About 4 years ago, I gave my brother in law and sister a sears garden tractor because their old junk wallmart mower would never run. My brother and I did a ton of work to it, we completely stripped it down to the frame, pulled the rear end and all. We primed and painted everything, replaced darn near every bolt and then touched up the paint on the bolts after they were installed. The engine was rebuilt and started 1st pull every time and it started in 3 pulls after sitting all winter. We were both very impressed on how this sears turned out. We put new tires on it front and back. We used 24-12-12 tires on the rear, they just barely squeezed in there and it was a even tighter fit with the tire chains. We painted up the mower deck and added a push blade for snow, I even put on a set of rear weights which was my only set at the time. Later on I gave him a 3-pt hitch, plow and cultivator which never got installed.
They used the garden tractor for one season, the spring after that the tie rod popped off (very common when they get worn) and I gave them a upgraded (home built) tie rod that had heavy adjustable swivel ends on it. The only thing they needed to do is drill the mounting holes on the front spindles a little bigger. They never really got what I meant and my sister went out and bought a brand new husqvarna mower, they parked the sears (luckily inside the garage) and it hasn't been looked at ever since.
At the time, I thought my brother in law was a little better at fixing/working on things or I never would have given him a old garden tractor. I couldn't help with it because they are in OK and I'm in KS, until recently I haven't even had a car road worthy for that distance.
Either way, my sister and brother in law are clearing out EVERYTHING for their big move to New Zealand in January and they told me I can have the sears if I want it, or they can just sell it as it is if I don't want it. I said YES I will take it! because they will never get much out of it the way it is now. Only if they knew I dumped just over a $1000 in to the old thing, they may not be so quick to ditch it cheap.
I'm not sure when I'm going to get it, I need to build a little trailer to pull with my Volvo first, I will probably pick it up sometime this summer.
Sorry for the long post/rant, didn't expect it to be so long when I started.