Wahl RR #1, Box 61, Dundee, Minnesota 56126.
On 28 October, 1989, my son George and I attended the Cecil Thomas Estate Auction at Astoria, South Dakota. Listed for sale were approximately one hundred antique tractors in various states of disrepair, and one hundred nineteen threshing machines which were, for the most part, bought up by a local scrap dealer. I purchased this 1925 12-20 Case which was completely rusted out but appeared to be complete, including the engine crank. The fenders, gas tank and radiator were in very good condition, but the engine appeared to be stuck.
The following six months were spent restoring the tractor to original condition. It was obvious that the tractor had not seen much use pulling heavy loads since the drawbar hole showed very little wear. I began by completely disassembling the engine and removing every moving part except for the cam shaft and the crank shaft. The number one and three pistons were rusted tight in the block. I used all of the recommended penetrating solutions for removing stuck pistons, in addition to heat and force, and I finally removed the pistons after about two months time. The engine turned out to be in excellent condition and only required a slight honing of the cylinder walls and grinding of the valves.
I removed the wheels and fenders in order to better clean the tractor and give it a coat of primer and paint. One of the rear wheels was very difficult to remove since the pin securing the wheel to the axle was rusted solid and had to be drilled out. Many hours were spent sandblasting all of the parts and priming everything before painting. I was able to purchase the original color paint, LC Gray, from the local Case/International implement dealer.
I finished the tractor in time to drive it in the Dovray 'Uf-da' Days Parade and the Westbrook Hospital Days Parade in late June. The tractor was first shown at the Butterfield Steam and Gas Engine Show on August 18, 19, 1990. The tractor starts with a couple of pulls of the crank and runs perfectly. The tractor, due to its small size and excellent running condition, has turned out to be an outstanding show piece.
A note of interest about Harvey Wahl as told to us by his son, Thomas A. Wahl: 'My father restored his 12-20 Case tractor this past year. He is very active in gas engine restoration since around 1966. He has also restored two other tractors, a 1917 Titan 10-20, and a 28-50 Hart Parr. He has been active in the Butterfield Steam and Gas Engine Show for many years, displaying approximately twenty gas engines along with operating a 30-60 Aultman & Taylor for a good friend. He was also successful in developing my son's interest in gas engines at a very early age by giving him his very own 'Chore Boy' when he could barely walk. My son Jeff, now eleven, has continued to be a subscriber to GEM since his grandfather bought him his first subscription around 1983.'