Rebuilding question

Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:46 am

I see in another post some of you are suggesting that Mike do the rebuild himself.

I have never tore into an engine. (Did take a shop class way back in HS but have forgot all that).

I belong to a tractor club and we are starting to rebuild our second tractor (an Oliver) so I have learned a little there. I don't really think of myself as very mechanically minded. But find if I have good direction, I can do most things.

Do you REALLY think someone like me could rebuild an engine? Sometimes I don't even know WHAT to ask or even the proper name of a part.

I would love to try, I have most tools and what I don't have I could get from the club. But I still hesitate.

What do you think. If I where to do this, I would start shopping for another cubby or lowboy. AND THEN YOU GUY"S WOULD BE IN FOR A WHOLE LOT OF STUPID NOVICE QUESTIONS FOR A OVER 40 NOVICE :? :shock:

Please don't hold back, if you think it would be silly to try, tell me.


Tue Feb 01, 2005 9:58 am

Guy, there is no better way to learn than doing it yourself. Buying a project tractor is a great idea. You will be amazed at the confidence building that occurs when you do-it-yourself. I'm sure you will hear comments from guys on the board who felt the same way you do. Cubs are about as straightforward as you can get and easy to work on. You have your friends in the club and on the board to guide you through it. Then you will be able to stand back and say "Look at what I did!" instead of "Boy! I wish I would have....."

Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:11 am

As far as stupid and dumb questions go. The only stupid one is the one you thought of and did not ask!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:00 am

Go for it. Your tractor club will be able to provide technical and mechanical advice.

When you purchase a tractor (or another tractor) make sure that it's complete (all there) and running. Tracking down missing parts is time consuming and the individual parts are expensive.

1) Take your time, lots of time. You can do it.

2) Pick up a shop manual on your tractor.

3) For you first overhaul, suggest that you purchase one of the older Cub Cadet lawn tractors (get one with a hydrostat transaxle). If you look around you can find one for a few hundered dollars. Engine parts for the Kohler are available at the local auto parts store. I'm currently overhauling two Kohler 10 HP engines. Total cost of the overhaul parts including piston, exhaust valve and gasket set is right at $100- per engine.

Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:10 am


I have no doubt that you will be able to handle it. I for one am mechanically challenged and I was in the process of tearing into Jethro's mill. Ifn I can do it anyone can.

Look at the plus sides of this.

1. You have all the knowledge available on Cubs available to you right here. SO no matter what problem you run into, there is someone or a number of someone's who have been there, done that, and their Cubs are running tip top shape.

2. You have access to all kinds of mechanically skilled people in your tractor club. They will be able to help with the hands on stuff.

3. You have access to the Service Manuals and the Parts Manuals. Print out the Part's Manual pages - that way you can have instant access to the correct part number and nomenclature which is a big bonus. Print out the sections of the Service Manual that you need to deal with. Keep them close by in the shop and consult these tomes often. Another side benefit is you don't get grease on your brand new ones from Binders.

Boy, do I wish we had a tractor club here.....

Go for it Guy :!: You will be able to handle it, I have no doubts..

Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:15 am

I think you should do it. I'm rebuilding a '44 Farmall H (my first tractor), and like you, was a little hesitant to begin. But so far it's been a very enjoyable experience. I think the important part is knowing when to punt. That is to say, some things (valve refurbishing, crank turning) are just better left to the machine shop professionals. But, BD is right everyone here is very knowledgable and helpful, and no one will let you get too far out of your depth if you just ask the question.

Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:50 am

Guy; The main thing you need is desire if you have a strong desire and can read and follow directions you got it made Good luck

Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:24 pm

If you decide to do it yourself, here's a the cheapest digital camera you can find and take pictures of EVERYTHING. That way, if you have to ask for advice from the members of the Board, you can just post the appropriate pic to show them. As they picture is worth a thousand words. Lots of times the guys can see a pic and tell you what to do right away.

Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:40 pm


My dad used to say "A faint heart never won a fair lady". Follow the other suggestions and get the manuals :!:
Have fun, you won't regret it :!: 8)

Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:47 pm

Also Guy, Don't forget you have a fellow cubber Hullic just nort of you a cuple miles. "Jack"

Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:16 am

Without a doubt you can. I was 16, my first car being a 1955 Ford with a 2 speed automatic and a blown engine. I had only ever once put on a set of drum brakes and a thermostat before. Though asking many questions from a always willing set of mechanical guys and different pubs, I converted this car to a standard shift, replaced the engine, blew up that one, got another block and completely rebuilt it and had a car that ran like a bat out of .....well it was fast. And I was 16. Get the manuals and don't be afraid to ask a few questions. After all, you got the guys at on you side.

Dan Stuckey
US ARMY Middle East- Qatar

Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:41 am

Thanks for all the posts guys.

Just a note:
I already have most manuals. (Bought them when I got the '55)

I have a digital camera, but may want to get a cheapy one since this one is for business and is pretty nice.

I do have a third stall on my garage that I could clear out and use for space. Plus last year I built a little 12x20 steel shed (just for the cub).

Are there any "learn how" type of books I should get? Or is it more of a tear it down, record it, ask questions, lot's of questions type of thing.

And lastly, start looking for a cubby that needs a little help. I know asking that on this board may be like asking a hungry pack of wolves for a bag lunch, :wink: but hey if you see or hear about something let me know.

Oh and Jack, if I wind up doing this, I KNOW we will have to get together!!


Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:41 am


There's this old joke about asking your barber if you need a haircut. I doubt any barber has ever said no. Of course you need to get another Cub to practice on!!!

Are there any "learn how" type of books I should get? Or is it more of a tear it down, record it, ask questions, lot's of questions type of thing.

The owner of the other Cub list, Spencer Yost, has written an excellent book with a good section on rebuilding. Look for 'Antique Tractor Bible'. Sorry, you can't have my complementary autographed copy.


Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:43 am

Thanks George,
I have seen that book, I 'll have to pick up a copy!


Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:55 am

You know where I learned how to rebuild an engine? I learned by reading a Time-Life how-to book on small engine repair. All the concepts and parts are the same; there are just four of most of 'em.