Cub Cadet Garden Tractor Restoration
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After the Cub Cadet is in the shop, the desire to pick up a wrench will be overwhelming — and like the Sirens' song, must be resisted at all costs because there's preparation work to do. First, apply penetrating fluid to any and all fasteners on the tractor, but leave the wrenches in the tool chest for now. Collect marking pens, a notebook, masking tape, a box of plastic sandwich bags and an empty cardboard box — keep them handy.
Then take pictures of the tractor from all angles to document the progress and record assembly details. Make notes and sketches of complicated procedures to ensure proper reassembly. Nuts, bolts and small parts removed from the tractor should go into labeled plastic bags, which in turn go into the cardboard box. Use the tape and marker to label wire ends before disconnecting. These seemingly tedious steps will make reassembly go much more smoothly, will keep the shop organized and safer, will make the project more enjoyable and successful — and help maintain sanity.
Now that the tiresome but necessary preparation work is completed, the fun begins!
Grab that wrench
There’s no "right" way to disassemble a Cub Cadet, so relax. Following the general outline in the service manual provides a good framework. The first step should be to disconnect and remove the battery. Next, drain the engine and transaxle oils. If the tractor has a hydrostatic transmission, leave its oil filter in place for now. The third step should be to apply penetrating fluid to the steering wheel hub after removing the retaining nut Apply penetrating fluid liberally until the wheel is finally removed.
Next, remove the implement mounts, hood, grille, grille casting, seat, fenders and footrests. Disconnect the fuel tank from the carburetor, drain and remove it. Disconnect the front PTO rod if it isn't an electrically-actuated unit. Next, disconnect the choke and throttle cables, and all wires — now labeled — from the engine.
Remove the four engine mounting-cap screws from beneath the Cub Cadet and slide the engine forward to free it from the driveshaft. Two of the engine mounting-cap screws are above the front axle on many models — jack up and block the front of the tractor, and pivot the axle to the sides for better access to the bolts. Lift the engine from the tractor as a unit — a hoist makes this operation safer — and set the engine aside until plans have been made to inspect and overhaul it. If the engine is a single-cylinder Kohler model, attach the lift to a single-head stud using a short piece of angle iron drilled for both the stud and a clevis for the chain fall.
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