Route 2, Box 330 Irrigon, Oregon, 97844
As of this date, my free offerings have consisted mostly of cats, dogs, and advice. Therefore, you can see why I was skeptical when my son, Bill came home from school and informed me that he knew where I could get a free tractor.
A gentleman friend of Bill's, who ran a gas station in Boardman, 'has a tractor that he will give away' is how the story went.
I am thinking, 'If there is a tractor it must be a real prize if the fellow is willing to give it away.' I imagined all sorts of major problems it must have and decided that I did not have time to go and look at it.
It was much later, at a school function that Bill brought his friend, Rollo, over to meet us. Rollo started the conversation by asking if Bill had advised us of his offer of a free tractor. Before I could answer, he explained that it was a John Deere Model B and promptly rattled off the serial number 180,825 which he had memorized.
My heartbeat shot up while I explained to him that I had been meaning to come look at it and would be there first thing in the morning.
Rollo mentioned that the engine needed an overhaul because it would hardly run, but the front end loader was in good shape.
'A free Model B and a front loader, too' ran through my mind all night.
Promptly, the next morning I was looking at a really nice, straight model B, with starter, light and all the sheet metal intact. All this, and a good Ottoawa front loader. Needless to say, I hauled it the thirteen miles home the same day.
The engine problem turned out to be a manifold gasket which had burned between the intake and the exhaust ports. With the new gasket it now starts easily and runs fine.
The muffler had rotted through over the years and someone had added a Bandaid in the form of an MJB coffee can and a generous supply of well-twisted baling wire.
The above quick-fix is more appreciated than the tin snip approach to install a new muffler. I have seen examples where I have visualized a blind person with a dull ax modifying the hood.
The generator would not charge, but the problem turned out to be the light switch. For some of you who may not know, until about 1947 on John Deeres the generator field was grounded through the light switch to control the rate of charge. A jumper wire from generator field to tractor frame should make the generator charge, if the light switch grounding circuit is the only problem. This should only be used as a test because the charging rate could be too high for steady operation.
I have put hundreds of hours on this tractor in the last few years and find it, with the Ottawa front loader, to be a good working unit.
The hydraulic pump is driven by belts from the flywheel to give a live hydraulic. This saves a lot of clutching. At times, it is a little short on power in reverse, because the gearing is quite high. However, usually it is an advantage.
The engine has some blow-by under heavy load, but I don't worry about this because I have driven John Deeres long enough to feel confident that they won't unglue themselves if you keep good oil in them.
Rollo has visitation rights and comes by to look at his tractor and listen to it run from time to time. I offered him the use of it if he ever needs it, or I would return it to him if he ever wants it back, but I would not give it or sell it to anyone else. He just smiled and did not answer.