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Garden Tractors Discussion Forum

Re: best cub to buy & why

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Tom Arnold

11-10-2013 08:03:17

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A couple of comments.

Not knowing where you reside makes it difficult for me to comment on the asking prices because those will vary widely from area to area. With no photos or additional information about the two tractors you have found, all I can see is that the asking prices are higher than the average.

Both models are the Lo Profile Series which have the same 12 inch rear rubber found on most other garden tractors. I really wish that you could find a 444 locally that you could see and try out. I think that once you get a chance to become acquainted with a High Wheel Case, you won't want anything else. Both the 200 and 400 Series tractors are very capable GT's and they are nearly identical when it comes to the parts used to build them. However, the High Wheel models have an extra 4 inches of ground clearance which comes in very handy at times and the ride is noticeably better.

The 222 has a 12 HP Kohler K engine and the 3014 will have either a 14 HP Kohler Magnum or a 14 HP Briggs Vanguard engine. The 3014 is a 1996. The newest that the 222 can be is 1988.

I am having a hard time buying into the idea that the 222 has 600 hours on it since Case never put hour meters on any of their models. Ingersoll didn't do so until about 1986 so perhaps the 222 is actually a mid to late 80's model. A tractor would have to lead a very sheltered life in order to have a mere 600 hours on it after 25 years. The average use is 50 hours per year and therefore 1200 hours would be expected. The 3014 is 17 years old and logically should have about 800 to 900 hours on it.

I am always leery of hour meters with low readings because there is no guarantee that the hour meter was not disconnected or replaced at some point. One must disregard the hour meter reading and instead, rely upon what your eyes and gut tells you during a slow and careful inspection of the tractor.

If you want to have a 3 point hitch at some point, then the 3014 is the tractor to choose. Case never made a 3 point for the 200 Series BUT.... the later hitch that was designed to be used on the 3000/4000/6000 models will work on a 200. Expect to pay $500.00 or more to buy that hitch as a used, separate item. This is why it is wiser to seek out a used tractor that already has a hitch on it because you often save money by doing so.

I think that you definitely should go and see those two tractors and test drive them, if only for the experience. Directly below the seat is a shift lever that changes the trans-axle from Low Range to High Range. There is Neutral in the mid-point and you often have to rock the tractor a bit to get the straight-cut gears to mesh. Drive the tractor in both ranges with the engine at full throttle so that you understand the difference in ground speeds.

Rear tires almost never wear out but front tires do. So take a look at the tread on the fronts. If the fronts look new, then they have been changed and that casts doubt on the claim of 600 hours. Check how much free play is in the steering wheel. A 600 hour tractor should still have fairly tight steering. Does the steering pull to one side. Take your hands of the wheel while driving on smooth, flat, level ground and see if the tractor continues to go straight.

Look at the tie rod between the two front wheels and the drag link that connects the right front wheel to the steering gear. Are the perfectly straight or are they bent? Stand beside each front wheel and look straight down to the front axle. Does the kingpin look to be vertical or is it bent to the rear at the bottom? If so, then the front axle is bent due to the front wheel slamming into something solid.

Faded paint, surface rust and peeling decals all indicate that the tractor has been left outside instead of being garaged. Check the wiring harness. Has it been cut and spliced? Do you see repairs to it? Open the hood. How clean is the area ? Look under the tractor and see if the area around the steering gear and rear end are reasonably clean. Look for signs of paint overspray or parts of the tractor that look freshly painted compared to other areas adjacent.

The 222 will have the trusty mechanical PTO clutch. It is actuated by a lever on the left side of the dash tower. If it is adjusted properly, you should have to use a fair bit of pressure to push it to the over-center point where it snaps into full engagement. Make sure that the mower deck is mounted to the tractor so you can check it out along with the clutch. The deck should be fairly quiet. It should come to a stop quickly once the PTO lever is pulled all the way back. If the belt continues to turn, then the clutch needs adjustment and possibly repair.

If the deck seems noisy, then it may need all of the spindle bearings to be replaced. Not a big deal but certainly not something that either of these high priced tractors should exhibit.

The 3014 has an electric clutch that is actuated by a switch on the left side of the dash. These clutches are not repairable. When they fail, you throw them away and install a new one at about $300.00.

The 222 will discharge grass to the left and the 3014 discharges grass to the right. This is because the engines are mounted opposite to one another in those years.

Check the ID plate on the 222 and write down the serial number. Look for an aluminum plate on the dash tower at knee level. That number will reveal the year.

If you can take photos from all four sides of each tractor and send them to me, I can comment further.

Good luck with your search. Look upon it as a part of self-education.

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Tom Arnold

11-10-2013 08:17:02

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-10-2013 08:03:17  
One more thing.

On the left side of the steering wheel is a lever. It controls direction and ground speed. Push the lever downward toward the dash initially and then ease it in a clock-wise direction to make the tractor travel forward.

The more you move the lever clock-wise, the faster the tractor will travel. To slow the tractor down, move the lever counter-clockwise back to neutral. The same procedure is used to reverse the tractor using the same lever. Push the lever downward initially and then rotate it counter-clockwise slowly. These tractors will go as fast in reverse as they do in forward so be careful.

On the right side of the steering wheel is another lever. This one controls the hydraulic implement lift. Springs make this lever return to neutral whenever the lever is released. To raise the implement you pull the lever downward. To lower the implement, you push the lever upward. If you were using a snowblower or utility blade, you might want those implements to move up and down without any interference from the tractor. This is called "float" and if you push the lever all the way up, you should feel it go past a detent which will hold the lever all the way up until you pull it back down.

Test the lift lever fully to make sure all aspects of it work properly.

The engine will not spin over unless the Travel Lever is in NEUTRAL and the PTO is disengaged. In other words, the PTO lever on the 222 must be pulled all the way back to you and the PTO switch on the 3014 must be in the OFF position.

Print these messages out and take them with you for review just before visiting each tractor.

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11-10-2013 19:39:58

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to Tom Arnold, 11-10-2013 08:17:02  
Tom, I missed a 444 by two days, they were asking $1400 and it sold. I did noticed the wheels looked larger on that machine. Are there any other models other than the 444 that have the bigger wheels? I think your right the extra ground clearance would be useful.
Here are the links to the two tractors we were discussing.

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Tom Arnold

11-10-2013 21:17:25

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 Re: best cub to buy & why in reply to cowboy357, 11-10-2013 19:39:58  
I went looking for the 222 and was unable to find it. I did find the 3014 and was not terribly impressed with it. A well-cared for tractor should not have peeling decals or need touch up if it only has 600 hours on it.

I did see multiple listings for the same 444 that began life as a 200 Series and was converted. Do not touch something like this with a ten foot pole. Conversions are done by ignorant people that do not realize the true differences between the two series.

Aside from the 444 model, Case also made a 446 and a 448 that were powered by 16 HP and 18 HP Onan flat twins. These are excellent tractors providing you can find one with a low hour engine. I was steering you toward a 444 because the K-321 Kohler engine is very inexpensive to rebuild whereas Onan's are not.

I have given you a link to a 446 that may not be too far from you. It does have the 3 point hitch but I do not see the rear PTO kit on it. This one claims to have 750 hours on it and the condition looks to be good enough to support those hours. It comes with tire chains, the front weight kit and a utility blade.

In my opinion, tire chains are worth about 50 used, a really good utility blade can be worth up to 400. The hitch is easily worth 400 to 500 currently. He talks about a front weight kit but no photo. If he has the suitcase weight kit, then that will easily bring 300 to 450 by itself. If it is just a front weight box, then that's worth about 80 if it is in good shape.

So right there, you have a possibility of 800 plus in optional equipment if all is in good shape.

Providing the hours are true, then a 1987 Ingersoll 446 would be worth 1200, especially in the Rhode Island/ upper Mass area. Prices seem to be much higher in RI for some reason.

If the tractor checks out and is within your budget, then I'd offer him 1800 cash on the spot. Cash in hand talks very load, especially when you come with a trailer to take the package away immediately.

At the very least, do a compression test on the Onan. Anything above 90 PSI is OK. Over 100 is better, especially when both cylinders are within 5 LBS of each other.

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