I ended up trading a Briggs 18hp opposed twin for this 1997 Craftsman 18.5/46 tractor. The mower shop had picked it up as an engine donor. The PO that they got it from said it ran when parked, but thought something was wrong/locked up in the rear end. I got it home and had it running in a couple hours after freeing up the starter drive and bypassing some safety switches. Once it was running I found it had a blown head gasket. Got a new one installed and it runs good.
On to the rear hydro. While I had it running I tried the hydro lever and got nothing. Looked underneath and saw the drive belt was loose because the brake/clutch pedal was stuck part way down. Got that freed up and away it went. the hydro was quiet and smooth. Next problem was the I couldn't push it. The hydro freewheeling valve was rusted and wouldn't release. After a thorough cleaning it operates as it should and the tractor can be pushed now.
I think its a keeper now and worth ordering tubes for all of the tires and putting a new seat on so my rear doesn't get wet. Jeez the lights even work. The mower deck is shot.