Friday, November 1, 2013

The Tractor Post

So I bought a tractor and I don't really know why. I'd been talking with some people about electric longboards, pocket motorcycles, and other toys and it just sort of happened. The tipping point came when I saw this ad on Craigslist.

The thing that got me was the "will deliver". I don't have a car, nor can I drive zip cars. Delivery cost me a bit extra, but it was worth it.

The styling on this tractor is just cool. I can't really explain it, but the slanted nose, slightly rounded body panels, and retro decals are what I think do it. I also liked the color quite a bit until I realized it would have been silver way back when and the lovely brown was really just rust and dirt. That just makes it more fun. 

Because I got this on a whim, I don't really have a solid plan for it. I know I'll be fixing it up (which has only just begun) but what happens after that? I can't drive it on the road, or in bike lanes, or on the sidewalk. I don't have a job doing yard work. I have a half baked idea that somehow the motorsports team can use it for hauling the car or gear at competition, so that's the excuse for now. 

There are many problems that I soon discovered that were not listed in the ad. (check out the angle on that front cross member)

The bad:
  • Rust everywhere. Like I said the whole thing used to be silver.
  • The front wheel assembly definitely isn't original and doesn't bolt on correctly.
  • A piece of the steering linkage is missing.
  • The engine is missing the starter and exhaust, maybe more.
  • The "racing pulleys" mentioned in the ad means that the drive belt now rubs against metal.
  • Transmission fluid looks dirty.
  • Seat is taped up.
  • Electrics are a mess.
The good:
  • All the metal is solid; nothing is flaky.
  • New tires.
  • Engine turns by hand.
  • Transmission and gears seem to work correctly.
  • New-ish drive belt.
  • Headlights look new, haven't tested for function.
Also in the good section is the fact that this thing is pretty easy to work on. The whole thing took about five hours of work to dissemble completely. A lot of that time was inspecting exactly what it is I've gotten for my money. Verdict: worth what I paid for it. 

On to the pictures.

 Made in 1981

I see a face. 

Custom exhaust!

Single cylinder Briggs and Straton. We'll see.

Nose off

Rear off.

Control panel. I've seen that switch in the middle before and I do not like it.

This is where the belt rubs. Pulley replacement is an option. I might play with clutch reversal.

Pulled the engine.

Sketchy fabric steering joint. This will definitely get redone.

Almost all stripped down.

Pieces laying about. 

The transaxle sans pulley.

Now that I know what I've gotten myself into I can make an attack plan.

What will happen:
  1. Clean everything.
  2. Rust removal on main frame channel.
  3. Paint main channel.
  4. Decide what happens to the body panels. I like the patina, but a paint job would be nice too.
  5. Fix the pulleys. I have to decide if I want speed or torque, but even then it won't be difficult to change later.
  6. Mount the front wheel assembly properly. It looks like I'll have make a few holes in the process.
What might happen:
  1. Get that engine going. Spare parts are available and these engines are pretty hearty so I imagine I could get it to work with enough effort.
  2. Make it electric. I have my eye on a motor, but that isn't the hard part of electric. I need batteries. There are a couple of companies I'm considering contacting about sponsorship, the main one being Boston-Power. For now I might be able to make a wimpy stand-in to test for mechanical issues. I'm going to wait until I have a nice looking demonstration piece before asking for goodies.
That's the story for now. While I've got you, hit some buttons below to help me out.

Until next time.