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svt721

Questions on buying 1987 312-8

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Closing on a house Friday and the seller has a 1987 312-8 that caught my eye the first time I looked at the house.  Trying to put together an offer for the tractor (seems going rate is around $350-550) but I have a few questions as a first time WH buyer.

- Although dirty but in overall good shape, machine has about 760 hours on it.  Original owner, was passed down from father to son.

- Machine fired right up with a little choke on cold start and idles/runs smooth, no smoke.  Throttles up and down smoothly, doesn't seem to hesitate.

- Wanted to check compression and/or leak test but didn't have equipment with me.  Would this be good to do on a 30 year old engine?  Engine is an M12S, 471527 spec number - were these solid units?  Anything in specific to look out for?

- Since I couldn't check compression, I pulled the dipstick while the machine was running and got what seemed like a lot of blow by (at least from an automotive perspective).  The machine didn't seem to smoke at all, is this anything to be concerned about?

- Ignition switch is pretty worn out but that seems like an easy fix.

- Ran through all the gears starting 1-3 Low to 1-3 High, but noticed that high range was a bit difficult to find.  There didn't seem to be a solid detent or notch between Low and High and I had to release the clutch a little to get High to catch (no grinding).  I've read that the range selector fork is a weak point on these machines, though never having looked at one I'm not sue if it's normal or not.  If the selector fork is wearing out, are parts available to replace or would the machine not be worth the cost?

 

Bottom line, I would hate to give $400+ on a worn out machine, so trying to make sure this is a sound purchase.  Would really appreciate any thoughts or things to look at from the experts!

 

Thanks,

Mike

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23 minutes ago, svt721 said:

machine has about 760 hours on it.

:WRS:

That would average out to 25 hours a year of operation, very lightly used in my opinion. The slight pulsation you noticed on the dipstick tube was probably just the pressure/vacuum created by the piston traveling up and down. My 312-8 had over 1,200 hours on it a dozen years ago when the hour meter quit working. With a little minor maintenance they will go for ever.

BUY IT!

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It is not worn out just broke in good.  If you get it change all fluids, Jack up front end so a transmission fluid will drain out. Grease everything . Replace fuel line , fuel filter, drain old gas and replace , add some Sea Foam. New plug and air filter . I have a 87 310-8 with unknown hours , runs like a top and a 416-8 with 2000 plus hours and still does not use oil and runs like a top. Both Magnum engines. You should change the drive belt . 

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:WRS:  I also have a 312-8. I have had the problem with the high/low sifter. Usally a hair of the clutch and it slips in. As elcamino said change all the consumables and if dirty VERY VERY carefully pressure wash the exterior and stay away from the electrical components. If the engine needs washing, wash it lightly while the engine is running at idle. 

I think that 400 bucks is a good price for the tractor with more money going towards any additional implements. Just remember two things. One :wwp: and two these tractors are very very addicting. -Tractorboy 

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If it was remotely maintained with 700 hr you should be good to go for years if you do what elcamino, suggest. If its been in the same family since new its probably been well maintained, which means 700 hr is just broken in. If you do the regular small maintenance these thing require, then $400.00 for possibly the last garden tractor you will ever own ain't bad. I have a '88 312-8 it's my favorite WH. 

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There have been multiple testimonials on this site about 312s being favorite worker WHs. 

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@svt721 :text-welcomeconfetti: to :rs:

I have a 312 Hydro and a 312-8.....and a 312-8 roller! And about 10 more but I will save that for another post!

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:text-welcomeconfetti: to the :rs: Mike.

A 312 8speed one family tractor with 700 hours is a great find.    You didn't mention if it has a deck, but even w/o any implements $400 would be a good buy.

I would not be concerned with the H/L shifting.  It is not uncommon  to have to roll the tractor to let the gears engage.  The 12 HP Kohler and 8 speed tranny are about as bullet proof as you will find. 

Like Dick stated, what you think is blow by, is probably normal crankcase pulsation from the piston stroking.  If you hold your palm over the fill pipe, you should feel a pressure/vacuum  pulsation.

One problem you may find with any tractor with the fuel tank under the seat.    After sitting for extended periods , they may be hard starting.    This is usually due to the fuel leaking back to the tank and the fuel pump losing its prime.     The check valves in some pumps are drop tight and it is not a problem.   If it is a problem, a simple solution is to fill the tank when it is not going to be used. This keeps the fuel pump submerged and it will not lose prime.

The reason I point out this potential problem is to prevent unnecessary wear on the battery and starter while trying  to prime a dry fuel pump.  These pumps are designed to push fuel, but they don't pull fuel very well.

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13 minutes ago, Ed Kennell said:

:text-welcomeconfetti: to the :rs: Mike.

A 312 8speed one family tractor with 700 hours is a great find.    You didn't mention if it has a deck, but even w/o any implements $400 would be a good buy.

I would not be concerned with the H/L shifting.  It is not uncommon  to have to roll the tractor to let the gears engage.  The 12 HP Kohler and 8 speed tranny are about as bullet proof as you will find. 

Like Dick stated, what you think is blow by, is probably normal crankcase pulsation from the piston stroking.  If you hold your palm over the fill pipe, you should feel a pressure/vacuum  pulsation.

One problem you may find with any tractor with the fuel tank under the seat.    After sitting for extended periods , they may be hard starting.    This is usually due to the fuel leaking back to the tank and the fuel pump losing its prime.     The check valves in some pumps are drop tight and it is not a problem.   If it is a problem, a simple solution is to fill the tank when it is not going to be used. This keeps the fuel pump submerged and it will not lose prime.

The reason I point out this potential problem is to prevent unnecessary wear on the battery and starter while trying  to prime a dry fuel pump.  These pumps are designed to push fuel, but they don't pull fuel very well.

@Ed Kennell you speak of a fuel pump. Where abouts should this be located as I have traced the fuel line completely from the tank to the carb and have not found anything. Would perhaps it be located  inside the tank or inside the carb? Thanks, Tractorboy 

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Should of had the :wh: in the contract.... Fuel pump is directly under Carb.....

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21 minutes ago, roadapples said:

Should of had the :wh: in the contract.... Fuel pump is directly under Carb.....

Hmm. For some reason I had it stuck in my mind that it would be roughly halfway in between the tank and carb. I’ll take a closer look. 

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Lower left corner is the fuel pump, it lives on the front of the engine.

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You can't pull the dipstick out of a running lawn and garden motor, you will get blow by, I was always told to never check the oil in a car with the motor running either, it will show low becuase of the oil up inside of the motor. Automatic transmissions are a different story though.. you need to check them running. the transmissions in a wheel horse, although should be check with motor off. As stated above a 12hp Kohler will do alsmost anything you want to do, with power to spare. good luck

 

 

 

 

 

eric j

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