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tiller advice Options
zoebisch01
#1 Posted : Tuesday, May 01, 2007 12:45:36 PM
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My advice is if you are using it with breaking new ground in mind then heavier is better.  I have a Troy Built Horse (old one).  The weight of it is key to really punching in and ripping up sod and such.  I have all raised beds, but the method I use of creating them is I till, passing over several times until I am at the deepest level the tiller can go.  Don't waste your time on small tillers unless you have a small garden.  You will be happy with as much muscle (and weight) that you can afford.

Fwiw, the Horse tiller I got from my dad who had it since I was a kid. It starts first pull and runs like a clock.  Hopefully they still make them as such.

Frosty
#2 Posted : Monday, May 07, 2007 3:16:39 AM
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We have an old Troy Bilt Horse also.  It is a rear tine, and will still throw you around a bit when breaking new sod but once the ground has been worked and rocks removed it's one handed operation.  I would not hesitate to recommend one.  I was looking tillers on their web site
Garden Tillers by Troy-Bilt  and they seem to imply that the counter rotating tillers are great for breaking new ground, but I get the impression that the tillers like the Horse are better for final prep.  The only problem with our old Horse is that the handle adjustment is frozen up so it's stuck in one position... which happens to be for someone 6' tall like DH.  So when someone shorter (like me) gets to the end of the row and tries to turn around to do the next row, they have to lift the handles above their head while turning it around.  Newer tillers like the Troy Bilt and DR Champ also can take hiller/furrower attachments which are supposed to be good for hilling potatos and building raised beds and I am considering getting one if I can't get the handle adjusted on the old Troy Bilt... Makes me a bit nervous extending my arms up that high and having to walk that close to the turning tines.     
timfromohio
#3 Posted : Tuesday, May 08, 2007 12:36:24 PM
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Thanks for the opinions.  I like the Troy-bilt "horse" models, especially all of the attachments you can get for them.  They are similar to the walk-behind-tractors that were featured in a MEN article several months ago.  I think we've decided to rent one this season (I can get a big one for about $75 for a weekend).  This will allow us to get a lot done and also gain some experience with one without breaking the bank.  A new "horse" model is close to $3k and even used they are quite expensive (which must be a testament to their longevity and robustness).

Thanks again.

JAK
#4 Posted : Monday, May 14, 2007 6:03:14 AM
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Something to consider is combining raised bed gardening for small vegetables with three sister gardening for large vegetables. Then instead of a tiller you could use a post hole digger, or just a shovel. This might work really well in soil and regions that are prone to hard pan. This works best if you can make your own soil every year from manure, leaf mold, compost, wood ash, bone ash; so then when you dig your holes for each three sisters plantings you can spread the old soil from down to 2 feet deep over the surrounding weeds and add fresh soil into the hole, and then add about 1 cubic foot of fresh new compost soil for each planting into a hole 24" deep and up to 12" in diameter. You might want it to end up mounded or depressed depending on how much rain you get and how much watering you do. This might be particularly well suited to planting in an area that still has tree roots, and/or where you are starting new fruit or nut trees or bushes from seedlings or cuttings. You can mix things up a lot more this way, and you don't need so much heavy equipment, though a really good post hole digger might be real handy.
practicalman45
#5 Posted : Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:09:30 AM
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I'm counting my blessings here today. After years of having nothing better than old worn out front tine tillers (30 yr. old montgomery wards garbage) today I just came into 2 (two!) troy-built tillers! My neighbors, who live cooperatively (a former commune), had moved up to a nice new honda-powered BCS machine. Their faithful old troy built, plus another parts machine, were being offered for $200/both machines!  I went to look them over, and said  "YES, I'll buy them!".  One was Kohler-powered, 7 hp., and one 6hp. Tecumseh machine. The Tecumseh one needs a tire since it had sat with a flat for years and leaked grease onto the flat tire which was ruined. It also needs fresh gas and perhaps a tune-up. It is the newer looking model, but other than the engines, the two look to be identical (although of different vintages). I'd say they are probably the medium-sized models of the Troy-Built Line. After hauling the pair home I cleaned them up with some engine degreaser and an air/water blaster gun. The Kohler-engined model had gas in it that didn't smell too bad, so I checked the oil and fired it up. It had been maintained, I guess, and started on two pulls! I walked it over to the garden and finished tilling up the last places that needed it. What a joy to use! The Troy-Builts are some really nice machines compared to anything else I've ever had. I especially like the reverse feature, which allows for backing up the machine, a real boon in my tight garden of raised-beds and squash hills.  As I said, I'm counting my blessings......

timfromohio
#6 Posted : Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:31:12 PM
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You got a mega-deal.  Everybody I know that has an old Troy-bilt horse tiller is happy and usually inherited the tiller from an older family member.  They seem to go forever. 
practicalman45
#7 Posted : Sunday, June 03, 2007 3:42:17 PM
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I have started shopping for parts for my Troy-Bilts. Our local small engine and outdoor equipment shop can order them, but they are price gougers to say the least (must be trying to pay off their new store building in short order...). I did several searches on the internet, and finally at EBAY,  where  a number of sellers are offering parts. Am going to order a new matching pair of tires and tubes from one, and all the seals for the tine shafts and wheel drive axles, plus the basic gasket set from another. My tines are all in good shape. Theres just a few other minor repairs, like some minor welding work on the tine cover and hinge. I won't need to sacrifice one machine for parts for the other, I'll actually wind up with 2 running machines! Maybe sell one of them to recover all the costs.
practicalman45
#8 Posted : Sunday, June 03, 2007 3:48:47 PM
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Isn't it weird. My two previous posts here in this thread were both  done from the same computer, same (default) settings, and a few days apart being the only difference . Check out the different size fonts for the two posts.
timfromohio
#9 Posted : Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:03:33 PM
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You might check the local paper or "craig's list" in your area.  I've seen several listings for parts-only tillers for sale.  May be useful.
rsisson
#10 Posted : Tuesday, May 17, 2011 3:14:06 PM
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Need Replacement Tines for my 8hp DR Tiller 

I have gone through my second set of tines for my 8Hp Dr Tiller in 13 years.  The last time I bought them from DR they were $6-8/ea.  Now they want $17ea.  OUCH.

Does anyone have a source for aftermarket tines for the DR tiller??

Bob in Maryland

bob@sissonfamily.com

timfromohio
#11 Posted : Tuesday, May 17, 2011 3:14:06 PM
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Posts: 134,494

Up to now my gardening experience has been limited to raised beds which are great for many things, but don't lend themselves well to corn and things like squash that take up lots of room.  So, I'm thinking of expanding the garden area to include a more traditional row garden which might require a tiller to prepare and maintain.  I'll probably rent a big one this year, but if we decide to get one what features does everybody like/dislike?  It seems that rear tine tillers are more heavy-duty.  How about forward vs. counter-rotating tines?  Tiller width?  Engine hp?  Even used these things are quite costly and I want to make sure we'd get the right thing first time.  The tiny mantis-type tillers/cultivators look too flimsy for the scale I would envision using the machine for, but I've never used one so I could be completely wrong.

Thanks for the opinions.

 

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