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2,333 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking for a Bean Cutler for about three years.
In that time, I have seen two of them for sale on Craig's List.
Both of them have been out in California and I live in Michigan.
On both of the listings, I tried to buy the unit but no one was willing to pack it on a skid and send it to me ... until now.

Earlier this year, a member of another forum was lucky enough to pick up two 1947 Bean Cutlers.
He is restoring one of them and has agreed to sell me the other one.

It doesn't have the engine or the wheels but is otherwise complete.
He took it apart so it can be packed up on a smaller skid and sent me some photos of it.

These used 18 inch wheels in the front and I managed to get a pair awhile back.
I have a 1946 Wisconsin AK engine that will go on it.
I'll still need to find the 12 inch wheels for the rear but they aren't that hard to find ( actually I only need to find one as I already have one )

After years of looking, I am now the proud owner of a FMC Bean Cutler.
Here it is sitting in the barn waiting to go in the garage and be restored.

I went ahead and unpacked it so I could look at it better.

I was able to buy this Bean Cutler back in November but wasn't able to start on it until now.

I thought it was a 1947 model.
I also thought someone had screwed up the drive pulley because it had a wide smooth surface instead of three V-belt grooves like I've always seen on the Bean Cutlers.
I have since found out that I was wrong.

Since I got the tractor, I have been talking with Hank Wakins in Wisconsin.
He is the recognized expert on the Bean Cutlers and the Ridemasters.
He said the tractor that I have is a early 1946 model because it has a flat belt drive on it.
The flat belt drive was only made on the first 199 tractors.
According to the factory manual, the flat belt drives were on serial #26181 thru #26380.
Starting with serial #26381, the Bean Cutler tractors were equipped with a drive pulley system that used three V-belts for better gripping power.

Over the past couple of months, I have advertised on the internet and on some antique tractor forums for information and photos on this flat belt drive.
I've also talked over the phone with some other FMC bean Cutler owners and haven't yet been able to find anyone else with a flat belt drive Bean Cutler.

In talking with others, we figure that if the factory did have a slippage problem that they would have most likely re-called the early tractors and re-fit them with the improved V-belt drive system.

Luckily, Hank has an original owners/repair manual for the FMC Bean Cutler and he sold me a copy of it.
That manual has already come in handy.


The tractor is unpacked from the skid it was shipped on and I have the front axle unit sitting up on my work cart.
The first thing I found was that the pivot plate that the engine mounts on is seized up.
Hank said that this a very common problem with the Bean Cutlers as there isn't any way to lubricate the hinge.

The pivot hinge does not come apart like it does on the Ridemasters ( I guess they figured out they had a problem here ).
I had to heat up the whole length of the pivot tube and get some penetrate oil in-between the tube and the shaft.
I don't want it to freeze up again, so I'm going sacrifice a little authenticity for a little maintenance prevention and put these little cup oiliers on the hinge tube.

I brazed two 1/4" nuts to the top of the hinge tube.
Then I drilled thru to the shaft and pressed the two oil cups into place.
Now the pivot shaft can be oiled so it doesn't freeze up again.
The oil cups have little spring loaded covers so dirt doesn't get down inside.

You can see from the photos that gear oil has been leaking out around both axle hubs.
I found rags wrapped tightly around the hubs in an attempt to stop the oil flow.

I pulled the hubs and sure enough the oil seals are absolutely shot.

The bearings feel OK but its really hard to tell because of the resistance of the worm drive.
The only way to really know the condition of the bearings is to look at them.
So off comes the bearing retainers.

Then I removed the axle shaft itself.

Here it sits with a hole all the way thru.

The bearings look and feel good so I'm going to re-use them.
Here I'm "pressing" the shaft back into the drive gear.

The local auto parts matched up a set of seals by size.
I pressed them into the bearing retainers and bolted the retainers back onto the sides.

Mount the hubs back on and this part of the restoration is finished.


13,481 Posts
That sure is a neat old rig.
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Connoisseur of Rusty Junk
5,623 Posts
Sounds like you've got a rare bird there Ray! Looks good so far. Good luck with the rest of the restoration!

628 Posts
thats really neat, i love reading about old machines and the restoration process and what had to be done to get to that point, keep up the good work
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2,333 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bhts said:
Looking good ray can't wait to see it finished.Is that the one from justin?
Yes it is and I consider my self very lucky that he was willing to sell it to me.

Senior Member
1,499 Posts
That will make another nice addition to your collection of unique equipment. I am sure if will look better than new when you get done with it Ray. Nice project!
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