Thanks for all the kind words guys!
I got the 444 running today, and this thing is a real mosquito fogger! Thats ok though, as the previous owner already told me it was. All the hydraulics work as they should, and it drives well. I really enjoyed riding this around some, but it was a bit of a challenge to keep from choking to death on the exhaust! I really love this machine.
I pulled the head off the engine after shooting this video today. I found a badly blown head gasket, and the crown of the piston closest to the exhaust valve was burned away enough that I can see the top ring! No wonder it was smoking! The good news is the cylinder is still STD bore, and next to no wear ridge at the top either. There is some light scratching in the cylinder, but I think most would clean up with a hone. I'm trying to decide whether I want to take it, and have it bored .010, or save some time, and money by honing it myself, and putting a new STD piston, rings, etc... Anyway, here is a video, and some pics. Thanks