After much tinkering, i decided to make a master post for Gilson tractors like mine, to help those who want to know the right colors for these specific models, as well as original specs compared to my final specs when the job is done. i hope to help those who want to fix these lesser known bests as opposed to the GT model.
Okay, here we go. To start, begin to dissasemble the whole tractor, and remember to bag any bolts and label them accordingly, because from experience, there are a lot of nuts and bolts.
Once you have the frame on it's axles with nothing on it, sand it so the metal shines, so you have no rust. also check around the engine. mine had cracks around the old engine bolts, i've reinforced this part to prevent future breaks, and if neccesary, separate the frame, since it's a two piece frame. The frame on these models is black, and the hood and fenders are red. once the frame is prepped, prime and paint using your prefered method. also, other parts to paint black are the dash, and the vented area in front of it. Now, unless your motor is still good and the wiring is good and working, the engine may need a slight tune up. The factory engine on these tractors is an opposed win briggs 16 hp. Mine was upgraded to a 1 cyl. 17.5 hp hi performance I/C engine. The new ignition system i have is electronic ignition instead of the old points and condenser setup. Remember to grease your tractor where it's needed, so it doesn't fall apart on a test drive. and oild the springs, brake linkage, steering, any moving part that makes a screech or other weird sound. As a note, some of these had hole pre drilled in the fenders for reverse lights, work lights etc. I bought a set of orange lights at NAPA, they work well at night.
anyways, for the wiring, unless you are changing the motor, rather than adapting the old wires to a new motor, get the ones from the tractor the engine came with. i have a saftey on mine i added so it doesn't start unless the park brake is on, or the attachment drive is off. The old choke broke, so i used a common MTD lawn mower choke from a yard machines tractor, which is also where the engine and wiring came from.
IMPORTANT NOTE: unless you want to fabricate or drill, a v-twin briggs will not line up with the stock bolt holes. take measurement and you will see a v-twin has more space between the bolt holes than the opposed and one bangers.
As far as i know, the following B&S engines between one and opposed twin engines will fit:
Stock unmodded frame:
12hp I/C one banger up to 17.5
12.5 opposed up to 20 HP
So far before the tiller siezed this spring, it worked well with the 17.5.
The tiller stalled a 12 hp, made the old 16 bog out a lot.
Now for a neat mod for those who don't use the hill hold often and can repupose it as a speed control like on MTD tractors:
You can modify the original spring if it's not too rusted, but i recommend using a new one=
give it slack if you can, just enough so it doesn't fully engage the brakes, so you can be in any gear and be able to slow down when necessary if you are going down hill with a heavy load.
Here's something important about the belt from the enging to the clutch: Make sure it's not on backwards, as in check which way the engine rotates. it the belt is turned the wrong way on the clutch, all your gears go reverse, and reverse being the only forward gear.
The exhaust can be tricky, but i made mine work. i bought a cheap large can muffler, and took my torches and fused the pipe to the muffler due to the muffler not having enough clearance for the sparkplug or the hood. the down pipe used to connect to the MTD muffler needs to be cut about an inch so when you open the hood it doen't sit on the muffler, because there it will break it off.
Here's another little paint detail these models have: on the hump above the grille where that indented are is, needs to be black. It's not really necessary, butit makes it look more original.
My tractor serial tag is missing, so i have no model number or serial number.
Actually, i don't have any decals for the tractor, but i remember how the were. i can see if i can find an identical set. if not, i'll try to recreate them as best i can.
MTD had many features i liked so i mimiced as many of them as i could to make the old Ward a more user fiendly machine in the modern age. You guys may already know this stuff, but since i rebuilt mine from the frame up, i thought i'd share what i did to mine to help others. If i'm missing anything, please tell me.
Late 70's Montgomery Ward Powr Kraft /gilson Lt Guide
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