R.D. 1, Box 224, Drums, Pennsylvania 18222
My name is Richard Ayre. I have two sons. Their names are James, who is 15, and John, who is 9. This story is about the fun we had finding and building a 1/4-size tractor.
We have a hobby of collecting engines and associated parts. One day we came across an old Montgomery Ward 7 HP lawn mower. It caught John's eye. We talked about it and finally decided to buy it from its owner. The owner thought it was very peculiar of us to want this lawn mower that didn't even have a motor.
Upon arrival at our garage, we already had big plans. Everything seemed just perfect for building a 1/4-size tractor.
Our first project was to take off all the unnecessary parts. Then there were a few adjustments we had to make.
We had to move the steering wheel back to make room for the engine. We were contemplating on three engines to run our tractor: one, an International LA, a 2 HP Witte and a 1 HP T & M. The Witte and the International were throttling governor and we finally decided the 2 HP Witte was the best choice.
After moving the steering wheel back, the seat had to be moved back about four inches and a bracket was made to support the steering wheel and seat. Now we were ready to mount the engine.
We decided to use a 1/2 angle drive to connect the Witte and the M.W. drive train. We located a drive at a local junk shop. Using this angle drive, we could use the same clutch and brake that was on the lawn mower.
After building four brackets to hold the Witte just above the angle drive, we slotted hole as to adjust the drive tension from motor to angle drive. We then needed two sprockets and a piece of #40 chain. One sprocket was bored out and a new key way used so that it would fit on the crankshaft next to the flywheel.
Now the clutch and brake pedal were too close to the flywheel. Henceforth, we had to extend the shaft about two inches. My son, John, was still unable to reach the pedals so a hand lever was installed.
Now we needed an exhaust pipe. We used a 1-1/4 inch galvanized pipe, two 45 degree elbows and two close nipples to put the exhaust out the rear of the tractor.
Jimmy had made a perfect-fit square gas tank in his school shop class. We mounted this on rubber washers and added a short piece of copper line to the Witte gas tank. I always use a Briggs and Stratton brass foot valve because they are cheaper and have a nice brass screen.
The lawn mower had a small compartment under the seat perfect for a battery. We taped the coil to an Eveready 6 volt battery and were ready to go.
With the tractor running, all that was left to do was paint it and get a few bugs out of it.
Our biggest problem was the damper and spring in the Witte carburetor. Until we remedied this, we sure were puzzled.
One week before the Stump Jumpers show in Mansfield, we decided to paint our pride and joy. We disassembled the motor and parts of the tractor. The wheels came off and were painted yellow. After marking off all the parts that we wanted painted, we sprayed two coats of green paint.
My boys worked very hard to get all done in time for the show. We were sure proud of our 1/4-size tractor and every one enjoyed it very much.