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Discussion Starter #1
Got an 1959 LI and need to change the fluids. I have down loaded the manuals. The description of some locations of items are questionable. Like where is the oil drain plug? Is the oil level fill plug on the front of the reservoir? Also the manual said something about checking the governor oil level, not sure where the plug is for that.
So far the engine appears ok. It has been stored inside. Was last run about 9 years ago.
Quite sure there will be more questions. The form has been a great help so far. Can not wait to get this machine up and going again.
 

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Like where is the oil drain plug? Is the oil level fill plug on the front of the reservoir? Also the manual said something about checking the governor oil level, not sure where the plug is for that.
Nice score!
Oil drain plug could be in a couple of locations.

Some are on the very bottom of the tranny at the lowest point. If you have one there also check behind the starter strap pulley. That one is smaller in size.

If not in the locations noted above, the drain is the lower left hand axle housing bolt (see pic). 3/4" wrench will be required. Since it is an older machine, check for the small plug behind the starter pulley......

Keep the post coming.....

RB in RI

2457054
 

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Welcome Ariens!

What RI said: On this machine, the drain is the lower left axle housing bolt. It will likely have a tag or plastic washer or something like that on it.

The oil fill is right behind the advance casting (the big round part on the front of the transmission). In your pic number 2, the cylindrical black thing (about 2 inches around) sticking up is the cap. Fill with 2.5 quarts.

Governor oil level can be checked by removing the upper of the small plugs on the back (operator end) of the governor. It's a small (7/16) hex.

Keep those cards and letters coming!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Have a small plug below the start pulley. Will check underneath for a drain plug. It needs a bath bad that will have to wait till the weekend. Will be interesting to see what is under all the caked on oil and dirt.
Picked up a fan belt and spark plug today. Played with it a little more tonight. The mag clicks and has compression. No catches in crank rotation. Guess that's a good thing.
Can not imagine this only taking 2.5 quarts of oil. The casting must be really thick. Also before I try starting it were is the best spot for the oil pressure gauge?
 

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Have a small plug below the start pulley. Will check underneath for a drain plug.
Bottom left axle housing bolt. Really. https://www.gravelymanuals.com/pdf/Mod_L_6.6_Instruc_Man_1960.pdf page 3
It needs a bath bad that will have to wait till the weekend. Will be interesting to see what is under all the caked on oil and dirt.
Picked up a fan belt and spark plug today. Played with it a little more tonight. The mag clicks and has compression. No catches in crank rotation. Guess that's a good thing.
Yep, that all sounds good. If you pull the plug, connect the lead, and lay the plug on the head, then turn until it snaps, do you get a spark?
Can not imagine this only taking 2.5 quarts of oil. The casting must be really thick. Also before I try starting it were is the best spot for the oil pressure gauge?
It doesn't take a huge amount of oil in part because it's a pressure lube system, rather than the splash lube more commonly used on small engines. That's part of why these things last so long, the pressure lube is much more effective at getting oil where it wants to go. Oil exiting the engine main bearing goes through the rear clutch assembly, the oil return is over the front clutch assembly, and the main drive gear is in the bottom of the transmission case, which is also the oil sump. If you're pushing it through the engine, and those working parts, you don't need a massive amount.

Oil pressure gauge is usually mounted on a T connected to the oil inlet of the filter. The way to know you're safe without a gauge is to run it with the oil filler cap off, and observe a spray of oil coming out the return tube. If that oil's coming out, you're fine.
 

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Nice unit! Did the '59 models have a vertical plug? I can't remember when they switched from slant plug to vertical. It also has the differently-made gas tank...not sure of the exact name for that style. I bet it will look really good when cleaned up (not that they were ever meant to be clean!). Have you taken a look at the air filter yet? It's fairly unique too (at least to me it is).
 

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Nice unit! Did the '59 models have a vertical plug? I can't remember when they switched from slant plug to vertical.
Vertical (smaller) plug was a feature of the 7.6 engine. First available in '69 or '70 I think.
It also has the differently-made gas tank...not sure of the exact name for that style.
Ah! Good catch! I missed that the first time around.

That's the round-end tank. Pretty rare. I believe they were only ever on the '58 and '59 model years. They have a reputation for leaking, which is apparently why gravely went back to the crimped style. My '58 has a round-end tank, and it's always worked fine, so I've kept it. If this unit doesn't leak, I'd keep it too, for uniqueness value.
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Discussion Starter #8
Vertical (smaller) plug was a feature of the 7.6 engine. First available in '69 or '70 I think.

Ah! Good catch! I missed that the first time around.

That's the round-end tank. Pretty rare. I believe they were only ever on the '58 and '59 model years. They have a reputation for leaking, which is apparently why gravely went back to the crimped style. My '58 has a round-end tank, and it's always worked fine, so I've kept it. If this unit doesn't leak, I'd keep it too, for uniqueness value.
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Good to know on the gas tank. It still holds fuel. It still had gas in it after sitting for nine years. I added another gallon with cleaner in it. So far no leaks. All fuel will be drained and replaced with new before i attempt to start it. I made a list of oils needed last night. Anyone know how much the 30 mowing deck gear box holds?
The snow blower will eventually new some new lubricant also. Some how it got loaded on the trailer upside down. So the new boards on the trailer deck will have to be cleaned.
 

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well, the straight plug only means that someone did some work to it at some point. It sounds like you picked a good one to start your gravely hobby! I bet you get it runnign in short order. I started by inheriting a '69 LI and ran it for a few years, and then sold it to buy the one I really wanted (a 1972 L8 model).
 

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Anyone know how much the 30 mowing deck gear box holds?

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That looks like an MA58. There should be a small plug on the side of the gearbox. Fill with 90W until it comes out there.

Also, you want a put a rear guard on that thing if you're going to use it. Those decks are great for flinging debris out at warp speed. With no rear guard some if it will go right under the machine and whack you in the ankles :devilish:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Anyone know how much the 30 mowing deck gear box holds?
That looks like an MA58. There should be a small plug on the side of the gearbox. Fill with 90W until it comes out there.

Also, you want a put a rear guard on that thing if you're going to use it. Those decks are great for flinging debris out at warp speed. With no rear guard some if it will go right under the machine and whack you in the ankles :devilish:
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Both front and rear guards came with it. Not sure why they were removed. Maybe they mowed all the time with the sully. But yes the rear one will get put back on. Even though I mow in work boots the plan is to try to keep my feet attached.
I found the oil drain plug under the tractor. It is way bigger than the little plug in the rear. I will have to jack the tractor up to get a drain pan under there. Might as well build some wooden ramps for it while I am at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got some time to play with the Gravely today between mowing and working on a dish washer. The deck is a model 185. Looked all over the governor but could not find a fill or oil level plug. If the phone ever starts working right will post some pictures of it. Got the gas tank drained of what smelled like fuel but looked like something else. Will be ordering a new bowl for the sediment some time after getting it to run. The pipe cap that replaced the original bowl apparently works so I put it back on for now. Anyway it was clean. I now have plenty of old fuel to clean the oil bath with. Oil for the engine and oil bath along with a new oil filter, spark plug and fan belt have been purchased. Going to try to give it a bath yet this week end and the oil changed.
The mag snaps which I read is a good thing. Even wrapped the belt around the start pulley and gave it a pull today. Have been turning it over by hand but found it to be a whole new experience with the belt.
 

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Got some time to play with the Gravely today between mowing and working on a dish washer. The deck is a model 185.
Startd working on my deck today is the exact thing I did. Made me a little pallet to put it on so drive mechanism wouldnt hit the ground.
If I got time to do it more tomorrow after I go places I gotta go we can compare notes.
I was gathering all my stuff to start.
Its an fugly thing alright but I got a cpl more but this happens to be the one it came with.Ive got a new rear guard also.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Can not fine a plug or plugs anywhere on this governor. Any one recognize it? Not thrilled about trying to start it without knowing how to check the oil level. Will have to load pictures later from my phone when there is a better connection.
 

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Ariens, do you have the same governor as Tinsley has? That would be the latest model Hoof, with no provision for checking the lubrication. You have to open it up.

That's not a huge deal, just a couple of machine screws at the front of the unit by the pulley, but you have to take it off the tractor. If it spins ok, and the arm moves freely, I expect you're ok to run it some, save opening it up for later.

Re starting, yes, to those of us born after about 1940, the strap-starting thing is wierd. It used to be common, but then people started inventing recoil starters and other safety features :) You'll find lots of opinions about technique here. What I generally do is back the crankshaft up against the back side of a compression stroke, then wind the strap up. That gives you some time to build up momentum to get past that first compression.

Did you get a spark when the mag snaps? If so, you probably need to do little more than put some clean fuel in it, button it up, and give it a few pulls.

Gerrard, your deck is an MA106. Ariens has a 185. The shell is similar (different hold pattern) and it takes the same blade, but it's a different drive.
 

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Yes I would check for spark. It's very common for the mag to snap, but the points can be corroded and not produce a spark.

And I do start mine differently. I run the pulley around the correct direction till it stops against the compression. I then adjust my pull strap to where I am comfortable and give it a good strong pull. I don't like pulling it anywhere else, I have had them kick back on me too many times and that hurts.

One other thing I would caution you about. These old zenith carbs like to leak and dribble fuel. If you open the fuel valve up and fill the carb, you need to get on with it and start pulling it. If you mess around with other things or if it takes too long for it to start, I would pull the rubber intake hose off (If that is the style you have). Mine dribbles fuel just a little bit, which doesn't hurt and can actually help in starting. But if you mess around too long it will fill the rubber hose up with a puddle of fuel. Then one pull and you suck all that fuel into the engine and it floods it. So now you have a cold engine with a drowned sparkplug, the worst combination you can have to try and get started. If you take the rubber hose off, the fuel will just dribble on the ground and cause no harm.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks jrd was going crazy trying to find the plugs yesterday. Guess if they are not there it will become an annual maintenance item during oil changes.

The strap is not a big item. I knew it was there before picking the machine up. Also grew up around a few hand start machines. This is the first belt start with plenty of rope and crank jobs between. Two cylinder JD's could be a pain if not started right.

Spark on the mag will be checked after it get a good external cleaning. No since in opening the mag twice just to remove water. Starting it will be last on the agenda. No reason to dump fuel into it without spark. Just hoping the carb is still ok. I have not be able to source the gaskets for it locally.

It has been stored inside all its life and ran fine last time it was used. So it don't expect it to get really complicated to get running. Just got to go about it in the right order.

When I do service the governor is there any way to put the fill and check plug in it?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes I would check for spark. It's very common for the mag to snap, but the points can be corroded and not produce a spark.

And I do start mine differently. I run the pulley around the correct direction till it stops against the compression. I then adjust my pull strap to where I am comfortable and give it a good strong pull. I don't like pulling it anywhere else, I have had them kick back on me too many times and that hurts.

One other thing I would caution you about. These old zenith carbs like to leak and dribble fuel. If you open the fuel valve up and fill the carb, you need to get on with it and start pulling it. If you mess around with other things or if it takes too long for it to start, I would pull the rubber intake hose off (If that is the style you have). Mine dribbles fuel just a little bit, which doesn't hurt and can actually help in starting. But if you mess around too long it will fill the its rubber hose up with a puddle of fuel. Then one pull and you suck all that fuel into the engine and it floods it. So now you have a cold engine with a drowned sparkplug, the worst combination you can have to try and get started. If you take the rubber hose off, the fuel will just dribble on the ground and cause no harm.
That's is nice to know. I will remove it before the first start. That will eliminate a unexpected and let me know almost instantly if the carb needs to come apart. I suspect the fuel system was run dry last time it was used. That's a habit I will have to get use to doing between usage and storage.
 

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When I do service the governor is there any way to put the fill and check plug in it?
In principle, sure. I've never heard of anybody doing it.

The upper left boss on the back end of the casting is where one of the plugs was on earlier versions. I think the other was at the bottom of case on the same side.

The boss in the middle holds the bushing that the governor shaft turns in. Don't touch that :)

The thing to do would be to find a manual for the older governors and see if you can find a pic.

You'd need a drill press to put some straight holes in the centers of those bosses, and then carefully tap them. The material of that housing is very soft, so you'd have to be careful. I don't think it's standard 1/8 NPT, it appears to be something smaller. Though I suppose if you were just making it for you, that wouldn't matter.

I'd put this task pretty close to last on my list.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
In principle, sure. I've never heard of anybody doing it.

The upper left boss on the back end of the casting is where one of the plugs was on earlier versions. I think the other was at the bottom of case on the same side.

The boss in the middle holds the bushing that the governor shaft turns in. Don't touch that :)

The thing to do would be to find a manual for the older governors and see if you can find a pic.

You'd need a drill press to put some straight holes in the centers of those bosses, and then carefully tap them. The material of that housing is very soft, so you'd have to be careful. I don't think it's standard 1/8 NPT, it appears to be something smaller. Though I suppose if you were just making it for you, that wouldn't matter.

I'd put this task pretty close to last on my list.
I have the drill press. Will install rubber plugs instead of tapping it. Less stress on the casting and myself. Doesnt sound like it really needs to be done. This new governor must be sealed up better than the older ones.
 
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