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Discussion Starter #1
Been looking for a decent garden tractor with a tiller, found one this past weekend.
'81 Simplicity 7116. Previous owner was an older gentleman, said he'd owned it 20-25 years but due to health issues he was using his Sunstar with power steering. He said he'd serviced it every season, and he gave me all the manuals with it.
Engine was rebuilt by a Simplicity dealer at some point, runs good. Carb is going to need some work, guy said it had pitting and he couldn't quite get it right. For the moment I'm running it with the choke partially out.







Now for a few questions-

The tiller spin free, turns very easy just spinning the big pulley. I'll throw some grease in it tomorrow. The idler pulley is somewhat vexing though. The manual shows a spring attached from the bar that sticks out before the rear lift to... somewhere. I guess one of the two holes on the idler pulley arm. Can anyone tell me the length and attachment point? Ideally I'd like to just go to HomeDepot and pick something up that's close enough, but it seems like that rarely works out.
Here's two pics of what I've got to work with


The bar leaning against the big pully shaft is just loose, swings freely back and forth. I've got the belt guard that goes on top, I guess that's a mounting point.

I noticed the tiller wasn't getting raised all that high, so I looked and the rear lift connecting wire is frayed

I guess for now I could tighten the connecting thing, but its turning very stiffly. And I suspect that its only going to get worse. I have no idea how to splice these types of wires, and I'm not sure what to call it inorder to google it to see about replacements.
BTW, its worth noting that I probably did that damage. I pulled a few 10' logs (6-8" diameter) across the yard yesterday and for whatever reason the rear lift pipe seemed a convenient place to hook my strap =|
The 7116 pulled like the logs weren't there, but in hindsight that was a really stupid attachment point.

The mower deck is newer than the rest of the machine and works fine. I'll look for grease zerks later, hopefully it has them.

As far as the carb, I've yet to pull it. But when I do, if there is severe pitting is there something I can use to smooth it out? Maybe a thin layer of JB Weld sanded smooth? Would really hate to risk a bit rattling free and ending up in the engine. I might beable to just find another one on eBay... but I'd rather make a go at repairing what I've got. I'll order a carb kit and have a go in a week or two. Maybe play with the adjustment screws, though I have a feeling the previous owner had quite a bit more experience than I do.
Meanwhile, I'm not risking anything to the engine by running w/ the choke open am I? Presumably the gas / air ratio the carb is supposed to be providing isn't correct, and leaving the choke open is helping to correct it. At low RPMs the engine tends to surge just a bit, at high RPMs its negligible. Dies if I try to push the choke all the way back in.

Lastly, the transmission seems to be running great, but I'm scared of it. I prefer the gear transmissions, soo much simpler. I checked the manual tonight and found the way to check its fluid level, which I'll do tomorrow. If its low, can I mix "Simplicity Multi-Purpose Hydraulic/Transmission Oil" and the Type F Auto Transmission Fluid it says its alright to use? I have no idea whats in it now.
There's no hour meter on the machine and I'm not sure when/if its been changed. Is this a 'leave it alone' thing, or should I go ahead and change it? If the latter, where do I find/what type of transmission filter? The manual doesn't seem to tell me, except to indicate there is one that needs to be changed. Presumably a good brand of Type F ATF is fine.

Anyways, considering its nearly 30 years old its in great shape and I'm pretty happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Alright, got the engine running properly today. I superglued the cracks in the fuel tank cap and fiddled with the adjustment screws. No more choke necessary, runs smooth at low and high speed =D

The tiller... I'm looking at it, it seems like there should be some sort of gear oil in it. It splits up the middle and there's no obvious fill. I pumped grease into the grease zerks, but it looks like that's just for the external contact points and not the gears

There's a Simplicity dealer not far from where I work, so I'll swing by tomorrow and see what they have to say. Probably pick up the tiller spring, lift cable, and transmission filter if they have them.
 

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Great buy. I know nothing about them, just thought it was a great find.Good luck and some pics of the working tiller would be great!
 

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Very nice setup and it looks like the old guy took care of it. It's always great to find the older equipment in good shape. slkpk
 

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ordinary average guy
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that machine will surprise you....mine did. you lucked out having all of the rear lift intact. tiller is a huge bonus too.
get yourself some chains for the rears. the 7116 will push 12" of snow and want more.
change the motor oil and let 'er rip.
 

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Looks great. I just picked up a tiller for my 7117 and your photo's are going to be a huge help in getting it set up. Change the oil and filter on the hydro and it should be good to go for a long time. They are a tough unit.
Good luck with your tractor!
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys

Stopped by the Simplicity dealer today, they had a hydro filter but none of the other pieces. I could have them order them, but I'll probably try to find the parts online first.

I found the filter under the 7116 last night, it looks like its been there a while. So its probably time, I'll feel better once its done anyhow. Rather do as much preventative maintenance as I can now as opposed to breaking something expensive later... and that hydrostatic transmission looks expensive, lol

Talked to the Simplicity dealer about the tiller, guy said as long as its turning free I don't have anything to worry about. They used heavy graphite-based (?) grease for the inside of that box, and there's not much in that box. I still might take it apart and repack it later on.

Cvans - I'm actually missing an idler pulley, if you look in this picture - http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y150/windhound/Simplicity/simp_tillerpully.jpg - above the pulley mounted on the 7116 there's a vertical bracket with a hole. Pretty sure the idler pulley goes there, I'll take a picture when I get it all together and working.

BTW, what would yall value a 7116 w/ tiller at?
Previous owner originally had it listed on craigslist at close to 1,200 then relisted a few weeks later at 700. I emailed him before I left for a 6 day trip, asked him a few questions then said I'd come look at it if he still had it when I got back.
Got back and he still had it. Went and looked at it, liked it, and gave him 600.
Now, it did cost me three hours of driving plus a uHaul trailer rental, but I was kind of surprised it was still available and I don't think he had a ton of other interest.
I know its almost 30 years old, but the new Simplicity garden tractors run between 6-8k plus another 1k ish for a tiller... I mean owch.
Regardless, I think 600 was fair, how close to market value am I?
 

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$600 was a good deal. tiller alone is worth $200. more to someone really wanting one.
and if your happy with the machine then you tell us if it was a good deal.

im very happy with my 7116.....came with blade and deck:

 

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Thanks Windfish. It looks like your tiller is the 42" were as mine is the 36". I use mine for weed control in the corn rows and the 32" should work fine. I have a 42" on a C.C. and I find myself getting too close to the plants and I have to plant the rows so far apart to get through them. I think you are going to really like that machine. I've read that if it gets hard to steer you should take the tank out and run some light oil down the steering shaft to lubricate the bottom bushing on the shaft. I did this to a Bolens and it made a world of difference.
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good looking Simplicity cityboy

I like my 7116, and I'm pretty happy with it.
Still learning on it, its substantially more substantial than my Roper Rally. With the Rally, if you hit something the whole thing stops. With the 7116, if you hit something you'd better hit the brake or there's a chance it'll damage something trying to continue forward motion. Thing is incredibly strong, esp. for its size. Brake works good too

Just placed an order with PartsTree for my misc. missing parts, nice site.

Cvans, the manual for my tiller lists it as a 36". Hope that's what it is, 'cause that's what I just ordered parts for =)
Thanks for the steering suggestion, its not bad right now but that is one of the reasons the previous owned retired it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Finally got everything I needed to put the tiller back in working order
I didn't end up greasing the inside of the case, unless it becomes a problem that'll probably be a winter project. It turns completely free so I'm not really worried about it.

Also figured out why the idler pulley on the rear of the tractor was missing - you have to take it off to put the belt on. I'm sure the po just left it off and its laying somewhere buried in his shop.

Here's how the belt ended up going, plus how I put the spring on. I'm sure that's where it attaches to the handle bracket, but I'm not positive on the other side. I hooked it to the idler pulley bolt 'cause it was convenient. It appears to keep enough tension on the belt, and that's all it needs to do.





Finally, a video of it running. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L9QJ-YUql8
The ground is hard and hasn't been messed with in... well, probably ever. Lots of small rocks and sticks, doesn't appear to bother the tiller. Just bounces a bit. My goal is to loosen the soil a couple inches down, smooth it out, and throw some seed on it this fall. I think it'll work for that.

So yep. Little garden tractor is running good, could probably use a bit more adjustment as its eating gas faster than I would have thought. But now that its runnin' smooth I'm not messing with it for now.
Been using 'er to pull out some old downed trees and logs, pretty amazing what it can haul even w/o wheel weights.
 

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Again, those are great photos. Thanks. I'm going to bookmark this thread so I can use it next spring when I assemble mine. Glad you got her running good. These tractor do use the fuel. But as you found out, they will do the work also. If you decide to mow with it your not going to believe how nice your yard will look.
Buy some gas and have fun!
Chris
 
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