1920 Moline Universal D

By Staff
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In 1920 Moline Universal owned by Harris Saele, R.R.2, Box 77, Munich, North Dakota 58352
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R.R. 2, Box 77, Munich, North Dakota 58352

I am enclosing some pictures of my 1920 Moline Universal, Model
D tractor. I acquired this tractor 17 years ago from a farm four
miles north of Devils Lake, North Dakota. The farmer had passed
away and they had an auction. I was not at the auction but heard
that there was an old tractor on the sale that never got a bid. We
went out and looked at it and were able to purchase it for

We quickly got it home and being young and foolish, I took it
all apart. Finding that it had a cracked block and broken pistons,
we took the head, block and pistons to a machinist. Being short of
money we made a deal with the machinist where he would work on it
in his spare time. After over a year had gone by and nothing had
been accomplished, I went to retrieve the parts and was informed
that they had all been hauled to the local junk yard by

At this point, all work had stopped. Sixteen years later I had
about given up ever finding the missing parts.

In January of 1983 we learned that Allen Larson of Newburg,
North Dakota had four Model D’s. A telephone call and a 100
mile trip to his farm assured us that he had the parts we were in
need of. Out of the four tractors, Allen was making two.

We picked up the block, head without valves, rocker arms and
pistons in March of 1983. We had been working hard on all the other
parts of the tractor, as my goal was to have it completed for the
July 4th Centennial parade in Devils Lake, North Dakota.

After many hours of work cleaning, loosening parts, repairing
and painting, we had everything ready to go except to complete
putting the engine together. That was in a different machine shop
in Devils Lake. Morris Hietala, machinist for United Auto Parts was
putting all the fine touches on the engine. Morris spent many hours
on this engine and was never quite satisfied until everything was
just perfect. The 4th of July was coming up fast so we worked
evenings to complete it. The night I took the block home Morris
worked with me until 2:30 in the morning. In order to make a long
story just a bit shorter, we got the Model D running two days
before the parade.

We got set up for the parade early in the morning and by ten
o’clock the parade had started. I made it only one block, after
running the engine that morning for over 1 hours. (This was the
longest it had ever run.) The coil got hot and shorted out. For the
next two hours it would do nothing, then when the parade was over
it cooled itself down and ran like a top. We took it home and did
not take it to any more shows for that year.

This spring we found a coil that would work. On July 8, 1984 my
wife, Dianne, and youngest daughter, Tonya, took our Model D to
Killarney, Manitoba where we showed it in the Turtle Mountain
Flywheel Club annual show. We were well rewarded as we received the
best antique display plaque, one traveling plaque and one we got to
keep. I have very few old tractors but am grateful for our Model

Our Model D has a four cylinder engine that burns only gas, not
kerosene. The engine is equipped with oil pump and runs from 300 to
1800 RPM. Most old timers that remember this tractor, always seem
to have remembered one with a rod through its side.

It also has an electric gas control and is equipped with starter
and lights, front wheel drive with engine offset to one side.
Therefore, the manufacturer found it necessary to counterbalance
the tractor by putting concrete in one drive wheel. The engine is
set out in front of the drive wheels, having 98% of its weight on
the main drive wheels.

In closing I want to say that I find Gas Engine Magazine the
best magazine I have ever received. I have a lot to learn about
this business and your magazine is an excellent source. Keep up the
good work!

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