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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been lurking here for a few months, since I bought my new property with much more grass and a longer driveway than I have ever owned. Last week I purchased a Suburban tractor with an Onan engine. The decal on the hood says SS/18 Twin. It had been in the same family since new. I was told that it was purchased brand new in 1978, but from what I have found here and other places on the web, it is a 1976 model.

They did not have the original manual, but had a printed copy of a manual for an SS/16 and an 18/6.

The model number of the tractor is 917.25961 (serial number 2612). The numbers on the engine are BG-MS and 2980A. The engine serial number is J7S313O986. I am trying to figure out exactly what I have, and how old it is. Is it correct to call this a Suburban? What are the "xx/6" tractors? I am also interested in finding a manual for this tractor, as I am not sure what may or may not be the same as the manuals that I have. I am also interested in information about the engine.

It came with a 42 inch deck (917.253580), plow blade (917.253360), snow blower (842.260052), and large dump trailer (610263580), plastic/sand filled rear wheel weights, and tire chains. The tractor seems to be in pretty good shape, with decent paint, minimal wear, etc. and all four tires hold air and are not cracked (My wife even said it looked good). According to the seller, he regularly (annually) changed the air filter, spark plugs, oil, and oil filter, and regularly lubed the deck, etc. The blade and snowblower hadn't been used regularly in some time, but only showed surface rust, and felt sturdy and in good shape. I believe that I got everything for all of the attachments, except some attachment pins (as compared to the original attachment manuals), and the right half of the lower grille.

It starts quickly and runs well, except that the throttle level drops to part throttle while running. I paid $750 for everything. How did I do?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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:MTF_wel2:

The 18/6 and SS18 are pretty much the same tractor. Sears just Change the names from SS/16 or 18 to 16/6 or 18/6.

The gril piece is missing because you have to remove that piece to run the blower. That piece seems to get lost and never put back on.

If it's a good running tractor you did ok with the attachments that came with it.

Couple things to becareful with is the dash and the upper grill/nose. They both break easy ! Other then that it's a tough old tractor.

You'll have to look the throttle cable over to see why it's slipping back.
 

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Tractor hoarder/collector
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I can tell u more info with a picture..I can find the info with the #s but im faster with pics.... ive got a 76(i think ive never actually looked up the year of it yet) ss18 and I love it...and it smokes..and my hour meter has rolled around a couple times....but she keeps on ticking...i paid $250 and got a deck with it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here are the pictures (if I did this right) from the ad when I bought it. I took a few others when I got it home, but I don't have them with me.

Do you know the displacement of the engine? I know that the block is aluminum. I for some reason thought that it was iron, but the magnet did not stick. I did not get to check the transmission, but it looked like aluminum as well. I don't know if they made different versions of these or not.

It also looks like it has the heavier duty five bolt, non-adjustable hubs.

Is there a sight plug to check the transmission oil level?
 

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:MTF_wel:There is a drain plug on the bottom of the tranny, and an elbow with a plug in it on the side near the axle tube. Pull the plug and the oil should be up to the elbow. Suburban trannys have a tendency to fill with water if they are stored uncovered, so I'd drain it and refill it to be sure it is fresh oil in there. I think you did well buying that tractor, especialy if the grill where the hood hinges is not cracked. Good luck with it, Ed
 

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Cranky Motorsports
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welcome and nice looking machine! There is no sight plug. if you drain the rear end, you refill it with 5qts sae 30 motor oil. I have a bunch of manuals if you want PM me with your email address and i will send you what i have for them. Again, welcome and :wwp:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info on the transmission. I will try to get it checked this weekend. Overall everything is pretty decent and appears to be well maintained.

The grill was cracked a little near the hinge but repaired and cosmetically doesn't look to bad. However, the right side seems a little loose and will cause the hood to unlatch on the right side while driving. I noticed that there is some play in the right hinge, but I couldn't just tighten the bolt because ther was some space between the tabs on the grille and the hinge. I thought about getting something to take up the gap and then tighten the bolt a little.

The dashboard has a couple small cracks near the ignition switch that were also repaired. Again, this is really more of a work machine, but it is still nice enough that I am not embarrased to show it off a little.

I just can't believe how heavy duty everything is. The 38" deck on the mid-80s Craftsman weighs probably half as much as the 42" deck on this machine. I guess it goes back to something I say that my wife is just starting to get, "everything older is better."
 

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I just can't believe how heavy duty everything is. The 38" deck on the mid-80s Craftsman weighs probably half as much as the 42" deck on this machine. I guess it goes back to something I say that my wife is just starting to get, "everything older is better."
I'm not sure that older is always better -- take pianos, for instance. But in this case I have to agree. I started out with a newer Craftsman tractor and soon realized that it was only designed to compete with other plastic tractors. Cheap, modular construction, poor engineering. Then I got my first 35-year-old Suburban with a 16 hp Onan and realized I had the real thing. I ain't ever lookin' back.
 

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That is a nice looking tractor. The fiberglass hinge holes get egg shaped and let the hood move up and down a little. On one of my tractors I put some rubber bummers on the top of the lower grill. The upper grill rest on the bummers and takes the weight off the hinge and makes the hood more stable. Works pretty good and should help keep the hinge from breaking.
 

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Small Fry, would you mind posting a small photo of your hood showing placement of the rubber things? I'd sure like to do the same.
 
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