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About EricF

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 08/30/1966

Wheel Horse Information

  • tractors
    1996 520H
  • favoritemodel

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  • Location
    Concord, NH

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  1. Hydro vs. 8-Speed

    Sunstrands and the Eaton 1100 hydros are pretty tough and well-matched to the Wheel Horse rear end... Neither the manuals nor the hydros shy away from getting some serious work done. I've seen threads on Red Square on repairing and recovering from previous-owner abuse for both types, so neither one is immune. Manuals are probably easier for do-it-yourself rebuilds... The hydros have the advantage of providing for the hydraulic lift... I'd have both of I had more than one tractor, but with only one and the need for running the big snowthrower in the winter, the hydro and hydraulic lift makes the most sense for me.
  2. Oil filter on the 520

    I replaced mine with the Stens 120517 from RPCW -- it's plenty long enough to get a grip on and the rubber gasket is nice and snug on it.
  3. Trunk Tractor

    Pretty sure it's a Sears. Might be one of the lower-end ones that were made for them by Murray.
  4. Four WH Questions

    With a grease gun, you'll feel more a little more resistance in the handle as you squeeze grease through the zerk and into the bearing or cavity. It might be like pumping grease out in the open air for a few strokes if there wasn't much in the part you're working on to begin with, but it should get a little firmer. Generally, you want to watch the parts and look for old, dirty grease to be start getting pushed out.
  5. OEM or after market parts

    Agreed - non OEM parts are getting to be a fact of life. Some just aren't available any other way. Or I'll go with a reliable channel supplier, like Stens for some things, where they have a reputation for either using the same OEM contractors or parts specifically made by their contrators to meet or exceed OEM specs. (And even a lot of OEM parts like seals and filters and belts are made by external contractors, and not necessarily the same ones year-to-year.) At least with Wheel Horse, a lot of bearings and machine parts are just "standard" items that are available by size and application. Less oddball OEM-only stuff to have to track down.
  6. Followed Me Home Yesterday

    May have thought "only" 16HP wouldn't need the 1100... I agree, somebody at Toro thought they could shave some money. But I wonder if they didn't completely realize what would happen with hooking up the 700 to the Uni-Drive rear end -- it does too good a job of putting as much torque and power from the engine to the wheels, and the tractor is heavy enough that it won't lose traction and slip easily -- so the weakest link is eventually gonna let go...
  7. Followed Me Home Yesterday

    I wonder if the hydro unit choice was based on a "by the specs" engineering estimate. Might have looked adequate on paper, but didn't work out in the real world.
  8. Onan Carburetor cleaning

    Agree, the oil filter isn't going to affect the fuel system, and lots of us use alternates to the OEM Toro/Onan oil filters depending on local availability/preferences. Ethanol in the fuel can definitely eat away at fuel lines from the inside out - which sends more particles and sludge into the carb. Older fuel systems built prior to the introduction of ethanol in fuel -- which started in the late 80s and early 90s -- are the ones affected the worst. Manufacturers had to change to ethanol-safe rubber compounds, so the 90s-era tractors aren't as likely to have this problem unless a previous owner replaced a damaged fuel line with some old tubing sitting around in the shop. One thing I might recommend checking is the fuel shutoff/screen assembly at the tank. The screen should be present in the tank, standing up (not bent or crushed) and not covered in gunk. Sometimes the screens get damaged or clogged. If it's missing entirely, crud is free to get into the fuel lines which will definitely cause problems down the road again. Any fuel filter will work, but the clear ones like Onan used (Doesn't have to be OEM, the generics are just fine) will let you check to see if gunk or particles are getting in. That way, if you suspect crud in the tank or fuel lines breaking down, you might spot the trouble early. My experience with "ethanol-safe" rubber fuel lines is that they're usually fine unless some kind of harsh additive was used in high concentrations for a while. Once the rubber compound has been attacked, the ethanol in the fuel will continue to break down the inside surface of the rubber hose, releasing tiny particles -- bad on their own, and worse if they form a sludge-like mess. Meanwhile, the outside of the hose will seem perfectly fine. Old, pre-ethanol rubber lines will tend to get hard and eventually crack and leak where they bend or where they're clamped. I had this happen on a motorhome built in the early 80s -- the hoses cracked at the fuel sender coming out of the tank. Which was 30 feet back from the engine, on top of an 80-gallon fuel tank that was not going to be dropped safely without cutting the rusty bolts on the straps that held it -- which was close to the area where the leak/fumes were coming from... So the solution instead was to measure carefully and cut an access hole in the floor above the sender so the old lines could be replaced (Did I mention this was a recirculating system, with a feed, return, plus breather/vent line, all cracked and leaking? ) The cut-out section of floor was mounted to an oversize metal plate so it went back in like a plug, and the flooring was put back over to hide the repair like nothing ever happened. What a mess!
  9. K46 problems

    Sad to say, there are too many things made in the USA and all parts of the world, that aren't designed to last. Some US manufacturers -- Wheel Horse being one of them -- were legendary for building long-lasting, repairable designs, and built a lot of good faith around "made in USA". But "planned obsolescence" originated with American companies, too, so the US is part of the problem. Nowadays, it's all about profits anywhere you go. Consume, dispose of, and consume some more is the order of the day. In manufacturing, if it costs a fraction of a penny less to use a less-durable component or material, they will -- because the savings add up over millions of parts. If the part fails in five years instead of ten or more, they don't care. Consumers will just throw it away and buy a new one -- which is an opportunity for more profits.
  10. Signage

    Nice find! With the two eyelets in the top edge, it's probably meant to hang somewhere. It's not specifically a light-up sign, but they could be set up creatively to catch light. I've seen signs like that placed in a window -- in the evening, the lights inside the building would tend to make it show up. Not as bright as a self-illuminated sign, but still noticeable. Another trick was to hang them up over counters, just in front of the overhead fluorescent lights. They'll pick up some of the indirect light that way.
  11. I bought a rolling frame from Tractor Supply about 10 years ago -- just a frame with axle, wheels, lights -- no deck, and built my own stake sides. The deck is a sheet of pressure treated plywood. Before I attached it, I painted both sides with some non-skid stair paint I found at Lowes. It's held up pretty well against the weather; the underside is still protected, although the top is due for a new coat someday what with the wear from hauling all kinds of stuff. Even with the top worn thin, it still has some roughness to it that helps stuff stay put even in the rain. Wet wood, especially a smooth plywood deck, can be slippery as heck, so the coating makes a difference.
  12. 212H to look at

    The hydro probably is an Eaton, just one of the all-in-one pump+transaxle units with the fan on top of the input pulley -- typical lawn tractor configuration. Being that it's a Wheel Horse, though, the sheet metal tends to be a little thicker, the hydro transaxle is probably spec'd a little better, and the operator controls are all a bit nicer and derived from its bigger cousins. Take care of it and it'll outlast any modern lawn tractors from the big box stores... and probably from the big name brands too.
  13. Onan Carburetor cleaning

    You can try a non-invasive approach first -- add Sea Foam to a fresh tank of gas and run it; might take a few tanks to clean it all out. That was all it took to get rid of a mild surge with my 520H when I first got it. (It had sat too much the year before I bought it, so stale fuel had left some deposits.) The traditional quick cleaning method with Sea Foam is to mix some with the fuel, and also start up the engine, open up the air filter housing and slowly pour Sea Foam into the carb -- slowly at first so it keeps running for 15-30 seconds, then let it flood with the Sea Foam. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then start it. It will be really smoky for a few seconds as the gunk blows out -- do it outside or have the garage door open. For "normal" dirty carb problems, this usually gets rid of the crud fairly well -- it will break down deposits and flush them out to be burned in the engine. Better than spray cleaner which tends to just drive gunk deeper into the carb. For a carb that's been left to sit for a long time with some seriously stale fuel, you'll want to have the engine manual on hand to follow for disassembly and then give it a proper dip in carb cleaner. Ethanol-blended fuels can leave some nasty deposits if they're left to sit too long -- especially in an engine and fuel system that was never run much after the fuel chemistry switch. The ethanol partially dissolves all the old gunk and varnish in the fuel system -- but if you don't keep running fuel through it -- multiple tanks worth -- you don't get all the old gunk burned out. Then when it's parked, the ethanol evaporates and all the nasty stuff drops back out of suspension and makes a worse mess. And sometimes it eats into old rubber fuel lines and the like and makes more sludge.
  14. 520 H Oil Change

    Oil has come a long way in quality over the last few decades since the engine was built... even "generic" SAE 30 oil you buy today is higher grade than the original "SF" spec in the manual -- "SN" is pretty much universal now. Brands available will vary somewhat regionally. Where I live, the auto parts counters tend to carry mostly the lightweight multi-viscosity oils -- mainly because of the strong push to high-mpg/low-emissions vehicles, which includes an undercurrent of limiting resources to keep older ones running - so you don't get a lot of choices in straight-weight oils. Even the 10w30 synthetic for the hydro isn't stocked with many choices -- 5w30 is carried in more selections, or "high mileage" 10w30 which contains additives to soften seals - which you don't want in the hydro system.
  15. Best model for parts availability

    The only drawback to to the rear discharge decks is that the cut isn't quite as nice if the grass is allowed to get too tall between mowings -- which might happen after a bout of heavy rains, or if the schedule gets backed up in a mowing business. It might mean extra passes or more overlap while mowing to get the smooth cut you want, which makes a difference on job times. Just things to think about, and depends on how busy they expect to be.
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