This was one of those tractors the previous owner said would run with good batteries. After replacing the fuse block and repairing some wiring I was able to get it to run briefly, but then it started blowing switches in the hand throttle and I could not figure out why, and plus the transaxle made a terrible noise so I decided to restore it. Here is a picture of it when I purchased it. Didn't look too bad at first.
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Before powder coating I tried to fill some of the pitted areas with JB Weld. I had heard it could withstand powder coating temps if it was thin enough. It did not work well so I had to grind it out and replace it with Bondo and go the whole body work route. Then prime it and top coat it in paint.
Painting these things has been a real struggle for me. The red I use for the new idea tractors as well the Jim Coat yellow for the GE tractors is enamel. So if you mess up and have to do a repair - you cannot cover it over with primer as most the primers are lacquer based, and will crack instantly. The paints are color matched to the powder coat, so I'm sort of stuck with them. After many weeks of dealing with paint issues, I was able to start reassembly. Rebuilt motor and transaxle. The brake disc has been zinc plated to keep the rust from coming back, and painting it would just gum up the brake pads. All new hardware on the brakes including brass sleeves and stainless springs. Believe it or not the transaxle shifter should not leak upside down if the seal is in good shape. Mine wasn't but I was was finally able to find the correct square O ring to seal it - O ring # 114 on ebay or McMaster. I modified the brake return spring a bit. Drilled a hole in the brake lever so a heavy duty spring could be inserted.
The hood was even more difficult. These hoods take a beating and being horizontal hold the moisture and get lots of surface corrosion. I had it blasted, powder coated white, then several steps of body work and top coated in cream. I'm not sure why (something to do with time between coats) but at some point when I was top coating in Urethane enamel it started cracking, so I had to sand it all off and start over. ARGH!