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jal_ut
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gumbo2176, mentioned a Sears tiller. My first tiller was from Sears, a front end tiller with a 3.5 HP engine. That was a great tiller for the money. Full 2 foot wide tilling path and it didn't jump around like a lot of front end tillers I have watched work. It didn't cover ground as fast as the 6 HP Troybilt Horse, but it would get the job done.
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rainbowgardener
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jal_ut wrote:[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/johndeeretill.jpg[/img]

Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
:) Looks like great fun, James :) but many of us city gardeners wouldn't have room to turn that thing around at the end of a row..
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jal_ut wrote:Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
You left off the </gloat> tag.
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jal_ut
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Oh! Darn...............................

You can get this one for your $500. [url=https://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07129934000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003c&srccode=cii_10043468&cpncode=27-97411909-2]Click Here[/url]
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gumbo2176
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jal_ut wrote:[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/johndeeretill.jpg[/img]

Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
HEHEHE, us guys and our toys. :) :)

Like someone else posted, I'd never get that thing turned around in my backyard. I'd spend more time jostling that thing at the ends of the rows as I would actual tilling.

One of these days I hope to have a big enough piece of ground to actually need such a machine if I were to pursue a much larger garden. A good friend of mine has 25 acres and uses a very similar machine and attachment on his property for his large garden.

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TheWaterbug
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soil wrote:why till the soil at all?
Fair question. Just like gumbo, above, I am starting with some very undesirable conditions:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/SoilLayers.jpg[/img]

It's an old horse paddock. The top 4-6 inches is pretty darn good topsoil (50 years of horse poop!), but below that is a layer that might as well be sandstone. I can swing a pickaxe into it and penetrate only 2-3 inches when it's dry. Below the sand(stone) is dark adobe clay that's also incredibly hard when dry. It's really well stratified, almost as if someone laid it down in layers.

I've dug out a cross-section of the sand layer looked at it pretty closely, and there are no roots going through it at all. None. Zero. Zilch. When I neglect the field in the winter time we get weeds that are 4-5' tall and grass that's 18-24", but none of the roots make it into the sandy layer.

And the clay layer is nearly waterproof. I dug a hole through the sand and into the clay and filled it up with water. An hour later the hole was still full, and it didn't drain away for ~24 hours.

I can [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=213328#213328]break it up with my broadfork[/url], but I've tried mixing the results with a shovel, and it's really, really hard. The clumps don't come apart unless I take full overhead swings with the back of the shovel. I have a herniated disc, so really vigorous work can hurt.

So the plan is to wait until it's no longer muddy, but before its dries into concrete, and then mix these layers (with some steer manure or compost) while it's reasonably friable. After I've grown some stuff in it over a few years I probably won't have to beat it up as much, but right now it's just really awful.

The timing on this is also driving me to purchase something, because I can't get a rental down the back trail any time after it's rained. So I need to obtain the tiller when it's reasonably dry, but use it when it's a little bit wet.
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soil
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For me, it was a matter of necessity. My "soil" is mostly clay and even with a good tiller, it took me almost 3 days to get my garden turned over enough to add several truckloads of composted material and sand to help make it more suitable for an actual garden bed. That was back in the late 90's. Over the years and many, many more loads of compost and soil amendments, it is now much easier to deal with.
not much different than what i have to deal with, my soil is clay enough to where i can make fired pottery, and where they is no clay is almost solid slate rock. well actually that was before i started working at it, without a tiller. by using specific plants and the use of animals i have turned it halfway to black gold. give me a few more years and it will be there. without tilling the soil. clay soil is very rich in nutrients, what most clay soils lack are the proper soil biology to group it into clay/humus aggregates. which in turn increases the drainage and aeration of the soil. then come the worms and they do wonders.

the waterbug - your soil actually looks pretty good for a starting point. i would be thrilled to start with something like that.
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I recommend this [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamworth_(pig)]tiller[/url] they range from $100.00 - $250.00.

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soil
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i second that ^^^, and youll fertilize at the same time!
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jal_ut wrote:You can get this one for your $500. [url=https://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07129934000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003c&srccode=cii_10043468&cpncode=27-97411909-2]Click Here[/url]
Two years ago I rented a front-tine Honda model from Home Depot, and I felt like I was fighting it throughout the entire 4-hour job.

Last year I rented the Barreto rear-tine model, and it was _much_ nicer. Granted, the Honda and the Baretto are not in the same class at all, so I don't know how much of the difference was due to front vs. rear tine design as opposed to just raw power, but I was hoping to find an affordable rear-tine model.

I just don't want to end up buying a piece of junk that breaks constantly.
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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:I recommend this [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamworth_(pig)]tiller[/url] they range from $100.00 - $250.00.
That's an English model. I was hoping for something in metric.
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and dang cute too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tamworth10.jpg

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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Barreto makes a nice hydraulic tiller, but it's just a tiller. For the money I would buy a BCS Two Wheel Tractor.

https://www.bcsamerica.com/attachments.cqs

Not sure if you can buy a used base unit for $500. Maybe.
I snooze; I lose. This was for sale on craiglist for $350 about an hour from me:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/5L55G45J23k13G63Hac33cf4ad3f8260919a5.jpg[/img]

but it sold before I got a chance to bid :(

I can't tell what model it is, but it's a BCS.

Here's an old BCS 201, [url=https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/grd/2868444293.html]about 2 hours away from me for $750[/url]:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/5Ka5H85M43Fc3L83I4c2r6b1287beb5181ec9.jpg[/img]

I'm reading that Model 201 was [url=https://www.earthtoolsbcs.com/BCS_Model_Chart1.pdf]last manufactured in 1994[/url], which makes this a pretty old machine.

I wonder how that would stack up against a brand new TroyBilt SuperBronco CRT for the same price ($759) plus tax, but with no 4-hr round-trip drive?
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DoubleDogFarm
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Your first picture looks a lot like my BCS125. I only have the sickle attachment, but I'm looking for a tiller. :)


[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20Tools%20and%20Equipment/BCSTractor.jpg[/img]

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I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P

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Yellowsnow wrote:I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P
You're right, E-bay usually has quite a few tillers listed, however, I've found them to be way too far away to make it practical to buy and the sellers won't ship due to weight and size. Craigs List is the better solution for the local buyer, but there's just not as many listed on there.

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^^
Craiglist has a Barreto 1320 available for $1,200, plus another $200 for the trailer. It's only about an hour away. That sounds like a really good deal, but I don't know that I can justify spending that much for my occasional use.

It also takes up a lot of storage space that I don't really have.

But it sure seems nice.

There's also a 2007 Honda FRC800 on ebay that's close enough for me to pick up, but ebay's history shows me that these typically sell for ~$1,400 by the time the auctions close.

I've got a saved ebay search for "rear tine tiller" within 100 miles of me; we'll see if anything shows up.

Meanwhile, I've rented the Barreto for tomorrow. Blister City, here we come!
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gumbo2176 wrote:
Yellowsnow wrote:I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P
You're right, E-bay usually has quite a few tillers listed, however, I've found them to be way too far away to make it practical to buy and the sellers won't ship due to weight and size. Craigs List is the better solution for the local buyer, but there's just not as many listed on there.
That is true. Most of them seem to be east coast that I could find. Basically just wanted to give the OP another tiller idea to search for. The Troy Bilt's are good machines.

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https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/2873335476.html

Not sure about the model, but fits what you're looking for.

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Yellow,

I would buy this tiller over any new Troy Bilt. I beleive Jal_ut owns one.

Eric

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DoubleDogFarm wrote:I would buy this tiller over any new Troy Bilt. I beleive Jal_ut owns one.
That's a strong endorsement! I just put a few questions out to the seller. And then I have to figure out a way to pick it up :)

The only candidate vehicle I have is a minivan, and I don't have any sort of ramp. But I'm sure I can figure this out if it's the right tiller for me.

Today I spent 7 hours doing garden work, including picking up 16 [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=221143#221143]demo bags full of mulch[/url], spreading 20 bags of manure, and [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naa7pGBrvuU]tilling the entire paddock[/url].

The tilling went pretty well, except that the one I rented this year kept stalling on me. I probably started it 50 times today. Both biceps are _really_ sore right one. That, and I murdered a hose guide by accident.

But the job is done! I'm still thinking about buying for next season, or for additional use this season. I think I'd use it a lot more often if it were always there.
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That is a great tiller for that money. Yes, I have one that looks just like that except for the bumpers. I will recommend it.
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The handle bars come right off, one screw, no tools needed, so it is not very tall with those off. I think you can put it in a minivan if the seats fold down. I used to load mine with a 30 inch wide x 8 feet long piece of 3/4 plywood for a ramp. Just run it up the ramp. Worked good for a truck, but may be a tough proposition in a minivan. I don't know how much it weighs, but a couple of stout guys could probably just pick it up and load it. Do you have a trailer hitch? A trailer would be a good option. A toy hauler trailer with the ramp as part of the trailer would be the ticket. Here you can rent such a trailer.
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jal_ut wrote:The handle bars come right off, one screw, no tools needed, so it is not very tall with those off. I think you can put it in a minivan if the seats fold down. I used to load mine with a 30 inch wide x 8 feet long piece of 3/4 plywood for a ramp. Just run it up the ramp. Worked good for a truck, but may be a tough proposition in a minivan. I don't know how much it weighs, but a couple of stout guys could probably just pick it up and load it. Do you have a trailer hitch? A trailer would be a good option. A toy hauler trailer with the ramp as part of the trailer would be the ticket. Here you can rent such a trailer.
Thanks for the tips.

I'm sure I could get a couple of stout guys at the seller's place to help me load it, but then I'd have a problem with unloading, because all I have here is my wife, and she's not stout :)

If the seller comes back with answers to my questions, I might try the plywood method. I think I can screw some nylons straps into the bottom of it and then anchor them to the seat mounts inside the van to keep it from sliding off.

Good to know about the handlebars. Thanks!
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TheWaterbug wrote:The tilling went pretty well, except that the one I rented this year kept stalling on me. I probably started it 50 times today.
I told the rental company about this when I returned the unit this morning, and they said that I was probably just tilling too deeply. I suppose that's possible, except that I tilled the exact same field with a similar Barreto 1320 last year, and last year's model was only 13 hp vs. the 16 hp. model I rented this year. Last year I stalled only once, and that was when I ran over a rubber horse mat.

I _am_ tilling much earlier this year, so the soil is still a bit moist, so I'm able to dig a few inches deeper, but it still didn't feel right.

Sometimes it would stall in the middle of a row when the load didn't seem noticeably harder; other times it would stall when I turning around at the end of a row. Once or twice it stalled when I was taking a water break; I just left the motor running, and after 30 seconds it just shut off.

In particular it did _not_ like going over my little hills. I'd mounded up the soil for the pumpkins last season, and I had a bunch of little ~1' high hills left over. They were soft enough to smush down with my boots, but if I attempted to run over them with the tiller it would stall. And then it wouldn't start again until I had muscled the tiller off of the hill. My guess is that it didn't like being tilted at all.

Does this sound like I was tilling too deep and/or insufficient HP for the job? Or does it sound like a defective unit? I was going forward/forward the whole time, with the motor at full throttle.

The reason this is all relevant is that, if I'm going to buy myself a tiller, I want to be sure I have one suitable for the job. If a 16 hp commercial-grade unit is stalling constantly because this job is too hard, a 5 hp or 8 hp consumer-grade unit isn't going to cut it either.

The rental company discounted the rental by 10% for me, so I have enough money to buy lunch at McDonald's today. :roll:

The two units I've rented so far have been from different companies. Last year's was only rated at 13 hp, but it may have been maintained better/differently than the one I rented from this year. This year's unit had a marking that said "new engine 2007."
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DoubleDogFarm
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Sounds like a engine problem. I'm finding water in the gas of almost all repairs. Ethanol gas absorbs water from atmosphere. This engine may also have a low oil sensor. If the oil is low and the unit is on a incline, the sensor may short the ignition.

Eric

btrowe1
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I had a problem like that when I rented a tiller, it was a honda, stalled so much i just took it back,

I've borrowed a neighbors for the last few years its a yard king, not sure how big it is but its a beast, goes through anything, has 6 speeds plus 2 reverse,

I really need to invest in one also, I figure I enjoy gardening so would be a smart investment, It would also be so much easier to set my rows wider so I can just run the tiller through when the weeds begin to grow up,

But money is tight so, I also have to figure out where to place it the sheds getting kind of full with the tractor, mower and snowblower..

Best of luck with your choice I'll be keeping an eye on this treatd to see what you purchase.

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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Yellow,

I would buy this tiller over any new Troy Bilt. I beleive Jal_ut owns one.

Eric
I have a line on an "early 90s" Troy Bilt Pony for $500.

It's an hour and a half from me, but I'm going to be reasonably near on Monday for a Memorial Day BBQ anyway, so I'm going to try and see it.

If it runs well, and if the owner will let me tear up a part of his yard to trust out, I might make an offer.
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TheWaterbug
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There's also a "Craftsman Rear Tine Roto Tiller 6.5 HP 17" Tine Width $375 OBO LIKE NEW."

This one is also 25 minutes from me instead of an hour and a half.

Are the older ones really that much better than new ones?
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I got my Troybilt Horse in the late 70s. It is a great machine. I still use it. I wore out the original 6 HP engine. I got an 8 HP Briggs and put on it. The added 2 HP is a good investment.
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jal_ut wrote:I got my Troybilt Horse in the late 70s. It is a great machine. I still use it. I wore out the original 6 HP engine. I got an 8 HP Briggs and put on it. The added 2 HP is a good investment.
That's pretty amazing that a hard-driving piece of equipment will run for 40+ years.

Are engines on these types of equipment pretty interchangeable? I'm _not_ mechanically inclined, so if an engine needed replacing I'd have to take it to a local repair shop. Is there a reasonably standard form factor and interface so that a competent repair shop can just bolt on a new engine when needed?
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btrowe1
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I bought a tiller, Sears front tine, looks just like the picture posted of the yard man. Works great... $309.00 after all the rebates and stuff (taken off the price on line) purchased online picked up at a store.

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TheWaterbug
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TheWaterbug wrote:There's also a "Craftsman Rear Tine Roto Tiller 6.5 HP 17" Tine Width $375 OBO LIKE NEW."

This one is also 25 minutes from me instead of an hour and a half.

Are the older ones really that much better than new ones?
Well, the Craftsman sold before I got a chance to look at it, so I think I'm going to make the long trek tomorrow and see the Pony.

any suggestions on what to look for/at when buying used equipment like this?
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I have a few tillers and one is a front end tiller that I got cheap some time ago; I do not even use it as it kills me to use. I have a BCS and it is a great tiller. The tines on the BCS are thick and look like tines from a PTO tiller. It is gear driven and has a lot of power.

The one I like best is my Kubota 5' PTO tiller it flat out gets the job done and you can sit down when you till. :wink:

DD the local gas station sells high test non ethanol gas and off road diesel, I use the non ethanol gas in all my all gas powered yard tools.

BCS tiller.

[img]https://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/twistedtomf/tiller3.jpg[/img]

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TheWaterbug
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So I'm now the proud owner of a Troy Bilt Pony rototiller! I'll post pics tomorrow when it's light.

I was going to try and talk the price down by $50-$100, but then I met the sweet old couple selling it. They're getting rid of stuff because the husband is in Stage 4 of his terminal cancer, so I just teared up and handed over the $500 :(

It seems in pretty good shape, except for a slightly sticky dis/engage cable, but that look easy to fix.

I was really worried about getting in my minivan until I saw it. It's so much smaller than the big Barreto I've been renting! Time will tell if I've bought enough machine for my yard.

I built a ramp with plywood and some 2x4s, and it was really easy to load. I probably could have made the ramp half the length and been OK.
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TheWaterbug
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Ugh. I got it home, and I can get it started without any problems. But as soon as I hit the soil it stalls. If I crank up the throttle, it stalls.

I didn't get a chance to put it any dirt at the seller's house; all we did was drive it around on the concrete with the tines tilling the air.

The good news is that I have a lawnmower repair shop literally down the street from my office, and they're reputed to be very affordable, so I'm going to schlepp it in tomorrow morning.
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Has the tiller been sitting for some time without use? It could be that the carb is gummed up and sticking.

You say you're not mechanically inclined, but if you have a few minutes, you may want to try something. Go to Wally Mart and get some Carb cleaner in a spray can. It will have a plastic tube that you place on the nozzel to allow you to get into tight spots. Take the air cleaner off, and spray the outside of the carb. You should see varnish and dirt come off. Use an old tooth brush to get the tough stuff. Spray all rods and other mechanical moving parts well so they are moving freely. Next, remove the foam air cleaner from it's holder and wash it well with soapy water. Once it's clean, wring out all water, and place it in then sun to dry. Once dry, apply 10-15 drops of motor oil to the foam air cleaner, then wring out any excess oil.

Make sure you have fresh gas in the tank. If it smells old (you will know old gas when you smell it), replace the old gas with fresh gas.

Next, start the motor with the air cleaner off and let the motor idle. Spray small amounts of the carb cleaner into the carb opening several times, cleaning off the inside surfaces of the carb. If you spray too much at one time, the motor may die. Increase the engine speed, and repeat the spraying of carb cleaner into the carb. Repeat this until you can run at full throttle.

Replace the air filter, and try using the tiller again. With a little luck, this may fix your problem, if not, you have the repair shop nearby. ;>)

This will cost you less than $5.00 and 1/2 hr of your time, and you don't have to be a mechanical wizzard.

I have a Pony, and love it. Mine is a 70's model, and with a little loving care, they will last a long time!!

Brad

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TheWaterbug
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Location: Los Angeles

bcallaha wrote:Has the tiller been sitting for some time without use? It could be that the carb is gummed up and sticking.
Yes, it's been unused for years. Thanks for the advice, but I already dropped it off at the repair shop this morning.

I have to get a bunch of stuff prepped and in the ground with a drip system before June 16th, because I'm leaving the country for almost 3 weeks. I need to have the pumpkins started so they're ready for Halloween, and I'd rather be a few weeks early than a few weeks late.

The seller even had his original operators manual, Troy Bilt warranty transfer card*, sales brochure, Briggs & Stratton warranty card, etc. It was kinda neat to read it all. The brochure claims that this model can even knock down and chop up standing corn stalks. I'll have to try that later this season.

There's even a hiller/furrower attachment for this model, though it's a bit hard to find.

Of course having read through the entire brochure and manual, now I have Horse envy ;)


* There's a "No time limit" warranty on the transmission. Once I find Troy Bilt's new mailing address (the one on the postcard is no longer correct) I'm going to try mailing it in with a note and see if it's still valid.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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TheWaterbug
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TheWaterbug wrote:I already dropped it off at the repair shop this morning.
Hooray! [url=https://www.yelp.com/biz/andys-lawnmower-shop-torrance]Andy's Lawnmower Shop[/url] rebuilt the carburetor for $59, and now it runs great!

I took it home and took it for a spin, and it churns the soil nicely.

Pictures, as promised:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/PonyTillerProfile.jpg[/img]

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/YupItsAPony.jpg[/img]

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/BriggsStratton5HP.jpg[/img]

For those who are knowledgeable about such things, the model number is 15020S, and it's got a Briggs & Stratton 130297 5HP engine, 16" tilling width, and 4.0 x 12.5" tractor tread tires, and 12" diameter tines with an 8" tilling depth.

Also, for anyone else wondering how difficult it is to transport a rototiller in minivan, it's not! I bought a piece of 5/8" plywood and two 8' 2x4s and built two of these:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/PlywoodRamp1.jpg[/img]

Home Depot cut the plywood in half for me so I could get it in the van and get it home. I cut the 2x4s shorter by about 2 feet so that the one end of the ramp would sit flat on the ground and the other end would hang off my bumper, then attached them with 2" wood screws spaced about every 8", and every 4" near the stress points.

At first I used 1 1/4" screws, and those ripped right out of the greenish 2x4s, causing my plywood to nearly break in half, but once I put the longer screws in, everything was fine.

I also put a big screw eye in the 2x4 and ran a hook strap from there to the seat anchors in the van so that it wouldn't slide off while the tiller was on it. Here's the underside of the ramp with the screw eye:

[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/PlywoodRamp2.jpg[/img]

I made two ramps because I had no idea how large this tiller was until I got there, but for this little 160 lb Pony tiller one ramp is enough. For this bumper height I could also have cut the ramp about 2' shorter, which would make it easier to transport. If I were to do this for a 300 lb Horse or similar model, I'd probably double up on those 2x4s and put them nearer the edges of the plywood for stability, and I'd definitely use both ramps.

This weekend I'm going to try putting the tiller in my SUV, which has a much higher tailgate, just to see if I can do it and whether I need the full 8' of ramp. The tiller is 24" tall without the handlebars, or 38 1/4" tall with the handlebars at their lowest position. I hope I can get it in the SUV, as I much prefer driving my own car, and it gets up and down the trail behind my house much better than the minivan.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to be out and tilling at 6:30. I hope the neighbors don't complain!
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

bcallaha
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Location: Chandler in SW Indiana

Wonderful, glad to hear you're up and runnin'.

One word of caution about that tiller. If you're tilling up hard or previously untilled ground, make multiple passes tilling a little deaper with each pass. If you try to till too deep, the tines have a tendancy to "dig in" and the tiller will take off and leave you behind, and you will fall face first in the garden, and the tiller will hit your truck. (don't ask me how I know this)

Brad

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