Richards Ariens Tiller
I got a 1970 something Ariens tiller for free from my father in-law (Ariens model 902005, serial 01565 ). It had a Tecumseh engine on it that didn't run, with some help from my brother, we got the old Tecumseh going, and I started tilling. Long story short, the Tecumseh worked, but was hard to start, was really loud, didn't have alot of power, needed an air filter, and the governer didn't work. Despite these problems, I kept using it for various jobs. One day I fired it up to till up some ground where I recently removed a bunch of plants. After about 2 minutes of tilling, I hear a bang and the engine slows to a stop.
The old Tecumseh had threw a rod. It didn't come as a big suprise to me, I have read online about others having similar type of engine problems with these Tecumseh's. A very similar model engine of these Tecumsehs was used on Snowblowers. Throwing rods is very common.
I began searching the net for reccomendations for a replacement
engine. Finding a used Briggs and Stratton was an option from an old lawnmower
or something, problem was finding a horizontal shaf engine proved to be a bit
I kept searching, and eventually hit some go-cart forums that have been using Harbor Freight engines made by Lifan. I looked at my local Harbor Freight and was pleased to find a 6.5 HP engine for only $139, and a 20% off coupon off of the net.
My wire (Lori) was going on a shopping trip, so I handed her the coupon and item number for the engine for her to pick it up. Come to find out, that engine was on sale that day for $119. After the coupon I gave her, she walked out the door paying $102.82, including tax!
The next day, I got started on getting it rigged up on the old tiller. The mounting of the new engine went pretty fast.
After getting the engine mounted, filled it with oil and fuel, got the belts rigged up, I was ready to fire up it up.
I am pleased to say, the engine started on the 2nd or 3rd pull, and runs really well. It is so much quieter then the Tecumseh, it has more power and torque. I do not have a single complaint.
Here is the 1st start of my Lifan engine
Putting my Lifan to work
UPDATE - About two years later, the Lifan/harbor freight engine and the tiller
still work like a champ. Several people have asked about reverse, no the engine
does not have a 2nd shaft to reverse the rototiller. Truth is I almost never
used it when the tecemseh motor was on it. So I removed the extra pully's and
only use forward. It works great for my needs.
The Lifan/Harbor Freight motor still runs great. Occassionaly I pull the motor and use it to generate power with a belt driven Honda generator head
I noticed Harbor Freight no longer sells these Lifan motors, I don't know anything about the black Predator engines they are now selling.
I also installed a hour meter on it to keep track of maintenance
UPDATE - March 2012
The gearbox was leaking, so I took it apart and found some rope had gotten into the shaft seal. I cleaned it up and assembled it back together, and filled it up with gear oil. I don't think the oil has ever been changed in this thing, the old gear oil had a bunch of dirt in it.
I had to till up my entire back yard (just over 1,000 square feet) so I pulled the engine off of my Honda/Lifan generator and rigged it up on the Ariens tiller. It took 9.5 hours to till it all up, working on it after work and weekends as time allowed. The old Ariens tiller worked great, took a bunch of abuse chewing up the crab grass roots, but it did it without a single problem.