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so i am working on this mower and its in pretty good condition. some minor pitting underneath but still very, very solid; no holes or weak spots. i would say that i probably got one of the better C3's still floating around the "market" of used C3's. my question is about the deck flexing issues that people here have noted. the mower is in good condition and there are presently no cracks. i want to know if cracking is an issue only with badly rusted, thin decks or is it an issue with all of the decks, even the solid units. i would like to make this mower last me the rest of my life. i also have an issue with the front caster wheels, they are seized tight to the point where there is NO movement at all. i think im going to have to grind the cotter pins away and drive them apart, use my wire brush with my angle grinder, clean up the shafts really good and re-assemble. my tractor isnt going to be a "garage queen" or a "parade tractor", i actually consider it to be a form of neglect, these tractors were built to be used, so of course use them and when they do eventually wear out rebuild them. i know quite a few people that have spend lots of money on sub compacts and modern so called "garden tractors" and they dont have half the machine, some of these people own cubs just as a collectors toy, they dont actually use the cub they just keep it as a collectors item. one of my goals is to build a useful mower, one that is going to mow 2 acres per week. these tractors represent an era when america made proud things, we built the best stuff, now it is sourced mostly from the orient. keep 'em alive, working, and reminding people of what we used make as a nation is the biggest part of owning one of these jems i think. so this deck is being rebuilt with the intention of many years of regular use.
so what are the suggestions to make this mower really last. im removing all of the rust and old paint, going to paint it with rust-oleem primer and valspar IH red and i will spray it with an HVLP gun and not cheap rattle cans; should i use hardener? what is the most durable coating i could put underneath the deck? seems like my past experience is that anything that i put on a mower deck gets blasted off by the "grass blasting" abuse that the underside is exposed to. anything that will hold up to that kind of abuse or is keeping it clean the only way to protect it.
i only paid $120 for this implement, while i didnt get the mule drive or belly mower pulley with it; it wasnt rotted out and actually came with good belts, spindles, and rusty but good straight blades. the belly mower pulley, mule drive, and mower to tractor belt ran me another $175 so up to $300. figure fully rebuilt and on my tractor total cost somewhere around $4-500, which i dont think is too bad considering what i will end up with is a pretty decent deck for a farmall cub; not a cheap lawn tractor.
another thing i wonder about, will this tractor chew up my lawn mowing with the regular AG tires or am i going to have to buy a set of turfs; i know they made them.
I don't think coating or painting the underside of a mower deck is always necessary, I always take the time to spray off the underside after mowing with water, I think leaving the grass clippings underneath does the most damage, keep it clean and it will last for a long time.
In terms of tires, on the front you may opt for a smooth implement style tire to keep it from tearing up your yard from turning circles. On the rear, if your main use of the cub will be mowing then I would put turf tires on, otherwise keep the ag style. Just my opinion. Good luck, sounds like you are doing it right and heading in the correct direction.
I coated the bottom of my deck with POR 15. A 4 oz can is plenty. It does break down in UV light but underneath, I was not worried about that. It dries to a hard glossy finish that I think is easier to clean. Wear gloves and use a cheap throw-away brush.
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