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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picked it up this past weekend, guy said he did engine service... grinding valves and setting clearance, and that he rebuilt the carburetor. Got a tiller and rotary plow and brush hog.

It ran fine in his city yard, but with no terrain to tackle, I couldn't do much stress testing. I noticed some paint flake off as I touched around, like the guy didn't even pressure or wire brush the machine before painting it. He chain smoked, and I was a litle suspicious... But he had 3 other Gravely's for sale and said he'd been doing restores for about 20 years. So I gave him $2k and loaded up and went home.

Next day I started mowing, and ran out of fuel. After refilling, I experienced enough power loss that I could barely get back up the hill, and certainly not with the mower engaged.

Read some forum posts about the kohler k301 (12HP), ended up finding there was no hose between the crankcase breather and the carb breather port. So got worried about being ripped off... As well as sucking dust into the engine and scratching things to ****.

Got some hoses from AutoZone, some Lucas top end oil treatment, some 80w-140 gear oil (for the implements, I figured), and headed home. Took the air cleaner off and noticed the filter looked old, not necessarily dirty, but the wire cage was rusted in small spots. The gasket on the carb to engine block ripped off, so didn't seem too new. The float bowl gasket seemed old too, lots of grime and didnt seem particularly supple. Definitely black residue that wiped out of the bowl and carb throat.

Cut some new gaskets out of cereal box type material (oops forgot gasket sheet at the auto store), cleaned up the carb with starting fluid and compressed air, squirted some Lucas top end oil into the spark plug hole thinking the rings could be grimy and losing compression or something, idk. Reassembled and went to bed.

Came back next day to find I'd left the key on and the battery was dead. Got it running today and things seem OK, just carb tuning needed, maybe another takeapart cleaning as I had to have the choke slightly on sometimes...and between idle and giving some throttle, it bogged for a few seconds before picking up.

Then I noticed the aircleaner to carb screw fell out and my aircleaner was barely hanging on. Then my fwd/rev handle rattled its way off. Then the PTO bolts came out, though the mower didn't fall off.

Took the mower off and found tons of gunk inside the PTO coupler housing. Metal bits were part of the gunk, I think. Gasket was trashed too. Cut another from cereal box like material. Ordered some good gasket sheeting tonight.

Need to get rid of the turf tires that it came with, currently 18x6.50-8

Need something like an R1, would prefer a 20 inch to get a little more clearance as well as raise the handlebars up a little higher, they just feel too low for long term usage (is there any adjustment on the handles, it didn't look like).

The rims I've got seem to have 3 bolts, and several more "big rivets" or something like that. I was getting stuck constantly due to the low clearance, and terrible turf tires.

I'm on 75 acres of a timber farm in the mountain foothills of the Oregon coast range. Lots of blackberries to keep at bay, and wanting to reopen old logging roads and create new trails.

Where can I get oil seals for the tiller and rotary plow?

What tires should I get and from where? Do I need new wheels? How do I get the option for dual tires or those metal cage things?

Did I pay too much? A new grillo with all these implements would be like $7k so seems like I'm doing OK, but... Maybe I paid $1k too much, hard to say since I'm totally new to "heavy" equipment.
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'81 Gravely tractor, 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's Gravely tractors Various Honda Power equipment
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Needs the rest of the shrouding for the blower housing to cool the engine, it will overheat without it.
 

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Welcome nmz!

Lots to talk about. ST is right, you need to find the rest of the shrouding for the engine.

Tires: Normally I'd say stick with the turfs, but it sounds like you're looking at some pretty rough country. Lug tires are available from several sources. I usually use Miller Tire. They're not the cheapest, but they have good quality stuff. You could also consider chains. That's a cheap solution, and they're not just for snow, they work just fine on raggedy material.

Not sure what to tell you about your ground clearance problem. You're unlikely to find larger diameter wheels which will fit the 3-bolt pattern on those hubs. You can find larger diameter tires, but that will affect the way the mower deck, for instance, sits on the ground. Duals are available, and will help, by virtue of making it harder for a wheel to fall in a hole.

Overall condition, loose fasteners etc: It does sound like a "quick and dirty" restoration. But it sounds like everything works, which is the main thing. I do wonder about finding metal in the advance casting, though. It's not good if anything in there is making metal, and even if it were, that's an odd place to find it. I think I advocate cleaning that out good, changing trans oil, then watching it for a while.

Oil seals for things like the rotary plow are available (at least they were a few years ago). I'd measure and match by dimension. Or try Richard's lawn and Garden, they know these machines and can either sell you the parts or give you a pointer.

Did you pay too much? Only you can say. I believe those machines are pretty rare where you are, so it's hard to even compare. The bottom line is did you get a machine which will do the job for you. It sounds like you're not quite there, but closing in on it.
 
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Duals will make the width wider than your mower. If that's not a problem, good, I've seen spacers anywhere from $50 to $100 that will fit your wheels. If width is a problem I believe you can swap those 3 bolt hubs for 4 bolt hubs, which will give you the option of running a tubeless tire and possibly options for the taller tire you'd like.

My first Gravely was a 5240 that came with 3 bolt duals. When I got my 5665 I swapped the 4 bolt hubs that came on it to the 5240. This made the width of the 5240 just shy of the width of a 30" brush mower and the 5665 with duals is just slightly less wide than the 40" commercial deck and the 34" snow cannon I run on that machine. I then put v-bar chains on the tires and let me tell you if the tractor isn't high centered it will go most anywhere.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Needs the rest of the shrouding for the blower housing to cool the engine, it will overheat without it.
Ah I think I have that, I took it off to get access to inspect the enging for the breather port... Thinking it was on the valve cover (like many automobiles) before finding it on the side.
 

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'81 Gravely tractor, 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's Gravely tractors Various Honda Power equipment
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Ah I think I have that, I took it off to get access to inspect the enging for the breather port... Thinking it was on the valve cover (like many automobiles) before finding it on the side.
Ok, yes its in the valve cover on the side of the engine block behind the air filter housing, just below the carburetor.
Some just used a breather hose that vented to the outside of the engine, others it went into the back of the air filter housing.
 

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I‘ve had good luck running a Carlisle snowblower tire year round on my 5665. Good traction and as much tire as I could fit on my machine.

2507330
But there’s only so much a Gravely can do- I have 125 acres, and use a diesel Massey 135 on much of the property. YMMV
 
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