Thanks for all the replies, folks. I had some time this afternoon, so I pulled it out of the barn to get a closer look at it, since it had been every bit of 25 years since really being in daylight. It still has the original Sears tires on it. The fronts have some dry rot, but they're not coming apart. Tubes aired up, but the left front has a slow leak. Held air for about an hour before going flat again. May see if I can get away with just putting a set of tubes in it. Not like a blowout at 2.6mph is going to kill me in a horrific crash...lol.
As far as the Kohler, the whole reason I was looking at it is that it can be installed and used without having to cut anything, or reinvent the wheel for the clutch pulley since the bracket from the Tec bolts right up to where the starter bolts up on the Kohler. I don't have any issues with modifying something if it's bolt-up, electronics don't scare me, it was a spare engine for one of Dad's Power King tractors anyhow. I have a whole pile of those things I'm trying to get rid of. As far as originality is concerned, that's what I have this for:
That's the 1948 Farmall Cub that is the last thing Dad restored. It's been apart down to every last nut and bolt.
Back to the Suburban...so I decided to fiddle with it some more and just see if it would do anything with a battery and some fresh fuel. It had oil in it (that was as black as midnight in a mineshaft) but at least it had some. I pulled the plug and verified it had spark, looked in the tank to see clean, dry, shiny metal, no rust or sludge. Hmmmmm...
So after a few cranks and a small shot of ether, this happened:
Yes, I was holding my phone the wrong way...
So much for my memory of the Tec being a smoker! I'll let that one slide for old age, but doesn't look like it's going to need an overhaul after all.
All that done, I grabbed the grease gun and hit all the zerks, tested the lights (working!), engaged/tested the mower deck (spindle bearings NICE and quiet) then got out the hose/bucket/sponge and knocked the big chunks off of it. The seat has definitely been replaced somewhere along the way, but the rest of this thing is dead-nuts 1971 Sears. It is without a doubt THE LIGHTEST steering lawn tractor I've ever ridden. Almost like it has that completely numb 1970's GM/Chrysler/Ford big car 1-finger power steering.
So now it's looking like I get to try and play "match that color" at the paint shop and come up with something close to Jade Mist. Maybe next winter's project. Think I'm gonna cut some grass with it this summer just like it is, though.