I guess I should introduce myself and my tractor.
I grew up near Akron Ohio and spent my youth farming. My mother still lives in the Akron area and her boyfriend and my cousin collect tractors (mostly farm tractors). I've always loved machines and own a motorcycle repair business.
I now live in a Detroit suburb on what is a large lot for the area (2/3 acre). When we bought the house I bought a new Craftsman lawn tractor that I hated almost from day 1. I didn't know at the time that I could have bought the same tractor at any home store without the Craftsman name for about half the money. In defense of the tractor though it was never designed for the work I gave it.
Anyhow, mom's boyfriend knew I was interested in a tractor that was stronger than my lawn tractor and told me I should get a Speedex. At the time I really didn't pay much attention.
Now the Craftsman lawn tractor is 18 years old and I'm putting repairs on top of repairs. We also just did major remodel that required some re-grading of the lot. I thought to myself perhaps it was time to get a tougher tractor and do my own grading. I started poking around on Craigslist.
On Craigslist Akron-Canton was listed a Speedex 1631 with hydraulic 3-point, back blade and belly mower for $900. I sent the guy an email with my phone number. When he called the next day he told me he felt bad as he'd sold the mower deck before seeing my email. He said if I still was interested I could have the tractor and back blade for $650. I called mom's boyfriend, asked him to go have a look and if it was half as nice as the pictures to buy it for me. He called back later to inform me I was the owner of a tractor.
Then I started researching what I'd just bought. All the descriptions I found showed no kind of foot rest and a drive system where the engine slid back and forth to act as a clutch on the drive belt. When I went to pick up the tractor I found it was quite different than I expected it to be - it had sturdy diamond plate floorboards and an engine that didn't slide around. I also finally realized that the 16hp Vanguard V-twin was probably in it from day 1 and not a re-power from the single cylinder engines I'd seen in the parts manuals. The engine was manufactured Feb. 1, 1994 and there is a sticker that says it was made in Ravenna Ohio. Based on the histories I've found this must be one of the last tractors built in the Ravenna factory. It's also got 6 lugs on the rear wheels like the Strongland tractors instead of 5 like every Speedex picture I've found.
I'd been looking for a small disc and not having any luck. On the trip to Ohio I looked at every overgrown patch on every plot of land thinking "I know there have to be discs like I want sinking into the mud everywhere", but no luck. When we got to mom's I mentioned my search to her boyfriend. Turns out he had a 4' 2 gang disc sinking into the mud behind the barn where they store their tractors and said I could have it.
On ebay I bought a Cat 0 to sleeve hitch adapter and draw bar. Now I can use the box scraper that never really worked very well on the Craftsman. I also purchased a middle buster which needed some modification to work on the Speedex. Now I've got a back blade, box scraper, middle buster and disc. I've also got the broadcast spreader, aerator and roller I used with the lawn tractor. The lot is all graded and ready for seeding!
I've put off seeding because my 4 year old grandson is goofy about machines too, particularly trains and tractors. I'm hoping the ground will be dry enough this weekend (Thanksgiving) that we can dress the soil and seed while he's here. He lives in the Akron area and rode tractors when we visited the barn to pick up the Speedex.
From what I've read, I didn't lose a lot by not getting the mower deck. I understand they weren't the best design and replacement blades are a problem. I've got a pretty solid 48" deck off a John Deer lawn tractor that I'm hoping I can make work. That will be a project for this winter.
In the pictures with the disc there is a heavy steel bar hung on the bumper to keep the nose down. The anvil on the disc was with the house when we bought and is so heavy I built a shed around it rather than move it!
Glad I found you folks. It's good to be here. That's my grandson with me in the first picture when I picked up the tractor. The next 3 are from the Craigslist ad. The last two I took while grading the lot.