Gas Engine Magazine

1948 Leader TRACTOR

By Staff

303 Milford Ct. #4 Davison, Michigan 48423

I acquired the Leader tractor in the winter of 1996. I had
finally stopped to see what the frame and wheels in a field were,
that I have driven by for the last ten years. When I stopped and
talked to the gentleman who owned it, he told me that he bought it
in the early ’50s to use in his garden for his family. He used
it into the late ’60s, when it needed some work. He had two
boys, who were in school taking machine shop class, so he had them
tear the tractor down. The engine went to school to be rebuilt.
Well, the engine was machined but never put together. It was put in
their barn and that’s where it stayed until I bought it in
January 1996.

The tractor is a model D 1948 Leader. It has a type of 3-point
hitch with a live hyd and a 1100 rpm power take off. When I got the
tractor home, the first thing I did was see what was missing. I got
lucky that no major parts were missing.

The engine is a Hercules 1xb5. I found out that it was one that
Oliver had used, as the head is different than a regular Hercules.
The engine had new rings and the crank had been turned 10 under
rods and 20 under on mains. The only things I had to buy for the
engine were a gasket set and a filter.

The rest of the tractor was in fair shape, and most of it was
inside for 25 years or longer. This is the first tractor I have
tried to restore. I have done several gas engines, but no tractors.
I thought I would try to do it right as I had decided to keep it,
because I thought it was a nice small tractor.

I tore it down to a bare frame and had all the parts
sandblasted. I want to thank Ken Guile for doing such a nice job on
all the parts.

Now that I had sandblasted the tractor, what do I do with it? I
never tried to paint a tractor before. It was a lot different than
a gas engine.

I have a friend, Doug Evans, who owns his own body shop
(Doug’s Auto Refinishing). He said he would help me paint it.
During the work on the tractor I gained a whole new respect for
painters. After we got the tractor parts to the shop we sorted the
parts as to which parts could be primed and set aside to be
painted, and which parts had to be worked on. Doug would put on
high fill primer and he would have me sand it off. The parts had
four coats of primer sprayed on and sanded off. The wheels had some
bad pits that had to be filled and sanded, after all the parts were
ready for paint. The tractor was painted with three coats of Red
PPG Concept. It gave the tractor a real nice shine. The tractor was
then assembled, all the bolts that were on the sheet metal were re
placed and painted. The tractor got all new gauges, new wire,
seals, and any bearings that were bad.

I think the tractor came out good for the first one, and I am
pleased with it. If it wasn’t for the help from Doug with the
paint, it wouldn’t look like it does.

I would like to thank Ken for the work on the sandblasting, Kirk
for doing the lettering, especially Doug for all the time he has in
the paint work, Jim for helping me put it together, and Karen for
putting up with me missing at night while I worked on the

  • Published on Apr 1, 1998
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