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Garden tractor tiller opinions

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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:11 pm    Post subject: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'm looking at getting a garden tractor with mounted tiller to do some large gardening with. We had a JD with 36" tiller when I was growing up, 30 years ago, but I don't have any idea what model it was. That same size rig is what I'm thinking I want. I'm not going to buy new as tinkering with older equipment is a hobby for me.

Please give me your preferences on what model tractor and tiller you like.
 
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504
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

For the money the best deals I have seen are mowers with the tillers already mounted and running. A good used JD tiller can run over a grand. Just a thought.
 
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Dean Olson
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I like the older Deere's. What years and models are you seeing?
 
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Butch(OH)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:33 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We till up enough gardens each spring to earn some decent pocket change but only because we do it on the cheap with older Cub Cadets. Not Deere but they are very dependable units. I stayed away from the hydros for no real reason other than because. But with the gear drives you need the add-on creeper gear. We have two complete outfits on Model 124 tractors and dont have a grand tied up in both.
Not sure what your after, but something to consider
 
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504
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The hyd tillers seem to be in high demand(318,445,332,)I have seen 112,210 with tillers for 500.00to 600.00. Right now it is snow blowers that have everyone looking. weekendfreedommachines is and good place to watch for JD and I watch CL too. You will want forums and them find the classifieds.
JD green

 
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Bret4207
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:22 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Whatever you get make sure the tractor moves slow enough. I had a tiller on a gear drive Simplicity that was just too fast. Put the tiller on a hydro and it worked fine. I find the heavier the tiller the better on our clay. Light tillers tend to bounce around a lot.
 
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Butch(OH)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:34 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You got that right!
I had just advertised a stash of CC parts on C's list that included 4 blades. I could have sold 20 of them!
 
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Traditional Farmer
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have tillers on several garden tracotors and most work well.Hands down a hydro transmission is the best to run a tiller with.To give you some idea on whats around here's a list of garden tractors I have tillers mounted on.
Gravely 8118
Simplicity 712
Craftsman FF 18
Craftsman FF 24
Ariens GT 18
Massey Ferguson 1855
Bolens 1225
Simplicity Hydro 18

Personally the MF 1855 with a 3pt shaft drive 4ft wide 2000 RPM tiler is my favorite as its a hydro with foot control and heavy enough to hold the tiller easily.
 
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Rusty wheel
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:33 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have a wheelhorse D-18 with a 4 foot tiller mounted on three point hitch. Bought new in 1975. Tractor is hydro. Does a great job.
 
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Lee Richards
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Bret4207 wrote:
(quoted from post at 14:22:20 02/20/14) Whatever you get make sure the tractor moves slow enough. I had a tiller on a gear drive Simplicity that was just too fast. Put the tiller on a hydro and it worked fine. I find the heavier the tiller the better on our clay. Light tillers tend to bounce around a lot.
Ihave a 112 john deere that is 35years old and the kohler motor is rough but when it was 2 to 5 years old I went over to my granddads place to roto-till his garden plot not thinking about the clay soil. I put it in the creeper gear [it is a standard trans.] and it started tilling ok until I hit a very solid patch of soil, the rear wheels of the tractor came off the ground andpropeled me along until I had the smarts to pull the tractor pto lever out of gear. My granddad was laughing so hard he had tears on his face and this is still a funny thought for me yet today. Buy a heavy enough tractor like a JD420 or at least a 318 with a heavy tiller, if you have clay soil.
 
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El Toro
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

When I bought this Wards garden tractor in 1971 it came with a tiller. I think it was 36", but It was a pain to mount and was heavy to handle. I traded it back to Wards for a rotary mower for the tractor. My wife mowed the grass when I was on travel. She wore a bikini to get sun tanned and some guy just about ran over the mail box watching her. I use a Troy Bilt tiller on the garden. When I grew sweet corn I could till between the rows easily and the same for beans. I've had about 30 of those tillers over the years
some were used and needed repairs. Lots were left at the garden out in the weather. The later models had interlocks on the handles and if water
was get in, the engine wouldn't start. I paid $100.00 for this Horse model. I sold the Tecumseh engine for $65.00 and bought a 10hp B&S engine with electric start.

I had to replace seals under the tine holders and buy new tines. I also painted the tiller. This was back in 2006. I can walk to the side and not leave any foot prints. Hal

 
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El Toro
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I forgot the tractor. Hal

 
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JDemaris
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I worked for several Deere dealers as well as an IH and Simplicity dealer from the 70s up to the 90s. I've never found a garden tractor-tiller combo I like better then a tube-frame Bolens with the chain/gear drive # 18618 tiller. That tractors have hi-low transmissions with an ultra-slow creeper gear and the hook-up to the tiller is a rear farm-type PTO and a driveshaft. No convoluted belt twisting all over. I still have my Bolens 1250 with the 33" tiller and 6" extensions on it (39" wide). These tractors don't make the handiest mowers for the time - but with the tillers they are fantastic. Also tend to be around fairly cheap. I still come across them for $500-$700 with tractor and tiller. Note that some of the Bolens rear tillers were light duty with a worm-gear drive. The HD tiller is chain and gear - model # 18618. Extension kit to make it near 40" wide is # 18617. I took one of those tillers years ago and stuck a V4 Wisconsin engine on one and made it a 3 point hitch "self powered" tiller. Used it on several full size farm tractors and it was an animal. Never broke it.
 
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OldBuzzard
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

A Bolens Large Frame, especially one of the 2-cyl ones like the 1886 and the HT series are about as good a tractor/tiller combo that you can get.

The Tube Frames are OK, but they just don't have the 'snort' that the LFs do. There were two tillers available for the TFs. The 'round back' which was a good tiller, but not designed to till virgin ground'. It will do a good job on previously worked ground. The less common 'square back'tiller wer heaqvy dury and could till virgin ground.

All for the LF tillers were all the heavier duty 'square back' style.

Here's one on the back of my 1886.


 
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DaninKansas
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Garden tractor tiller opinions Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don't know why you'd stay away from a hydro. They are much more heavy duty than the gear drive transmissions. I know it happens but I've never seen a truly "ruined" hydro unit on an IH built Cub. Usually the engine is dead and the unit gets scrapped. Rebuild or replace the engine then replace the oil and filter and the hydro wakes up and works just fine - if the levers are in adjustment.
 
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