When that big cold snap hit a couple months ago, the last day I used the tractor was a cold one. As usual, I drained the cooling system down when I parked it. I opened the petcock and hot water spilled out. There was one problem I hadn't figured, the block and radiator have a common drain connected by two quarter inch lines, one from each. The one that drains the block is external and was already frozen. So, all that drained was the radiator and the head. The block being below the level of the water pump did not drain.
A few weeks ago when the weather warmed up, I started on next winter's firewood. When I tried to fill the radiator, water poured out on the ground. A freeze plug on the right side of the block had pushed out. This scared the crap out of me, but I pushed the freeze plug back in and hoped for the best. I used the tractor to get a bunch of trees felled and bucked into logs and decked up for bucking and splitting, draining the radiator down each time until the long term forecast said no freezes coming.
Everything looked okay until the last series of freezing nights were starting. I went out to drain it and out of the cooling system came some oil. I pulled out the dipstick and there was some sign of emulsification in the oil. My worst fear of a cracked block was realized. Water is in the oil and oil is in the water. In a word, catastrophe.
I may be able to fix it, but even if I can't, the job before me is monumental. I will change the oil and wash out the filter with solvent before running the engine one last time. I will need the engine to run the hydraulic pump to remove the front end loader and move the tractor into a position where I can disassemble the front end, beginning with removing the front axle, hood, grill, battery, radiator, and forward frame. Before parking it I will pressure wash the engine.
I have searched the internet looking for a shortblock, and called a Cub Cadet dealer. The parts guy at the dealer called his engine guy and called me back and told me that there are no engines or shortblocks anywhere and that, as far as my tractor was concerned, I had, "a paperweight."
The engine is a Mitsubishi K3M D14R. This 27 HP engine was used in the 1996 Cub Cadet 7274 like mine, and before that in the early '90s Case IH 1140, which was pretty much the same tractor, by a different name. Both were made by Mitsubishi.
I have seen a few of these tractors, used, on Craigslist, for from $9,500 to $11,000, but they were all back east. Of course I couldn't afford that anyway.
There seems to be more oil in the water than there is water in the oil. I am assuming the crack (if there is only one) is hairline and near the oil pump, a crack crossing a drilled oil line through the block. I am assuming this drilled line crosses the bottom of the water jacket near where the freeze plug pushed out, as the oil pump is an external one on that same side. My plan is to remove the oil pump and freeze plug, find the output line bore and sleeve it by JB Welding a thin piece of tubing through it. Then clean the water jacket with solvent, treat it with Naval Jelly to convert any rust, and cover the bottom with JB weld over stainless steel screen.
This is a lot of work with no guarantee of success. First off, having no decent shop space, so I must see to creating some kind of covered work area. I potentially will have to hoist the engine in this space, though I hope I can avoid that. The enormity of my task has me pretty depressed. The loss of the tractor for my day-to-day needs weighs heavy. The golf course becomes a low priority.
The man who gave me this tractor was always ready to help his neighbors with it, without charge. I have kept this tradition going. Everyone at Lucky Mud gets their annual supply of firewood from me, no charge. Any time they need a tractor job, it has been my pleasure to help if I could. Service is my life path, and having tools facilitates this. This one particular tool makes up for my waining strength and allows me to do so much that I could not do otherwise.
Well, wish me luck, or find me a great deal on a used tractor with a good engine. The reason I need the same model tractor (or that earlier Case) is all the trick stuff the previous owner added. If I hit the Lotto, I will definitely go for a larger tractor. As things are, I may need one that I can transfer parts to. No matter how this resolves, I have my work cut out for me.