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I Still Like My 1250

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dkirk

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At 45 years old, she still runs like a new one. So the question is, did International Harvester over-engineer their products? I say they properly engineered their products. These are real tractors, not riding lawn mowers that look like tractors. All components are heavy gauge steel or cast iron, and purchased sub assemblies such as the transmission (Sundstrand) and engine (Kohler) were of the highest quality available. With good routine maintenance, these machines will truly last the lifetime of the owner. That, to me, is a properly engineered machine that can be proudly stated - Made In USA.
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digger

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At 45 years old, she still runs like a new one. So the question is, did International Harvester over-engineer their products? I say they properly engineered their products. These are real tractors, not riding lawn mowers that look like tractors. All components are heavy gauge steel or cast iron, and purchased sub assemblies such as the transmission (Sundstrand) and engine (Kohler) were of the highest quality available. With good routine maintenance, these machines will truly last the lifetime of the owner. That, to me, is a properly engineered machine that can be proudly stated - Made In USA.View attachment 139380
:greenthumb:
 

Tom

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I could not agree more. I have a 1450 that plows gardens, tills gardens, plows and blows snow or just mows grass if I want to and I have all confidence in its performance.
 

dschwandt

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Did you add the hydraulic lift?
 

danderson

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Nice. I love mine but it t looks more it’s age. I added a hydraulic lift and lights to mine.
 

hydroharry

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David - you asked a question "Did IH over-engineer their products?", and then gave your opinion that they properly engineered their products. I'm a little surprised with your position, especially since I know you are an engineer yourself. I'm assuming you are trying to get the opinions of others so here goes with mine.

It's my position they properly engineered some of their components, but they also under-engineered and over-engineered some. Since you show your Quiet Line 1250, I'll keep my discussion specific to the QL series. I'd be glad to discuss other series models later if you want to get into those. (Some of my comments will apply to almost all models anyway).

I think they under-engineered the ISO-bars for the engine mount assembly. I believe CCC updated the design to a "cradle" style which greatly improves the design function.

Another thing I thought could have been designed "just a little" better is the Ross steering box. This is a sub-assembly they purchased but I think it could have been a little better. I don't know if Ross would have done this for IH, but I think you would agree your "Super Steer Upgrade", which is basically just the addition of a bearing, makes a dramatic improvement to actual steering.

And then there is the transmission/rearend. In and of itself, it's probably the most over-engineered component of the tractor. It's actually my position that the transmission, whether it's Hydro or Manual, is why these tractors are still around today. Even tho the IHCC Service Manual has alot of detail about checking components, etc., for the most part the tranny/rearend just doesn't fail. Ya, there is the occasional shifter fork issue with the manual tranny, or the failure of a relief valve on the Sunstrand pump, but for the most part these things are bullet proof. I believe that if the transmission/rearend failes on almost any other brand of tractor, it's end of life for that unit because it's to costly in time and materials to repair.

However, one thing I could never understand about the IH Hydro tranny/rearend is it not having a drain plug, especially since the manual transmission does. And to add to that, the IH Operators Manual does not have a recommendation for changing the fluid. It only mentions to add as needed. We all know the rearend accumulates moisture which eventually exceeds the absorption capacity of the HyTran fluid. So it really does need to be changed and having a drain plug would certainly facilitate the process. Most of us have experienced the "Big WOOSH" when you crack the gasket seal on the rear cover plate, even just slightly it still makes a little swooosh. Having that drain plug would help even tho I realize you still need to remove the cover plate so you can get all the globs of fluid that have absorbed that moisture.

There are a couple other things with the QL series that are interesting to mention. Why did IH change the front spindle and wheel bearings to 1" from 3/4" half way thru the 4 year production of the QL? I understand the 1" design has better load capacity but did the tractor really need it? And why did IH change the steering wheel at roughly the same time?

I look forward to your position and comments.

Hydro Harry
Old Cubs Never Die
 

dkirk

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Dave S.,

Yes, I added hydraulics (from a 1650) and a headlight kit. Also made a few other modifications such as the heavy duty front wheel hubs and a tractor puller spec engine. Most of this was done as I'm a gearhead and like to tinker.

Harry B.,

I was actually stating a personal observation but led in with a question - didn't mean to imply that I was asking a question but appreciate your response. I'll thus comment on the points you bring up.

A garden tractor is a relatively complex mechanical device. Like any vehicle, there are constant improvements made during the production life cycle, these being driven by experience with the product, customer/dealer feedback, etc. Mechanical engineering is a fairly exact science, but virtually impossible to predict all of the situations the product will be subject to, once it gets in the hands of customers. These improvements you mention (front spindles, steering wheel, etc.) were all made due to what is commonly termed "Field Experience". I believe IH did an admirable job in the overall engineering of the Cub Cadet tractors and made logical improvements as the product matured. A company that listens to it's customers is a company that is well-run and I think IH engineering was outstanding in this regard.

When you say "ISO-bars", I'm assuming you're referring to the engine mounting rails (ISO-bars are lines of constant magnitude, as used in contour maps: example - lines of constant pressure on a weather map). Mounting rail integrity was improved by a cross-member between the rails in later machines. Field experience probably entered in here but it should be known that it took appreciable time for these to loosen in service.

I totally agree with your comments on the transmissions. I certainly agree about a drain plug - if I ever have mine apart (which I doubt will ever happen), I will add a drain plug. It is interesting to note that in the owners manual for maintenance, it says nothing about a drain interval for the transmission...only change the filter every 100 hours (Hydrostatic) and the level periodically. I don't think IH eliminated a drain plug to save money - I believe they thought the customer would be moving up to another machine in 10-or-so years so lubricant maintenance was not considered important.

Today, it would be virtually impossible to find a product of equal quality (with price adjusted to current monetary value) of the IH Cub Cadet tractors. In their prime, International Harvester was an engineering-run company. This situation does not exist today - sales/marketing, accounting/finance and legal departments run the big corporations and engineering is relegated to the lowest level on the corporate totem-pole. I'm so happy to be out of Corporate America and retired, and now able to pursue my own business and enjoy my toys.

Dave
 

hydroharry

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Harry Bursell
Hey Dave - you responded with a few things that I really like.

You said (and I fully agree)
"I believe IH did an admirable job in the overall engineering of the Cub Cadet tractors and made logical improvements as the product matured. A company that listens to it's customers is a company that is well-run and I think IH engineering was outstanding in this regard. "

And for that you get the BIG IH :greenthumb:
 

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