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Fun to watch this guy who doesn't have a clue about Gravely's figure it all out and get it working. We all started here didn't we?


 

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When I was 30, I bought a farmhouse, and had to find a mower. I looked in the classifieds and saw an ad for a thing called a Gravely. It was cheap and the seller said it ran so I drug it home.

Little did I know that it was literally the only machine that could cut the hay/wire rope that grows in my yard, and be small enough to maneuver around all the outbuildings.

If I had bought a typical Honda yard mower (or been able to afford one), it would have bogged down the first time the grass got over two inches high.

The Gravely gods were looking out for me...
 

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The first gravely I used was an L with (I think) a 106 deck. It belonged to my father when I was about 8 years old.

The first one I bought was my '58 LI. I had 1.5 acres of lawn to mow, and I'd gone through 2 Hondas. Those things just aren't designed for heavy use. Rather than buy another of that sort, I remembered the old gravely, and wondered whether any were still around. 250 bucks later, I had the LI, a 106, and a sickle bar, plus some spares. That was in 2008, and I haven't looked back.

I think the Gravely gods were looking out for me as well.
 
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My dad bought a Gravely L-I with 30" deck, rotary plow, sulky and electric start in 1959. I was 13 years old at the time. Dad was a property manager and assistant to a developer and he allowed the Gravely to put me through trade school and buy my first car just by retaining half the fees and investing them for me, but that mower worked me HARD! I left home at 18 and he took over the mowing of the five acre home place, plowing the garden and pulling around a small trailer hauling limbs and the such. In 2001, I drove 2500 miles to get the Gravely and sort out the tools and such after ten years of no use at all. It cranked with a new battery and starter chain and started over life in Idaho. It ran better and worked a year with a new plug and I mounted dual wheels for my Idaho steepness and found a lump for parts with a couple attachments, too.
Then I moved and built a house and took 12 years with a backhoe 'landscaping' and needed a mower. It took a battery and new starter chain and settling bowl to hear the distinctive and comforting sound of the old Gravely.
I just put a remote PTO switch on it. Something dad wanted but couldn't find for many years.
The big stuff I do with bushhog on the 35HP Massey, but the Gravely gets the rest. It just keeps on going!
Gravelys have a longer life than their human operators!!
 

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Mustie1 has a lot of experience and a great channel. It was only a matter of time before he drug home a Gravely.

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My first GRAVELY was my fathers model L from the time I was about 3 until I was 12, 1960-1969.

After that he sold the L to my uncle and bought a rider in 1971.

He sold that when he retired in 1986.

I bought my first and only GRAVELY brand new in 1996.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Tractor Motor vehicle


Still have it. It was recently at the GRAVELY Mow-In at the Steam-O-Rama in Windsor, PA

Wheel Tire Riding mower Cloud Vehicle


Sheldon
 

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My father bought his first L in 1948. [I still have the receipt for that machine and attachments.] I grew up with it until he traded it around 1960. Here is my uncle running it not long after it was new. He later bought one too. Note the tool bag that my father had on his L's over the years: Something to carry wrenches to keep the sickle bar tightened up. He mowed with the sickle bar until he got a used left hand 30" deck in in the early 60's. Sure cut down on the mowing time.
Wheel Plant Tree Motor vehicle Automotive tire


Here I am with my father a few years later on the wagon he built around 1950 from 2-horse buckboard chassis a few years later. I still have that tool cultivator.
Plant Tree Black-and-white Grass Adaptation

He let me mow with that tractor when I was 9 or 10 years old not long before he traded it for a newer L.
 

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I grew up on a 50 by 100 foot city lot in a big city. Our lawn mowers were human powered reel mowers. Take away the footprints of the house, the driveway, the patio, and the garage and there was maybe 1500 sf of actual grass. Over the years, after buying my first house, then my second, then my third, and finally where I am now, it was a series of gas powered push then self-propelled 20" to 22" mowers.

I have been in this house for over 40 years. It is on a little more than 3/4 acre. When I looked at the house there was a Gravely 7.6 Convertible L and sulky with a 30" deck in the garage. I made the seller include that in the sale. So that was my first Gravely. My property has some hilliness to it (enough for my kids to sled ride in the winter) so the L and sulky kinda beat you up when you used them and was a little scary running cross slope. My oldest was not quite five when we moved here. When it got to where he might want to drive the mower, it was time for something safer than a walk-behind and a sulky.

I bought a brand new 16 hp Craftsman rider. It literally blew the transmission minutes after it was delivered. Literally. I got my money back and as luck would have it, on my way home from work there was a nice looking Gravely 812 for sale on a guy's front lawn not too far away. Knowing how heavy duty the L was, I decided to get the 812. It had a 50" deck, a snow plow, and chains. I still have that rig, although it is is the one I rolled over on myself cutting a neighbors lawn a few years back. It has not been started since then, but I have no doubt it can be resurrected.

Since then I have had a series of other riders. A total of four 16Gs, an 8123, and an 816S. I still have three 16Gs and the 816S - and of course the original 812. I also now have a 38" blower, a 48" blower, a Gravely trailer, a 16G snow cab, and a too-large-and-ever-growing collection of spare parts.

I also have a lot more to mow. I mow four neighbors' yards and do snow blowing on seven driveways. My Gravelys are a hobby and at the same time a set of really great power tools that actually get used. Not bad for a city kid!
 
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Not bad at all. This is a great thread. I grew up in a rural county in central Virginia. My first Gravely experiences were from two of my uncle's that had and frequently used Gravely walk behinds for mowing, brush hogging and plowing and cultivating gardens. At 10 - 12 years old I was intrigued by these machines that reminded me of dragsters. They would let me mow with them at first to learn the controls and how to maneuver them. The first two that I was taught to operate were a '56 & a '58 both LI. My uncle's were coming down with GAS and I didn't realize it. By the time I was 16 years old they had about 20 Gravelys including a 10A, 408 and 432. I acquired the '56 LI as payment for working with them and not expecting pay. It needed some work by then and they taught me about timing, cleaning carbs, sticking valves and filing points. I still have that tractor and it needs some work now, but it has given me over 40 years of service and enjoyment. It now shares the shed with 6 other Gravelys, 2 John Deere, a Cub Cadet and a Harry Ferguson. The uncle's are in their 80's now and are slowing down. Their GAS is in remission, but it's still there. And mine is still fully active. Thank you guys for sharing your Gravely roots.

Cliff
 

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I bet some of you guys really miss those old Gravely's, they were a 'Real Man's Tractor' back then. You had to 'Man Handle' those old 'Walk Behind's' but they got the job done, and a lot of them are still running today.
Just goes to show how well they were built back then, like a 'Timex Watch', or the 'Energizer Bunny'.
Like the old saying goes, 'If it Aint Red, Leave it in the Shed'.
 

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My first experience was working for a family friend who set me to work at about 12 years of age behind an L with a 106, I think. I remember being half scared of the thing. Then my uncle opened a dealership and my dad bought a state of the art 816 around 1972 with a plow and a 50 inch mower. I made a ton of money with that machine as a teenager doing lawns and clearing driveways. He later got a 38 inch snow blower for it and I made even more. I currently have what you see below and am about to adopt that 816, which was repowered with a Kohler magnum 16, and a Simplicity Legacy XL. I need none of it, but I can’t let that memory go, and the Legacy XL diesel with FEL and BH is just too darned fun to let go. I let my grandfathers Farmall H go simply because I had no way to exercise it or store it, but dang I had fun with it, and learned a lo! I guess Red it is for me.

I need a home for my 5660 and all it’s implements. The only reason I would ask a dime for it would be to save it from the scrap yard. So I am hoping to find a worthy adopter, if you know of anyone let me know.
 

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There is another thread right now with a new forum member noodling on what Gravely to buy.

Just sayin'

LOL
 
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My granddad had what was always referred to as the Gravely "tiller" (Commercial 12 with a rotary cultivator), and I never really thought much of it. Then one day he called me to have me come over and try to get it running for him. It seemed weird because the garden was already tilled by that time of year but whatever. I get there and he's got a 40" commercial deck and a steering sulky on it. My jaw dropped, I didn't know you could put other attachments on them, let alone that he had a handful of them.

So I got it running for him, cleaned inches of caked dirt out of the fins, cleaned the carb, etc. It ran better than it had in years. He doesn't really know much about machines like that. I was hooked from that moment, so I started looking around to see what other attachments he had for it. There were a couple rotary plows, a sickle bar, a regular sulky, dual wheel weights, then bam, there it was in the lean-to out back- a 1960 LI that hadn't run since probably the 90s. He gave it to me and I got it running, still use it to this day. Pretty sure there's a thread on it, I should go back and reminisce. Lol

Then I got GAS and the rest is history.
 

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Mustie1 has posted his part 2 video. Sadly, he had to replace both roller bearings in the 30" bush hog, but did get it going again.

I have to say, I've never heard of anyone disassembling and reviving an ignition switch. That was a first.

I don't believe he ordered a single part to bring it back. Pretty amazing.

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Mustie1 has posted his part 2 video. Sadly, he had to replace both roller bearings in the 30" bush hog, but did get it going again.

I have to say, I've never heard of anyone disassembling and reviving an ignition switch. That was a first.

I don't believe he ordered a single part to bring it back. Pretty amazing.

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Most people just replace the switch but I saw a lot of 'Old-Timers' who drilled out the rivets on their old rocker lever switches and repaired the contacts in them, and re-riveted them on their 'L' models, and back running again.
 

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Mustie1 has posted his part 2 video. Sadly, he had to replace both roller bearings in the 30" bush hog, but did get it going again.

I have to say, I've never heard of anyone disassembling and reviving an ignition switch. That was a first.

I don't believe he ordered a single part to bring it back. Pretty amazing.

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Just watched both videos. Aren't you not supposed to use gear oil in the trans because of something to do with the bronze diff gear not getting along with it?
 

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Just watched both videos. Aren't you not supposed to use gear oil in the trans because of something to do with the bronze diff gear not getting along with it?
Right. GL-4 and GL-5 oils contain sulfur. With yellow metal (bronze) it acts like cutting oil, prematurely wearing the gears. GL-0 is fine with bronze. You don't want gear oil in the trans anyway, as the clutches are designed to work in lighter oil, like SAE30.

I didn't watch all the way through, and missed that.

I suppose it's worth attempting to contact him and let him know. A bunch of people are likely to watch that video and imitate him.
 

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