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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I initially started this story out on the garden tractor site but decided to jump it over here just because they are 2 wheelers. I'll do a brief start over of the story. Went last Sunday and retrieved them from a barn at the farm that was my boyhood home. They had been stashed away for about 15-16 years since the last time I had them out and displayed them at a show. Ran when parked! Not so much when I got them home. Flat tires, neither had a spark or very much compression. I put some oil down the spark plug holes and aired up the tires on the one that would take air. In the pictures the tractor sitting on the left belonged to my Grandfather and the one on the right belonged to a great uncle. So I am 3rd owner, same family. I decided to tinker with Grandpas tractor first. It got a good soaking with degreaser-cleaner and a second pressure wash session. Not sure yet as I haven't researched it but I believe the tractor is a '49 or '50. Being as Gramps and Dad neither owned a pressure washer there is quite an accumulation of grease, dirt and crud. I got quite a bit of it off. Next was to remove the air shroud, flywheel, and clean, gap the points. The condenser tested good and I got a nice snappy, blue spark. I found the sparkplug wire was hard as a rock and cracked so I replaced that. Also found the original cloth wrapped wire that runs to the kill switch on the handlebars was is extremely poor shape too. Found a piece of modern plastic insulated wire in the color of green and replaced that too. So there goes it being pretty much original. Oh well. Rinsed out the tank and sediment bowl and figured possibly it might run. Yep, took right off with just a couple pulls. The carburetor started to flood but a few gentle but firm raps with the plastic handle of a screw driver and the float started to work. I ran it maybe 15 minutes. Sounds pretty good. I parked it and drained the motor oil. Its a shame that that the tires are about shot. The really bad thing is that the tubes were filled with calcium and leaked. The rims are quite rusty and I'm not sure if they will clean up or I will have to patch or replace them. Maybe I'll just steal the rims, tires from the other tractor for the time being. What remains of the paint isn't very good and I guess there's plenty of what is now known as patina. At this point its still pretty much original. Would look nice all painted and new decals. Would be good still in its work clothes too.
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I'll figure that out later
 

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Ooooooh I got questions

that 3rd handle on the cultivator, it doesn't control anything, just attached to the frame, right

simplicity's cultivator has it too, and I don't understand what it is for, it doesn't look beefy enough to actually persuade the cultivator to move in a desired direction
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The handle that's attached to the cultivator frame is quite sturdy on these Bolens units. I remember hilling potatoes with one of them years ago in dads garden. You could controll the side swing reasonably well with that handle.
 

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Thanks for saving and preserving these tractors. (y) ....They're almost 75 years-old.

When you can, please post the B&S and Bolens numbers on the nameplates. ....Since these appear to be un-molested, the info should be accurate.

I am curious about the gas tank on your Grandfather's tractor. ...I don't recall ever seeing that style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I will post the info on the tags of the motors and tractor frames. I found a missing fin on the flywheel that I don't recall being broken years ago when I serviced the points. The nut retaining the flywheel wasn't very snug either. I suspect someone had been tinkering. Can't say 100% for sure though. I think I might have a spare B&S flywheel stashed away somewhere. I'll have to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Ok Bruce, here goes. I apologize if the pics aren't that great. I was in the barn with a flashlight and camera. On the tractor that was Grandpas the B&S info reads Model NPR6, Type 3070172, S/N 1070172, and the tractor plate reads Model 12B01, S/N 9268. On Great Uncles tractor the B&S plate reads Model NPR6, Type 307006, S/N 683415, plate on tractor reads S/N H18202. I didn't see a model number on the tag. Maybe another plate someplace on the frame? I haven't cleaned any of the goop off this tractor yet other than the dust, dirt and chicken poo that came off on its first quickie wash when I brought them home. I have noticed differences between the two tractors. Gramps tractor has the motor bolted directly to the frame, has a second bracket on the cross brace between the handle bars I surmise for a second belt tightener control handle to control a front mounted attachment, and there is a plate over the shaft for the drive sprockets along with guards for them and the drive chains. Great Uncles tractor has none of those and also has brackets bolted to the frame that the motor bolts to. And of course the different style of mounts for the gas tanks. Great Uncles tractor is also missing its original carburetor but still has the original air cleaner. This tractor had sat outside for a couple- three years in the garden spot where G-U had last used it. He sadly died suddenly of a heart attack one summer and the tractor was undoubtedly the last thing on anyones mind. Gas tank and carburetor took on water sitting out like that for so long. Dad swapped on a carb from some newer B&S motor that he found someplace as we could never get the original to cleanup good enough to run reliably. The tank survived somehow and really doesn't look all that bad inside. I have the correct style carb that it needs on a B&S motor stashed away in my barn. So that's not a biggie.
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The 12B01 tractor would be either 1949 or 1950 production, as that is the only 2 years they were made. ....The engine (ser # 1070172) on that tractor was built in May, 1949, so the tractor could have been built anytime after that in 1949 or 1950.

The other tractor is a model 12A and would have been either 1947 or 1948 production. ....The engine (ser # 683415) was made during July, 1947.

I'm betting the tractors were built within 2-3 months after the engine dates.

I'll try to research some of the other details.

Out of curiosity, what is that red thing to the right of the snowblower attachment? ....It has a red handle, 2 white wheels, and 2 round plates ????????
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
That creation is a wheeled magnet. Built from 2 magnets taken from portable generators. Mounted on a scrap of angle iron, push mower handlebar and 2 wheels. Very handy for picking up nails off the ground after a roof job, or finding things lost out in the gravel driveway. The MightyLight portable generator factory used to be located here in our town so generators and pieces, parts were common here. Not so much anymore though. And thank you so much for the research on the tractors! I’ve been thinking I should clean them up as good as possible and leave them in their work clothes. They won’t be 100% original but close. Going to have to replace the tires on Grandpas tractor, they are hard as a rock and have deep cracks. Wouldn’t even try to air them up with new tubes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm surprised that no one has asked about that Yard Machine LT seen in one of the pictures. That came home with us when the late father in laws garage got cleaned out before the property was sold. Had a dead battery and flat tire so nobody wanted it. Easy enough fix, runs great, the better half (boss lady) has mowed with it a few times. I prefer my tube frame tractor to mow with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In-between other projects I decided to borrow the wheels/tires from the other tractor, clean them up a bit and put 'em over on Gramps tractor. Goodyear brand tires, not in great shape but better than the Firestones on Grandad's. Soaked them up with Orange Champ cleaner and started to power wash them. Saw that the yellow paint was going to peel off. So I stopped and switched to Dawn dish soap and a scrub brush. Paint still peeling off. Crap! So that's where I stopped with the cleaning. I found tire pressure decals under the grunge that I hadn't seen before. Also noticed that the older tractor has 5 lug bolts per wheel and Grandpa's tractor has 2 alignment studs and only 3 lug bolts. Maybe reduce manufacturing cost? Found that the grease nipple for the hub is off center on the older tractor and dead center in the hub on the newer tractor. I suspect that the wheels from the newer tractor will need sand blasted as they are quite nasty/rusty from the leaked calcium.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This was about as good as I could get them clean. 2 sessions with Dawn dish soap and a brush, rinsed with a garden hose. Everywhere there was heavy grease caked on, when I got it dissolved with the dish soap the paint underneath would be peeling off or already showing bare metal. Maybe the grease dissolved the paint over the years? Kind of disappointing, but nothing I can do about it. Could have just left the caked on grease I suppose.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Had the air-cleaner in the wash tank trying to get the crud off it. Cleaned up pretty well but just like the wheels, underneath the dried on stuff the paint is missing. Found a decal that I didn't know was there. Warning about the warranty on the motor is void if operated without the air-cleaner installed. Looks to be the remains of a yellow colored one on the bottom half but too far gone to make any sense of it. Probably states what kind of oil to use in it and how often to clean it.
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Finally got back to this project today. Being as Grandads name was Herman and great uncles name was Martin I am going to call these tractors Herm and Marty. I had snitched the wheels form Marty and now have them on Herm. Marty is sitting on a wooden block, I haven't attempted to get him running yet. The compression didn't come back up on his motor and I remember that it smoked a blue cloud all the time it ran back years ago when I last ran it. Can't hear any hiss at the carb or muffler when I turn it over and figure the rings are shot or stuck. Motor will need some work. I have what I believe is the correct carburetor and air-cleaner assy. on a motor of approx. the same vintage. It came off a David Bradley tractor and has great compression but smokes bad, actually drips oil out the muffler while running. Herm came right to life and runs good after servicing the points. Usually starts right up with only one or two pulls on the rope. I have him somewhat cleaned up and am going to take him to a show later this week at Alexander, NY. Maybe I should have tried cleaning the guide wheels with Dawn soap too? They look quite dingy compared to the drive wheels. Oiled and greased everything that needed it, it putts right along really nice. I have the cultivator teeth just set for display purposes and the tractor rolls along good on the rear guide wheels. Made it easy to load and strap down in my trailer too. I took advantage of the rain and broke the beads and removed the tires that were originally on Herm. Calcium spilled all over in the gravel and I simply used the garden hose to rinse it down. I was expecting the wheels to be in worse shape than they look. Definitely need to be blasted to clean them. I was also expecting to see yellow paint on the insides but they look black to me, maybe a bit of yellow overspray. Left them out in the rain to help rinse them off. That was it for today.
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I went to the Western New York Gas & Steam Engine show and set out 3 tractors for display. The Power Ho generated quite a bit of conversation for me. I'm not 100% sure but think it was the only one of this model there. There were quite a few examples of various makes displayed. I am now starting to pay a bit more attention to the walk behind tractors. I took a picture of a 1924 Bolens, supposedly only 20 of this model with the tall wheels were produced. Just thought I'd share.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I had the 2 crusty wheels blasted today. One cleaned up really nice but the other had 2 holes and lots of pitting from the leaked calcium. Had a coworker in between jobs plug the holes with his MIG. I primed the other rim with red oxide and it looks good. I am going to try to braze a couple of thin spots along the outer most edge of the bead area on this rim, mostly for cosmetic reasons. Might put a few small dabs of bondo on the really pitted areas. If I had a better condition rim to swap for this one I probably would. But lacking that I'll try to doctor this one up. Not going to spend mega hours at it either. It should be fine, just needs some TLC.
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I was checking over the wheel that I primed yesterday with red oxide. It looks ok. Has some minor pitting showing but I think some sanding and more priming, etc. and it should be good enough. The wheel that was welded has lots of pitting. I brazed up 2 thin spots along the outermost edge of the rim and filled in a couple of deep pits around the valve stem hole. Spent about an hour with the die grinder, angle grinder and various wire wheels cleaning and smoothing. I ground about a 1/16" off the outer edge of the lip of the rim all the way around to clean up some pitted areas. Its not going to be perfect but it should be ok if I prime and sand it enough. I gave it good coat of Rust Reformer and will see how it looks in a day or so. Worse case scenario I could have it blasted again. I also found the rims were stamped on the inside, Made in USA , Motor Wheel, 12B [which is the model of the tractor, not sure if that means they were supposed to go on a model 12B tractor?], and some numbers that I can't remember right now. I'll have to write it down.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was in hopes of finding a decent pair of 4.00 x 12 tires at this show and flea market I just attended. Found a fair pair of 6 x12 lug tires mounted and holding air. Looked like they could have gone on a smaller GT. They were on wider rims and a bit big for my tractors. Saw a pair of Firestone tires exactly the same size and style I just took off these rims. Had to buy the tractor that they were on to get them. It looked like maybe a Planet Jr. , had wooden handlebars. Tractor was rough and motor was seized tight. Close inspection revealed that the tires were sort of hard and showing weather checking all over. They were holding air though. I decided to pass. The search continues. I will spring for a pair of new ones if I have to.
 
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