Vintage Sears Garden Tractors
Quick two
Does your clutch/brake pedal flop around like a fish out of water?  Maybe this little
spring metal clip is missing from under the footrest. It is designed to put some tension
on the clutch shaft where it runs through the holes in the frame. These friction points
are metal on metal, with no bushings or other type of bearings. The metal wears over
time and things become loose. Lack of lubrication does not help matters any. The
picture below shows the result of the metal to metal contact on the clutch arm. The
hole in the matching part is worn in an oblong shape.
The search for a suitable replacement engine for the older Sears tractors is a never ending
task. Now that the HH series of Tecumseh engines are no longer availabe, many owners
have written me messages asking if there is a bolt-on replacement available. Some current
engines look like they would work. Here's the problem with the engine replacement--the
clutch engagement assembly. More specifically, what Sears/Roper calls the "Idler Bracket,
support weldment and bracket." This part bolts to the rear of the engine. The idler bracket is
mounted to it, which is in turn linked to the clutch pedal via the clutch rod. The replacement
engine will need to have the same mounting hole pattern as that on the idler bracket for it to
be an easy swap. Plus, this bracket is bent to conform to the side of the engine. There are
threaded holes in the bosses cast into the block of the engine where the bracket is bolted. I'm
sure that an experienced fabricator could easily make another type of bracket to mount the
clutch engagement assembly, but then it would no longer be a simple engine swap.
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Many of the older Suburbans with high hours on them have a lot of slop in the steering wheel. The first thing most
of us look at is the drag link or tie rods. If they check out OK, then look at your axle when you are turning the
wheel. Is the axle moving back and forth when you turn the wheel?  If so, then you may have a worn axle pivot
bolt. The old style mower decks (which is what most of these machines are outfitted with) use the brackets
attached to the axle for their mounting points. The mower and anything else that puts strain on the mounting
points, introduces a lot of lateral stress on the axle mounting bolt. Two other factors come into play also: There is
no grease fitting to provide lubrication and the threads on the bolt are part of the bearing surface. As can be seen
in the picture of the worn bolt, the threads suffered the most wear. The plan is to get a bolt that has a longer
smooth surface. I might even outfit it with a grease fitting if I get fancy..
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I was getting vibration from the mower deck. The belt looked a litty ratty, so I figured that was it. Well, one thing led to another, and
soon the deck was off and I was looking at the mandrels. Two of them obviously had bad bearings judging by the noise and roughness I
felt when turning the shafts. The center shaft had exessive play on the front to rear axis only, probably because of the drive belt tension.
Also, one of the tension springs for the idler pullies was gone. Someone had ground off the idler arm bushing, allowing them to tighten
the pivot bolt down HARD to keep tension on the belt. The top bearing and race on the spindles came off OK, but the bottom race was
not going to be easy. This job was made simple by the kind folks at my local bearing supply house, who simply used a very large
bearing separator to squeeze onto the race. They then used a press to push it off. They even pressed on the new bearings for me.  Next
problem was the idler arm springs, which appear to be a Sears specific part. I found springs of about the same tension at the hardware
store. To mount them to the deck, I used a 1/4" bolt to provide a place to hook onto. I didn't waste a lot of time on the idler arm pivot
bolts either. I had a couple of cheap WalMart mower wheel axle bolts that were the same size, and had thread-on spacers. This allowed
me to use a bronze spacer to bring the overall length to what I needed. I bolted it up and it works like a charm. You must keep the
spindles greased. I only did it every few mowings. The manual says to grease them EVERY TIME YOU MOW.  There are no rubber
seals to keep the grease in, so a continuous supply is needed.
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