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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a basket-case L for cheap. The PO had pulled it apart to restore, and never finished. I had in mind to keep a few things and part out the rest, but as sometimes happens, when I got it home and looked it over, I started thinking I might put it back together. It seems to be all there, and pretty clean. S/N 54343, which makes it a '50 model.

I think I need a bigger barn...
 

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Pictures, good sir, pictures!

I'm looking forward to finally getting to my '52 this summer. I'm not sure how much use I'll have for a straight L-geared tractor, but I'm hoping I can at least cultivate with the toolholder and sicklebar with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pictures, good sir, pictures!
Yes, yes, wilco, just gotta get out the other computer with the SD reader to pull the pix off the camera....
 

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Old Iron Connoisseur
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Pictures, good sir, pictures!

I'm looking forward to finally getting to my '52 this summer. I'm not sure how much use I'll have for a straight L-geared tractor, but I'm hoping I can at least cultivate with the toolholder and sicklebar with it.
Straight L's are good tractors. I wondered how much I would use one as I grew up with L8's. I don't really miss it much at this point. I rotary plow, mow, sickle bar, etc with mine.
 

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:wwp:


pictures please
 

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Gravely Model L Guy
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:wwp: please
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Pix...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now I know more about why it wasn't put back together. The engine is in pretty sorry state.

At first glance, the piston is rusted into the jug, the long shaft is busted off the exhaust cam, and the big bronze bushing is slopping around loose in the case. I suspect this thing was used pretty hard, then pulled apart and left.

I'm gonna try to press the piston out of the jug. I have a spare bottom end, albeit for a new tractor, but I could make a good engine up. I'll have to dig into the transmission some and see if it seems worth it.
 

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Oof... there are a lot of good earlier L parts there, but that jug sure is something! I won't hold it against you if it gets sacrificed for other Gravelys. On the other hand, if you're bored and you need another project, why not fix it up :fing32:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
why not fix it up :fing32:
Well, yeah, we'll see. I wouldn't mind having another older L.

I've got to finish pulling that jug off, which is going to involve the hydraulic press, and might destroy the piston, but who cares. The jug itself looks good, other than the corrosion.

The big question on this bottom end is that bronze bearing. I suspect there's no way to salvage that or the case. The other question that occurred to me is whether the crankshaft wobbling around might have damaged the hi/lo planetary. So I need to look around in there too.

Projects, projects, projects...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did a little more. Went over to the shop with the press. Got the piston out of the jug with no trouble. What a mess!

I also got the exhaust off. The flange on the manifold is junk, big deal. The flanges on the cylinder are ok, need to drill out one busted-off bolt.

I still have to look inside the transmission. If it's servicable, I think I'll mix and match engine parts and put the whole thing back together.
 

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I rebuilt a '49 once that was worse than yours. The big end bearing in the rod was completely gone! The front bearing hadn't been secured to the block so the crank wasn't getting oil. Richard helped me out with used parts and a rebore, and it ran like a top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The big end bearing in this one feels fine. But the front (bronze) bearing is completely sloppy. Roughly .030 play where it is meant to press into the case. I can't tell whether the case or the bearing or both are worn, but it's not good.

I haven't had time to do much figuring on this one, gotta lookin the tranny and see if it's salvable. If yes, I'll maybe try to find parts for this bottom end, or else use my newer bottom end to make a workable engine. If no, I'll probably just strip everything down and put whatever parts are ok in inventory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, ok, I looked into the tranny, and it looks reasonable. The lining is worn off the clutch cup that I looked at, but aside from that it doesn't look too bad. Thought about it, and decided I'll try to put her back together.

So the next thing to figure out is whether I can salvage this bottom end. I'm sure I can get a replacement exhaust cam, but I don't know whether that main bearing can be sorted out. The outside of the bronze bearing itself is 1.686, and the opening in the case is 1.758. So one or both are really badly worn.

Has anybody repaired one of these things? Is it worth it?

Plan B will be to bore the jug out, clean up the valves, and use my spare later-model bottom end to build a good engine out of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Started cleaning up the cylinder.

Got the valves out, with some effort. On these older engines, is there still a bit of oil making it up to the bottom of the valve stem, or are they running essentially dry? The exhaust valve in particular was pretty cruddy, and took some effort to get out. Not sure yet the condition of the guide.

I drilled out and cleaned up the busted off bolt in the exhaust flange.

Set up to start boring it. Sure took a lot to get down to something approximating clean metal! We were starting at std size, and the top and bottom of the bore were no problem, but to get to something clean in the center, I kept having to take off more and more. Eventually took off a good .020, I'm gonna have to mike it carefully to see if I can get away with a .020 piston or have to go for a .030. Yikes!

An NOS .025 went by on ebay a couple weeks ago, guess I should have grabbed it...
 

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Started cleaning up the cylinder.

Got the valves out, with some effort. On these older engines, is there still a bit of oil making it up to the bottom of the valve stem, or are they running essentially dry? The exhaust valve in particular was pretty cruddy, and took some effort to get out. Not sure yet the condition of the guide.
I too have wondered about how much oil reaches the bottom of the valve. In order to remove an intake valve from one tractor, I had to file off some burrs that had formed in the groove where the keeper rides in the valve. I just don't see how oil really gets up there on the 5.0 hp engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Progressing slowly. I spent a couple hours in the shop trying to get that cylinder cleaned up. I've never encountered a cylinder, gravely or other, quite like this. There were a couple spots on the wall where it appeared to be massively glazed, to the extent that my boring bar on my lathe didn't want to cut it. If I had a proper cylinder boring machine, I'm sure it wouldn't have been a problem, but I've had decent luck with this technique in the past.

Anyhow, I alternated small passes with the bar with honing to break the glaze, and eventually got to the point where I was cutting clean metal all the way along. My mike says I'm pretty close to .020 over, but the wall is still not completely regular, so I'm gonna have to take off a little more.

I'm thinking I may just take one of my spare top ends and put it on the spare bottom end, and worry about this cylinder later. The tractor will be a bit of a mutt anyhow.

Don, any further words of wisdom on those cone clutches? Should this tractor have just been bare cast iron to start with? If so, I'll just button it all back up and start reassembly.
 

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