Rotavator rebuild

Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:26 pm

I have used my Howard Rotavator for about 3 seasons, now, and have been wanting to rebuild it for quite a while. It works great, but looks pretty rough, plus the oil leaks out in a matter of a few hours. I have been adding oil when ready to till the gardens each spring, and after the first winter I left it outside due to the oil running out. When I finished with it last summer I moved it to my gonna rebuild someday pile, and I finally got started on it last week. Here it is just out side the shop with the first parts off.

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And on it's way inside. I have been waiting to so this till I got the loader ready to use to make handling it easier. The loader will be real handy to clean up the mess too.

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I figured a picture of the tine layout might be good., the arrangement is not as simple as it looks.

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I stacked up some pallets to make working on it easier on my back, and started tearing down. It is all in a pile of parts now. The bearings themselves were good, but they are sealed bearings, and the seals hold the oil in the gear and chain boxes, and the seals are bad, so the only option is to replace them. I suspect the chain cover may have a hole worn in it also, but do not yet have it cleaned up enough to tell. the sprockets, chains, chain cover, and top gears are already in the parts washer. My hands were too messy to use the camera.

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P.S. the belt pulley is not part of it.
I did figure out that when your parts washer is outside, it is best to already have the door open when you start out with both hands full of greasy parts. :oops:

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:43 am

Man, i realy like that, do they work good? i would like to find one of those, do you know were i could find one? please keep the pics coming i would like to see it when you get it finshed. Thanks

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:42 am

Great progress John. The loader sure works great for moving the rotovator around doesn't it ? :!:

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:44 am

Way to go john.

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:56 am

Those tines you took off actually look in pretty good shape yet----save them!
They are better than the ones on mine right now

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:34 pm

Need Some Help wrote:Man, i realy like that, do they work good? i would like to find one of those, do you know were i could find one? please keep the pics coming i would like to see it when you get it finished. Thanks
They work good, but are slow and only take a 28 inch wide strip. They do strain a cub to the limits, to the point that if you let it down to fast it stalls the engine. It will work without the speed reducer, but you need it to do a proper job without making several passes. As to where to find one, I suggest patience and your life savings. :( I was lucky finding my speed reducer and tiller separately for reasonable prices, and for friends that made some necessary repairs I could not. normally the complete reducer is around 500 to 700, and a usable tiller about the same.

Todd W wrote:Those tines you took off actually look in pretty good shape yet----save them!
They are better than the ones on mine right now
They are only a couple years old, and will definitely be reused. Except for one that is, which was broken through one of the bolt holes when I removed it, and I plan to replace it rather than try to weld the high carbon steel.

Did anyone notice the little pile of white sand and the duct tape on the bag in the right side of this picture?

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I was removing the blades and throwing them into a pile and one of them bounced up and cut a hole in the side of the bag, which I did not notice for a couple of minutes.

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:20 am

[quote="John *.?-!.* cub owner

I was removing the blades and throwing them into a pile and one of them bounced up and cut a hole in the side of the bag, which I did not notice for a couple of minutes.[/quote]


Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. Will Rogers

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:27 am

So John...are those the replacement tines on there that come form the Howard walk behind?

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:39 am

Todd W wrote:So John...are those the replacement tines on there that come form the Howard walk behind?
yes, that is them, and are the same number you posted earlier.

One thing to consider, is that you need bolts for the tines that have an non threaded portion that is long enough to reach through the threads taking the shear force. It will be stronger and a tighter fit, and less apt to loosen and shear. The problem with this is that unless you can find some special bolts designed for that purpose, they will have a lot of excess threads making them a pain to remove later when dirty and rusty, unless you cut them off.

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:45 am

Thanks for the helpful heads up! What about buying bolts with non-threaded portion, and cutting the bolts short to fit, so only a few threads are exposed to rust?

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:57 am

John, what size bolts are needed?

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:49 pm

Todd W wrote:Thanks for the helpful heads up! What about buying bolts with non-threaded portion, and cutting the bolts short to fit, so only a few threads are exposed to rust?
That is what I plan to do, but will cut flush, so no threads are exposed, and paint the ends to reduce rust. At least until paint wears off.

They are 5/16 bolts, but to get the needed shoulder, I have only found 1 1/2 inch or longer.

Got the frame and parts pressure washed and ready to sand blast.

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Looks like the chain case has had some previous repair. Lower sprocket appears to be rubbing the case, and I will have to figure out what is going on with that.

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Re: Rotavator rebuild

Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:07 pm

John, that same repair was done on mine from chain wear, but mine is worse

Re: Rotavator rebuild

Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:27 pm

Got it primed today, all except for the chain case. That will wait till I figure out the rubbing problem, though I suspect it is a too lose chain. I primed the small stuff on one side and then rolled it outside and let it set, plus doing some other minor stuff around the shed, then brought the small stuff back in and primed the other side. Now it will set and harden a few days while I clean up and replace hardware as needed, and wait for bearings. The 2 on the tine shaft may be a pain to find.

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Note, that is red oxide primer, not 2150 red, but the flash makes the wet paint shine.

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Re: Rotavator rebuild

Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:44 am

Nice job John. Keep the pictures coming.