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Discussion Starter #1
I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere of Vermont. In all the years since I haven’t had a need or a place to own a garden or lawn tractor. It looks like that is about to change, I am looking to acquire a small garden tractor to be able pick up the copious amount of oak leaves from my yard in west Michigan.

Hopefully will find the right one this weekend. Looking at Simplicity hydros or possibly a Bolens, in either case hoping to find one with a bagger system. As I like to tinker with things mechanical an older machine made of quality materials is more appealing to me than a lightweight modern big box store tractor.
 

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Sounds like you have already invested some time and thought into what you want/need. When I was looking for one I started looking for a whole package of tractor and attachments I wanted, because with the older units, it's sometimes difficult to find the attachment you want at a price and distance that's acceptable. Other than that, the usual advise of don't be in a hurry and don't trust anything the seller claims. :p


In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage of an older tractor is dealing with the constant maintenance. There's a reason people spend a lot of money for a new machine; when it's -20F and I need to plow the driveway so we can get to work, but the primary plow is down and the backup isn't running, those are the days when I contemplate getting rid of my junk and buying something new.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I bought a tractor which most won’t recognize.

The unit is an early 70’s Hesston GMT 200 with a hydrostatic transmission driven by a horizontally opposed twin cylinder driving the front wheels. This is an articulated machine, meaning it steers by shifting the center of the tractor left or right using a hydraulic cylinder driven by a separate pump.

This is a pretty heavy duty machine originally intended for municipalities and other heavy duty use.

The rear section is not a dump bed but does have a tailgate which drops down.

Although in decent shape it didn’t include any implements and does have a couple of unfortunate modifications which will need to be removed. It also doesn’t run at the moment but with luck it will be something fairly simple.

Hopefully pics tomorrow.
 

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Congrats on your machine! Not familiar with Hesston but I see that make larger tractors too and still seem to be around so that is a good thing! Hopefully they support their older machines with parts and accessories still.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Pictures as promised.

An unusual but interesting side shoot of the tractor world.

Not running yet but overall aside from the front bumper it isn't too badly PO'd (Previous Owner).

Plenty of rewiring to do as can be seen in the image showing the space around the steering pump/steering column covers.

Unknown hours as the hour meter has long since been removed. These engines are fully rebuildable so even if it is knackered it will be possible to keep the same drivetrain into the future.

Karl
 

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I hate to break your bubble, but...I think you should have stuck with your idea of a Simplicity or a Bolens..there are good deals on them all over with leaf vacuum systems to handle large volumes.....I don't see how this will fit your needs...if you got it really cheap ..I could see having it around to fool around with it..but it doesn't seem practical to me
 

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Agreed, it isn’t the most practical. A Simplicity or Bolens would have been a better choice and I may in the future grab one. This will end up being more of a toy. There is a nice Husqvarna 155 Rider available nearby for a reasonable price that is in very good condition which would fulfill the riding mower need in the short term.

The GMT is the machine that led to the commercial Toro Groundsmaster units you see everyday for large lawn areas.

Had the previous owner kept the things tossed, it would have had a leaf/grass collection container in the rear area, a engine powered fan just above the engine and the mower out in front. They also offered a plow, snow blower and a variety of other front mounted implements.

Thanks

Karl
 

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Now that would have been a great toy...I mean tool to have with all that.......stick to the Bolens or Simplicity....Husquarvana is the largest outdoor power equipment manufacturer in the world from what I have read....but I have been seeing a lot of negative comments on their tractors as of late....i have a Red Maxx 8500 blower, that is a Husq product ...and it is exceptionally good...I have a Stihl blower also and there is no comparison...the Red Maxx literally blows it away...so I am not trashing Husq....just talking about what has been posted on this forum
 
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