Wheel Horse Kid

Wheel Horse 418-A vs. Wheel Horse 520H

22 posts in this topic

Hi,

The other day I found 2 very nice Wheel Horses for sale not more than 30 minutes away from me. I called the gentleman today and he said that he is retired and said that he fixes up garden tractors and then sells them as a hobby. He said that he repainted them etc etc. Both look to be very nice. The hour meter does NOT work on either of them. Both come with 48" decks. The 520H does have the gear reduction steering.

Anyways, I am trying to decide between the 2 as I can only buy one of them and I need some input from you guys which is the better tractor.

I have always wanted a 520H, but am a little hesitant of the Onan motor, especially with the hour meter not working. Other than a compression check, is there any other way that I can check the condition of the Onan motor? Is the Onan a better motor than the 18hp Kohler or are they pretty much equal?

Also, which tractor has the best transmission etc.?

I am just trying to get the most bang for my buck as they say.

Thanks,

Taylor

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I have had both. They have the same Eaton 11 rear end. As regarding the engines. The onan has a little more power and torque but you really won't notice it unless you are using a two stage. The Kohler is easier and cheaper to maintain. I have a 418A myself, though I would like to sell it as I don't use it.

Here are the pictures of the 520H I had and the 418A I currently have.

The 520H

IMG_0836.jpg

The 418A

5ece31ce.jpg

f82238b4.jpg

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i have several onans and really like them, but the 18 hp kohler mag would have to be a good 2nd choice so it depends on what your plans are for the tractor. do you need the gear reduction steering or the forward swept axle then do a compression test and good through exam of both tractors and make a decision base on the outcome of these answers. the gear reduction steering is nice with the 2 stage snow blower on the front, i can tell you from experience. just my 2 cents worth

eric j

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The gear reduction steering is more than just nice. I have a 1991 520H and have owned three without the gear reduction steering. I really didn't think it would make much difference but that was wrong. I have a suicide knob on it and use my left hand, never have to use both hands to steer it with the 60" deck. The one in your picture does have a 60" deck and looks to be a 1991 model. Once you have used a 520 with the Onan there is nothing like it.

Make sure the rear of the engine is clean of dirt and grass. If the previous owner kept it clean it should be fine. Ask if the hour meter ever worked since he has owned it. If it hasn't it would be hard to estimate how many hours are on it. You may still be able to get some idea though from the hours it shows and how long the owner has had it. 2000 hours on a well maintained one is not unusual.

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Thanks for all the great input guys! I am really leaning towards the 520, but I will have to look at them both before I can make a decision. I am going to go see the tractors at 10 this morning and will let you guys know how it turns out.

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The 418A may have a higher top speed (7 vs 5) if you have a lot of lawn to mow and top speed is important to you.

I prefer the single stick hydro lever of the 418A over the column mounted forward reverse mechanism of the 520H for mowing in tight places.

You can't beat the sound of the ONANs.

If you can swing it and get a good deal, buy both and then sell the one you like the least.

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I saw those tractors and both look like some really nice tractors! Hope you find one of them you like! ~Jake

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Well, I went and looked at the tractors today and I have to say, I was very disappointed. Both the tractors had cheap cover up spray paint jobs of them. Not at all what I was expecting.

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I most times I like to see a tractor in the orig. paint, unless real cheap, you never know what they are hiding, unless it looks like a nice job, then they took time to do it.

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Sounds like you got a first-hand look at "fixes up garden tractors.....as a hobby" compared to the rebuilds and restorations we see around here most of the time. Sorry the machines weren't up to standards. By any chance was the price on either of them such that it would be worth buying it and going through it yourself?

Duff :thumbs:

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Sounds like you got a first-hand look at "fixes up garden tractors.....as a hobby" compared to the rebuilds and restorations we see around here most of the time. Sorry the machines weren't up to standards. By any chance was the price on either of them such that it would be worth buying it and going through it yourself?

Duff :thumbs:

I don't think so. He wanted $900 for the 418 and $1,100 for the 520.

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I most times I like to see a tractor in the orig. paint, unless real cheap, you never know what they are hiding, unless it looks like a nice job, then they took time to do it.

I like them to be as original as possible too. He for sure did not spend much time on it.

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Ill sell you my 418A with a year 2000 42" SD for less than that, and it has a working hour meter!

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I have a very clean 1995 520 with 400 hours on it that I just went trough last winter (no paint), it is very nice lots of new little stuff, synthetic trans oil, new 9 pin connector, new fues box, batt. seat, drive belt and more I'd sell for $1250, or a clean 97 520 with 700 hours not as nice but still nice for $1000, no decks but I have a nice 42" SD that if you buy a tractor I will sell for a good price, and snow blowers.

And both hour meters work.

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Kelly PM sent :thumbs2:

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ID: 16   Posted (edited)

I most times I like to see a tractor in the orig. paint, unless real cheap, you never know what they are hiding, unless it looks like a nice job, then they took time to do it.

Correct on original paint ' but old post here so I'll ramble,  mowers are no different than cars, any "good" body man can hide anything he pleases. My bro n law had a 79 dodge van he wanted to fix up to sell with holes 6in tall the whole length of the wheel base {between fr/rr wheels} looked like the body would come off anytime. It was beat to he!! on top of it all. Our cousins one of the best custom Harley painters in the state with easy rider & American Iron magizine center folds/articles to prove it. He put about 2 gallons of bondo in that van and within a week it looked like brand new. Perfectly straight just like new again. So much so my idiot Bro n law decided to keep it..lol  We told him within a couple yrs it will look worse than ever but he kept it long enough it got totaled out and got top dollar from ins. yuup! lol

   Anything can be hidden with the right man doing it but a rattle can paint jobs not near as easy to hide things. Mowers may not of been as bad as you thought, may only look bad needing painted? Sand paper,time & paint is an easy fix really. Just say'n beware of shiny paint guys and I look harder at them than unrestored..lol  Paint meter scanners matched today will fool you matching rest of original too done right. Sold cars for a living, seen some very shiney junk in my days.. Some with original paint too. Look,look & look again..lol

Edited by 123GO

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I am new to this so it might have been asked before. I have a 60 in deck off of a 520h.  Someone threw away and it looks brand new. Will it fit on a 418? I need a new mower and fig since I have a deck I'll find a mower to fit the deck thanks for the help.

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ID: 18   Posted (edited)

You need the swept forward front axle on a 520 or you won't be able to steer it. The front tires will hit the deck. You also need the proper Mule drive for a 60" deck. They are different than the rest.

Edited by 6wheeler
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On 9/3/2012 at 0:31 PM, Kelly said:

I most times I like to see a tractor in the orig. paint, unless real cheap, you never know what they are hiding, unless it looks like a nice job, then they took time to do it.

The WH 520H I purchased last month has been re-painted. Supposedly, only because it had some rust just above the foot pad on this side.

The previous owner obviously liked the older sticker kit. He went with a powdercoat finish.

00v0v_5vw1H3zgeGE_600x450.jpg

01414_8kuel6It14z_600x450.jpg

On 2/21/2014 at 9:43 AM, 123GO said:

Correct on original paint ' but old post here so I'll ramble,  mowers are no different than cars, any "good" body man can hide anything he pleases. My bro n law had a 79 dodge van he wanted to fix up to sell with holes 6in tall the whole length of the wheel base {between fr/rr wheels} looked like the body would come off anytime. It was beat to he!! on top of it all. Our cousins one of the best custom Harley painters in the state with easy rider & American Iron magizine center folds/articles to prove it. He put about 2 gallons of bondo in that van and within a week it looked like brand new. Perfectly straight just like new again. So much so my idiot Bro n law decided to keep it..lol  We told him within a couple yrs it will look worse than ever but he kept it long enough it got totaled out and got top dollar from ins. yuup! lol

   Anything can be hidden with the right man doing it but a rattle can paint jobs not near as easy to hide things. Mowers may not of been as bad as you thought, may only look bad needing painted? Sand paper,time & paint is an easy fix really. Just say'n beware of shiny paint guys and I look harder at them than unrestored..lol  Paint meter scanners matched today will fool you matching rest of original too done right. Sold cars for a living, seen some very shiney junk in my days.. Some with original paint too. Look,look & look again..lol

2 gallons of Bondo ? How much Speedi Dry did he mix with it to make it go even further ? :)

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1 hour ago, BaySide1 said:

The WH 520H I purchased last month has been re-painted. Supposedly, only because it had some rust just above the foot pad on this side.

The previous owner obviously liked the older sticker kit. He went with a powdercoat finish.

00v0v_5vw1H3zgeGE_600x450.jpg

01414_8kuel6It14z_600x450.jpg

2 gallons of Bondo ? How much Speedi Dry did he mix with it to make it go even further ? :)

 

Very nice WH there Bayside1, very nice indeed as it looks like a professional job in pics by all means. 

 

You asked about the "2 gallons of Bondo ?   How much Speedi Dry did he mix with it to make it go even further ? :)"  

 

   A bunch!!!   lol..

  Well' lol, believe it or not there are tricks I have seen people do on old used cars that will make anyone go WTH were they thinking???

 

 Example 1)  An old high school friend bought a fully restored (eh' cough,'cough) 70 Chevelle 396 SS, it was absolutely gorgeous, fire engine red with black SS stripes, its paint was a show car finish and I mean absolutely stunning in all respect. Red paint looked wet all the time, the black stripes looked like they just sit real deep down into the red when you looked into them, this was before basecoat clearcoat times made this easy so it was a pro lacquer paint job like no other I'm talking about. It had to have taken hours & hours of hard work to look so nice and what a beautiful show car she was!!

  Well'  only if it really was just for shows it may have been ok to trailer it to them?  Why not drive it?

  Well'  I climbed under it and noticed the subframe was cut in half a few inches in front of the firewall and simply straightened out & welded back together where it's frontend had been totaled out at one point?   Everyone was just shocked including myself!! The body lines between the fender/doors looked spot on straight, hood lines perfect too... Had I or someone else noticed the undercarriage of the car before him buying it I may have saved his muscle car passion, sadly it would be his last one to this day.  

 Why the subframe was just not simply replaced, who knows, lack of money & ignorance, seems welding rods & time are cheaper I guess?  Before learning about it I rode in it, that car was scary fassst..  Auto trans but at a 60 mph kick down the rear would break traction & kick sideways...Very fast car!!  He fixed it right so nobody would die in it, sold it for a loss & his muscle car passion was lost forever. "Wasn't the same love after learning it's history" he said..(He must not know his girlfriends history like I do, he'd let her go quick too:)...lol  Sorry if you're reading this Pete, it was only one time bro...lol

 

Example 2)  Found a complete YP phone book inside a large covered up rust hole on a front fender of a 1972 Chevy Custom Deluxe pickup in the early 90's. Placed just between the front wheel well and front bumper area of the fender & I promise from any angle you looked at it from on the outside you could not tell it ever had a 3-4" rust hole in that area as the bondo/paint job was so nicely done. The white/light blue two tone paint job on the truck & GM's large trim panel helped to blend It in quite well. It could only be seen by removing the truck's battery & battery tray then shining a flashlight down into the backside of the fender as I discovered it's yellow pages sticking through it while replacing the rusted through battery tray it had on it.  Very well done, whoever you are!!  lol  

 I never saw that truck again after that day so I can't tell you how long your masterful worked stayed in there, I would think not long afterwards, but who knows it may still be in there today?..lol  If your numbers circled or wrote on the cover the truck owner may call you someday to ask WTH you were thinking with this rigged job?..lol

 

Example 3)  1972 Nova SS hatchback...Someone had actually glued the rear hatch hinges to the body to trade the car in...It worked!!  Well' long enough to be traded in and auctioned off to another car lot at least...  Luckily we lifted the hatch to check it's jack & spare where we saw it's rear hatch was not really attached before driving it down the hwy with the windows down...lol  

 Sorry folks' I know it's too long and not even tractor talk here, I'm just rambl'n on in this very old thread after think'n just how well the lazy people hide problems with paint or whatever else they find..Any suspicious weld lines on it's frame or axles Bayside1??...lol   See any yellow pages sticking out anywhere, if so call the idiot?..lol

 

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2 hours ago, 123GO said:

 

Very nice WH there Bayside1, very nice indeed as it looks like a professional job in pics by all means. 

 

You asked about the "2 gallons of Bondo ?   How much Speedi Dry did he mix with it to make it go even further ? :)"  

 

   A bunch!!!   lol..

  Well' lol, believe it or not there are tricks I have seen people do on old used cars that will make anyone go WTH were they thinking???

 

 Example 1)  An old high school friend bought a fully restored (eh' cough,'cough) 70 Chevelle 396 SS, it was absolutely gorgeous, fire engine red with black SS stripes, its paint was a show car finish and I mean absolutely stunning in all respect. Red paint looked wet all the time, the black stripes looked like they just sit real deep down into the red when you looked into them, this was before basecoat clearcoat times made this easy so it was a pro lacquer paint job like no other I'm talking about. It had to have taken hours & hours of hard work to look so nice and what a beautiful show car she was!!

  Well'  only if it really was just for shows it may have been ok to trailer it to them?  Why not drive it?

  Well'  I climbed under it and noticed the subframe was cut in half a few inches in front of the firewall and simply straightened out & welded back together where it's frontend had been totaled out at one point?   Everyone was just shocked including myself!! The body lines between the fender/doors looked spot on straight, hood lines perfect too... Had I or someone else noticed the undercarriage of the car before him buying it I may have saved his muscle car passion, sadly it would be his last one to this day.  

 Why the subframe was just not simply replaced, who knows, lack of money & ignorance, seems welding rods & time are cheaper I guess?  Before learning about it I rode in it, that car was scary fassst..  Auto trans but at a 60 mph kick down the rear would break traction & kick sideways...Very fast car!!  He fixed it right so nobody would die in it, sold it for a loss & his muscle car passion was lost forever. "Wasn't the same love after learning it's history" he said..(He must not know his girlfriends history like I do, he'd let her go quick too:)...lol  Sorry if you're reading this Pete, it was only one time bro...lol

 

Example 2)  Found a complete YP phone book inside a large covered up rust hole on a front fender of a 1972 Chevy Custom Deluxe pickup in the early 90's. Placed just between the front wheel well and front bumper area of the fender & I promise from any angle you looked at it from on the outside you could not tell it ever had a 3-4" rust hole in that area as the bondo/paint job was so nicely done. The white/light blue two tone paint job on the truck & GM's large trim panel helped to blend It in quite well. It could only be seen by removing the truck's battery & battery tray then shining a flashlight down into the backside of the fender as I discovered it's yellow pages sticking through it while replacing the rusted through battery tray it had on it.  Very well done, whoever you are!!  lol  

 I never saw that truck again after that day so I can't tell you how long your masterful worked stayed in there, I would think not long afterwards, but who knows it may still be in there today?..lol  If your numbers circled or wrote on the cover the truck owner may call you someday to ask WTH you were thinking with this rigged job?..lol

 

Example 3)  1972 Nova SS hatchback...Someone had actually glued the rear hatch hinges to the body to trade the car in...It worked!!  Well' long enough to be traded in and auctioned off to another car lot at least...  Luckily we lifted the hatch to check it's jack & spare where we saw it's rear hatch was not really attached before driving it down the hwy with the windows down...lol  

 Sorry folks' I know it's too long and not even tractor talk here, I'm just rambl'n on in this very old thread after think'n just how well the lazy people hide problems with paint or whatever else they find..Any suspicious weld lines on it's frame or axles Bayside1??...lol   See any yellow pages sticking out anywhere, if so call the idiot?..lol

 

So, this it what it looked like three years ago before it was repainted.

 

6790 (002).jpeg

6791 (002).jpeg

6793 (002).jpeg

6794 (002).jpeg

6796 (002).jpeg

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Wonderful' you even got before and after pics too, that's always great to get. I must say the owner sure was rather very picky or very bored, probably even both to paint it as it looked really good then. I do see a few places that needed attention but shoot it looked great too me.  I like my equipment to look good too but I simply use my stuff entirely too much to worry about it being so pretty so unless it was starting to look pretty bad I will let sleeping dogs lie and touch up enough to keep any rust at bay. They look nice all pretty and shiney but just after a few uses things start to look used again anyways. To keep my stuff from rusting and looking nice Scatch-out scratch remover for very light scratches and Collinite #845 Insulator wax I use on my cars keeps things protected really good around here. Yes' I waxed my tractor. lol...

 

   fwiw: This wax believe it or not was originally designed to keep those small brown porcelain insulators on top of telephone poles dry to reduce signal interference, as its name says "Insulator Wax" but car guys found it yrs ago. It cost ol' ma bell a bunch even back in the day to send people up poles to polish insulators so they had a wax developed to last a very very long time between waxing and this is it. Only thing is, like other high end car waxes they suggest we must use a wax remover to take any old wax off first so it sticks better but it sure is great stuff and well worth doing it.

 Its a very thick paste wax when its cool therefore must be set in the sun a bit until liquidy enough to pour onto a rag for use. Longest lasting wax I have ever found for the money and very easy to use, use a "very very thin coat" you barely can even see on metal by hand or buffer (in shade) and do it in sections like a hood, fender then do a door or two, wipe off each section then when cars completed set waxed vehicle in hot sunlight an hour or so. Great stuff to protect anything for a long time!! Australians in their ruff hot climate get 6mo to a year with it compared to 2-3 months protection with most other even expensive waxes so it's tuff stuff. 

 

Good info on it:

http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/how-articles/40243-collinite-845-definitive-how-guide-legendary-wax.html

 

Take good care of that Wheel Horse, you have a very nice one. Hard to find like that for sure.

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