4805 266th St. East Spanaway, Washington 98387
Several months had passed since I finished my first tractor restoration. Once again my garage was clean, my wife and I were spending quality time together, and I had a nice Cletrac 15 to bring to the shows. What's wrong with this picture? Having caught the antique tractor bug, I needed another tractor to restore.
Although I love crawlers, I realize that track layers and asphalt don't mix. I then decided I needed something that was easier to transport, and was on the lookout for a wheel tractor. Most of my friends in Branch 20 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association are Case owners. I thought it would be best to stick with something I could easily get help on when I needed it.
In May 1993, I found an ad for a 1941 'S' Case tractor, serial #4509271S, badly in need of repair in southwestern Washington. The engine block had an 8' crack from freezing. The mag, throttle and governor assembly had no resemblance to the original product that had left Racine, Wisconsin, 52 years before. It ran, but very poorly. The owner was frustrated, as he was never able to get it to run right and was willing to sell it for the cost he invested in new rear tires. I paid him his asking price, and with the assistance of a friend, John Neitzl from Port Orchard, we went to pick up the moss-covered tractor with the shiny new tires. Due to John's lead foot, my tractor owns the world land speed record for a piece of agricultural machinery. His help was greatly appreciated; however, pulling the two ton piece of cast iron tractor up Interstate 5 was more excitement than I wished to experience. John, as well as his father, Carl, are authorities on Case tractors and helped me during the restoration project.
Before starting the restoration, I proceeded to learn everything I could about the tractor. I joined the J.I. Case Collectors Association and obtained a shop manual on the 'S' series. By joining the JICCA, I was able to tap into a huge amount of available resources. It's a great organization and I found the members to be most friendly and helpful.
I thought the restoration would be a piece of cake, considering the difficulty I had had obtaining parts for my Cletrac from the company, which had been out of business since the 1940s. At least Case was still in business and the parts that I needed would be more easily accessible. I was totally wrong! The few parts that still can be obtained from Case, such as the gauges, can be expensive disappointments. Good used parts can be one man's opinion. After many phone calls and a little luck, I was able to obtain all the missing pieces I needed.
A few fine tuning tips were needed from a fellow club member, John Corbin, Spanaway, Washington. John is well known throughout the area for making an engine purr. After following his advice, a revolution of the rear tires was all that was needed to pull start the tractor. It was very satisfying to hear it sit there and run on throttle with no adjustments needed.
After overhauling the entire engine, applying a new paint with meticulous detail, I had a tractor in my garage that was an exact replica of its original condition in September 1941. My neighbor, Will Welsch, helped me fabricate a custom Case trailer for hauling. Although I am not easily impressed, seeing the Case on its custom trailer totally overwhelmed me.
Now it's early summer, once again my garage is clean, my wife sees me more often. The tractor is on the trailer and it's 'Showtime!'