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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread is dedicated to the resurrection, preservation and continuous enhancements of my newly acquired 1977 Economy Tractor. In it you will find in chronological order the beginning of when I first got it to other miscellaneous projects and updates that I will be doing, or, have already done to it. A lot of times you might find my writing style a bit long-winded but I like to document what I'm thinking as I'm going through each project to look back upon to remember each step of the way. Feel free to skim, or, follow along if you enjoy all the details.

My Previous Background With This Tractor:

I bought this tractor in May of 2013 from the family who bought it new. Growing up as a young kid, I used to watch across the chain link fence as they would mow and always thought that it was one of the coolest looking tractors. It was the loudest machine with the mowing deck on, as soon as I'd hear it fire up, I'd go running out to go watch it creep around in 1st gear. It has had an easy life of strictly mowing a 1/4" lot and was used on and off for that job until about 5-6 years ago where it hasn't been ran since. In fact, it was always stored inside their garage until it lost its space to a supercar of all things! I had always figured that if I had asked them about selling it I would get rejected but I realized that if I didn't, I would always wonder. My initial hesitations were turned around as in fact they were, possibly even going to sell it this summer and seemed happy to have the interest!

Inspection Time:




When I went to go inspect its condition, it was really neat seeing it up close again and remembering back. I was happy to find there were no dings or major rust and even all of the decals were still present. What I do remember though was the paint being shinier than it is now, more red in color... we're going to have to do something about that eventually. I was a little bummed however to find this machine is not equipped with a hydraulic lift, I would say the majority of 1614's that I've seen have this setup so I was going into it expecting that it would. At first it didn't bother me, and I will quote myself from another thread: "The bummer is that it does not have the second transmission, or, hydraulics- which in particular was really hoping that it had. Is this a deal breaker? Not even a slim chance!". BUT, after thinking it over more and what my intentions were going to be for it, it did. So much so that I actually took a few days to research my options before I committed to it. I knew above anything else I wanted an Economy Power King after seeing this one in person again, but I knew that I needed that hydraulic setup for a future blade attachment. I asked around on a few forums that have very knowledgeable members on these particular machines regarding the logistics of a conversion, and my concerns of finding the parts and being over my head were immediately put to rest. I learned there aren't a million and half little intricate pieces that make up the hydraulic system and for the most part, they are fairly easy to locate and some can even be bought new as well. The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious and clear that I should choose this particular machine over finding one that I had no history with. What was I thinking finding a whole different machine when I could have this one that I have had a past with? Isn't that alone worth it I asked myself? When I attempted to bring it home, something was seized as both rear wheels would not turn. It took starting it and putting it in to gear momentarily to break whatever was lose, free.

Here is a video bringing it home. FYI, we are tractor friendly of all colors so please refrain from negative comments about the John Deere pulling it if you feel the need to do so. I really don't think that will be a problem here but it sure was at some other places I posted the photos.




Back to Hydraulics

While I was doing research on conversions, a member referred me to someone who was parting out a 1976 1614, all of which had hydraulics. Just for fun to get an idea of what I'd be paying for a whole setup for reference purposes, I sent an email to him to see what he'd have to have for the complete system. After pricing some of the individual parts such as on Ebay that make up the system, I was shocked when he offered me what he did. He was super knowledgeable about these tractors and we talked close to 1/2" on the phone about them and how to do a conversion. So the big surprise here is that I bought a complete, functioning, hydraulic system for my machine and will eventually be doing a conversion! I am pretty darn stoked. What's funny is that even though this machine is a manual lift setup, the belt for a hydraulic pump is already stored in the machine where pump gets mounted!

I do have some other ideas drummed up that I have in mind as well. Some of them you may not like, understand or agree with some of them but the fun is to personalize your machines to your own liking. I partly bought this tractor as a means of a continuous project to tinker on, on the weekends. This means that not everything will be happening all at once so as I go along everything will get covered as the time comes.

In a mostly sequential order that is more than likely subject to change, here is what I have planned to do so far:

1. Clean up/degrease entire machine
2. Clean fuel system
3. Replace sparkplug, air filter
4. Install a battery box and new battery
5. Change out all of the fluids; Engine oil, transmission, differential, gear cases, steering box. Grease zerks.
6. Replace front tires with next taller size
7. Space out front and rear wheels 1-1/2"-2"
8. Sharpen blades
9. Repaint front steel lower grill guard
10. Buff out paint- It was shiny!
11. Install rear LED spotlight won from MTF's April 2013 MOM contest
12. Hydraulic conversion
13. Locate and install a rear grader blade on the 3 PT.
14. Have seat recovered
15. Locate and install the optional second transmission feature

The photos seen below were just as I got it, original dirt and everything.















 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Saturday was the start of working on it, the object was to get it all cleaned up and degreased.

I used a full can of degreaser on it and the majority of it is done including cleaning the deck, however below the tractor around the gear cases specifically will need more degreasing. I scrubbed the whole top side down. It's now ready for a polish.

I pulled the fuel line off of the inlet of the fuel pump as I wanted to see if fuel was even flowing from the tank. As soon as I began to pull the hose, it crumbled and broke a part in my hand. At this point I knew I had to replace the hoses so I removed the gas tank and pulled off the second fuel line that goes from the fuel pump to the carb. They are hard as a rock and the one leading from the tank to the pump is all broken down inside. I attached a straw to the fuel pump blew the it out and quite a bit of yellow varnish gas squirted out.

While I had the tank off, I took the liberty to polish it as it had lost its shine. I flushed out the inside of it too and also cleaned the fuel screen on the shot off valve, but they both didn't even really even in need. The tank is super clean inside.

Over the weekend I ordered a sparkplug, air filter & pre filter. I've got a battery box on the way and once that comes I'll purchase a battery, fuel line, engine oil, carb cleaner, more degreaser and lots of gear oil. I'm not sure why those metal strap plates where mounted on top of the engine cover as you saw in the first photos of it above, but they're not going back on. I'm guess that it possibly vibrated and they put those on there to cure the noise. If that's case, I'll figure out a way to absorb it.



 

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What a beautiful machine, Austen. Congratulations! Looking very forward to your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What a beautiful machine, Austen. Congratulations! Looking very forward to your progress.
Thanks Ellis!

It's fun to finally have a GT, it's been something that I've wanted to own for quite some time. :)
 

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That's not even dirty.When I got my 77 2414 it looked like a family of wolverines had used it for a summer home. Enjoy!:fing32:
 

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Austen, this is mainly joking of course but...
With that beauty and the PK you could pull them with a Gravely and they would still look good!! LOL:trink39:
Look forward to another excellant redo of it!!
Capture.JPG
 

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That's not even dirty.When I got my 77 2414 it looked like a family of wolverines had used it for a summer home. Enjoy!:fing32:
I will agree with Mike 604, that is very clean. The paint even looks great.

I would also agree those metal strap plates where mounted on top for the vibration. My 75 Jim Dandy has washers on the bottom and the top. It still vibrates a little.

Old Rusty Metal
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats one good lookin machine... The hardest part of putting on your hydrolics is the drive belt. Look into buying a few feet of this and your problems will go away...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gates-rubber-co-A-section-Supreme-V-link-belting-41-black-Adjustable-V-belt-/290914106379?pt=BI_Heavy_Equipment_Parts&hash=item43bbd4fc0b#ht_912wt_934
Thanks Kevin! I appreciate the resource as it's been in the back of my mind about where to purchase one of these. :fing32: What's interesting is that a belt is already tucked away in the bell housing for this setup! I'm not sure if this was something that PK normally did or maybe a fluke thing that happened along the assembly line, but it'll make for a more convenient install.

Congrats on your new acquisition . You have a good reason to be excited that's a great looking machine .
Thanks!

That's not even dirty.When I got my 77 2414 it looked like a family of wolverines had used it for a summer home. Enjoy!
Haha, whenever I purchase a used machine, it doesn't matter how clean it is when I get it. It's still dirty to me until I get my hand on cleaning it up. And thanks, it's going to be a great ongoing project.

Austen, this is mainly joking of course but...
With that beauty and the PK you could pull them with a Gravely and they would still look good!! LOL
Look forward to another excellant redo of it!!
Attachment 295754
:biglaugh:

My little sister and I both had a great time making that memory together. :fing32:

Thanks Sonny.

:tee:

I will agree with Mike 604, that is very clean. The paint even looks great.

I would also agree those metal strap plates where mounted on top for the vibration. My 75 Jim Dandy has washers on the bottom and the top. It still vibrates a little.

Old Rusty Metal
That would make sense about the strap plates. It sounds like I'll more than likely figure out a vibration dampening system, maybe with some rubber washers of the sort like you mentioned.

Thanks again guys.
 

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Austen, this is mainly joking of course but...
With that beauty and the PK you could pull them with a Gravely and they would still look good!! LOL:trink39:
Look forward to another excellant redo of it!!
View attachment 295754
Easy on the Gravely jokes there, tough guy :00000060:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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.



Battery Box:
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.

Fuel System:
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.

Ignition System:
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.
 

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Austen, Please consider installing a fuel filter between the fuel pump and the carb. I have had problems with the fuel pump flaking small bit of rubber and getting them stuck under the carb float valve resulting in a flooded engine or fuel leaking out the inlet of the carb.

BUD
 

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Austen, I think you are doing a great job with the Economy. I will be following along. My grandfather had a 12 hp Economy and I would love to find one some day but they seem to be scarce here. Its always great when you can find things that you can relate to a time in your life.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Austen, Please consider installing a fuel filter between the fuel pump and the carb.
Great idea, thanks for the suggestion!

Austen, I think you are doing a great job with the Economy. I will be following along. My grandfather had a 12 hp Economy and I would love to find one some day but they seem to be scarce here. Its always great when you can find things that you can relate to a time in your life.
Austen, I think you are doing a great job with the Economy. I will be following along. My grandfather had a 12 hp Economy and I would love to find one some day but they seem to be scarce here. Its always great when you can find things that you can relate to a time in your life.
Thanks a lot! :)

That's really neat how you remember your grandfather's, I'll bet that you have some fond memories of the two together. Keep your eyes out for one and surely one will come surface in your area. I agree, having a past relationship with a machine makes it all the more meaningful. :fing32:

Austen;
thanks for the update, your doing fantastic work on your tractor.
Dan
Thanks Dan, much appreciated!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
6/2/2013 Update:



Not too much new since last week but the new idler pulleys for the deck came in. As nice as they are, I'm actually going to be exchanging one of them so that I can have a matching pair. The rivets are not facing the same direction and when it comes to somebody (me) who agonizes over small aesthetic details like this, it makes all the difference. Having said that, I was still able to cut the lawn a bit with it sans the idlers. The blades are actually not too dull and was impressed with the cut, it really does well for this job. I think you could hear it a mile away though with the deck on, lol.

I was also able to finish degreasing the rest of the top portion of the machine. I think that I'm going to finish doing the bottom side once I pull the trans tunnel/floorboards/seat assembly off when I do the hydraulic conversion later this year and have a small rust hole fixed.


Anyway, the short term is:

-Paint the front "bumper" (rusty piece in front of the grill)
-Fabrication of custom wheel adapters
-Install new, slightly taller, front tires: 4.80-12
-Rewire the headlights

Long term:
-Hydraulic conversion
-Make new hydraulic lines
-Repair rust hole on floorboard
-Install rear work light
-Breakerless ignition install
-Seat recover
-Powdercoat wheel rims & front bumper

Regarding the wheels adapters, the reason that I've chosen to go this route versus simply reversing the rim directions is because I don't want the wheels stuck out that far when they are installed in that manner. I spun all four around this weekend and while the front looks good, I don't like how the rears are not covered at all underneath the fenders, it just doesn't look right to me that way. I also prefer the look (...remember, this is Mr. Aesthetics) to have the insides of the rims facing out than vice versa. This option will allow for custom front and rear offsets to give the tractor a slightly more aggressive stance while still keeping the rears somewhat tucked under the fenders. Motorsport Tech who's a sponsor here is the company who will be doing the work.







 
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