Old Wheel Horse Restoration

The lawn mower was used and abused for everything.

| March/April 1991

  • Wheel Horse tractor

  • Wheel Horse tractor

Rt. 2, Box 991, Catlett, Virginia 22019.

I remember when I was about nine or ten years old, my uncle brought this 'old riding mower' over to our house for my dad to fix. There was little wrong with it so it was easily fixed. We mowed with it a few times and for some reason, which neither my father or I remember, we removed the mowing deck.

In the next 14 years the 'lawn mower' was used and abused for everything from a go-cart to a four wheel drive field tractor for us kids to play with. Then it sat for about three years, outside and uncovered. At about that time my cousin and I started mowing yards for a little extra money so we decided to get the old mower running again. The engine had been torn down some years earlier and some of the parts lost. I had an old Briggs 8 HP lying around that ran, so we slapped it on, remounted the deck, spray painted it (without sanding it down) with three cans of red spray paint, and never used it to mow at all. My cousin took it to his house to play around with; shortly after that it was sitting in the weeds, rusting up and then taken apart.

Two years ago I decided to restore the old Wheel Horse. My cousin said the transmission had broken, which was hard to believe, so this was my first area of repair. After looking it over carefully I noticed the only thing wrong with it was that the shifter set screw had backed out and the shifter came out. Next came the stripping and repairing of the frame and sheet metal. For some odd reason the hood and fenders had avoided being dented, which was a miracle considering the punishment we put it through.

So I sandblasted, smoothed, primed and sprayed it with five coats of Ford Cherry Red, with a real spray gun. Then came the task of rounding up the correct decals. I was able to find all except the model numbers for the drive belt shield, which is #655. I found an N.O.S. hood ornament from a dealer in Indiana. I rewired the starting system, replaced the steering wheel, remounted the Tecumseh 6 HP and it was finished. For about $800 it was as good as new.

Now all I have left to do is to restore the deck and find the drive belt shield that was lost some years ago. Even though it's only a 1965, and not as old as most of the fine machinery in this magazine, I thought some people might like to see it.

12/27/2019 7:44:59 PM

I also have a 655 and know where to get decals... Also have a commando

5/12/2019 8:47:50 AM

I have a 655 horse and a couple of other ones always looking to shsrories

Aaron white
4/3/2019 4:49:38 AM

I have 2 model 653 both need motors..Wich new motors fit under hood & r easiest to mount.thsnks..TEX..419-689-2853


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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