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3K engine on a Wheel Horse Tractor


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New here but been lurking since picking up what I have identified as a 3K Toyota engine. This is mounted on an early '70's Wheelhorse tractor! I picked it up a couple weeks ago at a local auction and have not started it yet. All of the fluids were drained before it was stored away over 15 years ago... not ideal IMO. The water pump (an agricultural pump used on tractors) was seized as was the fuel pump. Otherwise, the engine turns over by hand, and the machine seems to be pretty well taken care of. The guy I talked to at the auction said that the guy who dropped it off mowed with it! Probably just going to be a toy for me... something to take to the fair and maybe pull my boat around the driveway. I'm a big fan of Wheelhorse and also Toyota's so I figured I could give it a proper home.¬†ūüôā¬† I had a version of this engine in an old Corolla I drove in high school. I drove that car to the junkyard. Still ran great but had rust so bad that the drivers seat was ready to fall through the floor!

Anyway, I have a couple questions if anyone would be so kind to chime in.

First, There is no PCV valve or grommet so I bought both. I'm thinking about pulling the rocker cover off and taking a look in there to see if anything has fallen down in that hole and spray some fogging oil over the top end. I've already fogged the cylinders... The gasket looks like it's made of rubber and will not need replaced? I need to clean the broken grommet out of that hole and don't want stuff to fall into the engine.

Second, I've already filled it with some Rotella 10W-30 before I read that this engine prefers a 20W-50 oil. I'm thinking about using Rotella 15W-40 in it just because I don't think it will see the heat that it would on the road... thoughts?  

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Hi Randy, 

                 Welcome aboard, & thanks so much for your post. I absolutely love the idea, that some compay years ago, fitted an early 3K motor to a combo ride-on mower &  mobile water pump.

It caught my eye, as I have a working 5K motor, that I use for developing a COP ignition & triggering system.  I needed to be able to move it around, due to lack of space in the garage; so I mounted it on an old ride on mower frame.  It does not drive the mower, it was just convenient, as a set of wheels.

I have zoomed in at the photos you posted, & am facinated how they orriginally mated pump & take-off for  driving the mower.  Belts taking very unusual paths, to get to the cutting deck.

Your Jackass looks to be in remarkable condition, considering it's age.  Looks like it was stored well.

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I wouldn't worry to much about the  PCV valve, unless you plan on feeding it back into the inlet system.   They never worked very well on the K Series motors, as the fresh air inlet & outlet to inlet manifold, were so close to each other, on the rocker cover.   If you want to replace the PCV valve & use the scavenging system for the 3K engines internals; then I would suggest, blocking off the inlet on the top of the rocker cover, & fit a filtered air intake down on the timing chain cover.

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On of my daily drive Corolla, I even fitted an oil catch can,, between the PCV valve & inlet manifold.

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Cheers Banjo 

Edited by Banjo
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What an awesome contraption. What sort of gearbox does it have? 

Old engine probably likes a thicker oil. 15w-40 or 20w 50 probably a bit closer. Depending on your climate. 10w 30 isn't going to kill it though. I wouldn't be too worried especially if you are just playing around with it for now. Maybe next time go a bit thicker. It might not be getting road heat but its also not going very fast so it might heat up more than you think. 

As for the PCV cant help you there, but banjos got you covered. 

 

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What an awesome contraption.

Dave, yes indeed.   Over lunch, I maximised the pics, & zoomed in to the pics, to see how it all works.  Unbelievable !

   The damn thing even has rack & pinion steering, from what I can see.  The unsupported extension on the very front of the crankshaft is a monster.

Can't see a fan, to drawn air over the engine.  Appears the engines internal coolant, is infact the same water, being pumped ?

Would love Randy, to give us a bit of a description, of how it all works !

Cheers Banjo

 

 

Edited by Banjo
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Well I think I just saw & hear it running !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6J6s3Hcm98

Looks like the same garage Randy !

Sure doesn't sound like a 3K, but sure looks like the real thing.

Here is a few more tractors, but not with 3K engines. These tractors were running before Toyota was even a company.  No drifting in these ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLcI5X2O-xI

Cheers Banjo

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Thank you for the warm welcome!

I've spent some time lurking here (trying to figure out what I have) and this site has been a great resource. 

Banjo, Thank you for the pics. I must admit that while I've heard of COP (coil on plug?) I have no idea what that contraption does... but it sure looks cool! Great idea using an old tractor frame. You obviously have a bigger toolbox than I do!

A company didn't build this. From what I understand, some local guy around here built it. It's actually built on the frame of the same tractor I use for mowing my lawn a Wheelhorse C-121.  Also, uses the same gearbox in the back to drive the wheels (two gearboxes) I haven't figured out where the one in the front (the one you can see) is from. I'm pretty sure that it is  used in agricultural equipment. Maybe a hay bailer, rototiller, or brush mower... still trying to figure it out. The only markings I can find on it are "CK03".

I do not have a hole on my timing chain cover. I'm considering plugging the small hole and attaching one of those breather filters to the larger hole. Good idea or bad idea?

I drained and refilled the crankcase with Shell Rotella 15W-40. I use this stuff in all my lawn equipment and the 351 Ford in my boat so I always have plenty around. 

It's water cooled. radiator in the back with an electric fan.

Yes that's me in the video!

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This is my other tractor, 1972 Wheelhorse C-121.  It was built off of this frame. This has the original 12hp Kohler engine.

 

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Thanks again for the help!

 

 

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Hi Randy,

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A company didn't build this. From what I understand, some local guy around here built it.

All I can say,; is that this guy had plenty of time on his hands !  There is a lot of work gone into that.  It might be a contraption, but it has all been done well.  Even the way the 3K inlet manifold has been installed 90 deg to original, & turned around, to adapt to a side draft carby of some descript.

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 do not have a hole on my timing chain cover. I'm considering plugging the small hole and attaching one of those breather filters to the larger hole. Good idea or bad idea?

  There is no hole in the timing chain cover as standard.  However, when you remove the timing chain cover, there is a casting circle usually on the inside centre, & being aluminium, it is easy to drill & open out a hole, where I fitted mine. 

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The best sort of crankcase scavenging is to exhaust the air from the top of the engine, using the inlet manifold suction, & allow fresh air to enter at the fartherest point in the lower front, you can get to. Another place that is good, is the fuel pump flange on the block.  Lots of us use an electric fuel pump, as those mechanical pumps don't work well, when the tank is at the rear, & lower than the pump; & there is a tiny leak in the inlet line to the pump. You can get, or make a blanking plate for the fuel pump flange on the block; & that would be a very easy point to attach a fresh air intake filter for the crankcase ventilation.

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I must admit that while I've heard of COP (coil on plug?) I have no idea what that contraption does... but it sure looks cool! 

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The COPS just allow you to do away with the distributor altogether, & use a sold state  ECU to control the ignition with advance & retard, of timing based on revs & load on the engine.  You can use the COPS in a waste spark, or full sequential firing system.  The little blue sensor in the pic above of the inner timing chain cover, provides a "synch" pulse to the electronic ecu, so it can fire at the right time.  Here's all that's left, of where the dissy used to fit.

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It's water cooled. radiator in the back with an electric fan.

   Ha Ha !  Your pics in the fist post didn't show that radiator tucked down there between those large rear wheels.

Did you buy this because you have some other use for it, other than mowing the lawn?   Like using the onboard water pump ?

Sounds like a lot of fun.  I would imagine, the 3K engine would have a bit of grunt, with a resonable power to weight ration. There was a larger 1.5Litre 5K version of the K Series engine,  which had more torque, & was primarily used in Toyota utes & vans; & forklifts.  Thats a 5K sitting on my mower frame. 

 

Have fun, & post on here, when you fully work out, how it all works.

Cheers Banjo        

                

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Thank you sooo much Banjo! I have an electric fuel pump, Brand new, had to replace it because it sat dry so long. Thanks to your pics, I was able to locate the manual fuel pump was. There is a plate over it already. So... I'm thinking of running a 1/2" hose from the small hole on top of the rocker cover and then drilling out the fuel pump plate and fitting it with some sort of barbed fitting to accept the 1/2" hose. Do you think this will work? These holes had been sitting open. I just think they should be covered up so dirt doesn't get in there. This is what I've done for now.

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On 6/2/2022 at 3:58 AM, Banjo said:

Did you buy this because you have some other use for it, other than mowing the lawn?   Like using the onboard water pump ?

 

This does not have an onboard water pump. That pump on the front circulates water to the radiator in the rear. I had to replace the pump. It was completely seized. When I removed it and looked up the number I found out that it was an agricultural sprayer pump. I bought it up the road at Tractor Supply. I had to paint it red to match. Not sure where the pully was from but he did a good job mating it to that pump and it was easy to replace. Here it is:

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/delavan-4-roller-pro-pump-cast-iron-4900c?cm_vc=-10005

 

I picked this up at a local auction. It was a last minute bid. I had been watching it but thought it would go for a lot more than I was willing to pay... Figured since I was a big fan of Toyota's and Wheelhorse tractors I could give it a good home. I would have hated to see someone tear it apart and scrap it or sell it off as parts. Like you said, whoever built it put a lot of time and love into it. 

I didn't even notice that the intake had been rotated 90 degrees until you pointed it out! Had to look at yours to figure out what was going on. Very cool! This guy was creative. BTW the carb is the original Wheelhorse carb. Same one I have on my C120 shown above. he made an adaptor plate to make it fit. I just took the carb apart and rebuilt it last night. It was clean inside but starting to leak around the bowl... from sitting dry for 15+ years. I have two tractors (now three) with that carb on them and they're the only carbs I've never had to rebuild. This was the first one. 

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I love this !   A 3K engine driving a ride-on lawn mower only.  Don't know where I got the idea, that it was  also a mobile water pump ?   Maybe the size of that great big pipe over the top of the engine from front to back.

After listening to the engine, on your utube first venture out of the shed; round the tree; then back to the shed; it appears to run quite well.  What was the capacity of the original engine, that was in this mower, as standard ?  I would suggest that the capacity was much smaller, than the 1200cc of the 3K engine.  As you are using the oriiginal carby, on a much bigger motor, you may well be able to release a lot more power from this setup, if you returned the carby to something more fitting, a 1200cc motor.  Maybe the guy who originally modified this simple drilled out the jet in the original caby.  Just a thought.  You could still retain the side draught arrangement, if necessay, by grabbing a suitable sized SU or equivalent.

Regarding the crankcase breathing setup.  As you already have an electric fuel pump, & there is already a plate over the flange on the engine block, for the original mechanical pump; then by all means, drill a hole in this plate & mount your existing breather filter, from the top of the engine.  Leave the other hole on the rocker cover blocked, as you have done, (actuially that blocked hole is the original intake) & refit a PCV valve & feed that point to the inlet manifold.

The early 3K engines, had a "push on" rubber oil filler lid.  When these became old, they tened to pop out, if pressure built up in the crankcase, which resulted in oil all over the engine & bay, next time you lifted the bonnet/hood.

Later JK Series ricker covers came with a hard plastic/balelite screw in cap, to overcome this issue.

If it was me, I would remove the whole existing water pump arrangement & fit a 3K original, which would make it so much simpler,  than what you've inherited now.  It would completely change the appearance, of the " That system looks pretty frightening." as Altezzaclub decribed it above. 

Only other question I had was the size of those monster rear wheels & tyres.  Were they the original size on the mower as standard ?

If you up this performance of the 3K engine, with those large tryes, you could almost go drifting, or lawn mower racing, which is a popular recreational activity here in rural areas of Australia.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-09/lawn-mower-racing-championships-forbes-largest-ever/101047264

https://www.carsguide.com.au/oversteer/forget-supercars-lawn-mower-racing-is-australias-best-motorsport-68574

Cheers  Banjo

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Banjo said:

If it was me, I would remove the whole existing water pump arrangement & fit a 3K original, which would make it so much simpler,  than what you've inherited now.  It would completely change the appearance, of the " That system looks pretty frightening." as Altezzaclub decribed it above. 

Only other question I had was the size of those monster rear wheels & tyres.  Were they the original size on the mower as standard ?

If you up this performance of the 3K engine, with those large tryes, you could almost go drifting, or lawn mower racing, which is a popular recreational activity here in rural areas of Australia.

 I believe the old guy who designed and built this changed the water pump arrangement so that it would fit under the hood of the tractor. I have no plans of changing his design, it works just fine.

The tyres are Mickey Thompson racing tires. They're about a meter wide! He made the wheels too. 

Original tyres were same as seen here on my C-121. As I said before, This "Wheel Big Horse' started off as a C-series Wheelhorse lawn tractor. These came with 8hp, 10hp and 16hp engines made by either Kohler or Tecumseh.  The hood and frame on the "Big Horse" were elongated and it was fit with the 3k engine and big wheels. But originally it looked like my 1972 C-121 shown below

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I'm planning on using it mostly for show. I'll take it up to the fair and we have a couple parades every year I'll probably enter it in. Also thinking about setting it up with a hitch so I can pull my boat and a couple trailers around on my property. Maybe mow the lawn... lol seems like the turning radius would be a little bit tough but I'll look cool! It's an oddity. To me it's a work of art. I just marvel at the skill and work that went into it and would like to preserve it and share it with other people. People who are familiar with wheelhorse tractors, which are no longer made and have become somewhat collectible and sought after, recognize it when they see it. 

Oh, we have tractor races over here!  Well see how it goes... maybe enter it in the races at the fair this summer!

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Hi Randy,        Certainly a work of art !  I can understand why you are trying to find out everything about it, as I'm sure when you display it at your fair, there will be lots of people like me, asking all these sorts of nitty gritty questions.    My guess is that with the 3K engine, you could have easily 2-3 times the power at the back wheels,from the original mower; so it should be good at pushing snow, or towing.  I gather though, that it is single speed, & that there is no gearbox involved down under the seat, that we cannot see ?

I can see a little handle & a slotted gate, below & in front of your seat, though ?

Keep us updated !

Cheers Banjo

Edited by Banjo
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4 hours ago, Banjo said:

 I gather though, that it is single speed, & that there is no gearbox involved down under the seat, that we cannot see ?

I can see a little handle & a slotted gate, below & in front of your seat, though ?

Keep us updated !

Cheers Banjo

Hey Banjo! 

 No, It has the original eight speed gearbox that was used in the C-series. It's a four speed gearbox with low and high. Three forward and one reverse, and then a low and high range selector. The high/low selector is the small handle behind the wheel accessible only by raising the seat or removing the wheel. The four speed handle has been modified and comes through under the seat (a bit different than the original layout but still works the same. I almost never use the low gears on my C-120, so getting to that low lever is not a priority. they move like a snail in that low range and there's plenty of pulling power in the high range. 

The pulling crowd claims that these gearboxes can withstand 45-50 HP. So it seems like a proper match for the 3k as it is. I don't know if the belt would stand up to any upgrades!

The other gearbox up front and behind the engine I haven't identified yet. It is a 3-way gearbox and only two of the shafts are being used to run the pully that runs the drive and mower belts. The other shaft just spins. The handle on the right engages and disengages the signature wheelhorse clutch pully. If anyone can identify this gearbox it would be much appreciated. I can see that he has modified the mounting bracket and the only number I can find is "CK03". I think that it may have been out of a hay bailer or some sort of agricultural application. 

Rear gearbox (original wheelhorse 8-speed)

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Front gearbox (unknown):

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Other side of front gearbox:

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New fuel pump, gauge and shut off valve I installed yesterday:

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Good pic of the really cool throttle gear setup:

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Cheers!

 

 

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