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Discussion Starter #1
I was given a Gravely walk behind a couple weeks ago. Got her running, and she runs smooth. From going to the mow in, I now know it's a 1940 to 1955, and a little more talking to the previous owner after the mow in, early to mid 40's is about right for it's age.
I couldn't get any real oil coming out the unloader when running 5w30, so ended up going to 20w50, and once all warmed up, I still get enough out the unloader to give me a face full when I check it. Currently it still has the low volume oil system, and I'm pretty sure the engine is due for an overhaul(which I want to do this winter).
Current attachments I own are the left handed brush cutter deck, sickle bar mower, rotary plow, and MA210 snowblower. Middle of next month, I'm hoping to pick up another sickle bar and a gang reel mower assembly(I have about 2 acres of lawn I mow, and like the cut of a good reel better than a rotary). I also got a remote clutch engagement setup, which is already in and I'm appreciating it much better than the original.
My plans are to have it setup for use. Never did go for the whole make it look beautifull when it was made for work. Something about running old equipment the way is was made to give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

I want to check if I am missing anything for my overhaul plans.
1)high volume oil pump(Richards)
2)Swiftmatic unit, including the left hand wheel bearing carrier(richards)
3)Rings, and possibly oversize piston and jug bore out/hone job(what is the original bore spec of the 5 HP L?)
4)all new gaskets and bearings, bushings if worn out


Pictures of what I have are coming once the rain stops. Cheap digital camera doesn't take very good ones, and the better one is charging.

P.S. I am truly impressed with what this little guy can go through with new ag tires while running the sickle bar. Can't help but wonder what it can do with the dual wheels(which I want to get the spacers and spare wheels for).
 

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Welcome Straick!

Yes, always, :wwp:

It sounds like you're off to a good start with gravelys and gear. I think I also detect the first hints of G.A.S. (Gravely Acquisition Syndrome) :)

If you're going to use the machine for a bunch of real work, then yes, getting together an HV oil setup is a good move. If it's not already got a spin-on filter (as opposed to the canister type) you'll want to do that too.

The swifto is a must for snowblowing. I'm sure Richard can fix you up, or those parts go by on eBay all the time.

On the jug etc, standard is 3.250, and there are oversize pistons available in .010 .020 .030 sizes. gtgravelyparts has those pieces; Richard probably does too.

One caution on the gang mower: It has a lot of moving/sliding parts, belts etc, and eats a lot of power. I've never tried mine on a 5hp machine, but it pretty close to maxed out one of my 7.6 hp units. Normally I run it on my comm12 :) I know people have run them on 5hp units; you'll want to make sure the engine's strong and the mower is properly adjusted and lubed.

They are impressive beasts. N years later, they're still out there making hard jobs look easy.
 

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Congratulations! Got any pics?

A couple of comments, changing to the high volume oil system is more than a pump, there are engine parts that are different with that system.

If it was me, and of course it isn't, lol, before I'd spend what will be a quite large sum of money on all of those parts, I'd consider just looking for a L8 in running condition and keeping the L original and just run it. If you live in NY, you should be able to find a nice one for $300 or less, and your L will have a buddy to keep it company in the shed. :)
 

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I ran the 72" reel mowers for years using a 6 hp L. There are 3 prerequisites to run those.

1 - dual wheels
2 - steering sulky
3 - dead flat ground

If you don't have all 3, forget it.

The problem with reel mowers is they are not as fast as rotary mowers. They don't cut long crab grass either. Even rotary mower decks have problems cutting long crab grass.
 

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As CTPhil mentioned, you will be much better off starting with a later 7.6 hp, swiftamatic machine than converting an old one. You will invest more time and money and end up with less hp.
What part of NY do you live in? I am in WNY near Buffalo.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Would love to just a good running or repairable L8, but wifey doesn't want me to start getting even more motor run equipment. She's already joking about getting me a sign to label my drive as a junk yard. Surprisingly, she isn't complaining about the attachments for the Gravely.
Already put the spin on filter on, plumbed low volume style.
If I recall correctly, to convert low to high volume oil, you swap the inlet screen(also needs to be done for swiftmatic), redo the oil line plumbing, replace the oil unloader, drill two holes in the connecting rod or swap it out with a newer one, add oil drain back holes between the crankcase and transmission and swap the oil pump cover and gears.

I should have 2 of those 3 requirements for the gang mower by next spring. My lawn is pretty flat, and the dual wheels will be coming(managed to almost get stuck with the singles off the side of my yard). Why do you recommend the steering sulky for the gang? I'm used to running old snowblowers that you literally drag around corners.

As far as impressive, I know. I honestly thought that the engine was higher horse than 5 when I got it running, and the blowby is a bit high for my tastes(hence the rebuild planned for this winter, as well as needing a winter project). I'm planning on treating the rebuild the same as I would a car engine rebuild.

Pictures are coming.

P.S. Wifey doesn't mind me buying parts though. If only she realized that I could possibly buy all the parts to build another :D :) and those I couldn't by, I should be able to fabricate.
 

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Would love to just a good running or repairable L8, but wifey doesn't want me to start getting even more motor run equipment. She's already joking about getting me a sign to label my drive as a junk yard. Surprisingly, she isn't complaining about the attachments for the Gravely.
Already put the spin on filter on, plumbed low volume style.
If I recall correctly, to convert low to high volume oil, you swap the inlet screen(also needs to be done for swiftmatic), redo the oil line plumbing, replace the oil unloader, drill two holes in the connecting rod or swap it out with a newer one, add oil drain back holes between the crankcase and transmission and swap the oil pump cover and gears.

I should have 2 of those 3 requirements for the gang mower by next spring. My lawn is pretty flat, and the dual wheels will be coming(managed to almost get stuck with the singles off the side of my yard). Why do you recommend the steering sulky for the gang? I'm used to running old snowblowers that you literally drag around corners.

As far as impressive, I know. I honestly thought that the engine was higher horse than 5 when I got it running, and the blowby is a bit high for my tastes(hence the rebuild planned for this winter, as well as needing a winter project). I'm planning on treating the rebuild the same as I would a car engine rebuild.

Pictures are coming.

P.S. Wifey doesn't mind me buying parts though. If only she realized that I could possibly buy all the parts to build another :D :) and those I couldn't by, I should be able to fabricate.

If you have a great deal of spare time on your hands, it sounds as though you have sufficient knowledge and ability to complete this job. Otherwise, as mentioned, you would be better off to purchase an L8 (or even an LI), and sell the L you currently have (someone here would certainly take it off your hands). Then again, if you have time and like to learn new things, why not take a stab at it? The steering helps to turn (almost on a dime) large, wide, heavy Gravely attachments, such as 50-60" mowing decks and triple gang reel mowers. :fing32::fing32:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sadly, the tag with serial and model information is missing. Here's the pictures of all but my rotary plow.

IMG_0159.JPG

IMG_0160.JPG

IMG_0161.JPG

IMG_0162.JPG

I am thinking of making metal covers for the safety clutches to protect them when they aren't in use, plastic bags seem to like blowing off. And, in case you can't tell, I prefer the metal gas cans over the plastic ones, and yes, that is a big funnel sitting upside down on the red can.

Snowblower will be getting a teardown to get the chute turner working, and to get rid of the rust before it destroys it(even though the color won't be right, epoxy spray paint is great for snowblowers), and there will be plenty of pictures. I actually use pictures to keep track of exactly how something coes apart. Makes reassembly easier than getting done and having one weird part left, wondering where it's supposed to go.
 

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Gravely1964
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First off :MTF_wel2: gravely and only one :hide:

G.A.S. will get you a few machines :thThumbsU

P1010664.JPG

Only non L or C machine there is a 526 AKA Wall-E :fing32:

The only thing I will mention is theres really no need for the high volume oil pump. The low pressure pump will do just fine provided the oil lines are plumbed correctly. And honestly its easier to swap a whole high pressure block on than doing the oil pumps. I think the rod needs drilled for an extra oil passage if you go that route if im not mistaken.

But reguardless nice machine :thThumbsU
 

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Interesting machine... looks like she's had some upgrades as the years have gone-on ( starter, Later hood, front-facing aluminum carb (1963 or later), white grips on the shift levers ( probably replacing original wooden ones ) )

Can you give some pics from under the hood ? (Magneto, and such )

A word of advice on that LH rotary mower - pull the top plate, and make sure there's no water inside the gear box, and if it has to live outside, keep that gearbox well-covered - it will allow water to sneak -past that upper bearing.

I will echo the sentiments about caution on converting to HV oil pump... the main stumbling block is price and availability of the HV gears and cover, both of which have been unobtainable from Gravely for decades...

At any rate, Welcome, and good luck with your project!

( and if you run across a good L-8, grab it ! )
 

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Don't let the 5hp fool you, as you have already experienced they are way stronger than a "normal" 5hp mower.

If I were you I would run it some more. I have a little bit of blow-by on my machine, but I have been running it for about 20 years now and it still runs like it did when I first got it. When I use it hard and put it away, I always have to add a little oil to the crankcase before starting it, but I can run it all day long and it never runs out of oil. and it never noticeably smokes. You said it runs strong, so I am wondering if putting a new piston and honing or boring the cylinder will give you anything you don't already have.

It's fun putting new attachments on it and trying them out. I always thought they wanted you to run dual wheels with the steering sulky because you need lots of traction when the mower is going straight but the sulky wheels are at a angle.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll have to get pics of under the hood later. Can't go near her now(massive yellow jacket nest nearby, and they decided that I wasn't acceptable outside, we'll see who wins tonight).
You are right on the upgrades. I swapped the original cast iron rear facing carb for the aluminum front facing one. I still have the cast iron one, but there was so much rust inside, that I doubt if I'll be able to save it. I did open up the gear box on the deck, and found rust inside. Cleaned out all I could, and the sprayed phosphoric acid into it to help neutralize what was left, followed by a good rinse and heat gun assisted dry. Changing the gearbox lube now any time it looks dirty(grit still working out, and I want it removed).
I did talk to Richards about the HV oil pump, and he might be able to help me out. We'll see this winter when I do the rest. Worst case scenario for me to do one, I get a HV setup that's worn out and get new parts made. It's nice knowing people who run CNC machines.
I also swapped the canister oil filter with the spin on. The big reason I want to run the HV oil pump is to be able to keep clean oil flowing into the engine. I prefer any grit to be removed before it hits bearings.
Gravely1964, you are right. You can either swap the rod with a newer one with the hole, or you dril a 1/8" hole into the bottom of the rod and chamfer the outer edges. I have Gravely's conversion instructions saved on the computer. You also have to modify the engine cover as well(drill and tap an alignment pin hole).

Now, if only the cloud of yellow jackets would go back into the wall where there nest is so that I can kill them. I've never seen that many at one nest.
 

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Gravely1964
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Gravely1964, you are right. You can either swap the rod with a newer one with the hole, or you dril a 1/8" hole into the bottom of the rod and chamfer the outer edges. I have Gravely's conversion instructions saved on the computer. You also have to modify the engine cover as well(drill and tap an alignment pin hole).

Now, if only the cloud of yellow jackets would go back into the wall where there nest is so that I can kill them. I've never seen that many at one nest.
Sounds like your well on your way :thThumbsU Just wanted to point out its not just an oil pump swap :fing32:

Good luck with the bees!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Bees still aren't cooperating, and I can't get a clear shot at the nest.
I did get the rotary plow over here. Sadly, the bearing in the input shaft appears to be stuck at the moment. I'll have to tear it down to see if the bearing is still usable, or at least get it out to get a replacement. Here it is.
IMG_0163.JPG
 

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Here is a trick to kill wasps, or at least get them to leave:
Fill a small pesticide sprayer with wintergreen rubbing alcohol and spray it at the nest. The fumes are toxic to the wasps and all or most in the nest die. The rest leave and build a nest elsewhere. There are also traps they sell at the hardware store. Those work pretty well too, but are a lot slower.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've got some traps set around them. Only problem with them relocating is my wife is allergic to them, and as of right now, they aren't a threat to her, only me. The larger problem is that the nest is inside a wall. I'm trying to figure out how to get direct access to the nest to kill it directly. My biggest issue is that I've never seen activity like this one. A full blown cloud around the entrance. I don't react to stings, but I also know that with as many as there are over there, I could be in trouble if I tick them off at the wrong moment.

Another good killer is good ole dish soap and warm water in a pump sprayer. That stuff will knock them right out of the air.
 

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Hit them at night just make sure it's good and dark.
 
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