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It doesn't look like much with the photos, but this is the result of a good bit of time and work.

Here is some of the smaller parts that would fit into the blasting cabinet so I could sand blast the paint off them.

The frame was to large to go in the cabinet so I had to strip it down with the air grinder and 36 grit disc.

Everything was then primed.
After the primer dried, I then put glazing putty on all the pitted areas on the frame and some of the other parts. ( like I did with the wheels )
When the glazing had dried, it was sanded down and the parts were re-primed.
Some areas required a second coat of glazing. After that was sanded, the parts were primed for the last time.

The primer was then fine sanded and the parts were turned over and the underside was painted.
When the paint was dry, I turned everything back over and finished painting the top side.

The thing about taking something all apart before it's painted is that you end up with a whole bunch of
individual nuts, bolts and washers that need refinishing.
( That's where the sand blasting cabinet really comes in handy ).

Here's some freshly painted hardware along with some other parts. ( I painted all the other bolts when I painted the frame )

This is a trick I use to refinish springs that have the coils pressed tight together.
I use a piece of threaded rod and a piece of steel tube that will fit together inside the spring.
Grind a notch in one end of the tube and one end of the rod.
Place the rod and tube inside the spring and turn the nut to snug the notched ends out against the spring.
Use a flat washer between the nut and the end of the tube so the nut has a smooth surface to turn against.
Turn the nut until the spring is expanded out enough so the paint will get in-between the coils.

I mounted the front wheels on the drive unit while it was still up on the table..

The Ridemaster's front wheels are real close together and are mounted on a solid axle.
After the wheels were bolted on, I lined up the tread on both tires and then filled the tires with air to lock them onto the rims.
On the outside of the wheels, the word "Firestone" is centered over the valve stem on each wheel.

Once the drive unit was sitting on it's tires, I then slipped the frame down over the steering post.

Took the flywheel shroud off the engine and found a nice mouse nest in the cooling fins.
The shroud was full of nest all the way down to the flywheel.
I expected there would probably be one as this has been sitting for 10 years since it was last run.
I'm glad that the previous owner couldn't get it running because he would have cooked the engine right away.

Cleaned the nest out and started stripping the engine down.
There isn't any ridge at the top of the cylinder and I can't see any scratches in the cylinder wall.
The top of the piston and combustion area does not have much carbon build up on them.
The exhaust valve was stuck open so that explains why it didn't compression.
The valve freed up easily though.

After the engine was all cleaned, I painted the bottom.

Stripped the paint off these parts. They will stay natural.

The air cleaner and some brackets are painted semi-gloss black.

While I'm waiting for paint to dry, I mounted the rear axles and wheels.

Then I mounted the tool bar and control lever.
The tool bar spring is extremely stiff and had to expand about 3-inches in order for it to go on.
I came up with this idea for stretching the tool bar spring into place ( it worked good ).

Last thing to go on today was the steering pulley.
Here's how she looks so far.


Here is the sand blasting cabinet that I use to strip these parts.
I built this out of an old heating fuel oil tank.

I cut the tank into three sections.
Then I welded the two ends back together so the tank ended up about 42 inches wide.

The bottom half of the tank is cut into a "V" to form a funnel for the sand.
There is a 2 inch diameter pipe welded to the bottom of this funnel.
The suction hose for the sand attaches to side of this pipe.
The pipe has a screw on cap on the bottom that can be removed to drain out the sand.

There is a suction fan on top to draw air thru the cabinet to keep it clear inside.

When I first built this, I lifted up the rectangular "window" to load and unload parts.
That got to be a pain, so I cut a door in one side for better access.

I made a rack out of old refrigerator shelves and laid a sheet of fine mesh over that so the smaller parts don't fall thru the rack.

I got the suction type sand blasting gun and the rubber "sleeved" gloves from an industrial supply.


2,355 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I talked with Hank Watkins ( an expert on the Ridemasters ) about the paint color that I should use.
He said the Oliver green and the old Caterpillar yellow are the closes match to the original Bolens green and yellow.

Everyone thinks it is painted John Deere colors but when I park it next to the Lindeman you can see a very distinct difference in both of the colors.

Connoisseur of Rusty Junk
5,623 Posts
That's some really great work! Both on the Ridemaster and the sandblasting cabinet! Thanks for the update.
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