I've been interested in sears tractors for a little while now, but couldn't find any meeting my needs/wants around the time that I bought my new house. I have an acre to tend, so I needed *something* quickly and ended up picking up a new Troy Bilt Pony. From the moment that I bought it, I'd made an agreement with my Pop that as soon as I had something closer to what I'd been looking for, I'd take the Troy Bilt down to him to replace his late model Bolens/MTD, and take that one home to get it working right again.
Well, recently I found something that looked like what I wanted to start messing with, so in one fell swoop, I picked up all this equipment from a nice gentleman about 25 miles south of me...
917.25961 Tractor (I *think* this means it's a 76 SS 18/6?)
917.253250 42" mower deck
917.253130 Electric 3PT Hitch (more on this in a bit)
917.252280 Middle-buster plow
917.253020 Moldboard Plow (missing disk)
917.252240 Cultivator (only 3 pieces)
917.251330 Rear Leveler Blade (Missing lower arm braces)
917.251880 Roto-Spader Attachment (replacement engine, has a honda 190cc on it, leaks oil like a seive)
Also came with:
Front end weight (don't know if that has a part number)
Wheel weights (plastic, concrete filled)
Two extra rear wheels with tires, don't hold air.
Tractor engine starts right up, and purrs very smoothly. Tiller engine is cantankerous to start, but once warmed up it screams at max throttle until you shut it down.
All the tires are Sears branded, and are old and cracked enough to warrant replacement.
The 3PT hitch had stripped gears in the actuator when he bought it from the last owner. He said he couldn't find a replacement gear set, and said the best price he found on an equivalent was $100 used and unknown condition. So, he welded up some plates and mounted a harbor freight 2000 lbs winch and used that.
This works fine, really - but it doesn't have a clutch, and it won't raise up to maximum height because the center link and/or the lifting arms will contact the winch.
There are no floating links for use with the rototiller, and he says that's the only thing he used the tractor for in the year he had it. The center link top clevis is broken on one side (as they're prone to do). The adjuster "wings" were bent flat, presumably from getting wedged between the link and the winch.
I've downloaded the manuals for everything, and will read through them - I'm sure most of my technical questions will be answered there. I've also seen a number of articles or videos for people who have built their own electric lifts or retro-fitted the lift with a different linear actuator. I'd like to go back to the actuator, and remove the winch. I've also seen at least one setup that used an actuator to replace the center link, and while that seems really trick - I don't mind keeping the center link manual, but I am a bit concerned about the busted clevis. He had a big bolt shoved in there and double-lock nutted. No washers were used, so the hardware is a bit chewed up but functional.
I had primarily been looking for a working unit with a solid, working mower deck - but was interested also to find some implements. My back yard is in need of a lot of help, more than I'm willing to do manually. The Troy Bilt can do some things, but there's quite a lot it can't. I'd love to get a Kwik-way loader for it too...
The soil here is very dense expansive clay, and the property was previously had horses in the back yard (original owner had a lot of property adjacent, which was eventually sold and houses were built). The guy I bought the place from never even watered in the back yard, let alone dethatch or aerate or anything beneficial. The ground cover back there has the bulk of its root system in the first inch of soil, with very little reaching down further. The tiller and moldboard plow just don't want to cut any deeper than that either. My hope is to break it up a bit, grow a good lawn, and eventually have a veggie garden in one corner.
Oh, also, the hood hinge fiberglass has the typical busted-ness to it as well...