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#1 jkm2a OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 06:26 PM

Hello, all. New to the forum here. I have several older L series Gravelys that I got quite a while back. all non-runners. I kinda put them on the back burner as "some day" projects, and now I'm getting interested in getting at least one of them running. The most likely candidate right now is a Custom Convertible, which is sitting out in the back yard at the moment. It appears to be complete and the engine is free (I'm not real knowledgeable on Gravelys, most of my garden tractor experience is in Cub Cadets). It is manual start, fluid levels are good, and the carb has been cleaned. It does not even attempt to hit when the starter rope is pulled, even with starting fluid, which I don't like to use on small engines but thought it might be worth a try in this case since the machine obviously has not been run in several years.. One thing I noticed is that the cutoff button in the handle is frozen in place (this appears to be a common problem, I think all my Gravelys have this issue), and that the wire that runs down through the handle on that side is broken. Does this button kill the engine by making a connection, or breaking a connection, and what would be involved in bypassing it or installing some type of alternate switch? Could this broken wire be responsible for preventing it from starting? Also, what do I need to check as far as the magneto to see if I'm getting a spark? I'm not at all familiar with magnetos. Any suggestions are welcome!

#2 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 06:38 PM

I think that has a Briggs in it?

To answer one of your questions, most of the engines from these years had an engine kill that usually utilized a short to ground system to kill spark. (powered coil systems excepted)

If your wires are shorting, it is a good possibility they are killing your spark.

Also, you may be dealing with points, condenser, magneto problems.

Would help a little if we knew for sure the make of the engine and model if available.

#3 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 06:50 PM

Hello and welcome to GTTalk!!!
Pull the spark plug out and ground it to the head. Be best if you sand or file a shiny spot so it grounds good. If you have a length of electrical wire with alligator clips on both ends it makes life easier - if not you can use regular jumper cables. That way if the machine moves while turning the engine it will stay grounded. You can also clamp the sparkplug with Vise-Grips to something metal on the tractor to hold it. Spin the engine over and see if you can see spark at the plug. Might be easier to see after dark or inside a building with the lights off.
If there is no spark and the kill switch is stuck pushed in, remove the kill switch wire from the magneto - this will eliminate the possibly bad kill switch. Try again to see if there is spark with the switch bypassed.
Since the tractor has been sitting the points will most likely need cleaned. You can take the cover off the mag [4 screws on the black plactic cap] and make sure there is no corrosion on the points. That should get you started in the right direction.
Let us know what you find and we can go from there.

Edited by Gtractor, May 30, 2012 - 06:52 PM.


#4 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 07:05 PM

Just re-read your post.
The kill wire makes a connection to ground out the mag. Sorry I didn't answer that before.

#5 jkm2a OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 08:46 PM

Thanks for the replies! Nope, it's not a Briggs, definitely a Gravely engine. And, the kill/ground wire to the magneto is broken and not connected, so that's not keeping it from starting. Sounds like the points check and spark check should be the next steps.

This tractor is part of a trailer load of Gravely stuff I bought a few years back from a guy who had accumulated it over time, and then decided to get it all out of his way. There are, I think, 3 L-series tractors that are either complete or mostly complete and could probably be brought back to life. Also got a few attachments and several decks with this stuff, also other parts, including what is supposed to be a freshly rebuilt never-run engine. I have an L8 that I got from another source that has a locked engine, eventual plans are to put the rebuilt engine on that one, since the L8 is a nicer tractor than my other ones, as far as features go.

Since I had no real use for the stuff at the time, I put most of it in storage. The wife and I have since bought a few acres, and I think one of these walk-behinds with the 30" bushhog deck would be real useful for cleaning up some parts of the land. Plus, I've always really admired the quality reputation of Gravely.

#6 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 09:37 PM

Ahhh gravelys!
The magneto is intimadating but simple once you get inside. The most common problem is the points are coroded or need adjustment.
Her is link to a website that has all the manuals you need.

http://www.oldgravelys.net/

The kil switch grounds the magneto and kills the spark. The magneto should have a snap to it when you turn the engine by hand.Thats what lets it make spark at the low rpms of hand cranking.

The spark from a magneto is impressive. I was using my L8 last year and rasied the hood so i could check the oil pressure gauge. The spark plug wire was off the plug by about a half inch, the spark was jumping from the wire to the plug and still firing the cylinder!

A trick to pull starting them is to turn the pulley backwards until you feel it come up on a compression stroke. Then wrap your belt around the pulley and give it a pull in the right direction. By back spinning it to the comp stroke, it lets you build some momentum when you pull start it.

The 30 inch brush hog will cut anything it can push over. I have used mine alot here to clean up and reclaim some land. I will say that i like using the L8 instead of an L. If you have a LI or an LS try getting those running first. The L in low will keep you moving too fast and you will be slipping the clutch to slow it down. The LS is the slowest. You can always pull the swiftmatic out of the L8 and install it in the L.

Hope this helps.

#7 machinist OFFLINE  

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Posted March 12, 2013 - 06:17 PM

If you are going to cut brush with the 30" rotary mower, look for the optional SINGLE 7/16" thick "brush blade" for it.   They used 2 blades about 3/16" thick for cutting grass.   I have cut bushes as thick as my wrist with the thick blade.  Can't really damage much, with the attachment clutch on the mower to slip if you hit something too big, and use some common sense about it. 

 

All my Gravelys are gone now, but I have fond memories of them.   Had 1936 and 1948 year models.   I made the changes to the 1948 engine make it a 7.6 HP and would swear it was closer to 15 HP!    New head, and different carb, IIRC.   Had to cut a hole in the hood for the vertical spark plug on the new head, but it worked.   Hard as the devil to crank it, but it had a lot of OOMPH!   I think they weighed about 300 pounds dry, and I had to keep my foot on the rear hitch to pull it through a compression stroke, lest it try to jump off the ground.

 

The only persistent problem I had with them was valves sticking, new guides and valves notwithstanding.   They wanted new valve guides every couple years, but other than that, they were pretty bulletproof.   If you restore these, I'd suggest replacing the carburetor/governor linkage ends with small Heim joints, since those tended to wear out the holes making the linkage loose.   Then the engine wanted to "hunt".    Didn't cost much and made a big difference in performance.  


Edited by machinist, March 12, 2013 - 06:22 PM.


#8 BcKc OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 01:32 AM

jkm2a, glad to see you have a "couple" Gravely units to play with, any chance you are going to put some pictures up this spring when the weather is good and the tractors are out playing?

 

good luck with the repairs!

 

Hey Machinist what size heim joints did you use? everything I have seen is really kind of large I think.

 

Kc



#9 machinist OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 07:36 AM

They had a #8-32 thread and the hole fit a #8 screw.   I had to make the link from carb to governor from all-thread rod, IIRC.   Use a locknut behind each rod end to assure no movement at the threaded end. Just drilled out the governor lever a bit,   McMaster Carr has them.   (Search for "rod end" on their site.)    http://www.mcmaster.com/#   I think I had to make a couple slight bends in the link to make a slight "S" so it would reach around the carb.   Sure beat the old carb linkage.    That link worked quite a bit under normal operation, so this stopped the wear.


Edited by machinist, March 13, 2013 - 07:41 AM.


#10 1978murray OFFLINE  

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 08:03 AM

 im surpised no one has said this. but....      :wewantpics:



#11 mrf1002u OFFLINE  

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Posted May 16, 2013 - 09:30 PM

Hey guys,

 

Chip Old (RIP) did a whole thing on this.  If you go here: http://groups.yahoo....ount=20&dir=asc

 

and look at the pics along the bottom, it shows in detail what it looks like afterwards and even gives the part #'s for McMaster Carr.  Whn I bought mine, the parts were only about $5.  I think you need to cut and thread your existing rod.

 

Larry W.



#12 John@Reliable OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2013 - 03:14 PM

My Gravely CC had sat for a few years, through my arm was about to fall off, then it happened

a light went off over my head  :bigrofl:

 

I took the SS14 and parked it so I could run a belt from pulley on tractor to pulley on Gravely, now moving the CC just a little, belt was tight enough to turn it over, it came to life real quick that way.

 

ccstartw14.JPG

 

P.S. just another useful way to use a  horizontal design engine :D


Edited by John@Reliable, May 17, 2013 - 03:15 PM.

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#13 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2013 - 03:38 PM

My Gravely CC had sat for a few years, through my arm was about to fall off, then it happened

a light went off over my head  :bigrofl:

 

I took the SS14 and parked it so I could run a belt from pulley on tractor to pulley on Gravely, now moving the CC just a little, belt was tight enough to turn it over, it came to life real quick that way.

 

attachicon.gifccstartw14.JPG

 

P.S. just another useful way to use a  horizontal design engine :D

Had to do that last fall I think, when a "new" sparkplug went bad.  Tractor just wouldn't crank, and I was exhausted.  So I pulled a Massey over, got the belt right, and started it turning over.  When it coughed and sputtered then, I finally thought to replace the plug.  Haven't had to do that since then.



#14 JRJ OFFLINE  

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Posted May 17, 2013 - 04:07 PM

Welcome to GTtalk.

 

 

Dick






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