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Garden Tractors Discussion Forum

Re: best cub to buy & why

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Tom Arnold

11-06-2013 23:16:17

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Cub Cadet 106 - is a garden tractor

made from 1969 to 1971

has a 10 HP Kohler K engine

Cub Cadet 1250 - is a garden tractor

made from 1974 to 1980

has a Kohler K 12 HP engine

Cub Cadet 1450 - is a garden tractor

made from 1974 to 1980

has a 14 HP Kohler K engine

Ingersoll 222 - is a garden tractor

made from 1969 to 1988

Has a 12 HP Kohler K engine.

The Ingersoll is the ONLY tractor that has hydraulic capabilities and it likely has hydraulic implement lift. If you see the name Ingersoll on the hood, then it must be 1985 or newer and definitely has hydraulic implement lift. The serial number would reveal a lot of information.

There are two words that I want to caution you about. The first is the word "restored". That word is unbelievably subjective and what one person considers as "restoration" can be far different than what I would consider "restoration". A true restoration means that the tractor was stripped to the bare frame and then carefully put back together after going over every part and repairing or replacing it. All parts must be brought back to their original condition prior to being bolted back on and if they are worn beyond redemption, then they must be replaced with new parts.

Slapping a quick coat of paint on an old tractor by using some rattle cans is not restoration but some guys think it is.

The second deadly word is "rebuilt" and anytime someone uses that word to describe an engine, my immediate reaction is to say "PROVE IT". Show me the invoices for all the parts purchased along with the invoices from the machine shop that prove the engine was bored oversize, the crank was turned, the camshaft was profiled, the valve guides and seats were replaced, the valve springs were tested and the head and block were machined flat.

Throwing a new set of rings onto an old piston is not rebuilding the engine but a lot of guys think it is Take for instance the 1450 on sale for $600.00. A reputable machine shop would charge at least $400.00 or more to do a proper rebuild on the Kohler K engine, especially if they used genuine Kohler piston, rings, con rod, bearings, seals, valves, valve guides, valve springs etc.

As for the 1250 claiming to have less than 600 hours, that too makes no sense. At the very least, that tractor is 33 years old and at an average of 50 hours of use per year, it should have 1650 hours on it.

Whether the 222 Ingersoll is worth $1000.00 or not would depend on its true condition AND if it has optional equipment such as the rear PTO kit, a sleeve hitch, wheel weight kit, tire chains or a Flow Control Kit. Without any of those options, then my reaction is that it is over-priced.

In my opinion, you should be looking for a nice 444 Case that has a 3 pt hitch and rear PTO kit on it. Engine condition is everything because that is the most expensive item to repair/rebuild. A compression test PLUS a Leak Down Test will reveal how good an engine is. You are far better off paying a bit more for a tractor with a really good engine in it than going with a less expensive tractor that has a marginal engine on the verge of needing a rebuild.

If you want me to look at the photos of the Ingersoll, send me an e-mail. I will gladly give you my opinion and so will Dave Beiter who is also a Case/Ingersoll enthusiast well-known to me. Now is the time to do your research carefully so that you spend your hard-earned cash wisely. All of the Cubs listed are ones made when IH ran the show and the quality is there but they are all manual transmission models.

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11-07-2013 06:48:59

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-06-2013 23:16:17  
The 1450 has a hydraulic lift standard and can have hydraulic remotes added.

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Tom Arnold

11-07-2013 07:24:50

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to DaninKansas, 11-07-2013 06:48:59  
Thank you Dan. My mistake and I apologize for it. Cub Cadets are not my long suit and I must rely on Google to help me out.

Both the 1250 and 1450 are hydrostatic machines, not gear type as I posted earlier. Therefore, they do have the capability of having hydraulic implement lift and hydraulic remotes by tapping into the charge pump of the hydrostatic unit.

However, that type of system can only handle hydraulic cylinders and not hydraulic motors like the system used on Case and Ingersoll tractors can. Whether this matters to the OP or not, only he can make that call.

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11-07-2013 06:46:57

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-06-2013 23:16:17  
I've rebuilt several K301 and K321 engines for less than $200. The rebuild kit with new valves, rod, rings, piston and gasket kit is about $110. The machine shop work is usually $30 or $50 to have the cylinder deglazed or bored and $20 more to have the crank turned.

The first one I did was a K321 in 2003 (the 1450 I use today) is probably close to 1000 hours without any issues.

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Tom Arnold

11-07-2013 07:10:27

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to dhermesc, 11-07-2013 06:46:57  
The kit you are referring to is an aftermarket item and is not comprised of genuine OEM Kohler parts. There is a large difference in price. Some professional engine rebuilders refuse to gamble on aftermarket parts and insist on using only OEM Kohler parts. That fact will greatly affect the cost of rebuilding. Secondly, aftermarket kits sold on e-Bay do not include items such as valve guides, valve springs or main bearings.

Tell me. Are you able to examine a main bearing and determine how much life is left in it? I think not. Are you able to look at a valve spring and determine whether it is weak from age? Again, I think not. Springs must be measured and tested or valve performance will be affected.

Machine shop charges vary widely across the country. I don't know where the OP resides and neither do you. Therefore, what you paid to have work done is not germane to the issue here. The price I quoted was based upon a complete Kohler K being handed to a shop who would then have to dismantle that engine, degrease it completely, inspect all of the parts and then perform work that you do not even touch on. I don't consider what you did to be a proper rebuild. Did you put your engine onto a dynamometer when it was back together to see whether it made 14 HP or not?

Not likely. So you are just guessing as to how good your efforts were. But thanks for your reply because more than anything, you just illustrated the very point I was trying to make. The word "rebuilt" does not necessarily mean what you think it means.

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11-07-2013 07:47:01

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-07-2013 07:10:27  
Agreed on the kit. Its actually better in most cases.

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Tom Arnold

11-07-2013 08:16:17

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to DaninKansas, 11-07-2013 07:47:01  
Some people have good results with aftermarket parts. Others claim to have had failures. The problem here is that it is not possible to pinpoint the TRUE cause of the failure and perhaps the aftermarket kits get blamed out of convenience.

A couple of issues I did not address in my previous post are the governor gear and the balance gears. Both are known to fail on engines with high hours on them. If the governor gear fails, the engine can rev far beyond the 3600 RPM point and self-destruct as a result. Old balance gears can fracture and fall into the pan and make contact with the connecting rod. This can break off the dipper and that causes a lubrication failure that leads to engine failure. The gear can also end up causing catastrophic failure of internal moving parts which may lead to holes in the block, thus rendering it useless.

If an engine has 2000 hours on it, then every part in that engine has 2000 hours on it and is suspect. Experienced engine rebuilders have often learned the hard way about balance gears and governor gears. Just because someone gets away with not addressing those issues means that they were lucky. However, will that luck hold out until the next rebuild or will one of them come unglued and turn a good engine into scrap metal?

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11-07-2013 09:49:38

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-07-2013 08:16:17  
I lost my taste for "Original" Kohler parts when the local repair guy showed me a rod he got from Kohler. The "big end" that goes on the crank journal was so oversized it would not clear the piston skirt. While the box might be made in America the contents where not even up to Chinese standards - looked more like something the North Koreans might manufacture.

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