The first 'garden tractor' i ever bought was an engineless high-wheel Case (i believe its a 446 but will verify and edit that in) that i spotted online. They're extremely rare down here so until i saw this one i didnt realize any of them existed(, but i was drawn in by its all-hydraulic drive system and the fact that this one had a small 3 pt hitch (missing all arms). Upon doing a little reading I found out it was pretty optimal for me to have a high-wheel (for looks, mostly) and a 3pt (for function) since lots of Case models didn't come with either!
Anyway, the original thought I had for the use of this thing was to build a small boom/pallet fork thing onto the 3pt to move engines and job boxes and other giant containers full of heavy parts around outside my small shop where i mostly work on cars. I ended up leaving this one sitting (because i couldnt decide how to power it) and building my 'Crane Mower' first which accomplished some of those goals. I even bought a SCUT with FEL after that, but never lost my attraction to the engine-less Case!
At some point I got tired of myself going back and forth on what would be the "best" (at being weird, goofy, nearly free) option to repower it with and decided to order a $99 on-sale Predator 212 from Harbor Freight. This after just barely deciding not to use a Ninja250 motorcycle engine i have which WILL go on a garden tractor at some point, just you wait! Well, the 212 got lost in shipping according to tracking. Then they sent me an email saying they never actually shipped it, and refunded my order. I took it as some kind of sign to hold out for a new more ambitious idea to pop into my head, so I didn't reorder another one. Nevertheless, about a month later, a dinged up Predator 212 box showed up, and at this point it was (deservedly..) free! I then took THAT as a sign to continue the plan.
I adapted the stock pump/bracket combo to the Predator 212s mounting pattern with a piece of aluminum as an adapter plate. I adapted the 212s engine mounting pattern to the Case frame with a kitchen cutting board as an adapter plate. I had to order the engine side of the lovejoy drive coupling because the 212 has a 3/4" crank while the stock engine for this would have been 1-1/8". I had to extend the hydraulic hoses to the pump because i decided to rotate the entire assembly 180 and have the pump mounted in the front.
This has been 'complete' and usable for a few months now. The reason I never cared to replicate the stock setup is because I never planned to power anything off a belt drive, or power anything hydraulically other than the 3pt hitch and drive motor, or possibly a custom loader build down the line. I also wanted to be able to run the tractor fairly quietly (a modified muffler is on the list). I knew that ~6hp would be more than adequate to push the tractor to full speed and lift more than the 3pt could handle, and this turned out to be correct. However, I've since decided to use it for light ground engagement as well and have updated my scheme to include increasing my low-speed pulling power through use of.. a 2 stage log splitter hydraulic pump? That's been sitting on my toolbox for a month or two now, awaiting its turn. Since my original lifting duties goal was duplicated by other machines, this little tractor became mostly a testbed for experimentation with hydraulics. I also plan to overspeed my chinesium pump splitter (the 212) AND my chinesium splitter pump, and see how that goes. I have a lot of theories that I'll elaborate on in subsequent posts. For now, here are a couple of pics I already have, and more/better will be forthcoming.