Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The U.P.
Thanked 1,090 Times in 811 Posts
So I found an owner's manual for the tractor, the mower deck and that accessory Hi/Lo transmission on line. Nice because they each had exploded diagrams and parts lists with part numbers.
First order was to put fresh oil in it. Then on to the gas tank which had a line of pin holes along the bottom seem. That was taken care of with small kit that I got from the local Auto Value store. I had an epoxy like stuff with a fiber glass webbing to strengthen it up. It mixed easily and spread out across the bottom of the tank and has held up nicely.
The mower deck is a three blade 36" affair with the famous Simplicity rollers across the back. Because of where I live, and the type of grass, or what ever it is, I adjusted it to its highest setting. Three new blades were installed, again courtesy of ebay.
Now those worn front tires. New ones with inner tubes came from our friend, ebay. The front wheels were wobbly and the steering spindles were worn out too giving the little tractor a bow legged look. After all those were replaced, I centered the steering wheel and took it for another spin. Much better.
Now to figure out what the problem with the Lo gear might be.
I had also found a pdf version of the Simplicity shop manual for this thing so I printed out the pages specific to the transmission and headed to the garage again.
Mind you, some of this work was done pre-shut down, and more post shut down. So at this point I have to say that we sure do have to appreciate all of those online merchants, and especially the US Postal service, UPS and FedEx. I can't say thank them enough for their offerings and their work. Without those folks the little Simplicity would just be a big orange and white lump in my garage.
Getting the transmission open on this isn't a small task. The 717 is different in that the front axel is mounted solid to the frame, and the rear end pivots just ahead of the seat. It is a different experience when running around that you don't, as the rider, follow the line of the hood and steering wheel when going over holes and bumps.
Once the transmission was open, the problem was obvious. All of the teeth on the Lo side of the Hi/Lo pinion were stripped. Once again my friend, and yours, ebay came through with a NOS part. I don't know why this would happen, other than like I said earlier, this thing is devoid of any sort of safeties and lock outs, so I'm going to guess who ever owned and used it in the past didn't mash down on the clutch/brake peddle enough to stop things from spinning inside the transmission before changing or engaging gears.
The transmission is easy enough to figure out, even for a goof like me, especially with the shop manual in hand. So taking it apart and putting it back together again went well, even though I always have this fingers crossed hope in the back of my mind while I do stuff I've never done before, like open a 1968 Simplicity 717 transmission.
The carb got a rebuild kit, though one of these days I have to fiddle with the float setting.
Anyway, now that I've bored you with my stay at home project. It's running, it has all gears forward and reverse and seems happy to be ready to mow. Now if it would just warm up enough here in the U.P. to make the grass grow, the little Simplicity 717 is ready to go.