MY FREEBIE

By Staff
article image
Ed Brawner
This 1914 Keller 1 HP engine is owned by Ed Brawner, 4448 Neosho, St. Louis, Missouri 63116.

Route 2, Box 330 Irrigon, Oregon, 97844

As of this date, my free offerings have consisted mostly of
cats, dogs, and advice. Therefore, you can see why I was skeptical
when my son, Bill came home from school and informed me that he
knew where I could get a free tractor.

A gentleman friend of Bill’s, who ran a gas station in
Boardman, ‘has a tractor that he will give away’ is how the
story went.

I am thinking, ‘If there is a tractor it must be a real
prize if the fellow is willing to give it away.’ I imagined all
sorts of major problems it must have and decided that I did not
have time to go and look at it.

It was much later, at a school function that Bill brought his
friend, Rollo, over to meet us. Rollo started the conversation by
asking if Bill had advised us of his offer of a free tractor.
Before I could answer, he explained that it was a John Deere Model
B and promptly rattled off the serial number 180,825 which he had
memorized.

My heartbeat shot up while I explained to him that I had been
meaning to come look at it and would be there first thing in the
morning.

Rollo mentioned that the engine needed an overhaul because it
would hardly run, but the front end loader was in good shape.

‘A free Model B and a front loader, too’ ran through my
mind all night.

Promptly, the next morning I was looking at a really nice,
straight model B, with starter, light and all the sheet metal
intact. All this, and a good Ottoawa front loader. Needless to say,
I hauled it the thirteen miles home the same day.

The engine problem turned out to be a manifold gasket which had
burned between the intake and the exhaust ports. With the new
gasket it now starts easily and runs fine.

The muffler had rotted through over the years and someone had
added a Bandaid in the form of an MJB coffee can and a generous
supply of well-twisted baling wire.

The above quick-fix is more appreciated than the tin snip
approach to install a new muffler. I have seen examples where I
have visualized a blind person with a dull ax modifying the
hood.

The generator would not charge, but the problem turned out to be
the light switch. For some of you who may not know, until about
1947 on John Deeres the generator field was grounded through the
light switch to control the rate of charge. A jumper wire from
generator field to tractor frame should make the generator charge,
if the light switch grounding circuit is the only problem. This
should only be used as a test because the charging rate could be
too high for steady operation.

I have put hundreds of hours on this tractor in the last few
years and find it, with the Ottawa front loader, to be a good
working unit.

The hydraulic pump is driven by belts from the flywheel to give
a live hydraulic. This saves a lot of clutching. At times, it is a
little short on power in reverse, because the gearing is quite
high. However, usually it is an advantage.

The engine has some blow-by under heavy load, but I don’t
worry about this because I have driven John Deeres long enough to
feel confident that they won’t unglue themselves if you keep
good oil in them.

Rollo has visitation rights and comes by to look at his tractor
and listen to it run from time to time. I offered him the use of it
if he ever needs it, or I would return it to him if he ever wants
it back, but I would not give it or sell it to anyone else. He just
smiled and did not answer.

Keller Engine

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