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I'm trying to debate with myself this moral delima. You might have seen my posting in the Onan section about my engine not working. I haven't completely torn into it yet, but I am just trying to weigh my choices. If I tear into this engine, I am probably looking at replacing both pistons, rods, valves, etc. Plus some machine shop work etc. Which will probably start putting me in the $1000+ range. However, I have seen several tractors listed on CL in my area (many have been listed on this site) for the same or less dollars.

Let's take an example... One of the tractors listed was a 4020PS for $1200. Lets pretend that I could get it for $1000. Would I be better off doing that, then selling my tractor for parts ($200). Net outlay = $800 and I would have a newer tractor. Or should I just rebuild mine for the $1000. The problem is.... I don't have the $1000 :cry:
 

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Since you don't have the G-note, then this is just a hypothetical discussion. I really don't see this as a "moral dilemma" but morality is a personal choice. :sidelaugh:

As you say, you are bound to spend the $1000.00 or more, either way. The purpose here is to end up with a running tractor that will perform work for many years, is it not?

Realistically speaking, the engine is the most expensive "wear part" on any tractor. The cost of all other wear parts are small by comparison. Your tractor is a 1978 and that makes it 33 model years old. And while there is nothing wrong with that figure, the question that only you can answer is ....What kind of shape is the rest of my tractor in?

IF......your 1978 446 is in really good shape, then why get rid of it? If you do a proper rebuild on the Onan then theoretically you will have put your engine issues behind you for the next 20 plus years. Of course, there are no guarantees but statistics are on your side if you service it properly.

If you spend the $1000.00 to buy a different tractor, then you are also buying any problems that come with that tractor plus you are buying an engine that is used. Maybe it will snap a rod next winter... who knows? Maybe there will be a lot of other repairs needed that your tractor does not need. It all comes down to the provable history of the tractor you find. If someone was selling a tractor that had a brand new engine installed in it just 2 years ago and you could buy that one for a grand, then I'd say "go for it'. Or if they could produce invoices to show that a Pro shop rebuilt the Onan a year or two ago, then that too would make a huge difference.

But if all you are doing is jumping from one frying pan to another frying pan, then it's better to stay with what you know. Tell me you found a 4016, 4018 or 4020 with power steering for a grand and then that too would give pause for thought. There has to be more to this than just going from a tractor with a blown engine to a tractor with a running engine.

Of course, if you found a nice 224 for $400.00, why not buy that to see you through the tough times. When you get some more spare cash together, then that's the time to do the rebuild.
 

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99flhr said:
Hydriv said:
Tell me you found a 4016, 4018 or 4020 with power steering for a grand and then that too would give pause for thought. .
He did
I know he did but...... he would still have to evaluate the overall condition of his tractor vs the 4020PS. When looking at the 4020, does it appear to have had a hard life? Mad Mac has used these tractors for commercial cutting and racked up the hours pretty fast. Remember Jason's 4418D? It was brand new but it was still 20 years old. This whole discussion has to do with comparing pluses and minuses. It's about coming out ahead at the end of the day.
 

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geeco1 said:
I'm trying to debate with myself this moral delima. You might have seen my posting in the Onan section about my engine not working. I haven't completely torn into it yet, but I am just trying to weigh my choices. If I tear into this engine, I am probably looking at replacing both pistons, rods, valves, etc. Plus some machine shop work etc. Which will probably start putting me in the $1000+ range. However, I have seen several tractors listed on CL in my area (many have been listed on this site) for the same or less dollars.

Let's take an example... One of the tractors listed was a 4020PS for $1200. Lets pretend that I could get it for $1000. Would I be better off doing that, then selling my tractor for parts ($200). Net outlay = $800 and I would have a newer tractor. Or should I just rebuild mine for the $1000. The problem is.... I don't have the $1000 :cry:
I think that it is good thinking, but I would say that something was wrong with that 4020PS listing, if it was the one in Missouri. Based upon my experience, I would say that many of the $1,000 older tractors are going to have lots of use (like Tom said, and some more than others) and that if you spend the money and rebuild an engine the tractor will last a long time.

Not that there are not good deals out there, but if you are thinking that this one example would sway your decision, I would look around for some more legitimate listings because I have some very uneasy feelings on that 4020.

-Justin
 

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I've picked up a number of good running 446s in the $500 range and have also found good used Onans for $300-400 so you do have other options. If you're a young guy who will be using the tractor for another 30 years then rebuilding the Onan is a good investment but I wouldn't recommend going into debt to do it when you can set yourself up with a good working tractor for much less. The 444's are also a good option since the engines can be professionally rebuilt for around $400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All are good points. I actually have found a 224 that I want to go look at. Asking $400. But it doesn't have a deck. As Hydriv wrote, I also have to consider the overall condition of my 446 tractor. My deck is rusted through and has been patched with the Mighty Putty stuff. The tractor seems to work well but I did notice that after about 1/2 hour of use, the travel speed seemed to slow down somewhat. However it plowed snow and ice with no problem this winter. All-in-All, I think that if I fix mine, it will give me many more years of service. But until then, I may have to look at getting something cheaper as in the 224 listed above until then.

Gosh... then if I fix mine, I'll have to get a bigger shed to store them both. :thumbsup:
 

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All you need are the two rear lift links for a 200 and you can use the deck from your other tractor. Who cares if it has rust holes in it? As long as it cuts the grass nicely, the cosmetics don't matter.

If you have a workshop plus some storage space, you could save up a few hundred bucks and then dismantle the 446 to the bare frame. Mostly, a restoration is labour, not parts. It involves the time to strip everything down to the basics. That's followed by getting rid of all the dirt and rust until you have a surface that is clean and repaired. Then you prime paint it before spraying on the new finish. Yes.... you will need a couple quarts of paint and a decal kit. That's $100.00 at the outside.

How far you want to go is up to you. If you redo the trans-axle now, then new seals, axle bushings and carrier bolts are the order of the day. The balance is mostly inspecting for wear and tear and then correcting it. New rod ends for the steering, some bushings and bearings. Maybe a new hose between the pump and the travel/lift valve is a smart move because it's so easy to do now. If you have another tractor around to do the chores, then you can work on this one as time and money permits. The engine is pretty much the last thing to install and that fact allows you to do a 100 percent resto to everything else. You will be much more inclined to rebuild that engine once you see how glorious that tractor looks after you lovingly bring it back to new condition. And once the rebuilt engine is back in, just imagine how impressed your neighbour's will be with your Case. Or should I say ......green-eyed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You have basically read my mind. I've been thinking about doing a full restore for some time, but never had enough downtime to do it. I do have a back-up mower to handle the grass cutting (don't laugh.... it's a snapper). Perhaps I'll make my kids mow with it :sidelaugh: :sidelaugh: I don't really see that I will need the power of the 446 until later in the fall when I will probably want to under-till my garden and then get ready for the snow next winter. That will allow me to save-up some cash and just spend a little each month as needed. Hope my wife can do without parking in the garage for a while. :think:

I don't particularly care if everything is exactly original as this tractor was never meant to be a showpiece, just a working tractor. As an example, I replace the headlights several years ago with oval driving lights from Walmart. They actually worked really well at night. Then I installed mudflaps extending from the wheel wells to keep the muck from slinging on my back and legs when I got into the "wet" stuff. Obviously, I don't want to do any major modifications to try to force something to fit that doesn't belong there. So as soon as I finish-up another project that I am in the middle of, I can start on dismantling the 446.

Thanks for everyones help, encouragement, and putting up with me :drinkbuddies:
 

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Well, full restoration vs. teardown, freshen, repaint? Financcially I dont think I'd ever do a full restoration on one of these.

But, I picked up some Case paint from the dealership with my 5yo son yesterday. He asked me what the paint was for and when I told him he looked at me and said "You're not going to paint the old tractor are you Dad?.....Dont paint it - it looks manly like that."
 

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Rockdog said:
Well, full restoration vs. teardown, freshen, repaint? Financcially I dont think I'd ever do a full restoration on one of these.

But, I picked up some Case paint from the dealership with my 5yo son yesterday. He asked me what the paint was for and when I told him he looked at me and said "You're not going to paint the old tractor are you Dad?.....Dont paint it - it looks manly like that."
LOL!
 

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one of my customers called me today.
he has a 76 446. (a working tractor)
he wanted to enter it in a local parade, this coming friday.
they told him if it is not totally RESTORED, he was not welcome.
WTF???
thank you. boomer
 

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boomers_influence said:
one of my customers called me today.
he has a 76 446. (a working tractor)
he wanted to enter it in a local parade, this coming friday.
they told him if it is not totally RESTORED, he was not welcome.
WTF???
thank you. boomer
Well that will be one fast restoration if he gets it done. lol :thumbsup:
Not sure I agree with the parade regulations. I'm sure if it breaks down there will be plenty around to lend a helping pull the rest of the way through the parade. Mr. John Deere would be more than happy to pull him if it breaks down. :lolno:
 
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