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Refurb and Modification of 1430 Lawn Tractor

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kmcconaughey

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Kraig McConaughey
Mark, I, and I'm sure several others here, am waiting for video of your 1430 Snowmonster in action with some deep snow.
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jstertz

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Mark--I second Kraig! I can't wait to see this thing in action. Pics are fine but I want to see the video. As I believe plowing soil is about the toughest ground engaging work you can do with a GT, I also think that blowing heavy deep snow is equally tough on the motor and will truly test it's ability. Nothing will bring a motor to its knees like driving too fast into heavy snow running a two stage snowblower!!

So...mid winter I want to be lounging by the pellet stove with my lap top watching a video of the SnowMonster making short work of a big job.
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mtarsus

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My girlfriend has already agreed to shoot the video this winter. I'll try to get out there before the sun is up, so that you can see how bright the headlight is. It's comparable to the headlight from a car.
 

mtarsus

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I purchased the following block heater:
http://www.amazon.com/Kats-1153-Handi-Heat-Magnetic-Heater/dp/B000BOABS6/ref=pd_sbs_auto_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=17E5TX61FX2XREKBK9WG

I was upset to find that the engine block is made of aluminum and therefore the little heater won't stick to anything really valuable. This whole time I was assuming the whole thing was cast iron, though it seems that it is only the cylinders.
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So, what I did was remove the bracket on the front of the engine that used to hold the exhaust can from the Craftsman GT6000, and I cut it with an angle grinder to make a bracket which fastens using one of the tapped holes on the bottom of the block (it is directly underneath the large nut that protrudes beneath the governor -- what is that big nut for, anyway???).

Then, I welded several layers of thin sheet metal onto it, bent it to shape so it would roughly fit the crevices of the engine block, and finally wrapped it with aluminum foil so that when I torqued it down it would smush into place and thereby transfer as much heat as possible.

In theory it seemed like the best idea on the face of the earth, but it yields relatively poor results. The little block heater gets HOT, though. It just doesn't like to spread through the engine block very well.
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jbaker

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Mark, did you get any snow to try the unit out on yet?
 

mtarsus

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Mike Terrizzi
Snow is coming tomorrow! Unfortunately there will not be a lot (less than 8 inches), and my girlfriend has flown to Florida with her family for the holiday. Therefore I will have to record it from the drivers seat.
 

mtarsus

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Well, I did not take any video. I was so excited to finally use it that I just didn't even think of it. It is early yet, and winter has not even come. My girlfriend will be back from Florida this weekend, hopefully she'll be around to shoot some video the next time it snows.

This round of snow was basically slush, so the snowblower had a hard time with it, and it clogged about 4 times during the course of the evening and following morning's work. I have a plastic spade which came with my walk-behind snow blower. I keep it under the seat of the tractor and use it as needed. Anyway, the snowblower works very well. However, being a single stage, it clogs easily on wet, heavy snow, and I must be cautious not to move through the snow too quickly. It also tends to get overloaded when I push it too hard, causing the drum to lock up, and the belt begins to squeal/burn. It does not happen so much that it is a nuisance, and even still I was able to travel at about walking speed without having any issues. It throws the snow very far, at least 20 feet. In classic single-stage form, it does not create a clean stream of snow but more of a messy spray that just kind of points in the general direction of the chute. This does not worry me much, as it cleans the driveway perfectly, and sends it far enough for me to direct it well into the yard. I believe its performance will improve with "better" snow. As in, snow from colder weather, which is more fluffy and less likely to clog the chute.

In terms of general handling/drivability, it works flawlessly. The weights and chains make it unstoppable. I never once lost traction. Also, the hydro is excellent for the nature of the work, as it makes it so much easier to maneuver around the driveway, especially with the constant back-and-forth that comes with snowblowing or plowing.

The Ross steering setup also works perfectly. I installed a steering knob on the wheel and I used it extensively. I can park the tractor, lift the blower, and still turn the wheel with one hand - this is awesome. Thanks for the great idea, Nic!

The headlight works great, and it is enormously helpful. When I first installed the headlight, I thought that it was more of a silly ornament and I was getting carried away with myself -- not the case! I used it last night when I got home from work, it was pitch black outside and I couldn't see anything. The headlight literally illuminates everything in front of the tractor like it is a high-beam from a car.

All of this having been said, I have found a couple of issues that I must fix:

1) the lifting mechanism for the blower occasionally slips off track and I lose the ability to lift the blower (the handle just moves back and forth but it doesn't catch). To fix this, I was lifting the blower onto a brick so that I could slide the mechanism back into position. It is a serious nuisance and it happens about 1/10 times. To permanently fix this, I am going to have to take the unit apart and weld/bolt a little piece of metal to keep the lifting arm from popping off the track. Therefore, it will probably have to wait until next year.

2) The bolts which hold the drum in place need to be extra tight, and I must also purchase new lock washers for them, as one of the bolts came loose while I was doing my neighbors driveway and the drum began to flail violently.

3) It is hard to start and the little block heater that I installed really doesn't do much at all. I have to hook the battery to a charger and crank away for about 15 minutes. Even when it does start in the beginning, it will only run for about 5 seconds at a time. When it will finally stay running, it surges steadily, and backfires out of #2 for about 5 minutes until warm.

I believe I will have to install on of those heat-blankets that glue onto the engine. This means I will have to take off the gas tank and carefully install it amidst the wiring. Ergo, this is obviously a project for next year.

4) It needs a little light for when I am backing up. Just so I can back it into the garage/shed at night.
 

jchamberlin

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Mark: I'm wondering if by wrapping your block heater in aluminum foil, you may have inadvertently insulated it from the block instead of providing the thermal transfer you intended.

I'm not sure how feasible it is, but could you epoxy some steel to the aluminum on the engine block so that the magnetic heater will "stick" to it? I suppose you would still have to provide some way to make sure the steel and aluminum have enough contact that the heat will transfer properly. The heat would probably not transfer well through the epoxy.

Another alternative, may be a heater that you drop down the dip stick tube, I think they exist, but I haven't ever seen one. (They're not needed in North Carolina.
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kmcconaughey

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Jeremiah, dipstick heaters do exist. My father tried one on the Cub Cadet 125 back in the 1970's but it could not get far enough down into the oil in the small oil pan to do any good. I think it may still be hanging on the wall in my parent's garage...
 

mtarsus

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Hello guys, Happy Thanksgiving! I forgot to mention that...

I have considered using a dipstick heater, yes, but I have also read poor reviews for them, as well as having heard of the issue Kraig mentioned.

Jeremiah, you may have a good idea with that. I could use the epoxy to stick a large fender washer directly to the block. My concern with this idea is that I feel it would not last very long, and it may just flake off after a couple of uses -- especially since the little block heater gets HOT, like 130-140F. Still worth a shot though, as it is the most practical and fastest option.

I could also build a dipstick heater of my own.. it would take a few electronics; I could probably create a heating element using a fender washer, and coat it with plasti-dip to seal it from shorting itself in the oil pan. But that would be a project in itself and take a lot of figuring out. That would be something more for when I am semi or full-on retired and have a wealth of free time.

Maybe they make a plug type block heater that will thread into the drain spout? Though I am not sure if something like that is made for the diameter of the oil plug on the Mag (it looks to be ~1/2" if I recall, from here in my living room).

You guys in the South have a whole different view of life. I was talking about that with someone today. I think the harsh winters in the North teach us to stress over things and constantly hurry...
 

digger

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Mark T.
I'll trade my Mn. temps for N.Y. temps with ya any day ya want!!!!
Last night was 19 below.
Right now I'm setting at -2, LOL
 

kmcconaughey

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Charlie, something's not right, My temp is right at zero, you should be much colder up there!
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kmcconaughey

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Hmmmm, I just checked again and now it's even colder!

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mtarsus

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I've found plug-style block heaters that would easily fit into the oil drain. However, I am not sure if they are the right size (need to look at it), and I am also not interested in spending $75. The price tag on this project just keeps going up and up.

EDIT: I've researched the plug-type heaters a little more, and they appear to intended for coolant systems, "strictly" not to be used for oil. Wah wah, boo hoo, I'm sure they will work fine as long as they are monitored within reason (i.e., not left to run overnight).

Do any of you guys know what size bolt/thread fits into the oil plug on a Mag20? I am talking about the little tube that comes out from the bottom of the pan - right below the muffler - and bends around the frame (see images for reference).
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mtarsus

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The plug itelf may be 1/4", but I think the "Pipe, Oil Drain" is tapped for 3/8" into the block. I can probably fit a 3/8" plug style heater into that, though I'd be concerned about A) the messiness of future oil changes and B) whether or not the heating element might interfere with any of the moving parts inside of the crank case.

EDIT: Kraig, thanks for the heads up. Fool that I am, I forgot that the parts look up is right there at the top of the page!
 

jchamberlin

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Mark: Considering the experience of Kraig's father, I'm not of the opinion that a dip-stick heater is the way to go.

I remember forum member Melody Schultz had trouble starting her tractors in the winter; turned out the hydrostatic transmission was more of an issue than the engine oil. I think even Kraig puts the magnetic heater on the Cast Iron (CI) transmission housing rather than the engine, but I may be wrong.

At any rate, I persist in my opinion that supplying the magnetic heater (which I understand you already purchased) with a base is your best option. Like you, I scratch my head
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when trying to figure out how to attach it to the vertical "mill" of an engine as it were. Perhaps you would be better served by trying to "pig-putty" the magnetic heater to what I assume is an aluminum (rather than cast iron) rear end.

Others may have an opinion which differs from mine, or more information, or both.
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mtarsus

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Yeah, I think I am just going to keep the setup I have now. It warms the engine a little bit. When I approach the tractor I can feel a little draft of warm air coming from under the hood. I think I will try putting a drop clothe or beach towel over the hood of the tractor, and weighing it down with some bricks. That will trap the air around the engine and probably help to warm the block a little better
 

kmcconaughey

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Jeremiah, yes I use a magnetic heater on the cast iron hydro differential. It warms the hydrostatic fluid (Hy-Tran) so that the engine turns over easier/faster. When the engine is turning, the pump is turning and pumping Hy-Tran. If that Hy-Tran is cold and thick the engine turns over s-l-o-w-l-y.
 

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