BEFORE & AFTER
(Page 2 of 4)
While the pistons were soaking, Jim tallied up all the parts that needed to be replaced: grease seals, PTO, belt pulley, axle seals, shaft, clutch, rings and gaskets. He also would need to work on the radiator, strip the old paint, polish the pitted cylinders and grind the valves on the head. The tractor had survived pretty well, though, despite its 40 years of neglect.
Jim did almost all of work on it, except he had the cylinders and valves ground smooth again at a metal shop in Madill and had help from a friend, Kevin Peoples, with the painting.
Jim has a 'homemade' plan for keeping his tractor parts organized and identified during a restoration: 'I save a bunch of fruit cans - the gallon kind - or 1/2-quart hand soap containers, and use labels,' he says. 'It keeps things separated, but I also try to keep the different steps separated, so I am not doing too many things at once.' Because the Regular had stuck pistons, he did start replacing the seals and fixing the transmission while the pistons soaked, but usually he finishes one job before he starts another.
The biggest problem on the Regular, in the end, proved to be the radiator. Jim recalls he couldn't even pressurize it to check for leaks. So, he filled it with water to find the biggest leaks, which he soldered, and then he poured in cinnamon, to fill the smaller holes. The theory is that the ground cinnamon particles become lodged in the pinhole-sized leaks, permanently blocking them. 'Not many know about this trick,' Jim says. 'I heard it from a fella when I bought one of my parts tractors, so I thought I'd give it a try. I've used this trick for 10 years now, and I haven't had any problems.'
The felt seals on the tractor presented another restoration challenge. After initially replacing them, Jim found that the Regular continued to leak oil, so he went back in and 'snugged them up.' When that didn't work either, he replaced the 140-weight grease with 250 weight, which is more viscous, and the seals quit leaking.
Finally, the tractor was running again. 'I tried to restore it as close as possible,' Jim says, 'except I did install an inline fuel filter because there was some rust floating around in the gas tank.'
He used a rather unconventional technique for painting the Regular, too. He had the old paint sandblasted off, and then cleaned up the garage, put down some plastic, drove the tractor into the garage and onto the plastic and just painted the whole thing. He used the closest gray he could find to the Regular's original gray, but it proved too light, so a couple of years later, he painted the tractor again, using a better match. After painting it the second time, he applied decals that had been made from the original decals.