Looking at a 154 need opinions

Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:41 pm

Just signed up today (will fill out the form this week and send it in).

Name's Jeff but everyone calls me Lizard. Anyway, my neighbor stopped by this last weekend and finally decided he was going to sell his 154 Lo-Boy that's been sitting behind his house for years and has offered it to me for $400.00. Here's what I know about it: He said that it had electrical issues but that it ran other than that (of course since I moved in the house behind him, it hasn't ran in almost 4 yrs for sure) It's around a 72-74 I believe, has a belly mower, no 3 point, grill frame is toast, other than that the body isn't in bad shape at all. I can turn the engine by the fan so it's not locked up. The radiator does have anti-freeze in it so that's a good sign for no cracked block. Tires are good, don't know if the hydraulics work for the deck or if the PTO can engage or not, since I can't start it. I noticed that the plug wire is missing between the distributor and the coil and a wire is disconnected by the voltage regulator??? by the starter/generator? He said I could pull the plugs and check them plus squirt some WD40 in the cylinders if I wanted to attempt to jump start it or at least see if it will crank over. Problem with pulling the plugs is there's so much crap laying around the plugs(rust chunks, dirt, etc..) I'm worried I won't get all of it cleared out of the way and it'll end up in the cylinders. Don't have a portable airtank that I could use to blow the stuff off the head and it's too far away from a electrical outlet to get my compressor for it. (Just had an idea, going to try a can of air spray for my keyboard when I get home. Maybe it'll be enough pressure to blow it clear so I can pull the plugs and inspect them plus squirt some lube in the cylinders.

I know photos would be helpful but I'm at work right now, I'll try to get some this evening and post them.

Since I've never looked into a IH Cubs before and definitely not a 154, wanted some opinions of what a fair price would be for a 154 that doesn't run and needs the front grill frame replaced(aftermarket $200.00). Not looking at wanting to spend $400.00 and dump another 1200.00 to get it running but understand that there will be some standard stuff that will need to be done right away (maintenance-PM) plus whatever is wrong electrical with it.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Is this a fair price?
Any other things I should check?
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Last edited by River Lizard on Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:38 pm


G'day and congrats :applause: on finding a Cub for $400.00. That is a very good price. If I had a shot at one for that price here it would have already been in my barn before I even posted that I found it :D So yeah, that is a very good price.

I do not have a lot of information on the Numbered Series Cubs but I do have some pretty basic stuff like the Cub-154 Owner's Manual and the TC-131 Parts Catalog Revision 8. Just click on these links.

Also there is a lot of resources available to our members, including the CubFest PhotoHost to upload pics to and link to your post. Simply follow the links below:

Image to Farmallcub.com :big smile: Forum Family. And you have come to the right place for all things Cub related. If you click on the Site Rules, Regulations, & Important Information, it will point you to :arrow: the Welcome Wagon wherein you will find links to many useful sites and topics. One of which is the Cub Manual Server. Enjoy!.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:47 pm

Thanks Rudi,

Going to attempt to attach a few photos of it right now...I made them 1024 x 800+ size, not sure if that will work or not...we'll soon see.
Last edited by River Lizard on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:33 pm

River Lizard wrote:Not looking at wanting to spend $400.00 and dump another 1200.00. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Like: Is this a fair price?
It's a fair price. Quite likely you will spend the $1200- and more to get the 154 in to mowing condition.

Units such as the PTO and starter/generator are expensive repairs. And then, since the tractor does not run, unknown what additional repairs are required or cost.

I recently purchased a running 154 for $500-. Engine in excellent condition. Hydraulics work. But, I need to repair or replace the PTO, repair the creeper gear, and currently in the process of repairing the the mower deck.

I have probably spent around $300- in parts already; tune up, battery, fluid change, $150 in mower deck parts. Winter project, little at a time, wouldn't surprise me if I have to put another $1500- to $2000- in the tractor.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:06 am

Eugene wrote:Units such as the PTO and starter/generator are expensive repairs.

What are we talking as far as rebuilt price for each of those items?

I could see spending the money on the tractor if it had a three point hitch and hydrualic connections front and back but as far as I can see it doesn't have much options for attachments. Is it just a mowing tractor? Is plowing not an option for it? Or grading the ground or driveway with a push blade? Does it have a granny gear for torque ?

What I'm wanting is an all around workhorse for my property, from plowing a garden to mowing to pushing material to having in the future a custom built front loader for it. I also have a couple of 24 ft boats on my property that I'd like to be able to move with tractor since it's a tight area where I'm parking them on my property.
I like the size of the 154 but is there another model that might fit my needs better? My JD 208 is just too small for me since I'm 6'4" I feel like I'm riding a kid's toy it's so small.
Thanks for any help

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:04 am

Here's the low down on the lo-boy. Basically a mowing machine (as setup). You can add a snow plow easily, and they can typically be found for $400 or less. With the high flotation rear tires, you'll need weight and chains to do any type of pushing snow or gravel. However, the better option would be to grab a set of the narrow, ag-tires like is on a standard Cub. They were also standard equipment on the lo-boy tractors, and those are around and easy to find as well. Also, as setup, this machine will easily pull around your 24' boats and work out very nicely for that. A simple bracket hitch either on the front or back will handle the boats. 1st gear is low enough to do any of the work listed above, with PLENTY of power.

Without the 3-point hitch, you won't be doing any field plowing, disking, cultivating. That's about all you're loosing with the hitch. They made a tiller, but they're hard to find and very $$$. The PTO on a lo-boy turns at engine speed, wrong direction, and the output shaft is smaller than a standard 540-rpm PTO, so there's basically nothing else you can run with it than a mower.

The creeper gear is not really needed unless you have a tiller or snow blower (also near impossible to find) so really, you're not loosing much by not having it.

Rebuilding the PTO is one of the more pricy items to deal with, but once done, it should last MANY years. You're probably talking $300 to rebuild it or buy a rebuilt one.

If you're just planning to get the machine running and operational, you're probably looking at another $500, and that may be on the high side.

Tune-up (fluids, belts, plugs, wires, cap, rotor) probably $100 to $150, but you have to do that on anything you buy, so probably shouldn't count this.

Fixing the electrical problem - rebuilding the starter/generator - $75 to $150. Replacing the voltage regulator $50. Anything else is probably a short or a disconnected wire (I'd start with the one you found off the VR), and is just going to be more annoying to find than costly.

If you want to go all the way, strip her down, install a new grill surround, paint, decals, etc., plan on spending $1000. Paint and the grill surround will be most of the cost. Honestly, that machine does not look bad at all, and I'd get her running good and usable long before I'd even think about taking her the next step. Don't worry about the beat up grill surround, most of the 154's out there are just like this one.

I'm like others, if it were my neighbors and could be had for $400, it would have been in my garage before I ever posted on here. The rear tires cost more than $400 to buy. That's a decent looking machine, and should be able to get running with minimal $$.

Front end loader...... Well, they made one for this machine, and it will handle it quite well. However, there are limitations. The hydraulic pump for the loader will run off the PTO, therefore you cannot run the mower and the loader at the same time. So, you're either looking at another machine for the loader (or mowing), or come to grips with a couple hour time needed to change out implements. I'm not sure I would factor this into the decision on this machine, unless you really need a loader now. Having used LOTS of front loaders on tracors, I can tell you that a loader on a machine that needs to have gears shifted just sucks! I'd be shopping for a more modern machine with foot controlled drive control and hydostatic transmission. Also, if you are planning to have one machine now, that mows and has the front loader, then I'd be looking at newer machines with loaders that walk on/off. I can have the FEL on my new Simplicity Legacy XL in about 3-minutes, regardless if the mower is on or not (it will work with the mower installed). The other day I had a load of mulch delivered, so I went to the barn (mower on the tractor), hooked up the loader (left the mower on the tractor), moved 4 yards of mulch, and went back and unhooked the loader, all in about 1-hour, then mowed the lawn. You'll NEVER do that with a lo-boy.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:28 am

Rudi wrote:Hamilton Bob specializes in used Numbered Series Cub parts and is very good to deal with.
You can price major parts on Hamilton Bob's web site.

Gitractorman pretty well nailed down the capabilities of the 154. There are several in my area, all are used as mower tractors. My opinion it a great mower tractor, but not much else.

What I'm wanting is an all around workhorse for my property.
Suggest spending some time researching tractors and equipment available in your area. In this area, central Missouri, work ready Ford N series type tractors are frequently for sale. Usually in the $1500- price range.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:31 am

I you do not buy the 154, please let me know and I will drive up to get it. It can cost anywhere from a few dollars for an ignition wire to much more depending on how deep you want to get into a restoration. You don't know. I mostly buy non-running tractors and have never had to put much into them. I expect the PTO and hydraulics work, the mower is a IHC mower and I would check the spindles. No 3 point hitch makes plowing unlikely. Good mowers and with a 3 point do well with pulling a small plow.

What tractor fits your needs depends on you. Mowing 5 acres? Then a 154 may work. Mowing 1 acre? A 154 is overkill. Plowing a 1/2 acre garden once a year? Pay someone to plow, get a rototiller, or a small cub cadet with a plow. Plowing 5 acres? Good for a 154 or F cub.

Eitherway, the photos look better than most of my "after" photos. Definitely worth $400 to me but you have to be willing to put some effort into the tractor to get it is working condition.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks guys. Great information. Here I was thinking that the PTO and Generator/starter rebuild were going to be like $500.00 each. Think I'll discuss with the guy about purchasing it and if I find out it's more serious than a standard repair, I can always part it out to get my funds back. I'd rather not do that but we'll see what happens. One good thing is, it's behind my property so I don't have too far to tow it, I can actually just tow it from the back of my property to the carport.

I'll definitely will be asking questions once I get it home and get into accessing all the main issues with the electrical system and cleaning the carb, fuel tank, plugs, etc.. And I'll visit the links provided to do some research before asking any questions that I'm not sure of. There's a good chance I will tear it down enough to spray the majority of it with a good coat of paint once I find out if it runs or not. I did the same thing with the JD 208. I used the 2 part Tractor Supply paint which worked great.

Again thanks for your help.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:54 pm

Quick question regarding parts for this unit. How much is available over the counter for the standard tune-up, points, plug wires, plugs, filters, etc? Is it best to go to a IH dealer or any type of tractor supply place? I know I'll need a set of plugs and wires, points and condenser, oil & filter, etc before attempting to start it.
We have a TS and a Agri Supply close by my place.

Thanks for the help

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:13 am

Yet another question, I can grab the fan and turn it around by hand (crank is turning also) and it doesn't seem to compress at all. Would 7.5:1 compression allow me to do that without it becoming difficult to turn at TDC? I'm wonder if there's blow by or valve issue since it never change while I'm turning the fan?


Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:47 am

All the standard tune up & service items mentioned are available at most any tractor supply type place or at an auto parts house, such as NAPA. I think the quality of some of the tune up parts from the TSC type stores is questionable so I generally get dist. parts from NAPA or IH.

Yes, you can turn a Cub engine pretty easy with the fan and may not really feel the compression. Of course, after sitting as long as it has, it's very likely to have some valves stuck open.

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:40 am

Gary Dotson wrote: Of course, after sitting as long as it has, it's very likely to have some valves stuck open.

So would it be wise to just go ahead and pull the access panels off the side to see if everything is moving correctly before trying to start it? I think I saw in the manual that the valves can be accessed by 2 panels on the left side of the engine below the exhaust and intake manifolds, is this correct?

Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:10 am


The engine in a 154 is a C-60 so the GSS-1007-Engine is the proper reference for Engine work or of course the revised complilation GSS-1411 Service Manual for Cubs and Lo-boy Tractors.

The CBoK - In the Barn chapter has a couple articles on How to Adjust Valves:

Here is a quick chart for adjusting the Valve Lash :


And as you can see in the exploded drawing below, the valve cover and gasket are all that need to be removed. That is how I adjusted the valves on both my '47 and '48.


Re: Looking at a 154 need opinions

Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:50 am

Thanks Rudi. Once I get it home and start prepping it to get running, I'll pull the access panels and check the valves.