The Restoration of a Minneapolis


| September/October 1998



Minneapolis tractor

5463 Pawson Road Tipton, Michigan 49287

A few years ago Rod Hauenstein and myself went to look at a cross-motor Minneapolis tractor. Rod thought it would make him a good steel-wheeled tractor, but after he looked at it, he didn't want any part of it. All the way home I kept telling him what a good tractor it is. Then he said, 'If it's so good, you buy it.' So I did.

After I got the old wreck home, the fun began. The front wheels and fan shaft were the only things on the tractor that moved. The radiator was shot full of holes, the magneto was missing, the motor was set up, the steering was set up and so was the transmission.

We took the motor apart and sent the heads off to be fixed and new piston rings were installed. The pistons and cylinders were in very good shape compared to the rest of the tractor. The exhaust manifold had a crack about four inches long and I brazed the crack shut. We now had all the parts to put the motor back together. The motor has good compression on all four cylinders and a manifold free of holes. The governor was all there but was a mess. I took great care in disassembling it. The pins were drilled out and I replaced the (??????)shaves (??????)and they were cleaned and fixed. Once I was convinced the governor should work, I put it back on the tractor.

The motor should run if we had a magneto. The motor turns counter clockwise so it took a magneto that's wound differently than most. I gave this a lot of thought, and came up with a wild idea. I had a magneto off a Farmall H. The magneto was mounted parallel to the magneto drive. I used two chain sprockets of the same size, one for the magneto and one for magneto drive. I put #2 piston on top dead center and turned the magneto to time with #l and put on a chain. There was a lot of doubt that the tractor was going to run that day. No one was willing to crank the engine over for fear of it kicking back and the person doing it suffering a great amount of pain. So it was belted up to another tractor. The Minneapolis turned over about five times and was running very rough, but running. I wished I had a picture of the surprised looks on everyone's faces when the engine was running. Once the engine stopped, Rod fine-timed the magneto and reset the carburetor while I made up a water tank to help cool the engine. I still did not have a radiator. After a few hours, it was time to start the Minneapolis again.

Once again no one would crank the engine over, so it was belted up. The engine started better than the first time and ran really well. After running for awhile, we both felt it was a good accomplishment and next, we started on the transmission. The transmission was not set up too badly and we worked on it for two nights and had everything broken loose and shifting properly. By now the excitement was more than we could take. The steering was still set up, so we took the steering shaft off. I tarp strapped on the water tank and put in the gas tank. This time, I started the engine by cranking it by hand. As I remember, it took six quarter turns to start. I drove it out of the barn. When you wanted to turn you stopped, got off the tractor and put a bar in between the spokes of the front wheels to turn the wheels in the direction you wanted to go. Rod and I both took the Minneapolis for a ride that day!