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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23
    Location
    southwestern PA
    Tractor
    75 C8 super, 65 LI custom, 84 wheelhorse 3-12, 57 Farmall 230

    Default First Gravely experience not so good.

    Hi Guys, well I bought my first gravely and my second gravely and am not having much luck. The first one, a 74 C8, I bought on ebay a 3 hour drive away, a dumb move I will not repeat. Anyway it was advertised as ready to work with a bunch of new parts and rebuilt stuff. with just the attachments I wanted. Ran great. Except for the shaft on the back of the motor was vibrating a little. Guy said not that big of deal. Come to find out after getting it home it is a big deal. Anyway the next morning I ran it for a half half hour or so and it lost oil pressure and seized up. So I drag it up on the trailer and drive 3 hours back to guy who sold it to me. Luckily for me the fellow is a pretty decent guy and he is going to tear it down split the case and rebuild it all. Vibration is from the flywheels being out of wack probably caused from the engine backfiring against electric starter so I have read.

    Second gravely, I was out picking up a rototiller and a rotary plow from another buyer and bought a 65 LI custom. The custom was really nice and taken care of and garage kept, but the guy left it sit to long (2 years) and it would not start. The family had another one anyway so he sold it to me reasonable, I took apart the carb when I got it home The carb was pretty clean and I blew out all the ports with spray can carb cleaner and compressed air. I could not find and blockages, but I am no expert on these things. But I put it back together and nothing happens. Plug is dry. I am thinking there is not enough suction because a valve is rusty from sitting and not closing. Or a carb vacuum leak. I am getting spark and the mag is clicking. Tomorrow I will go get a compression tester and a can of ether.

    Randy

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    425
    Location
    Northern West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Randy,

    Those old Gravelys are good machines.

    If you've got spark and can't get it to fire even with ether (starting fluid) I would almost guarantee that you've got a stuck valve. I had a stuck valve on a Gravely several years ago after it had been sitting for a while. If the engine seems to crank unusually fast, that's a symptom of a stuck valve (no compression). You can also check for a stuck valve by just putting your thumb over the spark plug hole while having someone crank the engine (even if you crank it by hand fairly slowly you should feel some pressure on your thumb). Stay clear of the spark plug wire (better yet, ground it). If you feel compression, you don't have a stuck valve.

    If you don't have a stuck valve, the timing may be off. (See timing procedure below.)

    I was able to fix my stuck valve with some very minor disassembly and some WD-40 and then motor oil. The valve springs on these machines aren't all that strong, so it doesn't take much for the valve to stick. The valves are on opposite sides of the cylinder. You can access the valve stem for each valve by removing a small plate (two screws). Watch the valves while you rotate the crankshaft. If one of them doesn't move, spray it with some penetrating oil and try to get it to move. If that doesn't work, you may have to remove the cylinder head and peck on the top of a valve to free it up.

    Here's a link to the web site of a guy that sells parts:
    Gravelyparts.com
    I've been to this guy's store/shop. He knows his Gravelys. The web site has a guide to parts for the Gravely in a slide-show style. It looks like he (or someone) scanned the original Gravely parts guide and then edited the scans to put in current prices.

    I have a file which contains the original Gravely L-series service manual in HTML (web page) format. There are no pictures, but the text is very descriptive and very comprehensive ("cylinder reconditioning", "speed differential disassembly", etc.). The file is only 69Kilobytes. Send me email if you're interested.

    Here's the timing procedure (from the service manual):

    Remove cylinder head and gasket.

    Loosen magneto coupling bolt until coupling will slip on the camshaft extension.

    Bring the piston to top dead center on compression stroke (both valves closed).

    Back piston down cylinder approximately one inch by turning starter pulley counterclockwise.

    Measure accurately 3/8 inch from top of cylinder and bring the piston up to this point.

    Align the timing marks (straight marks) on magneto.

    Reassemble the magneto coupling using .015 feeler gauge between the fibre block and the coupling flange before tightening bolt so as not to clamp the impulse.

    Reinstall head and gaskets torquing to 20 ft. lbs.
    Last edited by TedLaRue; 08-05-2007 at 01:13 AM.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    82
    Location
    L.I. N.Y.
    Tractor
    Gravely LI, C8, Pro12

    Smile Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Randy- The first thing you want is your money back. I wouldn't let him rebuild it. Who says he knows what he is doing. He knew the fly wheels were out of alignment or least there was a problem. That's why he was selling it in the first place. To rebuild a Gravely motor you have to know what your doing also he is going to short cut something because the rebuild will cost more than you paid him for it. With an electric start tractor you have to make sure you hold the off button in the handle bar until the motor has completely stopped but even though the fly wheels were out of alignment thats no reason for the oil pump to stop working. It should still work. Get your money back ! For the second Gravely first thing to look for is spark. It should be strong and blue not yellow. Unscrew the spark plug and lay it on top of the head to check spark. Listen and make sure you hear the mag click. On the carb unscrew the gas mixture screw ( the big "T" needle at the bottom of the carb) and see if gas flows out. Pull the head off check for a stuck valve if so spray some oil and let it sit a little bit then with a piece of wood gentley tap it to get it to go down. Then check the timing the mag should snap at top dead center. Forget the ether and compression tester. Ted gave you Richard Juftes website but there is also Mark Bricker at the Gravely Tractor Museum ( mrgravely17@adelphia dot net) . Also try the Gravely club for more info and support;

    gravelyclub : Gravely Club - This club is set up to discuss gravely tractors

    Also: It wasn't your first Gravely experience being bad. It was your experience with buying on E-bay that was. Unfortunately these thing happen. It happened to me too. I bought a C8 and the fly wheel were out. The motor was toast. Even the cylinder.

    - Kris

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23
    Location
    southwestern PA
    Tractor
    75 C8 super, 65 LI custom, 84 wheelhorse 3-12, 57 Farmall 230

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Good info, thanks guys, I really appriciate it.

    first, the C8 super, I probably should have gotten my money back. The price of experience. Anyway the guy is a mechanic for a living. I don't want to be specific here because I don't want to make him look bad until I give him a chance to make it right. But he knows his stuff believe me. He had already put a ton of money in it in parts and labor and couldn't get it back if he did a bottom end job too. The flywheel was out but it wasn't really bad out. I realize that an experienced gravely owner would have walked away from the deal. I didn't know till it is to late. He was honest with me though when I asked him why the shaft was vibrating a little when I first went down to pick it up. That is when I should have got my money back. But it ran great and I wanted to get back home. I cant understand the oiling thing though. The 1/2 hour it ran I was mowing by my steps and clipped the muffler on a rail and put a dent in it and cockeyed it a bit. Exhaust manifold was fine. The mower quit running soon after. Nothing else was touched on the machine when I clipped the rail. All oil lines where tight. Neither of us believed that it caused the oiling problem. We will know when he tears it down. He is supposed to deliver it in two weeks. We will see.

    Just wondering how soon should the oil pressure start registering after the mower starts?

    Second the LI custom, I got it to run this morning for about 5 seconds. It has compression out the wazoo. Rough timing check seems OK. Has good spark. Took apart the carb and it is very clean. Float was out according to gravely specs. I adjusted the float and it seemed the stop the gas flow when I hold it up with my hand with the float bowl off, but gas is still getting into the intake manifold. I was thing about sending the unit to the gravely garage for a rebuild. Probably could do it myself though. Another thing where the throttle plate shaft runs through the carb the hole is worn pretty good. Dont know if this can the fixed.

    Gotta go. Thanks!

    Randy

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    82
    Location
    L.I. N.Y.
    Tractor
    Gravely LI, C8, Pro12

    Smile Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Quote Originally Posted by rlphoto

    first, the C8 super, He was honest with me though when I asked him why the shaft was vibrating a little when I first went down to pick it up. I cant understand the oiling thing though. The 1/2 hour it ran I was mowing by my steps and clipped the muffler on a rail and put a dent in it and cockeyed it a bit. Exhaust manifold was fine. The mower quit running soon after.

    He should have disclosed that info in the E-bay ad. Also the muffler incedent had nothing to do with it. The motor is toast and it took the 1/2 hr for the engine to cease. When the fly wheels are out it throws everything out of rythym. When he opens that motor up he'll probably see a broken cylinder and or connecting rod.


    Quote Originally Posted by rlphoto

    Just wondering how soon should the oil pressure start registering after the mower starts?

    About three seconds after the engine has started a little longer if you just changed the oil and filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by rlphoto


    Second the LI custom, Another thing where the throttle plate shaft runs through the carb the hole is worn pretty good. Dont know if this can the fixed.
    Yes it can be fixed there is a kit with a new shaft and 2 bushings. It's important to replace them too because the machine would idle or run right.


    - Kris

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    425
    Location
    Northern West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Randy,

    On your L1 carburetor, I assume you took the float out and made sure it didn't have gas in it (like it would if it got a hole in it).

    You can rebuild that carburetor yourself. I've done it in the field several times. One little piece of dirt gets in that needle valve and then the gas leaks. That rubber hose (elbow shaped, about 1-3/4" in diameter) from the air filter to the carburetor intake will deteriorate if gas leaks into it and sits there. I put a small shut-off valve in the fuel line just to be sure I don't have that problem. There's supposed to be one on the sediment bowl below the gas tank, but the one I put in is much easier to work.

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23
    Location
    southwestern PA
    Tractor
    75 C8 super, 65 LI custom, 84 wheelhorse 3-12, 57 Farmall 230

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Quote Originally Posted by TedLaRue
    Randy,

    On your L1 carburetor, I assume you took the float out and made sure it didn't have gas in it (like it would if it got a hole in it).

    You can rebuild that carburetor yourself. I've done it in the field several times. One little piece of dirt gets in that needle valve and then the gas leaks. That rubber hose (elbow shaped, about 1-3/4" in diameter) from the air filter to the carburetor intake will deteriorate if gas leaks into it and sits there. I put a small shut-off valve in the fuel line just to be sure I don't have that problem. There's supposed to be one on the sediment bowl below the gas tank, but the one I put in is much easier to work.
    Hello Ted and thanks for the help.

    So the gas in the manifold is because of gas bypassing the needle valve? No other reason? The float was way off what the gravely carb manual http://oldgravelys.net/pdf/Zenith_68_Series.pdf said it should be. it says 1 5/32" +/- 3/64" I adjusted this in with pliers but the manual says to replace the float if it is out. The float was at about an 1 3/8 before I messed with it. Maybe that is why the needle valve is leaking. The float bulbs themselves are still tight.

    I have looked the carb over carefully and all the ports will pass air and solvent. I dont really see any reason to send it out, other than they bench test it. I will need a carb kit, a float, a throttle plate shaft rebuild kit. Anything else?

    Randy

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    425
    Location
    Northern West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Randy,

    If you changed the float measurement from 1-3/8" down to 1-5/32, then you made it more likely to leak. When you make that measurement smaller, you're allowing the level of fuel in the bowl to be higher. Remember, you're holding the top of the carburetor upside down.

    That measurement is without the gasket installed, by the way. And don't put any pressure (just gravity) on the float when you're making the measurement. It's hard to believe that it was almost 1/4" out. You might want to check it again. I bend the tang on the float that touches the needle to make the adjustment.

    Did you adjust the main jet and idle needle like the Zenith service manual says? If you haven't already done so, remove the idle needle by unscrewing it, and remove the main jet using a small wrench to take the needle and seat out together. Clean them and squirt some carb cleaner into the idle needle seat hole. Squirt some up in the seat hole for the float needle, too.

    You'll have it running soon.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    23
    Location
    southwestern PA
    Tractor
    75 C8 super, 65 LI custom, 84 wheelhorse 3-12, 57 Farmall 230

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Ted, I got the manuals, thanks! anyway I will bend that float back to where is was and try it again. Wherebouts you located at in northern Wv?

  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    1
    Location
    Bumpass VA
    Tractor
    Gravely L

    Default Re: First Gravely experience not so good.

    Ted: Interested in HTML service manual. Hope it's not too late. send to dnorem@mindspring.com

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