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Garden Tractors and Mowers Vintage lawn and garden tractors, mowers, snow blowers, snowmobiles and other old machinery that is driven by small air cooled engines.

Garden Tractors and Mowers

"Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor


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  #1  
Old 04-26-2017, 08:58:55 PM
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Default "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Recently I picked this old girl up for $40... I've been looking for something to mow the pasture and ditch with, and this seemed the ticket. She was made in December of 1967... almost 50 years old.


I started by cleaning the points and carburetor and amazingly, it fired right off. Though it was a little low on compression... not bad considering it spent that last 10 years sitting in someone else's pasture.


After a new filter and oil for the hydrostatic transmission and some rubber for the front, the youngest took it for a test drive:


As you can tell, more exhaust is coming out the breather than the muffler....The center spindle on the deck was shot with the blade and both deck belts missing. I was able to source a used spindle off of eBay and rebuilt it. A NOS blade and a couple of belts put the whole thing together.

With the deck rebuilt, I installed it:


So I took it for a test mow... cut the whole pasture and the ditch bank... just don't shut it off, not enough compression to restart!


Since it smokes so well, like a fine cuban as my brother noted, it became the "Cuban Cadet."



I really didn't mind the smoking, but the blow by and hard starting (even after a valve job) suggested a need for a rebuild... well I pulled it down today:


I guess this would explain the lack of compression and all the blow by that it currently has. It was all so tight in there that it hadn't come apart, I was a little suprised. The piece out of the skirt was MIA, with the blue RTV on the oil pan, I'm of the opinion that some one was there and aware. Per the micrometer the center of the bore is .018 over. Top is dead stock and bottom is .010 over, which isn't that bad. But it obviously wore the center out fairly well. Have to go .020 over to clean it out... parts are on the way.The crank and rod look great. So no issues there! Fortunately parts are fairly cheap and I'll rebuild the clutch while its out. New valves for the engine to boot, might as well make it last another 50 years!
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:58:21 PM
Steve A W Steve A W is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Looks good for being that old.
Love the tractor hauler too.
It won't be long and that little guy will be mowing.

Steve A W

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Old 04-26-2017, 11:42:13 PM
gdstew gdstew is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

"The crank and rod look great. "


Highly suggest putting a mic on the crankshaft, very few Kohlers needing bored that didn't also need a crank turn. Usually you can tell just by looking at the bottom side of the journal. If you see a "line", it's way under. Kohler's spec for that measurement, 0.0005" out of round!
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:54:23 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Its in spec. Checked that after the piston, fortunately there are no issues there. Ran back out, just so I could provide the measurements. Per the manual, the crank should have been between 1.4995 and 1.500 when it left the factory. Currently it measures 1.4998 with a total out of round of .0003 (measuring 1.4995). This places it well with in the factory specs for assembly line and within the ware limits. The journal and rod look beautiful, no scoring, heat transfer coloration, or even signs of actual ware. Honestly, if not for the broken piston, I think it would be running strong. My theory is that it probably became stuck from sitting and someone pulled the head and forced the piston down with a hammer or something, this cracked it. I was worried about the rod being bent, so I also checked that, it is nice and square, no signs of fatigue or bending. From the look of the tractor, I think it has pretty low hours, it was just left outside for several decades and ignored.

Last edited by bigGURN; 04-27-2017 at 12:17:56 AM.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:56:38 AM
badboy1950 badboy1950 is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

if the tractor has low hours then my guess is it was left to sit after the center spindle wore out.
the 125 CC is one of the best small garden tractors ever built, good luck with it and happy mowing.
Dan
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:27:38 AM
kwfiggatt kwfiggatt is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

If it were mine, I would put a new rod in it while it is apart. They aren't too expensive and I've had one break in a 126 CC, which then trashed the block too. Since the rods are aluminum, they do fatigue over time and aluminum has no "endurance limit", so they all will eventually break due to fatigue.

This was on a new to me mower (which I still have), and I'm sure that someone was in the engine before. I ended up getting a used block and boring it. It has been great since my rebuild.

If you look in the manual, I believe there are different torque specs for the rod cap bolts, depending on if it is a new rod or a used one.

Have fun!

Kevin
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:13:45 AM
OrgWayne OrgWayne is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

There you go again you lucky dog you !!
Wayne
That was a good deal right ?
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:34:16 AM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Wayne, I felt it was a very good deal.

I think the spindle went from sitting outside and owner abuse... It was rusted solid and the previous owner used a hammer on it, I do not think it would have needed replaced if he'd gone about freeing up the bearings in it correctly, it probably could have been rebuilt.
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Old 05-04-2017, 11:42:52 AM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Yesterday afternoon I was able to pick the block up from the machinist, so last night I pulled a late one (until 0100AM) and reassembled the engine! I cut new valve seats, lapped in the valves, installed the piston, rings, and new rod (which are a little tighter than I would like, but it is loosening up as I turn it over). I installed the head, flywheel and shroud, the points and ignition, and the carburetor... that is when I realized that I had neglected to order a new bearing for the governor arm!!! The old one was cracked on the end and leaking oil, so I had pulled it. Now the engine is stuck on the bench, waiting for a $3 part that I ordered at 2am. Hopefully it'll be here sooner than later!

I decided to add a new rod to the build as mentioned above by another poster, aluminum fatigue can be hard to see and given that it is only a $20 part, it just made more sense.

In the mean time, I still have the clutch to rebuild, so I will work on that and get everything else ready to go, just can't really put it in until I have that one small part!

On the up side, there doesn't seem to be any blow by as I turn it over AND it has tons of compression!
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:09:13 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Nice work saving another good old cub cadet. That was built back when things were made to last a lifetime be rebuilt and last another lifetime!! When MTD bought cub cadet it was the end of the true "lawn tractor" era IMO. The new ones may still have the cub cadet name but they are no better than the cheap Yard Man or Poulan they are sitting next to at Home Depot. I have a 1962 original completely rebuilt from front to back that is my only mower. I use it every week and love it!! 8 years ago when I overhauled the engine I bought all genuine Kohler parts Gaskets, piston, rod, etc. At the same time my buddy was rebuilding the 350 small block in his pickup. Guess which was cheaper!!
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:36:51 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo View Post
At the same time my buddy was rebuilding the 350 small block in his pickup. Guess which was cheaper!!
Yep, I priced that out and decided to go with Rotary and Stens parts where ever possible on this rebuild for that reason! Somewhere, we still have a supply of NOS Kohler parts, we have not yet found that box! No doubt when we finally do (we've been looking for a couple of years) I'll find all that I needed!

For a few years after the MTD buyout, Cub Cadet was kept close to its roots, but they slows faded away from that. I decided to rebuild this as I figure for what it will be used for and for what the cost of even a newer used rider goes for, I could rebuild this tractor for less and have more.
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Old 05-10-2017, 02:02:12 AM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

I was able to get the engine back into the Cuban Cadet today and start it up... discovered a few things right away....
1) The first time it was together and in, it would not rotate, again my fault for not checking, but the "stock rod" I ordered (per the listing AND the box it came in) is actually UNDERSIZED. As, I did not want to wait for a crank to be ground, I pulled the engine and swapped it out for the original...then back in the tractor the engine went for a test run today!
2) The carburetor is plain wore out. I have cleaned and rebuilt it three times. Still will not run right, so a replacement is on the way.
3)I did not check it while it was apart (I know I should have, now its my own fault again) but the governor was broken... oops. SO that is probably why the piston was cracked, I think it may have run away from itself!
4) This was the third time in and out... I am SICK of that part. I have a really low hour K301S that I considered dropping into the Cuban Cadet today, figured I would just swap out oil pans. To think, it would have a real electric starter! BUT, it has a 1-1/8 crank, so it'll continue on towards the intended purpose (log splitter power!)

So, the engine is back out and tore down. A new governor and carburetor are ordered and the pasture still needs cut... but how about a little evidence that something must have been right along the way!


More to follow once I have MORE parts to rebuild it with (again)... good thing I like doing this stuff!
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:40:22 AM
G.M.Johnson G.M.Johnson is offline
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Nice job. Keep at and eventually everything will come together and you'll have a nice runner for sure! As for the carb, I had one on a older Tecumseh 14HP that the shaft was worn badly and it was almost impossible to get the thing to run good. Reamed the bore, made a new shaft and darn thing purred like a kitten!
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:54:48 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

The governor parts arrived yesterday and went into the engine. Also, the new carb showed up. With it installed, the engine went back into the tractor and it fired right up. Had to adjust the point timing a little, but it sure runs nice. Did find out that the starter/generator is only putting put 10.5 volts, so it'll have to be rebuilt. Went out and mowed the pasture and found that the mule drive idler pulleys decided to lock up. So, back to town to replace those! After that and another new belt, it was a force to be reckoned with! Sorry no video, but I didn't have any help around. I'll try and get video next week when it is time to mow the pasture again!
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:47:19 AM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

"but the "stock rod" I ordered (per the listing AND the box it came in) is actually UNDERSIZED"



Like I said in previous post, if you don't mind screwing around, use aftermarket parts. I use OEM

Friend had a very good machine shop, turned a lot of cranks for hot rods etc. He bought Kohler rods from me and made bushings to go .020" undersize for the tractor puller guys. I asked about using cheaper rods and he told me that the top and bottom were so mis-aligned, he refused to use them!
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:24:13 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

Actually, the rod was a NOS kohler part, I was stoked to find it listed so cheaply, so I bought it up. The seller had a pile of NOS Kohler parts listed, most were for M series engines though. Prices were cheap and when I checked last, everything was gone. I emailed him, and he apologized and offered a refund, but I decided to just hold on to it, little hard to come by and I may need one someday that is undersized.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:37:39 PM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

As promised, the completed Cuban Cadet. New bearings in the starter/generator and a voltage regulator and she charges and starts all on her own! Two cranks from cold and I was off mowing the pasture this afternoon.
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Old 05-31-2017, 12:20:47 AM
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Default Re: "Cuban Cadet" (Cub Cadet 125) Garden Tractor

thanks for the post.. i just picked up a 1972 model 129 cadet.. the price was right......free.....
it runs but carb has some issues.. and the steering has a half mile of play in it.. i'll need a suicide knob just to drive a straight line... lol
i also have a 1965 case model 120 that was going to be this years restoration project.. alas it's already almost june and i haven't done anything on it.. so now i'll have 2 kolher powered tractors to not finish and bust my knuckles on ... lol
oh and the center spindle on the cadet is fried also...
thanks again
Pete
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