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  1. #1
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    Default Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    I have a chance to get either a running Econo-Horse Tiller. It has a Tecumseh engine on it...don't know the hp rating.

    Or

    I talked to a guy on the phone with a pair of non-running Horse Tillers.

    The Econo-Horse the guy said he'd sell me for 400. Runs decent, probably could use a tune up. Looking at the pictures, it doesn't look horrible...but it shows some use.

    The Horse, one needs a new engine as it is locked up from sitting outside on its nose(Tecumseh). The other one needs a carb(Tecumseh as well). Ran fine last year I guess, he has the carb for it, just hasn't been able to get it put on. He has a Harbor Freight motor for the other one as well...but I doubt he'd give me that motor with it for the 300 bucks he said he'd sell me either tiller for.

    The guy with the pair is short term owner of both tillers and has never actually run either of them. He bought with the intention to fix but got a nice running unit and has left these sit...but it sounded like he purchased both last fall or this spring.

    Which route should I go? Working on either of the Horse's doesn't scare me. I'm leaning toward buying the horse in need of a motor and picking up a Briggs engine for it for a couple hundred bucks on ebay.

    Any help would be most useful. I know little about these other than my grand dad had a Troy Bilt when I was a kid. It will just be used in our puny garden and for tilling up anything I need to around the house.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    $400 for a running unit w/Tech. engine v. $300 for unit that needs an engine unless you get lucky fixing the one on it. Could get new one for maybe $250-300 instead of messing with old engine.

    You definitely need to check the condition of the tines. If they are shot, that's another $100-$150 for replacement tines. Check the tires--another $50-60 for new tires I'd guess.

    Not sure what the difference was between the horse and the econo horse--could have be the original engine choice and whether it was a 2 spd or 4 speed transmission. Someone else might know what the real difference was. I have the 4 speed horse and never use anything except the hi-lo range. If you're replacing the engine anyway, then that's not an issue.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    I guess my thought was that the others were potentially better quality than the Econo-Horse...but I don't know much about them.

    I'm supposed to go look at the Econo Horse on Thursday unless he sells it before that then I'll probably buy one of the Horse's.

    I'll check the tines(any good guide on how to check those other than just judging the wear?) and tires. He used it up to last year, so its still functional.

    I read to watch for grease/seal leaks as they are a bear to change out on these things.Belt tension to check the belts...but if its just a new set of belts, I can change those myself.

    Anything else?

  4. #4
    Elite Member WayneB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    Quote Originally Posted by 87iroc View Post
    I guess my thought was that the others were potentially better quality than the Econo-Horse...but I don't know much about them.

    I'm supposed to go look at the Econo Horse on Thursday unless he sells it before that then I'll probably buy one of the Horse's.

    I'll check the tines(any good guide on how to check those other than just judging the wear?) and tires. He used it up to last year, so its still functional.

    I read to watch for grease/seal leaks as they are a bear to change out on these things.Belt tension to check the belts...but if its just a new set of belts, I can change those myself.

    Anything else?
    If it was me I would certainly take a closer look at the Horse models. It is difficult to know the age of the Troybilt tillers, but if it is stamped on the transmission housing (right side as you stand holding the to handle bars) then it is post July 1971. If you find the serial number onto of the motor house mount then it is a pre 1971 tiller. I am sure that isn稚 too much help.

    With the tines if they are really pointed they must be changed for the tiller to work properly. Lot of places to buy tines you will just have to search around.

    Regarding the Tecumseh carburetor for the engine, they are still available, but a bit expensive. I purchased a new one last year and it was right at $80 by the time I had it in my hands. You will also need to be able to get the serial and model number off from the motor to get any parts. This will take time or at least it took me a bit of time.

    Someone wrote you might even be better off getting a new motor for the tiller. This might be a good approach. You can check Small Engine Warehouse Small Engine Warehouse - Repower Outdoor Power Equipment They do have engines that will fit right on the Troybilt Tiller.

    If you good with fixing things, mechanically, then working on the Troybilt can actually be fun, if you are not, then it can be a real pain in the backside. Seals on the tines are a bit of a problem child to change out, not impossible but takes a bit of time to accomplish. When looking at the tiller one thing you can do is remove the handle bars. There is a Tee bolt assembly that holds them onto the transmission housing. The use something to dip down into the transmission and see what the oil looks like. If it is milky colored you will need to change out the oil. Actually, I would assume that you would want to do that anyway.

    If it is real low on oil, well let the buyer beware. On the none PTO type tillers the tine assembly uses gravity flow to get oil back to the tines. All of the gears back there are messed together and must be lubricated so if the transmission is low on oil there is a good chance there has been damage to the tine drive gears.

    The older tillers had a one piece welded drive shaft and the steel was hardened and messed with brass gears. One problem here would be any metal
    ships could damage the worm gear area then I don't think you could fine a replacement shaft. On later model tillers this was an assembly type shaft and most of the individual parts can still be located. Again this is something you might not want to have to undertake replacing.

    I am not sure of the Econo Horse models. I believe it was an attempt to sell more tillers with a smaller horse model. I have only owned the horse models so I really never looked at a Econo model. The horse that I know has approximately 21 inch tilling width and I would think the smaller tillers are in the 16 inch range. After the rise and fall of Garden Way Manufacturing there have been a number of different models being sold. A few of the package stores sell the newer models and it doesn't take to much knowledge to see the major changes in the design, just take a quick look at the tines.

    Just my two cents.

    Wayne

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    I may be wrong in the differences between the econo horse and the horse. The horse model I'm famliar with has an engine that mounts to a cradle that moves up and down to engage the drive belt. There are some horse models here: Troy-Bilt Horse ID - Page 7 - TractorByNet.com

    I did a search and found a picture of what was described as an econo-horse that had a fixed engine mount and a clutch mechanism was used to drive the wheels and tines. Not the same set up as the horse.http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...26tbs%3Disch:1

    I'm not sure, but it might be that there was an econo horse in the late 70's and early 80's that was essentially the same as the horse, but later production may have a different clutch assembly. I'm speculating on this and can't say for sure.

    As for tires, you just look at them to see if they are cracked and dry rotted. There were two kinds: a knobby turf type and a v-tractor cleat design.
    Last edited by 2manyrocks; 03-23-2010 at 08:24 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    Thanks for all the info guys. Its been most educational for a newby.

    Here are some pics of the Econo-Horse I'm going to look at tomorrow.

    Those tines look like they need replaced to me...at least what little I can tell from the pics...






  7. #7
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    I have to agree with Wayne. I'd look at the Horse's. I recently picked one up for $350.00 in working condition. It needed belts, air filter and a muffler, but it worked the gardens first pass w/o the new parts. Since changing them, this thing is basically unstopable. As my wife said, "this thing digs like a bad dog"

    From the pics of the econo, it is very apparent it is not as heavy duty a machine. Plus the handle bars appear to be bent and not adjustable.

  8. #8
    Elite Member WayneB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    Quote Originally Posted by CR172 View Post
    I have to agree with Wayne. I'd look at the Horse's. I recently picked one up for $350.00 in working condition. It needed belts, air filter and a muffler, but it worked the gardens first pass w/o the new parts. Since changing them, this thing is basically unstopable. As my wife said, "this thing digs like a bad dog"

    From the pics of the econo, it is very apparent it is not as heavy duty a machine. Plus the handle bars appear to be bent and not adjustable.
    I must say the Horse has some major advantages. I am not sure just what happens with the econo, but with the horse you can actually rotate the handle bars out to the left or right and continue to till that way. In the so called old days Dick Raymond explained that it was very helpful when tilling on a hillside. I have done it a few times over the years when tilling between rows and there wasn't room to stand next to the tiller.

    And your wife is right it does work like a bad dog or ugly dog. LOL

    Oh and the tines being worn down, it is hard to tell just seeing one tine, but it is starting to point so I would assume they all are. They will still work, but not as good as a new pair. Bring a tape measure with you and tip the tiller up so you can see all of the tines. Them measure the distance between the inner tines (ther are four sets of tines) and if it is 5 inches or more the tines should be replaced.

    Looking at the pictures that were inserted I notice that the morter top plate and filter housing is orange in color. Troy never shipped anything that was Red in color, so either the motor or parts of the motor have been changed. As for the gas tank, I am not sure if they shipped different colored ones (?) would almost think no, but that is just a guess.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    Thanks for all the info guys.

    I emailed the guy with the econo-horse today and told him that I was going a different direction. I'm going to go up and look at the two horse's tomorrow night and probably pick one up unless both of them show major grease stains on the bottom of the transmissions from seal leaks and possible low oil levels.

    I have no pics of those to reference...so I'm heading up there blind.

    I'm not getting what you mean by the 5" measurement on the inner tine. Am I measuring across the transmission for the 5" measurement or across the tips of the same set of tines?

    I guess the question now is, which one do I get...the one that potentially needs the motor or the one that needs a carb. Maybe it will be obvious which is nicer when I get there.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Troy Bilt Horse vs Econo-Horse

    Not 100% sure, but I'm thinking this is from the 1990's. The Horse models that had the swivel handlebars and engine cradle/clutch arrangement are a more heavy duty tiller. Their model line had some lighter tillers in it called the Pony, the Junior, etc. that were also good tillers, but not heavy tillers. The fixed handlebars and fixed engine on this econo-horse suggests to me that it is more in the nature of the lighter tiller line they used to sell. They probably gave it the econo-horse name to play off the horse for marketing purposes.

    The different colored engine suggests it may be a replacement for the original. It could possibly have faded, but I'm not so sure.

    Can't tell from the pictures, but I also think the tires may be a different size than the 4:8 x 8 size on the horse.

    Appreciate your posting the picture and this discussion. Great to learn more about these tillers.

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