The Linn Tractor

Linn tractor

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President Hudson Valley Old Time Power Assn. 434 Millbrook Road, Hudson, New York 12534

In the summer of 1995 our club received a 1929 Linn tractor. Ed Golden of Chatham, New York, a member of our club, donated it to us. It is a model L 628D, serial number 1696. It has an AB48H Waukesha engine, serial number 203289. It has an all-wood cab and dump-body that was lined with steel plate. It had plows and wings.

The Linn was built in Morris, New York. It had been sitting in the bushes for several years and needless to say, the cab and body were in pretty bad shape. Also, the motor needed work. It is a six-cylinder engine, two cylinders cast as a single unit. The heads were removed and some valves were stuck and rusted. One valve guide had been going up and down with the valve. The mice had gotten into the motor through the exhaust pipe and had made nests in and around the valve ports. The valve guide that was going up and down was in the third and fourth cylinders. The motor was turned over so the pistons of the third and fourth cylinders were at the same height. Then we put a 4 x 4 across the snowplow frame above the motor and attached a come-along to it to lift the cylinder. The cylinder bolts to the crankcase were removed, and we lifted the cylinder up, leaving the two pistons protruding above the crankcase. After cleaning the cylinders and removing the valves, we found that the valve guide could be knurled and pressed back into the head with the help of Loctite. All of the valves were cleaned and re-faced and used again. The motor was reassembled and adjusted, and now runs fine. After getting the motor running, we discovered we had to replace the radiator core at a cost of around $700.

At our show in August of 1995, we ran the old cab and chassis around our field a few times and we found that one more board would fall off the chassis each time we went around the field. Thus we had to build a new cab and dump body. In the winter of'95 and '96 the tractor was put in our shop and eliminated of all wooden pieces. We have what is known as the 'Tuesday Gang' that gather every Tuesday at the club grounds and work in our shop during the winter. The gang averages four and sometimes five people, with the coffee pot going and our lunch buckets lined up. We then tackled the job of rebuilding the cab.

In the summer of '95, John Leck and Son cut down some oak trees on our property, and another member of our club, Rich Curry, brought in his Wood Miser sawing outfit and cut all the white and red oak into board dimensions. We took some boards to club member Joe Skoda, who builds furniture as a hobby, who planed and cut some round bows for the roof and cut some other pieces for the cab. By spring the cab was finished. New safety glass was installed in all windows, the cab was painted, and then a new roof and fabric installed.

Since we have numerous things to do outside in the summer, we did not start the dump body until the fall of 1996-1997. We did, however, show the Linn at our '96 show with the new cab and snowplow. We also took it to the Columbia County Fair in Chatham and displayed it there. I also interviewed some of the older generation, some who actually operated this tractor. What an experience they had, and what stories they could tell. I was told that this tractor had skis on the front for a short period of time, but they could not keep it on the snowy roads. This tractor does not have independent brakes and clutch in the differential and when it started pushing a large snowbank, it wanted to go straight ahead. When they were using the wings and wanted to turn left, they would drop the left wing into the snowbank and that would help it turn left, and vice-versa when they wanted to make a right turn.

In the fall we started the dump body. Club member Pat Monahan brought his planer in and we started planning oak boards for the body. In the spring of '97 the body was painted. We drove the tractor outside and raised the dump body, probably for the first time in 40 years. This tractor was last used in 1954 to plow snow and probably ten years before that it was used only for snow plowing. On this particular model, the wing was fastened to the rear of the dump body. Thus you could not lift the body when the wing was attached. When plowing snow, usually two men would be up in the dump body to raise the plow. One would turn the wheel on the top in back of the cab. To raise the wings, there were two other wheels to the back of the body, one on each side. This tractor had a house built in the body, as did most of the Linns, and a wood-burning stove was bolted to the floor, thus the boys in the dump body had some heat. The driver in the cab got his heat off the motor.

A couple of other members who need to be thanked are Dale Barkman and Frank Pflegel for their carpenter work, painting, advice, etc.