Cub Cadet Garden Tractor Restoration
(Page 5 of 7)
If the steering wheel and most bolts cooperate, many Cub Cadets can be readily dismantled (not including engine and transmission) in less than three hours using a combination of pneumatic and hand tools. Recalcitrant fasteners can be ground, cut or even burned away with a torch. Bolts that break in threaded holes must be coaxed more gently with penetrating fluid — and lots of patience.
One example of numerous, effective techniques for removing broken bolts or studs is to center-punch the bolt remnant after grinding it flat. With a set of reverse-twist drill bits, carefully begin to drill the bolt out. The combination of penetrating fluid, heat from friction and the counterclockwise rotation of the bit will often cause the bolt to back right out. Alternatively, a bolt of smaller diameter can be welded carefully to the broken bolt. Once the weld cools to below red hot, the whole thing will usually back out easily with a wrench.
Making it pretty — one part at a time
The next phase of any Cub Cadet restoration project involves cleaning, inspecting, repairing and replacing parts. Parts may be cleaned with a combination of solvents, soap and water. If the restoration plan calls for stripping parts to bare metal, sand blast, scrub with a power wire brush or soak the parts in a lye solution. When using lye, be sure not to place any aluminum or pot metal castings in the solution, because the strong alkali will dissolve the parts. If the metal is particularly rusty, sand blast or treat it with a rust converter before painting, but only after all welding and machine work is completed.
Using the service manual as a guide, inspect and replace any severely worn bushings, bearings, pins, seals and shafts. New bushings and shafts can be fabricated with most metal-turning lathes. Bearings and seals may be purchased at a local bearing supply house. More specialized parts, such as rear-axle bushings, may be purchased from a Cub Cadet dealer. Parts no longer available new or that are quite expensive to purchase new — such as transaxle castings or axle carrier tubes — may be obtained from used parts dealers. Look to publications and websites devoted to Cub Cadets for leads.
Cleaning and inspecting each disassembled part provides an excellent opportunity to intimately know the tractor. Most people have a tendency to rush this part of the process, but be patient. Meticulously cleaning and inspecting each piece is part of the fun, and the finished product will be high quality. Besides, even the most arduous task is an important part of the restoration journey.
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