Oh ye of little faith. :lol:
No one can predict how much time is actually left in the life of any engine. The lifespan of an Onan is largely in the hands of the person or persons that own it. If oil and filter changes plus decarbonizing and tune ups are done on schedule, then 3000 plus hours are not unusual. Even then, a quick de-glazing and cross-hatching plus a new set of rings is often all that's needed to revive the compression and continue usage. The problem, as always, is that a buyer has no way of knowing how many past owners there have been and how meticulous they were with service.
It is for these reasons you need to own and understand a compression tester and leak-down tester.
I don't know why it is that some people are shocked that a clutch doesn't last forever on these tractors. DId anyone ever own a car or truck that did not need timely adjustments and eventual replacement? I sure didn't. Back in my younger days, I blew plenty of clutches. :lol:
I think that your biggest problem with these tractors is called "the unknown". You have not been around them long enough to understand that you are overreacting most of the time. Snowcasters for instance. That design has remained relatively unchanged for forty years. Now, if the engineers got it wrong back then, don't you think that customers and dealers would have yelled, screamed and hollered for changes? The mechanical PTO clutch is 100% repairable. You can buy every little piece for it today even though Ingersoll stopped using it on their production line 24 years ago. Electric clutches are more expensive to use because you CAN"T repair them and they don't last near as long as the mechanical clutch does.
Stop thinking short term. If you are wanting a 400 Series tractor, then either commit to a minimum 10 year marriage with it or don't buy an engagement ring. If a new clutch was needed and it cost $500.00 today, then ten years from now it would have cost fifty bucks per year to have a new clutch. Good used clutches can be found on e-Bay. Or you could ask someone like Dan Haas if he happens to have one for sale. He and I may not get along but I would not hesitate to buy a part from him.
Perhaps the clutch that is in that tractor now just needs a few new parts to make it live again. If this tractor is right in every other way, then don't lose it. There have been plenty of members on this forum that have never tackled one of these clutches in the past but managed to come out a winner due to help they got here. I've seen you work your magic with the Frankencab. If you can do that, then a clutch is a walk in the park.