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Is there a comprehensive list and perhaps a timeline of Gravely 2-wheeler models that I can access, or can we assemble one here? I am still quite foggy on how many models and variants there are, and what the key features might be to distinguish them.

- Nathan
 

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L -> C -> Com 10 -> Com 10a -> Com 12 -> 500's -> 5000's -> Pro

Insert LI, L8, LS, CI, CS, C8 etc in there too...but the top line gets the idea...

L8 = L and LS
C8 = C and CS

Should get you started...
 

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Is there a comprehensive list and perhaps a timeline of Gravely 2-wheeler models that I can access, or can we assemble one here? I am still quite foggy on how many models and variants there are, and what the key features might be to distinguish them.

- Nathan
I highly recommend taking a look at this, from Chip Old's website. It's not the best (several inaccuracies) but it lists out quite a few variations especially of the Kohler powered models. It gives a rough timeline.

http://oldgravelys.net/pdf/Cust_Serv_Update_88_89_1188.pdf

The L and C models were basically the same tractor using Gravely's T-head engine. This engine was extremely torquey at low rpm and was pressure lubricated (Kohlers are splash lubricated and have peak torque at higher rpm). The C models were the last of the line and had the most improvements and highest horsepower rating. As Jimmy mentioned, there are "L" "LI" and "LS" (C, CI, CS being newer). These different designations marked different ground speeds, with a plain L (or C) being fastest and LS (or CS) being slowest. The L8/C8 had a two-speed axle that gave both the speed range of the L and that of the LS.

I do not have any experience with Kohler powered two-wheelers. We have a BCS 853 with a 13 hp Honda motor that fits the ticket and tills much better. I have Ls, LIs, and an L8 and they work nicely in the garden for rotary plowing and cultivating. They handle a 30" deck well, but our pasture mower is a 1952 Allis Chalmers WD with a 5' bush hog so the Ls don't mow 5' tall grass. They can, but I suspect a Kohler would be better for larger areas. An L with a sickle bar will mow tall grass easily. Now, if I found a Kohler engined Gravely at a low price, I'd certainly give it a try.

What model you need depends on what you want to do with the tractor and what is for sale near you. From reading your other thread, and L/C might be fine. Perhaps an LI/CI with gear reductions wheels would be just the ticket. I'm really happy with mine with GRWs. I can't say for certain what you should get. Honestly, just wait for whatever comes around as long as it's priced fairly and within your mechanical abilities (or not; if you're up for a learning experience, that's even better). Do note that a straight L/C will probably be a little fast for brushmowing or grading unless it has GRWs.

John
 

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Here is my summary of features of each. I am doing all this from memory and some of this may be wrong so please correct as needed.

L, L8, Super Convertible - Gravely powered. No charging system. Customer has to purchase battery charger. Remote PTO linkage design minimalist. Electrostatic enamel used at factory. Kill switch mounted at end of handlebar on later models (SC). Governor optional on some models. Electric start optional on some models.

C8, C10,C12- End of Gravely 2400 rpm engine. Kohler 3600 rpm (3600 RPM is universal) engine used with belt driven motor/generator on C10. New design of controls, hood, etc.. Remote PTO linkage improved. Sometimes painted yellow. Planetary now equipped with 2 sets of gears to handle 3600 RPM engines and maintain PTO speed. End of roller rest support. Separate push button starter switch.

C10A - Alternator with separate starter motor. Cast iron hitch. Separate push button starter switch dropped. PTO shipper shaft mechanism improved - FINALLY!

C12 - 12 hp version of C10A

500 - 8. 10, and 12hp engine options. Tapered axles. Same controls as C10A. Fabricated hitch. Pull start still relatively popular. Swiftamatic design change.

5000 - 8, 10 and 12 hp engine options. A handful of 16hp single cylinder models made. Controls mostly unchanged. Splined axles. 4 bolt wheels/hubs an option. Flimsy battery box in early models are prone to cracking. Late versions use much improved Pro style battery box. QH (Quick Hitch) available and is standard on some models. Axle bearings changed from roller bearings to ball bearings. Available with steering brakes as a factory installed option. Swiftamatic design improved.

Pro series - 8, 10, 12, 16 hp Kohler single, and 16hp Briggs twin cylinder engines available. All controls reworked and improved. Round handlebars replaced with angle iron with slight decrease in strength. Safety switches added. Smaller gas tank than previous series. PTO brake added requiring new design of advance casting. 4 bolt wheels/hubs an option. QH standard. Non-QH designed attachments (old style) require adapter kit. Pull start models fairly rare. Available with steering brakes as a factory installed option. Throttle moved to front panel on some models.


Personal notes:
The Pro series is the best of the 2 wheel tractors.
All of the previous foibles fixed (all that could be fixed).
16 hp Briggs twin version highly desired.
The OP switches take a little getting used to and might be considered the addition of a foible. Gravely had no choice in the matter. Either the switches got added or they had to stop making tractors.

The 5665 is the best of the 5000 series.
There are reports that the Pro series handlebars bend. I can't bend them and I have tried. I have no idea who is operating those tractors. Maybe a Silverback Gorilla.
 

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good subject to ask the guys to lay out Nathan - I'll be watching this.
 

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Based on my experience, GRW (Gear Reduction Wheels) are for tractors that have limited power. It takes a certain amount of horsepower to move a certain mass a certain distance. If the power is lacking for a particular task, then GRW will reduce the mass being moved by taking smaller bites per revolution or per foot traveled.

I recently put a rotary plow on my 818. What it did to the soil was nothing short of amazing. The best summary I can give is that it is possible to plow too deep or too fast. I did not have the guide wheels on the plow at the time. I won't do that again. Too easy to plow too deep. If I plowed too fast, I had chunks of dirt instead of a garden ready for seed.

Based on the results of my 818 and the rotary plow, I think I will be selling my 12hp 5660. It has just become redundant.

A 50% increase in power is most significant. That is the same as going from 12 to 18 hp or from 8 to 12 hp. Even a 33% increase (12 to 16 hp) is significant. It can be the difference between getting the job done or not.

In summary, get the most power you can afford. Better to have horsepower unused than to be at the limit.
 

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Based on my experience, GRW (Gear Reduction Wheels) are for tractors that have limited power. It takes a certain amount of horsepower to move a certain mass a certain distance. If the power is lacking for a particular task, then GRW will reduce the mass being moved by taking smaller bites per revolution or per foot traveled.
Something often overlooked is that GRWs also give better traction and ground clearance. The larger tires and wheels on the BCS allowed it to crawl through a lot of things that the Ls couldn't, and that took some getting used to. Now with the GRWs mounted the LI will crawl over more ditches, fallen logs, rocks, etc. than the BCS. But the BCS also has a differential lock, and that comes in handy, too. It's a shame Gravely never put that on their Swiftamatic tractors.

I recently put a rotary plow on my 818. What it did to the soil was nothing short of amazing. The best summary I can give is that it is possible to plow too deep or too fast. I did not have the guide wheels on the plow at the time. I won't do that again. Too easy to plow too deep. If I plowed too fast, I had chunks of dirt instead of a garden ready for seed.
While the horsepower would be nice, I can't see using a rider in the garden. With the tire size and configuration and the location of the front PTO, I think it's nearly impossible to follow the plow furrow without compacting tilled dirt. The turning radius would also drive me nuts - and we have nine 50' x 100' plots for our market garden.

To each his own. You can look at a front drive kit or purchase a walkbehind or two for the same amount. Both have their advantages.

Or, you could get a walkbehind AND a front drive kit :fing32:
 

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I am not saying 4 wheel garden plowing is for everyone, but my point about power and ground speed was proven that day.

If I had your gardens I would at least try plowing using a 4 wheel tractor if I had the drive kit. It is easier. The downside is that you don't get that upper body workout at the end of the rows.:fing32: The plus side is your shoes don't get full of dirt.

I would not go out and get a front drive kit just for an experiment. That could prove to be a waste of money.


Note the clods of dirt likely from a pass taken too fast.

Somehow this setup impresses me. It just needs a bigger saw blade.

 

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I am not saying 4 wheel garden plowing is for everyone, but my point about power and ground speed was proven that day.

If I had your gardens I would at least try plowing using a 4 wheel tractor if I had the drive kit. It is easier. The downside is that you don't get that upper body workout at the end of the rows.:fing32: The plus side is your shoes don't get full of dirt.

I would not go out and get a front drive kit just for an experiment. That could prove to be a waste of money.
Sounds like we need to have a Gravely plow day sometime! I won't even be able to make it to the Mow-In this year though.

But we're getting off topic... Nathan, I hope we haven't confused you at all. Gravely did make many models of walkbehinds. Just poke around on Craigslist, talk to neighbors, or contact one of the members of this forum that have yards full of tractors.
 

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I am not saying 4 wheel garden plowing is for everyone, but my point about power and ground speed was proven that day.

If I had your gardens I would at least try plowing using a 4 wheel tractor if I had the drive kit. It is easier. The downside is that you don't get that upper body workout at the end of the rows.:fing32: The plus side is your shoes don't get full of dirt.

I would not go out and get a front drive kit just for an experiment. That could prove to be a waste of money.


Note the clods of dirt likely from a pass taken too fast.

Somehow this setup impresses me. It just needs a bigger saw blade.

Should I put the 26" on the front of the 35-G? :D
 

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Rich, good info, but the 16 Vanguard being very desired ? Maybe for mowing, sweeping but thats about it. Bad for snow removal having to run tractor at WOT always where the Cast Iron line kohlers just chug along half throttle and still out blow the Vanguard hands down. Have tried both and will never replace my 16 single. for snow removal. Remember when the 16 Brigg twin was released here in Mass /Ct region to towns and cities and were quickly replaced for the reason of the WOT issue and when coupled with the NEW STYLE blower were not very efficent. My friend who worked the local Gravely dealership was pulling his hair out with the Towns complaints. I personally enjoy the 16 twin for mowing and sweeping but not for snow removal. Very light also compared to the Kohlers.
 

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CV, are you talking about the Briggs twin compared to the Kohler 12? I understand the 16hp Kohler singles were quite rare. The desire to run at less than WOT is fuel economy and less stress on the engine?
 

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The fact remains that the Pro16 with the Briggs twin is still highly desired. Current prices prove it.

I won't even get into the single cylinder planetary wear issue.

Want to blow snow? Get a P224 and put it on a G tractor.
 

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Bigger numbers, twin cylinder - maybe it's a newbie's choice to go with the Briggs. I'd like to test the theory one day ;) Someone needs to make a video of the same blower attachment being used on two different tractors in the same snow storm. (not disputing what CV said - I am just curious to see an actual head-to-head comparison!)

It looks like we might actually be getting the first somewhat meaningful snow of the season in my neighborhood tomorrow but, alas, no Kohler to test with.
 

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I have no problem believing that the Kohler 16 has more torque/power than the twin Briggs. The Briggs is a honest 16hp engine. Of that there is no doubt.

My feeling is that for a true 4 season general purpose tractor, the Briggs twin is about as good as it gets. It has less vibration, more than enough power, and is quiet too. The Vanguard engine is also light in weight which maintains proper weight distribution/balance. I have one Pro16 with a Vanguard and a few 566X tractors. The balance of the Pro16 is better than the 5665. The K301 engine is very heavy at 116 lbs. The Vanguard shipping weight is 93 lbs. I don't know the weight of the M16 Kohler. It has to be less that the K series engines.

I have used the Pro16 Briggs to cultivate and at idle it just keeps on going. The 12 hp Kohler requires about 1/3-1/2 throttle to keep from bogging down.

If the ultimate in power is wanted in two wheel tractor, put a Briggs 23 HP vanguard on a Pro. Problem solved. Yes the 23 hp Vanguard will fit.

The Pro16 is my favorite. I will start it just to listen to the v twin engine. I am not the only person to do that.
 

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23hp with the caveat that there may be some parts of the drivetrain that may not be happy in the long term. (or at the least, it is unexplored territory)
When you get into the area of 23 HP on the twin, you start nearing the torque spikes of the 16 single. The 16 single has no problems with the 50" deck but as you and Richard said, there are gear problems in the planetaries. The Onan 16.5s didn't have that problem because they were twins.
 

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I always try and run the 16 kohler at half throttle, unless the snowbanks are hardpacked and three feet plus high, because as Rich stated it has plenty of torque/power to do the job without high rpms. Also at Wot it ruins my day if i blow out my neighbors windows in close proximity operations. Fuel economy? never knew that as i have never had a vehicle with anything less than a V-8 and never will. I have always been cautious about running the 16 Kohlers, briggs etc.on the walk behind for fear of having the internals letting go. My Gravely friend/mechanic at the local dealership always said, remember you are taking a tractor that was orginally 5HP and putting all that power to it and somethings bound to give. He felt the the Kohler/Briggs 16 was about the Max limit. I know to well about the planetary issue. Let a neighbor "Borrow" my custom made 16 Kohler years ago. Wound engine to WOT, engaged PTO, bye, bye gearset. Morale of story, try and not let Bozos use your equipment. I should have a big S on my shirt, Superman no, Sucker yes as i sometimes still let "nice" neighbors use my other stuff!:)
 

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I've always run my Kohler single cylinder engines at what has sounded, and felt like their comfort zone, or around half throttle. It seems to have worked out well, including the '68 430, which I've had for 36 years. I'm finally starting to see a little smoke on cold start-up though.
I've been doing the same with the Onan ccka.

I also loaned the 430 to a neighbor so that he could cut his grass years ago. When he returned it, I could smell the brake shoes. He said that it worked well, but that he had a hard time stopping it. This after I had told him that he HAD to disengage the drive in order to stop the tractor when he took it. I guess he was unable to coordinate the two operations. I have'nt loaned any Gravelys out since then.
 

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I'll bet he wasn't listening. He could have been looking you in the eye and still all he heard was "Blah blah forward blah blah blah lever. Blah blah brake blah blah blah. Right?" to which he responded "Right!"
 
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