Joyed and Delighted


| August/September 1998



Homemade tractor

12234 Harris Street Carleton, Michigan 48117-9501

I had seen this tractor for eleven years from the expressway overpass; it was quite a distance away and I could not tell what type it was, only that it was a small tractor. At that time, I was not in the hobby, but after being involved for about five years, I remembered the tractor but I never took the time to check it out.

On a pedal bike outing with the family, we were riding on the path next to the expressway not far from where the tractor was. Stopping for a short rest, I decided to ride over and take a quick look. Going over the railroad tracks and up a small hill, there I stood at the edge of the field where it sat. A fence kept me about 50 feet from it. On the ride over, I had dreams it could be a Gibson, wouldn't that be neat, riding a Gibson around at engine shows? But, what I saw looked like someone's attempt to make a homemade tractor, and not a good one. I thought, what a pile of junk! After getting back to the family, they asked what kind it was and I said it was something homemade.

When we arrived home, unloaded the truck, I went into the house. At that time I had borrowed a large pile of Gas Engine Magazines from a friend, Parks Johnson. There on the cover of the top book was the tractor I had just seen in the field. I just stood there dumbfounded. Finally I picked up the magazine, found the story and I found out what type it was, a Grand Haven made in Grand Haven, Michigan. So, what did I do? I simply drove back and asked the owner if I could take a better look.

Now, being able to take a better look, I still thought it was a pile of junk. The only difference was, now I wanted to buy it. It was hard to tell what was missing or not. The engine and trans were there, and three tires. So I had to ask, was it for sale and he said yes, but there was a hitch. A friend of his wanted first crack at it if he was ever going to sell it. I went back a month or so later and for $45.00 the Grand Haven was all mine. BIG DEAL! Where do I put it? My garage was full, so it was stored at my mother's.

In the weeks and months that followed, the engine was removed, then brought home to see it if could be repaired. The weather had turned cold, so with the aid of a hair dryer the trans was drained. Naturally water, mud, and oil came out. The engine, a Briggs and Stratton ZZ, about 6 HP, I gave no hope for, because the spark plug was missing. I just assumed everything inside would be rusted beyond repair. But to my surprise when the engine was disassembled, everything inside looked good, cylinder was smooth, new valves, even the oil was clean! The carburetor was in very rough condition. I was never able to make it work right. The lower part of the engine air shroud was badly rusted and a quick patch job was done, to be able to run the engine. It started easily and ran well.