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New owner with pics

4318 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  tacomaty
Hi, I've been looking for a tractor for a while now and just recently found a great deal (i think). I purchased the tractor below with a snow plow, tire chains and mower deck for $250. Other than front tires, it's in great shape, has almost no rust and runs really well. The previous owner only used it 2-3 times a year to push snow and used his John Deer zero turn for mowing.

I just changed the oil and filter, spark plugs, air filter and gave it some fresh gas with seafoam. I have gator blades and new tires on the way. Can't wait to try it out!

Is this a rare model? It has a 44" deck, 6 speed, 18HP Kohler twin motor and is labeled as Kohler Command. I can't find much information on this particular setup. The previous owner still had the owners manual but couldn't tell me what year it was. The manual lists the model as 917.250482 which doesn't turn up much from a Google search.

I was hoping I could get some help/info with the following:
- Any idea what year this is?
- Is there anything I should be aware of being my first tractor?
- The seat has a tiny 1/2" crack. What is the best way to fix this and prevent it from getting worse?
- I found a mulch plug from sears for $80 but I just cant bring myself to spend that on some plastic. I'm hoping to build my own instead. Does anyone have pictures of custom mulch plugs/covers that I can use for ideas?

Any help or information is appreciated!

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Your seller did you a good favor

Nice lawnmower, you probably won't need a mulching plate after you get your gatorblades installed...but like you said it is cheaper & easier to make a plate if you decide you need it.

I don't know how old it is, I sold a used one similar to that about 15 years ago, I think I got $1500 for it, but all it had was just a mower deck.

Tire tubes will inexpensively fix tires with decent tread that are not split. If you have a local tire shop, you might ask about having the tires filled with anti-freeze & water, for the weight, as those lawnmowers work better with a low center of gravity.

Personally I would rather spend money on frequent oil changes... (approx. every 20hrs., or whenever it gets to the ADD mark, or whenever it has a brown color)...than buying oil filters each time. If the oil change time is extended to 50 hrs. as Kohler recommends, the oil will be black, regardless if you changed the filter or not. I would never spend extra money on synthetic oil. That engine is recommended by Kohler... multigrade oil, as it has hydraulic lifters...those lifters will give you trouble if you use straight weight oil.

If you gotta spend money on filters, spend it on fuel filters, & air filters, (1) extra foam wrap prefilter is handy to have & should be serviced often. Always make sure that the air filter wing nut has a red rubber seal in place and remains tight, this wing nut is different than the nut on the top of the cover. Inspect your PVC tube often, do not run the engine if that tube is leaking or cracked, as dirt will go directly into the engine & quickly ruin it. As old as yours is, you might consider getting a new PVC tube. Make sure your dipstick seals completely, as this too will allow dirt directly into the engine.

Find a bottle or can that will fit over your gas cap, the idea is to not allow rainwater to contaminate in the tank. When you fill your lawnmower, try not to empty your supply tank into your lawnmower (most of the contaminates settle in the bottom of the supply tank, so don't pour those into your lawnmower, leave an inch of gas in your supply tank).

For your seat, not much can be done once they split, try not to let the foam get rain soaked, as it will rust out the seat pan & could cause trouble with the seat switch. Sunshine dry cracks the vinyl over time, eventually it will get hard & brittle. Try not to take the windlace off the rim of the seat cover, as reinstalling it can be difficult, check the 'bradded area' where the windlace comes together with a pair of pliers, keep it crimped tightly. You might try making a patch to slide in under the vinyl, add epoxy glue, and another patch over the outside, make the patches larger than the rip.

Find an aftermarket plastic battery tray of some sort for it, as those were bad about spewing acid and rusting chassis components, all the way down to the deck.

I would lube everything that moves. I would replace the fuel line & gas tank grommet.

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I am no expert be sure. I'd guess that you've got around a 1993 - 1996 GT6000.

For 250 with the plow, I'd consider it a pretty nice deal. The fact that it was hardly used and the paint's in good condition is simply icing on the cake.

If you look at Sears garden tractors from 1980s through 2004ish, they're practically identical. Yes the metal bodywork can vary, and they eventually changed from horizontal to vertical engines, but the frame and 3 speed hi/lo (6 speed) transmission appear to be the same.

When they were new, they were fair tractors for the price. Granted they're no John Deere 318 or its equivalent, but they also didn't command a 10,000 dollar price tag. Today, I consider them rather great bargin bin tractors for labor saving yard work like gardening, firewood gathering, and general towmotor work, but that's all relative to the end user. Some may scoff at them, but I don't.

Your tractor was the tail end of the 1987 run of Sears garden tractors. The difference between the one you own and the older one would be the monobeam headlight and you've got a vertical motor rather than a horizontal. Here's a photo of what the previous model looked like before yours. Note how they're practically identical.

You didn't include a photo of your deck. If it's the common 44 inch deck that was used in the previous model year, then there's not much to be done about turning into a mulching mower. I do know that they changed the decks sometime in the early to middle 1990s, but without a photo, it's hard to tell. The decks I'm talking about didn't have very good baffling, and in order to run a mulching kit, Sears sold a baffle kit that consisted of metal baffles that encased the blade's radius. They're both hard to find and expensive. As the decks are on the two tractors I've photographed, I can run over an empty cigarette pack, and the deck rarely even picks it up. They cut just fine, but they don't spray a lot of clippings out because they lack high lift bagging blades and proper deck baffling. I don't know what to say, compare your deck with the deck in the photo.

As the previous poster noted, there's not much to be done about the seat crack. There are replacement seats out there. I prefer the metal pan seats, but to each there own. I'm sure that there's a way to fix vinyl seats, and a google search of "vinyl repair kit" is sure to yield a lot of results, but I've no experience. Some people just put a cover over them.

I would not consider the tractor you purchased as rare. They're actually quite common. The Kohler's a pretty fair engine.

The only thing I can report about being aware of something would be the dodgey steering. I'm sure that yours is fine, but they do have a tendency to go bad from lack of lubrication. If yours has metal bushings, you'll want to lubricate the shaft and sector gear bushings as well as the rod ends annually. Since your tractor was only used for snow removal by the previous owner, I seriously doubt it's got any worn steering components, but you will want to keep them lubricated.

As far as making a plug for mulching, search "homemade mulch plug" or some facsimile thereof, and you're bound to get results. Rather than paging through the listings of your search, just click images at the top, and sift through them. For example, here's a few results I got in ten seconds,

Good luck with your tractor, welcome to the forum, and thanks for reading,
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Nice tractor. Good price. Not rare

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One of the "GOOP" products like Household GOOP or Shoo-GOOP will work on viny seats ,I've had decent like with the stuff,sand the vinyl lightly first and clean off the area good with solvent like alcohol and apply the gOOP..its not "permanent",it will wear off or loosen eventually,but it has stayed on longer than any other stuff I tried like black RTV silicone or other flexible sealant-adhesives..its rubbery and sticks well to vinyl and flexes ,so it wont peel off easily..
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Here is my 1995 GT 6000 with hydro tranny. 717.250520, 19.9 Kohler engine.
Yours looks similar.
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beauty. The OEM mulch plug is junk. make your own or just side discharge responsibly. I just made my own deflector flap for my deck as the stock design leaves clumps. Made mine out of an old computer case side panel, LOL. Works awesome.
Thanks for all the help everyone! I should have it back up and running in the next couple days. I'll post an updated pic with the deck.

One more question - what kind of oil should I use in the transaxle? The manual just says SAE30. I've read on here that most people use non detergent oil. Is there a better/preferred brand to use? I drained the old oil last night and it was pretty nasty. I don't think the previous owner did any maintenance on this thing.

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