My Tractor Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well my Gravely education is about to begin. The first thing I learned is that not all L's are the same. I saw an L on CL a few days ago. The add said that they dont know if it runs since the bowl on the gas tank was broke off.. I Have never seen an L before except on here. The price was OK and I need one to do some clean up of the place. I picked it up today. Well I got it home and it was not what I expected. It is the old model. I traced the serial number to 1947. It has the studebaker engine. The whole thing appears to be in good mechanical shape. I am not getting any fire to the plug. I have no clue on these magneto systems as to where to start. I found the manuals on line but I still have no expierence with a points style system. I have always been able to do away with the points and go to the other system.

I am kinda intimadated by this engine. It really is bad becuase I passed on two newer models on ebay because they did not have the brush hog. My wife told me to buy one of them and I insisted that this one was much better.

I am not sure as to whether I need to sell this one and get a newer style or try to get this one running.

Any way heres some pics















 

·
I Love All Color Tractors
Joined
·
22,321 Posts
There is good news in this story. As long as you didn't pay a small fortune for the tractor, you can put a little money into this machine and have a very solid and dependable tractor.

If you do decide to sell it, hang on to that mower. As long as the gears in it are in good shape, and they probably are, that is the most solid of the brush hogs that Gravely built. It's a model 106, by the way.

For spark, start with a new spark plug and see if you get spark, if not then move to the plug wire. The two items are very reasonably priced and won't be considered just throwing money at the problem.

If still no spark, make sure that the kill switch wire in the end of the handlebar is not grounding out the magneto to the handlebar. The switches go bad, and over a long time in a vibrating machine, the insluation on the wire abrades off and grounds. This wire can be unhooked from the points inside the magneto.

Don't be afraid of getting in the magneto. It is basically four parts: I can't think of its proper name, but it the spring snap mechanism that hooks to the cam shaft, the coil, a condenser, and the points.

Start with the points and condenser. They are still relatively inexpensive and are kinda simple to put in. Just follow the instructions in the Gravely manuals, located at http://www.oldgravelys.net to set the gap in the points and to properly put the tractor in time.

It's not that bad to do and it won't cost you a fortune. Congratulations on the new tractor. A little love, tlc, and probably a few choice words, you will get it going and have a tough machine. Feel free to ask questions, we have several very knowledgeable Gravely members here too.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
131 Posts
You've got an interesting accumulation of GRAVELY parts put together there. Its an oldie & a challenge. The Wico magneto & cam extension drive is newer than 1947, the hood is much newer. Such an old GRAVELY would've had a short flat hood. I'd expect a '47 to have a Fairbanks Morse magneto w/big hex nut connection to cam extension. Its not an easy swap to the 'split block' connection used w/Wico. Does it have a brass name plate atop the gas tank? What do the inner wheels look like? I didn't think those wheel weight/spacers fit the early wheels that should be on a '47.

Studebaker became involved w/GRAVELY long after 1947, not until the early 60's. There was no "studebaker engine" as such, they bought the GRAVELY company & continued to produce the GRAVELY design motor.

Forget the suggestion "make sure that the kill switch wire in the end of the handlebar is not grounding out the magneto to the handlebar. The switches go bad" on this GRAVELY. Your pics clearly show that there is no "kill switch wire in the end of the handlebar" & that feature didn't appear until much later. It would be attached at the red "kill" button on the side of the magneto.

IMO you should 1st inspect the spark plug b/c it may very well still be serviceable & these large plugs can be difficult to find. Remove it, check the electrodes & gap, clean if neccessary. Check for continuity of spark plug wire w/ohm meter. If its an old wire it may be solid wire, keep it. Then give it a try by connecting it, laying it atop the motor so it grounds, turn it over & look for spark. This is a great time to check basic compression/vacuum. All it takes is a finger over the spark plug hole to feel for compression & vacuum.

If no spark, listen for the magneto 'impulse' to snap as you turn motor over. The spring loads as you turn the motor over twice before snapping at release, providing the 'impulse' speed neccessary to make a spark at low pull start RPM. Then open the magneto in place by removing 4 screws on cover & inspect inside for corrosion. About 9 out of 10 times merely cleaning the neglected points in place is enough to restore contact & produce spark. They have an uncanny ability to form crud exactly where it will prevent contact & almost always can be revived w/o even removing them. If there's general corrosion & obvious water intrusion you have more problems. If after cleaning points w/ignition file, or 220 or finer wet-dry sandpaper, still no spark, check continuity of coil. Corrosion often expands the coil, breaking the winding, or seizes up the impulse mechanism. Note that if you must change points & set gap correctly, you can't affect timing. Beginers usually get into timing trouble if they remove the magneto, or loosen the 'split block'.

This might help you restore spark. Let us know when you get spark & want to go inside the carbie.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
31,820 Posts
Not a bad find at all. A little rough and dirty, but looks to have good bones. You might be able to get away with just a quick cleaning on the points. Remove the cap on the Mag [4 screws on the face of it] and you will see the points inside. A little work with a small file [a nail file will work] or some fine sand paper [lots of people dont like it becouse it leaves crud in there] and clean the pionts. The take a busness card, [I use a trusty "MyTractorForum.com" busness card :D] wipe it through the points a few times to clean the crud out. Then give her a shot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yesterday, when I got it home, I checked a few things. The compresson is great, broke the starter rope. I pulled the plug and looked in the cylinder, it looks good in there no carbon build up. I pulled the magneto cover and cleaned the points. The plug is clean, the plug wire looks good but I did not ohm it out. The gear shifts seem to work.

I put 2 galons of 30 wieght in it before I noticed the petcock on the side. I never heard of a tricock so I thought I was supposed to fill it up till you could see it in the transmission casing. When I was looking inside the oil fill hole everything in there looked nice and shinny so I fell good about that. I plan on draining out the excess today.

It is the simple things that through me off, so which way am I supposed to wind the start strap? Better yet which way does the motor turn? When I turn it, by hand, clock wise there is a loud "snap" is this the impluse? The snap is not there when I turn it CCW.

I am impressed by the quality of what I see on this machine. Everything seems to be well built and solid. I am curious about these engines. I have never seen a design quite like it. The external shaft driven magneto, the cam shafts that have the ends expossed. The head design is strange also. Having a pressurized oil system is great. I guess I was in hurry when I read some of the online manuals and I misunderstood about the engine MFR. Since this one is not a studebaker is this a gravely engine?

The name plate on it is Brass, I dont have the serial infront of me but the first 2 numbers are 29XXX.

I believe with the help and support from here we can get this thing going.

Thanks for the help folks

BC
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
31,820 Posts
There is a arrow on the pulley that shows what way to turn it. Ya, that snap would be the inpulse. What you do to save your arm, and strap, is wrap the strap, then turn back the pulley to you hit the "back compression" THEN give it a pull. That ways you get a little bit of a turn going before it hits compression, and spark.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,729 Posts
I see the "Studebaker" thing often and sometimes people misunderstand their affiliation with Gravely. They simply had a controlling interest in the company in the 60's - they didn't manufacture a completely new engine/machine - the same basic motor continued to be used. However, under the Studebaker company's guidance, there were several Gravely improvements.

You probably have a "hodge-podge" of newer parts/upgrades on what's obviously an older tractor. This is evidenced by the machine's older carb design (complete with metal breather tube), the old-style canister filter system, the manual PTO engagement - among other things. Your machine doesn't have the three metal cooling shrouds that surround the engine and help keep it cool. I thought they were OEM even in the 50's, but even if they weren't, you should consider getting a set.

After finishing with the ignition part of things, I would suggest cleaning your fuel system before even attempting to fire her up. If the machine's sat for a while, the gas has likely gone bad and other crud may have invaded the system. Drain the gas tank and check for any rust - if you have just a few flakes, basic cleaning will be fine. Heavy sediment and you may need to purchase some coating material. I would suggest removing the carb and cleaning it - installing an overhaul kit along the way.

Richard's Lawn & Garden in W Va is a good place to obtain parts from - very familiar with the older Gravely's. As noted here, some basic work will likely yield you a very usable, dependable tractor. Good luck with your project and make sure to keep us posted along the way.
 

·
I Love All Color Tractors
Joined
·
22,321 Posts
My suggestion about checking the kill switch and associated wire was incorrect. That didn't come around until much later models. Sorry, I was wrong.

Sounds like that you have good compression. The snap that you hear turning the engine by hand is the magneto impulse operating. Wrap your starter strap in a clockwise direction. The arrow that Ingersoll is referring to is visible in your last photo above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Houston we have ignition

I finally screwed up the courage to take apart the points. They were pitted so i filed them flat. I reinstalled them, set the gap, and put the cover on. I put my spark tester in the plug wire hole and turned the engine by hand. I saw how the impulse worked and then I saw a spark. I installed the wire and plug, leaving the plug laying on the head. Turn by hand again and POW spark. I shot some gas in the cylinder and put the plug in and gave her a pull.

She runs.

I drained out the excess oil and filled the carb up with gas. Shot a little more in the cylinder and gave a pull. She ran for a minute or two. It was long enough for me to check out forward, reverse, Hi and Lo. At least I think I checked them out.

Well my wife said that was enough for today. I will replace the broken sediment bowl assy this week and see if I can go through the carb also.

So stay tuned for the next exciting adventure of
"the Gravely NOOBBBBB"
:D

Thanks
BC
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
131 Posts
IMO any GRAVELY that's got a brass name plate is worth restoring. Nice find for your 1st GRAVELY! During your GRAVELY "education" I'm sure you'll come to recognize the original early short flat hood & decal. That S/N is indeed from '47 & if you check the lower margin of the brass plate there should be tiny numbers stamped, easily decoded as 47.

I hope you didn't just "put 2 galons of 30 wieght in it before" draining out whatever was left in there? Newbees are often mystified trying to figure out how to drain it. The "Try **** Valve" is another GRAVELY essential. Remember the oil circulates in both motor & trans.

In '47 GRAVELY Motor Plow & Cultivator Co. was independant & even though Benjamin Franklin Gravely had sold his stock in the company in '40, the motors they produced continued to be of the same design credited to B.F. Gravely for the 1st Model L back in '37. Gravely held 65 patents. Sure he had help, but he owned the company, so this T-head motor will forever be his baby. The only early association Gravely had w/Studebaker I'm aware of, is that Ben himself owned one in the 30's & traveled around in it visiting farms & selling Model D "Motor Plows" out of it.

So did the magneto put out spark for you or not? Ready to douche out that old cast iron carbie & try to get your antique GRAVELY running?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
131 Posts
Congrats! Sorry for the Leap Frog, got side tracked while posting. Presume when you drained out the old oil any sludge at the bottom wasn't too scary?

Early sediment bowls are worth restoring. Some of new manufacture look much the same, others don't have a shut off. Many, not interested in originality, simply install a hose nipple under the tank, then use a common inline filter & hose to supply gas. Its cheap, quick, easy & functional.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,729 Posts
Early sediment bowls are worth restoring. Some of new manufacture look much the same, others don't have a shut off. Many, not interested in originality, simply install a hose nipple under the tank, then use a common inline filter & hose to supply gas. Its cheap, quick, easy & functional.
And if you want to keep the sediment bowl look, you can get brand new ones at TSC (as well as electric start foot switches) for much less than you'd pay via a dealer or E-Bay.

Good job gettin' her going early on! Do yourself a favor though and at least run some carb cleaner and compressed air thru your carb, if you're not intending on overhauling it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
131 Posts
Yes, new sediment bowls are a common enough item. For those in towns w/o "TSC" other parts stores like NAPA have them too. Restorers can prefer original parts over Made in China & are often willing to make a good sediment bowl out of salvaged broken ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
That motoe just needs the basics to run mint and for many years.

Pull the gas tank, clean it out good. There will be rust sediment inside and these carbs hate that. Insert a length of chain and flip the tank around some. I have found that POR15 motorcycle gas tank coating kits are perfect for these Gravely tanks. My Gravely L is from 1952 and coating the inside of the gas tank with the POR gast tank product was the best thing I ever did.

Pull the carb and clean it well. Buy a gallon can of carb dipping cleaner from your NAPA store. It will be the best investment you can make for cleaning out small engine carbs.

Keep those points clean and adjusted. You will probably not have to replace them or the condensor for another ten years or so. Buy a spare set, though, plus an extra plug.

Alsways put a little top oil like Marvel Mystery oil in your gas when you get ready to lay up the machine. It will help prevent sticking valves during storage.

There might be a drain plug on the bottom of the carb. If there is replace it with a radiator petcock - same 1/8 NPT thread - and then it is easy to drain the gas up when you put the machine away.

You made a good choice and your heirs will be using it, too. That engine is all ball and roller bearings inside. It is overbuilt and will last forever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I will be getting a new sediment bowl assy this week. The old one is broken at the nipple. The other half of the nipple is still in the gas tank. I thought I was going to be able just to replace the nipple itself, but the bowl strap is missing also. So a new assy seems the best route for now.

I picked up some degreaser tonight and gave it a bath when I got home. I will hit it again tomorrow. I would like to pull the carb and clean it this week. I usually disassemble the carbs and soak them in the gallon bucket of carb cleaner. I will take the jets out and use a torch cleaning pick to get all the holes cleaned. The biggest problem I always have is getting the needle valve to seat so it doesnt flood. I have only worked on Briggs and their carbs so there might be a difference.

I am really looking forward to getting this running. I actually have several uses for it right now. I doubt I try to restore it to show quality, I like to use the equipment that I have. It aint much but its paid for and gets the job done.

This tractor also came with a sickle mower. It wasnt advertised in the ad and I did not see it in the picture. I was so excited about that espceially when it came with both pieces. Like I said this is gravely ed 101. The two pieces are where the housing busted and the sickle end is broken from the extension tube. The good thing is that the blades slide freely. I think I have someone who can weld it back together correctly.

Here are some pics.






 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,729 Posts
The sediment bowls are really inexpensive so you're better off anyway, from a time perspective. Sounds like you won't have trouble working on your carb - best to get the overhaul kit from Richard's as most Gravely/Ariens dealers won't know what you're talking about when you go to order one. You could have someone work up a weld on that sickle mower and it MIGHT hold - if you were somewhat careful with it and didn't run into anything while working with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,374 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Well I took her for a ride today. WOW that was interesting. I was not able to repair the tank so I made a make shift one from a small bottle. That thing is fast. I was expecting a slow crawl, I was suprised. Forward and reverse looks good. Hi and lo also but I cannot seem to find neutral in Hi/lo.

I gave it a bath in engine degreaser and it looks alot better. I wonder how they managed to get aluminum during the war years?
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top