Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The 500 Dollar Tiller Gamble





So I bought this tiller. I should point out it was against my better judgement a little bit though. I have researched old 3 point tillers enough to know that when you get down to the category 1 and 0 tillers that are switchable you can run into some weirdness. The real issue are those old super garden tractors from the 70's and 80's. I am sure they were some great little utility tractors but they came out with all kinds of off the wall specs for their attachments.

For instance some of them required 2000 RPMs on the PTO, some of them 1000 and the John Deere 400 was something like 880 or so. Some of them actually spun in reverse from traditional tractors too. Yet despite this some of those old John Deere 400+ versions used some pretty healthy tillers weighing in at 300 pounds or more, which this tiller easily achieves.

This tiller had no identification plates or anything on it except some parts ordering number that comes up a big nothing when I search. It's been repainted at least once in John Deere green with a white primer under it but I cannot detect any plates or stickers that have been painted over. It closely resembles the John Deere 35 and 48 super garden tractor tillers but the gearbox shroud is different and the safety shrouds are missing along with the welded on guide for them if that was the case. Also all those old tillers had 8 tine wheels with thinner tines while this one has 7 with thick tines and the adjustable hookup point is slightly different.




If this is a 70 or 80's model JD tiller for the super garden tractors it is of a different variety than the ones I can find pictures of. It also closely resembles a Ford 105 tiller too which came in either category 1 or 0 configuration but otherwise fits the bill at 540 RPM off the PTO.

I know the tiller does in fact spin properly and not in reverse but I still need to go purchase a proper PTO shaft since this tiller is old enough that it uses the square shaft instead of the wanckle version. I will also need to put the universal joint section together myself.




Bottom line is I may have purchased a tiller I cannot use. So far it has passed all the tests but the gear ratio one. I took my dad with me and he is convinced this tiller is a 540 under 20 HP version for the compact tractors that came out in the 90's up until today. If that's the case then it will work well on either the 8N or 861. I don't share his conviction on the subject but when the seller pushed the price down to under $400.00 I decided it might just be worth the gamble.  I can put together a PTO shaft for under $100.00 and see if the gear ratio is right. If not I am out the money unless I can resell it. If it works however I saved myself about $500.00 easy since used tillers are rarer than hen's teeth and new ones are $1600.00 even for the cheap models.

Not that I want to be overly cheap in my attachments but 1500+ for something I will use once a year is an expense I would rather skip if I can.

Sometimes you just have to roll the dice. If I can get this to work I will be bragging about it for years. If it fails I may have some garden tractor tiller parts embedded into the back of my head from too much torque.

In case anyone is interested our dog is in the pet hospital. They think she has a blood clot in her bladder and for the price it has cost so far we could have bought two tillers. She had lost so much blood they talked about a doggy transfusion but decided against it. This one is going to cost but the Mrs. would never give up on her beloved pets and that is her right. So far I have only lost 2 shirts and a blanket transporting her to the vet and the emergency hospital 40 miles away so I can't really complain since she is a sweet dog.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


10 comments:

  1. I have a Cub Cadet 2284 about 20 years old with a tiller but it looks nothing like yours. There was a company called Howard Rotovator that built tillers, don't know if they are still around or not. I'm sure someone out there has seen something like this.

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    1. Anon - Agreed I am sure someone has. Maybe I will get lucky. There are a lot of tillers that look just like this one from that era when everyone and their mother was making garden tractors so who knows it may well be one of those 2000 RPM models, it looks like several of them but I haven't seen an exact match yet. It's a big chunk of metal though easily weighs in as much as today's 4 foot category 1 models.

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  2. PP,

    If you can fix this tiller and have it work with your equipment, you've found a great deal!!!!

    I'm so sorry to hear about your dog having a blood clot in her bladder. Hopefully, the Vet will figure out how this happened and fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.
    Give your dog a scratch behind it's ears.

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    1. Sandy - The dog maybe developing an immune deficiency as she gets older. She is a pretty old girl now actually but still likes to run and play or did until just yesterday.

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  3. The tiller will be great if it works on your tractor and if not, you will be able to sell it to someone who has the right tractor and not lose any money as you got it so cheaply.

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    1. Sf - Ya there are just so many off brands and such I can't seem to identify the maker of this particular tiller. My guess is that it isn't as old as the 70's and 80's ones and is simply what my Dad thinks it is which would be ideal but I won't know until I shell out for the PTO shaft.

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  4. "The 500 Dollar Tiller Gamble" - Sounds like a great short story title.

    Sorry to hear about the dog. Hope she is better soon.

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    1. TB - LOL it might come to that.

      I hope she get's better the Wife will be devastated if not.

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  5. Nice find on the tiller. Hope the pooch heals up soon.

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