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Category Archives: Gravely

Another attachment I could never get was a lawn roller. I finally gave up and built one myself. I collected thick angle iron, a 40 gallon pressure tank, pillow blocks, some round stock and some pipe and built one.

The drill bits I bought were bad so I couldn’t drill the angle for the 1/2″ bolts. I ended up using 3/8 bolts and welding it. It worked well except the tank leaked horribly. I will try to TIG weld it before next spring. I used the spring and seat from a sulky.

lawn roller

lawn roller bracing

lawn roller

lawn roller in use.

Next year I plan to add weight to the side supports, as it isn’t heavey enough for my really bumpy lawn.

Sorry about the delay.

The original handle bars were horribly bent. I had to use a pair from an old L for the project.
handle bars
The black ones are the correct shape.

Mocking it up I found the air cleaner hit the gas tank.

air cleaner hitting gas tank.

I took off the air cleaner and found I could rotate the housing 90 degrees so it would clear.

air cleaner original location.

Here is the rotated air cleaner with the cover trimmed to allow removal.

final air cleaner.

In all the re-powers I have never seen a handle bar kill switch. I thought of moving the key to the handle bar but to save time I just added a kill switch. I took a starter button, mounted it to the handle bar. I wired one side to ground and I tied the other side to the low oil sensor. It works better than I imagined. One touch and the engine stops, you don’t have to hold it down.

kill switch

Another thing missing from re-powers is a throttle lever mounted to the handle bar. I found one that I had that locked into full, which is a great feature. The engine had the part needed to mount a throttle cable to two different locations. I picked the one parallel with the shaft.

thottle lever
throttle cable

Here is a picture of the under hood set up. The gas tank vent didn’t work, it was sucking gas so I re-routed it up and around the filler neck. Photo’s later.

Under hood view

I wanted to use the original rear hitch. It was too short and too high to fit under the engine. I made metal plates to lower the hitch and bring it back.

hitch plates.

Hitch and parts.

Hitch installed.

There are problems with the hitch. First it isn’t centered. I am not sure what wrong measurement is causing that. Second is it is too short for using the steering sulky. This winter I am going to take it off and move it back 3 inches.

I was going to use the new style forward/reverse hand position, without using the new style control, ie push forward for forward. I have used back to go forward all my life and my mind cannot switch to the new style. After I move the hitch back I will probably have to move the forward/reverse handle to the newer position. I will have to do that while using the original mechanism for the rod.

I finally was able to buy a roto-tiller. One with a good shroud , gearbox, plow gearbox and a few broken tines. A second one that was broken but the tines are good. I should be ready to roto-till in the fall. No more belt driven Ariens tiller.

In all of the re-powers I have seen the gas tank that comes with the engine is used. I could never figure out why, especially for the Kohler engine tractors. The tank must be hard to fill with the dashboard in the way.

I decided to use the original fan housing to hold the tank. I first had to cut out the part that interferes with the engine.

cut fan housing

It cut very easily with an angle grinder. The housing is held up by the handle bars but it needed extra support. I made this bracket for it.

bracket

I made it from 2 reinforced 5 hole strut angles and a piece of strut. It fastens to the top hole in the engine adapter.

The I bent in the top slot on the fan housing so that a bolt head would clear the gas tank. I welded a washer to help with alignment. Yes I know the weld is terrible.

bent housing

Next I took off the original gas tank from the engine. I then discovered there were two lines coming from the tank, one being an EVAP vent. I needed to recreate this in the Gravely tank. I found a place to drill and tap an 1/8″ NPT barbed hose fitting.

fitting in gas tank

The last thing to do is to seal the vent hole in the cap. Now I can fill a nice big tank and add a filter to the system. The original had no fuel filter. I won’t have to deal with that screen in the mouth that makes it hard to fill and see how much gas is left.

I purchased a kit from Guthrie Repower that allows anyone to re-power a Gravely or other powered walk behind or rider tractor with a Honda or Honda clone engine. Other engines will probably work but you will need to research. I always wanted to make a kit but nothing I dreamed up would be as elegant as Bruce’s kit.

Bruce Guthrie
Guthrie Repower
454 Mowery Rd. N.W.
Cleveland, TN 37312
Email

I purchased this engine from The Carroll Stream company to re-power the C-8. It has electric start so I can add lights and a pull start if the battery dies.

Before painting the trans-axle I did a mock up so I could start solving some of the problems. The first on was the handlebar support. There are threaded holes in the adapter that are shown in the instructions to hold the handle bar. The supports are shown to be on the front side of the adapter. On my tractor there is no room to do that.
support hole

The only attachment point can be on the back side of the adapter. Because of this the support was hitting the muffler shield. I had to bend the supports forward to clear the muffler.

handle bar support bent

Next post will be about the gas tank.

The first step is cleaning up the trans-axle. This is what I started with.
Dirty trans-axle

About 3 hours of steam cleaning, scraping and cleaning with Scotch-Brite I got it to this point.
clean trans-axle

Then I could finally paint it. I used Allis-Chalmers orange spray cans from Tractor Supply. I used the primer, then 2 top coats sanding between each coat.

Painted trans-axle

In the gravely forums there used to be talk about cleaning up the work of a DPO (dumb previous owner). I have bought a gravely in the past that I thought was good. Then I found what a DPO did. The governor linkage was backward so it slowed down under load. The head was installed backwards and grade 5 head bolts with lock washers replaced the washerless grade 8 bolts that are required.

That was nothing compared to what I found on a 30″ mower I took apart. Here is what the vertical shaft is suppose to look like.
Good vertical shaft

This is the example of a shaft a DPO got a hold of.
Broken shaft

Somehow someone thought that a broken shaft could be pinned back together with a tiny shaft with no welding. I took this from a assembled 30″ mower head. Incredible.

I went to start my ’67 Gravely C-8 the other day. As I cranked it gas pour out of the muffler. I immediately pulled it out of the garage. I then cranked it again and fuel pour out again.

As far as I could figure the carburetor float stuck and gas filled the intake hose. I add a curved down hose to relocate the air cleaner under the hood to stop carburetor icing.

I cranked again and the gas flow stopped and then I hear a small poof. Instead of pulling the plug and drying it out I kept cranking in spurts until it finally fired. I was then able to get the snow blowing done. I am not sure there is any engine stronger than a Gravely.

Last summer I found some Gravelys on craigslist. It was a Commercial 10 with a 40″ mower and a lawn roller. I have a 40″ but I wanted to build one for my mothers property. I sent an email. The next day after no answer I sent another with my phone number. He called and said a Gravely dealer was coming to look at them. He wanted to put them in a museum.

So everything I needed was lost, so I came up with a new plan. I had a 1972 C8 that I bought for parts. The engine, tires and 30″ mower were trashed but the trans-axle was good. I decided too re-power the C8 and build a lawn roller. will hopefully go through the 40″ to check for problems.

I hope to have the build done this winter with nice build pages with photos. I am planning on making the final product look like a Gravely model C complete with rear hitch.