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I am a curious fan of the Murray lawn tractors(the newer ones). No, they are not 'built like a tank'. No they are not the best-cutting of decks. But there is something about them that I like. I've had 2 of them and they always seemed to 'just work'.
The Briggs Intek engine is wonderfully-smooth. MUCH smoother than any of the Cubs I have had. I currently have a Cub 2554 and like it a lot but the engine is not nearly as smooth as that Briggs. Now the Cub will cut circles around the Murray and will long outlast it but there is just something about the Murray that I like. I kinda think of it as a 'disposable' tractor. It didn't cost much and I won't be out much when it dies or I sell it.
All I need to finish fixing up my old Murray is to fix the gas tank or find a used one somewhere. Then I think I will cut with it a little and then probably sell it.....or keep it as a backup for the Cub(if it ever breaks).

Murray 46" deck with a "Scotts Exclusive" 18 hp Briggs(oil cooler and oil filter) and 'auto drive'.
 

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Murray machines have been a part of my life since I was in the second grade. I remember that day in early spring of 1986 when my family went to Walmart in Georgetown, KY and purchased a brand new Murray 11hp/36" lawn tractor. I remember that they were sold in huge shipping crates and you had to install the battery, seat, and steering wheel. My dad and several Walmart employees picked it up and set it into the bed of our ancient Chevy and we hauled it to our farm in Scott County.

After Dad put it together and got it going he familiarized himself with it and then taught me how to use it by letting me drive it around for awhile with the mower not turning. He made sure that I knew how to operate all the controls before he let me mow with it, and the first few times he walked behind me as I mowed in second gear (agonizingly slow for a seven year old), pointing out the many patches of unmowed grass I left.

From then on, mowing the grass was my responsibility. My maternal grandfather had recently died so mowing grandma's grass soon also became my responsibility. He had a Dynamark riding mower which from what I remember had a very troublesome blade drive engagement mechanism. My Dad eventually fixed it so the blades ran all the time. In 1990 that mower died and we bought a new Murray 12hp/38" for grandma.

Over the years I spent alot of time on that 12 horse, I still have it today. In 1996 it was supplanted by a Sears 19hp/42" machine. The Murray fell into disuse because it needed some engine work and grandma wouldn't spend the money to fix it. In 2005 grandma moved into a nursing home and I moved onto her farm, now owned by my mother. As I now had more time and a newfound passion for Murrays I pulled the old machine out of the barn and began working on it. The very tired old 12 horse B&S L-head came out and a new B&S Powerbuilt OHV 10.5 horse moved in. Over the past two years I've replaced much of the wiring, belts, mandrels, idler pulley, battery, blades, and rear tires.

"Old Red" is basically a new machine now, I'm still hunting for the perfect blades for it. Murray factory blades just don't produce enough lift for a really smooth cut. If you have alot weeds in your yard or if the ground is uneven in alot of places (both of the above!) you'll have patches of grass that are cut long or just knocked down rahter than cut. Last month, I scored a cherry 8hp/30" rear engine machine. It has a really tight turning radius and fits through tight places which is just what the inner part of my yard needs. The only gripe I have is that it has a Tecumseh engine. Of course should it ever go south a Briggs will drop right in.:fing32:

Next up, I would like to find an 11hp/36" in decent shape just like the one from my childhood. From what I understand, Murray hasn't produced any machines since around 2005. Briggs & Stratton now owns the brand and I don't know if they have any plans for it. I would suggest to them that, since they already own Simplicity and Snapper, get back to basics and let Murray do what it did quite well for most of its history. Murray's downfall began in the 90's when they introduced some really fragile hydrostatic models and tried to compete with the fancier brands while staying at a low price point. Murray can be successful again if Briggs lets the brand stay true to its roots and make simple, economical machines that work.
 

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I dont have a murray but i have a friend at work who does.He bought it nearly 13 years ago from Caldors i think (remember that store?) or maybe it was walmart.Its a lawn tractor that he uses once a week to mow up to half an acre.He claims that it still has all the original parts on it.The only things changed have been spark plug,and filters.
 

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I have a scotts 4whl steer mower that was made by noma in other words its a murray its kinda ugly because the all plastic body is faded and has cracks here and there but does exactly what i need it to do. mow. it does it pretty good even cut not alot of clumping unless i make a pass in the field where the grass is currently 4ft tall but it does good and the 4 wheel steer helps because we have alot of trees only complaint i have is that it is a little hard to turn but that is partly contributed to the 275lbs of hiney on the seat lol
 

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The Link King
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For a cheaply built mower my murray does alot of hard work. Ive used it for things it was never designed for. Dad bought it about 6 years ago for mowing grass for $100. We ran it for a while until the 11 HP B&S gave out. For the next 4 years it sat in a corner in the shed. Then i took an interest in it and I pulled it out of that corner and put a 4HP B&S in it off a Murray push mower. Since then ive added tire chains and used it for plowing snow, garden work, hauling firewood, and other various jobs. Now ive modded it more by adding an extra axle and a bed on the back, much like a JD Gator. The tractor can be seen in my avatar. You would be suprised how much work can be done with a 4 horse motor. It gets the same job done that more powerful tractors do, just not as fast.
 

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Ferguson, that 11/36 was the first LT I ever owned also. Mowed everything and anything in its path, too. It was a great no-frills mower that was as basic as could be and performed wonderfully. If the powers that be could make them like that again at a low price, I think they couldn't make enough of them! I liked it for the simple fact it lasted longer than my first marraige! :ROF
 

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My 12 horse has lasted longer than my parents' marriage!!

Hey John Boggs, how did you make the engine pulley work with the smaller shaft engine?
 

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the thing i like best about mine other than what i wrote above is that basically it was free i was selling a boat for $700 or partial trade for a riding mower and the guy gave me $500 plus the mower . the boat was free to me all i had to do was get it out of the peoples yard trailer and all I used the boat a couple times and ran out of time and money to fix it up and had it sittin a few years then decided to get rid of it and focus on other projects so i made out good on that deal
 

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I bought a used 18 hp twin cylinder three years ago for $450 bucks. The tubeless tires had plenty of tread but needed tubes. The date code on the engine is 1988. The only thing I don’t care for is the use of a 4” fiber disc in the steering used as a universal joint. It failed about a month after I bought it and was $35 to replace. Oh ya, I changed the drive belt as well. The 42” deck has 3 blades and still cuts well, original spindles. It also came with a 5 hp 36” Murray tiller, engine date code 1994, wheel weights, chains, and a counter weight for the front of the tractor. The original owner was moving across the country and could not take it.
 

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The Link King
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My 12 horse has lasted longer than my parents' marriage!!

Hey John Boggs, how did you make the engine pulley work with the smaller shaft engine?
I didnt use the original engine pulley. I got a 4 inch pulley from TSC, but the center hole was waaay to big. So i welded in a washer that was previously used to hold the blade on. After that i just bolted it to the motor.
 

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Late in its life, Murray made some black and teal green machines. These go over with me about like IH red goes over with the Deere guys.:eck16:
 

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Late in its life, Murray made some black and teal green machines. These go over with me about like IH red goes over with the Deere guys.:eck16:
I've never seen anyone around my area with one of those black and green ones. A few reds but that's all. Take care..
 

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Johnboggs21 :

You used a push mower rngine on that Murray?..you must have put a pretty heavy pulley on it,otherwise you'd have had a hard time getting it to start and idle,since most mower engines used the blade as the flywheel,and the flywheel alone isn't heavy enough!..

I have no doubts it would be powerful enough,but as you said,its not as strong as the original engine was..I used a 5 HP vertical briggs on one homebult that hauls about 500 lbs of wood like nothing,but its as slow as a snail due to the low gearing a small HP engine needs!..but I'm in no hurry!..

That 4 HP probably had a 7/8" crank PTO,there are cast iron pulleys available in that bore size,thay will be heavy enough to make up for the loss of the blade--or you can get ones that used a 3 bolt tapered hub that bolts too the pulley with whatever sized keyed bore you need also..

What I have done before to adapt a pulley to a 7/8" push mower shaft,was to leave the blade adapter on it as it would normally be,and just drill 2 holes in the pulleys hub and bolt it right to the blade adapter with 2 bolts,plus the center bolt that holds the adapter on to the crank,the adapter also usually has a 5/8" pilot that centers the pulley, if you used one with a 5/8" bore that way..
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..the only downside to doing it that way is you are "stuck" with the pulley in one place way down low!--so if it wont align with the tranny pulley,you'll have to raise the motor up with spacers between the tractor and the engine base to line them up--I find it easier to use a 7/8" bore cast iron pulley you can slide wherever it needs to be and tighten the set screw,it'll be heavy enough to make up for having no blade,and W.W. Grainger sells them for about 15 bucks..7/8" pulleys are not common in mower shops or hardware stores,but idustrial supply places stock them ,electric motors have 7/8" shafts more often..I found a few on self propelled mowers,but most had only a 3/8" belt sheave..

I used a few of those pulleys to make a generator/battery charger with a GM altenator,instead of using a horizontal shaft engine,push mower verticals are more readly available free and it allows you to use them more for other things besides just mowing..

I would put a bushing in your pulley,if the bore was "way too big" for the crank,otherwise it will wobble and eat away at the crank eventually,or break off the center bolt!..
 

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The Link King
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I didnt use a particularly heavy pulley and the motor seems to run fine the way it is. I did have the put the motor on "stilts" to get the everything aligned. Ill get some pics that can show what im trying to say better later on. Will your computer show pictures from photobucket?
 

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Rustyj
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One of the local cops stopped by last week, and asked me if i wanted to go pick up a free tractor! I told him yes, and promptly skedaddled over to the place he told me to go to get it. The owner moved one of his cars, and then pushed the nice looking tractor out into the driveway. As soon as i saw that nice shiny Murray tractor setting there, i figgered i'd take it.
So, into the pickup it went, i took it home, installed a good battery and some gas, and started it up. It runs good, but---ah-ha! The mower deck was broken at the left spindle area, and the bearings were out of the spindle!
Well, off it came. I took the spindle off the deck and took it to my lawn machinery place, and bought everything i need to fix the spindle, for $15!
I didn't have the deck welded today, as my friend who welds stuff for me was too busy, but he said to come back tomorrow, so i guess he'll be able to fix it for me. Nice tractor-runs great-11 h.p. Briggs 3 speed tranny.
 
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