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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a Gravely 48" mower deck on a Gravely 18-H Professional garden tractor (aka Ariens GT 18).

Mower deck has been sick for several years. Cut out some deck rot and welded in a patch - the guy did a nice job. A couple years ago the front carriage bolts which hold the carriage to the deck pulled right thru the deck. I bought some 1/4" bar and fixed her up pretty good. This summer I had to replace the idler pulley. Everything was going good until today. I heard a suspicious noise last time I mowed and made the BIG mistake of ignoring it. Today the gear box broke loose from the deck. No problem with rust. Both of the nuts were gone from the two gear box mounting bolts. And the other four mounting bolts which screw into tapped holes in the gear box just dropped out because of the tapped holes had post-holed on me. I must have a bad vibration someplace. The universal joints on the drive shaft look ok but the yoke that goes onto the gear box input shaft has rounded and probably needs to be replaced.

What the he$$ caused these bolts to come loose on the gear box? I am going to take the box to my local machine shop to see if there is anything we can do to rebuild the mounting holes. I am not optimistic. All of the gears and bearings look ok. Need new input/output shaft seals. I don't want to buy a new gear box knowing the deck is in such bad shape and I really don't want to buy a whole new mower deck because I am hoping to downsize in a few years.

Anyone got a spare 48" Gravely/Ariens mower out there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll answer my own question. Yes.

There were some problems in the gearbox too and I need a new drive shaft. By the time I replace the rotted deck, gear box and drive shaft, I will spend close to $1k. A new mower will be $1500. Gravely no longer supplies the mower - it is obsolete. However, Ariens does supply it although they have to build it from parts. So, I will now have a two-tone rig with Gravely paint on the tractor and Ariens paint on the mower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sometimes principal outweighs cost. That's the problem with old iron, you grow so attached to it that you sometimes spend big $$ to keep the old girl running, more than you might spend on something newer and flimsier.
Yeah, I am 61 and there is no way I will give up my tractor. My Ariens guy (no longer an Ariens dealer but now works for Gravely where I get my parts) knows my tractor like the back of his hand. He assured me that the new Ariens mower will be just as good as my old one. If I had fixed up the old mower, it would still have two old spindles and some other parts were wearing out too. I will keep my rubber rollers because I had my old ones bored and fitted with oilite bearings. They are pretty slick. I will also salvage the idler bracket and idler pulley as they are just 2 years old and 1 year old respectively. Looks like I also have to rebuild the front PTO. I don't want any vibration going onto that new mower deck!
 

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I recently bought a used one for $325 and there were several others in varying condition on Craigs List. I had to put some money into it but the deck was fairly solid, which is a good start. You may want to look around and see what you can find. I did get parts for it pretty readily as well, which is a big plus.
 

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I had the same problem, gear box getting loose from the deck. The reason being, there were four tap-tight bolts with shallow heads to clear the drive pulley installed up into the bottom of the gear box. An engineering screw-up. I installed 3/8-16 heli coils in the tap-tight holes and installed high grade bolts with lock-tight. I then had to grind about 1/2 of bolt heads off to clear the drive pulley. A heavy duty fix with no more problems
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I recently bought a used one for $325 and there were several others in varying condition on Craigs List. I had to put some money into it but the deck was fairly solid, which is a good start. You may want to look around and see what you can find. I did get parts for it pretty readily as well, which is a big plus.
Thanks. Nothing on Craig's list or eBay at the moment. It is such a shame that my Ariens dealer gave-up. They always had a great supply of used parts. He just couldn't stay in business. Ariens stopped making garden tractors and so many [people are now paying to have their lawns cut. Not too many people want to shell out big bucks for quality stuff. Go to the big box store and get the deal of a lifetime.

Let me know if any of you guys can use anything off the old mower. I'll post its availability on the appropriatr forum.
 
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