11404 Hunters Lane, Austin, Texas 78753
Last year, I walked into Ron Shoup’s hangar to find him on
hands and knees working with a very sad garden tractor. His wife
Betty was there to assist. As usual, I just had to join in the fun.
Before long we had the little Wisconsin engine running. It sounded
great had possibilities.
We looked the unit over and discussed its many problems. One
front tire had been flat for a long time. The grill was missing.
The battery box had been altered with a cutting torch. The trans
axle had problems as it would roll a little, then lock up. It
wouldn’t shift properly. As I said, it looked bad with long
term grease, oil, dirt, etc., all over from front to rear.
Ron had noticed this tractor in Marvin Morrison’s hanger at
Taylor, Texas, and had asked about it. Marvin indicated that it
belonged to Roderick Rorie, who lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and it
was for sale. An agreement was reached and Ron loaded it on his
trailer for the trip to his own hangar at Kittie Mill Airport near
Leander, Texas. This is where I first saw it.
It was the first Bush Hog tractor I had ever seen although other
Bush Hog products are very well known.
I love to work with engines etc., so I couldn’t resist the
opportunity to own another. I popped off and told Ron I’d give
him what he gave for it with a little to boot if he decided to sell
it. Our hangars are close so I saw the little tractor several times
during the following weeks. One day, Ron walked in and said he had
too many larger projects that needed attention and I could have the
tractor if I still wanted it. We closed the deal.
In all honesty, I was delighted. I ran a little 1965 Sear’s
lawn tractor down to his hanger. We hooked a short chain and Ron
guided it to my place. My fun was just beginning. This little
tractor was a joy to become involved with and a real challenge. It
is a delight. The more I looked, the more I realized how rugged and
sensible its design really was. This was a real ‘piece of
Having taught in the automotive and related fields over 34
years, I had knowledge of this unit’s basics, but I also knew I
needed more details. Its inspection plate was stamped D4-7, Serial
7061. It was manufactured by the Bush Hog Company of Selma,
Alabama, and was sold by the Askew Tractor and Implement Company of
A telephone call put me in contact with the very helpful folks
at Selma. In a short time, I received an owner’s manual which
was super. It not only pictured the unit as it originally appeared,
but also gave operating instructions, as well as complete exploded
views of all parts in the tractor, plus their part numbers.
Cleaning was the first order of business. As I indicated, the
tractor was in bad condition. Soaking with solvents, scrubbing with
wire brushes, scraping and buffing took considerable time. It began
to pay off as I could now see the paint and in some places, the
bare metal. A trip to a local car wash with its high pressure hot
soap was also very helpful.
Next, I made notes of the assembly, such as linkage positions,
items which must be replaced, etc., then a detailed disassembly was
accomplished. I had parts everywhere. They were kept in groups and
later reassembled by units.
Once I had a list of essential parts to be replaced, I began to
obtain them. Small common items, clevis pins, grease and oil seals,
wheel bearings, and the like were obtained from Purvis Bearing
Company, a local supplier and very helpful folks. I used fresh
double-dip seals throughout.
The trans axle was a real concern. The fluid I drained from it
filled a gallon jug. Half was water and the remainder was black
gear lube. It wasn’t difficult to determine where the water
came from. The shift lever boot had rotted long ago allowing rain
to enter the gear case. The importance of a little rubber boot!
Upon opening the unit, I was expecting serious trouble. To my
surprise, the entire assembly had no rust or corrosion. Only one
gear, the 1st, 2nd and reverse sliding gear had damage. Half the
width of the large gear teeth were worn away. The gears and shafts
as well as bearings were in excellent condition.
A call to Selma, and I was referred to a fine gent in Peebles,
Ohio, Mr. Mark Seeman. His company has parts available. A very
pleasant chat with him, and a gear was on the way. Upon arrival, it
was easily installed. The positioning of this gear by the detent
shaft and yoke shifter indicated it aligned properly with the other
gears. It shifted perfectly.
While waiting for the gear to arrive, all parts were given a
final sand blasting, cleaning and priming as needed. A new grill
was made, fuel tank cleaned, brake shoes cleaned and all parts
given a prime and finish coat of paint as they became ready.
When I first inspected this tractor, I noted that the name,
model and other items were hand painted or possibly stenciled on. I
really believe they were hand painted. For me to replace this
artwork by hand was not possible. At my age, I’m not quickI
I made a pencil tracing of all letters and numbers on the
tractor which I took to my friends, Lynn and Dick Smith who own
Let-R-Sign Company. Lynn reproduced this artwork in decal
application material. It looks original. I was delightedshe did a
The time to reassemble the tractor was at hand. All the
components were ready to be installed on the freshly painted frame.
It was great fun as all the parts fit easily into place. I
continued to learn more about this little tractor as it went
Some of the problems in past history were caused by missing
parts while others were the result of poor repair practices.
Example, springs and spring retainers #S1025 and #S1026 were
missing. As these are simple but important items, they were made
and installed. Another item that was the clutch release lever was
welded to the release shaft. Not a nice practice. The flywheel,
clutch plate, pressure plate and throw-out bearing were all in
excellent condition. I left them as they were, but made a new
clutch release rod to allow correct clutch release travel. All
worked out well.
Now, I’m not an antique restorer in the true sense of the
game. I make small compromises where necessary, yet outwardly it
won’t show much.
If you are a real hard-line antiquer and thoroughly familiar
with the D4-7, you will note under the hood that the fuel tank is
not original, although you will need to look very close. The
ignition coil is also not original, but the installation is very
professional. The expanded metal grill was installed vertically
rather than horizontally as the original. The carburetor air
cleaner was replaced with a dry paper tape, as the original was
missing. Looks okay.
These changes, though minor, will give the antiquers something
to talk about. It makes their day.
To say I’m delighted with this little jewel would be putting
it mildly. Thank you, Bush Hog Company! My day is brighter each
time I turn the key and press the starter button. In the small
tractor field, I’m sure this little unit has made the Bush Hog
Company very proud.