Master Sargent Snowplow: Tackles Snowdrifts With Ease

A Sargent snowplow, in need of a full restoration, became the perfect addition to Dick Moody's 1930 Cletrac K20.

| January 2015

  • 1930 Cletrac with rebuilt Sargent snow plow
    Dick Moody paired his 1930 Cletrac K20 with a completely rebuilt Sargent snow plow.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Sargent snow plow advertisement
    Illustration of a Sargent snow plow.
    Illustration courtesy Public Domain
  • The Cletrac before restoration
    The Cletrac before restoration.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The Cletrac and Sargent plow in action
    Dick found the Cletrac and Sargent plow to be a surprisingly powerful team.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The Cletrac and Sargent plow in action
    Dick puts the vintage tractor and plow through their paces.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The rebuilt Sargent plow
    The freshly rebuilt Sargent plow mounted on the Cletrac.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The restored Cletrac K20
    Dick's restored 1930 Cletrac K20.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • The original Sargent snow plow
    The Sargent snow plow Dick got from a friend was in rough shape when he got it, and the passage of time did little to improve matters.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus
  • Overview of a tractor snow plow
    Patent no. 1,519,437: Carrying device for tractor snow plows. Patent granted to Don A. Sargent, Bangor, Maine, assignor to Northern Trailer Co., Bangor, Maine, July 6, 1926. This patent was awarded before Dick's plow was built, so some variations exist between the two.
    Illustration courtesy Public Domain
  • Side view of a tractor snow plow
    Patent no. 1,519,437: Carrying device for tractor snow plows. Patent granted to Don A. Sargent, Bangor, Maine, assignor to Northern Trailer Co., Bangor, Maine, July 6, 1926. This patent was awarded before Dick's plow was built, so some variations exist between the two.
    Illustration courtesy Public Domain

  • 1930 Cletrac with rebuilt Sargent snow plow
  • Sargent snow plow advertisement
  • The Cletrac before restoration
  • The Cletrac and Sargent plow in action
  • The Cletrac and Sargent plow in action
  • The rebuilt Sargent plow
  • The restored Cletrac K20
  • The original Sargent snow plow
  • Overview of a tractor snow plow
  • Side view of a tractor snow plow

In 1985, when Dick Moody got a lead on a 1930 Cletrac K20, plowing snow was the last thing on his mind. But old iron has a funny way of calling the shots. “I didn’t know what a Cletrac was,” he says, “but I had always wanted a crawler, and being young – in my early 40s, and ‘can do anything’ – I went to look at it. It did look pretty sad, very rusty with no paint showing, no tin, gas tank badly dented, engine stuck, no magneto and no carburetor. Still, being young and stupid, I bought it for $450.”

When he got the crawler home, Dick – who lives in New Boston, New Hampshire – poured most of a gallon of WD-40 in the cylinders. “I got the biggest Stillson wrench I could find and a 6-foot pipe and jumped on the handle,” he says, “and nothing.” For three years, every time he walked by the Cletrac, he jumped on the wrench. Finally, one day it moved. After the engine finally turned over, he removed everything he could; then he sandblasted and primed all of it.

Next, he pulled the head, hand-lapped the valves and took shims out of the connecting rods and main bearings. The pistons weren’t broken (“where was I going to get new pistons anyway?”) so he honed the bores, cleaned the pistons and bought new rings.

Improvising as needed

Dick tracked down Cletrac literature, an owner’s manual and a sales data sheet. Photos in that material showed what type of magneto and carburetor he needed. He found a magneto at a Dublin, New Hampshire, engine show but the search for a carburetor took longer. “A year later I found a carburetor that would work,” he says, “but it wasn’t the right Cletrac carburetor, which has a square end. I turned the radiator around to improve the looks of it. It still leaks a little but black pepper keeps it under control. Actually it makes a great conversation starter.  People will ask, ‘Hey, did you know your radiator leaks?’”



At the Dublin show, Dick met Wayne Fisher, who had a Model K in excellent condition. He offered to loan his tin to use in making patterns for duplicate hood and side panels. Dick pounded out the gas tank and filled the dents with body putty. “The whole job was starting to come together and being the optimist I am, I painted the tractor and fired it up,” he says. “Whoops. No clutch.”

The clutch spring was broken and Dick despaired of finding a flat-wire spring wound in a helical shape. But he soon met a young man with a K20 with a good spring that he was willing to part out. “I beat feet over to his place and sure enough, he had already taken the spring out for me,” Dick recalls. “He wouldn’t take any money for it; he just wanted to see it run. Soon after, I found out he had just lost his job the previous week. I have never forgotten him.”