Monday, June 29, 2009

Panterra 90cc ATV manuals

Ok, it took me some time, but searching through the web I was able to find multiple manuals for my Panterra quad. I found the user manuals and the parts catalogs.

Panterra 90cc ATV User Manual

90cc ATV Parts Catalog

I hope these can help out someone who has spent way too much time looking for this information like I had to.

Also, if you need information on places to order parts, leave a comment and I'll get back to you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Agrifab tow behind implements DEAL!

A guy I used to work with had an ad for a JD tractor with a bunch of attachments, so I called about it. The tractor sold (small lawn tractor), but the attachments didnt.
He had (mostly agrifab stuff) an aerator/spreader, roller, dethatcher, and tow behind sprayer (he's not sure if it's 25 gal or bigger) with nozzled bar and hand wand and was asking $200. Sounded like too good of a deal to me. I know the sprayer itself is expensive new. I had to take him up on it. Here are the pics of the goodies I got!

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Addendum and full write up - Hydraulic flush and fill

I did a write up of the complete hydraulic flush and fill seen earlier on my blog
(See pics here)
and forgot to post it. Here it is!

Ok, I did my Hydraulic flush and fill today. Wasn't too bad of a project really. Had it been one continuous project, it might have taken about 4 hours. Needless to say, were I do do it again, I could do it in less than 2, but I learned a lot about the system today!
Started off by trying to remove the knob on the front of the hydraulic reservoir, thinking that was the filling point. Little did I know it was for a single hydrr. set I don't even use (yet). Well, I broke the knob off in the process. No really big deal. Life goes on.
Got the tractor set up and on jack stands so I could operate the steering without problems. Raised the loader all the way up so I could dump those fluids also.
Then I went to draining the fluid. Man was it black and crappy! full of metal junk and just overall very nasty. Worked the power steering to empty its fluid, then dropped the bucket about half way, tipped the bucket all the way forward, then worked/lifted it back up to half way, and dropped the loader all the way down. That got quite a bit more fluid out of the reservoir. Then worked the 3ph to get what little was in there out. That wasn't much.
I then removed the hydraulic filter and cleaned it up, all nice and shiny like. (well, sort of)
I filled it up with Kerosene and closed her back up. Put her through her paces, stopping once to add a little more as the reservoir was emptied, and verified I had run all hydr equipment/controls possible. They all worked
I then drained the kero, and it was dirty. Very dirty. but I felt very happy with the results, as I knew it had removed a LOT of the crud in there. I used the drained kero sludge to clean some of the parts, like the filter, to a much nicer state. The inside of the reservoir was in tremendously better shape, as it was not longer black, but a bright orange when clean! Pretty cool to see.
Next I filled her back up with new AW32 from Napa, and started her back up to test he operations. Everything worked, except the 3ph.
Well, we tried topping off fluids, that didn't work. Removed the filter area, and that didn't work. Noticed it was really heavily loading the engine when trying to raise the 3ph, so we figured there was a blockage. We removed 2 different bolts/assemblies from the 3ph pump area, to no avail. Disengaged the FEL and tried again, Still a no go. Then just on a shot in the dark, loosened up the from pump bolt (the one I had broken the knob off of earlier) and POW! It worked!. (Still not sure what we did there)
Anyway, I found if I leave that about 1/4 turn from tight, everything works fine, so, that is where she stays for now. Any thoughts on that?
Anyway, during all of this, I found one of my FEL couplings had some loose fittings. Tightened them up, and everything is now great. Runs great, no boggy power steering, and runs like a champ.
Also got out the grease gun and lubed EVERY zerk on this bad boy.
All in all, a very productive PM day, and I learned a lot I never knew about hydraulics today. Fun project for a first timer.

Agrifab Tow Behind Tiller

I bought a new AgriFab tow behind tiller for my Cub in August of 2006. I have used it to till my gardens, both crops and flowers, and till my yard where I had a large row of trees that got cut down before I seeded. It is amazing. It pulls up roots, finds large stones, and is easy to operate. It starts up easily every time now for 3 seasons. Runs a little loud, but I wear ear muffs even when I'm mowing, so I just wear them when tilling also. I purchased mine from Tractor Supply on sale for $869, which worked out pretty well.
The choke is simple and helps ease the startup. The tiller starts from the small handle on the front, and it is lowered, and can be lowered while in the seat, by the large handle. It pushes the tractor pretty well, so make sure you have a decently heavy tractor. I also remove the deck from my cub so it doesn't hang up on piled dirt or stones when tilling. The pin hitch gets a workout, and a thin metal plate would get bored out by the jarring this thing can punish you with, so make sure your connection point is very solid.
This is an excellent tool for everything we have used it for. If you don't have a 3pt tractor and need something to speed up tilling, this is the thing to get. I can till 8" deep into an area about 40'x75' in about 30 minutes.

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Panterra 90cc 4 wheeler

Ok, so this isn't really a tool, but I use it as one. It's much easier to get around the property on than a tractor, uses less fuel, more comfortable ride, and goes a lot faster. (not to mention the fun factor). Don't tell the boss it's not NEEDED!
I picked this up from a friend for $150. It had been "ridden hard and put away wet" quite a few times. It had a dead battery, bent steering arms in the front, bent foot plates and front bumper, but it runs.
To fix it, I had a spare battery sitting around (see my PowerWheels Modifications info). Fit perfectly in the battery holder with some minor modifications to the battery connectors. I took off the tie rods and bent them back to the correct STRAIGHT shape. They are about 1/4" thick and bent pretty easily in my vise with some extra help. The front bumper is still bent, and the foot plates still need some work.
It drives pretty well. It's a 3 speed manual shift (foot lever, 3sp forward, 1 rev). Has switches for lights but none installed. I'm guessing they were broken off when the front end was damaged. I am still working on getting the front end right as at high speed it seems a bit twitchy, but I rarely have it running fast.
The current MAIN use is for running my 3 (now 4) children around the property on fun rides. I also use it to get the mail as it's over 1/4mi one way to tyhe mailbox.
I would NOT classify this as a true offroad atv. It doesn't hav emuch in the way of power, and is a bit clunky between gears. That could all stem from the use/abuse it took before I got it. For the price I paid, it is well worth it.
I plan to work on it to make it a little more functional as time goes on. I will post more pics and details as I update it. It needs a new paint job, gas cap modification to keep it from leaking when taking tight turns, and a new airbox setup. Check back for updates!

Harbor Freight Concrete Mixer

About 2 years ago we started building a retaining wall in our front yard. We have a walk out basement, and the hill form the front yard down to the walk out was excessively steep and difficult to mow. One of the many tools we realized we would need for this process was a mixer. We didn't want to spend thousands of dollars for a top of the line unit knowing the intent was for one project. We also know that buying from Harbor Freight, you are hit or miss with whether things last or not. One thing I have as a habit is to take care of my tools. I have had great luck wiht many of my HF tools to this point.
We store this unit inside at night. It helps keep the rain and elements off of it. We also make sure to clean it thoroughly during and after every use. It has minimal if any buildup on both the inside and outside. We have had no failures on it to this point. It has run solid for us for the 3 seasons we have been using it so far. We use a 3-1 mixture of sand to concrete mix, and it works excellent as a mortar to hold the walls stones together.
Details are as follows:

Motor: 1/3 HP; Drum opening: 15"; 1520 RPM; 110 VAC; Overall dimensions: 43" L x 25" W x 52" H

When using the mixer, we put no more than about 8 shovels full of material inside it. We do not overload it (again with taking care of equipment). It has a much higher capacity, but as we are not expert wall builders, and we take our time, we keep up a good pace between mixing and spreading the mortar.
The tilt feature is excellent for dumping mixed loads into wheel barrows for transport to the wall area so we don't have to have the mixer right on top of the work area. It is also nice that it can be rotated to dump on either side. Very handy. The roller wheels make it very portable. It seems a bit flimsy in the motor cover area, but in reality, more weight would just be a pain. All you really need is a sturdy motor and some good gearing. This unit has both.

I highly recommend this unit to anyone looking for a simple but functional tool that will help them get the job done. Ours has been flawless.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rotary Mower - Rural King, Tractor Supply, Northern Tool

I have been looking to purchase a 5' rotary mower / brush hog for a couple of years. I have looked into new, used, browsed Northern Tool, Tractor Supply, and many other suppliers and I'm somewhat confused at the price differences. I know there is a difference in quality and thickness of the decks on some, but I'm not sure that the differences are as substantial as what I've found. Here are a couple of prices I found lately.

Tractor Supply : 5' Country Line Rotary Cutter: $899.99
Norther Tool : 5' cutter - multiple models from $859.99 - 1629.99
Rural King : 5' Rotary Cutter $679.99

Ok, so for a piece I expect to abuse, and know will probably not last, without extensive fixes, where would be the justification in spending between $220-$950 MORE that the cost of the one at Rural King? I currently have a 6' finish mower that is sold by Rural King. It is a Land Pride brand. Their rotary cutter looks to be the same brand. I know TSC and NT are reputable names, but is purchasing from a reputable name REALLY that important when you already know the quality of the product you plan to purchase?
I am strongly leaning toward the RK model. I guess we'll find out my decision in a future post.

6 ft Lawn Pride Finish Mower - Spent the weekend mowing

On saturday, I spent about 6 and a half hours mowing. Yes, I have way too much land. The original intent was to mow around a couple large brush piles so we could burn them down to clear the area for mowing/grass again. The wind picked up, and we decided to just keep mowing. It was a beautiful day, but way too windy to burn.
It seems that when I put a new drive belt and blades on my Land Pride finish mower, i didn't do an adequate job of tightening the deck drive belt. It took me a while to understand what was going on, as the tractor is loud, and I wear ear covering headphones to keep the drone of the engine from deafening me.
What I recalled is that when I used to run into tall patches of grass, the engine would start to bog upwards of 800-1000rpms. That's pretty substantial on a tractor that runs in the 2300-2400 rpm range. Saturday I would get very minimal drops, say 2-300rpms. What I DID start to notice was the sound from the deck was dropping. At one point, actually smoking the belt. That's not good.
The difficulty in tightening the belt comes from the need to lift the deck (higher than just with the 3pt hitch) to be able to comfortably loosen the bolts, then pull towards the back the entire main gearbox assembly deck. That would be easy, but the piece itself probably weighs 80-90lbs itself, and the tension of the belts adds a bit more to the situation. It can be done, it just seems I didn't do it well enough, and it would take 2 people to make it happen, as someone will need to be pulling the assembly back on the top as the other tightens the bolts.
I'll work on posting some pics as I do this in the next week or so.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Craftsman or not to Craftsman

So I have bought a LOT of tools over the past 9 years. More than I could probably ever need. One thing I've found, in my time working on cars, tractors, boats, ATVs, is that when I need a sturdy, reliable tool, the only ones I have so far are my Craftman tools. This may sound like an ad. It's not. I just know what has worked for me.
I will admit my Gear Wrenches (another brand name) work incredibly well also. The ones I have are the shorties, and fit in places most others couldn't imagine. That is for a different write up though.
My favorite Craftsman tools are my ratchets. I purchased the majority of them that I have between 2000 and 2002, and they still work flawlessly today. I have purchased multiple other off brands and not one of them has lasted more than a year. Luckily I never spent too much money on any of them, and their socket bits are still usable. Yes, I have WAY more than I need. I have 2-4 of each size. I often work on multiple projects simultaneously, and it's nice to be able to leave the tools next to the job with the proper sockets attached.
I also have craftsman table saws, electric sanders, circular saws, buffer/polishers, cordless drills, and way too many more to remember without playing, err, I mean, using them again.
All in all, I am very happy with all of my craftsman tools. I also have 2 craftsman tool chests, purchased as gifts for me. Couldn't have asked for better storage pieces for all of my goodies.

Monday, June 15, 2009

DR Power Grader paid for itself in one day

The winter of '06-'07 in Indiana was pretty rough, and the long driveway took a beating. The boss (aka wife) was ready to call in about 5 truckloads of stone to "fix the problem", but I said she had to wait until I could have a go with the DRPG. To her amazement, and somewhat to mine, it FOUND gravel in my driveway. When I was finished, and for the past 2 months, you would have thought we ordered the new gravel. I figure if I have to run this thing for an hour or 2 every 3-4 months to save ~$1000, it's worth every penny I paid for it. It does take 3-4 good passes, and I gave it about 6 to make sure it did what I wanted, but I am VERY impressed with this piece. It's worth all the space it takes up in my cramped garage.

DR Power Grader

Got my Power Grader put together . Only took about 15 minutes. Pretty nice piece of equipment.
Here is mine put together with the hitch bar folded back for storage. Pretty decent/managable size when folded. The thing it STUPID heavy though. It doesn't need much/any extra weight for grading. It does an excellent job on my rough #2 stone driveway. I'll try to get pics up before and after the next time I grade.

Cub Cadet GT 2554

In 2005, we were getting ready to build our current home, which was finished in 2006. We had purchased a little over 20 acres in 2003 and needed something to help us get started in the immediate area around our house with yard work and mowing. This was before I knew anything about tractors. At this point, I knew I needed one, I knew they were loud, powerful, and could cut/knock down most anything I put in their way. What I didn't really know how to do was figure out what size of a tractor I would need for this undertaking.
Goal one was to keep my budget low. Goal two was to be able to mow about 2-3 acres immediately around my house. Goal 3 was it had to be something my 5' tall wife could drive. This would NOT be a large tractor. Other than that, I was pretty clueless. I knew I couldn't get a large tractor because the boss wanted to use it. I knew I needed something more powerful than a lawn tractor, as I knew the hills on our property would destroy drive belts. The next step up were the garden tractors, solid shaft drive type.
We found a very friendly and accommodating dealer in Franklin, Indiana (Jacoby Sales and Service). I had visited Kubota, John Deere, Cat, all the big names, and just wasn't finding what I needed. Cub Cadet had a nice line-up, and at the time, they had a 12mos same as cash deal, which fit my budget perfectly. I was able to save up the money over the course of a year and pay it in full when the time came (and yes, I did just that).
At a little over $4k it was the right tool, at the right price, at the right time.
The GT 2554 is a 25hp unleaded fuel tractor. Shaft drive (cast iron) hydrostatic transmission, front PTO, with a 54" mowing deck. There is no 3pt connection or PTO off the back, which is something I wanted, but I got by without it. It has a somewhat solid hitch hole on the rear, but the attachments I use have taken somewhat of a toll on it over the last 3 years. Still a very functional hitch.
I have used this tractor, with an upgrade to Ag tires in the rear, to mow over 10 acres, grade (with a DR Power Grader) a 1/4 mile+ driveway multiple times a year, till a large garden (with a pull behind tiller), seed over an acre of ground (for a yard), and it still runs like a champ as of June 2009.
Overall, I am very satisfied with this tractor. Where it does lack is in the mower deck wheel design. I have broken off the left rear deck wheel 4 times, and now don't even mount it anymore. I have also broken off the front right deck wheel and assembly. The entire pivoting assembly broke on when mowing. That was an $80 assembly I never want to have to do again. I plan on solid mounting all 4 corners in the near future. My neighbor is a welder by trade. Look for a write up to on that in the future.

Tractor hydraulic flush and fill

I have put together a series of photos and notes as to what I did in order to change out the original tar-like hydraulic fluid in my Jinma. If you have any questions let me know!

Up and ready for draining.

Draining the sludge.

Removing the fuel filter.

Fitting had to be loosened. Overtightened when we got it and wouldn't allow draining. Not sure how/why still.

Sludge drained.

Fuel Filter cleaned.

Inside of hydraulic casing. When we started, this was covered in black sludge. I drained the original, ran a kerosene flush, then drained it again. After that, it was bright orange, and the metal was nice and shiny. The tar like crap that was there was gone and everything seemed to be happier.

Misc pic

Nice new clear hydraulic fluid. Much better flowing than tar.

Jinma 254 (Tractor King) 4x4 tractor - Big Red

So, I have now purchased a new (used) tractor. Did I mention what it was? Sorry about that. It is a Tractor King 254. This is a Chinese tractor, sold by Rural King, and made by Jinma. I know, I purchased a chinese tractor. Call me un-American, but I gave my money to another American, who no longer needed it, so I think I was helping out. If it wasn't me, it would have been someone else.
Ok, now some details on the Jinma 254. It is a 25hp diesel 4x4 with all of the basics and none of the frills. No live-PTO, no shuttleshift or hydrostatic drive. It even has a solid mounted seat, no springs! It's the basics of a tractor.
What it DOES have is all of the power I need. I use the 6' mower almost weekly. In the future I plan to pick up a 5-6' brush hog, but for now it serves the purpose for what I need. The Koyker FEL is excellent. In the floods in our region in 2008, I was able to rebuild a 15'x12'x5' deep washed out culvert/bridge in about 1/2 a day with about 40 tons of stone. It was a life saver, and saved me about $2000 that day alone in what would have been contracted work.

While many would say I am missing a lot of the "finer" aspects of the newer and more advanced tractors, I would have to agree. What I am NOT missing though, is the payments! My tractor is paid for. Had I purchased a new tractor, I would most likely be financing it, and paying for it every money. I just don't have the funs to do that right now. New house, 3 beautiful children and another on the way, my money goes to living, not making everyone else rich right now.

Look for some write-ups on improvements I have done and may be working on in the future.

Searching for a new/used tractor

I bought this tractor used in 2006. It had 75 hours on it and was in excellent condition. It included a Koyker 6' front end loader (FEL) and a 6' finish mower from Land Pride. Here's what happened in my decision to make this purchase.
I was looking for something that had enough power to pull a 5-6" finish mower, had a FEL, 3pt takeoffs on the rear, and was 4x4. The requirements were kind of stiff, but I have a very hilly, rough, and regularly wet piece of property. We have 2 natural springs, which make some of the hills a bit toucher to get around with only 2wd. New tractors were EXPENSIVE. I didn't have the $14k-25k needed to purchase a new tractor. I looked into John Deere, Kubota, Ford, Cub Cadet, Massey Ferguson, trust me, I looked into all of them. I couldn't afford a new one. My next search: Used tractors.
I searched through multiple websites,,,,, etc. I even went out and grabbed the trader papers at the local newstand. Everything I found was either hundreds if not thougsands of hours into it's life, or just pure junk. I was not finding anything I could use.
One day when driving home from the lake, I saw a red tractor, FEL, and finish mower attached, sitting on the side of the road. It was everything I was looking for, but the price was still a bit high for my budget. I called the number on the paper attached (nobody was home when I stopped) once I got home. We discussed what exactly it was, and talked about how much they wanted. They weren't really willing to budge on the price, so I told them to keep my number in case they changed their mind. A month later, I passed by again, and it was still sitting there. Price had been lowered, but not considerably. I called again, and asked if they had much interest. I was speaking to the lady of the house, not the man who bought it. I found it it had only been used to mow a 2-acre square lot, and pulled a couple trees away that had been cut to clear a field. That was very light work in my mind. She was frustrated he had paid so much for a tractor they didn't really need. After about 45 minutes, I had talked the price down about 30%, and I was in my price range! I made the deal, and showed up later that day with the money!
If anyone ever needs help in price negotiations, I'm always available. My prices are pretty low considering what I can save you. :)

About Jax Tractors and Tools

As a new blogger, I figured I'd write about the things that take up a majority of my time. I spend a LOT of time on my tractors. I have over 20 acres and do a lot of work. Mowing, clearing, gardens, tree trimming, etc. I currently own 2 tractors, a small ( to me ) 2006 Cub Cadet GT2554 and a Tractor King (Jinma) 254. They serve my purposes very well, and I have had great luck with both to this point.
I also have a LOT of tools. Chainsaws, power tools, things I use to work on my many vehicles. I'll do frequent write-ups of as many as I can.
Hope this site adds some valuable knowledge to anyone interested.