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Need advice on small engine repair(garden tractor)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by poinzey, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. poinzey

    poinzey 1/2 ton status

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    A guy close to me is selling a 3 year old craftsman garden tractor with a blown engine. I believe it has an 18 hp briggs and straton motor. He says it seized up on him while mowing. How hard would it be to rebuild or get running again? It does not look like it has any holes in the case or anything that bad, so I'm thinking he ran it low on oil and seized the piston. I found an overhaul kit for $160, so if i can get it for about $100 i could have a decent mower for about $300 when its all said and done(and I need one for this season as the house im in has about 1/2 acre lot and it gets old trying to borrow/carry one around all the time). Comments/tips/suggestions welcome. I'm torn because i have found two other smaller ones that are running, but would only be good for cutting the grass, whereas the bigger one could do more around the yard.:D
     
  2. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Hard to say..

    Usually any "seized" engine is junk,as far as air cooled...you MAY be able to save it,but its probably a broken connecting rod that is locking the engine up,not a piston..though pistons can seize if the engine got overheated due to blocked cooling ducts(mice build nests in those motors quite often--my Yard-Man has a nest in its 20hp Kohler already,and I USE it all year round..only sits a month or two at most!:mad: :doah: )..

    If you got lucky and there is no damage to the block,its possible to have the motor bored out and honed just like any auto motor..there is a possibility you could find a new motor at a place like Burden Sales,or Northern Tool ,but those 2 cylinder V-twins go for about a grand brand new..usually the camshaft or lifter giudes get cracked or broken when those motors lose a rod..some Briggs V-twins had no oil pump,and were only spash lubed..(16 hp)--they didn't hold up as good as the ones with oil pumps and filters..

    I'd only get a tractor with a horizontal shaft motor..mine is a vertical shaft,it has plenty of power,but its kind of useless..cant easily hook up a snowblower or other attachments..the vertical shaft ones dont seem to last as long either..neither do the hydrostaic trannys if you plan to plow,or use it to till a garden,tow heavy loads,etc..mine is a hydrostat..so far its working fine,but I've smoked a few in other tractors without much abuse..

    This tractor I have now is like having a 20hp motor,on a stamped steel 10hp chassis!..its not very rugged,glad I saved it from a scrapyard,and didn't pay 2 grand for it new,I'd have been dissapointed if I did..:crazy:
     
  3. poinzey

    poinzey 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the advice Diesel. :wink1: I won the bid on it at $176.50, and am going to go pick it up this afternoon. With any luck i can start tearing it down tomorrow to see how bad off it is. I figure worst case, I've seen the reman'd engines for about $350, so if i get out for $500 or so i'm happy. From the other comments and opinions i've been reading about this model, it seems to be a good reliable cheap tractor. I don't plan on doing anything like digging ponds or building roads, but mainly mowing with light dirt and utility work around the yard. Heck, if i can get out with just getting connecting rods and bearings, a few gaskets, and get a season out of it, I can plan mods over next winter( i hear the lights aren't that bright, bigger tires, shackle flip...).:D
     
  4. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    good deal....

    You didn't pay a lot for it,and thats good,because it will leave you more money to fix its problems..those briggs motors that are vertical shaft often had a valve seat pop out of the block..I've gotten several free tractors that didn't run,and all I did was pop the head off,and peen the metal over the valve seat after tapping it back in..used J-B Weld on a few of them too..

    If your motor is FUBAR,I'd try looking on Craigslist or E-bay,and at local lawn mower shops..many here have a "boneyard",or part out tractors customers left to be fixed and abandoned after finding out how costly it would be to fix,and some take "trade ins" on new tractor purchases..you could probably find a decent runner for about what you paid for your tractor..too bad a small block wont bolt in easily,you could probably find a chevy motor cheap!..:p:
     
  5. big dan

    big dan 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    you could always drop in a 350:D
    there are a few guys around here with chevy motors in their lawn mowers
    but they're used for lawn mower pulls, not much good for yard work
     

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