If the tank still leaks, take it to a radiator shop to have it boiled out and resoldered. NEVER attempt to weld it. Can you say BOOM!


2. The battery does not recharge while the engine is running, if you don't already know that.
3. Never shift the range lever (on the right below the gas tank) while the tractor is moving. Stop the tractor to switch between hi and lo range.
4. The mower has the Mdl 58 drive. Having used one for many, many years it is not a robust drive for serious bush hogging. It is fine for grass and weeds but nothing heavier. The bottom of the casting where it attaches to the deck shell is prone to cracking and then oil leaks. Find a 106 drive for heavy stuff.
5. When you run the sicklebar slow is good. Just above half throttle or slower and low gear. Higher speeds will shake it and the tractor apart. Those flat head bolts on the bar are called plow bolts and available through Fastenal and maybe Tractor Supply. I never bolted knives on the bar. I used rivets after cutting the heads off with a cold chisel. TSC should have them too.

Good luck.
 

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Looks a lot like my L-8, just took it to a Gravely mechanic yesterday. It ran till I touched it, dont know what the heck I did to it other than take starter off and paint it, put new chain on it, sand and paint rusty battery tray but the main prob was that Gol-dern remote PTO/blade on-off, I bought new parts for it put it together 10 times and apparently still didnt do something right.
I was gonna sell it but I would have taken a bath on it because with it not running I could have never gotten what I paid for it, I guess the blade was turning when we put it on the truck who knows.
Im sure it'll cost me a grip when he's done w/it because I gotta get a blade somewhere prolly Richards and the pretty good deck it came with is on my sons L model.
Well I hope you have fun with yours, when I got mine the guys on here said the L-8 is pretty much the top of the line in L models and has some good features. Had I known about the guy not to far from here that retired from the Gravely distributor/dealership and still works on them I woulda just taken it to him and he woulda just fixed it instead of me messing it up.
Well live and learn like they say eh? lol.
Like I said have fun because they say the L-8s are great machines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all for your responses! I will get to working on ordering a few items and will change oil, oil filter and air filter.

I need a new hose from air cleaner to carb. Mine is cracked on the bottom. I've found the Dayco/ Napa/Autozone part numbers on a search here and will aim to get one of those too. Today, I drained the little gas that was in it. I will get rid of the sediment bowl and replace with shutoff valve and standard gas filter, like on my craftsman rider. Hope that will take care of the leak.

Shucks! MDL 58! Next thing you'll tell me is that I have a 3 cog. haha. I've been reading a bit around here. I'm sure this will accomplish most of my "soft brush" hogging where my push Toro was getting beat up. I do have an area that has heavy prickers and sappling type stuff i'd like to remove some day. I will keep an eye out for a cheap 106 that have the ribbed bolted piece atop the deck I believe.

Here are some photos of the MDL58. Looks to be in working order with nice blade. I see some oil residue underneath, but not too bad.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Furthermore, in an effort to keep some foot traffic in here, I will post more photos.
On to the sickle bar. What do you guys think? Is it all there? Clutched end spins by hand pretty easily. Blades move without much friction. The thing is heavy!
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The sickle bar looks decent. Kind of looks like the teeth need sharpening. Hint: You can do that by removing the center drive block, sliding the bar out one end, and carefully using a belt sander to dress up the teeth. I'm sure somebody's going to jump on me for that technique :)

You need to see if the bottom end (the big round casing where the drive arm comes out) is holding oil. Many times they do not. There's a cork gasket where the housing swivels on the drive column which often goes bad. You can also have a sloppy bushing around drive arm. All that can be rebuilt. But you can just stick some 90W in there to at least test it.

The top section (pipe plugs above the drive column) takes grease. That's generally ok, but open it up and check it.

You'll also want to adjust (bend) the blade guides. The teeth should be snug against the cutter plates. Not binding, but not sloppy either.

When running with the sickle bar, keep the PTO RPM low. Low speed, and maybe 1/4 to 1/3 throttle. Crank it up, and the attachment will shake itself apart.

Post some pix/vids of it in action. The sickle bar is a fun attachment to use :). And yes, it's heavy!
 

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Ive got one, it came with an old parts tractor I bought, the seller asked me if I wanted it and I said " I recon, lets toss it on the truck" shoot, may as well tried to toss the L model on the truck because that thing about killed me. Its laying in the same place I put it 3 yrs ago wen I got it. I had to drag it off down the 2 x 10"s by myself. I think its got a prob or two with where it goes into the pto.
 

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The top section (pipe plugs above the drive column) takes grease. That's generally ok, but open it up and check it.
Sorry, misinformation there. The top pipe plug (in the curved section) fills the chamber with the double-u-joint with grease. The bottom pipe plug, at the top of the drive column, is the filler for oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ive got one, it came with an old parts tractor I bought, the seller asked me if I wanted it and I said " I recon, lets toss it on the truck" shoot, may as well tried to toss the L model on the truck because that thing about killed me. Its laying in the same place I put it 3 yrs ago wen I got it. I had to drag it off down the 2 x 10"s by myself. I think its got a prob or two with where it goes into the pto.
Gerrard, if you've got the right side shield and its not too much trouble to mail it to me in NY, i'm interested. i'll send you a private message to see how much you'd like for it. thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll get a pic of it tomorrow while im outside mowing and you can show me what it is you need.
Hi! Thanks for responding. I ordered the right air deflector from GTgravelyparts.com for $8. Thanks for the offer though.
I also ordered the fuel shut off to get rid of the sediment bowl and inline fuel filter. Spark plug and a couple attachment gaskets too. Should arrive next week. I'll report back when I get them installed.
 

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OMG I didnt even realize you was talking about the cooling tins that almost encircle the jug to catch and spread the air from fan, I honestly thot you was talking about something from the sicle /sycle. lol. Thats why I said I would get a pic so you could show me what you needed from it. Too much on my tiny little mind right now.
I just tried to post the pics I took a hr or so ago from my new fone but that stupid Google has me all hemmed up, its like they want a pass word for everything I do and I make new ones and confirm them and the next day I try to do something they say sign in and the password is wrong, drivin me nuts.
I may have cooling fins on a parts tractor if you need them and I have them I'd just give em to you.
 
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