303 Milford Ct. #4 Davison, Michigan 48423
I acquired the Leader tractor in the winter of 1996. I had finally stopped to see what the frame and wheels in a field were, that I have driven by for the last ten years. When I stopped and talked to the gentleman who owned it, he told me that he bought it in the early '50s to use in his garden for his family. He used it into the late '60s, when it needed some work. He had two boys, who were in school taking machine shop class, so he had them tear the tractor down. The engine went to school to be rebuilt. Well, the engine was machined but never put together. It was put in their barn and that's where it stayed until I bought it in January 1996.
The tractor is a model D 1948 Leader. It has a type of 3-point hitch with a live hyd and a 1100 rpm power take off. When I got the tractor home, the first thing I did was see what was missing. I got lucky that no major parts were missing.
The engine is a Hercules 1xb5. I found out that it was one that Oliver had used, as the head is different than a regular Hercules. The engine had new rings and the crank had been turned 10 under rods and 20 under on mains. The only things I had to buy for the engine were a gasket set and a filter.
The rest of the tractor was in fair shape, and most of it was inside for 25 years or longer. This is the first tractor I have tried to restore. I have done several gas engines, but no tractors. I thought I would try to do it right as I had decided to keep it, because I thought it was a nice small tractor.
I tore it down to a bare frame and had all the parts sandblasted. I want to thank Ken Guile for doing such a nice job on all the parts.
Now that I had sandblasted the tractor, what do I do with it? I never tried to paint a tractor before. It was a lot different than a gas engine.
I have a friend, Doug Evans, who owns his own body shop (Doug's Auto Refinishing). He said he would help me paint it. During the work on the tractor I gained a whole new respect for painters. After we got the tractor parts to the shop we sorted the parts as to which parts could be primed and set aside to be painted, and which parts had to be worked on. Doug would put on high fill primer and he would have me sand it off. The parts had four coats of primer sprayed on and sanded off. The wheels had some bad pits that had to be filled and sanded, after all the parts were ready for paint. The tractor was painted with three coats of Red PPG Concept. It gave the tractor a real nice shine. The tractor was then assembled, all the bolts that were on the sheet metal were re placed and painted. The tractor got all new gauges, new wire, seals, and any bearings that were bad.
I think the tractor came out good for the first one, and I am pleased with it. If it wasn't for the help from Doug with the paint, it wouldn't look like it does.
I would like to thank Ken for the work on the sandblasting, Kirk for doing the lettering, especially Doug for all the time he has in the paint work, Jim for helping me put it together, and Karen for putting up with me missing at night while I worked on the tractor!