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Mikman48's Suburban Restoration

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Now that my other Sears tractors are coming to a close I decided to start a new project. Since I got into the hobby I had always wanted to try a restoration, and have the extra time now gave me a good start on it. This project is a lot of firsts for me, and once I get back to work progress will be slow (maybe even Ellis project slow :hide:.... his reason is for quality tho, mine it is hard to say). It will be a rattle can restoration and a lot of details of it are going to change as we go, so it should be fun :). It will not be a fully authentic resto but will have some modifications

The tractor itself is a '75 ST/16 that I purchased in a lot of attachments. It was a mostly complete tractor less an engine which had been taken apart and left in the rain. I have people give me engines quite often so once I get towards the end of the project I will decide on the engine. The 1st and 3rd picture is how I got the machine. The rear rims, weights and hitch got taken for other machines, my spare rusted set of rims were put on, and the front tires were replaced with the take offs from my Dad's Kubota as a spare set of rims having 16.5x6.5x8 6ply tires on it

I didn't take a lot of pictures of disassembly but have it pretty well broken down. The PO liked replacing parts with overkill, the large pulley was for the idler, and once tearing down the front end he had used an upgraded tie rod too. I will be replacing those items back to stock

The nose cone was bolted back together with a steel plate. All of the pieces are there, it is in 3 seperate pieces, so I have been watching videos online on how to fiber glass and plan to try my hand at it. I purchased a DIY kit made my Bondo and plan to try it in the next few days. It probably will be far from perfect, but I don't think I can make it worse :sidelaugh:. It's a nice little project to learn on! If anyone has any nose cone repair tips or fiber glass tips in general I'm all ears!

The transmission was the major part the tractor project hinged on. After pulling the shifter it looks good inside so the project is on. One bolt broke in the rear anchor point so we have been working to remove it. The PO had this rear end out at one point in its life, the shifter was freshly greased, shifter gasket was torn inside before I opened it, brake band bolts were lose, and washers were missing from the rear frame section


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So this is how the tractor is currently sitting. The frame has a few small things to remove and then it is ready to clean and start painting. The front frame section is now all taken apart as well. Wire wheels are hard to come by up here for some reason, I believe there may be a shortage due to the virus and other places are changing manufacturers. I am supposed to pick one up later today that I ordered and will start some prep for a test


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Yesterday was nice so I cleaned up a couple small parts and got them in primer. Today was even nicer so spent the better part of the morning degreasing, wire wheeling and priming some other parts as well. May go back after dinner and finish the front frame section as it is ready to go also

For primer I am using the Rustoleum 2x coverage grey primer. I use it often and like the way it lays down


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Cool Mikey! I'm looking forward to watching your progress. Probably gonna take a couple of weekends! :ROFLMAO:
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Thanks Joe glad to have you on board! Maybe one or 2 :sidelaugh:. I admire the guys that do these quickly, I am not one of those guys

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Cool Mikey! I'm looking forward to watching your progress. Probably gonna take a couple of weekends! [emoji23]
Took a day off from the project yesterday to work on the Focus, primed the front frame section today tho! Will have to flip it to finish the nose of it

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain so hoping to get some work done on it!


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Knowing just a little about you, Mikey, I'll bet this will look really good when you're done. There's no rush. You're supposed to enjoy the project. ;)
Thank you Al! I am hoping it turns out well as this is a lot of first for me. I won't however be doing body filler and that so it's more of a refresh. I enjoy using these old machines too much so I don't want to make it too pretty ;)

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Knowing just a little about you, Mikey, I'll bet this will look really good when you're done. There's no rush. You're supposed to enjoy the project. ;)
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gonna be a great looking machine, I am sure.
Thanks James!

I've been feeling a bit under the weather but got a few more parts cleaned up. I got the running boards and seat spring in primer, and the seat parts painted. The outside groove for the clutch shaft was also needed a little correction so I did that today as well. A little clean up with a needle file set and it will be ready to be painted


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Had some time to make some serious headway on the project today. Don't have pictures of the first part but have all the transmission pieces less the input pulley and the trans case itself in primer. I am using up white primer I had accidentally bought a long time ago, I'll put it under the black painted parts

Next up I needed to find a paint booth. Since I didn't want to set one up I used the next best thing. There is an old grain drier on the property that we store our trailers under. The story we were told is it was purchased many years ago by the property's original owner and it was dragged from one or two concessions over to be placed where it is on the pad, but it was never hooked up or used. The control area in the middle makes a perfect paint booth so a quick check for a board and bungee cord and I was in business

The paint I am using is Krylon New Equipment Yellow as it is fairly close to the original Aztec Gold. I got just about everything that I had in primer into paint now which includes

-both side plates for the frame
-front mule drive cover and hinges
-rear frame section
-both foot rests
-side shield
-steering gear
-seat spring

Depending on the weather I am trying to get more into primer tomorrow


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Well another one followed me home as I needed parts for this rebuild. I was supposed to pick up parts from a friend at a tractor show but it got cancelled. Put out an ad and found this 10 minutes from home for a good price.

Not quite sure if I will mate the 2 tractors or just raid parts from it, as the hood has been damaged. May use the Onan battery tray depending on which engine I use, however the clutch pivot is in the side shield since it is a newer model, so time will tell. However I love the front tires! They will definitely be used on the build


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Started this morning by working on the starter. My Dad had pulled it apart and found that one brush holder was broken, brush was broken and a spring was cut on the original from the machine (first 2 pictures). Another was a physically longer starter that was included but the insides were in much better shape (2nd 2 pictures) so we made one into too. I cleaned the corrosion off the shaft (next pair of pictures) as well as used loctite to reseat the bushing for the shaft as it was slightly loose in the housing. It was reassembled with a slight bit of lube and it was ready to go. We use picnic table cloth holders to help keep the brushes seated when assembling, it works slick for keeping it all in line

Now to turn my attention to the engine




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I wheeled the tractor into the heated shop at the farm today and started doing surgery. Got the engine removed and the heads pulled. We tried the bore scope but it wouldn't get in there so pulling the heads was much easier. Sure enough the PO had left the spark plugs out and it had some water residue and crud in it. It has no serious damage or pitting, so I will clean the staining with fine emery cloth and put the heads back on with used gaskets. The rear cylinder was the one is worse shape

Much like the Super Sad(ss)/16 we will test run this engine before we make a decision if it gets a full clean up and gaskets


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Enjoyed the read, any problem using spray paint (lllruns etc.)
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Hi GT1848, glad you are enjoying it!

I have done a lot of spray painting so if you use frequent very light coats you shouldn't have an issue. I have one very small run on a foot rest (went to touch up a hidden edge I missed) as well as a small one on a side panel, both of which as soon as I sprayed it I knew would run :hide:, turned my brain off. I will sand it off with some fine sand paper and respray it. I really like how the Krylon applies tho

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Enjoyed the read, any problem using spray paint (lllruns etc.)
I just found your thread, Mikey. Your Suburban was a great pick for restoration. I'm looking forward to seeing the before/after pics. You've been making good progress too. I like your paint booth. I wish that I would have had something like that. I also like the wide front wheels, and tires on latest tractor you brought home too.
I predict a very nice looking tractor when you're finished!
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Glad to see you decided to tag along Dave. Thank you for the kind words!

I have it envisioned how I think it will turn out and I like what I am seeing. Biggest toss up right now is what power plant to use. So far the options I had were the 16hp Onan, I have a 10hp Tecumseh HH100 rebuilt, as well as a 10hp Wisconsin TRA10. Today I picked up another option which may be the winner. I have always wanted to do a diesel repower and picked this little guy up from a friend today for free. It's a 6hp 178F and the generator head is fried (so I'm told). I was told the generator got fried early in its life and then it just sat. It was low on oil so we topped it up and it ran well this evening.

I got the cylinders cleaned up and the heads back on the 16hp Onan today. Will be cleaning out the breather and carb probably tomorrow and then will get it ready for a test fire. May be reviving both tractors now :hide:

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I just found your thread, Mikey. Your Suburban was a great pick for restoration. I'm looking forward to seeing the before/after pics. You've been making good progress too. I like your paint booth. I wish that I would have had something like that. I also like the wide front wheels, and tires on latest tractor you brought home too.
I predict a very nice looking tractor when you're finished!
Let us know what you decide,I vote diesel myself.
Diesel would be neat. With your diesel engine being 6 HP, I was curious to see if it's torque rating might compensate for it's HP since it's diesel. I found this page. It gives all of the information about your engine. The graph shows 15 NM of torque, which converts to 11 ft. lbs. The HP, and torque graphs appear after scrolling down through the crankshaft pics.

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