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Buy this '66 Suburban? (needs a motor rebuild)


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#1 5thGenFarmer OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 01:07 AM

Came across a nearly complete and unmolested '66 Suburban 12. Comes with a solid & recently rebuilt deck, original disc and three point. It ran OK until the PO recently blew the motor mowing on a steep incline - oil starved it and it snapped the rod and maybe damaged the crank. Cylinder wall looks OK though.

I'm more of a Bolens guy, but have always loved the look of the old Suburbans (although I know NOTHING about them). The price is right but I'd like to keep it original.

Question is, how difficult and/or costly will it be to rebuild the old 12 horse Tecumseh in this beast? Are parts readily available for the engines and tractors?

Any help greatly appreciated!!!
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#2 classic ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 02:05 AM

The engine would be a Tecumseh HH120 and they are pretty easy to rebuild if you know your way around small engines. A used crank can be bought on ebay if you need one, but you have to make sure the crank pin is within spec for a std. rod. Most parts are no longer available for these engines, so you have to search for NOS parts if you want to keep the internals original. The crank bearings are Timken tapered roller bearings with races that press in the block. If you have to bore the cylinder, an oversize piston can be hard to find. Also, the Walbro LME carbs are no longer available and the throttle shaft bore in the carbs are usually worn and will need bushings installed. Rebuild kits for the carbs are available. Valves for these engines can be costly and hard to find sometimes. They did offer valves with oversize valve stems if your valve guides are worn.
It's not impossible to rebuild your engine, but it may take some time to gather up the needed parts. The HH120 is a great engine if everything is up to par. Keep the oil clean and full and keep the RPM's where they belong.
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#3 Bill 76 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 02:24 AM

Classic about summed it up-- you might want to check with our site sponsors for parts,if they can't find em then it's ebay time


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#4 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 02:25 AM

 The HH120 is a great engine if everything is up to par. Keep the oil clean and full and keep the RPM's where they belong.

I will second classic the HH120 is a great engine when it is in good condition. I will second him on keeping the RPM's where they belong. These engines are splash lubed and intended to run at 3600 RPM when worked. The lube works best when the engine is throttled up. The same goes for air cooling. The flywheel blows the most cooling air over the engine when throttled up.



#5 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 07:10 AM

The 66 should have a points engine. It's a nice thing not to have to worry about the CDI if that is the case.
Have no idea if the mag is available, but most guys wire it for coil ignition if they have serious issues.

#6 karl OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 07:56 AM

I have one of thease engines that I intend on going through......i'm scared now!



#7 JBRamsey ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 08:12 AM

I have two 12s and a 10. They are nice machines. If it's a good deal, buy it and fix it up. Have some fun with it then turn it into more Bolens money. I'd be glad to have a fourth one!!

#8 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 08:31 AM

The 66 was first year of the Roper built Sears tractors, good machines.

The Tecumseh is a good motor when running, but as stated, parts are NLA and finding old stock is getting hard to do.

Mark at www.carbrescue.com can fix any of your carb issues, he is a magician with the old Walbro carbs.


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#9 5thGenFarmer OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 11:05 AM

Many, many thanks for all the help and advice! This really helps. What I think I'm hearing is that the engine rebuild IS possible, but I'm looking at an expensive and time consuming treasure hunt.

I went through the same thing last year with a Wisconsin S12D for a Bolens 1250. It took months and $600+ to find parts & bring it back from a broken governor gear and 45+ years of use and abuse. Skin of the teeth deal too with carb parts - got the last NOS throttle shaft that I could find anywhere in the nation.

I'm still not sure about pulling the trigger on this. Is there an easy drop-in repower engine swap that won't mangle the tractor if I decide to go back to the original Tecumseh someday? Thanks again for all the help!

#10 TAHOE OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 12:18 PM

Check with Brian at garden tractor pulling tips website, I think he has some info on rebuilding the old tecumsehs and parts that can be used. There is also a pretty good group on Yahoo groups for tecumsehs.
I have seen a lot of guys swapping in the Harbor Freight honda clone engines in the suburbans. Many use the 6.5 Hp they sell if tractor is just used as a yard tug or light duty type stuff, pulling trailer, maybe rake, etc. Others have used the 11 hp and I think HB sells now a 13 Hp side shaft. They can all fit, but may take some modding to clutch idler pulley, throttle cables, engines pulleys and the air cleaner assembly. I've seen guys notch hoods for air cleaner and exhaust, but that's like scratching a chalk board for me. Other than finding a used Tecumseh motor, no real direct swap.
Sears did used a 14 and 15 hp flat head Briggs in the 71 & 72 suburbans so if you can find one of those, you maybe able to swap them in without much fuss

#11 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 12:19 PM

None of the above comments are meant to scare anyone off, just to alert them to the possibility of having to look for parts.
There should be lots of Teccy engines out there and I know a couple of guys who have transplanted Kohler's. just be aware of the output shaft size and the rest should be pretty straight forward.

All depends on how much effort you want to throw at it.
As for buying/not buying... My Suburban12 is probably my favorite tractor.

#12 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted February 26, 2015 - 05:14 PM

There are two different companies now making brand new bolt on replacements for worn out SSI units.


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#13 junkyardjeff OFFLINE  

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Posted February 27, 2015 - 07:23 PM

I have a HH120 short block you can have if you can come and get it,its a slightly newer motor since its not setup for points but has a good crank and rod. I ran the motor for a few years but it started smoking alot so I replaced it with a HH100 that was not as bad.






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