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Old 10/12/10, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,309
Do you have an old Troybilt tiller?

I do. I love this thing. It's thirty years old and still running pretty darn good. It was a huge financial deal for us, only a few years married, but we considered it an investment. We bought it and turned over a huge garden in southern Indiana clay soil, added loads of amenities, and used the tiller for cultivating. Of course, to add to the madness I planted over 100 tomato plants. (Omigosh, what was I thinking?!?!) You really can walk beside it and hold it with one hand while it works, it's so well balanced.

We moved to a place where the soil is gorgeous black loam, and sometimes the tiller didn't get used for years. Yet every single time, it started up on the first or second pull.

The throttle isn't taching up the engine like it should and the reverse is gone, yet it still turns over the soil. I've wondered if I need to replace the tiller, yet I haven't yet seen anything comparable to the quality of those old Troybilts of the 70s and early 80s. We were dismayed to see them one time in Sears. It was red; but it wasn't the same machine at all. It looked like every other cheap junk thing out there.

We took this tiller to a local small engines guy about two years ago, and he put on new tines and gave her a tune up. He spoke reverently about these old ones. He agreed; the quality was extraordinary.

I really miss the old days of the exceptional customer service from their company. They encouraged people to work on their own machines, and encouraged you to call if you needed any help. They put out newsletters focusing on different owners, gardening advice, parts, and recipes. It looks like most of those people are gone now and I believe the company was sold.

Anybody else have one? Is it still running? What are your challenges with it?
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Old 10/12/10, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE tennessee
Posts: 1,737
I can't say about the old ones,but I will never buy anything labeled Troy-bilt again.I fell for the crap they show on tv and bought one about 10 yrs ago.Worse than worthless for busting sod.If you have a garden spot you've worked up for 20 years they're a dandy cultivator,they'll do the same job as a $2 hoe from a flea market.And that bs about composting corn stalks is exactly that,'ll end up with a ball of cornstalks bigger than the tiller wrapped around the tines.Your money won't be any further down the drain if you send it to me rather than TB.At least I'd use the money for good purposes,TB will use your money to make more lying commercials.I hope no one ever buys from them again.
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Old 10/12/10, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,528
We inherited one a few yrs ago from an old family friend (as in 98 yrs old). It had not been run in at least 10 yrs at that point so we sent it to the local tractor repair guy for a tune up before it came and it has run like a charm since. We even hauled it from NY to Alaska last yr and there was a LOT of stuff that didn't make the "moving" cut!
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Old 10/12/10, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 703
We've got a "medium old" one. It's red, but was built with a Briggs and Stratton engine. I'm guessing it's 20+ years old (it came with our house when we bought it as an extra side deal). We LOVE it. It has been used and abused and this year it finally demanded some attention when the shear pin went. We took it to the small engine repair in the neighbourhood and it got an overhaul - new tubes in the tires, carbs cleaned, new shear pin. Got it back and used it to break sod this weekend for a new fruit treee spot. Love it, love it, love it. And you really can walk beside it and hold it with one hand. I can't imagine doing without it, or having to replace it.
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Old 10/12/10, 12:52 PM
MELOC's Avatar
Master Of My Domain
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,220
i've got one that blew up after 25 years of great service to my family. it started on the second pull, after being in storage all winter, and never missed a beat. the only issue i ever had was that the carb would vibrate loose once a year and one of the bolts was difficult to get to. the big downside is that is it next to impossible to find a replacement engine. all of the retrofit kits listed for sale are for models just a couple years newer than mine. so i have decided to rebuild the engine no matter what the cost.
this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."
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Old 10/12/10, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: NW Wisconsin
Posts: 60
Bought my Troybilt Junior in 1985 and think I paid like $400 at the time (which was alot). It has been/still is a workhorse. Minimal repairs over the years and has always started so easy. Broke sod with it, tilled in corn stubble, etc. No regrets. If it dies, not sure what I'd replace it with.
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Old 10/12/10, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
Posts: 239
My parents bought one in I gues, 82 or so. I remember it being a BIG BIG deal. HUGELY expensive for us. We drove 2 hours to St. Louis to look at them, drove back a week later and bought it. Man, you would have thought they had bought a New, 4x4 truck with a PTO and a 3 point. That thing made such short work of our rather large garden. We had been using a 1960's or so Craftsman until then and THAT thing would rip your arms out. It had become one of my jobs to till and cultivate at this time (I think Iwas 7 or so). I HATED the Yellow Monster...thats Big, Red, Shiney Troy was my new best friend.

When I was looking for a riding mower I almost bought a Troy Built, based on my childhood memories,...then I looked at the parts and fasteners...very disapointing. Went to our local farm store and bought a little JD...that is nice, too.
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Old 10/12/10, 04:40 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 586
We bought one in 1983. Love it. Only used it a few years and it has since sat in the shed. Nothing wrong with it at all, just have had raised beds for most of the years. We have hauled it every where we have moved also...
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.
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Old 10/12/10, 05:37 PM
bluesky's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,277
We've got one from the early 70s that's been a true workhorse up until this spring when the engine blew. I forget what DH said broke but it can't be fixed. He says it's shattered into little pieces on the inside. Anyway, he's going to replace the engine rather than buy a shoddy new tiller.

Do you have an old Troybilt tiller? - Homesteading Questions
"Don't confront me with my failures, I had not forgotten them." - Jackson Browne.
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Old 10/12/10, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 600
I have one too, just like Bluesky's. What a great piece of equipment. I bought mine used and it came with a generator attachment, I can't recall how many power failures that little thing has gotten us through. Cherish it and maintain it, it will last forever and you can't replace it today. My TB tiller and same vintage Gravely are my two best pieces of equipment.

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Old 10/12/10, 06:53 PM
Brenda Groth
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,817
ours was new in 2002 when we had our housefire we bought it
Brenda Groth
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Old 10/12/10, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 299
We have an older, big model TB, and it worked fine for 2 seasons (bought it used).
Then it quit, won't start, and the small engine repair guy says the engine is shot. Says a new engine would run over $200. Don't know what to do, really love using it but he also said it's impossible to get replacement parts, so maybe he's talking new engine? But which one?
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Old 10/12/10, 07:09 PM
EDDIE BUCK's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eastern N.C.
Posts: 8,840
I have the old Garden Way Troy-Bilt Horse 8 hp Kohler engine.Bought it in the early eighties.Never had a problem other than the pull cord broke once,thats it.I still tend a few rows with it, and use it to till between my grown corn to plant cover crops.
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Old 10/12/10, 07:27 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Central IL
Posts: 1,761
We have a TB pony thats about 30 yrs. old and have never had a problem with it. We bought a great big used pto one that is pulled by our tractor. It does a fast job with our big garden but still need the TB for the work between rows.
The only thing I don't like the TB is that it will take off without me if I have it set too deep when I hit hard area.
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Old 10/12/10, 09:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Indiana, USA
Posts: 13,853
The Garden Way Company, originally built "Troy-bilt" tillers, to "last forever", which they seem to do. Garden Way went bankrupt - go figure.

We have a '80 Pony. Paid $200 for it at an auction, not even knowing if it ran (pull rope was missing). Fortunately it runs great and starts with one pull. Leaks a little bit of oil. It has electric start, but only works so-so and i don't have time to restore the starter.

MTD now owns the "troy-bilt" name (and factory) and still builds the same Horse and Pony models, that are similar to the originals. The other "Troy-bilt" models are of lesser quality and price. Riding mowers, string trimmers, etc, just have the name on them and are not necessarily high, or even good quality. Garden Way only made tillers (Horse and Pony), when they were in business.

One tiller habit, which I cannot ever understand, ruined a lot of great Troy-bilts. That habit is those who leave their tillers, sitting next to the garden, usually uncovered, YEAR ROUND! WHEN IS THIS A GOOD IDEA! I won't leave my Pony sitting out - overnight.

They still command high prices for good reason.

Last edited by plowjockey; 10/12/10 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 10/12/10, 09:15 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: In a state of confusion - IN
Posts: 285
We have one of the original TB Horse models, with a Kohler engine. Love it. Actually, we have two, but the other one is "just for parts" in case we have problems because they are so hard to come by. Wonderful machines.
This world is not my home; I'm just a'passin' through.
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Old 10/12/10, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,977
The Troy's a love hate relationship that only a Troy Bilt owner understands. If or when you have soft loamy soil you look like the guy in the commercial. If you have rocks or are trying to break new ground you would make a good funny home video. Only a Troy Bilt oner that's experienced it would understand. We've had ours over 25 years and it's still going strong. Unfortunately now replacement parts can be a problem and of course the replacement might be junk.
We've got a Garden Way cart also, it's also about 25yo.
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence"
Robert Frost
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Old 10/12/10, 11:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,906
We bought our electric start Horse in '97 at an auction. We've since found out it was built in '88. DH did a complete overhaul when we first got it with the owner's manual and customer support as guides but I took it to a professional last spring after mice chewed the insulation on some wires. Including labor, my cost was just under $90 and it runs like new. The man who did the work said that there were several engines that could replace the original with little cost and it would run another 22 years.

We also found Garden Way carts at auctions--the large as well as the small. I used the large one today to pick apples because it will hold more boxes and baskets than the small one but both get regular use. Love those two carts!
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Old 10/13/10, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,309
Yes, I have a Garden Way cart, too. Still going great, and about 25 years old.

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Old 10/13/10, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 42
My dad has a troy built he bought 30 years ago. He has always had close to an acre of garden and used this tiller to maintain it. He replaced the engine once, and it has a few other small problems, but it works great. Usually I borrow it instead of using my rear tine craftsman because it works so much better.
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