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  1. #1
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    Default Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    I seen a 1988 312-8 Wheel Horse, with Kolher motor, 8 speed(high/low) with a 42inch deck for sale for $675 and was wondering if this is a good buy. It looks to be in very good shape with little rust....but I'll have my brother check out anything before I buy it. I don't know much about lawn mowers, been looking around here and there at reviews. My husband put a $700 ceiling on the price we can spend....so I figured an older mower built like a tank would probably be my best bet.

    I'm renting my folks farm estate with a 4-5 acre lawn, land's never been rolled and can jar a persons teeth out. The acres mowed have trees to go around, only one hill and ditch that the the old Huskee could even handle. Been mowing with my dad's old Huskee,15 hp Briggs and Stratton. I'm not going to bash Huskee, but this particular machine I'm convinced is possessed by the devil. It's not mowing any longer, stripped blade bolt underneath, I ran over a rake tongue hidden in deep grass. Not the Huskee's fault at all and it didn't kill me for this misfortune, so I'm grateful. A crack started in the Huskee's body frame this spring so I'm not putting anymore money into it.......as a woman I must add, I'm not heavy enough to crack a frame!! ...lol! It's just the farm needs a solid tank of a machine to go over rough terrain, be able to pull a garden wagon and sometimes mow deeper grass. Also wondering if a 312-8 Wheel Horse can handle a snow blade well for Michigan winters? I'm not a mechanic, but wouldn't mind putting the maintenance and money into a lawn mower that lasts, has parts out there that wont break me and doesn't break down all the time, doesn't matter how old....I grew up on a farm around tractors, so I respect an older built machines. Been looking over some other mowers too, some of them Toro Wheel Horses, Simpicitys and John Deeres, like 212, 214. Can any one give me an idea of what would be a good model for such a lawn....also I want to avoid anything with a Briggs & Stratton motor, I'm so tired of this one breaking or not starting.

    Thanks for your time,

  2. #2
    Bronze Member hitts427's Avatar
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    chesaning Mi.
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    kioti lk 3054

    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    Yes that mower will do the job but will take a long time to mow 4/5 acres.I'm a wheel horse owner(6 of them)and there very reliable and easy to work on.The price is about right a little on the high side but if deck is solid and tractor looks good that would be about right.If you had some extra time I would try to find a hydrostat and 48 in.mowing deck.Good luck

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    I have 2, '88 310-8's, and were purchased new by my Dad. I would not take $675 for either. Other than belts, batteries, and a pto clutch on one, they have been pretty well trouble free. I have literally worn out 2 sets of deck wheels on both, and just put a 3rd set on the one, so you know they have covered some ground.

    I did replace the spindles on one several years back. That one Dad bought for my grandmother, who lived across the river from two power plants on the Ohio River. I'm convinced the ash residue, or acid rain caused the aluminum spindle housings to be eaten away. My other one has little deterioration, but still good shape, and has mowed as much, or more grass.

    If it looks to have been well maintained, greased, oil changed, etc., then it should be well worth that. Check the deck and spindles underneath.

    If you go to look, take cash, and ask how close to $600.00 they can come. They may not budge, but what they hey... You gotta' try, that's half the fun...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ54 View Post
    I have 2, '88 310-8's, and were purchased new by my Dad. I would not take $675 for either. Other than belts, batteries, and a pto clutch on one, they have been pretty well trouble free. I have literally worn out 2 sets of deck wheels on both, and just put a 3rd set on the one, so you know they have covered some ground.

    I did replace the spindles on one several years back. That one Dad bought for my grandmother, who lived across the river from two power plants on the Ohio River. I'm convinced the ash residue, or acid rain caused the aluminum spindle housings to be eaten away. My other one has little deterioration, but still good shape, and has mowed as much, or more grass.

    If it looks to have been well maintained, greased, oil changed, etc., then it should be well worth that. Check the deck and spindles underneath.

    If you go to look, take cash, and ask how close to $600.00 they can come. They may not budge, but what they hey... You gotta' try, that's half the fun...
    If I am not mistaken, 88 is one of the first years after Toro bought them, and I do not think they had time to totally f them up yet.
    Mine was a 87 or 88 and the only think I had go wrong was the paint literally peeled off in sheets the first year, and a few welds on the frame under the seat did not hold up under my 230 pounds after 6-7 years.
    The dealer had the sheet metal all repainted, and I welded the frame

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    Thanks Hitts, DJ snd Lilranch for the helpful advice on price and the machine.
    Haven't gone and seen the mower yet, I'm considering your advice about a hydrostat, though learning the manual would be fun....and it would be fun to try to get a good price on the 312-8. It sure looks purrtty, glad to hear it's also solid. I'll give it some more research and thought. Have time now because of the drought, the grass isn't growing. I'll also consider a larger deck too, i just wasn't sure about a bigger deck with longer grass. I'll certainly will take your advice and skip looking at the later Toro years.

    Yeah it does take some time to mow our yard. This year I had to enlarge the lawn by mowing around the chicken coop to keep the raccoons from hiding in the deep grass. The Huskee has a 38in. deck which took about a day to get it all done, so I split it into two days to save my sanity. The Huskee didn't cut well, which made it take even longer....anything is going to be fantastic compared to what I had.
    though there is a brush hog on the farm my brother-in-law uses when the grass gets out of control, but I don't like the lawn getting to that point.

    thanks again for your time and wisdom.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member CHDinCT's Avatar
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    Default

    My first tractor back in 1990 was a used 1986 312-8. Solid, dependable machine. Besides mowing the lawn each week, I practically landscaped my place with it. Used a font blade to push a lot of dirt around and a tiller to breakup virgin ground for new lawn areas. Also pushed a lot of snow with the blade and wheel weights and chains. I do agree that a hydro and a larger deck would be a better fit for you. And don't worry about later year Wheel Horses; Toro didn't change hardly a thing on the 300, 400, 500 series Wheel Horses.
    Chris

    2 acres and a mule, er, Kubota BX25, and too many other toys,er, tools to list.

  7. #7
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    cub cadet ltx 1040

    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    those were built much better than anything you can get today, and for a better price. like others said, try for the biggest deck you can, and look at the frame to make sure it is in good shape, otherwise do regular checks of oil air filters things like that it should be capable of the job for many more years.

  8. #8
    Gold Member MiserableOldFart's Avatar
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    . NH TC26DA

    Default Re: Wondering about Toro Wheel Horse

    There are two advantages that I have seen to having the 8 speed vs. hydro. The single biggest is that when I get stuck in mud, I can often put it in low range, reverse, get off the tractor and pull it out. I have never been able to figure how one would do that with a hydro. The second, is that last time I looked, a new 8 speed for my C-125 was available for about $1750 and a hydro was not. IMHO the 12 horse models could easily handle a 48 inch deck, though I have stayed with the 42 ours came with. 5 acres takes quite a while to cut, but if you have the time, it's a pleasant task.

    I have considered replacing our machine with a newer tractor, but there are zero high quality garden tractors available with gear transmission any more, but the single biggest problem, in addition to their price, is that the newer tractors are too darn high! The seats are about 4 inches or more higher than the Wheel Horse C-125, and I wouldn't be able to get under the semi-dwarf apple trees in our orchard, which is the biggest job for the Wheel Horse now that I mostly cut with a larger machine in the open spaces.
    New Holland TC 26 DA + FEL
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