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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK.... So Saturday I got SUPER lucky.

I answered a CL add that had a picture of a 420 and a 212 nose to nose for $500. They were 3.5 hours away, one way.
Unknown the last time either had ran. The folks selling had their father pass away, and they were his tractors. So no further information. I took a chance. They could both be blown up and nothing more than parts.

The 212, I popped the hood, checked the oil, dirty but ok, it has a good battery, so I pulled the choke and hit the key. It started like it ran a week ago! Wow! Even on the Old fuel! So I drove it on the trailer. (will be sold to a veteran friend of mine once I go through it and make sure it's good to go, and has a mower deck)

Next was the 420. Lightning couldn't strike again, could it? This one is missing all 4 side panels, the tires are all flat, and no battery. So I, checked oil again, dirty but full, unhooked the fuel line to the pump, put a boat gas tank in place, dropped a battery in it, gave it a whiff of ether and hit the key. BOOM, fired right up! No $hit! Well I went to move it and the brakes were locked on. The parking brake released, but the pedals wouldn't come up. I messed with that... got them to release, but ALL the linkages are VERY sticky and stiff. Nothing wanted to move, so I pulled it on the trailer with my 318 after I tried to air up the front tires (HUGE cracks) and the rear, only one would take air, the other the valve stem is VERY corroded, so that tire is low, but functional for now.

I got it home, soaked the linkages with PB Blaster and went back to it last night. Everything moves smoothly now. I also found that it was in Neutral, which is why it wouldn't move. I put a good set of front tires on it and aired up the rears the best I could. Changed the oil and took it for a ride around the yard. It has 1200 hours on it, and everything I can test so far works as it should.

So.. my question is this... What do I do? Advantages of the 318 vs the 420

I have a 318 with a freshly rebuilt 20hp Onan (5 hours since rebuild). It has a 48" mower, with Powerflow bagger. I also have the single stage blower for it. That is my sole snow removal tool. I'm in MN so that is a requirement. I also have the big "backpack" MCS, but it's not functioning yet (adding a separate motor), and it will fit on either tractor. I also plan to get a 3 point hitch, a rear blade, weight bracket and such. My main driveway is paved, but I have a sub driveway that is also the 2 neighbors driveway. They both have zero turn mowers and no way to maintain the driveway. Unfortunately, the part of the driveway I use has some nasty potholes, so blade work is needed.

With this 420, I have the tractor. Minus side shields. lol

Do I keep the 420, fix it up (needs a hood too) get a mower deck and a snow blower. Sell the 318 as a package to fund the panels, deck and blower for the 420.
OR
Do I get side panels for the 420, sell it and be happy with my 318.
OR
the least likely because the 420 runs, I have a hard time "destroying" a "good" tractor.
Pull the motor on the 420, cap it off and put it on a shelf. Put the rear end and H3 hydros on my 318 and make a beast of a 318? Basically make the ultimate 318.

The downside of the 318 is, it's a little shorter, a little narrower, and a little lighter. My entire yard is on a hill so I leave the weights and chains on my 318, even for mowing, to retain traction. When I have the bagger on, going up hill the front of the 318 gets a bit light. That's just the bagger, not even the MCS unit, I can only imagine what the MCS may do. Will the 420 be that much better? If it is... that would be huge for me, and worth the expense to go to the 420.

Sadly the option of keeping both tractors isn't really in the cards, as the wife isn't happy with my.... Collection, already! LOL
Current tractors: 2 212's, a parts 110, a friends 140 that I'm storing, a 317 frame, my 318 and the 420. Both the 212's are going to go away hopefully this fall... but that still leaves ALL the other stuff that she doesn't like laying around.... lol
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you know the answers to your questions. If you sell either the 420 or 318 you’ll regret it.
I know... but a tractor isn't worth a divorce... lol I know I can draw this out for a while... but at some point....
 
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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If it were me I wouldn't make a decision until I had kept and used the 420 for a while...like a couple of seasons. If the wife objects you can always open an entertaining discussion about shoes and tractors...just be sober if you do that, you need to be quick and agile if that discussion goes sideways/sour.
Not a bad idea, but I'll have to slowly acuumulate the mower deck and blower for the 420. It's really to bad the 318 accessories won't work! That would make it an easy decision!

She already understands the shoes vs fishing gear thought... I'll have to find another item to associate the tractors with unfortunately! LOL Humm... Frying pans? (or are they considered Ammo?)
 

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With having multiple projects to do throughout the year, it's almost mandatory to have several tractors. It makes life so much easier. Switching implements takes time and some effort. Having a tractor readily available for use is much more convenient.
If I had to choose between them, I'd keep the 420. Or I'd sell all of them and find a 455.
Heres my 2 tractors, a 332 and 455...
Tire Wheel Land vehicle Plant Vehicle
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With having multiple projects to do throughout the year, it's almost mandatory to have several tractors. It makes life so much easier. Switching implements takes time and some effort. Having a tractor readily available for use is much more convenient.
If I had to choose between them, I'd keep the 420. Or I'd sell all of them and find a 455.
Heres my 2 tractors, a 332 and 455...
View attachment 284900
I would love to have a 455, but they are not cheap in my area. Id have to sell everything AND throw in 2-3000 to get a good one.

My primary uses are mowing and snow removal, but with the 3pt I plan to get; a set of forks(low level pallet racking for accessories and moving heavy stuff), a rear blade, and a dirt scoop to do a little dirt work around the house.

One thing I wish I knew, right now my 318 with just the powerflow and the 6bu bagger gets really light in the front with all the hills. Will the extra weight of the MCS be offset by the 420s extra weight and length so that is less of an issue?

Really all stuff the 318 is capable of... but the 420 will handle better.
 

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Get rid of the 212s, when you get the hood for the 420 put 212 decals on it. Wife will never know.

The biggest drawback for me with my 420 is the deck. Having a second tractor I could use for hauling or bladework would be ideal. You cant mount the blade with the deck installed.

Doesnt make sense to me to rip parts off it for the 318.
 

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I’ve never driven a 318 with a MCS but the 420 front end will get light. I had a tilt/dump MCS box on my 420 and with the box full, I could feel the front end get light at times but it wasn’t terrible. I used a front weight bracket and weights at times. If you plan to get a 3 pt and plan to lift heavy loads, you might want to consider adding front counterweight.
 

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A 3 pt hitch and forks wont require any front ballast on either machine. The reason is the 3 pt is only rated for 640 lbs.
Now an MCS unit is a different animal. Basically cause the weight is much further back than the 3 pt. The further back that weight is, the heavier it becomes. Think see saw.
I run a MCS on my 332. The unit gets quite heavy fully loaded. I have 4 weights on the front and it still gets a little light footed up there. I need to get at least 2 more, I can fit 7 total. That should keep it down.

Between your 2 tractors, I'd keep the 420, only for the 3rd spool hydralic. But I'd still sell it for a 455 with only 2 spools and foot controls. Yep, the foot controls are that much nicer.
 
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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’ve never driven a 318 with a MCS but the 420 front end will get light. I had a tilt/dump MCS box on my 420 and with the box full, I could feel the front end get light at times but it wasn’t terrible. I used a front weight bracket and weights at times. If you plan to get a 3 pt and plan to lift heavy loads, you might want to consider adding front counterweight.
I'll have to track down, or build a front bracket and weights then. I do plan to fluid fill the front tires. Probably with RV antifreeze as it's heavier than Washer fluid and only .30 more, but is almost 2lbs heavier per gallon.

A 3 pt hitch and forks wont require any front ballast on either machine. The reason is the 3 pt is only rated for 640 lbs.
Now an MCS unit is a different animal. Basically cause the weight is much further back than the 3 pt. The further back that weight is, the heavier it becomes. Think see saw.
I run a MCS on my 332. The unit gets quite heavy fully loaded. I have 4 weights on the front and it still gets a little light footed up there. I need to get at least 2 more, I can fit 7 total. That should keep it down.

Between your 2 tractors, I'd keep the 420, only for the 3rd spool hydralic. But I'd still sell it for a 455 with only 2 spools and foot controls. Yep, the foot controls are that much nicer.
Ya the 3rd spool would be really nice. I'll probably add a circuit to the rear of the tractor too. Maybe add a hydraulic top link to the 3pt.

Since the 2 of you have ran the MCS....sadly I'm not going to track down a MCS rear PTO. I'll probably watch for them and drool though! I plan to leave the parts there on the MCS (just in case I find a super good deal), but pull the pully off the rear of the fan, add a coupler like on a log splitter for vibration isolation, and put a 6.5hp motor behind it on a bracket I'll build. All said and done I think I can do that for $250 vs the $1000 plus they want for the rear PTO. And... If I get a 1025 in the future, it will be able to move over to that unit too.

Do you think the separate motor will actually be a better running unit than the PTO setup? With that motor, due to the extra weight, I think I'll convert it to 3 point. I've seen a couple pictures, and most guys that have done it have pushed the 3 point connection at the MCS out a bit (looks like 8-12"). That seems to get everything WAY to far away from the tractor to me. I'm thinking I'll use the factory MCS frame mounting, but have the 3 point bracket I build hook to those pins, keeping it so it's only the additional 3 point arms distance away from the tractor. Yes I know that will add more leverage, which means more weight on the front... but guys struggle to install these MCS units now. I can only imagine what it will be like adding another 125lb motor on one side! lol And... I have a bad shoulder, so anything to make heavy stuff easier... I'm all for!

Which...the PTO situation is kinda sad. This tractor had a rear PTO and a Cab at one point in time. The hole is there for the switch, the light bulb installed, and the wire that would power the PTO is hanging out the front by the battery.

Being a primary use is snow, that cab would be REALLY nice. Even without heat. Right now due to wind, most of the time I come back in the house looking like the Yeti! LOL
 

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I have a three point and a Load Lifter on the rear, I also have six suitcase weights on the front, and I do need them. The different things I have picked up with the load lifter would lift the front wheels off the ground if I didn't have the weights on the front.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a three point and a Load Lifter on the rear, I also have six suitcase weights on the front, and I do need them. The different things I have picked up with the load lifter would lift the front wheels off the ground if I didn't have the weights on the front.
6 40lb or are you hanging the big dogs?
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My uncle heats his house by firewood, so the 420 does skidder and forklift duty. I've had a few 30+" diameter by five foot long logs on the forks of the load lifter. I've pushed the old girl to her limits a couple of times.
Damn thats some weight!

Now you've got me excited for the stuff ill be able to actually move and not hurt myself!
 

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Damn thats some weight!

Now you've got me excited for the stuff ill be able to actually move and not hurt myself!
Just got to watch you don't damage the tractor. I've spent twenty plus years running heavy equipment off and on, so I know a few tricks, but if my tractor wont lift or move something I don't try to "bull it" and make my tractor do something that it can't.
 

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318 Deere with a 20hp Onan, 48" deck, Powerflow bagger system, and Snow Blower.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just got to watch you don't damage the tractor. I've spent twenty plus years running heavy equipment off and on, so I know a few tricks, but if my tractor wont lift or move something I don't try to "bull it" and make my tractor do something that it can't.
I dont know of anything I'd be trying to move that would be THAT heavy, but I'm definitely "soft" on my equipment. I cant usually afford to fix it when I break it...and I was an auto/diesel tech for 20 years! Lol
 

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The separate engine driven MCS units mount their engines on the right side of the MCS frame. Picture a collection boot coming off the mower deck discharge chute with a vacuum hose flowing straight into the vacuum impeller housing with the engine to the rear of the impeller. The MCS box is close coupled to the tractor frame and the engine sits to the right side of the MCS box. The impeller housing sits slightly forward of the box so the discharge hose can point up and connect directly to the MCS box inlet.
 
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