This is my first time posting on here, but I’ve been reading the pages of information for some time.
Live in southern Wisconsin and mow ¾ of an acre in the country with a MF-7 that I picked up last spring. It had a 7 hp Briggs pull start in it that got me through last year. Assumed that the original Tecumseh had locked up back in the early 70’s judging by the age of the Briggs. Got really old pull starting that Briggs that used half a quart of oil every time it mowed. So this spring I found locally a really nice, complete K181 Kohler that was pulled out of a 1970 110 John Deere complete with wiring, fuel pump, starter, engine shrouds and air cleaner. Spent the better part of one Sunday cleaning, painting and detailing the Kohler out. Even polishing the carb float bowl. I ride/restore/race vintage motorcycles from the 60’s and 70’s so I’ve got some aluminum polishing capabilities at home. Anyways, I degreased the engine bay of the MF-7 and set the new Kohler in. The tractor looked terrible with that new looking engine in it…….so the tractor came apart.
Took off all the sheet metal, got rid of all the rust, primed with implement red oxide primer from Farm & Fleet and then spray bombed with Massey colors. It turned out alright. If I didn’t have a deadline to meet (grass was GROWING!) I would have made the body work way nice and smooth. The left side of the grill was bent out to accommodate the air cleaner for the Briggs so the grill was completely disassembled, pounded out with my body hammers/dolly’s, painted and reassembled. Even ordered up a decal kit for it….looks sharp now. Just have to install the headlights.
Got the tractor all back together, tuned the engine and it mowed for the first time this past Saturday. Here are some pictures of during the process. Haven’t taken any of the completed tractor yet.
The only problem is the deck was cracking pretty bad in spots (mostly around the rear mounts) and the bevel gear gearboxes are in less than stellar condition. One of the previous owners had ground down the gearbox splines, drilled holes through them and used grade 8 bolts instead of shear bolts. You can imagine how ovaled out the holes are not only in the gear box shafts but also the coupling sleeve. Like I said, it worked for one year but since I was going through the tractor I started looking for a nice deck or a complete parts tractor. There was a great looking MF710 deck on eBay last week, but I was outbid. So I jumped on Craigslist and started searching all over southern Wisconsin. Found a couple of different tractors within a few hours. Contacted a few of the ads but only one person replied. Their price was more than I wanted to pay so a counteroffer was thrown out. After a couple days of not hearing from them, they sent me a text message last night and said they accepted and to come and get it tonight. Jumped in the truck and drove a little over an hour north. When I got there I was REALLY surprised on how nice this MF-7 was. It is probably in nicer shape than the MF-7 I picked up last year! The deck looks really nice and all the hardware looks to be there. Also, it has a good K181S installed and running in it!
Now I’m not sure what to do. I need the deck and it would be nice to have a parts tractor, but this thing in my opinion is way too nice to just part out. My thoughts are to use the one I just got done restoring as my mower and find the proper snow blower or fit a plow to the other one for snow removal. No matter how it turns out I’ve got half as much in these two tractors as one of those MTD Cub Cadets at the local Farm & Fleet…..and I know these Massey’s will last a longer. Sure has been a good time going over the machine and working it some. Also if any of you have a snowblower for the MF7/MF8 or a blade….or advice on mounting one, please let me know.