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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

This thread is dedicated to the resurrection, preservation and continuous enhancements of my newly acquired 1977 Economy Tractor. In it you will find in chronological order the beginning of when I first got it to other miscellaneous projects and updates that I will be doing, or, have already done to it. A lot of times you might find my writing style a bit long-winded but I like to document what I'm thinking as I'm going through each project to look back upon to remember each step of the way. Feel free to skim, or, follow along if you enjoy all the details.

My Previous Background With This Tractor:

I bought this tractor in May of 2013 from the family who bought it new. Growing up as a young kid, I used to watch across the chain link fence as they would mow and always thought that it was one of the coolest looking tractors. It was the loudest machine with the mowing deck on, as soon as I'd hear it fire up, I'd go running out to go watch it creep around in 1st gear. It has had an easy life of strictly mowing a 1/4" lot and was used on and off for that job until about 5-6 years ago where it hasn't been ran since. In fact, it was always stored inside their garage until it lost its space to a supercar of all things! I had always figured that if I had asked them about selling it I would get rejected but I realized that if I didn't, I would always wonder. My initial hesitations were turned around as in fact they were, possibly even going to sell it this summer and seemed happy to have the interest!

Inspection Time:

When I went to go inspect its condition, it was really neat seeing it up close again and remembering back. I was happy to find there were no dings or major rust and even all of the decals were still present. What I do remember though was the paint being shinier than it is now, more red in color... we're going to have to do something about that eventually. I was a little bummed however to find this machine is not equipped with a hydraulic lift, I would say the majority of 1614's that I've seen have this setup so I was going into it expecting that it would. At first it didn't bother me, and I will quote myself from another thread: "The bummer is that it does not have the second transmission, or, hydraulics- which in particular was really hoping that it had. Is this a deal breaker? Not even a slim chance!". BUT, after thinking it over more and what my intentions were going to be for it, it did. So much so that I actually took a few days to research my options before I committed to it. I knew above anything else I wanted an Economy Power King after seeing this one in person again, but I knew that I needed that hydraulic setup for a future blade attachment. I asked around on a few forums that have very knowledgeable members on these particular machines regarding the logistics of a conversion, and my concerns of finding the parts and being over my head were immediately put to rest. I learned there aren't a million and half little intricate pieces that make up the hydraulic system and for the most part, they are fairly easy to locate and some can even be bought new as well. The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious and clear that I should choose this particular machine over finding one that I had no history with. What was I thinking finding a whole different machine when I could have this one that I have had a past with? Isn't that alone worth it I asked myself? When I attempted to bring it home, something was seized as both rear wheels would not turn. It took starting it and putting it in to gear momentarily to break whatever was lose, free.

Here is a video bringing it home. FYI, we are tractor friendly of all colors so please refrain from negative comments about the John Deere pulling it if you feel the need to do so. I really don't think that will be a problem here but it sure was at some other places I posted the photos.

Back to Hydraulics

While I was doing research on conversions, a member referred me to someone who was parting out a 1976 1614, all of which had hydraulics. Just for fun to get an idea of what I'd be paying for a whole setup for reference purposes, I sent an email to him to see what he'd have to have for the complete system. After pricing some of the individual parts such as on Ebay that make up the system, I was shocked when he offered me what he did. He was super knowledgeable about these tractors and we talked close to 1/2" on the phone about them and how to do a conversion. So the big surprise here is that I bought a complete, functioning, hydraulic system for my machine and will eventually be doing a conversion! I am pretty darn stoked. What's funny is that even though this machine is a manual lift setup, the belt for a hydraulic pump is already stored in the machine where pump gets mounted!

I do have some other ideas drummed up that I have in mind as well. Some of them you may not like, understand or agree with some of them but the fun is to personalize your machines to your own liking. I partly bought this tractor as a means of a continuous project to tinker on, on the weekends. This means that not everything will be happening all at once so as I go along everything will get covered as the time comes.

In a mostly sequential order that is more than likely subject to change, here is what I have planned to do so far:

1. Clean up/degrease entire machine
2. Clean fuel system
3. Replace sparkplug, air filter
4. Install a battery box and new battery
5. Change out all of the fluids; Engine oil, transmission, differential, gear cases, steering box. Grease zerks.
6. Replace front tires with next taller size
7. Space out front and rear wheels 1-1/2"-2"
8. Sharpen blades
9. Repaint front steel lower grill guard
10. Buff out paint- It was shiny!
11. Install rear LED spotlight won from MTF's April 2013 MOM contest
12. Hydraulic conversion
13. Locate and install a rear grader blade on the 3 PT.
14. Have seat recovered
15. Locate and install the optional second transmission feature

The photos seen below were just as I got it, original dirt and everything.


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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Today was the start of working on it, the object was to get it all cleaned up and degreased.

I used a full can of degreaser on it and the majority of it is done including cleaning the deck, however, below the tractor around the gear cases specifically will need more degreasing. I scrubbed the whole top side down. It's now ready for a polish.

I pulled the fuel line off of the inlet of the fuel pump as I wanted to see if fuel was even flowing from the tank. As soon as I began to pull the hose, it crumbled and broke a part in my hand. At this point I knew I had to replace the hoses so I removed the gas tank and pulled off the second fuel line that goes from the fuel pump to the carb. They are hard as a rock and the one leading from the tank to the pump is all broken down inside. I attached a straw to the fuel pump blew the it out and quite a bit of yellow varnish gas squirted out.

While I had the tank off, I took the liberty to polish it as it had lost its shine. I flushed out the inside of it too and also cleaned the fuel screen on the shot off valve, but they both didn't even really even in need. The tank is super clean inside.

Tonight I'm going to order a sparkplug, air filter & pre filter. I've got a marine style battery box on the way and once that comes I'll purchase a battery, fuel line, engine oil, carb cleaner, more degreaser and lots of gear oil. I'm not sure why those metal strap plates where mounted on top of the engine cover as you saw in the first photos of it above, but they're not going back on. I'm guess that it possibly vibrated and they put those on there to cure the noise. If that's case, I'll figure out a way to absorb it.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Art,

Thanks for the reply and kind comments. That's really cool that you used to sell these! I can only imagine what they looked like when new. What year was it when they transitioned over to the Power King name? I think mine was in that transition period because while it says Economy on the sides, there is long decal on the top of the hood that reads Power King. I'm guessing this was similar to the Datsun/Nissan period here in he states back in the '70's.

For parts, there's Ebay like you mentioned and also a really good Yahoo Group for these machines where many of folks have spares or know of a reference that have them. I also found a couple of parts sites too dedicated to these machines which seem to have a good supply of them.

Power King Tractor Replacement Parts and Accessories

Power King, Economy, Jim Dandy parts

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I must say that this tractor is EXCEPTIONALLY clean and unabused. There does not appear to be a dent on it! It sure is nice to start out with a good clean machine, and I see that you are already gung-ho about adding all of the factory bells and whistles to it! After seeing how nice your Jacobsens came out, I would not be shocked if this tractor looked better than it did new when you are done with it!

Keep up the good work and pictures,

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, Chris!

I'm certainly going to do the best that I can on it.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Neat story about the original being in a crate! That would've definitely have been worth some money to the right person.

Yeah, the folks on the Economy/PK/Jim Dandy Yahoo Group were mentioning something about how the pump and maybe some other hydraulic parts could be bought from Northern Tool. That will be a good thing to keep in mind if the need ever rose.

Yup, original paint. It's had a pretty easy life other than the past few years sitting outside under a cover.

Your 1617 sounded like a nice machine, would love to see it! Regarding posting pictures, you can do it a couple of different ways.

1. When making a reply here, click on "Go Advanced" and then on the next screen where all the icons are above the box click on the paperclip. From there you can find the photos and upload them directly to the post itself here.

2. You can use a hosting site such as Photobucket and upload them, then, copy the IMG code into your post here. I wouldn't worry about the image being too large so much as the site normally will automatically reduce the size making it where you have to click on the photo to bring it to its full size.

If you have any questions about how to post them, feel free to send me a PM.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It worked! :cool:

Clean looking machine, that loader would be handy for sure.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very nice! You obviously took excellent care of it.

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Memorial Day Weekend 2013 Update:

Seized Here, Seized There, Seized Everywhere!!

The title alone may give you a glimpse into what was one of the biggest things that I encountered along the way in this update, but there was quite a bit of success here too as you will find.

I spent quite a bit of time with the tractor over Memorial day weekend and got quite a bit done. The main objective in this update was to get the get the tractor running and operational again.

The weekend before last I wasn't able to do much to it as I was still waiting for some things to arrive but it was then that a minor setback took place due to something so innocent, changing the sparkplug. Boy did that turn out to be a bit of a surprise.

The first seizure:
You know that feeling when you apply pressure to a tight bolt and somehow automatically know it's going to turn into a small project to remove? I mean like for a really seized bolt? Anyway, when I put a socket onto the plug it immediately did not feel right, it was tight, but I had that sudden realization that this was not just going to be an average plug change. In fear of breaking it I didn't want to go any further so I sprayed penetrating fluid all around it a few times and let it sit. After giving it a second try I put a bit more pressure into it and the next thing I knew... CRATCH!! UN-B-E-L-I-ABLE. After having a mini heart attack and realizing that, yes, these things can happen and it could be fixed with some creativity and carefulness, I knew there could be some broken bits that may have found themselves in the combustion chamber so I pulled the head. I probably did near ten heat and penetrating fluid cycles but I simply could not get the darn broken sparkplug sleeve to even budge with the extractor. The next step was to drill it out but I didn't want to risk damaging the threads or even the head itself in the process so I took it to a shop to have it professionally done. Before they took a drill to it, they decided to give it a few heat and penetrating fluid cycles of there own but that method turned out unsuccessful for them as well so they had to resort to drilling it after all. My belief is that it was the original spark plug that had never been removed, and, you can darn well bet that I used anti-seize on the new sparkplug threads. I'm was just really happy that I did not wait to change it out as one of the very last minute steps attempting to start it or it would have been even more disappointing if you see what I mean!

I'm always a firm believer in that when setbacks occur like this, you take advantage of the situation to improve upon other things that only can only be done at the given point. In this case it was to de-carbon the head, which there really wasn't that much of but good to do nonetheless. I thought about replacing the head gasket while I was at it, but it was in excellent shape and did not need it. Otherwise I definitely would have.

Below are some descriptions with photos of the latest :

Perhaps the messiest oil change I've ever done! New oil drain pipe to the rescue:
There was no way on this planet that I was going to do another oil change without an actual oil drain pipe! The single recessed drain bolt and no place for the oil to go but everywhere imaginable and now way to catch it was not going to cut it. A catch can was pretty much useless. Never doing that again.

Also, something I want to upgrade in the future is to install a pull style dipstick like the one pictured below. The stock dipstick on it now has a nut on which requires you to put a wrench on the box nut every time you want to check the oil. Too inconvenient, sorry.

Battery Box:
I like the idea of having the battery covered so I purchased a marine style battery box. My hope was that I could still run a regular 24 series car battery on it but that size battery box was simply too tall to fit underneath the seat, I even bought it since it was cheap enough just to confirm it. Because it would not fit, it meant locating the most powerful lawn and garden battery that I could find. This brings up another issue however. Because this tractor has automotive style round clamp on style terminals, it prevented them from not being able to attach to a L&G battery because of the slot style terminals. After some thinking, I realized that I could fit round side mount terminals in the slots as you see below through the holes with a nut on the back. It required opening up the terminal holes a bit to fit the larger studs on the side mount terminals. I did not drill the holes but used a file instead to not potentially break the lead studs. I was happy to find this setup works like a champ!

There was some surface rust on the battery platform and rather than painting it which I had considered, I clear coated over it instead in an effort to keep the original appearance and remaining paint alone. I also hard mounted the battery box with screws vs. using the strap as the primary source for hold down. Photos of it mounted to the machine will come soon as explained later.

Fuel System:
I went through the entire fuel system and cleaned out the carburetor, fuel pump, flushed the tank and replaced the fuel lines. Being that I'm a slow worker with this type of thing took some time and honestly was a nice step to check off the list. A good amount of yellowy varnish fuel was in both and the main jet was partially clogged.

Ignition System:
Also went through the ignition system. The points checked out good, but I cleaned up the surfaces. I also installed a new condenser that I had a spare of in the garage. The coil is good and produces a hot spark.

The moment of truth!
Starting her for the first time required me to prime the system. After doing so, it started right up and ran incredibly smooth at a very low idle that it was set at when it first lit off. I can't stress on the smoothness enough as it was almost like starting a brand new engine out of the box or something, not even a slight miss here or there and just purred like an antique car. I am LOVING this big bore engine the more and more that I run it. It has the coolest deep burble from the exhaust when you decelerate, I remember that unique trait when I was kid. It almost sounds like a 1960's muscle car on decel. To help clean out the engine I will be performing another upcoming oil change very soon.

Driving it for the first time!
This was really exciting, I'll describe the feeling of driving it the best that I can. The clutch pedal is somewhat heavy and has an early release to it. Let it out with an easy foot the tractor begins moving in such a subtle respect in first gear that you almost don't even realize you've began moving until after the fact. The ride is surprisingly very smooth as the front end articulates a lot more than you'd expect but when you're on a hard surface you feel the subtle bumpty bump of the AG's going around. The biggest thing is how completely SOLID and heavy everything feels. It literally feels as though you're operating a small vintage farm tractor in every respect. You sit up high and very straight, the steering does not have any play but is easy to turn. The brake pedals take a fair amount of force to push, it may be that the linkages need to be lubricated or simply how they are. In third gear the tractor really flies, it almost feels like you're a car cruising down the road with the rpm's up.

I can see why the family installed the metal straps over the engine cover, there are various rattles that come and go from various places in the low rpm's. I installed some additional washers for the engine cover as it was suggested to me by another owner before I reinstalled it, but I think most of the rattles comes from the hood. It doesn't really bother me as it kind of goes along with the character of the whole machine only really happens when the engine is down near an idle any way.

Seizure # 2:
Before I had any thoughts of engaging the belly mower, I made sure to spray down all of the pulleys on the mowing deck etc. I should have taken this next observation as a sign that something was wrong here, but didn't. When I tried to spin the deck pulleys by hand I couldn't and figured that it probably just required a lot more force than I could exert. When I engaged the front PTO the rpm's fell and I could start to smell burnt rubber, nothing was turning. I realized the problem and it was that the spindles were indeed frozen. I got them freed up but the two idler pulleys are completely seized, in bad shape and have to be replaced. After I had broken the main deck spindle pulleys free, the deck now engages as it should through the PTO. I located a set of OEM idlers that I have already ordered from one of the Economy/PK parts sites. Apparently these idlers were superseded by an upgraded to a more durable version so maybe these originals were not the best.

Seized idler pulleys.

Other miscellaneous things I've discovered

I've spent quite a bit of time with this tractor over the three day weekend and because of it have come across some other things that need attention and made some other observations.

The first thing being is that the part of the wiring going from the headlight switch to the headlights is not only gone but frayed and cut off in one location. It appears as though it may have even got wrapped up in the front PTO pulley at some point which was the cause for the fray. The fellow who I've been in touch with regarding the new idlers is researching to availability of a new wiring 'harness' that goes from the switch to the lights. If not, then I'll rewire it myself.

The drain and inspection plugs for the bull gear cases are seized. To reduce the risk of rounding them off with a box wrench, I ordered a special socket that is designed for these square drain plugs that should make them easier to remove. Before I drove it I did the steering box fluid, but still need to do the transmission and rear end fluid as well.

I have more degreasing and cleaning to do below the tractor. The next step of the project will be devoted to simply finishing the job of degreasing the entire machine.

The seat is getting more and more torn each time I sit on it. It looks like a seat recovering will need to happen sooner than expected.

There is one very small rust hole right in front of the brake pedals. In the future when I begin the hydraulic conversion, I'm going to remove the top trans tunnel/flooboard assembly and take it to a body shop to have them cut it out and re-weld new metal in this area. This will be the perfect time to do it because having it off will assist in the routing of the hydraulic lines.
Over all it was a very successful weekend. I feel like I got a ton done to it, learned quite a bit more about it and best of all was able to enjoy using it. I am very excited and thrilled to have it.

Next weekend I promise I will have more photos of the tractor itself of the new additions. It was getting pretty rainy near the end of the weekend and ended up getting busy with other things.

Thanks for reading.

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Hey Chris,

Thanks for the info but did you read my post?

After exerting a little bit of energy and the bolt is deemed "seized" spray the bolt liberally with PBlaster or similar preferred penetrating oil. REMEMBER the parts did not seize up overnight. What you need to do is heat the surrounding area with an Acetylene torch (a propane torch will not suffice) until it is really hot, some parts will become red hot if they are thin,
....In fear of breaking it I didn't want to go any further so I sprayed penetrating fluid all around it a few times and let it sit.
You need to cycle this procedure
...I probably did near ten heat and penetrating fluid cycles
...I took it to a shop to have it professionally done. Before they took a drill to it, they decided to give it a few heat and penetrating fluid cycles of there own but that method turned out unsuccessful for them as well
You are just getting into the hobby
Really?! Thanks, I appreciate that.

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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
Thanks Bruce, hearing an engine fire up the first time in a long while is definitely one of life's greatest treasures for a gear head.

I will definitely be posting a video or two of it in the near future.

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
6/2/2013 Update:

Here are some photos corresponding to last week's update taken this weekend after I cut the lawn with it. I will be posting more videos of it, but here is a walk-around teaser of it.

Not too much new since last week but the new idler pulleys for the deck came in. As nice as they are, I'm actually going to be exchanging one of them so that I can have a matching pair. The rivets are not facing the same direction and when it comes to somebody (me) who agonizes over small aesthetic details like this, it makes all the difference. Having said that, I was still able to cut the lawn a bit with it sans the idlers. The blades are actually not too dull and was impressed with the cut, it really does well for this job. I think you could hear it a mile away though with the deck on, lol.

I was also able to finish degreasing the rest of the top portion of the machine. I think that I'm going to finish doing the bottom side once I pull the trans tunnel/floorboards/seat assembly off when I do the hydraulic conversion later this year and have a small rust hole fixed.

Anyway, the short term is:

-Paint the front "bumper" (rusty piece in front of the grill)
-Fabrication of custom wheel adapters
-Install new, slightly taller, front tires: 4.80-12
-Rewire the headlights

Long term:
-Hydraulic conversion
-Make new hydraulic lines
-Repair rust hole on floorboard
-Install rear work light
-Breakerless ignition install
-Seat recover
-Powdercoat wheel rims & front bumper

Regarding the wheels adapters, the reason that I've chosen to go this route versus simply reversing the rim directions is because I don't want the wheels stuck out that far when they are installed in that manner. I spun all four around this weekend and while the front looks good, I don't like how the rears are not covered at all underneath the fenders, it just doesn't look right to me that way. I also prefer the look (...remember, this is Mr. Aesthetics) to have the insides of the rims facing out than vice versa. This option will allow for custom front and rear offsets to give the tractor a slightly more aggressive stance while still keeping the rears somewhat tucked under the fenders. Motorsport Tech who's a sponsor on one of the tractor forums is the company who will be doing the work.

Battery box addition.

Oil drain pipe addition.


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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)

New Idler Pulleys:
As you may recall from my last update I returned one of the idler pulleys that I bought for the deck in exchange for a matching one. It came in this week so now the belts are a lot more happy having some actual tension on them.

Front Bumper Paint:
The front bumper, as it was called, had nothing in terms of paint aside from surface rust. I got it taken care of, repainted and clear coated. Someday it'll be powdercoated at the time that I have the rims done, but this'll work for now.

Implement Adjustment Lever Failure:

While mowing today, the nut that holds the spring on the adjustment lever vibrated off which resulted in a nice "zoing!" and a startling boom of the deck falling down suddenly. Nice. There's actually supposed to a knob button that sits on top of the spring assembly but its missing. I threw a lock nut on there to prevent that from happening again and called it a day. Pretty soon the manual lift setup is going to be replaced anyway.

PTO Safety Chain Fix:
The PTO safety chain had always rubbed the steering arm and made an annoying screeching noise so I zip tied it out of the way for now. For a more permanent solution, I'll have to either shorten this one or buy a shorter chain.

New tires:
I ordered new front tires, 4.80 x 12's, and they came in this week as well. They ended up not turning out to be as tall as I had hoped. They were a good 1/2" shorter compared to the the stock 4.00's un-inflated, so inflated, they would have ended up being nearly the same size which would've defeated my intentions for taller tires. I sent them back in exchange for a set of 5.30 x 12's which are not only a good 1 1/2"-1 3/4" taller, but a bit wider as well. Check out the Photoshop illustration below of how they should look compared to the stock 4.00's. I think it's going to look awesome. I also held off on ordering the spacers yet as I need to see how these tires are going to fit to perfect those measurements. But the next time you see it, it'll have both on.

Belly Mower Mounts:
In order to run these taller tires, the deck is going to need to be spaced back a couple of inches.

What's interesting are the different ways the deck can actually be attached. Yes, I said ways. In fact, before I purchased the tires I wanted to make sure there was going to be a belt available in the size that I would need after I spaced it back so I asked the PK experts what length stock one was. They explained that it actually all depends upon the way the deck is setup and currently mounted and thus couldn't get an exact answer. I thought that was kind of interesting. Performing this job shouldn't be too hard as there are already mounting holes spaced a couple of inches back and the chain hanger has extra links in it to compensate. At this time I will also replace a lot of the deck hanger hardware on the mule drive. It has a lot of mismatched fasteners that are driving me nuts!

Here is a video of it action. Don't worry, I do get out of first gear, lol. Watching it in action shows me that from now it'll have to be in at least 2nd gear as watching it on the screen in 1st gear isn't the same effect as when you're driving it in that gear. As always, don't forget to hit the HD.

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks Bruce,

Fortunately yes on the spring.

And I agree about the gear, the video almost puts you to sleep.

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
I'm glad to say I'm done with the tire swap.

What's so interesting about this whole thing is that the dimensions of these tires are not as advertised by the manufacture. You probably thought to yourself "can't this guy read descriptions?" when you read that I was returning the 4.80's in my last update because "they were smaller than I thought." Well, if they were actually true to their size as it's stated in the description, I would have kept them. Same deal with these 5.30's being advertised as 21.9" tall (which BTW are basically the same listed dimension for all the other tire manufactures who produce this same size) while in reality are 21" mounted up and inflated with full pressure on the rims. So as you can see, there was no way those 4.80's were going to be taller than the stock sizes, they'd have been shorter! My only guess is that they base these dimensions off trailer rims that have a slightly larger diameter but are still 12" rims??

Because of the estimation difference, they do not rub the deck at all unless the front end is at full droop on either side so the machine is completely usable as it sits with the current positioning of the deck. They do sit very close, I'm talking 2/8" close, to the king pins however because of the 1/2" wider width but don't rub. I don't think I'm going to be going quite as aggressive of a stance as I had in mind before with the spacers and may even run this setup for a while before I get them made up. We'll see.

Overall, it gives the front a kind of cool, higher/bigger tractor like stance.


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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)

Lasik Surgery

Over the weekend I really got the urge to get the headlights working again, I wanted to see those "eyes" come alive and somehow the idea of taking it out for a night spin just sounded appealing to me.

The original headlight wiring was frayed, it appeared that it got wrapped up in the PTO at one point. I ran new wiring and connector to the switch and as Murphy's law would have it, as soon as I hit the switch both lit up but then one went out... not more than a second after being on. Darn!! I couldn't get it light up again, it was done. The output was a little more than I figured and now I see the reason for the heat shield above them and the tank, the single one that did work put out some heat! Why two new bulbs? Because #1, I want them both to match and two, it'll only be a matter of time before the other decides to quit leaving me with a bad wink on a dark night.

I ordered two new bulbs but since they're no longer made with the spade connectors, I ordered a couple of screw-to-spade style adapters versus splicing on new connectors.

While I had the hood off I decided to give her a wax. The engine covers and fenders, especially, shined up really well (P.S., enlarge the pics! :)). I thought it was kind of neat to find remnants of old crusty wax in some nooks and crannies which oddly contradicts what you're about to see next.

As I mentioned in a recent update a lot of, if not most, of the hardware fastening the deck to the mule drive and frame mounts is all mismatched and some is just a mess. Take a look at the example to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

Yeeeahh... not cool. Like I said, it kind of negates the wax a little. Hmmm. Anyhow, this'll all get fixed and replaced with stainless hardware ( ongoing project with this machine pertaining to appropriate fasteners that need it) once I figure out what needs to be what.

I placed an order today for the custom spacer adapters from Motorsport Tech who's a sponsor on some of the tractor forums. Lenny is hooking me up with a deal in exchange for a write up review on the products, so a separate feature will follow.

Once this stuff is done I'll have to decide if I want to continue using the machine through the rest of the summer or jump into the hydraulic conversion- something that is chomping me at the bit to be installed. If the latter, it'll be out of commission for at least a month or two as I'll also be pulling the trans tunnel off to repair a small rust hole and having new hydraulics lines will take a little time to have done.

Overall, the more that I work on it the move I love it! It's like working on a vintage car and is fun to give it the attention it deserves and watch it come further along. :ThumbUp:

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Little by little, she's getting done. You know you'll end up repainting her......

BTW, the nail adds a really nice touch to it.. :p
LOL, Some day...

Oh, and the nail... that was real fun to remove.

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)


I have to be honest here in saying that getting the headlights working has been one of the most rewarding projects with this machine. It's like it has a sole now!

As I mentioned before, replacement style bulbs that have the original style spade connectors are really hard to find. I found these screw-to-spade adapters on an online at an appliance store's website and mounted them to the new bulbs.

And the final result!


I'm pretty anxious now to get the rear spotlight mounted after getting the fronts working. I'll wire it up to the headlight switch so that it comes on with the fronts versus mounting a second switch. This will probably be done at the time of the hydraulic project when the trans tunnel is off to make routing of the wiring easier and cleaner.

Mowing Deck:

A large portion of this update is also devoted to the mowing deck.
The first object here was to space the deck back for extra clearance between for the tires due to their increased size and scrub radius that will eventually happen with the spacers. This required the addition of a 3" longer drive belt.

One thing that had always sort of bugged me was that the deck hung down low (by my standards) at the very highest setting for transport.

While I was in the middle of spacing the deck back, I took advantage of the higher mounting points underneath the tractor so that it could sit up as high as it possibly can at the highest level, 3" higher than before. This took quite a bit of trial and error. Adjustment to the chain the deck is attached to underneath had to be shortened two links.

I cut these pads for the deck to rest on where it touches when it's in the highest position.

My head was shaking as I removed all the deck fasteners as hardly anything matched, it was all just a pile of miscellaneous rust thrown together here and there. After some thinking I decided to use clevis and hairclip pins for all the mounting points on the deck. Someday I'll get a rear grader blade attachment and want the deck to be easy and quick to remove. While I was at it, I also replaced the screws for both the guards as again, many were missing and mismatched.


If this were a true, full, restoration the appropriate pieces would get sandblasted & powdercoated such as the mowing deck but this is not what this project was intended to be at this time. This is about the revivement, refreshment and preservation of the machine so show quality is not the main priority. There is an exception in this case that I may need to fully restore the mowing deck sooner if it need be. There's surface rust on the top of the deck that I both scraped away and then treated. I sprayed the entire top side of the deck with a clear rust preventive/stopper coating. As far as I can tell, there are no weak spots. It came out ok and think it's going to work but is something that I will be keeping my eye on. While I had the belt covers off, I pounded out a couple of small dents (probably from being stepped on) that came out nicely in each.

This update will probably be the last one for a while as there's not much left to do. The next project will be the hydraulics but that's most likely is not going to be for several months out. The spacer project is not done yet though as I'm still currently waiting on them to be built which should be done within the next couple of weeks so photos and a write up are in the near future.

Thanks to all who have followed along!

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7,335 Posts
Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
Wow, those headlights really make it cool! Add those improvements to the deck and I'll bet that tractor can't wait to mow something. I wonder why the previous owner was so haphazard with replacing the deck hardware. That must have been a nightmare!:dunno:
Thanks, the working lights give it a new meaning.

It was a nightmare with the hardware and your guess is as good as mine. The last set didn't want to come out of course and had to resort heat. Even crazier was the fact that a lot of those bolts were not even the right sizes either making the deck very loose in the way that it was hung. Because of the play, it not only smoothed the threads out of those bolts but drove divots into them if you can see in the photo and would've eventually have gone all the way through! It pays to have the right hardware.

Nice update Austen, will be waiting for the hydro update :2th:
Me too! Will have to lay everything out and grab a photo for the thread soon and begin getting some estimates for the new hoses.

Wow! That looks great!


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7,335 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
You may have already seen this write up but I'm including it here as well to have so that it's apart of it. Skim past it see the new updates.

This is a review of my experience ordering custom wheel spacers through Motorsport Tech for my vintage tractor.


After I installed larger front tires than what came from the factory, I ran into some rubbing and clearance issues; at near full lock the front left tire would rub the steering arm the tires now sat too close for my tastes to the front spindles.

A lot of folks will wonder why I went through the effort and extra expense to have custom spacers made when I could have simply just reversed the rims around and gained nearly 3" of extra space all four corners for free.

1. Aesthetics
Yes, I am one of those individuals who is very picky about aesthetics. I prefer the look of the rims facing out as opposed to the super deep dished look with them facing in.

2. Too much!

I did not want the wheels sticking out 3" further. Bear in mind the photo above shows the small original front tires but the machine looked like it was some sort of creacher that way, it didn't look right to me.

3. Fenders
The rear wheels stuck all the way out the past the fenders. Again, it didn't look right to me.

4. Front Wheel Specs
I wanted the front wheels to stick slightly further out (not all the way) than the rears because they were tucked in pretty far before, this could not be achieved without custom specs.

5. Personalization
Most of all, I thought it would be neat to create my own personal backspacing that no other Economy tractor would have.

When I began doing research, the first company that came up when Google searching along the lines of "custom wheel spacers" was Motorsport Tech located in Sparks Nevada. The first clue that made them shine vs. other companies was their listing for tractor spacers and their motto of' building anything you could dream up' made a vision in my head a reality. This is one of the key things that I found that separates them from other companies. It seemed a lot of the other businesses I found did not offer as many choices or free reign on your end so especially for something so one off in the case, I would have had to make some compromises in the specs. The key aspect though that made it clear Motorsport was my company was after learning they're a sponsor on one of my favorite forums, MTF.

I called Motorsport the next day and spoke with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic individual named Lenny who I believe is the manager and or owners son. After mentioning how I learned they're a sponsor on MTF, he graciously gave me a $100.00 off.

We discussed the specs over the phone and I also emailed him so up close photos for reference along with mailing in a sample of one of the lug nuts for the front and lug bolts for the rear.

The turn-around time I was told would be a few weeks. I think that because of this it gave my mind more time to consider it over so I ended up doing one of the most inconvenient things possible, changed the specs. Shamefully enough, this happened a couple of times but Lenny was very understanding. After deciding on the final specs (going bigger) than what he quoted me earlier, I told him to adjust the bill as needed. What blew me away though after I opened the box (which BTW arrived just two days after they were built) was that fact the bill remained the same as the original quote even though these spacers were quite a bit larger in spec! I couldn't believe this and what an awesome surprise, wow, thanks Lenny!!

The workmanship and quality as you can see is as good as it gets. Not that I doubted Motorsport, but because these are such a "one off" type of thing and I myself could have easily have screwed up a measurement, prepared myself for the off chance they might need to be reworked. These literally fit the machine as if they were a factory part, there is absolutely zero slop or too tight of clearances of the sort. Absolutely perfect. These are bolt on spacers so he supplied 22 new lug nuts in total to bolt these right up without the need to purchase any extra hardware.
Overall I am completely 100% satisfied and recommend Motorsport highly, not only for the craftsman side of things but the customer service too.

Lenny also kept me in the loop all the way through emailing me updates and would call if and where needed. I really appreciated this a lot as one of the most frustrating things a company can do is leave their customer in the dark, especially with a project like this.

Building custom wheel spacers for something as odd as this is something that not every company would want to take on, and if they did, would charge enormous amounts of money in order to so. It is a very unique thing. It takes a devoted company who is in the right mindset of putting the customer first and not making any compromises.

Thanks Motorsport Tech, I know we will be working again together sometime in the future.

Let's get down the business end of it, the photos & video.

Carefully packaged.

Now that's a spacer!

Wheels off, prepping the machine for spacers. This gave me a good time to degrease under the wheels and wax the insides of the fenders BTW.

Spacers on!



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7,335 Posts
Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)

I've decided to move forth with the hydraulic conversion. Something about a full hydraulic system sitting in a box collecting dust was beginning to eat away at me.

To give some brief background on the hydraulic story, I purchased this package before I even got the tractor as the right deal sort of fell in my lap and was something that I was looking to do soon after I got it. The system is off a '76, so one year apart. At the time I purchased the system, I was very up forth with the gentleman in stating that I wanted everything, and that I mean every nut and bolt and hose, to mount the system up. Not that I would be re-using certain things like the hoses but I wanted those parts for reference purposes and something to go off of. In my opinion, purchasing the complete system in this case was more cost effective and simple versus piecing together an entire with parts that have never worked together before and may need modification here and there.

When I received the parts everything seemed to be there, and it pretty much was aside from one thing that I would have caught at the time if I had the eye that I do now. After a second time of spreading the parts out and really inventorying everything as if I was going to mount everything up right then and there, it didn't take long to realize the shorter implement arm was not included. The manual lift arm is much taller than the hydraulic lift arm and would be very inconvenient to use. Compare the shorter hydraulic arm on the machine below to the manual version on mine below.

I did some research and found a few used implement arms but I soon learned these are actually a high wear item on these tractors. The biggest thing is the mounting holes, most were badly warn and opened up quite a bit which would have caused slop in the arm and the fix would be to weld the holes shut and drill new holes. The second thing is that most were bent to some degree as well. I really wasn't looking to get into side project into fixing a worn out part. One of the things that I've learned over the years working on projects like this is that you can quickly get carried away by cutting corners such as throwing on used parts like this which will end leaving you with a bit of a "hodge-podge" in the end. In other words it pays to be picky sometimes. I contacted one of the most helpful folks who has given me a lot of answers along the way, Jerry Frank from, who informed me that he can still get these arms brand new so after learning that it was a no brainer.

After studying some photos of similar machines with the hydraulic setup, I noticed that a lot of them had a foot guard that sits behind the hydraulic cylinder. Yup, gotta have that of course! It mounts on the same mounting points the cylinder does so I decided to find one before I did the installation so that I wouldn't have to take things a part a second time to install one. Jerry said there was ONE of these left brand new from his supplier for nearly the same price as purchasing a used one (apparently these are a fairly desirable part) and like a kid in a candy shop again, had to say yes.

I decided to have all new hoses made up as well. While the cost of this turned out to be more than expected, to me it is security and reliability. One of the key aspects about the revivement of this tractor is to make it reliable and it would drive me nuts if I installed the system and after a few months one of the 30+ year old hoses sprung a leak. Not so mention, a few of the hoses had some bad cracks. The fittings and everything will be new with the hoses. Oddly enough, the shop that I found that specializes in this work is a place that I pass all the time and didn't even know was there and existed before now.

What would it be without at least one of the hoses putting up a good fight? Had to cut the fitting off one with a cutting wheel so I could get my impact to spin it off.

The first and most difficult step to this project was the removal of these roll pins that held the manual implement lever on, it was essential these be removed. Let me just say that they were about as difficult, disgusting and time consuming to remove as they look and I'm not ever dealing with them again. It was the biggest relief when they came out as it literally felt like this project could actually take off and begin. The pins are getting replaced by bolts for ease of removal in the future when a full restoration happens. For sure.

The nice thing about this project is that it is allowing for a few other things to get taken care of and done at the time as well since things will be apart.

You may have remembered me mentioning a small rust area around the parking brake. It's the perfect time to pull the body off while the hoses aren't already wound all the way through it and take it to my body man who my Dad and I have always used for all of our vehicle projects in the past to cut it out and weld in new metal. I am also going to have him straighten a couple of spots on the leading edge around the hood, there are a couple of small creases in it that aren't that noticeable but are to me. Finally, he is also going to fix a couple of dents in the hydraulic tank.

A final degrease of the parts that I couldn't get before!

Degreased and the manual lift setup completely disassembled, now awaiting for the hydraulic parts.

LED spotlight:

I'll also install the rear LED spotlight that was contributed by Mobile HID for the MOM contest a few months back on MTF, so it will be nice to get all of this stuff taken care of at the same time.

I expect to have the machine back together in about a month to month and half.

The very last thing will be to have the seat recovered but won't be for a few more months. I plan to have it recovered in a nice black leather, something that is similar to say comes in say a BMW M5.


Below are a few other small things that I've been up to with it:

Changed the gear oil in the final drives.

This little pump has paid for itself time and time again.
Now that the body is off I'll be able to access the fill and drain plugs of the transmission and will service that as well.

Bought this special driver to remove the six square head plugs. Much
easier than rounding them off with a wrench.

Been meaning to install a Battery Tender for the new battery. Got one for my B-Day, love these things.

And a couple of photos of it and I.

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