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Newbie with a pair of STX38s

1271 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  M U Tiger
My 17-year-old son, Ted, needed a project for his Power Tech class: a single cylinder, four stroke, gasoline engine. We had a Deere 108 for a number of years, but sold it when we moved to a smaller home/lot. So, I naturally thought of another Deere for his project. I found a 1966 110 for $500 on CraigsList, but thought the price was too steep for the condition of the tractor. On a whim, I checked my local CraigsList again this morning to find a fresh posting for a pair of STX38s for $250. One has a blown engine but a newer battery and fresh starter motor, but no mower deck. The other is running and has a bagger and deck. Both have intact hoods!
Ted's Power Tech teacher recommends that he rebuild the blown engine, so we'll take it to his shop over the weekend after we pull it tomorrow. Ted's teacher has a JD 112 himself and his family still operates three big brother Deere from the 1960s on the family farm as regular "work horses."
I am looking forward to sharing our experiences with the forum. I hope to gather some good information here, too.
Webster Groves, MO
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Great story :fing32: Looking forward to heereing how things work out! :MTF_wel:
Nice !! That is what I am doing with the 175's I can't believe what I have learned in a short time. I'm more a detailer, and not a mechanic but getting better. :fing20:
Keep us posted and:wwp::wwp::wwp:
Thanks for the welcome.
As soon as I fugure out how to post pix, I'll post some.
We are removing the engine from the newer STX38 today so my son can rebuild it in his Power Tech class.
We cleaned the engine yesterday and assessed the newer (1993 according to the serial number) tractor. The chassis is very solid with only a few bumps and some rust on the battery tray. It sould clean-up well. Both front tires leak so I'm going to buy some Briggs & Stratton tire sealant and hope they hold air. Tread looks OK on all and I also got an extra turf tire (unmounted) with the "package." The seat is in good shape with no cuts or cracks. The steering wheel looks good and has an "official" John Deere spinner!
The DieHard battery was low (clicked only when in start position) so I have it on my trickle charger and hope to bring it back to life.
The 12.5 Kohler engine cleaned up well and the starter does LOOK new, as the seller noted, but I couldn't test it due to the low battery.
The hood is OK with a few scratches here and there and one of the decals is peeling, but two-side tape should cure that. The typical plastic breakage where the hood mounts to the hinge assembly are there so I'll cut the plastic sleeves off and replace them with blocks of wood and thru bolts to ensure no further breakage.
The mower deck is intact but a little rusty. The bearings sound OK. The front of the housing is slightly deformed and the left blade then sliced into the housing, but I think it will work OK with a few blows from the ol' BFH.
We will probably not get to the other STX38 until later this week.
M U Tiger
Webster Groves, MO
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Welcome to the forum! Nice father/son project your got going there! Even if they never run the time working together is golden! But I hope that he get's it up and running, he'll have a smile a mile wide!
Re: Newbie with a pair of STX38s UPDATE

We now have the Kohler engine out of the '93 STX38 and my son has been able to begin tear-down in his Power Tech class. The second STX38 is here: it's tight fitting both in our shed!
The engine rebuild is a semester-long project, so it won't be back until some time in December.
I've made a trip to the local Deere dealer and bought new belts for the tractor we'll keep. Interestingly, the belts on the other tractor appear pretty new and OEM.
The front tires on the '93 leak (see other posting) and are mismatched, so I'll probably switch front wheels and tires with the '89 and check, clean and repack the front bearings on both when I do that.
Both tractors' foot and park brakes aren't working. I bought a set of pads which I'll replace in the tractor showing the most wear. (I think we'll just need to adjust both: thanks for the info. on this forum!)
I had to buy a replacement rubber hold down for the bagger, which I replaced using a bolt instead of the large original rivet. Overall, the bagger is usable: the bags have a few tears and are missing one of the rope handles (no problem to replace) and the discharge tube has seen better days.
I bought a quart of JD Green paint and will use Naval Jelly to remove the rust on the '89, prime with Rustoleum and paint. Other than adjusting the steering wheel, that one will need little else.
The '93 will be essentially "restored" when we finish with it.
Altogether, we'll end up with two nice STX38 tractors. I hope we'll be able to sell the '89 to recover the purchase cost and the cost of refurbishing/restoring the pair.
Plus, as noted, it's a great father-and-son project!


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In regards to the starter clicking when you turn the key, it may not be the battery at all. Check out this link before you go out and purchase a new battery, starter, solenoid, etc.... This has helped many members fix a common problem with the STX38 and others makes and models as well.
That's a good modification to the starter. I'll try it on the older STX38 and then on the newer one, once my son completes the engine rebuild.
Webster Groves, MO
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