Sorry ahead of time for such a long winded post but need to get all the info out there...
I have a Woods mow'n Machine 1250 (12hp Kohler M12, 44" deck, same exact machine as grasshopper 1212 except for paint color)
being that I did some tilling and grass patching in my yard this spring, I left it sit dormant all season and did my own yard with a push mower this year.
I got it going last weekend for the 1st time in almost a year (since I put it away last Fall) to help out a friend who lets me use part of one of his barns to store my stuff (he lives on an old farm)
Last week did not get that far as I burnt out the deck belt... went back today with a new belt in hand, to finish what I'd started. but I had problems doing so. Now let me say that since buying this machine used about 8 years ago the left hydro was very slightly "slower" than the right side hydro, when not mowing and cruising back to the shed or trailer "full tilt", I always had to pull back on the right handle ever so slightly so as not to imitate a NASCAR race car doing its left turns.
Last week the hydros worked fine as they always have. When the deck belt broke I motored it into the barn I am allowed to store my stuff in, shut it off, and shut the barn up.
Return today and left hydro seemed "dead" only the right one would move. Talk about "donuts"
I limped it outside so I could see, and found the fluid level low. not empty, but low. Now I remember a few years back trying to find an equivalent to Woods $40-some-a quart hydraulic fluid, and NOBODY could help me. looking at other applications for that hydro unit, I found that some allowed (I forget which) regular #32 or 68 hydraulic fluid as I wanted to dump the fluid and change it. so that was what I bought and used. Worked fine for a couple years of doing "more than just my own yard" and last week, 1st time using it this year,
so I looked around (I'm 30 miles from home and 20+ miles away from any place open on a Sunday I can get any kind of hydraulic fluid. so I look around his other building and find some type F trans fluid.
Probably not ideal but with the alternative being a totally wasted trip to mow this yard, and knowing that Type F was exactly what my son's old Roper 16T hydro tractor wanted I figured "why not; it is apparently toast anyway right?" I looked and found no signs of a leak. so I filled up the reservoir (central reservoir for both hydros, apparently left one is 1st to get starved when run low, strange since it is the closer unit to reservoir) and worked the lever back n forth, watching the air pockets in the return line slowly dissipate; topped the reservoir off again, as air left and fluid level dropped; eventually I could hear it whine and aha/ left tire started spinning... maybe not dead after all;
so I ran it a bit before turning my wife loose (as I push mowed) and its seemed to be coming back to life; after about 45 min I saw my wife off the mower with the seat up looking around scratching her head so I went for a look; reservoir low again; I topped it off and ran it again myself for a bit, seemed OK again (still no apparent leak) after a couple of laps, I rechecked the fluid level; the left hydro and reservoir were HOT which I have never had on this mower before. Right one was cool. She took over on push mower for a few mins, til it ran outta gas. then she asked if we could go into town to the gas station, so we took a break. came back and the Woods mower mowed like nobody's business.
Since that fluid flush a few years ago, I had periodically checked the level but had never had to add til today and it was almost empty. I have always kept an eye out for a pair of spare hydros and have yet to find any used for less than $400/ea, new ones are $700 and some each. No way.
I did have a pair of Eaton 1100s but they are like 2X the size, won't even fit the chassis.... so I sold them.
I found kitd on Ebay today, and to add up the cost of kit + seal kit and one other item supposedly needed to eliminate the "heating up" problem these units are supposedly known for, (according to feebay parts seller) adds up to more than a complete, new replacement hydro goes for (prices as of today on feebay only 1 seller seems to have anything for them)
Anyone ever open one of these units up? How scary are they to work on? Decent source of parts? what typically needs repair on them? seems like all of these I see parted out are due to one hydro dying or else the engine.... my engine is still awesome. common thread on Ebay; "blew engine, replaced it just to have one side hydro die, just trying to recoup some of my money..... yada yada yada
I love this mower and do not what to let it go but it may be time....