Subject: Punisher Craftsman beginner build. April 18th 2021, 11:20 pm
Hey all. Watching a lot of Mr. Studabaker, Redzz02, Chud and the like. Looks like so much fun I decided I want to mess with my 1998 Craftsman that already tried to kill me once. It has no brakes....So I'm here for help and guidance along this build. Small engine stuff is not really my wheelhouse. But watching these videos, these little engines seem like absolute tanks. They just don't quit! I gotta get mine running again. Was doing some wiring harness repair after what seems like a previous owner had an engine fire. But it ran great for me on some test laps even with burnt wiring. So tomorrow I am going to try to get it running again after sitting several months. Maybe change the oil and spark plug and air filter, and fix the brakes. I know my first mods should be pulley swap and throttle pedal, right? What are some other cheap or easy mods I can do to get my foot in the door to this new community?
Rustbucket Garage Core Member
2022 Build-Off Entrant
2022 Build-Off Entrant
Join date : 2021-01-15 Points : 1973 Posts : 1071 Location : Upstate New York
Subject: Re: Punisher Craftsman beginner build. April 19th 2021, 8:33 am
Welcome to the forum and mud mowing!
For mods, I'd swap out the front wheel bushings. They get sloppy after awhile no matter how often you grease them and the wear into the spindles, sometimes leaving a 1/4" deep gouge. I like to swap in ball bearings and change spindles if needed, the bearing size is 3/4 x 1 3/8. You can find a set on amazon for around 20 bucks so I consider it a good upgrade seeing as your spindles will no longer be wear parts per se, and the wheels no longer need grease if you use sealed bearings.
Tire upgrades are welcome, but not necessary. Ag tires are great in mud and loose dirt, knobby tires are best for semi-packed dirt, and deep-lug tires like Kenda Executioners and ITP Mudlites are best in deep, soupy mud that would sink your boots.
Also, it's good to look at your steering play and if needed replace the steering gears, they also wear out.
Some people like to lock the transaxle, but if you're getting started I'd hold off on that for awhile because it's best to have a good working knowledge of transaxles before splitting the case. Here is a locker design I recommend:
Doc also has a weldless variant as well if you don't have a welder.
If you have a craftsman this isn't necessary, but if you have a welder, I'd reinforce the frame if you have a lot of uneven ground, seeing as they can flex sometimes in the frame if the front axle bottoms out.
Conversely, if you want to go over 20-25 mph regularly, I'd recommend locking the front axle pivot for stability.
Also, front bumpers and grill guards are great because stuff happens. LED work lights are nice if you plan to be out after dark or you just want something that looks cool. And finally, a winch is nice
Hope this isn't too much to process, good luck with the project!
Took the brake caliper and rotor off, cleaned everything up real nice. Went really well except for the bolt I broke in the trans. Gonna be real fun trying to persuade that outta there so I don't have to drill and tap a new hole. The linkage and everything works great. So with new pads I should be in business.
Lindenmooch New Member
Join date : 2021-04-18 Points : 720 Posts : 11
Subject: Re: Punisher Craftsman beginner build. April 22nd 2021, 2:55 am
Went ahead and snapped the same bolt twice, just for fun. Guess I'm running one bolt in the brake caliper. Sure it'll be fine.