Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?  (Read 8134 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2017, 09:38:59 pm »
cloddopper - I have only now skimmed through your most recent posts.  Thank you most kindly for all the tips/advisory comments. 
Diary bit congested right now so I have not yet started repairs:  best, I reckon, to find some good clear time to go about in an orderly fashion without distractions.
Thanks again.  Obviously I'll update idc. 
 

Kevm

  • Joined Apr 2017
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2017, 08:08:24 pm »
Have you done anything to your rotavator yet? I had mine out today for the first time since last year, started first pull  and ran perfectly, mine is a 350 with a K141 but any Kohler engine is way better than a briggs and scrapum.
Some of what Clodhopper told you is incorrect, parts are easily available there are still a couple of places that specialise in Howard rotavators and you can get head gaskets off ebay with a quick search.
The head should come off easy, I can't imagine the bolts would be corroded unless it's been left outside for a long time.
It's a side valve engine with the valves in the block so you don't have to worry about disturbing the valves and once you have the head off pull the starter cord slowly and have a look at the valve seats if they look half decent I would leave them alone as getting the valves out, reseating them, then re-setting the clearance is a lot of fiddle.
Just give the head and block faces a clean, check there are no nasty scores or major wear in the bore, stick your new gasket on and slap the head back on  :thumbsup:
The oil seals on the rotor shaft are two lip seals back to back I believe, the seals are mounted in the housings bolted to the chaincase with half a dozen little 7/16" head set pins the heads usually get worn away by the soil so may be difficult to get a grip on and you might need new ones.
The reason the seals go is because some people seem to leave string and wire lying in the ground and it gets wrapped round the rotor shaft  >:(
The 300/350 is still the best, user friendly, perfect sized rotavator ever made and if yours is restored to good nick would be worth £300+
One thing I have done with mine is convert it to electronic ignition, which does away with the points and condenser, like this one  - eBay item number: 322502880161
Kev


arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2017, 02:06:39 am »
Kev - obliged for your input.  Not tackled repairs yet due to daughter's temporary return from Oz - all I've managed to squeeze in over past few weeks is some unavoidable weeding of the young willow-patch and a sneaky couple days of gardening (couldn't leave clients feeling entirely un-cared for over the month of May!)  And now I have so many competing tasks begging attention on the land! 
I have new head gasket and condenser ready to install when I can (and won't be going down e-ignition route right now).  Also, might get some of the copper spray-gasket stuff, as suggested by Clophopper, if head looks just a tad uneven.  I won't order any new oil seals though until I've taken out the old ones and can see what's what.  I seem to think there might be a modified (single) oil seal to replace the original back-to-back seals, but we'll see idc.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2020, 12:52:32 am »
Time has passed and much has drawn my attention away from stripping down my Howard 300 & putting back to good working order.  But I have really really been wishing lately that Howie was in good shape.

Having actually run out of space to do a strip down myself, I finally called my bro'  ...  "Now that the Cobra is pretty much done, would you have time to get another vintage machine back to some sort of running order ?" ... "Maybe !" 
Howie is now sitting in his workshop rather than in a dusty corner of one of my ISO containers.

I think Howie is in the best of hands (check out Kernow Skunkworks on YouTube if interested in inspired mechanical manipulation/engineering for a work-over of an AC Cobra) and I'm hoping it won't be too long before my Howard 300 is ripping up the beds as he should!  I have had to tell bro' that I just want it to work again without spitting out fluids etc & that I'm not looking for a make-over and a metallic spray job.  He smiled!

I'll update idc for anyone that might possibly be interested in knowing that an old Howard 300 is once again trugging along between the rows in fine working order !  :)



« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 12:59:53 am by arobwk »

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2020, 12:30:49 am »
Have you done anything to your rotavator yet? I had mine out today for the first time since last year, started first pull  and ran perfectly, mine is a 350 with a K141 but any Kohler engine is way better than a briggs and scrapum.
Some of what Clodhopper told you is incorrect, parts are easily available there are still a couple of places that specialise in Howard rotavators and you can get head gaskets off ebay with a quick search.
The head should come off easy, I can't imagine the bolts would be corroded unless it's been left outside for a long time.


Yep I messed up .................. reading my post many moons later I realised it too .  My ancient added brain  is long past precisely recalling what I did  30 or so years ago .

 Usually if someone has had the head off & put it back together with a bust up gasket it's because the bore has been scored and it was was bad at starting so Maniac Dennis the Menace  has a go at fixing it.
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2021, 02:58:26 pm »
Well, the intended 2020 makeover of my Howard 300 rotavator didn't happen (due to so much other stuff happening).  HOWEVER, it IS now happening. 

Poor ol' bro' though: he insisted on splitting the case & stripping it down to its individual parts, but good job he did because we discovered the mangled idler gear which had clearly been imitating the movements of a whirling Dervish with teeth that looked like a Dervisher's skirt - the selector gear was also unevenly/badly worn.
Lots of stuff close to or exceeding Howard tolerances (to be expected), but also lots of stuff (e.g. gearbox innards) that looks like it's just been shined-up a bit !
Bro' savvy enough to find OEM stuff to replace advertised Howard parts at reduced prices, BUT I'm afraid this makeover (now read "restoration") is gonna cost me a pretty penny. Probably less than buying a fully refurb'ed example, but bro' and I haven't yet agreed a brotherly remuneration for his amazing efforts !

[ I have promised bro' never to buy an "un-refurbished" bit of vintage machinery ever again ! - unless it's an Anzani Iron Horse !!  Edit:  I should correct that - someone has been in there before us to refurbish, but didn't do a good job at all ! ]

Really not quite there yet, but the cylinder re-bore video he's sent me (to accept the new +10 piston) is quite cathartic.  (Was thinking new +10 piston would need be purchased USA, but came across Meetens Ltd who were able to supply.  Went for it rather than do mega search for cheaper US equiv'.) 

For Howard fans, I'll update when "we" are closing in on the day that all the bits are put back together ready for the revival !
[Cylinder head looked very good in the end - new gasket only needed.]
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 04:10:26 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2021, 06:38:49 pm »
Forgot to ask:  anyone with any suggestions for different oils than the standard recommends from new? Originals are SAE 90 for g/box & chain-case and the usual SAE 30 etc for the engine, according to temperature range.

We are tempted to go rather more viscous maybe with molybdenum additives for g/box & chain case (as majority of cogs/gears will not be replaced or will be 2nd-hand replacements).  Will probably stick with SAE30 for engine as lots of re-machining and new bearings. 

Any thoughts anyone ?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 03:54:34 pm by arobwk »

Kevm

  • Joined Apr 2017
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2021, 05:31:11 pm »
Stick with the original oils, especially the ep90 gear oil, do not go for modern hi tech stuff, some modern oils contain additives that will attack the phosphor in the bronze bearings.
Also a straight 30 engine oil is cheap and works why try to overthink it and use fancy stuff it was made and meant for basic.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2021, 05:15:58 pm »
Getting there, but someone seems to have stolen the engine !!  :D   

Replacement selector and idler gears installed (they were a very lucky eBay find of used/excellent-condition);  bearings/oil-seals (OEM) have been replaced galore;  new drive-chain for rotor-blades installed (so plenty of future adjustment);  main shafts have been flux "over-coated" and then re-turned to spec' dimension;  various bronze shims now supplemented or replaced with new manufactured bronze/brass items.

Not long now - hopefully.

Also attached is pic of old Allen scythe mower. 
Came across very interesting local Allen offer recently, but, as much as I was tempted, I just didn't dare go for it.  (Best to have the "more trouble than expected" Howard overhaul completed and then be half-forgotten before I consider buying an old Allen scythe which could well prove to be another "lemon" also requiring, potentially, my brother's magic touch !)


 
« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 12:28:28 am by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2021, 04:38:32 pm »
Definitely getting close now: not sure I'm "convinced" about the new black hammerite engine finish my brother chose (cos he happened to have a can hanging about), but heh !

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2021, 10:25:57 pm »
 
Stick with the original oils, especially the ep90 gear oil, do not go for modern hi tech stuff, some modern oils contain additives that will attack the phosphor in the bronze bearings.
 Also a straight 30 engine oil is cheap and works why try to overthink it and use fancy stuff it was made and meant for basic.
 
Thanks kindly for thoughts @Kevm :

 
Refurb'd engine has been filled with some available SAE30 for a series of short bedding-in runs with its new +10 piston/cylinder re-bore.  (Brother now thinking he might have gone for a +20 piston instead, but the +10 piston seems to be working-in well-enough.)
We are about to use (get rid of) some old 10/40 for a 2nd series of cylinder-smoothing runs and then will drain again and finally re-refill with SAE30 for on-going/everyday use. 


Re gear-box/chain-case:  I thought I had some left-over SAE90 oil, but no. 
But bro’ has some synthetic GL4 75/90 waiting for a home, so we’ve agreed to stick that in instead of a straight SAE90. 
 
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 11:29:14 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow in October: reclaimed !
Re: Any experience of a Howard 300 Rotavator?
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2021, 06:06:43 pm »
Oh - and my 300 now has a clutch brake it never had before  :)   (No idea how bro' worked that one out !)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2021, 09:33:45 pm by arobwk »

 

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