Vintage Sears Garden Tractors
I was getting ready to do some landscaping around the house. I needed to spread tons of topsoil in a low area. Of course I had the old,
reliable Suburban 10, but I wanted another tractor so that I could keep one outfitted with ground engaging equipment (a front plow and drag
harrow). The other tractor I wanted to pull the wood hauling cart I made, which would be outfitted with sides to hold topsoil.

My ex-neighbor, Bob, had years ago promised me an SS16 that was sitting in his back yard. He wanted the Onan engine from it, but not the
tractor. While other things had gotten in the way of me getting the tractor over the years, I still kept it in the back of my mind. So much so
that when I saw a Briggs and Stratton 8 HP engine (model 190432) at a yard sale last year for ten dollars, I had to get it just to put on this
tractor. I stopped in to see Bob a few weeks before my landscaping project to ask about the tractor. The old SS16 was still there.

Either I had forgotten how rough it was, or the last couple of years had been particularly hard on it, but it indeed was rough. No problem.....a
challenge is just something you have to try harder to overcome. The Onan came off pretty easily and was promptly returned to the owner. The
Briggs had been properly stored by its previous owner; fill it up with gas and two pulls on the recoil got it started. The 1 1/8" pulley I had
laying around for a Suburban didn't fit of course because the Briggs has a 1" shaft. I purchased a slightly larger diameter 1" pulley for it. I
will be using this tractor eventually for wood hauling duties, so I wanted it to have a little more ground speed. If you look at the picture of the
engine closely, you can see a homemade belt guide. It's just to keep the belt on the pulley and is made out of a piece of bent flat stock.

The first time I let out the clutch turned out to be an eye opener. The combination of all the rust on the pullies, a lighter engine, and higher
gearing resulted in a pretty spectacular wheelstand. Back when I was a kid, a wheelstand was something to be proud of. Now that I'm older
and wiser, I no longer get the same thrill and this first wheelstand was a surprise. Oh....still a little amusing after I thought about it. You still
have to be careful with this tractor, even with the snowplow on the front, because it will pull up if you dump the clutch in 3rd with any RPM's
on the engine.

The first mounting of the engine was a little too far towards the clutch pedal side of the frame. I should have looked at the hood/grill
mounting clearance a little better before I drilled the holes. Speaking of the hood/grill; they are both in bad shape. Of course the grill and nose
are shot, like most of the fiberglass units from this era. The hood is pretty bad too, with a rust hole starting to show through. I'll try to patch
it up as good as possible before putting it back on. It will look funny though because the SS hoods had a cutout for the muffler and flared side
to clear the blower housing on the Onan.

This free tractor came with a complete 3 point hitch and a moldboard plow. While I don't have any use for the plow right now, the hitch was
needed. I had picked up an old style Sears 3 point drag harrow from the scrap yard last year. Whoever owned it before had welded a longer
top link attachment for use on a larger tractor. The extra power, weight and resulting traction from the bigger tractor had bent the harrow
frame. Two of the cast iron fittings used as pivot points on the end of the harrow cross pieces were snapped off also. I used round stock to
replace them.

The top link and adjustment clevis on the 3 point were rusted solid. I'd been spraying them every day with PB Blaster. After a couple of weeks
I took them into the shop and mounted them in the vice to try and break them free. It was a lot of work. The rust had taken its toll on the
threads. They were almost rusted away in places. I can't adjust the top link all the way out because of lack of thread.

I did eventually get it all together and operating. The topsoil came and the real fun began. Yes, that is an old Mack(1961) dumptruck. I'm not
the only one who appreciates old iron. The tractor worked great for what I was doing. I mounted weights, but no chains. I like using the
harrow to loosen soil so I can push it with the dozer blade. The soil gets compacted after being run over by the tires a few times, and the
harrow breaks it up just enough for the blade to be effective. It took a while to spread it all, but the effort expended would have been much
greater without the "new," twenty dollar Suburban.
My twenty dollar Suburban
Click on picture for larger view
Click on picture for larger view
Click on picture for larger view
Click on picture for larger view
In 2018 I purchased a GX390 Honda engine for this tractor. I took the tractor apart, sandblasted and painted the whole thing and fixed
whatever mechanical issues I could find. Stay tuned for updates on this tractor..... VSGT 6/2019