My Haas Atomic Tractor

The gear still laid in the seat and the tires were rotted to pieces.

By Staff
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R #4, Box 277 Viroqua, Wisconsin 54665

About twelve years ago, I was visiting a friend in Coon Valley, Wisconsin, who told me about an old tractor he had seen about a mile from town sitting on the edge of a woods. It was a small tractor, and the fellow who owned it said it was a Haas and it was for sale. I said, ‘Let’s go and look at it.’ We got there and I thought, ‘Oh my, what a piece of junk.’ One gear from the final drive laid on the seat and was broken. It was
made of solid brass. The sheet metal was bent up and rusty. The man who owned it gave me a price and I said it was too much.

Four years ago we had a small engine show in that town and I had some one lunger engines on display. The man who had the Haas tractor was there. He liked my engines and said he still had the Haas tractor and wondered if I was still interested. I said I had forgotten what it looked like. He said, ‘Get in my truck and let’s go look at it again.’

The gear still laid in the seat and the tires were rotted to pieces. It looked really bad. He gave me another price which I still thought was too much. He said there was a 12′ moldboard plow and an extra engine for it. I told him what I would give him for it and after awhile he said okay, hoping I would get it going again.

He said it was too heavy for a 1? ton pickup to haul to Viroqua, so some friends in our engine club said they had a trailer they could get and they would haul it home for me. It weighs about 1,500 lbs. with the wheel weights on.

We got it home and my wife said, ‘What do you want that junk for?’ It looked hopeless but I thought I better do something with it or my wife would never let me buy anything anymore.

First I had to get the gear fixed, so one of the fellows who hauled it home for me said he could take it to tech school in La Crosse and they could put new teeth in and weld the cracks. When they welded it it warped so bad I could not get it back in the finial drive case. Then I didn’t know what to do. I told my problem to my neighbors and they told me about a young man about four miles from my home who had a machine shop on his farm and that he had made gears for them. I took the gear which measured 9′ in circumference and 1?’ wide to him. He said, ‘I can make you a new gear out of steel, which would be better than brass.’ He gave me a price which was not cheap but the tractor was no good without it.

I went home and thought I would check the oil in the other side. I took the oil plug out and put my little finger in. When I pulled it out it was full of brass pieces too. I took the gear housing apart and that gear was worse than the other. I called the shop and told him about it. He said he would get two pieces of steel. Then the next problem was to get that gear off the shaft. I heated it and pounded it but it would not come loose. I took it to another shop where they had one large press and they got it off for me. More expense.

The engine seemed real good but very different. The engine is a Haas cylinder air cooled 6 to 12 HP, but everything inside is Model A Ford. There is no serial number or patent number anywhere on it. It was made in Racine. I can find no history on it but a fellow from Kenosha said they were made during the second World War and sent to England. How this one stayed here we do not know.

It has a disc clutch, three speed transmission with a high and low range. The tires are 750 x 16 back and 400 x 12 front. I got new tires like the original from a tire shop in Indiana. I finally got the gears and put them in. They could not have fit better, which made me very happy. I finally got the engine going. It ran fairly well but it needed rings and valve job. Then I painted it and it really looked good.

Our Coulee Antique Engine show was coming up in June so I thought I would drive it to the show, which was about 2 miles, but I got part way there and the engine started knocking so I stopped it and my daughter pulled me there.

After the show I took the engine apart and found the oil pump did not work so the rod bearing didn’t get oil and burned very bad. As I had the spare engine for parts, I used the rod and piston from it as it was good.

My wife and I went on vacation to Northern Wisconsin and stopped at a Ford garage in Chippewa Falls. There was a mechanic there who
worked on Model A engines and had new rings 3 7/8 standard. I put them in and ground the valves. It ran much better with better compression. I had magneto problems. I got a new coil so that got better. The engine didn’t idle good as I could not set the jets on the carburetor as they were corroded so bad. The carb was full of water when I got it and all rusted up.

I went to Baraboo Engine Show in August this year and the (Busy Bee) Branson Enterprises was there. He had a new carb just like the one on the Haas. I bought it and it runs just fine now.

Then I had to buy a new trailer to haul it to the shows. I took the Haas to the Mabel, Hesper Steam Show in Mabel, Minnesota this fall. I was in the parade two days. People just loved the little Haas Atomic. They took lots of pictures and videos . I am very proud of it and my wife is too, even if it did get a little expensive.

If anyone has any information about this tractor let me know. You can see it at the Coulee Antique Engine Show August 5 & 6, 1989 in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

  • Updated on May 18, 2022
  • Originally Published on Jul 1, 1989
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