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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I own some land that needs bush-hogged once or twice a year, otherwise the weed trees get out of control. In between I'll clean things up along the drive and some other areas with a push mower, trimmer, brush cutter, etc. Makes for a long day. It'd be nice if I could maintain a little more area (not much, maybe 2-3 acres) in between having it bush-hogged. A Gravely 816T is for sale right down the road from me for $700. The seller says it's the "T" version, although it just says "816" on the side. They say it has a Twin Onan 16HP motor, 50" deck, and that the "steering has some play." Otherwise, they say it has front, middle, and rear hydraulics. Newer paint, new front wheels, tank coated - new fuel pump and lines. Hydraulic lift, new car battery, seat excellent, and gauges and controls function as designed.

I've read mixed things about the Onan motor. I've read its a "desired" motor, but I've also read that one should have plenty of cash on hand when it comes time for repairs. Thoughts? Would this 816T be good for my needs?

As an alternative, a Gravely Promaster 300 "Presidential" is also for sale near me for $950. The seller says it has a 60" fab deck and 22HP Kohler Command motor with less than 50 hours. He says it has a new PTO clutch and runs well. While not a garden tractor, would this do just as well or better for maintaining my property?

Thanks for the feedback and I appreciate any suggestions on these Gravely's, or other ideas about how best to maintain the areas I want to keep trimmed.
 

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The new PTO clutch is a nice selling point for the Promaster.

I do like the Onan engines, though. My opinion - $700 is a little steep for a 40-50yo tractor with unknown PTO clutch life.
 

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+1 on the Onan, both for being a great engine, and for difficulties at overhaul time.

If you're looking at mowing stuff that rough, I'm not sure a rider is the right answer. You might do better with one of the beefier walkers, and maybe a multi-mode mower. The 50" deck is good, but I would think twice about anything resembling brush-hogging with it.

The 816 does have hydraulics, but it's only for raising/lowering the deck. The PTO is all mechanical.

If you really want to ride, you might look for a front adapter kit for the 816, and hang the multi-mode mower off that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. So it sounds like the price of the 816T may be a bit high.

While the weed trees do get out of control in certain areas, it's mostly Sweet Gum so they are really soft and easy to knock down. The rest is primarily just regular brush. Even still, are both the 816T and Promaster really designed for mowing a lawn vs. a field with brush? I guess I thought the "garden" vs. "lawn" tractor made the 816 a bit more burly. Still learning here so please forgive my ignorance.

I'm definitely not opposed to a walk behind. Are there any brands/model that are recommended that would be reasonably priced when sold used?
 

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Some thoughts

Any 800-series tractor will be a rough ride. If bush hogging - even soft stuff - you can probably expect the tractor to a bone shaker to drive.

The 816T has, I believe, rack and pinion steering. That is adjustable, so you can probably correct any steering looseness.

A 50" rider deck like that tractor has can stand up to mild bush hogging - at least for a while. The deck is, in fact, a finish mower, not intended for rough service. It isn't delicate by any stretch, but it isn't a bush hog.

Someone said to look into a front mount setup for a flail mower ($pendy) or a 30" heavy duty bush hog mower for a walk-behind. I'd agree with that.

I will defer to others who might know better than me, but I think there is a sickle bar mower that is center mount. That would seem to fit your needs as I understand them better than anything else.

Yes, $700 is a bit high. Not crazy, but definitely high.
 

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I'm definitely not opposed to a walk behind. Are there any brands/model that are recommended that would be reasonably priced when sold used?
For that mission I'd look for an L8 or a commercial-12. Either will be available for less than your 816.

Per Mikey, the front mount for a rider is expensive. And yes, you could hang a sickle bar off it just as easily as a deck, but a sickle bar works best when you run it fairly slowly, and it sounds like you have a fairly big area to cover. Of course, the sickle bar will work fine on the front of an L8 or comm12, too.

Also per Mikey, the MA106 deck will do that job perfectly. It will eat up that kind of brush work all day long and come back for more. It's only 30", as opposed to your 50" rider deck though.

Your most cost effective solution may be an L model and a 106. Somewhat more expensive would be a commercial and a 106.
 

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From what I can see of the tractor it is an 816 model and not an 816T. The steering tie rods are the sector steering setup, not the rack and pinion version. Your mention of play in the steering further points towards sector steering as that setup was notorious for suffering from lots of play. The PTO shifter shaft is straight, which on an 800 series tractor is an indication of a 73' or earlier model. The 816T use a forward curved PTO shift lever. The 816T also had a seat riser, while this tractor could have had it removed, I don't think that's the case. This tractor also has the older style brake lock, which is a pre-early 75' design. The 816T would've had the later style brake lock with the pivot tab and sliding rod. $700 isn't a bad price though on an 816, but I would prefer getting it closer to $500. Newer paint doesn't do anything thing for me, I prefer original even if it's got some rust to it. IME Onan's cost no more to fix than a Kohler, so I would wouldn't worry about repair costs. If it runs and cuts properly without any abnormal smoke than I think you're ok. If I had to choose between the two than I would go with the 816. The Promaster will only be good for mowing.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So it sounds like the an L8 or Commercial 12 would handle the brush much better. Being only 30” though, would that take forever to mow? I guess ideally I’d have an L8 for the areas with brush, and an 816 for those areas that are more grassy.

That brings me to my next thought. Right now the brush gets worse in certain areas because I only have it cut once or twice a year with a bush hog. If it’s being cut monthly during the growing season and therefore maintained better, would the 816 be up to the task?

It’s not that I’m opposed to a walk behind, but a 30” deck sounds like it would take a long time. Or is that thing moving along at a quicker pace than I realize?

If the 816 would be up to the task once the property is maintained, is the 816 vs the 816T worth it? That is, since the one for sale near me seems to be an 816 and not an 816T as advertised (negotiating point for lower price). Or would I be better holding out for an 816T?

Thanks to everyone for walking me through this.
 

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If you're cutting brush than you would be better served with a walkbehind or a 400 series rider, due mostly to the fact that the PTO clutch setup is more reliable on those. The PTO clutch setup in an 800+ series rider is plenty reliable, but rough cutting stuff such as brush regularly can be harder on it than the PTO clutch of a walkbehind or 400 series tractor. The walker is also much more nimble. Even with a rider you won't be able to mow brush with the belly mower, so you would be relegated to using a 30" deck on it as well, but you would have to source the front PTO setup. If you can mow it regularly and turn it into grass than the 816 would be a fine choice. Otherwise a 30" deck on a walker would be the best choice.

The 816 and 816T will both take care of the job in the same way, but the 816T is a little more refined. I wouldn't necessarily hold out for just an 816T because they were only a 1 year model run, so they don't show up as often. Really any Gravely rider is fine, but once you get into the late 800 series like the 816T, or into the 8000 series, they're a lot more refined than the earlier 70's models.

Rick
 

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If the 816 would be up to the task once the property is maintained.
Once a month (and a set of seat riser springs from a later model for comfort) and you'd be good to go. :tango_face_wink:

I've bought serviceable 800 series tractors in the $400-$500 range. I personally would only pay more if the PTO clutch was recently replaced... or you had a reliable indication of hours used. New clutch parts are ~$700 alone, let alone the labor, seals, and gaskets.

WH401 has a keen eye... the first thing I looked at was the tie rod to see if it was rack-and-pinion steering but it's tough to tell from the pic. I saw the brake lock, but I don't know exactly when that changed relative to the steering. That older steering setup detracts from the price in my opinion.

The seller is clearly calling it a "T" because it is twin cylinder... which is basically why Gravely did it. But 816T is also a specific model, as was indicated earlier.

The hydraulic description doesn't make much sense; I would love to see more pictures. Maybe it has a hydraulic draw bar... that could be "rear hydraulics". Maybe they mean front, middle, and rear PTO (PTO drive at the transmission, through the right rear axle, and through the front yoke). All of this stuff would add to the price!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I saw a 432 for sale not to far from me as well. I had read some complaints about the speed being really slow, but perhaps it’s worth another look.

Attached are some more pics of the tractor being listed as the 816T. Maybe these will help to determine whether it’s a T or not?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This also popped up for sale not far from me fir $650. Worthwhile? I can’t find where the 10G falls among the Gravely timeline.

10 G riding gravely mower, 10 hp kohler engine, good solid 50 inch deck, good p.t.o. clutch, new battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update: I contacted the seller of the “816T” and she said she made a mistake listing it as a ‘T.” She said it’s an 816 with twin Onan motor.
 

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GRAVELY never made a 10-G, they did make 12-G and 14-G single cylinder G tractors.........

Sheldon
From the pix, it looks like that tractor was re-engined. Hard to tell exactly what model engine that is, but if it's a K241, I suppose that makes the tractor a 10G :)

kyavion, that's definitely an Onan 16hp twin, so the tractor's an 816. Looks pretty decent. If it were closer, and I had more time, I might make a pass at it an try to talk the owner down a little.
 

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816 w/ hydraulic draw bar... price just went up a little. :)

Also - I'd steer clear of 10 or 12 HP if you plan to mow heavier stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
816 w/ hydraulic draw bar... price just went up a little. <img src="http://www.mytractorforum.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />

Also - I'd steer clear of 10 or 12 HP if you plan to mow heavier stuff.
Can you say more about this?
 

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About the hydraulic draw bar or the power? I'll do both.

Until you showed the picture of the rear, I didn't assume it had a hydraulic draw bar because I've seen so many variations of these tractors over the years (Maybe in that era, all hydraulic lift tractors had a hydraulic draw bar, but even so, it could have been taken off and replaced with a fixed draw bar for some reason.) A hydraulic draw bar is a position-able hitch that raises and lowers with the deck lift lever. This is used for accessories like a moldboard plow or a cultivator, etc. It's an option that adds to the tractor's value, in my opinion.

(Additionally, if you look at the right rear axle housing and see a splined shaft going through the axle block, then it has part of a rear PTO setup for driving a rear cultivator. Likewise, if there is a splined shaft going through the center of the front yoke, you have part of a front PTO setup for a snow blower, etc. These are valuable parts. I say "part of" because in both cases, you need other pieces to get the power from the front of the transmission to the shafts.)

Regarding the power - as stated before, the 50in deck is closer to a finish mower than a brush hog. The 10HP and 12HP are great dependable tractors for a well-kept lawn, but if you are mowing heavier grass/weeds/light brush... it will tax those single-cylinder engines in my experience. I love my 812 for general grass cutting around my home... but if I let the grass go too long and try to cut to the typical depth, I have to reduce gears. The 818T doesn't skip a beat.
 

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IMO the 12G for $650 would be a much better over all tractor for creature comforts, but the 816 would have hydraulic lift, more power, and a pressure lubed engine. Checked the condition of the clutches on the 12G. If the linings are allowed to get too low than the rivets that the linings are attached with will wear into the clutch hub plates on the trans.

The designation of T was used interchangeably by Gravely. On the 8xx-T or 8xxx-T tractors it was the designation for the tractor being equipped with an Onan engine. When T was used in conjunction with a K before it, such as on the 8xxx-KT tractors, it then designated a twin cylinder engine.

Rick
 
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