Vintage Sears Garden Tractors
Quick Tips
You have to loosen the dash in order to gain access to the mounting bolts for
the gas tank. After crawling under the tractor and squeezing my hand through
spaces much smaller than it was designed to be squeezed through, I finally
got the mounting bolts off. The dash still wasn't loose. I finally located the
culprit: a setscrew on the steering shaft. Of course it was rusted tight, but
with a little penetrating oil and patience, it came out.
Of course it's easy to get the cylinder head off, right? Yes it is, but it will be a
lot easier if you loosen the bracket at the rear of the head (picture on left)
before getting into a wrestling match that you probably won't win without
causing some damage. This bracket is not held on by the horizontal rails that
the gas tank is mounted on. Taking the four bolts on the side of these rails off
will not help at all. The bolts you REALLY have to find are secreted up under
the gas tank (picture on right). Loosening these babies up will allow enough
play to slide the top shroud off (missing in left picture) and allow you to wiggle
the head off.
Click on picture to enlarge
Click on picture to enlarge
When I went to take off the blower housing, I found that the Phillips head screws that held the blower
screen on were rusted. Penetrating oil seemed to have no effect on the screws because they were
rusted to the  blower screen itself (missing from photo). An impact wrench was used, but of course
the screw heads just stripped out. I generally do not like to use heat to remove frozen fasteners. I
save it as a last resort only. Out came the old center punch. What I do is to create a divot near the
outside of the screw head by hitting the punch with a hammer, then I lay the punch over to the right
so the force from the hammer blows is being directed counterclockwise. The screw should loosen
immediately using this method. Yep, you'll have to get new screws.
It was obvious that there was something going on under that cylinder head as soon as I saw all of the oil that had accumulated around
the area. Sure enough, the head bolts were loose and the head gasket was shot. This engine is pretty tight mechanically. I think it has low
hours on it. This was a good discovery, especially considering the overall condition of the rest of the tractor. The previous owner
apparently never had the head off, judging from the carbon deposits that had accumulated on the head. The picture on the right does not
do a good job depicting how much crap was residing on the head. The ignition works just fine. Those "Solid State" ignition modules are
worth their weight in gold (almost).
Click on picture to enlarge
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