The inspiration that demanded this fun little oddity came from all the representative and 'replica' tractors I see in the pages of Gas Engine Magazine. Reading about the very old Foos tractor (February 2002, page 21) really wound my watch, as did the neat and odd little Case stand-up unit (April 2002, page 17). I also can't forget the various homemade OilPull, John Deere and Case tractors I've read about, which also have really impressed me.
About the same time D.J. Baisch was building his Froelich beauty (November 2003, page 22), I noticed the main drive casting in a John Deere #4 mower sort of resembled a tractor. As it happens, I had four of these mowers to pick from, so I chose one that was broken where the drawbar bolts are usually put in place.
I researched what kind of engine I thought would work best, then I bought a 3 HP 1928 John Deere Type E from a couple I met at a Jerome, Idaho, swap meet in 2002. The engine came equipped with the original spark plug fixture, which 1 hooked up to a 'barbie (think barbeque) lighter' on the pushrod. The 'barbie lighter' uses the quartz guts of a butane lighter for spark - cheap and effective.
The transmission is a Warner T9 from an old dump truck: It should handle 3 HP without breaking.
I bought a 1940s John Deere feed mill for the wheels, sprockets, bolts, pulleys and belt. A very used-up swather provided the right-angle drive box. The homemade tractor's wear washers were made locally, and the king pin carrier is fabricated.
I had the wagon tires rolled of l/4-inch-by-4-inch hot-rolled steel stock. An anvil of railroad track was drilled through with a 1/2-inch drill bit, and the hole was counter-sunk with a 3/4-inch bit. I gathered up 14 'green' 3/8-inch-diameter carriage bolts and hammered each into the die until they were flat on top. I then drilled through the wagon tires and mower wheels with a 7/16-inch-diameter drill and counter-sunk them with a 3/4-inch drill. That made the bolts flush and ultimately gave a much better ride on the tractor.
For all those handymen who might yet get caught up in this craziness, I offer this tidbit of advice: Neighbors and friends will come by to talk, help or hinder. You might consider carefully before you shoo them away. For instance, I was lamenting the fact I had to make a belt instead of using the one from the feed mill because it was too short. OF Jerry Badger stopped by and said, 'Why don'cha just lower the engine a bit?'
'Well, duh! Why not, indeed?' I thought. I got the chisels out and cut an inch off the oak 4-by-4s to lower the engine, and my belt problem was solved.
I primarily built this tractor for my own pleasure - and for my grand kids and family. But I also feel rewarded when curious onlookers come by and comment. Once, a trucker saw me starting the engine and asked, 'How old is it?' I told him, 'four days.' Then at a Lovelock, Nev., parade in 2003, a lad about 12 years old got my heart when he said, 'I'll bet you made that yourself.'
This neat, little 'Mosely' tractor might've been inspired by other homemade tractors in the pages of Gas Engine Magazine, but I also hope it inspires others to keep the longstanding tradition of home-built machinery alive.
Main drive frame: John Deere #4 sickle-bar mower, Engine; John Deere 3 HP Type E, 1928
Transmission: Borg Warner T9 (four-speed with brake)
Right angle drive: Owatonna swather, Steering gear box: water valve
Steering wheel: Buffalo post drill
Front wheels: John Deere feed mill, Clutch pulleys and belt: John Deere feed mill
Shafts and bushings: John Deere feed mill
Sprockets and chains: John Deere feed mill
Frame rails: John Deere hay press
Hand levers: John Deere mower
Steering king pin: pickup truck axle
Front axle: buzz saw, Used about 80 bolts, only six of which weren't 'green'
Contact engine enthusiast E.G. Fritz at: P.O. Box 33, Valmy, NV 89438.