Cockshutt Restoration

By Staff
article image
Dru Gilliland and his 1955 Cockshutt 50, #13037. Purchased in November 1986, it was ready to pull by July 1987.

9840 Hines Road Waynesville, Ohio 45068

For the last few years I have been interested in and have
collected and restored several old tractors. I have also attended
and participated in several shows and antique tractor pulls.
Recently several members of our club have built tractors to pull in
the 1955 and older open antique class. Liking these, I decided to
acquire one for myself.

First I had to decide what kind of tractor to purchase and
build. Several pullers in the area were running 88 Olivers and as
an Oliver collector I considered one of these. Then I thought it
would be nice to have something different. I remembered that the
Cockshutt tractors with the Buda engines (the 40 and 50 series) had
6 cylinder engines with 7 main bearings. Also that a few years ago
a lot of pullers ran these in the super stock classes.

Deciding what I wanted, the next thing was to find one. After
several months of searching I got a lead on a 50 Cockshutt near
Bellfontaine, Ohio. After contacting the owner Glen Rutan, I drove
up to look at it. The tractor was in good shape, but there was just
one problem-the engine was in pieces. It was removed from the
tractor and completely disassembled. There it was, the bare block,
crankshaft, rods, cam, etc. I looked at Glen and said, ‘Well,
at least it isn’t stuck.’ Glen laughed and said,
‘That’s as far as I got on it and quit.’ He said it was
all there and the block had been bored 30 over. We agreed on a
price, and I told him I would pick it up soon after harvest.

In November a friend and I drove up and loaded the tractor along
with the pieces. After the trip home we started unloading the
tractor and boxes of parts. My wife Judie came out to see our
latest find and made some comment about another pile of trash going
into the shop and shook her head.

After having the head remanufactured, the rods reconditioned,
the whole assembly balanced, and acquiring a gasket kit, we ran
into a problem. It seemed that nobody could get pistons for the
6b-273 Buda engine. After a lot of phone calls, we finally found a
company in California who made aluminum pistons for it and ordered
a set. With these received, we started rebuilding the engine. The
head was milled, ported, and flowed, by friend Bruce Lindamood, and
the cam reprofiled.

We were then ready to drop the engine in. With a new pressure
plate installed and ridged, clutch disk, and the frame painted,
everything went together easily. The sheet metal was sandblasted,
primed, and painted, as were the wheels, and the rest of the
tractor. We then assembled the sheet metal, installed new gauges,
wiring, and put on new decals. We replaced the original carburetor
with one from a John Deere 4020 and were ready to start the
tractor. After getting it running and making weight brackets we
were ready for our first pull at the Warren County Fair (we
finished it the day before).

It took approximately 8 months of spare time to restore and
build this tractor. I would never have completed it without the
help of friends, and my wife’s patience. We have had a lot of
fun at the pulls and shows, met a lot of nice people, and have
received help and advice on ways to improve my tractor. If there
are other folks out there involved in this aspect of old tractors,
please write. I would enjoy hearing from you.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines