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Martin H

A question for the experts...I've been offered a C125..

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Hello all.

 

I can see from the general  posts that there are some highly knowledgeable people in the Wheel Horse field gathered here. So I thought this would be the place to tap into your collective experience and ask a general question about the purchase of a C125.

 

I need a machine that would help me get on top of a derelict orchard, so I have been looking for ride on mowers. I came across a Wheel Horse C125 and I'm going to see it tomorrow. It's not been restored, so it looks a bit rough, but I am assured it works fine, although the grass cutting deck is rusted and needs welding. He's asking £475 for it.

 

So my query to you all is, are there hidden quirks and shortfalls with this model? Is it something to be avoided? Are they difficult to maintain? Is that the sort of price one would expect to pay? etc, etc..

 

I've never heard of Wheel Horse before so I'm completely in the dark as to what should I be looking out for, hence asking for your help.. :).

 

Hopefully one of you will see this post in time...

 

All the best,

 

Martin.

Edited by Martin H

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Hello Martin,

Welcome to MOM. I don't have a Ŵheel Horse myself (I have several Bolens) but it would appear that you can get the parts to keep it going. I have been told that the C series is semi professional use and would probably be more than sufficient for your needs. If it is the original engine then it should be a Kohler 12hp tractor. As you say there are a few chaps here who can give you all the info you need. Generally speaking, the Ŵheel Horse is a properly built garden tractor unlike the modern plasticity ones you can get today unless you are prepared to pay over £3500 for a Ride On. £450 or so is probably about right but as with all, especially older machinery, check it over before using prior to each mowing session. You can get a 42 or 48 inch mowing deck and there is a guy here on the forum who might have one up for grabs. Your tractor I think is from the early 1980s.

As a professional gardener, one of the things about maintaining an orchard is to time the grass cutting. Do it when the grass isn't too long and when the conditions are favourable. Also mow before the apples start dropping on the ground as your mowing deck will not able to cope with the extra debris.

Best of luck with the viewing tomorrow.

Andrew

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Thanks Andrew, that sounds encouraging.

I've got the impression that they are pretty robust, it'll need to be as the orchard is half derelict with fifteen foot high brambles on the derelict side, which I'm slowly nibbling away at with a pro strimmer. Once it's down I mow the bramble tops off as they come up, allowing the grass to reclaim. Seems to be working so far and I'm hoping the Wheel Horse will be much more robust than the Mountfield mower I currently use and can cope with a bit of stick. (Mowing the half acre grass section that's already clear with the Mountfield is a bit like cutting a football pitch with a pair of scissors..:)

 

Hopefully a Wheel Horse buff might pass by at some point...

 

Thanks again..

 

Martin H

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Hi Martin, you won't go far wrong with the C series, good robust tractor. Once you got one and have the model number you can download a manual from the Toro site, spares are easy to get new and secondhand and Kohler engines are the best (in my opinion). Silencer,s are pretty expensive and batterys run at about £50, the most thing they suffer from is badly maintained by their owners. The tyres are always cracked and perished but last for ages, just look at the trackrods as they are always worn and they suffer from water in the transmission, just drain and refill with the correct oil, just give it a good service and grease up and clean the deck when you finish mowing, anything else give us a shout, and good luck with it. Chris

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Hi Martin

Hire a rough cut walk behind mower  cut the brambles to the ground rake them up then once you have got on top of it then use your newly acquired wheel horse ? to keep it all in check

Best of luck 

George S :hide:  :rain:

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Thanks Nigel..and there he is...thanks Chris.. . :)

 

That's really what I wasn't sure of, whether the C125  was a lemon or not, they produced so many models it seems, and like cars, there's always the chance there's one or two to avoid, but this one sounds suitably robust...

 

He says that the cutting deck plate is rusted through, but only needs some welding to put it right. Since the prime purpose is to cut rough grass, does welding it up sound feasable, or indeed familiar? (Sounds like it's just been left after the season to rust..like you say, owner maintenance is key)

 

And one last question, ( maybe a strange question, but I'll ask it anyway).. Does the Wheel Horse actually serve well as a grass cutter, or is it a sort of afterthought, if you see what I mean? I can see that it's strong and rugged for other types of task, so I was wondering if the grass cutting aspect might be a weaker afterthought as it were. Or am I just being oddly paranoid..?

 

I have to add, it will get used for other things, dragging logs and stuff, so although the rough grass cutting is the main thing, there are loads of other jobs it will be used for.

 

Anyway, thank you Chris, I shall proceed with the valuable knowledge you've provided when I look at it tomorrow, especially the bit about the track rods.

 

All the best,

 

Martin.

 


 

Edited by Martin H

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  I've had a C-125 for around 4 years I think. May be a bit longer. It's used every year, cutting the green opposite our home and the verges. The deck I did have to extensively rebuild, due to POs negligence to clean after use.

 Apart from oil changes and replacing the track rods and spark plug, all I've done is fit a boat primer bulb. Helps with starting if not used for a while. If your going to use it as a tractor, fit ag tyres like a tractor.

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Hi Martin, Welcome to MOM..

You can't go wrong with a C series, a strong robust machine.. The 12HP Kohler has bags of power... Cutting decks do rot out if not cleaned of grass and muck, but very few are unsaveable and most decks have had some welding repairs at some point.

As long as you look after it and service it once in a while it should last many many years..

My Wheel Horse Gt-14 is still going strong and it was made in 1971..

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One point to check, two to be exact, is play in the axle outer bearings. They are needle rollers, easy and cheap enough to replace, but if they disintegrate can cause a lot of trouble. The Showman and I know all about it. 

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Hi all, thanks for the encouragement and info, that's made me feel like I've got a decent machine, (I did buy it in the end). So it looks like I may be visiting here a few times in future...:)

 

Cosmetically it's no showstopper, the body panels are rusted through, but it works fine mechanically which is the main thing. Looks like it's been really neglected in the past, left out in the rain, (why would anyone do that?). The cutting deck is rotted out, but there's enough left to save it I think and as mentioned the panels around the seat are rusted like a cobweb. The seller has done a good job of restoring it to working condition. It's had a couple of non-standard mods, one to the exhaust sytem, but it works ok. It came with some extras, pulleys etc. which look like they are from a previously rusted out deck.

 

It's frustrating that I can't use it until the deck is repaired or I find a replacement. Don't suppose any of you know of a solid deck for sale, or even if there are any out there..? Is it worth looking for one? I do have a local agricultural fabricator/welder, I'll see what he says next week.

 

Thanks again chaps, really appreciate the useful info and all, quite invaluable, have taken note of the axle bearing comments, I'll check them....:)

 

Martin

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Quite surprised that no one has mentioned the durability of the belts driving the decks, Back in the 70s and 80s we used to look after many Wheelhorses that were customers' everyday mowing tractor and those belts, the primary mower belt from the engine to the deck and the spindle belt that took the drive to the three cutting spindles, were the weak link when asked to cope with wet and thick UK grass. U S grass tends to be drier and coarser so the L section ( more or less equivalent to our A section) belts were fine over there but not so good here; particularly if you are using it as an orchard mower, several light cuts rather than attempting one heavy cut will get the best out of the belts.

As a result of this issue we used to do a fair trade in making up 30" towed cylinder (reel) mowers by fitting draw bars to single units from triple gangs that were past their prime . Once you had got the cylinder up to speed you could bat along at a fair lick and achieve a reasonable finish. They would cover the ground far quicker than the standard rotary deck travelling at belt preserving speed.

Edited by Wristpin

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Right...photos...I'm working on them..whilst absorbing every morsel of info that gets mentioned here.

 

I'll now bear in mind the belts and type of grass I'll be cutting, hadn't considered the strain they have to cope with. Thankfully it's not too thick generally, although it's getting longer every day I delay while I try to sort the cutter... Trying not to feel too panicky, the allotment commitee might get a bit narky if I don't cut it soon....

 

There are currently three lines of enquiry. Purchasing a completely new 42" deck from Toro. Asking my local agri-welder to refurbish the one that came with the machine. Getting a new shell fabricated by a chap in Lincs who advertises on Ebay.

I suppose the new deck from Toro will be made from the same thin steel and prone to rust and flexing.

The local agri-welder is the only complete unknown at present and he may just laugh when he sees the state of the cobwebbed deck.

And a new shell apparently would last longer than me. He uses thicker guage steel and gets good customer reviews for his thorough workmanship, but might just be too expensive. I'm guessing it'll be between two and three hundred....hmmm..half what I paid for the machine itself...

I'm waiting for quotes from all three before deciding.

 

So there we are, hope the suspense doesn't drive me mad.. Having bought the machine, I can't actually use it yet..Might have to get the little Mountfield out and do a 2 hour stint to keep the grass in check..cutting nearly half an acre in narrow strips is a daunting task though..rather hoping I wouldn't have to do that anymore.

But I shall remain positive having got this far.The dawn of a new Golden Age in my orchard will be somewhat delayed it seems...:)

 

Cheers, all...

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Keep an eye on eBay for a deck or you may find it easier to purchase another running tractor that already has a deck fitted on then use the tractor you have for other deck free duties .

I think you are gonna be quite shocked at the price of a new deck from toro.

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Hi all, I have recently bought a c-125, now it doesn't start. The starter turns over but it seems the engine doesn't........... Help please I,m near Plymouth.

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Hi,

 

firstly welcome to MoM - come say hello in the introductions.

 

If the starter turns but the engine doesn't then it's probably a stuck starter bendix. Rather that hit it with a hammer - take the starter off, clean and reassemble.

 

here's the best start point...

 

http://myoldmachine.com/topic/1675-kohler-k-series-starter-motor-issues/?hl=%2Bstarter#entry19340

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Yes Neil I was shocked, had to lie down, quoted £1,000 for a new deck...then quoted 6-700 quid for a repair from my local welder. Now waiting for a quote from the chap who builds new shells. I have considered getting another machine with  a solid deck, that's an option, but I wouldn't keep the first one..can't let this thing get out of hand and end up with a collection..:)

 

Stormin, looked for the thread on your rebuild, couldn't find it. Could you give me a clue where it is?

 

And anyone, how do I upload and post photos? For some reason it doesn't seem obvious as to how you go about it..:)

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