RR#1, Box 63 Avoca, Iowa 51521
We have been reading GEM about three years. We enjoy it very much. I thought I might try my hand at writing an article, possibly some of the readers might enjoy.
September 2, 1966, Momma and I were blessed with a baby boy. At first I thought he never would be any fun. A human being small enough to cradle in the palm of one's hand. With patience and about 10 years, he began to show some improvement.
One day when I got home from work, I found he had confiscated a good Briggs and Stratton mower engine and had taken parts from it to repair one he had that wasn't so good. I was quite pleased as he had it running and really quite good... considering it was a first attempt. I later had him take another one completely apart, wash all parts, grind the valves, etc. It took a complete weekend for him to put it all back together. I wanted him to know how to cut gaskets, as well as to evaluate ring condition, piston slap, etc. That engine also ran well and we were off to a flying start. When he was 12, he was busy repairing lawn mowers for our friends and neighbors. He was the youngest kid I had ever known who was self-employed.
At that time we were also told by our family doctor that he had something wrong with his bones. Also, if this condition didn't improve, he would be required to wear braces. This could possibly last the rest of his life. We decided to try to channel his interests into things less hazardous than sports. I proceeded to add to the sign on my pickup 'Green and Son' which made him quite proud, I think.
After that he asked if he could have an old John Deere tractor. He has several John Deere toy tractors. We three started searching the ads and the countryside until we found a 1940 Model 'H' J. D.
Later he bought a 1945 John Deere 'B' and we started running out of space. The John Deere 'B' was in fairly good shape on the outside. However, after pulling it and the boy around the block several times, we decided there must be something drastically wrong, as all we could get out of it were a few pops. He cleaned the magneto, cleaned and checked the plugs. Around and around the block againand nothing.
Then someone told us, 'Those old tractors all ran on diesel fuel.' The small gas tank had about an inch of crud in the bottom; it looked like tar. So, we used the large tank until a replacement small tank could be found. Finally, after many trips around the block and some gasoline added to the fuel, she started to run. What a mess!!
We hadn't replaced the muffler; it had rusted and fallen off just above the hood. When the tractor started, big gushes of diesel fuel blew up and all over the boy, but didn't seem to concern him. He kept her running. With a war whoop and a 'We got her, Dad!!' he was off. Shortly he came back, parked it in front of the house and said, 'Dad, we don't have any oil pressure.' I told him to shut it off. We didn't know much about J. D. tractors at that time, but we learned very quickly. The little square collar that runs the oil pump off of the cam shaft had been broken. We, not knowing what a J. D. tractor was to sound like, and considering there was no muffler, hadn't noticed the knocking in the crankcase.
The crank shaft was not hurt, but the pistons and rods were beyond repair. We found an old 'B' in the salvage yard with good rods, pistons, etc., which he bought very reasonably, and after about three months of grinding valves, etc., it runs again. In fact, it is the quietest, smoothest running 'B' he has.
Since our learning experience with this tractor, now when he gets one, the first thing he does is drop the oil pump and check everything out. 'We learn by doing,' I guess one could say.
A friend advised us to take him to a few shows. Now our summers are filled with restoring old gas engines and tractors. He now has seven tractors of his own. (I might add, he bought them himself.)
Some of the gas engines he has bought are: 1 HP Model ZAA Fairbanks-Morse, 1922; two John Deere 1 HP Model E's; 3 HP Witte; 2 HP Economy old style, 1910; and a 2 HP Model CTI Stover. I have helped him restore most of them. If we can help any readers, we would be glad to try. Some of these engines aren't considered especially rare; however, he wouldn't part with a single one.
Oh, by the way, my son is almost completely cured now. He has developed another talent. If you've been to the Waukee Swap Meet at Waukee, Iowa, or the show later in the summer, you may have seen a tall, slender kid playing a guitar on stage after supper; or possibly you read an article in GEM about a 'Second Chance for a John Deere B.' This is my son David, of whom I'm very proud.