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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for another project and have never owned a Gravely so this is what I'm looking for. There are many models out there, and powerplants came from all the big three (Kohler's/Onan/Briggs).

Are the modern red versions considered better than the older white versions?

I also like the simiplicity of a single cylinder K/Magnum Kohler and Briggs 32000.

Of the rear engine models, which are preferred for ease of maintenance, toughness and parts availability?

Do all the attachments interchange like they do for Wheel Horses? (spec. mower decks and snow blowers)
 

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That's a lot of questions....

But the basic answers are pretty simple.

All rear engine gear drive GRAVELY 4 wheel tractors, of the 800 series, 8000 series, 8000-G series and Professional G series represent the evolution of a single design from 1971 to the end of production around 2002.

They are built around an 8 speed cast iron trans-axle with separate forward and reverse clutches providing instant forward/reverse transition. The engine drives the trans-axle directly, no shafts, no belts. The PTO clutch is a wet double cone clutch inside the trans-axle.

The mower decks are drive shaft driven with one or two belts driving the blades, and the bagger/vacuum system uses one, other than that everything is drive shafts, no PTO belts.

Over those many years power ranged from 12HP singles to twins as big as 24HP.

Changes were evolutionary, never a complete redesign, so many parts interchange over a wide range of models.

But, there were several major changes to the frame, seating position, and looks, making the later tractors taller and longer than the earlier ones.

With some minor exceptions, attachments interchange across the whole history.

GRAVELY still supports wear parts pretty well, and many parts, like bearings and seals, are standard automotive and industrial parts.

Here is a picture of my 1995 production G series tractor:



You can learn a lot about this tractor, which has many upgrades and mods, in this thread:

Latest 16G improvements

It is a bit of a long read at this point, but it covers a lot about these machines.

Feel free to ask more questions........

Sheldon
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you so much Sheldon, excellent info, and I will check out your thread. What a beautiful tractor too!
 

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I own/have owned at least one of every rider series except the 400s. You ask which is the best. That's pretty subjective.

This chronology is an approximation.

The 800s may well be the most robust, mainly because, while small by comparison to other series, are very heavy. They may well be the simplest of the riders to maintain. They are bone shakers though. The only cushioning is a pair of springs under the seat pan that look like valve springs from an old pushrod V8. I rolled one of these over on myself (long story, don't ask unless you REALLY need to 🤣) and to look at it, you would never know. The really bad sector steering held over from the 400 riders was replaced, late in the 800 series, with the vastly better rack and pinion steering.

The early 8000s are pretty much the same as the 800s. The first ones were identical except the white paint was replaced with red. Along the way, they changed the clutches from the cam style to the trunnion version.

The 8000Gs were different. They had the long frame which gave a more comfortable ride. Effective seat springs softened things a lot. The venerable hand operated F/R lever became a pedal. Better steering geometry further improved steering.

The G series, like Sheldon's 16G, above, are easily the most refined. Over the years I have had six of them and still own three. In my opinion, they are the best of the Gravely riders. They were made, over their lifespan, in single cylinder 12 and 14 HP, and twin cylinder 16, 18, and 20 HP versions. The 16G is easily the most common. The 18G and 20G had more bells and whistles. For the record, the 16HP Kohler and 18HP Kohler used by Gravely are essentially the same engine. The designations were almost certainly the work of the Marketing Department.

In my opinion, the G-series tractors are the best Gravely riders. I like my 16Gs. My number one tractor these days is a 1998 or 1999 Briggs Vanguard powered 16G with electric hydraulics. It is refined. The modern Vanguard is smoother and quieter than the flathead Kohlers. These late model 16Gs had the wider wheels and tires of the 18 and 20Gs.

There are two outliers. At first glance the 24G looks like any other G-series, but it isn't. It is an altogether larger machine, and different in many way. Then there is the totally different 900/9000 tractors. These are interesting but in a class of their own.

I'm sure more answers will follow mine.

Good luck and happy choosing!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent info Mikey4, thanks!

Question about the mower decks: what is the max cutting height that can be achieved? I like Wheel Horses and Simplicity's too but they are all limited to about 3.00-3.25". This takes them out of consideration for most of the mowing season as I like to cut at 3.75 -4.00"
 

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While G series tractors were the final iteration, and most refined, it doesn't mean that earlier models aren't also good tractors. I have been very happy with my earlier 814 (14 hp Kohler), and 816 (16.5 hp Onan twin) tractors over the years. You may still want to keep 800/8000 series tractors open for consideration.

Attachment options run the gamut, even chainsaws, and trenchers. Fitment among all 4 wheel tractors is interchangeable to the point that even front mount attachments originally designed for 2 wheel tractors such as the 30" bush (brush) hog mower, rotary plow, chain saw, circular saw, and more, can also be used with a front adaptor kit.

With the 800 series tractors, the 816 came with hydraulic lift as standard. 812s, and 814s had manual lift. I converted the manual lift over to hydraulic lift on my 814. Whereas lifts on some newer G series tractors are electric/hydraulic, they are all hydraulic on 800/8000 series tractors via a gear driven pump.

800 series tractors built in 1972 were equipped with limited slip transmissions. I have 2, the 814, and a second 816 which I just recently got running.

Some of the higher powered 8000 tractors are what we call "long frames". They were built with longer frames (guess that's why we call them "long frames" :)), and higher powered engines in order to run 60" mower decks.

In general, these tractors are all very overbuilt, versatile, and perform very well in all applications. You will be very pleasantly surprised when you start using yours. It will grow on you even more as you continue using it.
 

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I haven't mounted my mower deck yet, but would say that they can be set to at least 3.75 in., and likely even higher.

I almost forgot. These tractors all share the same transmission across the board, except for the earlier 400 series, which was Gravelys' first 4 wheel tractor, and used the 2 wheeler's older swiftamatic trans. They are all gear drive. Attachments are driven via geared/internal wet clutch PTO/driveshaft. Belts are only found on mower deck spindle pulleys. And leaf vacuums.
 

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tractortag wrote: "While G series tractors were the final iteration, and most refined, it doesn't mean that earlier models aren't also good tractors. I have been very happy with my earlier 814 (14 hp Kohler), and 816 (16.5 hp Onan twin) tractors over the years. You may still want to keep 800/8000 series tractors open for consideration."

Yeah, I guess I did sort of discount anything earlier than the G series tractors. I still have the 812 I rolled and an 816S with that big honkin' one lung Briggs. I use that with an older style 38" snowblower that can put out a plume than can fly over treetops! (<---Not really, but close! LOL) That tractor is a work monster. My 812 has been with me almost 40 years; clearly it is well liked!

To your point, 800 and 8000 tractor should absolutely be considered.
 

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Mikey, your 812, and 816S had sent me a PM asking why you hadn't mentioned them after all you'd been through together. I'm sure that all is well with them now though. LOL.
 

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Excellent info Mikey4, thanks!

Question about the mower decks: what is the max cutting height that can be achieved? I like Wheel Horses and Simplicity's too but they are all limited to about 3.00-3.25". This takes them out of consideration for most of the mowing season as I like to cut at 3.75 -4.00"
Properly set up, the 40" and 50" decks have quick adjustment of the cutting height in six different positions, ranging from 1.5" to 4".

The 60" deck has eight positions ranging from 1" to 4.5", but requires tools to adjust, requiring the removal an re positioning of the bolts that attach the gauge wheel assemblies.

Sheldon
 

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A few more thoughts:

The earlier tractors are very capable machines, in fact, there is little difference in ability from first 800 to the last G.

But Mikey summed up the evolution to the G series with the term "refined". G tractors tractors, especially G tractors from the mid 90's on, are the culmination of a series of very subtle, but very important refinements. They include:

Better seating position/seat adjustment, especially for taller operators.

Much better steering, especially on 18G and 20G models - there is a whole section on this in my thread.

The foot control - some love it, some hate it - but it brought the tractor in line with most competitors.

Better headlights, made even better by more wattage and my clear lens.

Electric over hydraulic lift - uses less HP, works without the engine running.

Wider track, redesigned front axle, wider front rims, greatly improved stability.

Plastic top siphon gas tank, less condensation, no junk in the fuel line, no fuel pressure on the carb needle and seat when not running.

Stronger PTO spring in the transmission.

Optional pedal style steering brakes, a feature GRAVELY riders started with, but lost for awhile.

So, to revisit the original questions, is one year/model better? That will depend on your tastes and style as much as anything.

I grew up using a GRAVELY model L two wheel tractor, and then latter an 800 series tractor. I like my G better. Mainly because I am 6' tall and weight 225 lbs, it has a much better seating position for a big guy like me.

If you can make your way thru my whole thread, (or you can contact me about copies of my two booklets which cover all the improvements) there is great detail about things like steering, steering brakes, improving snow blade performance, improving deck performance.

Many of my improvements apply to all 800 thru G series tractors, some are very G series specific.

I would pick a G first, but I would never rule out the right 800 or 8000 tractor.

Sheldon
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you Sheldon, great stuff. I hope to find a machine soon and post it up here.
 
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