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Toro 16-42 Zero Turn Project

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David Middleton

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May 11, 2021
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Honey Brook Pa
So the GF has been bugging for a tractor that she can use - aka a hydro...

How about a 123 I ask... Ugh! Too ugly, no... How about a 149? Ugh! That's ugly too! I want something good looking!

Translation - My GF has NO taste at all and she wants a certain green tractor...

Then along came a zero turn for $100... I got a "fine" when I asked to bring it home. A friend called and his neighbor blew it up. As it turns out I actually have a motor I can use with a little parts swapping. I have a gasket and seal kit coming and with a little luck the hydro's aren't toast and she'll have something she can use. Or I can sell it and look for something a little rounder. Maybe I can find a newer GT cub....

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This is a first. The idler siezed and melted through the pully...
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After a little bit of the best cleaning product around - elbow grease... :)
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Yeah, I think I found the problem...
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JPrattico

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Gary, I get where you come from with that statement, Kohler courage engines are JUNK. But they have a "bucket" style crankcase. From the photos above, I can see that he removed a pan from the bottom of the engine, which means it isn't a bucket-style crankcase, which means it isn't a Kohler courage.

whatever it is, one thing is for certain, it done blowed up!
 

gary noblit

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jonesville,mi.
Gary, I get where you come from with that statement, Kohler courage engines are JUNK. But they have a "bucket" style crankcase. From the photos above, I can see that he removed a pan from the bottom of the engine, which means it isn't a bucket-style crankcase, which means it isn't a Kohler courage.

whatever it is, one thing is for certain, it done blowed up!
Jp, I have had 7 blown ones here.all from 18 to 20 hp..that's just damned irresponsible on Kohlers part
 

JPrattico

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The Briggs Intek engines aren't very reliable engines either. Give 'em good maintenance and they should last, but quite frankly, most people these days don't maintain them very well.
 

gary noblit

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The Briggs Intek engines aren't very reliable engines either. Give 'em good maintenance and they should last, but quite frankly, most people these days don't maintain them very well.
Jp, I've said this before but..I believe mowers are the most abused machines Americans own.Most don't maintain anything..Change oil?Why? it still runs. Air filter? threw that away it was nasty.How many actually own a grease gun?What it steers hard?.....just venting some....
 

David Middleton

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Messages
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Location
Honey Brook Pa
Jp, I've said this before but..I believe mowers are the most abused machines Americans own.Most don't maintain anything..Change oil?Why? it still runs. Air filter? threw that away it was nasty.How many actually own a grease gun?What it steers hard?.....just venting some....
My cousin is an auto mechanic and the things he's seen... My personal favorite was the doctor who blew up the engine in his car at around 40k miles.

When was the last time you changed the oil?
"Um, you're supposed to change it?"
Did you ever check it?
"Um, not sure how..."

This mower had plenty of oil... It was mixed in with the dirt around the engine to prevent corrosion. In the actual pan? There was maybe 2-3oz.

It doesn't bother me that people don't maintain their stuff. What bother's me is when they don't maintain their stuff and blame the manufacture for the problem...
 

David Middleton

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Honey Brook Pa
I wasn't going to be slowed up by some rain... I decided to work on the mower on the trailer rather than shed or anywhere else because it was nice last weekend. Not this weekend... So I did a little "conversion" and while it was tight, it worked...

I had another 280000 series engine that was in good shape but with the non-pressure sump. So I swapped sumps and regasketed everything. I also had to get a new cam because the con-rod took out the compression release on it's way out. Everything went back together smooth, lashed the valves, set the airgap on the coil and it started up on the first crank.

The hydro's seem just a touch noisy but overall pulled well. I'm hoping they do fine after they warm up when cutting the grass on a 90+ degree day. It pulled to the right a bit but considering the tires were flat and half flat I'm not surprised. I just made a quick test pass in the rain so that's why I didn't bother. I just wanted to make sure it moved.

Next up is belts, air up the tires and inspect the rest for any issues. The deck has a little rot but not bad. If the GF likes it and we keep it I'll patch it up over the winter and probably service the hydros.

Old engine - cracked case...
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Covered wagon...
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Engine's in...
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And it's moving...
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gary noblit

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Dave,I almost never give up on a project but don't believe I would challenge that deck.If you're reasonably mechanical you can adapt many decks to that machine... Elec. clutch makes that easier....
 

David Middleton

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Honey Brook Pa
Dave,I almost never give up on a project but don't believe I would challenge that deck.If you're reasonably mechanical you can adapt many decks to that machine... Elec. clutch makes that easier....
Eh, I'm not afraid of a little metal work. I'm a bit rusty so it's good practice... I would have liked it to be smoother but I also don't want to spend a ton of time on it. So I went with good enough and functionally solid.

I cleaned up the nasty stuff the best I can and for the small holes I'm going to ignore them. I was really concerned about the one under the mounting bracket and the other one next to it. Both those and the pulley bracket are fixed now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll put it back under the mower with some fresh belts.

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David Middleton

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Location
Honey Brook Pa
What about fiberglassin the whole thing from underneath?... one would think it would prevent buildup 🤔
Interesting idea. If it wasn't done right I would worry about it trapping water and holding it next to the deck and accelerating the rust. I know if you're not careful with wood boats and you cap them with fiberglass you can get major rot issues. I'm sure there's a way to do it though.

If this were a Cub I'd take the deck apart, get it sand blasted. Take time to carefully fit the patches and finish it as smooth as I could. Then I would paint it with high gloss paint so it would shed any grass in the future.

For this good enough is fine. As long as it's not going to fall off and there's no major holes I'm not going to worry. GF is refusing to try it, so it's looking like I'm going to sell it. I'm hoping to get it to the point where I can cut the grass with it tomorrow afternoon and see how it does. If it really does well maybe I'll just keep it but otherwise it's going to the curb with a for sale sign I think.

Even without the deck I put her to work today... :)
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David Middleton

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Honey Brook Pa
Tenacity yes, courage... Eh. I hold a aircraft mechanic's license so there's very little I can't fix if I want to. If I really wanted to I could build a fabricated deck for it but it's not worth it. I've got 3 hours +/- into fixing the pulley and big holes and that's about all it's worth. And I definitely didn't follow the 43.13 but fortunately this doesn't have wings... :) A&P's will get that one.

I couldn't find blades locally and the ones on it were pretty beat up. I couldn't find a balancer so I just sharpened them and did my best to get them straight. The one blade was about 1/2" out tip to tip. I got it to about an 1/8" out. It vibrates a bit but it cut pretty well tonight. I discovered that where ever I saw 56oz of oil with filter is wrong. It's way over the stick and a couple of times when I was on a hill and made abrupt movements I did some smoke screening... With all the assembly lube and new cam I planned on doing another oil change pretty quick so that'll fix that.

I'm about $375 into it right now including the blades that are on their way. Plus about 15-16 hours labor. Not bad all things considered. I also had a lot of fun with it so far.
 

David Middleton

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Messages
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Location
Honey Brook Pa
I was trying to ignore the clunking casters and wobbly wheels. They worked for the most part but certainly could be improved.

New tires, new rims, new ball bearings, new 3/4" od DOM .120" wall axles, shimmed 0.080" out of the left side, 0.100" out of the right side and have about 0.030" free play in the casters themselves. Fortunately there was no wobble in the caster / axle beam or I would be drilling them out and driving in bushings or replacing the stubs on the casters...

I topped it all off with some new dust caps...
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