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Where Science and Common Sense Come Together for Better Performance
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What is Tractor Pulling?
Tractor pulling competition is when a special-built weighted pulling vehicle or tractor pulls (or drags) a mechanical weight transfer machine, which is more commonly known as a "sled," on a dirt (clay) track of a specific distance, which is usually a maximum of 300 feet in length. As the vehicle pulls the sled down the track, ballast (weights) that's in a box which is positioned at the rear of the sled is automatically transferred (mechanically winched) forward on the frame of the sled. This transfer of weight, or ever-increasing of weight, creates friction between the skid pan (that's part of the front of the sled) and the ground, and that in turn makes the sled harder to pull, eventually stopping the vehicle. The winner is determined by not how fast a pulling vehicle goes down the track, but who drags the sled the farthest. In other words, it's not a race, it's a pulling event. Go here for more information: Tractor pulling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Pulling is like any other motorsport, or any other sport as far as sports are concerned. It's something you will never make money at. It's about the competition, making new friends and making lasting memories.
Garden tractor pulling can be a fun and safe sport for the entire family. If done fairly, garden tractor pulling helps build good character and sportsmanship in people of all ages. Sports has always been considered a healthy outlet for young people. A chance for young people to learn how to win or rather lose. But most importantly, how to play by the rules, which help keep them out of trouble at home and with the law. Kids also need proper parental guidance so they can live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling adulthood. I think this is a good sport for people of all ages (as long as they can safely operate a tractor). Sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and any other kid who has gotten bored and are running the streets too much. If you have the means to spend some money to help kids go down the right path and have good clean fun, then garden tractor pulling is for you and your family. Kids can also develop skills to learn how to build a winning engine and tractor, and pass their knowledge down to their kids. Not only the young can enjoy garden tractor pulling, but older folks can enjoy it, too. It gives retired people a good excuse to get out of the house, and keep their mind and body active.
Garden tractor pulling is a sport, just like any other sport. Some people like to go fishing. Some play golf at a country club. Others do tractor (or truck) pulling. All of these activities are considered sports, which is supposed to be fun and relaxing. If a tractor does well at a pull, and if there's prize money to be won, most of the time the prize money usually isn't that great. In fact, the winner would be lucky to make gas money. But it's fun to compete, test your mechanical skills on the tractor and driving skills on the track. Garden tractor pulling is not only appropriate for the whole family, but actually makes people feel encouraged, inspired, and challenged. It's also a good excuse to get your mind off your daily job and routine life, and it's a good reason to get away from home for a while, like a short vacation. And if you think about it, it's mental therapy or a great stress relief. It's an "escape" to maintain yours and your family's or friend's sanity. Also, tractor pullers from various areas are like one big family, not bound together by blood relation, but by a common interest. Many of them are hard working, honest people that have a family to support.
The sport of pulling can be a fun and exciting family activity. A garden tractor pulling organization that is honest and has a good reputation can be a lot of fun for the entire family and/or with friends and very affordable. Just a reliable average pickup truck and a small- to medium-sized utility trailer is all that's needed to haul the garden tractor(s) to and from the pulls. Garden tractor pulling also helps to bring families and friends closer together. It also help build a strong relationship between parents and their kids. A broken tractor is much easier to fix than a broken family. Besides, if you don't spend time with your family and kids now, then perhaps one day you'll wish you did. The very first thing to do before going on a long road trip is to check and inflate ALL the tires, on the tow vehicle, trailer and the spare tires! Anyway, you and your family/kids and/or friends get to travel to other towns or communities, see the beautiful countryside and interesting sights along the way while on the road, meet interesting people, have a chance to be with other pullers who share your interests and make new friends, you can dine at nice restaurants, even stay at a motel before or after a pull! Traveling to and from a pull should be half the fun! As they say, it's not just about the destination - it's about the journey. While at a pull site, if it's at a county fair, there's usually other activities also. Early before the pull begins or when the pull is over (if it's not too late), you and your family can walk around the fairgrounds to see the sights, and your kids can go on the carnival rides. The rides are usually free, because most of the time there's free admission [for pullers and helpers] to the fair! And please remember, ALWAYS drive carefully, get plenty of rest before starting a long trip so the driver will be alert for unexpected events while on the road, and definitely wear your seat belts! And remember - Life is precious, help support others and enjoy it while you can! Click here for some exciting garden tractor and mini truck pulling: Brian Miller - YouTube.
A Typical Competitive Garden Pulling Tractor Would Tech Out Much Like This:
Unsportsmanshiplike Conduct. (added 6/28/15)
To make pulling competition a fun and fair sport for the entire family, be protective of your equipment! While at the pulls, keep an eye on your carburetor, fuel shut-off valve and killswitch plug! When a competitive or winning pulling tractor is left alone, it's been known that certain disgruntled pullers (sore losers ) belonging to various clubs/associations, virtually anywhere and everywhere, will turn the high speed main fuel adjuster one way or the other, close the fuel shut-off valve or pull the killswitch plug and toss it out of sight to keep the engine from running at it's full potential, or from running at all. This is one of the easiest, dishonest and sneaky ways to retard or disable and sabotage a competitor's tractor. All a cheater needs is an opportunity in an attempt to gain an advantage over the other pullers. This is also the fastest way for a pulling organization to gain a bad reputation. (Bad news travels fast.) This type of behavior doesn't happen often, but you need to be prepared if or when it does happen. To be prepared for this unforeseeable event, it'll be a good idea to cover the entire carburetor with a drawstring bag, or better yet, cover the entire tractor with a canvas or heavy blanket, and carry an extra killswitch plug with you. Always try to stay one step ahead of a cheater.
Also, to "cap off" or plug the header pipe to prevent rain water from entering into it and/or to keep a disgruntled puller from sabotaging a competitive pulling tractor by jamming a rock down in the pipe (this have been known to happen), use an adjustable rubber expansion plug, like the one pictured to the right. Most popular ones are: Dorman AutoGrade 02601 (1-1/4"), Dorman AutoGrade 02602 (1-3/8"), or Dorman AutoGrade 02603 (1-1/2"). These require more effort to remove than the popular slip-on vinyl sleeve cover, because cheaters like a "quick and easy" way to sabotage a tractor. Because there's cheaters in every sport, and nobody likes a cheater, not even cheaters themselves! But then again, if the winning tractor is suspected of cheating on the track (illegal engine, etc.), there's always the protest and/or disqualification rule(s). But only IF the protest rule is enforced! Remember - cheating is devious theft with a sly smirk. Heck, some pulling associations/clubs vote-in and/or change certain rules in a meeting during the off-season, lock them in for several years, but don't even enforce or follow their own rules during the pulling season! They change their rules so often, they might as well just write them in pencil! Another thing I don't understand is when a [prominent] puller of an association/club ask the president of the club if an illegal part can be used in his engine for pulling, and the president says, "yeah, sure!" But the pulling association/club's sanctioning rules, the very same rules that the members (pullers) of the association/club discussed about and voted-on in a meeting, clearly states in black and white that such a part cannot be used.
Then there's the cheater(s) who think the association/club's rules don't apply to them, grown men that act like spoiled brats. Like the pullers who help set up pulls and get lots of money for the person who hauls the sled to and from the pulls and operate the sled. And it's especially bad when the sled hauler and operator, who sometimes happens to be the same person, is the president of the association/club! When the "helpful" cheater breaks the rules, or the sled operator lowers the small wheels on the front of the self-propelled sled to allow the cheater to gain an edge over the other competing tractors, no other puller or the president says anything (complains) to the cheating puller because they are afraid the club will lose a bunch of quality pulls the following year, or some scheduled pulls during the pulling season could be canceled by the cheating puller. In other words, they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. It's hard for honest pullers to compete against a corrupted puller who display arrogant and antagonistic behavior, especially when the people in charge of the association or club show favoritism for that puller. They do their dirty work in private and it's all dirty politics, folks. And it's a corrupted and dishonest way to run a pulling association/club. Wonder how these kind of people can expect to succeed in life with their attitude? Unless they have no life and feel that you must judge others because they secretly live an unfulfilling and pathetic life. If a cheater did whatever it took to cheat, then they can do whatever it takes to play by the rules. If they can't play fair, then they shouldn't play at all.
Association-Owned Pulling Sleds VS Private-Owned Pulling Sleds -
An association-owned pulling sled is when all the pullers/members of a sanctioning pulling association or club owns the sled they use at all of their pulls. It is not owned by just one person. A privately-owned sled is when an individual (one person) or a small group of people (usually family members) owns their own sled.
The problem with an association-owned sled is a lot of cheating and favoritism by certain pullers can take place at the pulls. If or when a disqualification is in question when it comes to a cheating puller, being no one person owns the sled, the only thing the president or board members of the club have in their favor to back them up and what gives them full authority is the honor and loyalty of the other [honest] pullers, and the disqualification is justified. But if the cheating puller has more pulling friends on his side to back him up, then the president doesn't have much authority, the disqualification ruling will unlikely to stand. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And as far as I know, there are no association's or club's rules regarding proper sled operation or respectful sled operator behavior. The sled operator can cheat for certain pullers and no other puller can do anything about it, except perhaps quit pulling with them.
A private-owned sled on the other hand, and if the sled owner is honest, allows him to have full authority concerning a cheating pullers' non-sportsmanship behavior resulting in a disqualification. The owner of the sled has the sled itself to back him up in an argument. "If you won't accept it (details of the disqualification), I won't let you pull my sled!"
Always Wear a Helmet When Pulling!
I know for a fact that some pullers don't wear a seat belt in their vehicles while traveling or on their way to and from the pulls. (Safety must be the last thing on their mind.) But unlike seat belts, wearing a helmet isn't only for safety, it makes the puller look PROFESSIONAL to the sponsors, promoters and spectators! Tractor pulling is a spectator entertainment sport, or show business. And to put on a good show, you gotta dress for the part!
And if the sanctioning rules require that long leg pants and closed-end shoes be worn when pulling, if a puller wears shorts, and complain about the summer heat, they can just slip on some sweat pants and closed-end shoes, and then go pull. As long as their legs and feet are covered, that's what matters.
And during the hot summer heat, sometimes tempers will flair at a pull site. It's just human nature. This is something track officials and pullers need to take into consideration when confronting a disgruntled puller. When this happens, just tell them to drink some ice water, go cool off, calm down and gather your thoughts. Because they're not being themselves. It'll be wrong to get upset at them. Because when you're an official of a organization, you must delegate authority honestly and responsibly.
If you've always enjoyed "turning a wrench" and wanted to build a mini-rod, pulling truck or farm/modified tractor, but found that these are too costly, start with a garden pulling tractor, because of their size, it would not require a lot of money, huge work shop, and large truck and trailer to haul the pulling vehicle to and from the pull sites. If you're looking for a quality garden tractor to build up and do some serious pulling with, then what you need is a beltless, non-hydrostatic drive, clutch-driven, manual shift Cub Cadet that was built by International Harvester and the early ones built by MTD (Modern Tool & Die). The best Cub Cadet garden tractors for competition pulling are clutch driven. These models include:
The differences between Cub Cadet frames:
When building and/or acquiring a pulling tractor, it's best to use what the winners are using - a direct drive with a mechanical clutch disc (no belt- or hydrostatic-drive involved) Cub Cadet and use the biggest engine your club's/association's rules allow in its tractor's class. The best Cub Cadet garden tractors to use for serious competition pulling are models: 70, 71, 72, 73, 86, 100, 102, 104, 106, 108, 122, 124, 126, 128, 580, 582, 682, 782, 800, 982, 1000, 1050, 1200, 1282, 1512, 1535, 1606 and 1806. And there's sanctioning rules with every pulling organization regarding how a tractor should be built or set up. Not all clubs/associations use the same sanctioning rules and specifications. The rules vary from one organization to another. You'll need to contact the person in charge of the organization you plan to pull with and acquire a copy of their up-to-date rules and ask their pullers questions before you build a tractor. And while you're at the pulls, look over the pulling tractors and ask the pullers questions regarding how to build a durable and competitive tractor. And remember - if you're going to build it, might as well build it to win! Because 2nd place is the first loser. Go here to find a reputable pulling club near you: Hot Links to Reputable Garden Tractor Pulling Clubs and Associations.
If you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of the spectators, then don't waste your time, money and materials on something less than a true-to-it's-name garden tractor. Stamped steel frame lawn tractors (MTD, Murray, etc.) simply cannot compete against the power and torque or muscle of a true garden tractor. If you want to win or at least do well at the pulls and look good doing it, then get yourself a clutch-drive Cub Cadet, and use the stamped steel frame lawn tractors to mow your lawn with. Or adapt the lawn tractor sheet metal (hood, grill, fenders, steering support column, etc.) onto a Cub Cadet chassis.
To be competitive in garden tractor pulling, what you need is a garden tractor that has an automotive-type frame, horizontal engine, a cast iron transaxle and 12" diameter, 5-lug rear wheels. It can be belt drive, too. Look for a good-size Wheel Horse or a Sears Suburban. They're the most popular and least expensive to build up for pulling in a stock class. Fact is, the drive belt on some garden tractors robs the engine of power. The Cub Cadet on the other hand use a direct drive clutch/driveshaft system, which is much like the ones that's used in automobiles. You get more power to the track with a Cub Cadet. Belt-driven garden tractors, such as Wheel Horse, Sears Suburban, etc., do very well in the stock classes with a limited horsepower engine, but if you want to move up into a more powerful or highly modified class, the Cub Cadet is the only way to go. They've been proven to be the most competitive garden tractor for pulling that's available. Remember - Tractor pulling is a science, and sometimes making the right changes to a pulling tractor can get confusing. The best thing to do is just follow your gut instinct or conscience (the very first thought that enters your mind) and your tractor should be more competitive. Don't listen to second thoughts. They can cause problems.
Certain models of John Deere and Massey Ferguson garden tractors have a variable speed control called a "variator," which is a factory-installed lever positioned on the right of the steering wheel. Most Cub Cadet pullers call this lever a "cheat stick." When it's pulled back, it slows down the tires to reserve engine power and torque. When used in competitive pulling, this feature allows the tractor to have plenty of ground speed upon takeoff and go down the track with plenty of ground speed, and when the weight of the sled comes up on the tractor, and if the engine begins to bog down or lose power, the operator can pull back on the lever, slowing down the tires, so the engine will have more reserve power to "chug, chug" a little further down the track without running out of horsepower. It works great in the stock class(es), but being it's part of a belt-drive drive system, the tractor may lag behind in a higher horsepower class with a wide open throttle engine.
And the reason there's different classes for pulling tractors is because some tractors come with a bigger engine and some weigh more than others. A tractor with a big engine will undoubtedly out-pull a tractor with a small engine. And the same goes for a tractor that weighs more than the others. Therefore, most pulling clubs/associations try to match the engine size and the weight of any particular tractor (with the driver) so they'll be competitive within their class.
Ever noticed how there's always more Cub Cadets at the pulls than any other make of garden tractor? That's because the Cub Cadet is capable of transferring more usable horsepower and torque to the rear tires through a unique direct-drive disc clutch system much like the ones used in automobiles, farm tractors, etc. And, there's more high performance parts readily available for the IH Cub Cadet and Kohler engine than any other make of garden tractor or engine.
One of the most popular bodies to adapt onto an IH Cub Cadet frame is from certain models of John Deere garden tractors. The reason for this is many pullers like the John Deere so well, but sometimes they can't out-pull a Cub Cadet. So they create a "generic" John Deere garden tractor. That's when the John Deere body parts are integrated onto a Cub Cadet frame. The Cub Cadet frames that's suitable for the John Deere body parts are: 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 147 (narrow frames; because these models have the tall center section), and any wide or spread frame model. If the JD body parts are installed correctly and the entire tractor is painted the traditional JD green and yellow, the tractor will have the appearance of a genuine John Deere, but the pulling components and power of a Cub Cadet. Many pullers do this. Like the old saying goes: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
Ever noticed at the pulls, how many genuine Cub Cadets show up, but very few John Deeres (or is it pronounced "John Deere"? hmmm) are there? With a generic John Deere doing well at the pulls, this puts the Deere name out front. Hence, "Nothing runs like a Deere!" But nothing pulls like a Cub Cadet!
One thing about the Cub Cadet is, they're so versatile! It's so easy to adapt wheelie bars, an adjustable pulling hitch, and many other things to these tractors without having to make any major modifications to the frame.
Of course, the body components of other makes and models of popular garden tractors, such as Wheel Horse, etc., can be integrated onto a Cub Cadet frame as well. It just takes some time and effort to figure out how to adapt the parts so it'll look original.
Most rules require "a garden tractor frame." Therefore, most pullers prefer to use the later model "wide" and "spread" Cub Cadet frames. They're strongest frames for use with a high horsepower engine. They're more rigid and flex less than the older narrow frames. Frame flex absorbs horsepower and torque, which must be transferred to the ground through the rear tires. The "wide" frame were originally manufactured to make room for the small gear starter and large flywheel on the K241-K341 single cylinder Kohler engine. And the "spread" frame were originally manufactured for a twin cylinder engine, but a single cylinder Kohler engine can be easily installed with no adjustments.
The manufacturer didn't exactly design the Cub Cadet (or virtually any garden tractor) to be fitted with a powerful engine, being weighted down, using 26-12.00x12 cut tread tires and pulling several thousand pounds of stubborn weight with. Therefore, it's necessary to "beef up" the engine, drivetrain, transaxle and chassis to be truly competitive and to keep parts from breaking. If you're wanting to win, you might as well build it to win!
Personally, I think it's best to convert a Cub Cadet (or any garden tractor) that's dilapidated or near to being a "piece of junk" into a pulling tractor. Because it'll be a shame to convert a nice looking, fully functional and useful mowing/utility tractor into strictly a pulling tractor. Besides, for it to be truly competitive, the entire tractor, including the engine, drivetrain, transaxle and chassis, will all need to be completely disassembled, reinforced and rebuilt/built-up from the ground up or from scratch. So why not do it with something that will need to be totally rebuilt anyway? Because if it's not rebuilt/built-up now or before the pull(s), you may be wishing it was. And don't be surprised or disappointed when (not if) changes will need to be made to the tractor so it'll be more competitive. This is part of the learning process, using the latest technology, being competitive and enjoying the sport.
For new high performance parts and used Cub Cadet tractors/engines, check out these Vendors. By the way - know what out-pulls a Cub Cadet? Another Cub Cadet! Of course, other makes and models of garden tractors are competitive, too.
(Cub Cadet) tractor will need 23-10.50x12 lug tires (rear), 4.10/3.50-4 (front) tires; a 10" drawbar height. Therefore, due to less stress on the rear end with the small tires and low drawbar height, can use a stock clutch assembly with the stock carrier and coarse spline axles. Weight of tractor will be either 950 or 1,000 lbs. w/driver. A stock 4,000 RPM K241 Kohler engine can be used. (Low budget build.) And depending on power output of engine, the tractor may be able to pull in the stock 19 tooth 2nd gear. A lightweight and easy-to-start sled will also be required for this particular class of tractor.
How to Make a Hydrostatic Drive Garden Tractor a Competitive Pulling Tractor -
Replace the OEM Cub Cadet Charge Pump Relief Spring (by-pass/pressure relief spring) with one that's twice as stiff or much stiffer than the original so when the tractor (hydrostatic system) is under a severe strain, oil pressure will not by-pass the hydraulic motor and return or circulate back to the hydraulic pump. In other words, doing this will allow much more oil pressure to be applied to the hydraulic motor. On Cub Cadet models with a PORTED pump, the Charge Pump Relief Spring is located under the plug on the LEFT SIDE of the hydrostatic pump housing. And on NON-PORTED pumps, the spring is located under the plug in the CENTER of the hydrostatic pump housing. See pictures below. Also, the use of [heavier velocity] SAE 30 weight hydraulic oil will help increase the pressure. And the tractor will definitely need a healthy or bigger engine, preferably one that's built to the max to increase the torque. By the way - I don't know which spring works the best. You'll just have to shop around for one that works.
Any hydrostatically-driven IH or MTD Cub Cadet or the belt-driven with a Briggs & Stratton engine IH Cub Cadet models 482, 582 Special and 1100 can be converted for use with the direct clutch driveshaft, IH transaxle and cast iron block Kohler engine. All that's needed is a dilapidated donor IH Cub Cadet clutch-drive garden tractor to make the change-over, as long as the frames on the donor and recipient tractors match. IE: a narrow frame for a narrow frame, a wide frame for a wide frame and a spread frame for a spread frame. The transaxles for all IH and early MTD Cub Cadets are basically the same, rather if it's an internal or external brake design. The bolt holes in the hydrostatic drive and clutch drive tractor frames are the same, too. The clutch/driveshaft components from the donor tractor must also match the frame of the recipient tractor. For example: to convert a hydrostatically-driven IH Cub Cadet wide frame model 109, 129, 149, 1250, 1450 or 1650 or belt-driven 482, 582 Special and 1100 into a direct clutch drive, the complete clutch assembly with the throw-out bearing release lever and cross bracket, and transaxle/brake components from either an IH Cub Cadet model 86, 108, 128, 800, 1000 or 1200 must be used. Most all IH-built Cub Cadet garden tractors come from the factory with a cast iron block Kohler K-series engine and IH-built cast iron case transaxle. And almost every late model spread frame Cub Cadet that's made by either IH or MTD are hydrostatically driven, with the exception of models 582, 1050, 1535, 1606 and 1806, which are all clutch driven with a durable MTD-built aluminum case transaxle.
I've visited many small engine repair shops around Missouri looking to purchase hard to find used parts, and I've noticed that VERY FEW of them have a platform table for repairing riding mowers, etc. They all perform the repairs on small engine equipment directly on the floor! It's not a lot of fun crawling around on the dirty floor everyday working on things. In a place of business, I don't think this looks good when a customer walks in and sees the repairman like this either. A professional place of business would use a platform work table. A platform table sure beats building, servicing, maintaining or repairing equipment directly on the floor! It also saves your clothes from getting dirty crawling around on the floor. And as you grow older, your sore legs and aching back will appreciate this table! I think it's a very valuable shop item! Most work can be done a lot quicker when working on things on a table. I believe that every professional small engine repair shop should have one!
Build the table so it will be 2 feet from the floor of minimum 3/16" x 2" x 2" angle steel for the legs and main frame work, and 1/8" x 1" x 1" angle steel for bracing of the legs. And for riding mowers, garden tractors, ATVs, UTVs, etc. with a standard length wheelbase, make the platform size 42" wide x 72" long of 3/4" CCA-treated plywood to prevent deterioration and rotting if used and/or stored outdoors. But for garden pulling tractors with a longer wheelbase and/or mini-rods, etc., make the platform 4ft. wide x 8ft. long of 3/4" CCA-treated plywood. Install a wheel stop on the table made of sturdy, 3" or 4" tall angled steel to prevent the tractor (or whatever), from rolling off the front of the table.
Use two sturdy loading ramps to load and unload the tractor (or whatever) on and off the table. Make the ramps of 6 x 12 x 8ft. long #1 grade straight-grain lumber (no knots). Use CCA-treated lumber to prevent deterioration and rotting if used and stored outdoors. Fasten a strip of expanded wire mesh on each ramp for traction to prevent tire slippage when driving the vehicle on and off the ramps. (Wet wood can be hazardous to drive on.) Fasten on the end of each ramp, a metal ramp end, made of 3/16" x 8" wide x 12" long flat steel slightly bent to match the level of the table for smooth and unobstructed loading and unloading of a riding mower with a mower deck. For safety purposes, drill two [3/8"] holes in each ramp end and the end of the table to secure the ramps to the table with 3/8" bolts or pins to prevent the ramps from "kicking out" when driving up on the ramps. (The same can be done with the tailgate of a truck.) To "stiffen" the ramps and prevent sagging under a heavy load, fasten an 1/8" x 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 7ft. long angle steel under each ramp from excessive bending or possibly breaking when loading and unloading a mini-rod or any heavy [small] vehicle on and off the table. For additional support, place a concrete cinder block or large wooden square block midway of each ramp. Remember - SAFETY FIRST! And use a quality-made chain hoist connected to a sturdy overhead beam or gantry crane (if used outdoors) to raise the front or rear of the tractor (or whatever) to perform repairs underneath.
I have NEVER repaired any lawn and garden equipment or pulling tractor directly on the floor in my shop. I built two other 30" x 42" work tables that stands at waist-high for repairing walk-behind mowers, rebuilding small engines, etc. I installed bed-rail angle iron around the perimeter of this table so lawn mowers won't roll off and other things fall off the edge of the table and get damaged or lost.
Unlike the IH and early MTD Cub Cadets, and most other makes and models of vintage garden tractors, most so-called garden tractors that's built nowadays won't be in use 30-40 years from now. They're just not built with true quality nowadays. This is a well-known and proven fact. The older Cub Cadets and most other makes and models of vintage garden tractors were built back in the day when most manufacturers took pride in their products. Nowadays, it's all about American businesses making more money with Chinese negotiations. If you ever restore an old Cub Cadet or other make and model of vintage garden tractor, so it's fully operational, you'd probably fall in love with the heavy duty quality of it. Because I think any new garden tractor that's build nowadays cannot match the durability and capabilities of the older Cub Cadets or most other make and model of vintage garden tractors. Besides, International Harvester builds big farm tractors and semi-trucks, and they put all that heavy duty technology into their smaller products. Once you use an older Cub Cadet or other make and model of vintage garden tractor for whatever purpose, you'd be reluctant to use anything else. The quality is unmatched to "stamped steel, recycled junk" that's available nowadays. I think Cub Cadet is the "Chevrolet" of garden pulling tractors (you know what I mean ). If you do find an older Cub Cadet or other make and model of vintage garden tractor, and despite the condition it's in, just remember that chances are, it's worth repairing or restoring. It'll be like restoring an old Chevrolet (again, you know what I mean ).
In my area, central Missouri, the used lawn mower business isn't what it used to be. Since the Walmart Super Centers, Lowes and Home Depot came to town and offer store credit, a lot of people no longer purchase a reconditioned lawn mower or have their old one repaired. They just buy a new lawn mower and make low monthly payments on it.
IH Cub Cadet Garden Tractor Serial Numbers-to-Date Manufactured, up to 1981.
|Model of Tractor
(Click links for identification of tractor.)
|Serial Numbers||Dates Built|
|International Cub Cadet "Original" This model has a K141 [6¼hp] Kohler engine with a starter/generator, 16 tooth 2nd gear; internal dry band axle brake, 3/8" wide drive belt-to-pulley/clutch-disc driveshaft and bolted implements. This is the very first Cub Cadet model that IH manufactured from 1960 to 1963. That is why it's called the "Original". It also has no model number.||501 to 65547||1960-8/63|
|70, 100 These models have a K161 (7hp) , K241 (10hp)  Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/short center section; both of these are clutch driven with an internal brake; 16 tooth 2nd gear.||65458 to 127160||8/63-8/65|
102 These models have a K161 (7hp) , K241 (10hp)
 Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame; 71 w/short center
section; 102 w/tall center section; both of these are clutch driven with
an internal brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
122 This model has a K301 (12hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; clutch drive with internal brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
|127161 to 218009||8/65-11/67|
|123 This model has a K301 (12hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; hydrostatic drive with an internal brake.||157490 to 218009||6/66-11/67|
|72 This model has a K161 (7hp) Kohler engine with
a starter/generator; narrow frame w/short center section; clutch drive; internal
brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
104 This model has a K241 (10hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; clutch drive; internal brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
105 This model has a K241 (10hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; hydrostatic drive; internal brake.
124 This model has a K301 (12hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; clutch drive; internal brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
125 This model has a K301 (12hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; hydrostatic drive; internal brake.
|218010 to 306085||11/67-08/69|
|73 This model has a K161 (7hp) Kohler engine with
a starter/generator; narrow frame w/short center section; clutch drive; internal
brake; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
106 This model has a K10hp Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; clutch drive; external brakes; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
107 This model has a K10hp Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; hydrostatic drive; external brakes.
126 This model has a K12hp Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; clutch drive; external brakes; 19 tooth 2nd gear.
127 This model has a K12hp Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; hydrostatic drive; external brakes.
|307000 to 400000||08/69-08/71|
|147 This model has a K321 (14hp) Kohler engine with a starter/generator; narrow frame w/tall center section; [frame factory widened for an engine with the larger 9½" flywheel and shroud, but never was installed]; hydrostatic drive; external brakes.||316816 to 400000||11/69-08/71|
|86, 108, 109, 128, 129, 149, 169 These models have a K181 (8hp) , K241 (10hp) [108, 109], K301 (12hp) [128, 129], K321 (14hp)  and K341 (16hp)  Kohler engine. They have a starter/generator; wide frame, a solid mounted engine, mechanical PTO clutch. Models 86, 108 and 128 are clutch driven, external brakes w/17 tooth 2nd gear, the others are hydrostatically driven.||400001 to 529811||09/71-10/74|
|800 This tractor is considered a "Quiet Line" model. Has a K181 (8hp) Kohler engine with a gear starter; alternator charging system, clutch drive, wide frame; ISO-mounted engine; external brakes, electric PTO clutch; 17 tooth 2nd gear.||5300001 to 572876||10/74-1/76|
|1100 This tractor was an economy model of the "Quiet Line" era. It was the only spread frame model to use an ISO-mounted 11hp Briggs & Stratton horizontal shaft single cylinder engine; belt drive with a 2300 series Peerless transaxle.||
Serial numbers unknown
|1000, 1200, 1250, 1450, 1650 These tractors are considered "Quiet Line" models. They have a K241 (10hp) , K301 (12hp) [1200, 1250], K321 (14hp)  and K341 (16hp)  Kohler engine. They have ISO-mounted rubber motor mounts to reduce engine vibration throughout the tractor for operator comfort. The engine is enclosed with side panels. It also has a gear starter; alternator charging system, wide frame, external brakes, electric PTO clutch, an enclosed engine compartment, and it has an oblong shaped air cleaner assembly that draws air through the flywheel shroud for less noise. Models 1000 and 1200 are clutch driven w/17 tooth 2nd gear, the others are hydrostatically driven. The "Quiet Line" model tractors with serial # 632502 and later were equipped with 1" diameter front spindles.||5300001 to 664996||10/74-9/79|
|482 This tractor was also an economy model. It has an ISO-mounted 11hp Briggs & Stratton horizontal shaft engine; belt drive with a 2300 series Peerless transaxle; spread frame; red in color.||665001 to 688742||9/79-2/81|
|582 This tractor has a 16hp Briggs & Stratton
horizontal shaft twin cylinder engine; clutch drive with an IH transaxle;
spread frame; solid-mounted engine; red in color, external brakes; 17 tooth
582 Special This tractor was too, an economy model. It has a 16hp Briggs & Stratton horizontal shaft twin cylinder engine; belt drive with a 2300 series Peerless transaxle; spread frame; solid-mounted engine; red in color.
682, 782 The 682 has a 19.9hp Onan twin cylinder engine, and the 782 has a Diesel engine; both are hydrostatic drive; spread frame; solid-mounted engine; red in color, internal brakes.
|665001 to 700000||9/79-4/81|
|1282 This model has a K301 (12hp) Kohler engine;
hydrostatic drive; spread frame; ISO-mounted engine; red in color, internal
982 This model came with either an Onan or Diesel engine; hydrostatic drive; spread frame; ISO-mounted engine; red in color, external brakes; 7.6" longer wheelbase than previous models.
|665001 to 688712||9/79-2/81|
The IH Cub Cadet production ended and the line was sold to MTD/Cub Cadet
Corporation in June 1981.
The serial number is located in one of the following locations...
NOTE: The model number of the tractor represents horsepower of the engine, and if it's clutch or hydrostatic drive. Odd numbers are hydrostatic (fluid) drive, and even numbers are clutch (mechanical) drive. Example: Model 104 has a K241 (10hp) engine with a clutch drive transaxle, model 105 has a K241 (10hp) engine with a hydrostatically driven transaxle, model 122 has a K301 (12hp) engine with a gear drive transaxle, model 123 has a K301 (12hp) engine with a hydrostatically driven transaxle, etc. The only exceptions are models 71 and 73. They have a K161 (7hp) engine, but they're both gear drive. Why that is, I have no idea.
The "wide" frame models can only accept a single cylinder engine. The "spread" frame models can accept either a single cylinder or a twin cylinder engine because the frame rails were made wider and they lay down more to clear the cylinders of a flathead twin opposed cylinder engine.
FYI - As far as a single cylinder Kohler Magnum engine in a Cub Cadet is concerned, only the single cylinder Kohler K-series engines was installed in IH-built Cub Cadet garden tractors at the factory. No IH-built Cub Cadet garden tractor came from the factory with a single cylinder Magnum engine. When Kohler ended production of their K-series engines, and redesigned them into the Magnum engines in 1979, they wouldn't fit in the narrow or wide frame Cub Cadets. So instead of Cub Cadet redesigning the frame of their tractors to accommodate the single cylinder Magnum engines, they made the spread frame models instead and mainly used the twin cylinder flathead engines in them. Only a few remaining new old stock single cylinder K-series engines was installed in certain spread frame models after 1979. When the stock ran out, Cub Cadet ended production of those models. That's why there wasn't too many of the spread frames made.
MTD/Cub Cadet Corporation Garden/Super Garden Tractor Serial Numbers to Date Manufactured, from 1982 to 1997.
|Model of Tractor
All models below have a spread frame, are yellow and white in color and are hydrostatically driven except where specified. The clutch drive models have an MTD aluminum case transaxle. Models w/serial number 719999 and below have internal brakes, and models w/serial number 720000 and up have external caliper brakes. Click links for identification of tractor.
(Use last six numbers)
|482 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 Special (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 680, 682, 782, 784, 982 (Onan engine), 984, 986, 1282||700000 to 712899||1982|
|482 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 Special (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 680, 682, 782, 784, 982 (Onan; hydrostatic drive), 984, 986, 1282||712900 to 724524||1983|
|482 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 580 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 582 Special (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 680, 682, 782 (KT17 Series 1 engines installed with serial number 726124 and below; KT17 Series 2 engines installed with serial number 726125 and up), 784, 882 (Diesel), 982 (Onan), 984, 986, 1282||724525 to 737624||1984|
|1210, 1282, 1512, 1604 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 1604 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1606 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1710, 1711, 1712, 1912, 1914||737625 to 747224||1985|
|1210, 1512, 1604 (belt drive/Peerless transaxle), 1604 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1606 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1810, 1811, 1812, 1912, 1914||747225 to 756299||1986|
|1204, 1210, 1211, 1512, 1572, 1806 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1810, 1811, 1812, 1872, 2072||756300 to 766351||1987|
|1204, 1210, 1211, 1572, 1806 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1810, 1811, 1812, 1872, 2072||767352 to 779096||1988|
|1050 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1210, 1211, 1772 (Diesel), 1806 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1810, 1811, 1812, 1872, 2072||779097 to 799999||1989|
|1340, 1535 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1541, 1782, 1860, 1862, 1882, 2082, 2182||800000 to 811671||1990|
|1340, 1535 (disc clutch drive; 17 tooth 2nd gear), 1541, 1782, 1860, 1862, 1882, 2082, 2182||811672 to 821059||1991|
|1440, 1641, 1782, 1861, 1862, 2082, 2182||821101 to 836000||1992|
|1440, 1641, 1782, 1863, 1864, 2082, 2182||836001 to 851000||1993|
|1440, 1641, 1782, 1863, 1864, 2084, 2182||851001 to 864500||1994|
|1440, 1641, 1782, 1863, 1864, 2182, 2284||864501 to 880000||1995|
|1440, 1641, 1782, 1863, 1864, 2086, 2284||880001 to 889000||1996|
|1440, 1641, 1863, 1864, 2086, 2284||889001 to 899000||1997|
|The above are the last of the "true garden tractors" with the heavy duty, traditional IH-designed frame. See this website for more information: Cub Cadet Garden Tractor by International Harvester Unofficial Home Page.|
A "V" belt will rob an engine of power simply because it "rubs" in the pulleys due to friction and that's how they grip to transmit power. If you were to place the transmission in neutral with the engine at a slow idle on a belt drive mower/garden tractor, then release the clutch pedal, you'll notice that the engine will slow down some. The tighter the belt, the slower the engine will idle. That's why V belts are noisy on some older automobiles. And that's also why auto manufacturers nowadays use a single serpentine belt to drive all the power accessories. Serpentine belts robs an engine of less power and it helps to get better fuel mileage. Direct drive Cub Cadets use no belts in the drive train. This means no power loss whatsoever.
Although sometimes a belt drive tractor will do very well in the stock class(es), they tend to lag behind in the higher horsepower class(es). But if you really like your V belt tractor and want to be a competitive puller in the higher horsepower classes, you'll have to adapt your V belt garden tractor fenders, hood, grill, etc., onto a Cub Cadet frame and drive train.
But if a belt-driven garden tractor is used for pulling (that's obviously going to be used in a stock class), the things to keep the drive belt from slipping are:
For competitive pulling, certain belt-drive transaxles are not geared "just right" to provide the proper ground speed needed to balance engine power/torque with traction (according to track conditions). One gear may be slightly too fast and another too slow. Unfortunately, there are no aftermarket gears available for most belt-drive transaxles (excluding the Cub Cadet "Original"). So to create an "in-between speed," to increase the ground speed of a belt-driven tractor, a slightly larger diameter pulley will need to be installed on the engine and/or a slightly smaller diameter pulley will need to be installed on the transaxle. To slow the tractor down or decrease the ground speed, do the opposite. A different length belt may need to be used. Actually, in the stock class, it's best to pull with an older garden tractor that have a variable speed drive. The variable speed drive works much like a manually-operated belt-drive torque converter. These tractors have a hand-operated lever that can speed up or slow down the tires when the engine is over- or under-powered according to track conditions. Cub Cadet pullers that have problems competing against these type of tractors call this lever a "cheat stick."
If the drive belt flies off the engine pulley at high RPM - Top of page
To prevent this from happening, fabricate and install two heavy belt guides so the belt will stay on the pulley. Make the guides L shape, from mild steel, 3/16" thick x 1" wide x whatever length they need to be. Then with the tension tight on the belt, fasten the guides to the engine block (or tractor frame) close as possible to the drive pulley with the long part of the guide spaced 1/8" from the outside edge of the belt. Position one guide over the belt where it goes onto the pulley and the other guide under the belt where it comes off the pulley. Secure them in place so they won't slip. I've done this many times with my customer's riding mowers and garden tractors drive and driven pulleys and mower deck pulleys, and if installed correctly, it works great!
The Differences Between a Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Lawn & Garden Tractor, and Garden Tractor - (Click links below to Google pictures.) Top of page
To start out in pulling, an ordinary riding mower or lawn & garden tractor can be used for tractor pulling. People do it all the time. Just remember that the sled will need to be lightweight and the tractors will need a low hitch height (below the centerline of the rear axle) to prevent from breaking the transaxle and they'll need wheelie bars for safety.
A-1 Miller's Performance Enterprises | 1501 W. Old Plank Rd. | Columbia, MO (Missouri) 65203-9136 USA | Phone: 1-573-256-0313 (shop) | 1-573-881-7229 (cell). Please call Monday-Friday , except holidays, 9am to 5pm, Central time zone. If no answer, please try again later. (When speaking with Brian, please be patient because I stutter.) A-1 Miller's shop is open to the public from 9am to 5pm, including weekends , except holidays. Please call before coming so I'll be here waiting for your arrival. Fax: 1-573-449-7347. E-mail: email@example.com. Directions to our shop | 1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO - Google Maps or Map of 1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO by MapQuest. If you're the kind of person who don't trust delivery/shipping companies (mis)handling your high-dollar and fragile merchandise, you can always make the long drive to A-1 Miller's shop to personally drop off and/or pick up your engine, transaxle, tractor, etc. "The road to a friend's house (or shop) is never long."
To place an order, please call the number below Ê or send an email with your name, complete and correct postal address and phone number and so I can figure the total with shipping cost and USPS Tracking. For payment options for parts ordered or services performed, or to make a donation to my websites, I accept cash (in person), USPS Postal Money Orders, cashier's checks, business checks, MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express (please add 2.5% to the total for the credit/debit card processor's surcharge), Western Union Money Transfer, MoneyGram Money Transfers or Popmoney. (If a part for a specific purpose is special ordered, your debit/credit card may be charged for the full amount or as a deposit right after your order is placed; please do not send your debit/credit card information in email!) Or you can pay me through PayPal. (My PayPal account name is my email address. And be sure to mention in PayPal a description of what the payment is for.) If sending a money order, please include a note in the envelope with your name, complete and correct postal address, phone number and a description of what the payment is for. My mailing address and phone number are below Ê . I'll make a note of your order, and I may have to order some of the parts, which should take a few days to come in, but I will send the parts to you as soon as I have everything in stock after I receive your payment.
IMPORTANT - When sending your part(s) to me for rebuilding or repair, package everything securely so the item(s) won't get damaged in shipping and please include a note in the box with your name, mailing address, phone number (in case I have any questions) and a description of what you want done. When shipping heavy parts, it's best to put a slightly smaller box inside a larger box, to double the strength and integrity of the package. Because the clumsy "gorillas" or incompetent and uncaring workers that work for certain delivery services mishandle the heavy packages and don't care. And when the work is completed, I'll either call or email you an invoice with the total including shipping and handling.
To figure the shipping cost, I weigh the package with the parts, then I go online to the USPS Postage Rate Calculator website. I type in the weight, my zip code and your zip code, then it shows me the prices for various ways to ship the package. I always choose US Postal Service because I believe that's the most fastest, economical and reliable method.
Shipping: (United States and it's territories)
To save you shipping charges, item(s) in a package or cushioned envelope weighing less than 13 oz. is sent by First Class Mail for a 2-6 day delivery. Most packaged item(s) weighing over 13 oz. is sent by US Priority Mail for a 2-3 day delivery. To save you even more on shipping heavy items, I always try to use the US Postal Services' Flat Rate Priority Mail envelope and boxes (if the item(s) can fit inside the envelope or boxes). Some heavy items weighing no more than 70 lbs. is sent by US Mail Parcel Post. Item(s) weighing over 70 lbs. is sent by FedEx Ground. Again, if you're the kind of person who don't trust delivery/shipping companies (mis)handling your high-dollar and fragile merchandise, you can always make the long drive to A-1 Miller's shop to personally drop off and/or pick up your engine, transaxle, tractor, etc.
We Ship to Canada and Worldwide
Item(s) in a package or cushioned envelope weighing less than 1 lb. is sent by US Postal Service Airmail Letter Post for a 4-7 days delivery. Packaged item(s) weighing over 1 lb. and up to 66 lb. is sent by US Postal Service Airmail Parcel Post for a 4-10 days delivery. I cannot use the US Postal Services' Flat Rate Priority Mail envelopes and boxes to ship outside U.S. territories. Item(s) weighing over 67 lbs. or more is sent by FedEx Ground or equivalent services.
To make a payment to me through PayPal, go to PayPal's secure website ( https://www.paypal.com/ ) and click on Send and Request -> Pay for goods or services. Type in my email address, or copy and paste this: firstname.lastname@example.org, the amount and follow the directions. Be sure to mention in PayPal a description of what the payment is for. After you've finished, PayPal will send me an email notifying me that you have made a payment to me for the product(s) or services and amount entered. Then I go to their website and direct PayPal to deposit the money in my bank account. And I will send the parts to you as soon as I receive your payment. But I may have to order some of the parts if they're not in stock, which should take a few days. In that case, I will send you the parts as soon as they come in. PayPal protects your financial privacy and security. With PayPal, privacy is built in. It's a way for you to pay without exposing their financial information.
|If you wish to have your Kohler stock or pulling engine tested on
(dyno), please contact A-1 Miller's Performance Enterprises | 1501 W. Old
Plank Rd. | Columbia, MO (Missouri) 65203-9136 USA |
Phone: 1-573-256-0313 (shop)
| 1-573-881-7229 (cell). Please call Monday-Friday, except holidays, 9am
to 5pm, Central time zone. If no answer, please try again later. (When
speaking with Brian, please be patient because I stutter.) A-1 Miller's
shop is open to the public from 9am to 5pm, including weekends, except holidays.
Please call before coming so I'll be here waiting for your arrival.
Directions to our shop |
1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO - Google Maps or
Map of 1501 West Old Plank
Road, Columbia, MO by MapQuest. If you're the kind of person who
don't trust delivery/shipping companies (mis)handling your high-dollar and
fragile merchandise, you can always make the
long drive to A-1 Miller's shop
to personally drop off and/or pick up your engine, transaxle, tractor, etc.
"The road to a friend's house (or shop) is never long."
A-1 Miller's Fully Computerized Stuska Water Brake Engine Dynamometer (Dyno) Service with DPM Data Logger Software!
For performance testing engines up to 200hp at speeds up to 12,000 RPM. The only engine dyno service in Missouri for Kohler pulling engines! Now set up and fully operational, customers can rent dyno time, fine tune and make adjustments or changes to their engines for maximum horsepower and torque, and print-out the results so their tractor(s) will be truly competitive on the track. NOTE: A fresh-built engine may not produce full power until it's broke-in. This is when the valves wear-in with the seats to completely seal in the compression. The rings will likely hold the compression, but the valves may leak slightly until they wear into the seats. This is normal for all engines and may take several hours or pulls to happen, then the valves will be able to hold full compression. Lots of pullers tell me after I've built their engines that it seems to pull stronger every time they pull it.
Engine Dyno Rental Fee: $30.00 per hour run time from the moment the engine is started. No setup fee for Cub Cadet engines with a 3- or 6-pin/stud clutch driver. An adapter may need to be needed or fabricated for other makes and models of engines. Only engines with the narrow base oil pan can be tested. Engines with the wide base (tall) oil pan cannot be tested at this time.
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