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Rebuilding a junk mower

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by gtread, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. gtread

    gtread LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Bought a junk Dixon 4516 mower from ebay for $500.00 had a blown 16hp kohler, found a good used 20 hp kohler twin on Craigs list, installed with some refitting only to find both hydros leaked pretty bad, this mower was sitting for a number of years seals dried out.
    Was lucky enough to find two new hydro gear transmissions on ebay for $400,00. total. got them installed and she is good to go when the snow is gone.

    I already have another Dixon 4516 which I work the holy hell out of, they are tough little mowers.

    Bought both of them cheap, and look forward to getting a lot of work out of them this spring and summer.

    Any one who knows how to use hand tools can do this, however an engine hoist is pretty much necessary for this kind of work.
    I am 76 years old and had no problems, for you young guys it should be a piece of cake.

    Cheap is good, works for me.
  2. chathamvahere

    chathamvahere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    Congrats to you, we could all take a lesson from this, may you get many more years out of that machine!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    great job. But for a business it will not be reliable enough to count on.
  4. gtread

    gtread LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    With all due respect JB, I have been using my first Dixon ZTR for 2 years now restoring Oak Savanna's, and mowing trails in our Parks, I treat this little mower as if it were a Bob Cat mowing tall grass and brush. The Dixon is a very tough little machine and I figure if it breaks I will just fix it and keep on working. So far the only problem I have had is bending up the mower deck from hitting stones and stumps, I take it into my shop beat the dents out and weld it back up, and back to work. gtread
  5. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    a break down in a park is different then a breakdown with 15 more residentials to get done that day. For a play around mower its fine. For a reliable tool that one makes a living with mowing 8-10 hr days with it will not be a good thing. There is a reason why brickman trade them in every 2 years. I restore muscle cars to like showroom condition. But new cars are a lot more reliable still :) Then you have the whole tax write off thing etc.
  6. gtread

    gtread LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Very valid point JB, that is why I bought the second mower you do need back up equipment. I owned and operated a small buisness too. Moving and trucking, we had 21 trucks and did all of our repair work in house to save money, had way too many tax write offs so had to save money any way we could to stay in buisness.
    I'm sure all of you guys can identify with that. any thing you can do yourself is money in your pocket. gtread
  7. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,253

    I am kinda in the same boat, I have an old Gravely outfront mower, 30hp diesel with 72" deck and hydraulic lifts. it is a beast of a mower and I rebuilt the diesel engine a few years ago and now it purrs like a kitten, but it needs the hydraulic system worked on, whenever it gets up to temp. the hydraulics loose pressure and everything is slow as hell on it, it can barely climb the gate to get back on the trailer! While this is a great mower, it is a bit old and no one uses the outfronts anymore except large commercial places, LCOs use ZTRs now due to the old outfronts being slow and huge. But I cant bring myself to just junk it, it only has 2200 hours on it, and that is nothing for a yanmar diesel. I will get it all fixed one day or I will find a mower with a blown diesel and swap in my yanmar. I would love to have the money, skills and time to fix up old mowers like this.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    It all depends thou, I'm into doing just that for someone else and we're already
    out $250-$300 in parts on a mower that's probably worth $400...

    Every time I replace one thing I see something else that's bad, there just doesn't seem to be an end to it...
    I spent HOURS just looking around for better prices on the various parts,
    to save maybe $50-$100 but that price above is what we're out of...
    Once I add the labor it just ain't worth it.

    Now if you ain't got a whole lot going on, I might agree it's not a terrible idea.
  9. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    by the way, i am very impressed at what your doing at your age. I will be lucky to make it to 50. ;) So enjoy.
  10. gtread

    gtread LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thank you JP, Just like you guys I have always worked very hard and learned to use my head and hands. Still repair my own truck, car and mowers, chainsaws etc.
    Work wont kill you unless you do something really dumb, it just makes you strong and healthy.
    I have learned a lot from these websites, how to build a mesh ramp for my trailer, chainsaw repair, etc. thank you guys for good info. gtread

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