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#4701074 - 03/20/18 07:17 PM Wheel Horse tractor
HM12460 Offline


Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 2077
Loc: West Michigan
So today I bought a 1997 Toro Wheel Horse 312-8 garden tractor with a 42" side discharge deck. Very nice, quiet running machine. Think I am going to like it. These tractor's have an excellent reputation too. The Kohler Magnum M12 engine has 1100 hours showing on the working hour meter. I doubt they are real accurate, but still, that is getting up there in the hours. My question is, how many hours should I expect this engine to last? Assuming proper maintenance of course.


Edited by HM12460 (03/20/18 07:19 PM)
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#4701088 - 03/20/18 07:26 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6624
Loc: Hudson, NH
Indefinitely. I know someone with a 1980's wheel horse. Its rotting, but the engine is fine.
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#4701096 - 03/20/18 07:38 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
NormanBuntz Online   content


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2167
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
I had a 1986 Wheel Horse (310-8 I think) that I worked hard for 20 years before I sold it. By then the Kohler engine had become tired and likely had some carbon build up and likely needed some valve work. It never used much oil if I stuck with 30w, and it never had any engine work. That Kohler motor is easy to work on if you need to.

I used it in PA for mowing .75 acres and plowing a 350 foot driveway. It could have used more power, but the gearing made it pretty stout.
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#4701117 - 03/20/18 07:57 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
spk2000 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 999
Loc: Prospect, KY
In an engine running 3600 rpms the piston will go up and down 435,000 times in one hour. In a car with an engine running 3600 rpms would have a ground speed of about 85 mph multiply this by 1100 hrs and you would have a car with 153,000 miles on it. What would you pay for a 2001 car with 93,500 miles on it? A commercial mower is not a car in many ways. Driven in much worse environments normally dustier so take that into account. However motors are fairly easily replaced and great deals can be found on used motors. Depends on how much you are willing to put up with to keep it going.
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#4701121 - 03/20/18 07:59 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
spk2000 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 999
Loc: Prospect, KY
Typo above should have been 93,500 not 153,000.
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#4701170 - 03/20/18 08:33 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
AVB Offline


Registered: 05/20/12
Posts: 1351
Loc: Georgia
I wouldn't worry too much. If it wears out you can hot rod it.

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#4701219 - 03/20/18 09:10 PM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10657
Loc: Buffalo, NY
I've seen them with over 2000hrs on them. 1997 had to be right near the end of production for the 312 classics. Or a flat-head Magnum for that matter. Cool find for sure.
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#4701611 - 03/21/18 08:57 AM Re: Wheel Horse tractor [Re: HM12460]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 3945
Loc: Guilford, CT
Nice! I have a 1991 312-8 and I love it. Extremely well-made and tough machines. I have only about 930 hours on mine. I'm not sure how many hours it will last, but it sure doesn't show any signs of breaking anytime soon. It still runs like new.
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