Restoration of a 1944 LA Case

By Staff
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804 Superior Emmetsburg, Iowa 50536

We purchased this LA from Herb Myer, Rural Cylinder, Iowa. It
ran good and had pretty good tin, but needed paint. I used it to
plow some ground and found that it used quite a bit of oil and also
ran hot. I tried to flush the cooling system out but that was only
somewhat successful. I then decided that I wanted to rebuild it so
it was as near new as possible.

I went out to our local community college here in Emmetsburg and
talked to the instructors of the farm equipment department. They
need older tractors with simple gas engines to start their freshman
students on their program. So, the instructors, Don Hoover and Gary
Fuhrman agreed to completely rebuild and restore our LA.

They assigned a student, Nick Schutt, to it and he started
tearing it down to see what kind of shape the engine was in. After
it was partially torn down, Don Hoover said it needed new sleeves
and pistons, valves, valve guides and valve seats.

Once I knew what parts we needed, I had the job of trying to
find them, so the hunt began in September, 1991. I contacted Garry
Robinson of Midland, North Carolina who has a lot of N.O.S. Case
parts and also knows where to find parts he doesn’t have. Garry
said he could get me the parts I needed for valve repairs but
couldn’t get sleeves and pistons. He advised me to see if they
were available through my local Case dealer. My local parts dealer,
Jim Good laxson, checked the computer to see if any dealer in the
U. S. had them. Jim said none showed up and that if any dealer had
them they were probably in a back room collecting dust, and there
was no way of finding them.

Then I started calling other Case collectors, salvage yards, and
many Case dealers but I had no success in finding any sleeve and
piston sets. After being a little frustrated and many phone calls
later, I decided to call Dave Erb in Vinton, Ohio. Dave puts
together the magazine for J. I. Case Collectors Association, so I
thought he might be able to help me. He said he didn’t know of
any sleeve and piston sets around but told me to contact Dave Reed
of Otto Gas Engine Works, in Elkton, Maryland. I called Dave who
told me he had a set and would sell them! I felt relieved that I
had made it over the first big hurdle, though many more were to
come.

I won’t go into great detail of the many problems we had
from here on, but the search for parts went on for over a year.
Amazingly, we found everything we needed. I made many good contacts
in searching for parts and got acquainted over the phone with many
fine people who were always very helpful and encouraging.

This is what the LA ended up with in new parts: sleeves and
pistons, valves, valve seats and guides reground, crankshaft,
remachined head, new radiator, new water pump, new exhaust
manifold. Had to have the oil pump machined and new pressure valve
machined for it. We also had to put a rebuilt starter on it and
many more little things that I can’t remember.

Some other people I want to recognize who had parts or helped me
find them were: Warren Kemper, Wapello, Iowa; Calvin Meier, Kohoka,
Missouri; Lind Implement, Colfax, Iowa; Tim Watne, another student
at ILCC who painted it for us.

Again, I want to give special thanks to Nick Schutt, the student
who did the mechanical work and never once gave up even with all
the problems we had and the great amount of time he spent on it.
Also this job would have been impossible without the knowledge and
help from the instructors, Don Hoover and Gary Fuhrman, my special
thanks to them!

Restoration was complete on March 8, 1993. With the new paint
job and the engine like new, as I drove it out of the shop that
morning, I then realized that all the time and effort it took was
indeed worth it!

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