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Hello all - I posted an introduction post earlier today. I am looking to buy a Case garden tractor and have some questions that I thought would be in good hands here. I'm not really new to the website all that much, it's been keeping me up late at night reading all of the posts. I've been dragging myself through the day just to make it to when I have time to log back on and read more about these Case tractors. Yes I admit it, I am addicted to searching for a Case tractor and reading all I can about them. So........now that I have that off of my chest, here is the real point of this post:

I'm interested in the big wheeled Case tractors, the 400 series, not the newer ones in particular simply because I can't afford that right now. But from all of my searching I've found that a 400 series tractor can be had for a fairly decent price. Why the big wheel model you might say, well I just like the look of them really, no real reason to need extra ground clearance and don't have anything against the 200 series.

My first obstacle is to figure out which engine that would be best for what I'm needing the tractor for (the addiction, but I'll pretend that I actually need this thing for work). First and foremost I need to keep snow plowed in a 250 foot approximate gravel driveway. I also need it for cutting the lawn which is about an acre and a half. Other misc. tasks like rolling the lawn, pulling a cart, etc. If some day I would be lucky enough to find (an affordable) tiller attachment that would be great too. I'll also add that I have worked on and rebuilt a few Kohler engines in the past and I am familiar with them (so this is a plus for the Kohler engines I would think, the 442 and 444?) How do these lower horsepower Kohler engines compare to the 16 and 18 hp Onan engines (I know Onan is more expensive to work on from reading the posts on here) but I just mean strictly from a usability standpoint. Would the 12 HP Kohler feel underpowered if plowing the driveway? On the other hand, is it overkill to be getting an 18 hp Onan engine to do what I need to do?

Wow this post is getting out of hand, and I apologize for that. I guess I'll cut short with some of my other questions that don't matter as much as the engine size. I've been looking around and I've found some for sale. I've seen prices in a wide range but some as low as 400 (12 HP, 442), and 500 (16 HP onan), in various conditions too. I know it's impossible to say what they should be worth because each 'Case' is unique but what should I be looking at paying say for a base 442 with a plow and deck or a 446/448 with a plow and deck? I'll try to keep posts shorter from now on.
 

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Given the usual limitations of price and shopping radius, I`d go for the tractor in the best condition without much regard for which engine it has. I figure the Kohler will do anything the Onan can although it might take a bit longer. You are in PA where Case/Ingy`s are in good supply so you should have a fair amount of candidates to look at.
FWIW, I have a 446
 

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With your work in mind that you intend to do with your tractor I think that it's in your hands. I have around two acres that I mow, a large garden that I till and a long driveway I snowblow. I like the smoothness of the twin but you'll do the same work with the Kohler in the 442. It's all condition and care that a particular tractor has had over the years as to how well it'll work for you. Mine does what I ask of it but not always without a glitch now and then, after all it's over thirty years old and I expect it. Mine is also a 446 with a heart transplant[18hp] and it works hard. Good luck with your search. Post a picture when you find your prize.
 

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I think that you may have been paying far too much attention to all those SPAM e-mails that try to convince you that "size does matter".

In the real world, it doesn't matter all that much. It's more about learning how to work with what you got then parading around with the largest unit. :trink40:

The only difference between a 442, 444, 446 and 448 is horsepower and since the engine can transmit around 12 hp to the hydraulic system, the balance of the engine hp is useful only for belt driven attachments. If you were telling us that you have 4 acres of lawn to maintain, then I'd be urging you to purchase a 446 that was made AFTER 1979 or a 448 (since all of those were made after 1979) so you could use a 60" deck.

However, a 44 or 48 inch deck will easily look after the lawn area you described. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by the HP BS that has been taking place at the big box stores for the past ten plus years. What matters most is raw torque availability when the going gets tough and a 14 hp Kohler K engine has plenty of that to offer. What the Onan's offer mostly, is a smoother, almost vibration-free power compared to the one-lung Kohler's but that experience comes at a big price difference when it is time to rebuild.

As for 442's, my suggestion is to forget that model because it was discontinued in 1972 after being introduced in 1969. The first two years of that model did not have the Snap-Fast attachment system that came about in 1971. In addition, the 1971 442 did not have the isolation pucks for the engine mounts and there have been frame cracking problems with the early models as well.

If you choose a 1978 444 or newer, then the start/gen unit will also be gone. The closer you get to 1988 (last year of 3 digit models) the better. I don't know WHY you would not be very happy with a 444. It would certainly be my choice UNLESS I came across a 446 or 448 that had a PROVABLE fresh engine under the hood. Just so you understand the term "provable".... I'm referring to irrefutable paperwork from a seller that shows a brand new engine or a professionally rebuilt engine was installed in the chassis within the past 2 years and the tractor was not used for commercial purposes.

The term "rebuilt" means nothing because some people think that a new set of rings in an Onan means they rebuilt it. NOT!!!!!!! When looking for a used tractor, two things are paramount.

#1 is engine condition. Everything else pales by comparison to engine condition because the engine is the most costly item to repair/replace.

#2 is overall appearance because that's what tells you how tough a life the tractor has lived and how well it has been looked after.

Some people just run these machines until something breaks. Preventative maintenance is a phrase that isn't in their vocabulary. When you run across a seller who says he has the Op Manual, the Parts Manual and the Service Manual for his tractor, then you know that this guy is on top of his game because he most likely went and bought the last two books so he could care for his tractor properly.

The opposite end of the spectrum is the jerk-off who is now selling off a total piece of crap that has incorrect replacement parts, many worn-out parts still in use, evidence of butchered wiring, a hacked-out hood because of an exhaust system mod, duct tape, bailing wire and zipties holding things together along with badly faded paint with lots of surface rust because he never brought the tractor inside. Oh, and of course there is caked on grease and dirt everywhere under the tractor and the oil cooler fins are choked with it too. The engine oil level is down and so is the hydraulic oil. That's a parts tractor.

If you ask him what type of oil he uses in the hydraulic system, he either won't know or he'll give you the wrong answer. If you ask him if he has kept a service log, he'll look at you as if you have two heads. Simple questions put to a seller can tell you volumes about him and so can the condition of other equipment he owns and the general state of his property and garage. Use your eyes and your ears to assess who it is you are dealing with.

As 99flhr pointed out, you are living in one of the best states to find a low cost Case. Your best bet is to try and find what we call a "package deal" because those are what give you the most value USUALLY. Package deals are where someone has decided to sell their Case or Ingersoll tractor for whatever reason and are letting all the attachments go along with the deal because they are not buying another Case or Ingersoll that can make use of them. They just want the whole thing gone in one shot because they hate selling stuff. They are prepared to take a loss in order to get it over and done with. CASH in hand is your best friend along with a trailer in tow.

These two things tell a seller that you are a serious buyer and he better not let you leave the property with your money still in your pocket. Most sellers are motivated but you will come across the "I don't care if I sell it or I don't. That's my price and I'm not budging." kind of guy and most often, he's asking more than fair market value anyway.

Even if the package is greater than your needs, you have to look at the value of the entire package compared to the asking price. Quite often, you can buy the entire package for a very reasonable price and then sell off individual items you don't want for what they normally bring and slowly recover some of your initial outlay.

Finding a tractor that already has the rear PTO and either a sleeve hitch or three-point hitch on it right now is far better than buying one without these items unless the price for a basic tractor is ridiculously low. Adding hitches and valves later, means you will be competing with other people who want these items for their tractor plus you will have shipping costs to contend with. The perfect package would be a 444 with a Flow Control Valve (FCV), rear PTO, 3 pt hitch, double cast iron wheel weights, tire chains, front weight kit, 48" deck, F-26 sleeve hitch adaptor, 48" snowcaster and a rototiller. That sir, is the cat's ***, as they say. And if a cab is included, so much the better.

If that could be had for either side of a G-note, you would have an awesome arsenal to care for your homestead. Deals like that are rare but they do come along due to seller ignorance over the value of what they own. When it comes to Plow vs Blower, I prefer blower. The argument is that a plow is faster and that's true initially but only when the snowfall is light. You can scoot down the drive in Hi-Range and angle that snow off to either side very quickly.

The problem comes as you get deeper into the snow season and the snow just keeps coming and coming. Now....you have these immovable snow banks on either side of the drive and no place to park the fresh snow. A blower is slower but like the tortiose, it often wins the race over the rabbit because it consistently tosses all the snow far away from the driveway so it never has to be handled a second time. No snow banks. Something for you to think about when choosing attachments.


Most novice buyers are not stupid. They are experienced enough at purchasing items to be able to tell when something just isn't "right". Appearances can be somewhat deceiving but paint overspray, paint over rust, paint over dirt, paint over grease etc are all tell-tale signs of lipstick on a pig. The seller is trying to tart up his ugly daughter and pawn her off to an unwary but horny toad. Don't be a horny toad. Take your time. Educate yourself by going out and looking at tractors you think that you probably don't even want. Even if they are priced well above your snack bracket, go see what's on offer. Every tractor you look at will tell its own story and every seller you talk to will add to your knowledge in separating the BS from the truth.

You have to see a lot of "bad" to know what's good and you have to see as much "good" to know what's "bad".

Start them up, test drive them. Look at every aspect of their condition, including the condition of the attachments. Make notes when you get back to the privacy of your car. Take photos of what's there so you can refer back to them later. This is how you learn. This is how you eventually recognize the "hot deal" that was just too good to walk away from . Then you can come here, post pics, tell us how little you paid and **** everyone off. :fing32:

:Stop:And whatever you do, don't make long posts like this one. I have a special licence for that so it's OK for me to do it. :biglaugh::biglaugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This forum is great. Thanks for all of the sound advice on the tractors. castoff, you covered everything in so much detail and I really appreciate it. What you mentioned about the 444 pretty much sold me on that model one right now unless something else comes along that I can't pass up. Even before this post while I was doing research I had thought the 444 might be the one for me because I don't mind the vibration that is said with the Kohler and had worked on them before and they're fairly easy to rebuild as far as I'm concerned, and not too expensive either to rebuild. Whatever tractor I get I would plan to keep for a long time if it's meeting my needs, that's the first reason I started looking at the Case tractors because they're build ridiculously tough in my opinion. The only thing that worries me is that after watching for quite a while now, I haven't remembered seeing many 444's for sale around here. It seems like I've seen the most 446's and then 442's as well, which is strange since you say the 442 was only build for a few years. Are the 444's harder to come by for some reason or have I just hit a streak where I've happened to see more 446's for sale? I'm also wondering that the closer we move towards fall and winter, the less deals I'll be seeing if the tractor is coming with a snow plow or snow caster. I guess I'll just have to wait and see, but like I said since I would be planning on keeping this tractor for a very long time then I need to be patient and wait for the right one. With knowing how to rebuild, I wouldn't even hesitate to buy a 444 that needs a rebuild, knowing that it would be fresh and rebuilt right from the start, but that would have to be for the right price also. I thank you again for the help with the tractor information.
 

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Judging by your needs and experience, I would suggest you look for a nice late " 80's " Ingersoll 444. You will be very happy with the performance and it will last a longtime.


:trink39:
 

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Gee..... I'm really sorry that I have to tell you this but that's a 1972 Case 444.

Opinions on value do vary but if that was anywhere close to me, I wouldn't pay a dime over $500.00 for it. Yes, it appears to be in nice shape but let me tell you that photos always lie. I've never bought a tractor that looked as good as it did in the photos I saw of it beforehand.

There's nothing wrong with it being a 72. What's wrong is the outrageous asking price. That guy is so far out to lunch, there's no hope of making a deal with him.

Please......do yourself a favor. Go on e-bay and do a search under the following.

-case lawn mower

and

- ingersoll lawn mower

Read the descriptions, make notes, flag the auctions, watch what the stuff sells for. come back here with the auction numbers and ask questions.

Let me add one thing about this tractor you are looking at. IF...he had put a brand new engine in this tractor and it had some equipment besides the deck, then my valuation would be much different. I see NOTHING on this tractor. No hitch, no rear PTO, no blade, blower, tiller etc. It's a bare, bare tractor with a deck.
 

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Is there anybody here that can identify what year this tractor is by the picture. ]

No, but... I do live 40 min from the seller and would be glad to obtain better quality pics and and my impressions of a test drive.

Of course, "opinions are like...."

EDIT: However, unlike "that girl" or Castoff, my fee is exceptionally reasonable, free..
 

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Take 99flhr up on his offer. The worse time to buy something you crave is while you are craving it. Castoff sounds cynical but there's a ton of experience behind it.
 

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Wrong decals, blurry pics; Definitely a '72. At least the seat looks nice.

I wouldn't go anywhere near $1400. If the owner knows it's history, stored indoors, good belts, engine doesn't knock, smoke, burn oil... If the hydrive is sound and not leaking, if the tires are in good shape or minor acceptable dry-checking, no frame cracking or diff damage to the transaxle, If the body or deck isn't cut up, deck bearings, mandrels and blades are in good condition, if the dash isn't cut up and the decal is in good shape, no electrical problems: Then I'd consider $400 figuring the paint and decals need going over and probably the engine mounts and lift cylinder need replacing/rebuilding... among other routine maintenance items. Make sure the muffler is in solid condition. Used replacements for early 200/400 go for $150-175 regularly in eBay.

By the way, Kohler K's and Magnum singles are known for making oddball sounds. They can give the best of us headaches trying to figure the normal from the problematic. If you aren't familiar with this I'd recommend bringing someone you trust knows these engines and can tell you what you need to know.
 
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