By Staff

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

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

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

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

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.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines