Old Wheel Horse Restoration

By Staff
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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.

I now have eight more Wheel Horse tractors, including two
RJ-58’s, one with the original mowing deck and engine. If there
are any folks out there who would want to start a club, write me at
the address above.

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