Back on track save the day
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In 1973, Einer Bros. Inc. was sold, but Fred Einer kept the Mighty Mouse. Bud tried unsuccessfully to persuade Fred to give him the crawler. Finally, in 1992 Fred agreed that it was time to let Bud have the machine. Einer Bros., a large company whose projects included the San Onofre nuclear power plant, the Palomar Observatory and the Miramar Dam, owned many yards and storage facilities scattered around San Diego County. With so much ground to cover, it took three years of searching before Bud finally found the Mighty Mouse under a pile of bridge timbers. It was truly a big version of 'needle in a haystack.'
Bud said he was crushed when he first laid eyes on the old tractor after so many years. The parts were stuck, and the bogey rollers were worn so much that the carriage rails were lightly scalloped from the rubbing tracks. The machine was muddy, rusty, covered with tar and asphalt, and frozen solid. Bud, along with his sons and friends, embarked on a truly laborious restoration fraught with doubt and frustration. The project, however, proved to be an example of how people with a shared goal can make magic happen.
Undaunted, Bud and his boys removed and dismantled the clutch by soaking, heat and tapping. Each bearing and bushing was shot, in addition to the clutch's main shaft. Unsure about how to correctly fix the clutch, Bud received a call from Fred Nass, a friend and machinist who lives in Kodiak, Alaska. Bud described the clutch troubles to Fred who simply told him to ship it all to him with a drawing that showed how it was supposed to work. Within a few weeks, Fred had a new clutch mechanism built for Bud.
Bud had the Wisconsin engine bored to 0.030 inches over, which cleaned up the rust-pitted cylinder quite nicely. Bud also found a NOS 0.030-inches-over piston and rings in a local small-engine shop. The crank was ground and the engine assembled with fresh bearings, valves, gaskets, carburetor and decals. 'That was the easy part,' Bud says about the engine overhaul. Because Mead quit making the crawlers many decades earlier, there were no purchasable tractors. In fact, Bud and his sons know of only seven other Mead tractors in existence.
The Nacks managed to find some manuals for the tractor from the descendent company, Mead Fluid Dynamics of Chicago, which has the same address in Chicago as Mead Specialties and that now specializes in pneumatic cylinders and control systems.