Dave P., DieselTech,
I know I wrote in my post "change the thermostat" but I actually just removed it. No intent to deceive, I guess I was just in the frame of mind for writing a procedure to "change" the thermostat. I did order one right away, supposed to be in tomorrow am. Removal did stop the overheating.
Last night I run it for 45 minutes or so. I cleaned snow. It smoked but I was able to get it done. Because it was leaking oil, I drove into the garage just to have a quick peek to make sure I wasn't low on oil. I checked the oil, took maybe 1 minute.... Went to start it up and it just "rolled and rolled", it never really "kicked". It was lots warm, of course, because I was blowing snow. It was late, I didn't feel like fighting with it so I called it a night.
Now, I made a big mistake to get to this point.... I didn't know the history of the tractor maintenance when I bought it. It worked well so I decided to run it through the winter and do a big maintenance in the spring. Well, at this point, I want to eliminate every issue I can so tonight I changed the fuel filters and gave it a brand new air filter. I bled the fuel lines (I've done this successfully before) and tried it. We were in the warm garage and I had it plugged in (block heater) for a while. It just rolled and rolled, never kicked. I had a friend with me, we went back and went through the bleed out procedure again using the users manual. We turned it over and gave it a shot of starting fluid through the windbox. It "backfired" through the windbox with each shot.... I have never heard the tractor make this noise before...
It never seemed to want to start..... It's so weird. I drove it into where it sits and shut it off. It was smoking but running ok.... Now it won't go.
Also, on the overheating, I didn't think it was that severe. I drove 50 feet in first gear, no load, just the tractor itself. As soon as I realized something wasn't right, I shut it down, let it cool before running the 50 feet back to the garage.
I've checked for fuel in the water, fuel or water in oil, etc.... No detectable cross contamination.
I'm at the end of my limited knowledge. What else can be going on. Timing is gears, it would be awful hard to get out of time wouldn't it??? If a bad valve, wouldn't it kick over on the others???
Not sure what to do. What's my next move????
I sincerely appreciate the advise gentlemen.